Tag Archives: Potpourri

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar dram # 9 – A.D. Rattray Glen Moray 8yo, Cask # 900029


Region – Speyside – 64.8% ABV (holy moly!)

Glen Moray is one of my favorite Glens.  It is too oft overlooked. Here in the US distribution seems to a bit sporadic so therefore few really know about the brand on this side of the pond (when compared to the Glenfiddichs and Glenmorangies of the world).

Scotch Whisky Avent Calendar 2015One thing I did not expect with this particular Glen Moray was the strength that it was bottled at. Normally, Glen Moray fills their casks at 63.5% (like the majority of distilleries out there).  However, if this was casked at 63.5% how could the bottling strength be 64.8% at 8 years of age? They must’ve filled this cask at a higher ABV.

Both Tamdhu and Glenfarclas fill at around 70/71% (and Kilchoman does the same on occasion). Perhaps Glen Moray fills at a higher ABV on occasion, too? Looks like I have some investigation in front of me!

Anyway, all that aside, I have a whisky to review.  Here we go:

Scotch Whisky Avent Calendar 2015On the nose — Thick yet stinging sherry presence.  Huge peppery note on this which tells me it’s a sherry butt rather than a hogshead. Look at that! It IS a butt. I like big butts. I can not speak untruths.

Back to the scents (and my senses): potpourri, picked walnuts, cola syrup, New Chuck Taylors, tart plum, wood charr, apple tarts.

Man, I can go on and on here. This is a very expressive and impressive nose!

Scotch Whisky Avent Calendar 2015In the mouth — Requires. Water. I’m. Dying. Here.

Screw it, let’s give another sip: I guess that first sip killed the complaining taste buds because sip # 2 was not a death sentence!

I will add water but, before I do I find a sweet yet herbaceous quality to this whisky and notes of party balloons and sweet rub spices.

Scotch Whisky Avent Calendar 2015With the addition of water: Raspberry fruit leather, actual leather, watermelon covered in smoked salt, Raspberry jolly ranchers or, better yet, Red Hot Dollars (which are raspberry in flavor and not hit at all). Cherry pits and apple skin (granny smith).

Finish — Long and peppery at the back of the throat.

In sum — This whisky needs, nay, loves water. It’s a bit of a water rat. Without it, you’ll likely burn to a crisp. With it, maybe bringing it down to 58% or so, it a raspberry charmer. A bit red fruit focused but very tasty.

Glenfarclas 25yo – memories in a glass

Highlands region – 43%ABV – $125 | £86 | €100

I’ve mentioned in the past that one of the things that drew me to whisky was not the enigmatic smells; the delicious and complex flavors or what drinking enough of it does to your body and brain.  No, what really pulled me in were the memories and feelings the smell, taste and experience could provide.

Like how smelling lilacs reminds one of the joys of new life in the springtime.  The way the sound and feel of crunching leaves underfoot brings you back to your childhood days when you first discovered the colors and smells of the season – or perhaps the first time you made a scarecrow…

Whisky can bring you back to those good times in your life – times which comfort you or bring a yesterdays’ smile to your face…  What’s more, whisky can put back, in the front of your mind, your memories of discovery and learning and exactly how it all felt.

There are a few whiskies in particular that do this for me:
•    Lagavulin (instant thoughts of a campfire in the mountains with my dad)
•    Ardbeg (a warm California beach at lowtide and a lemonade stand where I made $4.50 which was a lot of money back in 1978)
•    Glenfarclas (Thanksgiving, Sukkot (which is the Jewish/Biblical holiday the US fore-fathers based Thanksgiving around) and perhaps the feeling I get during passover – it’s the warmth of family and the savory/sweet smells in the house.  Just lovely).

I’d never had the Glenfarclas 25 until now.  The 12yo, 15yo, cask strength 105 and the 40yo are all lovey-dovey malts if’n you ask me.  So, I have to expect that this will fall right into place.  I’d like to thank the nice chaps and lasses at Master of Malt for the Sample.  Much appreciated!

On the nose Rubber bouncy-balls and cranberry sauce (tin can and all).

Strawberry preserves, warmed honey and a hint of smoke.

Spicy and loaded with vanilla and wintery baking spices.

A very rounded, supple nose.

On the mouthThe texture is like watered down honey.

Sweet and nutty.

A potpourri of flavors (mainly the contents of a wintry potpourri).

This is like drinking a season…

More bouncy-balls and citrus spice.

Finish Warming, soothing and filled with rum cakes!

In sum There’s something so very comforting about the Glenfarclas whiskies I’ve had and this one did not let me down.  Round, warm and inviting; this is one to sip on while your spacial lady or special man friend is away.  It’s like imbibing a hug.  I will say, however, that the Glenfarclas 15yo is still my favorite.

Nikka Yoichi 20yr 1988 Vintage

Japan – 55%ABV – 700ml bottle – $|£|€ ???

No matter where I look, this whisky is sold out.  And, I think I know why  (see my notes below) – here’s what the good folks over that The Whisky Exchange have to say about it:

“A follow up to the incredible Nikka 1987 vintage 20yo that won the World’s Best Single Malt at last year’s World Whiskies Awards, this 1988 is a full-strength mix of both light and heavily-peated whiskies from new oak, refill casks, bourbon barrel and sherry butts – sounds phenomenal.”

Phenomenal??  Hell yes.  A HUGE thanks to The Whisky Wall for the sample!

On the nose Oh mercy, what an amazing nose!

Very strange notes of baklavah, pipe tobacco (being smoked), kim chee and sherry.

Deep dried fruit (like a fried compote filled with plums and apricots – actually, I’m reminded of a Charoset I had a couple of years back.).

Insanely easy to nose.

A tad spicy and (like many Japanese whiskies I’ve had) some sweet top notes that remind me of bourbon.

Green tea and dark chocolate with elegant peat smoke.

On the mouth Like chewing on chocolate covered fresh tobacco leaves.

Both salty and smoky (like smoked capers).

Dried dates and papaya.  Floral potpourri.

Stewed fruits then a highlight on sweetly smoked lemons.

Finish Lasting fruit – every dried fruit imaginable, lovely & lasting.

In sum– Quite remarkable, really; nearing on ridiculous (or ludicrous) as to how good this whisky was.  The balance is remarkable and at 55%, with the nose/palate/finish combination it’s very drinkable.  Only 3500 bottles were made available and, you guessed it, not in the US.  Feck.

This is a very contemplative dram.  If you can get your hands on some of this, save it for some “YOU” time.  Sit back, enjoy the cool breeze (maybe throw a sweater on, light a fire) and think about “what it all means”.

Rick’s Mystery Dram series – Week 8 of 10 – Sample #9, #9, #9, #9

Whiskey sample number nine.  Another American whiskey sample from Rick.

As I mentioned in the 3rd post for this “Rick’s Mystery Dram” Series, I’ve decided to make this a wee bit more interesting by sending out a mystery dram to the correct guesser of the week’s mystery dram or, if there has been no correct guess, the sample goes to a commenter (randomly chosen).  Last week, “Dutch” won the mystery dram and has asked for a sample of some fine American whiskey.  Dutch, I’ve got a nice one on it’s way to you.  I think you’ll like it a lot.

Details on how to win a mystery dram sample (which will be Scotch or American whisk(e)y, your choice) are listed below, after the review.

Review time!

On the nose Big spicy nose with hints of buttered popcorn and spiced honey.

Buttered toast.

Fresh corn.

Oak and potpourri, mostly oak.

Caramel protein bars.

On the mouth Hot hot hot!

The nose did not tell me that I would be drinking Sterno.

Hot, thin mouth feel with notes of apple pie and blueberry jam.

Finish Short with flavor, long with spirit fire.

In sumThis is a spicy hot one for sure but there is some enjoyable corniness on the nose which hints at some corn influence.  Corn & rye, this is my guess.  This is a slow sipper for sure.  One to help the summer go by faster – mainly because there’s so much alcohol content to this whiskey that, if you drink too much of it,  you’ll be passed out cold until autumn time comes around.

The clues

  • Lots of corn notes on the nose with a bit of blueberry jam and oak.
  • Pure fire palate – my guess is we’re looking at something over 55% ABV, very spirity.
  • Leaves your mouth burning

JMSWS antes up!

For those who attempt to guess – each week I will be sending out one mystery dram (a small 5cl bottle) and the first person guesses correctly wins the dram.  Actually, if there are no correct guesses for the week then a winner will be chosen at random.  You win whether your right or not (like a weatherperson – right or not, s/he still has a job)!

So again, I will be awarding a free whisk(e)y sample every week to one lucky winner (whether you guess correctly or not).

How do I enter to win you ask?

Easy, comment on this post with what you think the mystery dram of the week may be.  It’s that simple.

I will let you choose the type of mystery dram — Scotch or American Whiskey (though that’s all you’ll know about it).  And if you’d like, you can send me your tasting notes and I’ll post them for my readers to guess at.  If you’d prefer the blind tasting to be between just you and me… that’s cool too.

For previous “Rick’s Mystery Dram” entries :

Here’s Mystery Dram #1 (which ended up being Parker’s Heritage First Edition)

Here’s Mystery Dram #2 (which ended up being Parker’s Heritage Golden Anniversary)

Here’s Mystery Dram #3 (which ended up being Evan Williams Single Barrel, 2000 vintage, barrel # 234)

Here’s Mystery Dram #4 (which ended up being Tonala 4 year Anejo tequila)

Here’s Mystery Dram #5 (which ended up being Wild Turkey Russell’s Reserve, 10 year)

Here’s Mystery Dram #7 (remember, there was no #6 dram.  #7 ended up being Jefferson’s Presidential Select, 17 year, batch #3)

Here’s Mystery Dram #8 (remember, there was no #6 dram.  #8 ended up being Sazerac Rye 18yr which, by the way, completely threw me off.  Not what I was expecting from a rye whiskey.  I liked it anyway.)