torsdag 19 september 2019

Swedish whisky from High Coast Whisky – Quercus 4: Mongolica 50,8% ABV!

Dear friends, followers, and supporters alike, to my own joy (and hopefully yours) I'm finally back after a long and great summer break! Today I bring you my tasting notes and thought on an upcoming release from swedish distillery High Coast (formerly known as Box Distillery). 

This time around they are releasing the fourth and concluding chapter in the series titled Quercus (maturation in oak of different origins). For this chapter Mongolica oak sets the character (more specifically oak grown in the northeast of China, near the border to Russia). 








The whisky has been made from 100% unpeated barley. The new make was matured in 200 litre 1st-fill bourbon barrels for 3,53 years, it was then "finished" for 39 months in 225 litre casks made from mongolica oak. Before bottling, 99 litres of 7,27 years old whisky from a 1st-fill (bourbon) quarter cask was added. Before bottling the whisky was diluted to 50,8% ABV.

Here in Sweden this whisky will be available at the state monopoly tomorrow (190920). 2802 bottles are available (out of 6228). Please view the product by clicking here

Ok folks, let's see how they've managed this time!

Nose:
On the first nosing, the most apparent thing is a soft vanilla that holds a combination of something kind of wood-y and something kind of spicy/herby (almost drawing on a soft swedish oak-y-ness). Going deeper in the layers I find medium ripe to over ripe banana (the fruit, not the peel), medium dark honey, soft leather, and finally almond paste. In the deepest layer there is something slightly earthy and funky going on; a tad of ”cough medicine”, and fudge ”from the woods” intermingling with a reminiscence of light peatyness. 

Taste:
Starts off on sugar-y sweetness but is immideately interrupted by woody spicyness, tannins, dryness, and just a slight bite from the ABV/alcohol. When keeping the whisky in my mouth for a while, swirling it around for a couple of seconds or so, I percieve this whisky as elegant and well rounded, with a beautiful body filled with vanilla woody-ness and old coffee beans. When swallowing, the woody spicyness evolves more and more and a slightly fire-y side with a lot of energy comes forth, and this phase actually goes on for quite a while. When the aftertaste kicks in, it all ends with dry coffee and leather, being conquered only by the earthy funkyness from the nose.


Some relflections to sum up:
I’ve never really been a huge fan of whisky matured in new oak, especially not swedish oak. With that said, I was a bit worried about this new mongolica oak thing. However, I definitely prefer mongolica oak to swedish oak, and the mongolica seems to have given this whisky the perfect amount of woody and spicy/herby-ness! The question of ”perfect amount” is of course also a question of not letting the whisky mature for too long, so my compliments to the master blender for making the right call! I especially enjoyed the vanilla woody-ness on the taste, and the earthy funky stuff going on in the nose was really interesting and bit different for being High Coast. 

Finally, a big thanks to Dave at High Coast Whisky for the great opportunity to review this whisky before its release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail [dot] com and when permission granted by stating the source.

Pic borrowed from High Coast Whisky

onsdag 22 maj 2019

Springbank 21yo 2019 edition – 46% ABV!

Dear friends, followers, and supporters alike! About a week ago, Peter at Symposion contacted me with the opportunity to review some drams. From the selection available I choose the 2019 edition of Springbank 21 year old. The sample arrived just a few days ago and it felt very exciting since I've never tasted, or reviewed, such an old Springbank!














The recipe/cask composition for this whisky is 45% matured in Port-casks and 55% matured in Rum-casks. (In the sell-sheet I received there is no info to be found regarding type of oak used, nor type of Rum). The whisky has been fully matured in these casks. Before bottling the whisky has been watered/diluted to 46% ABV. This batch consists in total of 3600 bottles, out of which 84 bottles will be released at the swedish state monopoly tomorrow (Thursday the 23rd of May), through a so called web launch. Please click here to view the product. Ok folks, let's analyze!  
  
Nose:
Extremely fat, big, robust and complex! Actually, complex might be an understatement in this case; because this whisky sure has everything on the nose; at the same time as there is a dark and deep sugary sweetness, there is also beautiful fruity notes in the top layer. In the bottom layer we have earth/soil, medium farmhouse/barn-style peat that is bold yet soft, medium heavy fortified wine, cold coffee with milk, hints of mint, and the syrup from maraschino cherries. All of this is surrounded by/coated with a well balanced strength that tickles my nose. On top of that, in the middle layer, we have light vanilla drizzled with melted butter. Moving on into the top layer there is apricot candy, rhubarb cream, and cucumber water (!) intermingling with swedish Punsch (a slight touch of Arrack) matured in european oak. 


Taste:
Starts of very, very soft on sweetness, maltyness (barley), coffee/cream liqueur and melted butter-y-ness. But this softness is quickly interupted by a surprising sting and dryness! The tannins settles and in swoops an elegant wave of herby saltyness, dark vanilla fudge, milk chocolate, seaweed sprinkled with leather from old shoes, and something something that is roasted. Then comes something that reminds me of oloroso sherry with evident hints of freshly squeezed lemon juice. This in turn evolves into swedish Punsch and/or long matured Arrack and rhum-raisin vanilla ice cream which shortly thereafter moves on into dark raisins. The maltyness returns togheter with a whiff of elder flower and a chewy flavour of great quality. 

Some reflections to sum up:
Wow! As already mentioned, the nose is very complex. It is also very ”wow!”. The taste is also very good and boasts of deep matured-ness but somehow not quite as complex as the nose. Hence, I would say the the nose is ”better” and more interesting than the taste. I really wish that the taste/aftertaste had lasted a bit longer, say 10 seconds or so, but hey, you can’t always get what you want. With that said, in my mind there is however no doubt that this whisky is worth what they charge for it here in Sweden!

Finally, a big thanks to Peter at Symposion for the great opportunity to review this whisky before its release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail [dot] com and by stating the source.

Pic borrowed from Springbank

tisdag 7 maj 2019

Swedish whisky from Smögen Distillery – 8yo 57,8% ABV!

Dear friends, followers, and supporters alike! Today I bring to you my review of the very first 8 year old whisky from the Swedish distillery Smögen! When working the Gothenburg whiskyfestival in april (for Edrington Sweden), Pär Caldenby, the Distillery Manager/Master Distiller of Smögen Distillery, came by the stand/booth and told me that if I wanted to review this whisky I just had to pop by his stand and sample it, yay! A fantastic offer indeed! 










This whisky is a vatting of four (european; french) 1st-fill Sauternes barriques (225 litre each). The casks were filled in March 2011 with heavily peated new make, and bottled at a natural cask strength of 57,8% in April 2019. The casks gave 1628 bottles in total. 1272 of these bottles will be released at the swedish state monopoly this thursday (190509) through a so called web-launch. Please view the product by clicking here. (Please note that Systembolaget has messed up the ABV; it is not 60% but 57,8%). Ok folks, this is so exciting, let's do some analyzing! 


Nose:
The overall style on the nose is medium dark with a really nice depth and great balance between saltyness, peatyness and sweetness. I sense three layers. The bottom layer shows a medium heavy foundation where the sauternes plays the lead role in the form of ”the ususal suspects”; dried figs and dark raisins, but also overripe pear and interestingly enough (a whiff of) overripe banana and/or banana peel gone brown. These scents can generally be described as ”sweetness”. In the middle layer the saltyness and the peatyness intermingles with a close to seamless integration. The peatyness however holds the upper hand and has a very intriguing touch of vanilla drawing on milk chocolate infused fudge. The top layer is more basic than the other two, simply showcasing something citric. Here the ”alcohol”/ABV gives the perfect punch with just a slight touch of sourdough bread (”yeast”?). 


Taste
”As usual” with whisky from Smögen Distillery it all starts of on saltyness. From there on however things are a little bit different than ususal; we move on into soft sweet liquorice and from there instantly on into something very milk chocolate-y, something very smooth and creamy, and medium dark vanilla-esque. The smoothness, creamyness and the vanilla goes on and on for a very long time (a token of great depth and maturity). When it does let go it transforms or evolves into a malty/chewy taste and it is actually not until this point in the flavourjourney that peatyness, farmhouse/barn and leather comes through. This last part of the taste is very chewy and tasty indeed. Mmm! The aftertaste is dry at first but when all the flavours come together with the creamyness, it makes water/saliva run in my mouth which creates a great sensation manifested in the desire to have another sip, and another after that… 


Some reflections to sum up:
This whisky definitely has great depth both on the nose and on the taste! Things are a bit more deep than in previous releases which shows that the whisky coming from Smögen Distillery is starting to come of proper age. Also the general balance is great both on the nose and on the taste. The high alcohol/ABV is noticeable only on the nose (on the taste it didn’t even cross my mind). Well, a big congrats to Pär on the first 8yo, a job well done! 

Finally, big thanks to Pär for the great opportunity to review this whisky before its release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail [dot] com and by stating the source

Pic belongs to/borrowed from Smögen Distillery

onsdag 10 april 2019

Selected Malts – Benriach 8yo 52,2% ABV!

Dear friends, followers, and supporters alike! A few days ago, I received a package from my good friends Patrik and Mikael of "Selected Malts". The package turned out to contain their upcoming release, and although Selected Malts is a relatively new independent bottler (they released there first bottling roughly a year ago) this is actually their 10:th release so far! So congrats on a first year well done guys!











This time around they are releasing an 8 year old whisky from Benriach distillery. The distillation date was 20100530 and date of bottling was 20181219. The whisky was first matured in a single bourbon hogshead (2nd-fill bourbon) and was then transferred into two 128 litre 2nd-fill oloroso quarter casks for a finishing period of 7 months. The whisky was bottled at cask strength of 52,2% ABV, no filtration and likewise no coloring has been done! The two casks gave 500 bottles in total and out of these 464 bottles will be released at the swedish state monopoly this monday (15:th of April) through the "order-assortment". You can view the whisky by clicking here. Ok folks, it's time to analyze!

Pic belongs to Selected Malts
Nose:
Although the sherry finish has not really made a mark on the color of this whisky, it has done so on the top layer of the nose; light/yellow raisins, the peel and dryness of red/purple grapes, and finally the inside of dried (but moist) figs. Below this layer I do however mostly find scents that I associate with bourbon cask; (the famous) ”excotic fruits” such as yellow kiwi, overripe banana and lemon peel. But, far more evident is loads and loads of creamy vanilla, melted butter, cookies, and pastry. In the very bottom layer we have more robust notes such as marzipan, mint, a hint of peaty-ness and in the distant butter drizzled ginger. Complex stuff folks!

Taste
Well that was an interesting turn/surprise! It begins on light peat, saltiness, vanilla fugde and sweet liquorice! Slightly burnt custard sauce takes over which moves on into lightly roasted and sugared almonds. After that we have a beautiful wave of melted butter coming in, only to be interrupted by a dryness somehow reminding me of the leaves on a black currant bush. I can’t really seem to put my finger on the sherry influence, but something makes me think of perfume-y-ness, red and orange wine-gum sweets, and milk chocolate pralines filled with cherry-liquer. In the aftertaste, the vanilla, butter, and the light peat moves off and on into one another, and the whisky fades away on a slight dryness and a sugar-y sweetness. 


Some reflections to sum up:
This was a very, very interesting dram to taste! The taste really differs from the nose and I did not at all expect the peat and saltiness to be in focus in the early phase of the taste. Also, I thought that the taste would have more of the ”excotic fruits” from the nose coming through. The strength is perfect just the way it is. Being a (kind of) single cask (before the finish) of this quality, the price level is amazing. And hey, the complex nose is alone worth the price of a bottle, so sláinte!

Big thanks to Patrik and Mikael for the great opportunity to review this whisky before its release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail [dot] com and by stating the source.

Pic belongs to Selected Malts

tisdag 2 april 2019

Swedish whisky from Smögen Distillery – Single Cask 56/2011 7yo 62,4% ABV!

Dear friends, followers, and supporters alike, once again it's time for me to review yet another bottling from Smögen Distillery in Sweden! Just as with this one, I was very fortunate to pick up a sample during Linköping Whiskyexpo. Thank you Pär! 
















So, the whisky up for review today is 7 years old. On the 26th of november 2011, Smögen new make made from heavily peated Optic barley was filled into a 1st-fill bourbon barrel (from Makers Mark) with the assigned cask number 56/2011. As Pär explains here, he discovered that there was risk of leakage (emergency solution needed); he made the decision to transfer the whisky into a rum barrel that had previously held Port Mourant rum from Diamond distillery (Guyana). And so, the whisky was given a rum finish lasting for 4,5 months. The whisky was bottled in January 2019 at natural cask strength of 62,4%. The cask gave 325 bottles and out of these 288 will be released this thursday (190404) at the state monopoly through a so called web-launch. Please click here to view the product. Ok folks, time to analyze! 


Nose
The peaty-ness is robust, fat, in-your-face, and almost slightly ”burnt”, classic Smögen! There is something in the peat that makes me think of bicycle inner tube and at the same time the peat seems ”green” with a touch of cinnamon, very interesting… The peat is surrounded by a shy vanilla, and most of all notes of citrus gone almost lemon curd-esque. Even though the rum finish has of course made it’s mark on the overall nose, I’d say that it predominatly shows itself in the absolute top layer of the nose; partly in the form of rum-raisin vanilla ice-cream, partly in the form of a very potent Arrack-esque ”bite”


Taste:
Aaaaah, an explosion of flavors (that is soo hard to keep up with)! We start off on both sweet and salt, and sweet and peaty. I swallow and instantly after that rum-raisin and a ”green”/vegetal vanilla flies by extremely fast. We move on into leather with bicycle inner tube floating around discretly somewhere in the background. I take another sip. The strength/ABV is absolutely beautiful as it is, and warms my chest immensly. The peaty-ness is definitely robust, fat and very full-bodied and has some kind of vegetal/herby touch to it. In the early aftertaste a creamy and chewy vanilla fills my mouth. The rest of the aftertaste is leathery, medium dry to dry, and leaves the front of my tounge particularly dry with a slight touch of swedish Punsch and the smoke from a slightly chocolate-y cigarillo.


Some reflections to sum up
Friends, I must admit that I was actually a bit afraid that I would not like/enjoy this release. In fact, when sampling it during Linköping Whiskyexpo I actually warned Pär Caldenby that I do not very often like rum matured and/or rum finished whisky. However, with this particular release it has turned out that I had absolutely nothing at all to worry about. For me, this is the perfect rum finish; the rum cask has left a perfect mark on the whisky. This is because the distillery character of Smögen, with it’s beautiful peaty-ness, still shines through and is still very much there, meaning it has not at all been ”drowned" in rum. A very good whisky, and also a bit funny that an ”emergency solution” turned out to be so good!

Finally, big thanks to Pär one again for the great opportunity to review this whisky before its release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail [dot] com and by stating the source

lördag 30 mars 2019

The Macallan – Limited Edition 2018 – Classic Cut 51,2% ABV!

Dear friends, followers, and supporters alike! When working the Stockholm Beer and Whisky festival last year (for Edrington Sweden) we had the 2018 edition of The Macallan Classic Cut with us, and so I was generously allowed to draw a small sample of it for reviewing! We are just "a little" behind here in Sweden with the release, and I've held on to the sample for five months, but now, finally, this whisky is released at the state monopoly on thursday the 4th of april! Please click here to have a look at the product. 








Now, as you all probably know by now, Classic Cut is an annual limited edition since 2017, with each years version showcasing a new "flavor profile". While the 2017 flavor profile was Creamy vanilla, sweet ginger, warming oak, the 2018 profile is Citrus, sweet vanilla, spice as can be seen from this picture:


The (vatting) strength this time around is 51,2% and the casks used are "sherry seasoned oak casks from Jerez, Spain" as the label below says.


Well ok folks, let's do some analyzing!

Nose:
Nosing gently a couple of centimetres from the glass the first thing that whiffs by is warm apple jucie (must; or rather warm apple cider), this is however not predominant. Nosing closer and properly I find that the centre of the nose holds vanilla fudge, classic oloroso sherry (dried figs), honey sweetness (yes, very much of sluggish/viscid light honey), and at the same time something a tad salty. Surrounding this layer is a touch of something citric together with the strength/ABV that comes through in a bit of a rough way… If I remeber the 2017 CC correctly, this version is not as ”deep” and ”heavy” on the (european oak) oloroso as the previous, so probably predominantly american oak oloroso in the recipe of this version. 


Taste:
Oh yes, definitely predominatly american oak sherry in this version; burnt citrus, heavy on the vanilla, lightly roasted almonds, a tad salty. Then comes the actual sherry flavours with dried figs and light and dark raisins. This is taken over rather quickly by an ”oaky-ness”, and most of all a medium to heavy dryness. In the early aftertaste the vanilla comes back once more with just a tad of leather and a whiff of melted butter. At the end of the aftertaste, the strength/ABV shows itself and the flavour ends with dryness. 

Some reflections to sum up:
The nose actually kind of reminds me of something like an unpeated Highland Park in style, very interesting to think about! The taste is a little ”flat” and even though I’ve written down quite a lot of phases in the taste, I sadly do feel that this dram is a bit boring (”simple”). It also seems to me, but this is just a guess, that there is more young whisky in this version; the previous version nosed and tasted older. If it was up to me to design the recipe of CC 2019 I would up the age, up the use of european oak sherry, and, up the strength! That said, this is not a bad whisky (it tastes good for sure); rather I’d say that the minimum quality at The Macallan is high, if you know what I mean 

Finally, a big thanks to the nice people at Edrington Sweden for allowing me to draw a sample of this one and for the great opportunity to review the whisky before its swedish release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail [dot] com and by stating the source.
 

torsdag 7 mars 2019

Swedish Whisky from Hven Distillery – Alkaid 45% ABV!

Dear friends, followers and supporters alike! On the 27th of February, the swedish distillery Hven held a press-tasting for their latest release. It was a great feeling to once again receive an invitation to attend the event, but most unfortunately I was not able to attend... However, to my great joy a very generous and beautiful mini-bottle containing 10cl arrived in my postal box in the beginning of the week, and so today I'm very glad to be able to share with you my review of it! 









The latest release is actually the last bottling in their eight-part series drawing its inspiration from the constellation called "The Big Dipper"; hence, this release has been namned "Alkaid". As usual when it comes to whisky from Hven Distillery the press-release contains very detailed info on the recipe:

"Out of the nine casks who are part of the mix, the recipe is 12,35% lagermalt, 9,5% chocolate malt/ale malt, and 78,1% peated malt. The casks used are: one cask of Petrea oak from Allier which previously held chateau margaux, one cask of Faginea oak from Portugal that previously matured Oloroso sherry, five casks of Muehlenbergii oak from Missouri that was previously used for maturing Hven vodka, and two casks of Robur oak from Bougogne that has been used for maturing wine from Maculan" (my translation). 

The whisky will be launched tomorrow at the swedish state monopoly and you can view the product by clicking here. Ok folks, let's see what we have here! 


Nose:
Mmm, the nose somehow reminds me of autumn… all in all the body of this dram is medium-heavy. In the top layer we have something citric/sourish (drawing almost on lactic acid/swedish sour milk), carbonic acid and/or fizzy bubbles, and medium-ripe red apples. In the middle layer we have evident chocolate barley, dark vanilla, marzipan, and something forest-y (actually forest mushrooms). The third layer, the bottom one, is where the medium-heavy body truly comes through, displaying evident notes of medium-heavy peat, salty-ness, and salt liquorice. Everything in the bottom layer says: ”This whisky shows great maturation!” 

Taste:
Wow! The first thing on the taste is salty-ness, and judging from the nose I really did not see that coming! The salty-ness is mellow but at the same time evident. Then we have a slight whiff of brownsugar sweetness and dark vanilla that developes into a beautiful malty-ness, in turn slowly moving on into bread/loaf sweetened with baking syrup, in turn moving on into crackers (something like the Digestive brand), and then, in comes the peaty-ness! A very malt-y and almond past-y peatyness in fact, with evident milk chocolate shining through, yummie! This part of the taste also has something ”roasted” going on… it has a slight bitterness to it and the ABV makes my chest warm. The first phaze of the aftertaste gives sundried grass, leaves of green tea, and leather which rises to the roof of my mouth. The second phaze has some traces of sugar sweetness and at the same time makes my mouth go medium-dry. At the very end of the aftertaste the malty-ness and grassy-ness lingers on.


Some reflections to sum up:
Firstly, I do feel that the nose mediates mature whisky more than the taste does. So even though I’ve written more notes on the taste than on the nose, don’t let this fool you; the nose is (somehow) more ”complex” and ”unique” than the taste, and when the peaty-ness and the salty-ness has passed away on the taste it is mostly about the malty-ness and the medium-dryness. Still, that part my friends is a beautiful one for sure! It has been very interesting, and I feel privileged to have had the honor, to follow and review the different releases in this series, and I really look forward to discover what’s next for Hven!

Finally, big thanks to Camilla at Hven for sending me this sample and for the great opportunity to review the whisky before its release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail [dot] com and by stating the source