Tag Archives: Dark Chocolate

SCOTCH WHISKY ADVENT CALENDAR DRAM # 22 – Malt Whisky Company’s 21yo Tobermory, Cask # 13


Region – Island (Mull, to be exact) – ABV – 57.3%

Scotch Whisky Advent CalendarNot to be confused with Martin Mull, the Isle of Mull is home to a single distillery: Tobermory.

Tobermory is owned by Distell (the same company that owns Bunnahbhain and Deanston) and produces a non-peated whisky known as “Tobermory,” and a heavily peated whisky called “Ledaig.”

Ledaig is pronounced “Le’Chig.” …exactly as it’s spelled.

We’ve had a few really nice whiskies from Malt Whisky Company. I am very curious to know what this 21yo tastes like. Even at 21 years of age, this whisky has a nice, high ABV – 57.3%!

Scotch Whisky Advent CalendarQuick note: the little bottle says cask # 13 but it also says that the cask was “Bourbon & Sherry.”

I am assuming that means this spent most of its life in a bourbon cask and then was finished in sherry…

On the nose — It’s got this wet cardboard note upfront but it mixed with some heavier dark fruit notes such as fig and prune.

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015There’s a truffle-like earthy-meets-petrol scent here, too.  (Truffle-Shuffle?)

I know Tobermory is supposed to be unpeated but I could swear I detect a hint of peat here.

Wasa Crackers and bitter chocolate can be found here if you *really* inhale.  So can Eeyore’s Thistles.

In the mouth — A mixture of sweetness and acridity (not acidity, acridity) in one fell sip. Man, I like this! Prickly mouthfeel.

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015Good sherry-wood presence without being a tannin bomb. Kefir leaves, dark chocolate, mint sprigs, ginger beer. Really browned banana. Decomposing earth – like a late fall walk in the woods. Solid.

Finish — Bruised fruits and fizz, green peppercorn, long lasting to boot!

In sum — Aside from the wet cardboard note that I expect in every Tobermory (and don’t particularly enjoy), this was solid. The flavors were massive and present and wonderful.

Dalmore 21yo Sherrywood

Highlands region – 43%ABV – $|£|€ – ???

Every now and again I will do sample trades with friends, fellow bloggers, readers of the blog and JSMWS society members.  I may have something they want and vice versa.  Sample trades are a great way to expand your palate and horizons; a way for your to find new whiskies you may love (or hate).

This being said, I recently did a swap with one of the JSMWS members from our west coast contingency.  Marshall, the aforementioned member, and I recently had the following swap:  I offered up some Hanyu 18yo single cask #370 and Signatory 17yo single cask Linkwood (1st fill sherry) for some Dalmore 21yo Sherrywood & a 13yo Bowmore that was matured in a petrus wine cask (then bottled by Bruichladdich which threw me a bit…).

Marshall told me that this particular Dalmore is a desert island dram for him – one of his top three whiskies.  Thems is strong words, my friend… strong words.  I’ve had a few Dalmores, most being very nice, with the 1973 being a goddess of a whisky.  Marshall, let’s see if this is as good a whisky as you pumped it up to be:

On the nose Big mouthwatering nose, chock full of sour oranges, black pepper and extra dark & bitter chocolate.

Cadbury Fruit and Nut bars (a milk chocolatey quality is here in addition to the dark mentioned above).

Candied citrus rind filled fruit cakes.

Increasingly peppery and somewhat way smelling.

A touch smokey after a couple of minutes.

The oak now rears its head (“rears its head…” I like that little phrase.  It’s funny and sounds dirrrrty in a sophomoric way).

Warm, warm oak – toasted oak.

On the mouth A very minty attack.

Caramel covered oranges.

Slightly soapy, oily and chewy all at once.

Pepper bite, orange creamsicles.

Spiced pears.

Mixed berry candies of the hard and powdered variety.

Finish Long, peppery and filled with more mixed berries flavors.

In sum Now THIS is a Dalmore.  After the 1973, this may be the best one I’ve had to date.  Candied and soothing.

This both tastes great and is filling – it’s a heavy whisky but one not to take lightly.

One to celebrate with… that’s if you can find a bottle.

Big thanks goes out to Marshall for the sample swap.  This was some fine whisky indeed!

Kavalan Single Malt Whisky “Solist”, ex-sherry, cask strength

Taiwan – 58.7%ABV – 200ml sample (thanks to Ian Chang of Kavalan for the sample)

For the next two days, Gal of Whisky Israel and I will be sharing our thoughts on the Kavalan range.  While I’m not tasting these whiskies blindly, Gal and I will not be sharing our thoughts on these whiskies prior to our posting them.  Be sure to check out Gal’s notes on this whisky (a link to Gal’s review is listed below my notes).

I haven’t mentioned this is previous posts – the Kavalan range of whiskies are young.  Maturing in Taiwan where it’s hot as hell and humid as can be, the whisky’s maturation process is incredibly accelerated!  Given the weather conditions in Taiwan and the fact that they lose about 10% of their alcohol content every year (as opposed to the average 2% the Scots experience), the folks at Kavalan bottle this whisky at just three years of age (and they still get that beautiful deep sherry color!!).

So, let’s see how quick life in the cask translates to the final bottled product:

On the nose Big thick, rich and fruity nose.

Dried apricots soaked in sherry.

Stewed prunes and household cleaners.

Some interesting notes of buckwheat honey.

Hot sugary cinnamon.

Dark chocolate shavings.

On the mouth Young and hot (get your mind into the gutter, I mean out of… out of the gutter.).

Decent mouthfeel.

Ghirardelli cherry chocolate covered cherries.

Alcohol-logged Lincoln Logs.

Burning dry grass.

Chocolate Necco wafers.

Finish Short in flavor (quick bursts of cherry, honey and oak), long in burn.

In sum The youth in this whisky is obvious though not altogether bad.  I actually quite like the youthfulness.  If you’re a fan of the morning dram, this may be up your alley.  The perfect whisky to get you pumped up to shovel the snow in your driveway – winter is coming and here in Connecticut, it can be a doozy.  Now I know what to sip on when the snow piles up.

Be sure to read Gal’s great notes here.

Angel’s Envy – Release 10/10 – Port Finished – Straight Kentucky Bourbon

Kentucky Straight Bourbon – finished in ex-port barrels – 43.3%ABV – 750ml – $49.99 (yet to be released)

So, yesterday I posted up my interview with Wesley Henderson, COO of Louisville Distilling Co., producers of what I am about to review – Angel’s Envy Bourbon.

I’ve been in contact with Wes for the past few months, tracking the progress of Angel’s Envy.  Initially, Angel’s Envy was to be released on October 10, 2010 (10.10.10).  I’m sure many dollars were spent on marketing which included this cool and unusual release date.  However, the whiskey was not released on time.  Was this because balls were dropped or because deadlines were missed sourcing bottles, corks, etc…?  No.  And actually, they didn’t miss the deadline – they passed on it.  As Wes explained to me, Lincoln Henderson (Wesley’s dad and creator of this whiskey) felt the whiskey was just not ready to be bottled.

This is not just a whiskey expression, this is an expression of Lincoln Henderson.  If he’s says the whiskey isn’t ready, it’s not ready.

Well, earlier this week I received a finalized sample from Wes (thanks again!).  Let’s see if this whiskey is ready for mass bottling and mass consumption…

On the nose Noses quite different than your standard bourbon.  What I’m initially grabbed by is the softness to this whisky.

If I could compare smelling this to a feel, I’d say it’s like squeezing a marshmallow (with your nostrils).

Is it the lower ABV or the port finish?

Let’s go back to it – raisin scented wax candles, paraffin smooth.

Orange brandy or, brandy soaked oranges.

Cinnamon Drakes brand coffee cakes!!

A joy to nose, very elegant.

Perhaps a little dark chocolate, too?

On the mouth Wow, interesting mouth feel – juicy yet a bit thin.

Spicy raisin notes.

More dark chocolate – more pronounced here as compared to the nose.

Very decedent.

Getting some golden delicious apple notes (albeit with a good amount of cinnamon and perhaps slightly baked).

Finish Medium in length filled with spiced berried (you name it, red & blue, they’re in there).

In sum A really well designed expression.  All of the parts fit quite nicely.  Well balanced and with every sip I sort of felt like I was treating myself to something special.  Like I said – decedent.

Quite the celebratory whiskey but, at the price point, you can treat yourself perhaps more often than you should.

Thankfully, I have another dram’s worth of this nectar which I will enjoy tonight for Shabbat, and will then wait patiently until I can buy a bottle from my local bottle shop.

Rittenhouse Rye 100 Proof

Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey – 50%ABV – 750ml bottle – $20 | £25 | €30

Today I am reviewing one of the more surprising American whiskeys I’ve had to date.  I am normally of the mind set that “if it costs more and is harder to get, the better it is”.  This one breaks the mold for sure (thankfully).

I’ve got here a $20 bottle of kick-ass, high proof, American Straight Rye whisky – Rittenhouse Rye 100 Proof.  Not only is it inexpensive but it’s quite ubiquitous.  You can’t go into a spirit shop (or shoppe) without finding a bottle of this stuff.  And, to me, this is a good thing.

On the nose Initial few whiffs are very deceiving offering up softer notes of buttered crumpets and dark chocolate.

After nosing is for a bit longer, however, the bite starts to kick in and great vanilla and blueberry notes (yay rye whiskey!) pop as do gingerbread cookies and cinnamon sticks.

A great nose though very stinging (I like that – it lets me know I’m still alive and kicking).

If the ABV weren’t so high I could continue to nose the shit out of this one.

On the mouth The entry here is soft (yes, even at 50% ABV) and the fluid feels, not tastes, feels like thick Kool-aid drink – take a Kool-Aid packet and add about 10% less water and that’s the feel you get.

Starts off like over-cooked butter then gets earthy.  Fresh soil and crystalized ginger – Oh, this is getting stronger, and stronger – alcohol infused flan – Oh, this is good.

Finish Long and longer.  Strong and stronger.

In sumI seriously can not believe that this is only a $20 bottle and was amazed to know that it was named “North American Whiskey of the Year” at the 2006 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and won a World Whisky Award for Best American Whiskey in 2010 — awesome and well deserved.  Another great whiskey from the Heaven Hill family of whiskeys.