Category Archives: World Whisky

K for Kenyan Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is K for Kenyan Whisky.

Now I must admit to not having sampled this whisky.

Glen Rocks Whisky
Glen Rocks Whisky c/ogoogle

And I also must admit to being surprised Kenya actually produce a whisky at all.

But the African market seems to be growing – so why should’t a local manufacturer try and fulfill that demand?

This one is produced by Africa Spirits Ltd.

Rock On!

Or maybe you would prefer some Sir Antonio?

sir antonio whisky
Sir Antonio Whisky c/ogoogle

Elle Kenya are behind Sir Antonio Whisky.

Or just go the whole hog with a Kenyan branded whisky made elsewhere?

Crazy Cock whisky
Now that’s some name for a whisky! c/ogoogle

What Kenyan whisky brand would tempt you?

Sláinte

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J for Japanese Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is J for Japanese Whisky.

Originally posted November 2016

 

NIKKA TAKETSURU 12 YEAR OLD PURE MALT, 40%

Japanese whisky has been around since the 1920’s.

It’s charms have taken a while to grow on me.

Hibiki Harmony didn’t sing for me.

Yamazaki 12 wasn’t quite melodic.

But Nikka Coffey Malt opened up my senses with it’s rich notes

And the Taketsuru 12 Year Old is still serenading me!

I need to try more.

Perhaps like Kirsten Dunst – I’m Turning Japanese?

Sláinte

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I for Indian Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is I for Indian Whisky.

It would have been very easy for me to focus on Irish whiskey.

Possibly even Italian whisky.

But living in the global village – I reach out for the biggest selling brand of whisky in the world.

Which I failed to get hold of.

So I give you the world’s 2nd biggest selling whisky in the world.

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McDowell’s No 1 c/othewhiskeynut

McDowell’s No 1 Reserve Whisky.

Selling an astronomical 25.5 million 9 litre cases 2016.

Johnnie Walker – the top selling Scotch – comes in at 17.4 million cases.

Jack Daniels – the top selling Bourbon – at 12.4 million.

Whilst Jameson –  the top selling Irish – comes in at 6.2 million.

7 of the top 10 biggest sellers in the world are Indian whiskies.

Which considering they aren’t exactly household names in Europe is rather surprising. Especially when for the most part there are very familiar companies behind these brands.

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Guinness & Diageo c/othewhiskeynut

So what does McDowell’s No 1 taste like?

To begin with the nose is rather soft & sweet grainy. None of that over powering added caramel hit I’ve experienced with other mass market blends.

In the mouth it’s also rather easy drinking. No strong flavours or notes. Just a gentle soft heat mixed in with a pleasant graininess & a slight chemically industrial note which doesn’t overwhelm the experience.

What flavour there is fades fast – but the warmth stays for a while.

I’ve had a few whiskies of this style from around the world.

Scotch is imported in bulk, blended with locally produced distillate made from easily available home grown grain/rice/molasses – which are all legally permitted in the country of origin – to make the final product, which is generally only sold in the country of manufacture.

McDowell’s No 1 stands out as one of the finest of these.

A friend kindly brought it back from Nigeria for me. Africa is a market Indian Whisky is expanding into. Which has led to action from the Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) which you can read about here.

Maybe I’m missing something though.

Isn’t Diageo a member of the SWA?

And a certain Scottish gentleman by the name of Mr Angus McDowell founded a company in India back in 1898 to service the needs of ex-pats stationed there?

The very company Diageo is now the majority share holder of?

Heritage in a bottle indeed.

Sláinte.

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H for Hungarian Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is H for Hungarian Whisky.

Originally posted October 2016.

 

BEKESI, SINGLE BARREL, SINGLE MALT WHISKY, 43%

Hungary.

Not a country normally associated with whisky production.

In 1956 the soviet tanks rolled in to crush a popular uprising..

The spirit in this bottle is dull and grey

A legacy of Stalinist oppression.

Sláinte.

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PS. Since writing this blog it has come to my attention a bit of Irish/Hungarian co-operation regarding the supply of used casks to the Hungarian Distillery.

I look forward to tasting future releases.

G for German Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is G for German Whisky.

 

GERMAN WHISKY – DAS IST GUT

Germany is not a country usually associated with whisky manufacture. They do love their whiskies however – and it is one of the top export countries for both Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky companies.

Germany also has a long tradition of distilling – mainly schnapps – but is increasingly turning to whisky.

Germany – shockingly – according to my research – has more whisky distilleries at 250 than Scotland with 115!

Sometimes it comes down to numbers.

So when a friend invited us over to Berlin last weekend – I made it my goal to sample some of the expressions emanating from these German distilleries – I must say – I was very impressed!

Wein und Spirituosen Center Tegel c/o Whiskey Nut
Wein und Spirituosen Center Tegel c/o Whiskey Nut

My first port of call was to the very extensively stocked Wein Und Spirituosen Center at Tegel – a handy 5 minute walk from the marvelous public transport network Alt-Tegel U-bahn station.

Very friendly staff guided me through their German Whisky range which included tasting a few samples from bottles the shop already had opened for customers to try.

Glen Els Sherry Cask c/o The Whisky Exchange
Glen Els Sherry Cask c/o The Whisky Exchange

A glass of Glen Els Sherry Cask was tried. Now normally a sherry finish floats my boat – but I found this somewhat lacking – maybe not enough sherry for me?

Slyrs Single Malt c/o Slyrs
Slyrs Single Malt c/o Slyrs

Slyrs Single Malt provided a much more enjoyable experience. Aged in new American White Oak casks this 3 year old gave a lovely woody aroma with a pleasingly smooth taste for it’s youthfulness. No wonder it has gained awards!

Sloupisti Single Malt c/o deutsche-whiskys.de
Sloupisti Single Malt c/o deutsche-whiskys.de

An interesting bottle caught my eye so I requested another sample. The intriguingly named Sloupisti from Spreewalder proved to be an equally fine dram.

Loaded down with my booty I ambled down to Greenwich Parade where The Fisherman’s Restaurant have an outdoor picnic area. I indulged in Fish ‘n’ Chips delightfully overlooking the Tegeler See in the bright sunshine!

Art work and Alexanderplatz from Foreign Office Berlin c/0 Whiskey Nut
Art work and Alexanderplatz from Foreign Office Berlin c/o Whiskey Nut

After meeting up with friends and been shown round the German Foreign Office enjoying fabulous views of Alexander Platz from the balcony – it was off to Berlins only whisky distillery.

Eschenbrau beer garden and pizza hut c/o Whiskey Nut
Eschenbrau beer garden and pizza hut c/o Whiskey Nut

Eshenbrau in Wedding was a fantastic place where many beer and whisky enthusiasts congregate in the outdoor beer garden set in the middle of a housing scheme to enjoy the beverages made only a stone’s throw away. They also served lovely flammkuchen to soak up the alcohol!

A fine range of beers are available all year round with seasonal brews regularly alternating on the menu. They have also started whisky production which I was eager to sample.

Eschenbrenner Whisky c/o Whiskey Nut
Eschenbrenner Whisky c/o Whiskey Nut

The three styles on offer were all a youthful 3 years old;

Pete – aged in American oak,

Charlie – aged in chardonnay casks and

Amber – aged in Spessart German oak for a truly home grown product.

Eschenbrenner Amber Whisky and glass c/o Whiskey Nut
Eschenbrenner Amber Whisky and glass c/o Whiskey Nut

All of them were pleasantly quaffable with a hint of youthfulness but the Amber finally came out tops with rich woody notes and a slightly smoother finish. As the only venue to buy this whisky is at the distillery I duly bought a bottle – as well as the lovely tasting glass.

For whiskey fans Germany has much to offer. The sheer number of whiskey distilleries produce a vast array of styles, finishes and malts that match that of Scotland in terms of taste and quality – although volumes are small by comparison. Independently family owned or craft distilleries are the order of the day supplying local markets so expressions can be hard to track down – but from my experience well worth the effort.

Go on – try a German Whisky – 3 outta of 4 ain’t bad – to mangle a Meatloaf lyric!

Auf wiedersehen

Sláinte

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F for French Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is F for French Whisky.

I first got a taste for French whisky back in 2015.

Who could have resisted a champagne finished single malt from the wonderful Guillon Distillery which has been actively making whisky using locally grown barley cut with locally sourced water since 1997?

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Champagne finished French single malt c/othewhiskeynut

A gloriously sweet floral hit of champagne mixed with more earthy malt greeted you on first nosing.

Sadly the floral notes seemed to evaporate on tasting. Whilst you were left with a perfectly agreeable soft single malt – you were still expecting more from that initial delightful nose.

Their Cuvée 46 offering was a more traditional expression and also enjoyable.

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Guillon Cuvée 46 c/othewhiskeynut

Aged in French wine casks – the nose didn’t dominate the tasting experience and an overall more balanced & fruity single malt got the thumbs up.

I’d be very happily ‘Lost In France’ checking out their whiskies!

Now the French enjoy a whisky or two.

It’s a big market.

Quite how Brexit is going to change this situation is unclear.

But when I pop over for a holiday later in the year I’ll certainly be looking forward to exploring the output from some of the reported 40 French whisky distilleries operating or opening in the country.

Tres bon, n’ect-ce pas?

Sláinte.

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Merci to Distillerie Guillon for the header image.

E for English Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is E for England.

Although I was severely tempted to go for Egyptian Whisky after spotting this very well aged bottle on the internet.

Chefas
Now that’s an age statement! c/ogoogle

Sadly I couldn’t get my hands on a bottle – yet.

First posted March 2018.

COTSWOLDS SINGLE MALT, 46%, ENGLAND

My recent Scottish trip allowed me to indulge in a spot of whisky auctioneering – which is a new method for me to acquire some tasty whisky.

Just Whisky hold monthly online auctions. Any successful bids can be collected from their Fife based warehouse in Dunfermline – only a short drive across the River Forth from Edinburgh where I picked up my airport car.

Now I’m not looking for a Macallan at 30 grand – I’m looking for some bargains I can crack open & enjoy.

I did spot some candidates.

Who would be bidding for a bottle of English whisky in a Scottish auction?

Me.

And I bagged it! Along with a few other choice spirits – of which more later.

It stayed unopened until tea time where over a meal of fish ‘n’ chips – well, it was Friday – glasses were poured & tastings began.

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English whisky c/othewhiskeynut

Initially the colour appeared rather dark. But it is aged in ex bourbon casks as well as re-charred red wine barrels.

The label also states non chill filtered & natural colour – music to my ears.

A suitably rich & warm charred cask influence of vanilla & caramel greeted me along with a hint of fruit.

The taste was a little punchy – but mellowed as the clean crisp fruit flavours shone through leaving a lovely dry prickly heat on the finish.

My my!

At barely over 3 years old this is lovely.

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Cotswolds mission statement c/othewhiskeynut

The barley is grown locally to the distillery & traditional floor malting is done nearby too.

Provenance & terroir in your first bottle.

Whoever thinks good whiskey is the domain of only a few chosen countries really needs to wake up and smell the roses – or double cask maturation in this instance.

Slàinte.

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PS I also got a tip off about an Ecuador Whisky by the name of Black Castle!

D For Danish Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is D for Danish Whisky.

is also for my downfall as I haven’t actually got round to tasting any of the fabulous whiskies that are made in Denmark.

More famous for it’s bacon than whisky – Denmark has around 14 distilleries either already producing whisky – or about to – according to the excellent Nordic Distillery Map by blogger Whisky Saga which you can view here.

Stauning Whisky would be the most recognised of these distilleries – and one I’d like to get my hands on – as it regularly wins awards and happens to be a style I particularly enjoy – rye!

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Stauning Young Rye c/oStauningWhisky

A return trip to Copenhagen might be in order. Especially as there is a distillery in the town handily named Copenhagen Distillery.

And another not too far away by the name of Braunstein.

It’s about time I got out a bit more!

Sláinte.

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I’d like to thank Stauning Whisky for the use of their photo in this blog.

C For Czech Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is C for Czech Republic

First posted February 2017

THE CASK MAGAZINE & HAMMERHEAD SINGLE MALT 40.7%

Tasting a whiskey is all about the story.

The journey you make to find it.

The occasion of the first encounter.

And the totality of the whole experience.

What better way to engage with a new whisky than at the launch of a new whiskey magazine called The Cask.

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The Cask launch c/othewhiskeynut

The Cask Magazine is proudly based in Ireland – but has a global outlook when it comes to a passion for whiskey.

An eclectic mix of whiskey fans, bloggers, celebrities, imbibers and industry giants gathered in the wonderful surroundings of the Irish Whiskey Museum to raise a toast to the success of this brave new venture.

In the midst of all the media rush to tweet, post, photo & record the event I spotted a bottle that screamed out to me to

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STOP Hammer time! c/othewhiskeynut

Distilled in the former Czechoslovakia before the fall of The Berlin Wall  and the subsequent collapse of communism. Who remembers the joyous occasion of the tearing down of walls rather than the building of them?

Left to mature under the distillery in Pradlo for 23 years before it’s ‘re-discovery’ and release into the marketplace to a changed world. This whisky certainly has a story to tell.

So what is it like?

Soft, smooth & very refreshing with a lovely malty note that pleased me no end. Hammerhead delivered a delightful blow to my tastebuds.

Almost as silky & smooth as the beautiful glossy pages of The Cask Magazine!

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Silk & smooth c/othewhiskeynut

Whiskey for me is a journey of discovery and enjoyment.

Cask Magazine certainly added to that enjoyment with their fabulous launch night.

They also added to my journey by unexpectedly increasing my world whisky count to 19 countries with a wonderful single malt from Czechoslovakia. Still a few more to go to match their Around The World In 24 Drams article!

I’d like to wish all the team at The Cask Magazine a long & productive publishing future.

Sláinte.

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B for Belgian Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is B for Belgium.

First Posted April 2015

3 THINGS I LIKE ABOUT BELGIUM

The 3 things that I like about Belgium are;

1) The Music

It’s probably not what you expect from Belgium – but it made an impression on me as a young teenager – and obviously still has appeal today as it’s used in many adverts!

2) The Beer (and the glasses it comes in)

In a former life, I used to attend political meetings invariably held in rooms above pubs. A fellow comrade also came along but often refused to drink in the bar below afterwards as it wasn’t CAMRA approved. Oh how we laughed at his prescribed ways – and he back at us drinking our mass produced tasteless p**s water. When I eventually got to Belguim and sampled the outstanding array of fine beers on offer – I wanted to ring up this fore mentioned gentlemen and apologies to him.

Belgium does more beer than Scotland does whisky!

I was simply overwhelmed by the range on offer. A restaurant in Brugge I visited had a 2 page meal menu, and a 20 page beer menu! Where do you begin? On spotting a very strange glass being served to a fellow drinker – I thought I’d start there.

Kwak and glass
Kwak and glass

Wow! Kwak. A truly tasty dark beer with very strong flavours, a bit sweet, but lovely. The fact that all the beers are served in glasses unique to the brand only adds to the enjoyment. Kwak certainly has a glass to match it’s unusual taste!

3) The Whisky

What?  Belgian Whisky?

Well up until the early 2000’s there wasn’t any – but now there’s around 3 whisky distillers making the aqua vitae. I managed to get a whisky mule to bring me back a bottle.

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The Belgian Owl c/othewhiskeynut

The Belgian Owl Single Malt is a very fine  – if slightly unusual whisky – or at least I haven’t had something like this before. It has a fruity nose as well as taste to it. Extremely enjoyable and easy to drink even at 46%. Jim Murray rates it highly and many awards have already been won. This is certainly an A whisky for me!

There is more to Belgium than it’s beer!

Sláinte

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PS Short Eared Owl image at header c/o Sharpes birds.

PPS The Belgian Owl is now available in a variety of expressions up to and including a 5 year old cask strength bottling due this year.