tisdag 30 januari 2018

Highland Park Full Volume and (vs.) The Dark!

Dear friends and followers alike! Today I bring you my tasting notes and impressions of two fairly new expressions from Highland Park! The first one is called Full Volume and the other one is called The Dark. (I bought a sample of FV from a friend, and the sample of TD was provided to me by Edrington Sweden whilst working for them at last years Örebro Beer and Whisky festival, just days before its release). 












Here in Sweden the FV, which you can delve into here, will be launched the 1st of February (view the product by clicking here). TD, which you can delve into here, was (re)launched yesterday (view it by clicking here). FV will only be available for four days via a web-launch, and TD will be available via the "order assortment" until it is sold out.

Now, what I find very interesting with comparing these two expressions is the fact that they are completely different and sort of opposites from each other in terms of casks used for the maturation; FV has been matured in first-fill bourbon casks only, while TD has been matured in first fill european oak sherry casks only. Further on they are both 17 years old, and the strength differs just slightly with FV coming in at 47,2% and TD coming in at 52,9% 

Full Volume to the left, The Dark to the right
The way I went about doing this "comparison" was that I first nosed FV and then nosed TD, and then tasted FV and of course ended with tasting TD. Ok, here are the results:

Full Volume nose:
Very, very creamy! The creamyness mostly draws on caramel (sweet shop) and fudge, but there is definitely something to do with vanilla cream and oldstyle vanilla ice-cream going on here. The creamyness is absolutely wonderful, mmm… Also, lots and lots of fruits-y stuff going on here; citrus fruits, lemon peel, super overripe pears, overripe banana, red chewing gum, and so on. The peat is sort of there but definitely hiding way behind all the creamyness and the citrus fruits-y-ness. Below the peat, in the distant, there is some almond (and perhaps even hazelnuts?) going on. There is an absolutely perfect balance between the ABV and the entire nose, wow! It does not at all feel like 47,2% 

Full Volume taste:
A tad of peaty salt together with full fat butter shows up for a wee bit, but then moving on into half-sugar-y barley (something very barley-ish going on here indeed), almost instantly it turns medium dry. Wow, a really ”meaty”, chewy and fat dram this one! For sure. Then it turns into something medium bitter/herbal that really reminds me of bitter/acrid citrus peel; but more orange peel than lemon peel, maybe even orange flavoured milk chocolate? So the fruitsy stuff from the nose is in fact in the taste but not at all in that caramel-sweet shop style that was on the nose. The strength really does turn up on the taste in a way it did not do on the nose. The strength makes it become more and more dry and finally gives way to burnt wood and Ouzo (the greek spirit drink), that was unexpected!


The Dark nose:
Lots and lots of brown sugar, over-sugared oatmeal porridge with warm milk, medium dark swedish baking syrup (molasses), dark milk chocolate, raisins completely drenched in sherried HP, a tad of violet, and for being a sherried HP also quite alot of vanilla in fact. There is some salty-ness going on in the very deep layers, and also some salt-roasted almonds. Surrounding everything is the signature heather honey and it is soo soft although its quite high ABV indeed.


The Dark taste:
Mmm! Starts of on sherry sweetness (you know) and sugar syrup, very sweet indeed for being HP. Then the over-sugared oatmeal porridge with warm milk actually does return here on the taste. Also, there is lots of viscous almond paste which really comes through in the strength. Then comes a touch of sweet licorice, but most of all cocoa powder slightly stirred in full fat cream at room temperature. This dram is also quite ”meaty” and chewy indeed but in a much more complex and dark way. The aftertaste holds something mint-flavoured-ish, earthy peat, and finally slips away/clinging off with dark raisins and an above medium dryness. Very well composed indeed, this is definitely to my liking!


So, summing up: if I had to choose between these two it would be… no, seriously, it's really hard to choose; Full Volume is so good beacuse of it’s extremely perfect balance, the fact that the taste is so different from the nose, and of course because of the price level. This quite unusual style of HP really deserves to be compared to the more "usual" and classic style of HP that is in The Dark; a classic sherried HP which boasts a very well composed dram. Also, comparison is particularly interesting given the fact that the age is the same. But, of course, in the end Full Volume does has a wee bit of advantage in price when it comes to choosing between the two. On the other hand, sherry casks are more expensive than bourbon casks, although I of course do realise that a part of the cost is due to the special bottle and the exclusive wooden packaging. Anyhow, a great pair of drams awaits the ones who decides to buy both of them  

Big thanks to the people at Edrington Sweden for the opportunity to try The Dark! Which I was able to do simply because you provided a sample. 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 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.com and by stating the source

SamuelWhisky is very happy to join The Dark side! 

söndag 17 december 2017

Amrut Raw Cask 61,3% ABV – Dennis Steckel Selection!!!

Dear friends and followers alike! When working the Örebro Beer and Whiskyfestival about a month ago I passed by Clydesdales stand to have a chat with Dennis Steckel, the superfan of Amrut and founder of Amrutfever, to see what he had up his sleeve. 








Enthusiastically he pulled out an Amrut bottled in his honor!!! I asked him how this bottling and great news came about and he told me that one day he had mysteriously received a bunch of samples with the only instruction to choose his favorite. Having done so he did not think more about it, but, when arriving at the festival to work in the Clydesdale-stand he was presented with this bottling in his honor! Wow! Look how very happy Dennis looks about it all :)

Dennis clearly showing signs of The Amrut-Fever ;)
All I know about this whisky is that it has been finished in a sherry cask and that it has had almost no filtration at all, Raw Cask in it's essence. There are only 163 bottles available worldwide, and out of these around 50 are reserved for Sweden where it will be released at the state monopoly tomorrow (the 18th of December 2017). You can view the product here and order it here

Since I was allowed to draw a sample I now have the great joy and pleasure of presenting my review and notes below

Nose:
Very sweet and absolutely boasting of dark raisins, vanilla sweetness, vanilla creamyness and big/fat honey (light non-liquid honey). Also, there is a quite evident wood-yness but it sits very close to all the vanilla stuff so it does not really come across as being youngish. There is however a slight touch of yeast and/or new make in the distant, but, with thanks to the greedy angels this is all in the background. Above the woodyness, and encapsulating it, is a beautiful scent of very creamy orange peel that has a perfect sting of nutty and/or almondy alcohol to it, absolutely beautiful!


Taste: Wow! Starts of with great power and sting from the alcohol, and then things go very fast: salty and very intense, moving rapidly into a citrusfruity vanilla and from there fast into chunky marzipan and almonds, than moving swiftly into a spicy and very dry woodyness intermingling with dried figs. Then things start to slow down, my mouth is getting more dry and most of all there is a very interesting mix of somthing "sour" and sweet at the roof of my mouth. This finally fades away into more almonds, more dryness (this time a very soft dryness), and finally closing off with orange syrup and liquid light honey...


To sum up: This sure was a great pick by Dennis and a great tribute to him and his great and enthusiastic work with Amrutfever! Big thanks to the people at Clydesdale for the opportunity to try it and to review it before its release! 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 likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro[at]gmail.com and by stating the source

torsdag 7 december 2017

Peated anCnoc – Peatheart Batch 1 46% ABV!

Dear friends and followers alike! When working the Borlänge Beer and whiskyfestival a couple of weeks ago I passed by the stand of Berntsson Brands to see if there was anything that their Brand Ambassador Martin Tjäder wanted me to review for them, and of course there was, their all new anCnoc Peatheart Batch 1 in which the barley has been peated to 40ppm. Please feel free to read all about it by clicking here











Here in Sweden Peatheart will be launched at the state monopoly tomorrow and you can view the product by clicking here. Ok, let's see what we have here!

Nose: If i start by not nosing the peat itself, I notice first something reminding me of Iron/metal (however not rust), there is also a very interesting mix of cucumber- and limewater. Nosing the peat, it's very much not Islay peat, not very smoky but rather very grassy, ashes and sundried grass. all in all a kind of "watery", slightly hollow, peatyness. The strength does not at all say 46%, on the contrary very calm, still and smooth, no signs of newmake or yeast, so the word I'm looking for is probably mature. Finally, a slight, slight touch of vanilla pods


Taste:
Wow/Ouch! A lot more peat on the taste than what was on the nose, that's unexpected! Starts off on burnt/sundried Grass and salty (turkish pepper) peat, moves on into ashes with traces of vanilla, moving on again into "green/forest-y gunpowder" as well as fireworks (what some might associate with slight touches of sulphur), and finally in the aftertaste (which is quite long) there is a "herbs-and-spices" kind of medium dryness. What strikes me with the aftertaste is that when the medium dryness has grown and grown for quite a while (say 30-45 seconds) my mouth starts watering and a combination of white-sugar sweetness and vanilla fudge appears and evolves for quite a long time


To sum up:
This is definitely the most mature and "calm" peated anCnoc I've tasted so far (counting in it's big blast of peat in the beginning of the taste contrary to the nose). Given the dryness and very slight touch of vanilla there seems to be quite a lot of 2nd-fill bourbon casks in the mix, which I must say that I like since it really lets the house style of peated anCnoc come to the fore/front of the taste👌Big thanks to the people at Berntson for the chance to review this one and to be able to taste it before its release, Sláinte!

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 likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro[at]gmail.com and by stating the source


pic belongs to systembolaget.se

tisdag 28 november 2017

Highland Park Single Cask 1674 Sweden exclusive – Vintersolståndet

Dear friends and followers alike! About two weeks ago I worked the Borlänge Beer and whiskyfestival for Edrington (my second time working this very cosy festival). To my great joy I discovered that we had a coming Highland Park Single Cask with us, yay! Luckily for me, I was given permission to try it right then and there, and below you will find my tasting notes.













But first some info: this is the fourth single cask released for Sweden (since the new single cask series began in the fall of 2016, not counting the one for SMAD). The whisky is 15 years old (2001/2017), the number of the cask is 1674, a refill sherry butt (in the case of HP meaning 2nd-fill), yielding 552 bottles in total. For reasons which you can read about here I do not know, and probably never will know, if the cask is made of european oak or american oak. 59 % is the ABV and 534 bottles will be released in Sweden at the state monopoly the day after tomorrow, in a so called web release. You can view the product by clicking here

What about the strange Swedish name of this SC-bottling?! "Vintersolståndet" simply translates into Winter solstice. Ok, let's see what we have here!


Nose:
A medium peatyness meets my nose. The peatyness has elements of a kind of burnt sugar-y touch, there is also a lot of medium dark honey and very sweet vanilla fudge-yness going on around the peatyness, mmm… In the center of the nose (”the very top register of the palate” as I usually put is) there is definitely a touch of peated lemon peal, in fact, smoked lemon peal. Finally, surrounding everything is a sweet, round, and very calm scent of light (liquid) honey, very signature for Highland Park

Taste:
Hoding the whisky in my mouth for just a couple of seconds, the whisky starts off very sugar-y sweet/syrup, but it moves very quickly (one second) into salty-ness, not sea salt, rather like salt liquorice. When swallowing I can really feel the ”alcohol vapours” rising in the roof of my mouth bringing with it a mix of old leather, sackcloth, and slightly burnt grass… it all vapours away quite cuickly to be taken over by light peat, peated coffee, peated lemon peal, some moutdrying vanilla, full-fat unwhipped cream at room temperature, and some more slightly burnt grass… residing in my mouth and on my tongue in the aftertaste there is a heather sweetness slowly being taken over by a very, very faint touch of orange flavoured milk chocolate.

To sum up:
In comparison with the previous HP SC for Sweden that I’ve tasted so far, that is the 6403 and the 2121, from memory, I would definitely rank this one as coming in on a second place after 6403. Considering that 6403 is 1st-fill sherry european oak (a hogshead), this is a very good ranking for being a refill sherry butt! Big thanks to the people at Edrington for the chance to review this one and to be able to taste it before its release, Sláinte!

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 likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro[at]gmail.com and by stating the source

tisdag 21 november 2017

Springbank 14 yo Bourbon Wood – 55,8% ABV

Dear friends and followers alike! Yesterday I received a package from Symposion, containing a sample of a new limited release from Springbank! A 14 year old that has been matured solely in bourbon casks (size not stated), a combination of first fill and refill. It has been bottled at (vatting strength of) 55,8% ABV. The number of bottles for this release is 9000 and 534 of these will be released at the state monopoly here in Sweden in two days (the 23rd of November). You can view the product by clicking here








Ok, let's see what we have here!

Nose:
When opening the bottle and pouring the whisky a huge peatyness spread throughout the room, but when nosing it from the glass I first get a whiff of saltyness but then first and foremost sugar-y and sour freshly squeezed lemon juice. Below this layer consisting of a mix of salt and sugar/sour is a very, very ”broad” peatyness, drawing mostly towards leather and ”shoes” (with some complex element of brie cheese) but also, infact, a medium-fat vanilla intermingling with something reminding me of rhum and/or rhumraisin, or even something tequila-esque… very interesting indeed, especially the brie cheese element of the peatyness. Finally, shaking the glass vividly to stir up the scents, the centre of the nose is very, very citric. Ok, let’s have a taste!


Taste:
Wow! Peat, salt, peat, salt, more peat and more salt is what I get at the first tasting! Taking another sip, this time holding the whisky in my mouth for a couple of seconds before swallowing, I now get (besides all the peat and salt), a very peaty vanilla-ness, there is also some fruit in there, something like vanilla-banana and dried peach (jelly peach candy). When swallowing, the whisky gives lots and lots of warm leather peat (it really, really warms my throat and chest), and a great deal of dryness. There is also something like stable and horses (meaning ”farm”, however that would taste). The aftertaste holds a mixture of peat, smoke, and sweetness from mixed jelly candy (mostly of the color yellow and orange), and ends with, believe it or not, peated lemon curd. 

To sum up:
This is a great dram that I really recommend to anyone who likes a medium-complex peated whisky, with an emphasis on peat, salt, leather and yellow fruits! Yummy, I want more! Big thanks to the people at Symposion for the chance to review this one and to be able to taste it before its release, Sláinte!

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 likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro[at]gmail.com and by stating the source

borrowed from whiskybase.com


tisdag 14 november 2017

Swedish whisky from Box Distillery: Quercus 1 – Robur 50,8% ABV!

Beautiful red-brown color!
Dear friends and followers alike! Last week I was very lucky to receive a package that contained a sample from from Swedish distillery Box – The high coast distillery! Yay! The sample contained the first release in their new series called "Quercus". This is what the write about the new series and about this Robur-edition:

"Quercus is a range from Box Distillery wherein we try to explore the tastes that different species of oak gives to the whisky. The first edition is named Robur after the European Oak (pedunculate oak), Quercus robur in Latin. Quercus robur is common in Europe, especially in Burgundy and Limousine where it’s widely used in the wine- and cognac industry. It’s also that species of oak you’ll find in Scandinavia up to the north of Stockholm"

The whisky was first matured in first-fill 200 litre bourbon casks, and then finished for seven months in new/virgin swedish oak. To read absolutely everything about the process, the age, the maturation etcetera please feel free to click here 

Here in Sweden, Quercus 1 – Robur will be released on the state monopoly this friday (17th of november) and you can view the product by clicking here. Ok, let's see what we have here!

Nose:
Starts off somewhat herb-y but most of all spicy. Behind the spicyness there is sawmill and planks, as well as ”dark” newly cut logs of spruce/fir. Beyond all this forest-yness hides a soft vanilla intermingling with something salt, I think the salt shows just a tad of peat. In the very depth of it all is something reminding me of cinnamon, maybe even nutmeg (?). Interestingly enough there is also cucumber-water and finally a lime cut in half left to dry for a couple of days on the kitchen bench…

Taste:
Starts of on medium salt and then BAM! A big, fat, instantly dry spicyness hits you! Two seconds later new wood comes bursting in, making quite an entrance indeed. The new wood dies quite quickly and makes way for even more dry spicyness. After that a beautiful medium (dry) vanilla taskes over and slowly evolves into something partly reminding me of brandy (and/or apple jucie), partly reminding me of cognac. The heat of the whisky (the ABV) evolves in my chest, at the same time as the taste moves on into dried figs, overripe red grapes and finally fades away into a general sugar-y sweetness

To sum up:
I have a very ambivalent relationship to whisky matured in new swedish oak. In general, from the ones I’ve tasted so far, I find it to be, for my taste, ”too much” of the ”new” and of the ”wood” on the nose, as well as this kind of ”spicyness” on the taste. For me, this whisky is by far the most sucessfull one matured in new swedish oak, this is because there is a great complexity in this one, both on the nose and on the taste. For me, it was still a tad ”too much” and a tad ”too spicy” (but I did not water the whisky and maybe this would bring it down a notch…). Finally, big thanks to the people at Box Distillery for sharing sending a sample and for the opportunity to taste it before the release! Sláinte!

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 likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro[at]gmail.com and by stating the source

Picture belongs to Box Distillery

torsdag 19 oktober 2017

Whisky-honeymoon PART 3 – tasting Highland Park Valkyrie and Rebus30 10 year old

Dear friends and followers alike! Today I bring you PART 3 of my "Whisky-honeymoon" (sharing the whisky-related adventures that took place during the honeymoon me and my wife had in the beginning of this summer). For part one please click here. And yes, you are correct in noticing that part two, our visit to Bowmore Distillery has so far not yet been published, simmer down, it will come later (strangely enough, not very chronological ;) ).

Anyways, as you might remember from part one, before going to Islay my wife and I spent one night in Glasgow, and it was there that we more or less randomly bumped in to Martin Markvardsen (Senior Brand Ambassador at Highland Park) who turned out to accidentally be in Glasgow due to some travel-trouble. We joined Martin (and Vicky) at the Pot Still bar for some beers and whisky during which we told them that after Islay we were heading to Edinburgh, and guess what, so was Martin! While we were going there to do some touristing, he was going there to do four tastings (at the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian) for RebusFest30; a weekend of literature, art, film and music that celebrated 30 years of Ian Rankins iconic fictional detective John Rebus (read more about it here). Being very friendly and generous Martin told us that we were more than welcome to stop by and join him during one of the tastings! Jippie! 

When in Edinburgh it turned out that my wonderful and beautiful wife was more keen on doing some shopping, while myself of course was more keen on tasting some Highland Park! :) When entering the Waldorf this was the set-up that met my eyes



The Line-up for the tasting was Rebus30 HP 10yo, HP12, Valkyrie, HP18



Since I had already tasted HP 12yo and HP 18yo a number of times and on a number of occasions, I decided to focus solely on Rebus30 and Valkyrie during the tasting and therefor did tasting notes only of them. 



Highland Park Rebus30 10 year old 40% ABV
The liquid in Rebus30 is the same as in the regular HP 10yo meaning, what separates the two is the presentation/the bottle itself.

Nose:
Increadibly creamy, lots of vanilla, in fact a very peaty-sugary/sweet/fruity/fudge-y kind of vanilla. Just a wee touch of yeast (wash) in here. The fruits are candy-peach, banana-something, medium ripe pear, and sugar syrup with lime juice. The peatyness is so smooth and absolutely soaked with soft but kind of fat vanilla. Concluding from the nose, a majority of the liquid in this one must have been matured in american oak sherry casks rather than european oak sherry casks. 

Taste:
Definitely starts off creamy! In fact, increadibly creamy, together with peach candy and overripe banana and/or banana jelly candy. Then some saltyness takes over, quickly moving on into a peaty spicyness. Medium dry or even very dry in the aftertaste. The creamyness in the beginning is very rich on vanilla and some banana jelly candy, but the main focus in the taste is definitely the peaty spice-yness. Great dram, and not as "simple" in style as I had thought it would be.



Highland Park Valkyrie 45,9% ABV 
Valkyrie is the first release in a series of three whiskies, each one of them telling a Viking Legend. The story of Valkyrie goes: "Plunging down from the dark heavens, the Valkyries would descend like avenging angels on horseback to comb the battlefields for the bravest of the fallen warriors, heroes fit to enter the great Norse god Odin’s hall, Valhalla" (please feel free to read more about it here). Here in Sweden Valkyrie will be released at the state-monopoly tomorrow (view the product by clicking here).

Now, from a whisky point of view, what sets Valkyrie apart from the "regular" HP-range? Well, it's the fact that it's peatier! In what way? Half of the whisky in the mix consists of whisky made from their heavily peated recipe, meaning made only from their own produced 45 ppm malt. The rest of the content consists of their "usual" recipe; made through mixing their 45 ppm malt (1 part) with the 0ppm malt (4 parts) they order from Simpsons Malting. For recipe in terms of the composition of casks for Valkyrie please do take a look at this video (from 5:50 minutes and onward) with Gordon Motion (Master Whisky Maker at Highland Park). Now what Gordon does not tell us in the video is the ages that went into Valkyrie. However, do not despair, during the tasting Martin told us the following: the 45ppm part is between 8-10yo, and the rest of the whisky is 17yo at it's oldest.  

Nose:
Definitely more peaty than the "normal" Highland Parks I've had so far, and definitely more peaty than the other three whiskies in the line-up. The peatyness seems almost toasted or medium charred. We have beautiful scents of dark oloroso sherry sweetness in here, but the interesting thing is that the sherry sweetness has an overtone of something citric (maybe something like lemon juice) and also very interesting some touches of watermelon (!) and salt liquorice. Covering/surrounding everything but the heavy peatyness is a beautiful heather-honey sweetness.
















Taste:
Starts off very salty and quite vanilla-ish, but then "BAM!", the peatyness hits, and oh boy the peatyness is spicy indeed. After the spice and peat mellows down we have a beautiful creamyness mixed with sun dried grass in a field, and also mixed with bitter salad/greens (maybe something like ruccola). The fruityness in this one is smoked and/or ovendried slices of pear, together with dark and sort of "smoked raisins". Very interesting tastes and flavours in this one due to the high peatyness, a very "different" HP because of this. Ends with a soft and rich touch of vanilla and citrus (mellow and not to citric lemon curd).

Always great to meet Martin! And always time for a photo shoot :)
Martin holding Rebus30 10yo and myself holding Rebus30 30yo, one of very few bottles
produced for the Rebusfest and put away for charity auction.
Big thanks to Martin for inviting me to the tasting and for making my Whisky-honeymoon even more special, Sláinte! 

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 likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro[at]gmail.com and by stating the source