Yamazaki Sherry Cask

Japan – 48%ABV – 700ml –  Not Available through US stores | £56 | €55

So, apparently, “Lust” is one of the seven deadly sins.  In Judaism, lust can be attributed to ones’ Yetzer Hara, or basically, ones Evil Inclination.  The Jewish point of view is that all people have good inclinations (Yetzer Tov) and bad ones (Yetzer Hara) and that when one “sins” it’s more like you’ve “missed the mark” or not lived up to your potential.

You must be asking yourself at this point in time — “What in the blue F$%k is this guy talking about!?”

Well, I’ll tell you.  The very second I saw the picture of this bottle of Yamazaki Sherry Cask, I fell in lust.  Yes, I like Yamazaki well enough (I actually like it a lot and you can read my review of their 12yr expression here) but the very second I caught a glimpse of the color of the fluid contained within the bottle well, let’s just say my mouth watered.  A lot.  And I had to get a bottle good and quick.  Does this make me evil?  G-d, I hope not.

Actually, for as much as I “lusted” after it, I got the bottle during Passover and did not open it.  For those of you who do not know, Jews who keep “Kosher for Passover”, we will not drink any whisk(e)y (or have any foods with grains such as wheat, barley, corn, rye, etc…).  While perhaps my Yetzer Hara, or bad inclinations, made me buy this bottle; on the flip side of the coin, my Yetzer Tov, or Good Inclinations, told me to hold off on drinking any until Passover is done and be a good Jew.  If you want to know more about the ins-and-outs of Passover, check it here.  It’s actually a pretty interesting read.

Getting to the point

Anyway, let’s get a bit to the point here: WHISKY!  and a damn good Japanese one at that!  The Yamazaki Sherry Cask was one of my “You did it, you made it through Passover and now you can taste whisky” whiskies and it made me say WOW.  The other was the Springbank 12yr Cask Strength and then on Wednesday April 7th I went to Whisky Live in NYC (the review of that event to coming in the next week).  Ok, back again to my point, Yamazaki Sherry Cask.  Let’s review it now before I ramble on more:

The Yamazaki Sherry does not have an age statement on it but reading around I found that it was matured in first fill Oloroso Sherry butts (tee-hee) for 12-15yrs.  That’s a lot of time sitting in a first fill sherry butts!  I guess that explains the gorgeous deep caramel/rusty blood color.

Initial whiff Very lush and sweet.  Stewed prunes with a side of Cafe Americano, deep chocolate notes and sweet corn (¿¿ is that the bourbony quality that I found in their 12yr expression ??), cinnamon and spice, lots of dried fruits and they run the gammut.

On the mouth Chocolate covered tannins, back to the prunes (something sort of slivovitzy here…plums?), lush mouth feel, big sherry but not extremely “winey”, sweet and back to that bourbon quality I got on the nose.  This is like a heavily sherried bourbon!!

Finish This one stays with you and you’re thankful for it.  Chocolates and a bit of leather, dried fruits and a touch of espresso.

In sumCan I have some more??  Such a nice after dinner type dram.  While it’ll warm you up if you need it to, those bourbon-type notes will work pretty hard to refresh you in ways you would not expect.  Also, it’s a very easy going-down type whisky, smooth and quite approachable (even at 48%ABV).  This is limited stuff too, only 16,000 bottles and, based on how incredible this is, I think this will go quick.  Get it while it’s hot!

So, Japan, thank you once more!  You never cease to amaze me.  I think I’m turning Japanese.  I really think so.

Whisky Live tomorrow, April 7th, 2010 in New York City

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a pretty HUGE event going on tomorrow in New York City.  It’s called Whisky Live and it’s going to be Awesome!  Be there, I will!

The location is: Pier Sixty – Chelsea Piers, 23rd Street on the Hudson River, New York.

The time: 6:30-10pm (or, the VIP hour starts at 5:30)

Ticket Cost: $105 for the 6:30-10pm time frame or $135 for VIP treatment

Where can I buy these tickets???: Click here

Want 10% off your price? Try this: ny10web112

Will there be any Masterclasses at this event? You bet your A$$! For only $10 per class, you can join in!

6.00pm –
MC1 – The Glenlivet – The Single Malt That Started It All
With Glenlivet Ambassador Ricky Crawford
The Single Malt that Started It All will feature six of our core variants; including a limited quantity of our 21 Year Old (Archive) and our critically acclaimed The Glenlivet XXV Year Old
6.00pm –
MC2 – Compass Box Blending School: the Jazz Quartet approach to Small Craft Blending
In this Master Class, participants will be involved in hands-on blending of their own creations following the Compass Box philosophy: starting with an idea of “who and when”, then using a lead, or fingerprint whisky and subtly manipulating the flavor profile using one or two other modifying whiskies. The class will be led by US Brand Ambassador Robin Robinson, who will give further insights into the methods of maturation and blending philosophy of Compass Box founder and “Innovator of the Year” winner, John Glaser.
7.15pm –
Glenmorangie MC3
“Dr Bill Lumsden, Head of Distilling and Whisky Creation at The Glenmorangie Company, will lead a fascinating and informative tasting through the award winning “New World” of Glenmorangie. Starting with the Glenmorangie Original, the tasting will move on to the Extra Matured Range (Lasanta, Quinta Ruban and Nectar D’Or) and finally move on to explore the newest award winning creations from the Glenmorangie distillery; Glenmorangie Astar and Glenmorangie Signet”.
7.15pm –
MC4 – Classic Malts — SOLD OUT–
Experience and enjoy as the Master of Whisky takes you through a multisensory tasting of the Classic Malts Distillers Editions. These limited production bottlings of the Classic Malts Selection have been double matured, first in aged bourbon barrels, and then in either sherry or port casks. The tasting will take guests through the history, production process, regionality and flavor profiles of this vast selection of Single Malt Scotches.
8.30pm –
MC5 – Makers Mark
Meet Steve Yorsz, Maker’s Mark Distillery Diplomat, who will take you on a guided tour through Maker’s Mark at different ages of maturity (including new distillate… you’ll have to experience that one first hand!). Think of this as your personal Bourbon crash course (or Bourbon enjoyment course, depending on how you feel about the stuff). Also during this presentation, Steve will share with you the history of Maker’s Mark, the difference between Whisky and Bourbon, and why Maker’s Mark stands apart from other bourbons. In addition, get a sneak peak at their first ever, new expression…Maker’s 46.

What whiskies can you taste/who will be exhibiting while at this event?  Check it out!


Arran Whisky
• Arran 10yo
• Bourbon Cask Finish
• Sherry Cask Finish
• Madeira Cask Finish
• St Emilion Cask Finish
• Pomerol Cask Finish

• Ardbeg Arigh Nam Beist 1990
• Ardbeg Ten Year Old
• Ardbeg Uigeadail

• Ardmore Traditional Cask


Belhaven Beer

• Bowmore 12 yr old
• Bowmore 15 yr old

The Brandy Library

Buffalo Trace (Sazerac)
• Buffalo Trace
• Eagle Rare Single Barrel
• Blanton’s Single Barrel
• Pappy Van Winkle 20yr
• Sazerac Rye
• Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye

Bulleit Bourbon

• Bushmills 10yo

Cabin Fever Whiskey

Castle Brands
• Knappogue Castle
• Clontarf
• Jefferson Reserve

Classic Malts
• Cragganmore 12 year old
• Dalwhinnie 15 yr old
• Glenkinchie 12 year old
• Lagavulan 16 year old
• Oban 14 yr old
• Singleton of Glendullan
• Talisker 10 yr old

Compass Box Whisky
• Compass Box Hedonism
• Compass Box Asyla
• Compass Box – The Peat Monster
• Compass Box Orangerie
• Compass Box Spice Tree
• Compass Box Oak Cross
• Compass Box Peat Monster Reserve

• Dewar’s White Label
• Dewar’s 12 Years Old
• Dewar’s Signature
• Dewars Aberfeldy 12 Single Malt
• Dewars Aberfeldy 21 Single Malt


George Dickel
• George Dickel No.12
• George Dickel Barrel Select

Glen Garioch
• Glen Garioch 12yo
• Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve

Glen Grant
• Glen Grant 10 yr old
• Glen Grant 16 yr old

The Glenrothes

The Glenlivet
• Glenlivet 12 yr old
• Glenlivet 15 yr old
• Glenlivet 18 yr old
• Glenlivet 21 yr old
• Glenlivet XXV yr old

• Glenmorangie Original
• Glenmorangie Lasanta
• Glenmorangie Quinta
• Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or
• Glenmorangie Astar
• Glenmorangie Signet

• Hibiki 12 yr old

For Scotch Lovers

Heaven Hill
• Elijah Craig 12 yr old
• Elijah Craig 18 yr old
• Evan Williams
• Bernheim Original Wheat
• Rittenhouse Rye
• Parker’s Heritage Collection Golden Anniversary

Innis & Gunn

Jim Beam & Small Batch Bourbon
• Jim Beam Black
• Knob Creek
• Basil Hayden’s
• Baker’s
• Booker’s

Johnnie Walker
• Johnnie Walker Black
• Johnnie Walker Green
• Johnnie Walker Gold
• Johnnie Walker Blue

• Laphroaig 10 yr old
• Laphroaig Quarter Cask
• Laphroaig 10 yr old Cask Strength

Makers Mark
• Makers Mark

Michael Collins Irish Whisky
• Michael Collins Irish Whisky
• Michael Collins Single Malt

Old Pulteney

Park Avenue Liquor

Spencerfield Spirits
• Sheep Dip
• Pig’s Nose

Speyside Distillers
• Speyside 12yrs old
• King’s Crest 25 Years Old

• Tomatin 12yo
• Tomatin 18yo

• Yamazaki 12yr old
• Yamazaki 18 yr old

Whyte and Mackay – The Dalmore
• Dalmore 12yo
• Dalmore Gran Reserva
• Dalmore 15yo
• King Alexander

The Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes Whiskey Collection
• Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes Classic Blend
• Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes Rare
• Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes Limited Edition
• Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes Single Malt

Zacapa Rum

I need your help – and you can win a 5cl sample of Ardbeg’s new Rollercoaster!

Sitting on my whisky shelf is a very nice & fancy bottle of the Glenmorangie Margaux Cask.  I bought this fine-ass bottle after reading this stellar review on the Dr. Whisky Blog

It’s been there for about 1.5, maybe 2 years now.  For one reason or another I decided that this will be a whisky for the most special of occasions.  My only problem is I can not think of an occasion that would merit the opening of this bottle!!  I look at it every single day and long for it but alas, I can not bring myself to open it up.

I need your help!

Any suggestions?  The most innovative/smart/clever one will win you a 5cl sample of the Ardbeg Rollercoaster.  Enter your suggestions in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

(Pass it on) Good luck!

This contest ends May 1st, 2010!  Pass it on and, good luck!


Joshua (Yossi)

Don Julio Añejo Tequila

Jalisco, Mexico (Highlands Region) – 38%ABV – 750ml – $39 (from the Duty Free shop), normally about $65

WARNING & DISCLAIMER – For those who keep, this tequila is not certified as “Kosher” or “Kosher for Passover” (I am no rabbi but I think, based on their meticulous process and the fact that Don Julio uses virgin American oak casks, that this may be “Kosher by Nature”, not to be confused with “Naughty by Nature“)

For information on Don Julio’s Cooking, Mashing, Fermentation and Distillation Process, check out this link from Drinkblogs.com

I bought this bottle of Don Julio Añejo more than a year ago while on a business trip to Monterrey Mexico.  Supposedly, Monterrey is a very beautiful city – I had no time to enjoy it, I was either in meetings or in my hotel.  The Duty Free shop had NOTHING for Single Malts so I figured I’d pick up a nice tequila.  I opted for the Don Julio.

If you’ve not visited the Don Julio website, I suggest you do.  There are some great videos of their process, history and tasting notes that I think are really well done.  Check it out.

The Don Julio Añejo has been my drink of choice (with the exception of some wines, the Siembra Azul and Slivovitz) for this week of Passover.  This is truly some delicious stuff.  Not to be chilled, mixed or tarnished with a lime:

On the nose Juicy citrus fruits, Mandarin oranges, Ruby Red Grapefruit, lime rind and something a bit creamy.  I also smell a bit of strawberry & melon.  While this is fresh & fruity, there’s a warming quality to the nose, not as punchy or peppery as a “silver” or “blanco” tequila that has not had any barrel aging.

Palate — *Big* on juicy, over-ripe honeydew melon!  Oh, good G-d that’s good!  Oak comes through as does some creamy vanilla.  Smooth, buttery and quite chewy.  Lip smacking goodness!

Finish Continuation of the melon, spicy but again, not nearly as much as the “silver” or “blanco” type of tequila.  Warming from your tongue to your toes.  Butterscotch notes come back up after the swallow; right on the sides of my tongue.  Perfect at 38% ABV if you  ask me.

In sum I would reach for this any day.  Quite fantastic and on a level of it’s own.  Oh-so refreshing while warming at the same time.  There’s a reason Don Julio is regarded as one of Mexico’s premier tequilas and I just found out why!

The Glenmorangie Collection – Four 100ml bottles

Highlands Region – 43% – 46% – Glenmorangie Collection – (4) 100cl bottles – $49 (could not find sources outside of the US for this collection)

So yes, I write this fun and fancy blog and I have a lot of fun doing it.  Lots of great whiskies to taste; friends I’ve met, great comments, criticisms, etc…  So far, it’s a grand old ride.  In addition to writing this blog, I founded and manage a Malt Whisky Society called: The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society (I’m not only the president, I’m also a client).

In our most recent tasting event we explored the Glenmorangie range (or at least 4 expressions from the Glenmorangie range).

We had a total of 7 people (including myself, though not pictured) that night and it was a total blast!  The group may have been a smaller one but, what a group we had!  These people are “the salt of the earth”.

While we did not taste the full range, we did get to sample the “Original Ten Years” Expression (at 43%) as well as “The Lasanta” (12yr sherry finish), “Quinta Ruban” (12yr port finish) and “The Nectar D’or” (12yr Sauternes finish) expressions; all at 46% abv.

The last three expressions are “finished” which means that they spent 10yrs in standard bourbon casks then were transferred for an extra 2yrs in their respective sherry, port or sauternes cask for “finishing”.  Basically, the whisky, having spent an extra 2 yrs in casks that have matured these different wines will have imparted to them some of the characteristics & flavors of each type of wine.

For instance, one can expect from a “sherry finish” to taste flavors that range from chocolate to dried fruits (think dates, figs, raisins, etc…).  A “port finish” imparts spicy qualities (think spiced gum drops, cloves, things like that).  Lastly, a “sauternes finish” should impart incredible sweetness (sauternes, being a fine, uber-sweet dessert wine) with flavors of honey & nuts, apricots, oranges, etc…

Glenmorangie is known for it’s soft elegant qualities.  Lots of honey & citrus, butter, etc…  So, imagine some of the above flavors on top of that!  Yum!

Let’s see how it all played out shall we?

The notes below are combined notes from the group as we were on the same page (for the most part) with all of these expressions.  Any stray from consensus will be noted accordingly.

The Original – Ten Years – 43% ABV

Initial whiff — Cirtusy, honeyed citrus candies, slight smoke & pineapples, grassy, vanilla bean ice cream.

On the mouth Lemongrass, more honey, a bit thin but has a bit of an attack (“softens a touch with a drop of H2O” — John), pecans & oaky vanilla

Finish – (Here’s where tended to differ)  One of us thought the finish was surprisingly long while another thought it was “shorter than an oompa-loompa churning cream & sugar”  (Ok, I threw that analogy in.  It was better than just saying it was a short finish, right?).  I found the finish to be medium in length, a bit effervescent and with the slightest twinge of smoke (hugely slight!).

The Lasanta- Sherry Finish – 46% ABV

I’m going to be blunt and upfront about the Lasanta — I am not a fan in any way.  Maybe it’s my taste buds, maybe not, but…  each time I nose & taste this whisky, all I get is sulfur.  While other people got that too, they seemed to get past it and find other things and ended up enjoying it.  I, however, could not.  I’m not the only one who found this to be a sulfur-bomb, if I remember correctly, Jim Murray did too in his Whisky Bible 2009 edition.  For those of you who know me, you will be very surprised to hear that there’s a Glenmo out there I did not like.  Well, there you go, its out in the open.  Let it stand, too, that this is the ONLY Glenmomorangie I have not enjoyed (and I’ve tasted more than 12 Glenmorangies so far) so, finding one I did not like was bound to happen.  The notes below will be the groups notes, minus my notes:

Initial whiff — Cinnamon, caramel, black plums, pleasant & fruity, a bit sulfury, dark chocolates.

On the mouth Caramel, figs, a big bite to it, tobacco, not very pleasant (this is not my note), “I think this one needs a bit of time to open up”, “Needs time & water, then, it’s lovely”.

Finish – A spicy finish. Longish and tannic.

Quinta Ruban – Port Finish – 46% ABV

Initial whiff — Spiced Oranges, Cloves, honey & vanilla, “this one will tickle your nose thinking that’s it’s actually Elmo” (Ok, so I threw in another little analogy…  it is a nose tickler, very spicy stuff).

On the mouth More tannic than I expected, spiced citrus stuffs, honey and vanilla, some good nuttiness follows the nose here, oily mouth feel, coating and chewy.

Finish – Short, left you wanting more, off balance compared to what the nose & palate delivered, though with the addition of a bit of water, a creaminess stays with you.

Nectar D’or – Sauternes Finish – 46% ABV

The notes listed below are my notes from a previous tasting as we were all on the same page here.  The Nectar D’or really delivered and it was quite amazing to see the change in the group once we poured and tasted this stuff.  It truly is call a “Nectar” for a reason.

Initial whiffApricot jam, actual Sauternes (no initial whisky scents, pure Sauternes wine; delicious!), loads of vanilla, some coconut and a tad bit of smoke, more like apricot jam on burnt toast (after having scrapped off the burny parts with a butter knife).

On the mouth My G-d, my mouth instantly started watering.  Very fruity, apricots again, pecans, oak and coconuts.  A bit peppery and some gobs of honey, sugared honey.

Finish Long, this stuff coats your mouth quite well, in the way back of my tongue the pecans came back.  Quite lovely stuff.

In sum What a night and ride this was.  I have to say that, in the end, the Original and Nectar D’or shined for the evening.  We tasted these in the order you just read and it was nice to see how this line was built using the basic 10yr fluid then building different flavor profiles on top of that with the different casks.  I don’t think, however, that this collection is a balanced one with the addition of the Original Ten Year bottle.  What I would like to see is a collection of the 10yr, 18yr & 25yr (and, I know this is a pipe dream because the 15yr doesn’t exist anymore but, the addition of the 15yr would be grand!).  Then, in another grouping, the colleciton should be the Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, Nectar D’or and Signet – this does not include a few other current Glenmorangie expressions but, hey this is just my wishlist.