A couple of SMWS single cask bottlings (and they could not be more opposite from one another)

Back in March I had the good opportunity to attend the Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza in NYC.  You might remember that post.  If not, here it is.  It was a fantastic event and I plan on attending two of the Fall Events: one in Boston, one in Chicago.  Details on the Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza Fall schedule to follow in the coming months.

The good folks at the SMWSA were kind enough to give me some samples of the whiskies they were pouring at the NYC event for review.  So, before I get to the actual reviews, I’ve got to say thank you to Aron S for the samples!

Today I’m reviewing sherried Laphroaig peat monster and a light little ditty from Rosebank.  Why am I reviewing two completely different whiskies in the same post?  Well, it is MY blog after all.  “I do what I want!”

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, on to the review…

SMWS 29.88 – Laphroaig – Ex-Sherry 9yo 60.9% ABV

On the nose It’s very easy to get caught up in the soot and ashes that are all over this nose…

However, getting past that, I found some great bread pudding notes.

After that it’s gets very sea-like…

with loads of fresh caught fish.

Nori wrapped brisket and olive brine.

Rusty pipe water.

On the mouth Rusted iron frying pans soaking in a low-tide pool of sea water which is filled with flint stones and dying crabs, cracked shells and all.

I like this… sort of.

Honied ham sandwich slices and old brown lemons.

It all sound a bit too odd but, in context, it quite nice.

Chicoried coffee (like Luizzianne).

Salted caramels and chocolate covered toffee.

Finish Full of coffee, chocolate and overcooked prunes.

A tad nutty as well.

All in all, it’s got a decent length.

In sum Very much a whisky for specific moods.  I liken this one to a drink one should drink when they’re ‘pissed the *BLEEP* off’.  (to use the parlance of our times…).  A really, really odd duck but one that I imagine you’d like if you’re a fan of the Ardbeg Uggy.  Very complex and crazy stuff.

SMWS 25.55 – Rosebank – Ex-Bourbon 19yo 60.8% ABV

On the nose A lightly fruited nose (think pear & pineapple) with hints of herbal teas.

White pepper and even some notes of sweet hay.

Milk chocolate and a touch of light caramel (nice notes I often find in Rosebanks).

Back to the fruits now (the same as before).

What amazes me is how easily, at 60.8%ABV, this one can be nosed.

You’d think this is a low ABV whisky.

Rose pedals and sugared & honeyed chamomile.

On the mouth– Bright, effervescent and loaded with lemon fizz candies, over-sugared apple sauce.

Lemon, lemon, lemon, lemon, lemons.

Did I mention lemons?

How about… Lemons?

Oh, wait….Lemons?

More white pepper and now some white bread toast.

Finish Juicyfruit gum (like, dead on!), more white pepper and sugarcane.

Lasting peppery finish.

In sum A very one sided whisky but one that is so easily consumed.  Perfect as an aperitif, a mid day pick-me-up or a late summer relaxer.

Winner of the Villeroy & Boch nosing glasses announced!!

Just this past Monday I did a review of two different Villeroy & Boch whisky nosing glasses.  As you might recall, this was both a review of the glasses and a Father’s Day giveaway announcement for one lucky winner.

From the near 75 entrants I picked one name at random – Jeff Partington.  Congrats Jeff, Happy Father’s Day!

What does Jeff win?  His choice of a set of two of the Single Malt Nosing Goblets (pictured left) or the Single Grain/Lowlands Tumbler (pictured right).  Additionally, because I’m a nice guy, ;), I’m throwing in two 5cl samples of a whisky of his choosing – Scotch, American (bourbon or rye), Japanese or Swedish whisky.

I’d like to thank the good people at Villeroy & Boch for sending me the whisky glasses to sample out and for additional glasses to be sent to Jeff as his Father’s Day gift.

If you’ve not seen the video reviews of these fine glasses, you can check out Monday’s post here.

Reviewing… whisky nosing glasses?

A short while back, and completely out of nowhere, Villeroy & Boch emailed me asking if I would be interested in reviewing their whisky glasses.  I remembered hearing about their glasses last year (I think) on Mark Gillespe’s WhiskyCast Podcast and was intrigued.

For the most part, I use a standard Glencairn glass or their Copita glass when nosing/reviewing/drinking whisky but am always open to trying new glasses.  So what the hey, I said yes.  I’m happy to review their glasses.  What’s more is the Villeroy & Boch folks agreed to do a giveaway with me (perfect timing for Father’s Day).

Villeroy and Boch Single Malt Nosing Goblet
Villeroy and Boch Lowlands Tumbler

So here’s the deal, check out the two videos below.  The first one is a review of their Single Malt Nosing Goblet.  The second is a review of their Single Grain/Lowlands whisky tumbler.  After you’ve checked them out, you should have some info to go by to decide which set of (2) glasses you might want (should you win).  The Nosing Goblet is to the left, the Tumbler is to the right.

“So, how do I enter to win?”send an email to: jewmalt@yahoo.com and I will choose, at random, one winner out of all the people who enter*.

*the glasses can only be send within the US and Canada

I will announce by Wednesday, June 9th so DO NOT HESITATE! Email today.

To make it even sweeter, I will give out two samples (one for each glass) of whisky.  Something special for that special father out there.  You would just need to let me know if you want Scotch, American, Japanese or Swedish whisky and it’s yours!  Sharing is caring and a good father deserves good whisky.

Note: the glasses will come from Villeroy & Boch, the whisky samples will come from me.

Enjoy the vids. First, the Single Malt Nosing Goblet (man, look at the picture this video start with.  I look like I’m asleep):

Next, the Single Grain/Lowlands Tumbler:

Good luck!!

Sweden’s Mackmyra “First Edition” Single Malt Whisky

Sweden – 46.1%ABV – $53 for a 1 liter bottle in the US £41 for a 70cl bottle in the UK (please note that the image shown on the right details the UK packaging.  The US packaging is slightly different).

If you’re a whisky geek like me, you might have been (again, like me) tracking this whisky like Aragorn tracks an Uruk Hai leader.  Our “friend”, the Uruk Hai, is situated to the left.

Non-dorks, please go see or read Lord of the Rings to understand the previous two sentences.

Luckily for me (and other US whisky consumers), Mackmyra is officially here in the states!  While we now have this “First Edition”, many other countries have access to a much broader line that Mackmyra offers.

So, what’s the deal with this particular whisky?  According to Mackmyra:

Swedish Oak & Small Casks

“Cold winters, deep snow. Summer nights when the sun never seems to set. Under these conditions, during more than a century, a fiery spiciness has developed in Swedish oak.  Now it generously adds character to the Mackmyra Whisky.”

“Our use of small casks gives time a new meaning. The whisky matures in a more intense manner, and by using different sizes of casks we get exactly the character we want.  Small cask – great taste.

Mackmyra whisky is matured in an old mine!

“You might have heard about ’whisky on the rocks’ but Mackmyra Whisky is literally stored in the rock. Deep down in the underground we’ve found the perfect environment for our whisky casks. The abandoned Bodås Mine is now filled with gold in liquid form.”

Time to taste said whisky…

On the nose A very intense nose (like the whisky equivalent of a close talker.  Step back, son!).

Very peppery & spicy yet honeyed at the same time.

Ok, after a couple of minutes the whisky is much more approachable and delicious smelling yet, still quite bright.

If this whisky were a spice girl, she’d be Delicious Spice.

An exotic mix of fruits such as cherries, lychee and banana (perhaps the skins of banana).

A warm summer’s night with cream soda in one hand and toasted marshmallows in the other.

On the mouth A bit herbal.

A touch of juniper which quickly disappears and is replaced by blackberry juice and a mass of spice.

As spicy as this is, it’s got a very soft mouth feel.

Some unripened peaches and a little bit of pear.

Finish Spicy, long and a touch fruity (lychee again) and oddly numbing my uvula…

In sum A very enjoyable whisky, especially on the nose.  Not as complex in flavor (with it being such a little spice bomb).  But hey, this is a young whisky… part of the thrill is the occasional big ‘ol pepper fight you get from them.

The mouth feel, again, is nice and soft and only adds to the simple pleasantness of the whisky as a whole.  This light-bright-fruity-pepper-fight whisky would be fantastic as a warm summer evening dram.  Tasting notes & flavor nuances aside, is this a good whisky?  Yes – I found it to be dangerously drinkable.

Special thanks goes out to Jonathan Luks for the sample!