Whisky Review: Taketsuru 21 Years Old Port Wood Finish

Style: Sweet and Silky

Palate:

Light first touch, feathery texture, citrus lemon and quickly pursued by soft raisin sweetness. A peck of smoke and sourness, then we have tropical fruits and bright coconuts notes. Milk chocolate pudding in the mid-palate as the oak influence begins to play a part. Lovely malt breaks through towards the end to give a lovely back taste.

Finish:

Raisin and malt dally on the finish, warm, fuzzy and comfy. Softened smoke comes in with a long and complex chocolate mix. Signatory silkiness makes it so enjoyable!

Thoughts:

The Port wood finish has instilled extra red fruit sweetness, roundness and probably a hint of sourness to the pure malt. It also created a new dimension of it. Silky as ever, the texture remains one of the best I have ever encountered. Exceptional complexity and finesse.

☆ [Recommended]

[46%・2014・Non Chill Filtered ・ Non Coloured ・ Limited Edition ・ Blended Malt]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: The BenRiach Aged 12 Years

 

Style: Sherry and Lively

Nose:

Rich red fruits whistling in a lively spirit. Plums, strawberry cake threaded with a thin string of wood spice, cinnamon dust and slightest ginger. Sherry notes meld beautifully with orange malt and massive vanilla custard (this is Spanish Oak, right?). Fresh, sweet, multi-layered aroma.

Palate:

Gentle, juicy flow of cherry lassoed by chilli flashing dangerously. Sweetness entrapped by a quick strike from the oak. Sultanas going under as wood spices, timber shavings, white pepper and milk chocolate taking over the field. Vanilla and oranges beaming at the back. A drying wood smoke touch to finish. Warm red fruits unlocked as time goes by.

Finish:

Cherry, red grape cake undertone liberated from the oak. Mocha, vanilla and cinnamon sticks to give a soft, soothing presence.

Thoughts:

This BenRiach has impressed me in many tasting sessions. Finally I can sit down and write a review of it. Such a complex and lively whisky which did not make a big hit in Australia (I heard it is very popular in some countries). There are less and less quality whiskies at this approachable price point. Maybe a tad oaky and spicy for some, but it is definitely worth grabbing a bottle when you see one. Too bad this is going to be discontinued.

☆ [Recommended]

[46% • 2015 • Original Bottling • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • General Release • Discontinued]

-Esmond

 

 

Dram Review: Hakushu Owner’s Cask 2B 40276

[57%・Distilled in 1992・Bottled in 2011・Original Bottling・Single Cask Release of 253 Bottles]

Nose:

Wood shaves and glue initially for a moment, but henceforth it rewards with a wood fired toasted marshmallow note that transpires basic happiness.  The sweetness from the fruits has been muted but the freshness has been harnessed, with a brush of woodiness laid overtop.  There are hints of acidic dried prunes with a generous splash of caramelised wood char.

Palate & Finish:

Certainly what one would call a fruit bomb, poached strawberries laced with balsamic, ripe apples and peaches with caramelised banana and popcorn, succulent and thirst quashing with that translucent delivery of cucumber jelly brushed with a fine layer of citrus nectar.  The mellow woodiness provides that juxtaposition and gives weight to the dram alongside the thick vanilla note.

The finishing falls on the vaguer spectrum of things as those sweeter and buttery notes run their natural course.

Thoughts:

This is a Hakushu that has been shaped through maturation, it still exhibits those pleasant signature vibes but it certainly comes across as being more mature, more settled down.  It’s a satisfying dram for those who seek the comfort familiarity of quality drams.

 ☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Glenmorangie Companta Private Edition

Style: Sweet and Round

Nose:

Rich and round red currants decorated with a small pinch of peppermint. Sugar plum and red fruits tart. Sweet aroma with a slight touch of cinnamon sticks. Navel oranges gently shine through from the back. Beautiful sweet nose.

Palate:

Another rich tide of red fruit sweetness landing nicely on the palate. Soft delivery of ripe cherries and strawberry jam tart. Blood orange candy unveils and fires through with ginger spice. Vanilla slowly emerges from the background and the Glenmorangie malt fully reveals itself. Oak joins in while tannins humming joyfully towards the end.

Finish:

Entering a more subtle style of red currant and milk chocolate takes the attention. Red fruit cakes and roses to finish.

Thoughts:

I enjoyed this very much. The delicate yet unwavering Glenmorangie spirit slipping on a rich red fruits coat makes such a perfect combination. It adds levels of complexity to the profile, gives richness to the texture and polish off the spices. Rich, round, elegant with great balance. A malt brimming with potential.

☆ [Recommended]

[46% • 2014 • Original Bottling • Non Chill Filtered • No Age Statement • Limited Edition • Aged 12 Years • *]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Komagatake Aged 22 Years

Style: Bright and smooth

Nose:

Delicate run of dark raisin syrup. Coffee beans, leather and tobacco leaves submerges. Confident layering of malt, orange and vanilla. A rather atypical touch of light corn syrup dipping on top, dark fruits stewing with gentle smoke at the back.

Palate:

Sweet, ripe cherry fruits flow onto the palate, chocolate eclairs. Light, upbeat jazzy mood you can dance with it. Seamless stitching with multi-layers of flavours. Lovely maltiness flourishing brightly at the middle with a neat citrus zing. Vanilla brushes and finishes with a light orange note.

Finish:

Roasted almonds dipping in thick grape juice. Lip-smacking sweetness lingers on.

Thoughts:

Nicely sherried, although from what I have read it is not the sole vatting component. Cheerful and light-hearted tone, quite a memorable dram as there are not many whiskies which can light up the mood and make you smile. Quality malt and hopefully I can get to try more of their expressions in near future.

☆ [Recommended]

[43% • 2013 • Original Bottling • Limited Edition • 1359 Bottles]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Nikka “Kitagenshu” 15 Years Old

[43%・15 Years Old・Original Bottling]

Nose:

Very clean and vibrant, rockmelon, watermelon and stone fruits fused together with just a slight edge of earthiness; elegantly rounded.

Palate & Finish:

Clever and charming, the dram first introduces sweet nashi pears to the picture, not in an overly extravagant manner but in a rather refreshing way.  A hazy lace of smoke then sips out to draw back the brightness of the fruits momentarily as another wave of fruitiness comes about, this time of lime jelly and white peaches.

The traces of fruits grow softer and softer but they extend long enough to just complete the picture, elegance exemplified.

Thoughts:

Words can’t describe how this dram delights me, brilliance was somehow capable of being bottled.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Glenglassaugh Rare Cask Release 1978 Cask #1810 Port Hogshead

Tasting Notes:

Glenglassaugh Rare Cask Release 1978 Cask #1810 Port Hogshead

Style: Complex and Dignified

Nose:

Elusive aroma making the softest sweet whispers in your ears. When it opens up in comes dusky ruby grapes flowing with minimal smoke. A dash of coastal saline, minerals and almond bun undertone, green vine tartness and oak. White pepper spices. Malty sweetness with great depth towards the end.

Palate:

Clear sign of long maturation as the elements are closely integrated to each other. Lovely sweetness from ruby grapes which also reveals its musky reflection on the other side. Rich and round flavours. A bite of fresh raisin walnut bread, light mineral dab, again, ambiguous smoke gives a drier façade to the malt. Pepper spice glowing softly to finish.

Finish:

Soothing sultanas, nutmeg and ginger spice to finish.

Thoughts:

A nicely aged, complex Glenglassaugh we have here. Dusky, rich and round sweetness with elegance and a lot of complexity in it. Quite passive when it was freshly poured, took me 20 minutes for it to open up, but it is one rewarding experience, something you can drink through the whole night. Too bad I only have one bottle of this. Hopefully they will do batch 3 of the rare cask release.

☆ [Recommended]

[42.9% • 2014 • Original Bottling • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • Cask Number: 1810 • 103 of 279 Bottles • Limited Release • Aged 35 Years • Port Hogshead • *]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Glenmorangie Bacalta

[46%・Bottled in 2017・NAS・Original Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

The dram opens with a breath of aged balsamic vinegar, the oak has been elegantly laid down.   Hint of salt spray akin to a quiet pier perhaps, once that initial layers peel away, there is the crème caramel note, no doubt from the caramelisation of the wood.  Dried Seville oranges served on salt cured oak, paired with parma ham with a drizzle of minerals atop, half-hidden beneath is that Glenmorangie-esque crisp fruitiness.

Palate & Finish:

A dense drop, the saucy entry is a surprise.  Somewhat of a two-toned delivery with brighter citrus orange note echoing the richer toffee and honeycomb notes below. The sharpness of the orchard fruits comes up on top, bringing about those sweeter white peach jelly note with it.

The gooeyness continues with sugar cured orange slices, crisp pears, ripe mango cubes and a splash of menthol essence, it is a comforting follow through.

Thoughts:

With a generous splash of water, the toasted oak characters become quite prominent, the dram feels more rounded with the fragrant mango note forming a bridge to let the more appealing fruitiness through whilst maintaining a luscious body.

Congratulations to Dr. Bill and the Glenmorangie team for yet again successfully engineering a whisky out of the Glenmorangie 10 mould and revamping the flavour profile into something exciting, that to me is an extraordinary feat after seven remarkable releases.  The usage of 250 litre heavily toasted Malmsey Madeira casks feels well tailored for the purpose of amplifying what the casks have to give,  more so on the caramelised wood notes than perhaps on the characters of the Madeira, and the result is a colourful dram that will surely please a lot of people.

Nicholas 

Thank you Garth, Jessica, Eliza and the Glenmorangie and EVH teams for putting togetting a great evening.  It’s quite special to dram with Dr. Bill Lumsden, Mr. Brendan McCorran and other guests in Mumbai and Seoul.