Tag Archives: Molasses

Arran 15yr Anniversary whisky – an 11yr whisky finished in Amontillado Sherry casks

Islands region – 54.60%ABV – $75 – $85 | £49 | €58

Wait a second here… an 11 year old whisky to celebrate a 15 year anniversary?

Why not?  Does it make it a little confusing?  Well, yes – especially when there’s another distillery only bottling to celebrate 15yr and that one is 15 years old.  Now that I’ve explained the difference in the two, you can quit your complaining ’cause I done un-confused yeh 😉

On to the matter at hand — A very limited release whisky to celebrate an immensely momentous occasion.  So limited, in  fact, that there’s only 5,460 bottles to go around.  Interesting that the ABV is 54.60% and that there’s a release of 5,460 bottles total.  Chance?  Luck?  Marketing?  Who knows.

What I do know is that out of all of the Arran whiskies I’ve had to date (up until, let’s say, the end of 2010) this is my very favorite.

On the nose Ummm… Sherry!  Amontillado sherry – very nutty and rich smelling with obvious notes of dried fruit and a clear focus on raisins.

Corncob pipes.

Thai curry (peanuty massaman  perhaps).

Earthy with notes of freshly chopped wood, ginger and oregano.

This is a very generous nose and, dare I say, spell binding!

Sweetened baked beans with molasses.  Oh!  Brisket!!  (this “meaty” note I am getting is not as upfront and over-powering as what I found on the Sauternes finished Arran).

On the mouth Big and oily.

Lots of flavors fighting for the foreground (for some reason the mud wrestling scene in Stripes! comes to mind).

Buttered lobster (man, it’s been years since I’ve eaten fish, kosher or no).

Filbert nuts (better yet, Nutella – chocolately and hazelnutty).


Ginger and honey.

Finish Lengthy!  Sour notes come creeping up and those filberts return.

In sum A delicious dram for happy times!!  Oh, this one will make you smile.  It’s a mood changer (from bad to good, never the other way around).  A sexy bottle & box for a sexy-ass whisky!  Happy anniversary Arran!  You have a lot to celebrate and I thank you for making us a part of that celebration!

A sincere thanks goes out to Andy Hogan for the generous sample!

Nikka Yoichi 5 year old Single Cask #400862

Japan – 64%ABV –  $|£|€ ???

There are many great truths in the world.  Some are quite simple:  2+2=4, “I” comes before “E” except after “C” (with a few exceptions), kittens are really quite adorable.  Some truths are not so simple, but are truths nonetheless:  Chaos theory, String theory (yes, I know these are theories but there’s a certain amount of truthiness to them), your pee after a side of asparagus is going to smell really funky!

My whisky simple truth?  I love Japanese whiskies.  Arigato Japan.

My not so simple truth?  The fact that I have to tell you how much this whisky made me want to throw up in my mouth.  Just a little.

On the nose I am instantly hit with notes of sour milk and peat.  I think the word “notes” is a bit too soft a word for what I am experiencing here.

I am not digging the sour milk note, I’m going to let this breath for 7 or 8 minutes…

Man, the acridity to the nose on this whisky is almost overwhelming.

Quite gamey and almost like rotting meat (am I going to drink this?  It’s quite the stink!).

Soft peat and molasses.

The milk is back but it from sour to sweeter than previously detected.

Out of the blue some very nice coffee notes, almost like a latte.  A touch of mocha.

With water it’s all on spirit and oak but, mostly, spirit.  Strange that water would increase the spirit quality and not cut it…

On the mouth Amazingly hot and big toasted oak notes.  Toffee as well.

Must. Add. Water.

With water, it gets very sugary (sugar water).  Skim milk and biscuits.  Thin mouth feel.

This whisky needs a ton of time to open up.  After about 25 minutes (yes, I waited this long) the peat smoke evolves and almost seems to transform this whisky into a coffee-toffee treat (albeit a high octane moonshine infused coffee-toffee treat).

Finish Long and warming.

In sumThere is *a lot* going on with this whisky but most of it I just didn’t like.  Those acrid and rotting notes I got just turned me off.  When would I enjoy this?  Maybe after it matured for another 10 – 15 years…

Special thanks goes out to Christopher of Whisky Wall for the sample.  To read Christopher’s review of this whisky, click here.

A reader reviews the mystery dram he won…

As you know, dear readers, I recently began giving out free whisky samples to those who try to figure out the “Mystery Dram” of the week.  If you’re not familiar, an example of the mystery dram series (and how to win your own mystery dram by participating) can be found here in this post as well as many more mystery dram posts.

Well, our first winner has received his mystery whisky and was kind enough to send me his notes.  Reading his notes, I was surprised and pleased to find that A) dude can write, but well!, and B) his notes were dead on.  So, I asked if he wouldn’t mind me posting his notes so you, the reader, can try to guess what mystery whisky I sent him.  Quick hint: It’s Scotch whisky!

Take it away Matthew and, thanks for your readership, participation and great notes:

Ok, maybe it’s a little late, I’m a little sleepy, but I can’t resist doing this tonight. My mystery dram arrived today and a little while ago I popped the top, just to take a little whiff. Oh, and what a whiff I whiffed. Oily smoke from a beachfront campfire, brined Spanish olives, fig cake…

So, into the glass. I’m afraid I don’t own a Glencairn (what an amateur!), so I will be tasting in a Riedel Sommelier Series Single Malt glass.

First, the visualslovely straw color, legs like a good Sauternes. Reminds me a lot of 1989 Caol Ila, an impression perhaps influenced by that first whiff.

The new whiff the smoke is still there, but the first impression is medicinal, more briny, like sea-salt flavored Korean roasted kim (seeweed). A few more minutes, and a touch of manzanilla sherry enters in, along with a little oaky vanilla. I’ll risk sounding cliched here and say this is getting interesting.

On the mouth good lord, Joshua, what have you sent me? This is everything I like in a whisky! Firm peat, not overwhelming. A hint of Fisherman’s Friend. Blackstrap molasses (or should I say treacle), minerally edges. Just enough alcohol to really carry the flavors to the palate. Nice, coating mouthfeel without being too cloying.

The finish the minerals (Himalayan sea salt, a touch of CaCl) linger, slowly being replaced by a warm, oily smoke flavor that seems to have crawled up into my sinuses and taken up residence. This is lasting several minutes….

I am going to ante up here and give a free mystery dram whisky sample but, for this post, I’m going to change the rules a bit.  In the past, you were in the running for posting a guess (you didn’t have to be right, you just had to participate).  To win a mystery dram (a small 5cl sized sample of whisky) you need to guess the whisky expression.  Or, at the very least, guess the distillery right.

Have fun and may the best guesser win! (guesses can be posted as comments on this post).  The answer will be posted one week from today on Friday, July 23rd 2010.