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  1. #101
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Quote Originally Posted by amg View Post
    I got an email from a local offering the 10yr redemption BP at $150, and at first I thought they were gouging, but turns out that's the going rate. I passed.
    Yes, starting to think Redemption belongs in the Willet XCF exclusionary zone! Not only not interested in the 10yo BP but it makes me less interested in Redemption in general. Not that I really ever was except for the 6yo BP (which I recall thinking also seemed absurdly high at around $60 when it first came out but now sadly seems to be getting to be the norm).
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  2. #102
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Couldn't let this week go by without a belated salute to St. Patrick's Day! So we repeated the blind side by side from the GBS Irish Whiskey night. Unfortunately we didn't have any delicious corned beef sliders to kick off the afternoon.

    Wednesday tastings 18MAR15 1.JPG

    So first up was the three Tyrconnell single malts with different finishes, sherry, port and madeira.

    Wednesday tastings 18MAR15 2.JPG

    Although this was blind I had the advantage of having just tried them. The sherry again had the most powerful nose but the favorite of the three was a bit of a toss up between the port and the madeira. The madeira won again for me with its nice but subtle sweetness on the palate and a much longer, drier, nutty finish as compared to the port. The port had more fruit but the finish just didn't hold up as well.

    Wednesday tastings 18MAR15 3.JPG

    Next we slipped across the Irish Sea and over to Scotland for three different Mortlach offerings. The newly acquired Mortlach 86 proof 16yo "Flora & Fauna" bottling, a rare original distillery bottling of Mortlach before it got turned into a "superlux" bottling, was paired up with a Gordon & MacPhail 15yo at 86 proof and a single cask of 18yo from the Exclusive Casks line at barrel proof (108.6). The F&F was the darkest by far and it seemed likely that some coloring was involved (It is Diageo after all). This was not blind but it was immediately apparent that the cask strength offering was the superior whiskey which was not that big a surprise. A nice sweet but not overly strong sherry influence overlying a lovely mature tasting malt. The G&M was not far behind but a bit thin in comparison. Sadly it was the 16yo F&F that really failed to impress. Dull and tired tasting with none of the fullness and flavor of the other two. As the only newly opened bottle of the three I can only hope this bottle needs a little time to blossom but it was disappointing to be sure.

    Wednesday tastings 18MAR15 4.JPG

    We then moved on to a few beers to include the new Sweetwater 18th Anniversary Belgian Tripel style (10%ABV). Adequate but nothing to really recommend it and a far cry from Karmaliet tripel or a trappist tripel like Westmalle or Chimay and just about as pricey. Next up was a side by side of the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine and the new barrel aged Bigfoot barleywine (12.2%). The barrel aged version was perhaps a slight improvement with some wood notes and a bit more caramel but not a big difference. Perhaps a little time will help this one improve. Finally we finished with an Innis & Gunn stout aged in Irish whiskey casks versus the stout aged with bourbon barrel "chips" (Seems like a lot of the I&G beers are going to chips as barrels get more expensive and hard to find). I preferred the Irish Whiskey cask version which seems a bit sweeter and yet more robust than the bourbon chip version. Both were at 7.4%ABV.

    About that time the reps from Macallan and Highland Park wondered in and we had to force ourselves to drink a bit more whisky. But they didn't really have anything new or exciting (Mac 12, HP 12 and Dark Origin) which was a bit disappointing. Still, we were polite and drank their whisky!

    All in all, another fine Wednesday afternoon!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  3. #103
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Pictures are loading again!

    Finally had a chance to delve into sake a bit as I have always been curious. We had a sake master from one of the distributors come out to our little Wednesday afternoon tasting group and went through a few. Mostly from Kikusui as the local sales manager from Kikusui also came along.

    Wednesday tastings 1APR15 1.JPG


    Very interesting but may have been a touch of sensory overload. My favorites were probably the three Nama or unpasteurized sakes.

    Wednesday tastings 1APR15 2.JPG


    A bit higher proof at 19% ABV (("cask strength") and had some real character to each. The gold can is the basic Honjozo version that is sealed as soon as it is filtered while the red can is "aged" in the cans for a year before being shipped apparently making it a bit unusual when most sakes or supposed to be drunk relatively fresh. An interesting fruit like flavor develops. Lychee perhaps? The green was a seasonal product made from the first rice of the harvest as I understand it. It is still has a bit of effervescent quality or tingle to the taste, especially in the finish.

    Also tried the Perfect Snow (blue bottle next to the cans) that is an unfiltered “cloudy” sake. It is certainly on the sweet side and a bit gritty and milky. Somewhat dessert like I suppose but clearly seemed geared to the western palate as our sake master said these were not a big seller in Japan. I will take him at his word.

    Others included the Organic Junmai Ginjo in the black bottle which is "organic" (by US standards anyway) sake made with a California grown sake rice that is shipped to Japan to be brewed and then back to the US for sale. A bit drier with an interesting and distinctive vegetal nose and flavor which I rather enjoyed.


    The small blue bottle was the regular Junmai Ginjo which was described as a sake intended for consuming with food where you might normally have white wine. This one had the most subtle (read bland for me) taste but I can see where it would not compete with food flavors.

    Next in the small pink bottle and the small blue bottle were two the sake master brought. The pink had the lowest ABV and was intended as an introductory sake. The blue bottle was the sake masters own "barrel pick" with his name on the label and a painting done by his mother! It was quite flavorful with a lot of umami as best as I understand that flavor.

    Next was a Kikusui Junmai Ginjo Hiyaoroshi that is made with rice harvested on the coldest winter days and then left to age until the following fall in stainless steel tanks. I didn't get much out of this one myself.

    Finally we finished with the Sakamai (a rare type of sake rice apparently) Junmai Daiginjo that is polished down to 40%. An interesting nose that seemed most like an Argentinian Torrontes light white wine. Quite striking! The palate didn't really match the nose but it was a nice light fruity flavor.

    A lot to take in but fun as well.

    Of course we couldn't limit ourselves to just sake so we finished with a comparison of Lillet to the Lillet Special Reserve (as it happened the Kikusui sales manager suggested cocktails with sake like the Vesper and the Corpse Reviver 2 where the sake replaced the Lillet. May have to give that a try.). The Lillet Reserve is Sauternes based and quite lovely on its own.

    I finally got a bottle of Blume Marillen, an apricot based Eau de Vie for cocktail mixing, and we decided to break that open as well before resetting the palate back to normal with a bit of bourbon. The recent Abraham Bowman Vanilla Bean finished bourbon finally arrived and we compared it to a particularly nice single barrel of Bowman selected by the Party Source (#45). Both were nice but not sure I could really appreciate what the vanilla bean finish brought to the party.

    The random bottle of sake between the Lillet and the Blume was just something I brought in for the sake master to see.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  4. #104
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    This past Wednesday we continued with a tasting of something a bit different. This time it was a variety of ports (and a couple of port finished whiskies just for the heck of it).

    Wednesday tastings 08APR15 1.JPG

    The real treat here was a 1963 Colheita port from Burmester. We think it was aged for 20 years (Colheita usually requires a minimum of around 7 years but are often aged longer) before being bottled and then opened over 30 years after that. The long ageing makes it more like an aged Tawny port than a typical vintage port that usually only spends a couple of years in a barrel.

    Wednesday tastings 08APR15 2.JPG

    Dense syrupy mouthfeel with delightful vanilla, caramel flavors with a nutty undertone and dried red fruit flavors. This was an excellent bottle and a real pleasure to get to drink. Everything after this was a distant second. The 1997 Kopke Colheita, aged 15 years, was far less mature tasting for obvious reasons but certainly enjoyable in its own way.

    We really struggled with the corks on Vintage ports from around 2000 (we tried to open several different brands) and it made us wonder if it was a cork issue from around that time.

    The Jaden, a California made port style wine, did have a remarkably distinctive and pleasant nose and palate of strawberry jam.

    The others had varying amounts of fruit flavor (I took no notes and my memory of the others is already getting a bit hazy) but it was hard to stop thinking about (and drinking !) that '63.

    Just for the heck of it I also brought along a bottle of Brandymel, a honey based liqueur that uses a local white brandy made in Portugal from the fruit of the "Strawberry tree" (A local tree with an odd looking red fruit that to the locals apparently kinda sorta resembles a strawberry.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  5. #105
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    No tasting this week as I "recover" from the Sampler and the store barrel pick at Four Roses this Monday. But I never reported on last week so hopefully it is never too late!

    Last week it was Bourbon, Rye and Scotch on the menu.

    Wednesday tasting 22APR15 1.JPG

    But the Bourbon and Rye came in the form of a SBS tasting of "old" and "new" Bourye. As a quick review the old Bourye mashbill to the best of my memory was reported on the HW website in the past to be:

    10-year bourbon from Four Roses with an "E" mashbill that was 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% malted barley. I am not sure of the yeast(s).
    The 12-year rye was from (then) LDI and was the standard 95% rye, 5% malted barley.
    The 16-year rye was from Barton Distillery and was 53% rye, 37% corn, and 10% malt.

    The "new" Bourye is under "technical details" listed as a blend of a 4 different whiskeys:

    9-year-old straight bourbon mash bill: 75% corn, 21% rye, 4% barley malt Source: MGP/LDI/Seagrams Indiana (Presumably somewhat similar to the previous Four Roses bourbon)
    10-year-old straight rye whiskey 95% rye, 5% barley malt Source: MGP/LDI/Seagrams Indiana
    16-year-old straight rye whiskey 95% rye, 5% barley malt Source: MGP/LDI/Seagrams Indiana
    16-year-old straight rye whiskey mash bill: 80% rye, 10% corn, 10% malt Source: Barton Distillery, Bardstown KY

    Wednesday tasting 22APR15 3.JPGWednesday tasting 22APR15 4.JPG

    These were tasted blind by our little afternoon tasting group of four. Both bottles were newly opened that afternoon. The previous Bourye was one I remember liking quite well and I fully expected to like it better again. However the opposite proved to be true as 4 of 4 chose the new Bourye as their favorite. The old mashbill had a somewhat acetone like note in the finish that really set it apart. I can only wonder if time in the bottle contributed to the taste. I have not tried the comparison again but both bottles made it to the Gazebo table this past weekend and at least a few people I saw trying them both did prefer the old Bourye to the new. I will simply have to try them again!

    Wednesday tasting 22APR15 2.JPG

    Next up was a a 4 way blind tasting of the Longrow Red series, Springbank's peated whisky at 11 years old and cask strength, finished in different wine barrels, plus a 14 yo cask strength Longrow finished in Burgundy.

    Generally speaking the Shiraz (53.7ABV and finished 5 years) and Port (51.8ABV and a full 11 years in port) were the favorites followed closely by the Burgundy (56.1ABV and 14yo finished for 3 years). The Cabernet (52.1ABV and finished 4 years) tended to be a bit hot and was the least preferred although all were thought to be pretty darn good! Given the full 11 year port cask aging I had kind of expected that one to be the most dominated by the barrel but that didn't seem to be the case despite the label claiming that all finishing casks were "fresh".

    Hopefully back at it for the next week or two before another hiatus for a couple of weeks at the end of May.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  6. #106
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Quote Originally Posted by tanstaafl2 View Post
    Generally speaking the Shiraz (53.7ABV and finished 5 years) and Port (51.8ABV and a full 11 years in port) were the favorites followed closely by the Burgundy (56.1ABV and 14yo finished for 3 years). The Cabernet (52.1ABV and finished 4 years) tended to be a bit hot and was the least preferred although all were thought to be pretty darn good! Given the full 11 year port cask aging I had kind of expected that one to be the most dominated by the barrel but that didn't seem to be the case despite the label claiming that all finishing casks were "fresh".

    Hopefully back at it for the next week or two before another hiatus for a couple of weeks at the end of May.
    In Ralfy's review of the Port-aged Red, he comments on the process Springbank uses to prepare their fresh casks:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsQh13mGMV4

    At the 5 minute mark and then the 6:40 mark he mentions rinsing and other modes of preparation. When I first opened my bottle, it came off as quite sweet and I was missing the darker, more steeped fruit notes I have gotten from other port-aged whisky. Despite the 11 years, it seems to have a shallower port-aged quality. The whisky got more complex over time and by the end of the bottle I had nothing to complain about, but it came off a bit one-note for me at first.
    "A man comes from the dust and in the dust he will end-- In the meantime it is good to drink whiskey."
    -->WhiskeyWonka<--

  7. #107
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Was the I.W. Harper not worth mentioning?

  8. #108
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Quote Originally Posted by LCWoody View Post
    Was the I.W. Harper not worth mentioning?
    Well, it was a week ago! I just kind of forgot we tasted it. Which sort of says all you need to know about it...

    Not awful but tasted thin and really nothing that made it stand out. At sub $20 it might be worth a try but at $35 plus it isn't something I will buy again.

    The other bottle I overlooked was a Cumberland Cask Ruby port finished self described Tennessee whiskey that isn't charcoal filtered. The NDP doesn't provide any details to my knowledge on source but the presumption is that perhaps this is from Pritchard (if in fact they are making a whiskey as I think they source a lot of their bourbon. Not a brand I follow very closely) or perhaps from Corsair by way of Collier & McKeel. This particular bottle is reportedly 6yo whiskey finished in California ruby port style wine casks for a "season" which presumably is a few months. No idea who could be making 6yo whiskey in Tennessee that isn't charcoal filtered so some big question marks there to be sure.

    In any case it was also somewhat underwhelming as I recall and did not make much of an impact despite the touch of port finishing. It was also on the Gazebo table but I don't recall anybody making any comments about it.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  9. #109
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Quote Originally Posted by AaronWF View Post
    In Ralfy's review of the Port-aged Red, he comments on the process Springbank uses to prepare their fresh casks:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsQh13mGMV4

    At the 5 minute mark and then the 6:40 mark he mentions rinsing and other modes of preparation. When I first opened my bottle, it came off as quite sweet and I was missing the darker, more steeped fruit notes I have gotten from other port-aged whisky. Despite the 11 years, it seems to have a shallower port-aged quality. The whisky got more complex over time and by the end of the bottle I had nothing to complain about, but it came off a bit one-note for me at first.
    Thanks. That probably explains it. I hope it does gain some additional complexity over time. Indeed I hope they all do!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  10. #110
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Quote Originally Posted by tanstaafl2 View Post
    Well, it was a week ago! I just kind of forgot we tasted it. Which sort of says all you need to know about it...

    Not awful but tasted thin and really nothing that made it stand out. At sub $20 it might be worth a try but at $35 plus it isn't something I will buy again.
    That's what I was assuming. Thanks

 

 

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