Thursday, April 23, 2009

Compass Box Hedonism 43%

It was announced today that Compass Box Hedonism had won best grain whisky in the world for the second year running at the world whisky awards - hosted by whisky magazine. So congratulations to them, however always being one to point out trivial points - should they have really won it? I am lead to believe that the WWA is only open to official bottlers so as an type of (and a very good one at that) independent bottler are they really eligible! Who cares! Their whisky is always good!

Nose: Very sweet, bags of vanilla. Sweet wood, pencil shavings and a hint of honey!

Taste: Again very sweet, lots of oak influence but very balanced. very creamy! A little bit of hay and cheap yellow vanilla ice cream! A hint of white chocolate.

Finish: A fairly short finish but very very soft. A hint of peach yoghurt and soft vanilla.

Comment: I find this whisky to be dangerously drinkable! On a warm summers evening this would be perfect outdoor sipping whisky. Perhaps a little one dimensional but then that is me being over picky! Great whisky.

Score: 89/100

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Darlings Hits Drinkers Again - Duty on Whisky up 2%

I have not got the official figures from Mr Darling yet as to what the new duty rate will be but it says in several sources that it is to rise by 2%. Yet again hitting the whisky drinker in the pocket! All in all though most of this is psychologically damaging than actually financial for serious whisky consumers.

At present duty on spirits is £22.20 per litre of alcohol. 2% on this would increase the duty to £22.64 per litre of pure alcohol. So for a standard bottle of whisky 70cl x 40% Abv the duty will rise from £6.22 to £6.34 per bottle an increase of £0.12 per bottle. By the time you add VAT and say a retailers mark up this will equate to say £0.21.

So even if you were buy 1 bottle of whisky a week this will only see you out of pocket by £10.92!

So yes the budget is a pain in the arse and will cost us money but it is not as bad as people think. Many people think the price of the whole bottle will go up by 2% and that is where budget increases can be dangerous!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Laphroaig 15 No More

Just saw on that Laphroaig 15 year is no more and is going to be replaced by an 18 year old. I hope that this is at a resonable price some of the recent special releases from Laphroaig have been just too high for my price bracket.

On the other hand if you see some of the 15 year old grab it while you can - only 65 bottles left according to their press release!

Black Bull 30 Year Old Blended Whisky 50%

Those good people at Duncan Taylor sent me a wee sample of there new bottling so I thought that I best try it. Hint hint to anyone else that would like to send me stuff please email me at Well you got to try!

Any the Black Bull is 50% ABV and is a mixture of 50% malt whisky and 50% grain whisky. The whisky was married together shortly after distillation and then married together for 30 years in sherry butts. I am not sure how well Red Bull will take to them promoting a brand called Black Bull though!

Anyway lets try it and see what I think:

Nose: Warming, sherry, orange, hint of treacle toffee, stewed fruits and bizarely corned beef. Also flat warm cherry coke.

Taste: Big sherry, touch of oak some aniseed and cinammon. Becomes creamier with time. Doesn't taste 50% ABV. Definate chocolate notes (maybe cause I am just getting over easter eggs!).

Finish: A real mixture, slighty drying almost salty, becoming more creamy and a little bit spicy.

Comment: I like this a lot! The grain just adds a cracking creaminess that tames the the sherry. An ever changing dram one to take your time over.

Score: 92/100

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Campari Acquires Wild Turkey

Subject to approval Gruppo Campari are to buy Wild Turkey for $575 million. A hell of a lot f money but probably better value than they paid for Glen Grant and in Jimmy Russell they get one of the greatest characters in the whisky industry! I think a lot of this deal will be to do with growing distribution channels as is stated in this article.

Will be interesting to see what happens - throwing that kind of money about maybe Campari could buy Whyte and MacKay? Again just a thought!

Read Campari's press release here

Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey corks 1,000th barrel

Noticed this article today that Stranahan's today filled their 1000th barrel - congratulations to them on that. I have to say that I tried this stuff the other day and I was highly impressed ok it was towards the end of the night - or should I say towards the middle of the morning - but I thought it was a decent enough dram. Will need to try it sober some day and get some notes.

Congrats again and raise a dram to the next 1000!

Not to sure about the silver bottle top though!

NO. 1 KARUIZAWA 1972, 65.0% ABV Cask 7290

I was a huge huge fan of the 1971 bottling of Karuizawa from this bottler when I tried it last year. So when the chance to try this beauty came along well I didn't need to be asked twice. Amazingly still at 65% after all these years. I heard a story suggesting that because of the distilleries location next to a volcano that the humid in the area keeps the abv high - whether this is true or not I don't know! For information on the distillery try the excellent nonjatta site.

Anyway enough of the chitter chatter lets try this monster:

Nose: Big Sherried nose, not to strong alcohol though, rich chocolaty notes and also a creamy orange like note. Some warm flat Dr Pepper. Warm leather and toffee. A faint hint of sweetened tobacco.

Taste: Big sherry, more orange then the alcohol hits you and adds a woody dimension but oh so good....Touch of spice and then also some fruitier notes and then some cracking sandlewood notes and a hint of smoke. Maybe a hint of lavender but very faint and then the creaminess develops.

Finish: Long, very long and very warming, mouth drying sherry and bursts of some citrus fruits along with a faint whiff of smoke.

Comment: I love this, I really love it. To me it tastes like a really good Macallan or how Macallan used to taste. Looking into this after I had tasted it I found that at Karuizawa distillery they only used Golden Promise barley, mainly matured in Ex-sherry butts and have short dumpy stills so surely no coincidence! If you see this and can afford it buy it, even better buy two bottles cause you could never have enough of this stuff.

Score: 97/100
For more impressive reviews please check out whisky pages that was the only review I could find on the net so I must be one of the first for a change!
Price checker:

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Springbank 15yo, 46%

I have always been a huge fan of Springbank ever since the days of the cracking 21yos that were so exceptionally affordable. Oh those were the days.

The current 15 year old I believe is predominately sherry casks and should make for a cracker of a dram. So let's try it.

Nose: Rich toffee caramel, warm oranges and oily. Also a little bit nutty maybe walnut? Certainly a big dram. touch of blackcurrant and a little salty.

Taste: Unmistakably Springbank, hint of smoke, a little woody and then that sherry notes builds up. Slightly coastal and a lot of oiliness. A really chewy dram - quite clawing in the mouth.

Finish: Quite salty, and a little bit drying. caramel and chocolate - like a slightly melted mars bar! A little bit drying.

Comment: I like this a lot - I really do but the slightly clawing note maybe just knocks it down from being a must try! Actually give this ten minutes in the glass and it is a must try!

Score: 90/100

Loch Fyne Whiskies - £41.35
Royal Mile Whiskies - £43.50
Single Malts Direct - £46.99
The Whisky Exchange - £41.49