Loch Chaim Aberlour 16yo Single Cask

Speyside region – 43%ABV – $65

It’s been a while since I’ve done a kosher certified whisky and being that the one year anniversary of the Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society blog is getting ever nearer (it’s tomorrow, by the way), I thought it was about time I review another whisky that’s targeted toward the Jewish consumer.

The Loch Chaim line of single cask whiskies has so far proven itself to be a line that’s good for Jew and Gentile alike.

So, what make this kosher?  Well, put simply, whisky is kosher by nature as long at it’s matured in anything other than an ex-sherry/wine/port/madeira cask.  All whiskies in the Loch Chaim line are matured in barrels which previously held bourbon.  Bourbon, by US law, needs to be matured in new charred oak barrels; therefore, there is no sherry/wine/port/madeira influence on the whisky whatsoever.

If you want to know more about the ins-and-outs of why a whisky can be considered kosher or not kosher – you can read this great article by Alan L.

Click here to see all of the Loch Chaim whiskies I’ve reviewed

On the nose Scented candle shop filled with Christmas wreaths and holly berry scented candles.

Yeah right, like you see a lot of Jewish Latke scented candles at those shops…

A bag of assorted Halloween candies (or Purim candies I suppose).

Soy sauce and some potted house flowers (big begonias).

On the mouth Very similar to the nose and a thick mouth feel to boot!

Beyond what’s listed in the Nose section is an interesting note of fresh vidallia onion.

White pepper and a bit of bay leaf (like a nice autumn stew).

Increasingly peppery.

Hints of black licorice.

Finish Ends on a big red peppery note, perhaps a little bit of 9-volt bite.

In sum Fresh and light like an early summer’s day however very much an Autumn malt.  I liked this.  I think Aberlour shines with their sherried product but take the name Aberlour out of the picture and this is a solid dram.

The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society vs. Kilchoman Binny’s Single Cask vs. Kilchoman Royal Mile Whiskies Single Cask

Dear readers, I’d like to introduce you to the new kid in town: Kilchoman.

Kilchoman is Islay’s newest/youngest distillery with whiskies currently no older than 3 years of age.  Their style is similar to that of the heavier/smokier/peatier whiskies that come from Islay.  It’s actually the first distillery to be built on Islay in 124 years or so.  Also, the folks at Kilchoman grow their own barley (the distillery is set on a farm, by the by…) as well as malt their own barely in the tradition floor malting way.

So, what do we have today?  Two whiskies.  Both single casks.  Both cask strength.  One is from Binny’s out of Chicago then other is from Royal Mile Whiskies out of the UK.  A big thanks goes out to David H. for the sample. You may remember David from his guest post many months back regarding his trip to Scotland.

Binny’s Single Cask (ex-bourbon) – 61.1%ABV

On the nose A one-two-three combination punch of heat and soot and lemons.  This whisky is going to put up a fight.  Cool, cool.

Let’s see what you got, punk!

Wet cardboard?  What?  You got more?

Oh, some interesting notes of sassafras and even a bit of agave.  Braggart!

What else?

Banana peels, pie crusts and green apples.   Hmpf, now you’re just showing off.  Let give you a taste.

On the mouth Whoa, hot-head…  slow down!  This is our first date!  Don’t make me tame you with water.  I will and don’t think I won’t.  I put you into this glass, I can drink you out!

Let’s start again.

Oh, you’re just a sweetie at heart aren’t you?  I’m tasting sugared lemon hard candies and some salted butter cookies.

Listen, you’re from Scotland, not the tropics… put the toasted coconut shreds away, will you?

Finish You’re medium in length (you are only three after all, nothing to be ashamed of) but you offer up a nice bit of pepper in the finish.

Well met.  Well met.  Good form!

Royal Mile Whiskies (ex-bourbon) 61.7%ABV

On the nose Ok, you wanna start some $#!+ too?  Let’s see what you’re made of, whipper-snapper!

Oh, you’re a bit of a softy.  Nothing like you’re punk-ass brother.

Melted butter and perhaps a few notes of chocolate fudge.

Also, no offense but, you’re a nut!  Walnut to be exact…

You’re peaty, just like your brother but you also wreak of wax and green olives.

On the mouth What in the world am I tasting here?  You’re a bit of a shape shifter.

Soot and tea and sweet powdered candies (pixie six and fun dip).

Marmalade & toast, you’re trying to butter me up now, aren’t you?

Finish Smarties.  Medium length and sugary.

In sum This was a fight to the finish.  Aside from me, I have to say that the Royal Mile Whiskies single cask was easily the victor here.  A whisky that seems to be mature beyond it’s mere three year life span.

Each whisky is nice in it’s own way but I wish I had a full bottle of the Royal Mile Whiskies one…  Both of these will put a spring in your step and give you the energy you need to face the cold winter!

As an aside, after I wrote this post up I realized that Jeff at Scotchhobbyist.com had already done a Kilchoman vs. Kilchoman post (albeit two different ones than I just did).  His post and tasting notes are fantastic, be sure to check his review out!

Just a reminder – WhiskyLive NYC 2011 is coming in April and I’m giving you 10% off your ticket!

It’s that time of year again!  WhiskyLive is nearly upon.

This is your chance to taste hundreds of different types of whisk(e)y – Scotch, American (Bourbons, Rye, Single Malt, Wheated), Japanese, Irish and Candian whiskies will all be represented there.  A full list to follow.

Don’t forget, if you’re going to be tasting a lot of whisk(e)y, you’re going to need a lot of food in your system!  Thankfully, WhiskyLive will be a catered event with some fine, fine food.

I’ve been working with these good people and they are extending a 10% discount on any ticket to WhiskyLive NYC if you use the code “jewmalt2011″ (which is case sensitive, by the way) in the “Redeem Voucher” section of the WhiskyLive shopping basket.

I went to WhiskyLive last year and was very impressed by it.  Not too big, not to small – a really good, manageable event that gives you the opportunity to taste hundreds of different whiskies and enjoy some fine masterclasses (for all of my whisky geeks).

Happy dramming people!

My guest post on the Master of Malt blog – Making The Yarmulzaki

The good and kind folks over at Master of Malt asked a few whisky bloggers (myself being one of the lucky lot) to join in on a little fun.

They sent each of us bloggers a bottle of their 8yo Master of Malt blended whisky (a pretty damn good blend at that) and a bottle of their new Cask-Aged Bitters and asked us to use these ingredients along side some ingredients of our own to create the ultimate wintry cocktail.  They said “Jump!”, I said “How High?”

So far Neil from Caskstrength.net (a fellow knight of the Whisky Round Table) has offered up his fine drink; the “Spiced Apple Blazer“, and Billy of Billy’s Booze Blog fame created the “Mull of Apple-Tyre

My cocktail is called the “Yarmulzaki“.

Actually, it’s not my drink.  I am forever grateful to James Reichman, fashion designer and the mastermind behind Baby James Cigars for this recipe.  He posted it up on the Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society Facebook page and I used his creation for my post.  Thanks James!

So, how did this all work out?

Click here or on the image below to be directed to the details of the Yarmulzaki.

Four whisky reviews today – tasting the Isle of Jura range!

Isle of Jura.  A lot can be said about Jura but, as you’ll see below, I’ve got a shit ton to cover just with my tasting notes.

This said, let’s hit the highlights shall we?:

  • The Isle of Jura is a small little Isle located east & north of Islay
  • Isle of Jura distillery is the only distillery located on Jura- “On an island just 7 miles wide and 30 miles
    long, there is but one road, one hotel and one distillery.
  • People from Jura call themselves Diurachs (Gaelic)
  • Diurachs are a superstitious lot but they make some pretty tasty whisky!

Isle of Jura 10yo – 43%ABV – $35 | £25 | €29

On the nose Soapy fresh nose, even surpassing a Bowmorian soapiness (slightly soapier than many Bowmore whiskies I’ve had).

Limon™ sweetness of 7UP™ soda with gobs of malt to boot.

Spider mums and an absolute hint of peat smoke.

On the mouth A decent and slightly oily entry filled with malty notes and a touch of the soap I got on the nose.

Very sweet potpourri, aniseed and toasty oaken notes.

Finish Peppery and spicy finish with more soap and malty sweet notes.

Isle of Jura 16yo – 43%ABV – $45 | £41 | €48

On the nose Soft nose; sweet yet salty and strong with a note of licorice.

Soapy yet not as much as the 10yr Jura.

Threads of smoke and spicy citrus.

Candle wax, malty and hay.

Heide brand candy cardboard box (one which previously held Jujyfruits).

Plastic shopping bags too.

On the mouth Spicy attack from the get-go.

Lipstick and eyeshadow (smell a make-up bag and this is what I’m tasting).

Light (ever so light) peat smoke and some of that hay I got on the nose.

Chewy wine gums, even Jujubees (another Heide brand candy) and fresh tobacco.

Finish Short finish, slight spice and a touch of that wax from the nose.

Isle of Jura ‘Superstition’ – 43%ABV – $40 | £29 | €34

On the nose Waft of burnt pricker bushes, peat smoke and rosewater.

Toffee, caramels and fizz candies.

Toasted, nearing burnt, apple skins.

Figgy pudding – there’s even a little mustard seed in here.

On the mouth Very sweet and a viscous mouth feel.

Back to the fizzy candies and lemon sugar drops.

The peat does not seem to translate to the palate as much as I expected.

Finish Peppery and sweet yet shorter than that dude from Ron Howard’s “Willow” (do you think Mr. Howard is happy about having his name on that crap movie?).  Granted, that guy was great as Wicket, the fun loving Ewok from Return of the Jedi.  But, Willow!?  Come on folks.  Oop, sorry.  I digress….

Isle of Jura ‘Prophecy’ – 46%ABV – $65 | £50 | €59

On the nose I like what I’m smelling here.

Smoke and seashells by the seashore.

Oak and soy sauce.

Very nutty with hints of wood shavings.  A tad suphuric but it seems to add to rather than take from (as opposed to many other “match-stick malts” that will go unnamed here).

On the mouth Sweet peat, peaty and sweet (I see you rockin’ that peat from across the street).

Sugar lemon drops, just like with the Superstition but there’s a general ashiness here that I didn’t find in the Superstition – very appetizing.

There’s more fruit as well.

Perhaps some golden delicious apple and hints of fuzzy peach (unrippened as it were).

Finish Rhubarb pie, key lime pie, π.  Good length.

And finally, in sum While I found the 10yo to be a bit one dimensional with all of the soap and sweetness it was enjoyable and very easy going.  One to keep on the shelves as a nice mid-summer dram. Nah, I take that back, there’s a slightly wintery feel to this as well.  Enjoy in front of a fire perhaps with a good book.

The 16yo had a nice balance to it; more enjoyable than the 10yr.  Obviously, it’s older than the 10yr but there’s a maturity there that seems beyond the 16yrs.  Very enjoyable stuff.  A nice mid-day, autumn dram.

I found the ‘Superstition’ to be an interesting one.  Maybe not the whisky itself but my approach to it.  I had a bottle of this a couple of years ago and found it quite one-dimensional; all peat smoke (and odd smoke at that).  Being that this is a lightly peated dram, I’m not sure why I was unable to get past it at the time.  Today’s tasting found it to be more one-dimensional toward the sweet side.  So, where does that leave me (us).  Not sure…  I will say, this may be one that’s better to just enjoy rather than dissect…

The ‘Prophecy’ was really enjoyable, the star of the current range if you ask me.  Can be enjoyed at anytime and in any situation.  Dare I say, an everyday malt??

Special thanks goes out to Lyz Nardo for the generous samples!