Tag Archives: Natural Colour

Blind Sample Tasting

Blind tasting.

You – the whiskey – your palate.

No transparency – no openness – no labels.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Ready? c/othewhiskeynut

Laid out before me were 7 whiskeys – 7 identical glasses – & some water to cleanse the palate between each sample.

Oh! They weren’t completely blind.

They were from a list I’d selected from a fellow whiskey fan as part of an exchange and it included;

1792 Single Barrel,   Ballantine’s 17,   Chita Single Grain,   Dingle 4 Single Malt,   Evan William’s Bottled In Bond,   Hellyers Road Roaring Forty,   Jack Daniel’s Bottled In Bond,   Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel 100,   Kilkerran 12,   Miltonduff 9,   Naked Grouse,   North Star Campbeltown 4,   Stagg Jr,   & a Surprise.

A Immediately impressed me. Strong spirit, good clean flavours, rich in the mouth. Nice.

B Wasn’t as enjoyable.

C A bourbon – but with a welcome spice.

D Nice easy drinker.

E Another bourbon – strong, opened up on the finish.

F Didn’t enamour me.

G Very intriguing.

I initially went through them trying to match my experiences to the expressions above. It was really guesswork – as I hadn’t encountered them before this session.

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Score sheet c/othewhiskeynut

On a second round – I scored them.

Then the reveal!

A North Star                              80                B Hellyers Rd     72

C 1792 SB                                    77                D Dingle 4           73

E Stagg Jr                                   79                 F Kilkerran 12   70

G Glenglassaugh Evolution  78

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North Star c/o@bogstandarddram

Congratulations to North Star Campbeltown 4 Year Old Blended Malt!

An independent bottle from undisclosed distilleries presented non chill filtered & with natural colour at a hefty 57% ABV.

Obviously my kinda whiskey!

There’s a clear division between the top 4 – bigger, badder, bolder – and the bottom 3 – softer, subtler, smoother.

My only surprise was the poor showing of Kilkerran 12 – normally a distillery I enjoy.

But then that’s the whole point of blind tasting.

To try and eradicate – as far as possible – any bias you may hold,

and let your palate  decide.

Sláinte

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Wild Fields Original, Polish Whisky, 44%

Aaahhhhhhhhhh!

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Damn! c/othewhiskeynut

That’s never happened to me before!

Nor have I had Polish Whisky either – but then this is no ordinary whisky.

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Polish Whisky in a Tuath Glass c/othewhiskeynut

It’s a rye whisky – which I love.

So I was ever so happy a work colleague brought it back after a trip to see the folks.

It’s also non chill filtered, presented at natural colour, is distilled using Polish rye & is matured in Polish oak.

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Back label info c/othewhiskeynut

Touch of unique terroir going on there!

But what of the taste?

Well the nose was a bit earthy – like a mossy wood – with that signature rye spice hiding in the bushes.

The palate started off smoothly.

There’s a hint of gentle fire, sweet vanilla & that green mossiness slowly dries out as the sun shines in with a gloriously rich dry peppery spice building to the finish. Leaving a lovely prickly tingling fading away on a floral bed.

Quite a straightforward rye – with an unusual & unique flavour profile.

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The producer. c/othewhiskeynut

There’s no mention of what was previously in the polish oak barrels – but they’re toasted – & if virgin oak – it would certainly accentuate the warm spiciness I enjoyed.

Very intriguing!

Na zdrowie.

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Arbikie, Highland Rye, Aged 4 Years, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, 46%

Dry January?

Not me.

I prefer Rye January.

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Rye, wheat & barley. c/othewhiskeynut

And not just any old rye at that.

I choose Arbikie Highland Rye. The first Scottish Rye for over 100 years.

In reality –  the 3rd interpretation of a grain I love from this boutique distillery.

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Scottish Rye c/othewhiskeynut

The first bottle – at 2 years old – was young , feisty & flavoursome.

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Highland Rye in a Tuath Glass c/othewhiskeynut

The second – at 3 – with additional PX cask finishing – superb.

This third release – at 4 years old – has Armagnac finishing. A suitably symbiotic pairing as Armagnac is the more artisinal & craft produced brandy to it’s mass marketed Cognac sister.

Can this latest release top the other 2 for a tasty trifecta?

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Reviving tradition. c/othewhiskeynut

A deep earthy nose segues into a sweet rye spiciness.

Lovely luxuriant mouthfeel – reminiscent of dark fruits soaked in brandy –  mellows & subdues that signature peppery spice.

The long finish exhibits a joyful prickly tingling dancing away to leave a lip smacking juiciness in contrast to the dryness I normally associate with rye.

A class whisky.

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Single estate whisky. c/othewhiskeynut

Rooted in terroir, tradition & tastiness.

Trifecta indeed!

Sláinte

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Nb, this bottle was kindly supplied by Arbikie Distillery.

 

 

Eden Mill, Burns Day 2017, 2 Year Old Spirit, 43%

Well, if your gonna do Burns Night you might as well open something special.

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What’s inside the box? c/othewhiskeynut

This Burns Day 2017 Spirit from the Eden Mill Distillery in Fife, Scotland, was part of a trilogy marking the coming of age of their own distillate.

I picked it up whilst visiting the distillery in Guardbridge a few years ago.

It has a number of things going for it.

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Eden Mill distillate c/othewhiskeynut

The use of different malt varieties –  Crystal & Brown malts have had additional roasting to boost flavour – as well as virgin oak maturation – would suggest this is an eminently quaffable & flavoursome spirit.

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Back label c/othewhiskeynut

In other jurisdictions – America – this is whiskey.  Just as it would have been in Burns day before the advent of age rules.  So I cracked it open to sample the delights within.

First off – the colour.

In keeping with Eden Mill’s ethos, I’m banking this is natural colour from both the toasted malt & virgin oak barrel.

Second off – it’s young, it’s fresh & it’s very engaging!

A lovely strong vanilla from the virgin oak casks comes through with a bit of bourbony toastiness – and a spirity kick.

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In the glass! c/othewhiskeynut

On the palate it starts off smoothly. There’s not much body or depth – but the flavours are clean, fresh & lively!

There’s a slight tannic spiciness on the finish leaving a pleasant prickly tingling.

For a 2yo – there is no new make aroma – this possesses the rudiments of a lovely young malt.

Very enjoyable.

Looking forward to future releases from Eden Mill.

Sláinte

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Mackmyra, Svensk Rök, Single Malt, 46.1%

Swedish Whisky.

Well worth visiting.

I haven’t had a duff one yet.

This subtly smoky Svensk Rök is no exception.

Smoky Swede c/othewhiskeynut

Wholly made with Swedish ingredients, non chill filtered & presented at natural colour – this is a gorgeous whisky.

Pale straw in appearance – the nose is invitingly softly smoky, clean & fresh.

Delightfully smooth on the palate initially, a slowly building warm woody campfire heats up into a spicy dry embracing smokiness.

I didn’t want the flickering embers & warm glow of the long finish to expire.

A highly enjoyable smoky Swede from the Mackmyra stable.

Slàinte

Sample bottle courtesy Irish Drams

Ballechin 10 Year Old, Single Malt, 46%

Mindful of my own advice to not store whiskey too long before consumption, I looked into one of my storage cupboards – dark & at constant temperature – to find a shocking amount of bottles.

The Ballechin was one that attracted me.

It had a few things going for it.

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Class! c/othewhiskeynut

To begin with – it was a small bottle that wouldn’t be around for long after opening. More pertinently it bore 3 phrases pleasing to my palate; unchill filtered, natural colour & heavily peated.

Class!

The nose was a mixture of peat smoke infused with dark stone fruits.

Rather than a dry ashy peatiness – a luscious smooth & engaging fruitiness eased me into a warming peat fire which wrapped me in it’s cosy embrace.

A gorgeously engaging whiskey to savor.

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Info on the box c/othewhiskeynut

Emanating from Edradour Distilley in the Highlands – the Ballechin is a run of peated malt they do.

Interestingly, for the first 160 years of it’s existence from 1825, there were no single malt bottlings. All product was used for fillings in the highly successful blended scotch market. Only in 1986 did Edradour start releasing their own single malts when that category began to rise in popularity.

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Whiskypedia c/othewhiskeynut

All this information was gleaned from Charles MaClean’s Whiskipedia book.

Which is a mine of information on Scottish Whisky Distilleries.

The perfect accompaniment to a great whisky.

Sláinte

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Mackmyra Vinterglod, 46.1%, v Bergslagens Peat Ferie, 46%, Single Malts

I had an unexpected package arrive just in time for International Whisky Day on 27th March – a pair of fabulous Swedish Single Malts for me to enjoy courtesy of the Irish Drams blog here.

They came as part of an informal whisky sample exchange I have going with a number of fellow whisky fans – always happy to have more.

The pair were poured into my favourite drinking receptacle  – the Túath Irish Whiskey Glass – and the fun began.

Wow!

The flavours in both of these malts just explode on the palate giving a tantalisingly complex taste experience.

This matches my encounters of other Swedish malts sampled on a recent trip to Göteborg which benefit from being non chill filtered & presented at natural colour.

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Vinterglod c/oMackmyra

Mackmyra Vinterglöd is full of spicy cinnamon & orange on the nose which follows through on the taste.

There’s a bed of warm vanilla underneath which slowly dries out leaving a gorgeously spicy tingling.

A wonderful spicy winter warmer!

Very novel.

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Peat Ferie c/oBergslagens

Bergslagens is very dark.

Gentle sweet peat on the nose, perhaps muted by the rich sherry notes.

The taste starts off smooth & silky, before a dry ashy peat wafts in leaving a wonderfully drying sensation tinged with stone fruitiness.

Loving the contrast between the deceptively smooth entry morphing into a stunningly dry ashy hit.

Both are slightly unusual malts, both are very appealing & both push the boundaries of what a great tasting whisky should be.

If anything Vinterglöd reminds me of the Scottish Liqueur Drambuie – without the cloying honey sweetness.

Bergslagens just wins it for me. The powerfully dry ash suits my palate perfectly.

For further information on these fabulous malts press here for Vinterglöd,

And here for Peat Ferie.

Happy International Whisky Day!

Sláinte

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