Tag Archives: Ashtray

Speed dating… with whisk(e)y! Episode 3: Kilchoman 100% Islay, 3rd edition


Islay region – 50% ABV – $89 | £65

Here I am, back on the dating scene!  My first two dates were with a couple of sisters from America – Koval Four Grain Whiskey and Koval Bourbon.

Today I am dating a smoking Scottish lass.  I hope she treats me right!

Kilchoman-marge-schottOn the nose (Date # 1) –  Ashtrays meet white pepper meets rice vinegar and wet cardboard.

Am I on a date with Marge Schott?  Did I mention I love her?  Marge does have a sweet side, you know…

Tinned fruits, brown sugared boiled apples and a butter crusted apple pie.

925959b98fa71b669d96a5046d29e853On the mouth (Date # 2, This girl seems to have a complex personality.  Let’s see how the 2nd date goes.  She could be blowing smoke up my @$$) – Heavy smoke upfront with lemon citrus spray.  Say it, don’t spray it!

Burnt apple skins – this I like!

Heavy on the white pepper but there are also notes of cherries in sweetened pear sauce.

Finish (Date # 3: The deciding factor)– Notes of re-opened barbecue grill, first time since last summer.  Distant smoke and old barbecue sauce…

In sum (The decision)– A fine 100% Islay expression from Kilchoman.  I did like her older sister (2nd edition) a bit more as it showed a truly unique character.  Still, this young lass is well worth another date…

Special thanks to the folks at Impex for the sample!

Hakushu Heavily Peated

Japan – 48%ABV – £64

I’m currently stuck at my “favorite” airport in Philadelphia.  I swear, it seems every time I fly through this airport I get screwed by something.  Gosh dang it.  At least I can count on it though, right?  Maybe I should be happy that I can rely on unreliable flights that go in and through the Philly airport.

It is, however, nice to commiserate the reliability of a delayed flight with your bar mate over a nice beer – even if it is 10:30am.  Don’t you feel that your having been inconvenienced on your way home warrants a beer?  I do.  Hello Dogfish Head 60 Minute!!

Misery aside, one thing I do rely on is the quality of Japanese whiskies.  While I can honestly say that I’ve only had 20-25 expressions of Japanese whisky, I can also attest to the fact that there was ever only one that I found to be unpalatable.

The whisky I am reviewing today falls easily within the “wow, this is a damn nice whisky” column.  Hakushu Heavily peated.  This is a NAS (no age statement) whisky that has been matured in ex-bourbon casks.

Special thanks goes out to Yoshi M for the sample!

Let’s give this one a go:

On the nose –  Some interesting stuff going on here: plastic air mattresses, smoked sugar, lemon whoopee pies and imperial hops – a fantastic multi-layered nose.

Let’s press on and see what else we can find:

Distant ashtrays and a good deal of pepper (green peppercorns to be specific).

Baked apples and spice, honied hot water and more lemon.  After a bit, the fruitiness really makes itself known as does some vanilla influence.

On the mouth – As expected, fantastic mouthfeel.  Oily yet lively, bright and satisfying.

In the flavor department, we’ve got all things burned – twigs, elastic waistbands (or gym socks), band-aids and scotch tape.

Antiseptic for sure but not in the way Listerine is; this whisky is really delicious.

There’s a malty (and yet, almost rice-like) quality here to and I reminded of a bit of a Hitachino Nest beer I had last year…

I chugged and finished it 18 minutes before Pesach (Passover) started; just to stay kosher 🙂

Finish – Decent length with a touch of the baked apples I got on the nose and a slight pepperiness (on the sides of the tongue).

In sum – While not as elegant or fruity as the Hakushu 12yo (one of my favorite whiskies, by the way), the extra 5% ABV points and the heavy peat levels on this whisky makes for a fun ride!  Complex and balanced, clean yet smoky, I could find myself pouring this whisky in many situations… even on a summer day (perhaps as a kiss-@$$ peated Mizuwari).

The Hakushu Heavily Peated was a limited release and not available in the US.  Thankfully, if you do want to try Hakushu and want to pop into a US store, you can find their 12yo available in the states now.

Glenglassaugh Peated New Make Spirit – 50%ABV

Highland Region – 50%ABV – 200ml – $29.99

“What’s this,” you say, “a heavily peated Highland malt?”  Yes folks, the fine group at Glenglassaugh are working on some spirit which they are peating at a level of 30 ppm (parts per million).  As a frame of reference, Laphroaig has a peating level of 40 ppm whereas Bunnahabhain has a level of about 5 ppm.  So, 30 ppm is going to give us a nice peaty little Highlander!

Let’s see what this spirit tastes like prior to maturation:

On the nose Water doused campfire.

An old pipe you find that you’re sure you used a lot while in college (if you catch my meaning.  Ok people, a pot pipe.  Wow, it’s been a while!  Seriously.).

Fresh dirt & gardening gloves.

More of that pipe (kind of like the resin from said pipe).

Believe it or not, clean cotton.

On the mouth Bright lemons.

Salty (reminiscent of a very young Ardbeg if it were to have no oak influence).

Malty for sure and the pears that I detected in the Clearac are there.

Ashtray and last night’s cigarette (yet another thing I haven’t done in years but, man, how cool that those memories come back through smell and taste).

Finish Medium long.  More biting than the clearac.

In sum This is going to be quite an interesting Highland malt.  The peat is clear, and bold.

To see Jason of Guid Scotch Drink’s notes, click here.

1989 Bowmore 11yr – Old Malt Cask – 50% ABV

Islay region – 50%ABV – 750ml bottle – Limited Edition, 1,800 bottles – $60 (note: the image shown is not an image of the actual bottle, just an OMC bottle)

After my having an opportunity to taste the Master of Malt 26yr Bowmore Single Cask, I’ve been on the search for more and more Bowmore expressions to taste.  While the MoM bottling is wholly different from any Bowmore out there (or, any whisky out there for that matter), my eyes were forever opened – and now, so is my mouth 🙂

The Bowmore I am about to review is one of the smokiest, dirtiest Bowmores I’ve had to date.  And a nice one at that!

On the nose Big and smokey, ashy, spent cigarette butts, petrol (gas to us Americans out there…).

Burning rubber like the racing scene in Grease (are we racing for pinks?).

The classic Bowmore soapiness rears its head.

Biting 9-volt-on-your-tongue-but-in-your-nose quality here.

Pink grapefruit.

On the mouth Hello young man!  Apple smoked cheddar.

Cut grass and soil (dirty though, not fresh clean soil – dirty soil, who’d’a’thunk?)

Absinthe style anise and Japanese green tea, chewy.

Finish Long & ashy

In sum This is a nice peaty Bowmore.

Very masculine but the feel is that of a 15yr old boy who can grow a G.G. Allin mustache a bit prematurely and is showing off. (I’m 36 and I still can’t get a proper mustache!  Imagine that, a Jew who can’t grow good facial hair.  Oy.)

A good one for when there’s a chill in the air!