Springbank 15yo — visiting what has become one of my favorite whiskies.

 

Springbank 15 year old single malt scotch whiskyRegion — Campbeltown — 46% ABV

Springbank 15yo is a whisky that I find myself revisiting over and over and over again.  I think it’s perhaps one of my favorite whiskies, like… ever.

While I may revisit it many times over, I’ve not revisited it from a let-me-disect-it-and-post-it-on-my-blog point of view.  I just spend a lot of time enjoying it.  Isn’t that what whisky is all about anyway? Enjoyment?

The last time I reviewed Springbank 15yo was June 17, 2011

So, here we are almost 4 years later.  Let’s see what the 2015 version is like.

On the nose — Lots of lime and orange marmalade (mostly orange) at first but it’s got a veil of peat it’s hiding behind.

Springbank 15yo Scotch WhiskyBlue slate wet with rain water and a stick of hard and powdered chewing gum you found from that package of Topps baseball cards released in 1980-something.

A hint of mint but a good dose of coastal breeze and dying beach grass.

Springbank 15yo Scotch WhiskyOn the mouth — Chewy and thick with bold notes of Duerr’s coarse cut orange marmalade.

A touch of peat is present but so is some now-cold potpouri.

There’s a touch of oak to let you know you’re dealing with a 15yo whisky but the oak’s true impression upon the juice is that of dark fruits, spiced citrus drops and still more marmalade.

Oh, and burning sticks as we reach the now drying finish.

Springbank 15yo Scotch WhiskyFinish — Drying and pleasant with a good deal of orange spice with the tiniest hint of clove.

In sum — What’s difficult to explain about this whisky — about all Springbank whiskies — it’s how unique the spirit itself is.  Yes, there are lots of notes here that you’ll find in other whiskies but you’ll never taste a more unique spirit than Springbank.  It’s too difficult to put it into words, sorry.  If you’ve never had Springbank before, it’s worth seeking out.

If I could, I would likely drink the $(*& out of this whisky every single day.  It’s that good.

Leave the fools behind – April 2nd at The Daily Pint in Santa Monica will be great!

 

…I only wish I could be there!  

Here’s the skinny on a great whisky event with Louisa Young of Isle of Arran and James Wills of Kilchoman distilleries, happening on April 2nd, at The Daily Pint in Santa Monica, CA:

This is something special! 

 Arran-+-Kilchoman-Info2

KILCHOMAN & ARRAN Educational Party
Thursday April 2nd, 2015 @ 7pm – 10pm
The Daily Pint in Santa Monica

Southern California Whisky Club will be having not ONE but TWO representatives from TWO different distilleries in Scotland hanging out with us on Thursday April 2, 2015. We will be welcoming James Wills from Kilchoman Distillery and Louisa Young from Arran Distillery for a get together at the Daily Pint.

This is not a formal tasting, but a casual event where the goal is maximize the one-on-one time that our members get to spend with both James and Louisa.

Included in the event will be a flight of 6 whiskies as well as 2 different scotch cocktails: A Kil-Roy (barrel aged Rob Roy made with Kilchoman) and an Arran Punch.

Let’s loosen the collars, hang out as a club and welcome these two into sunny California.

Pre registration is $20 (includes tip) or $30 at the door (doesn’t include tip).

Get your tickets HERE!

Lost Spirits Cuban Style Rum – 75.5% ABV (151 proof)

 

Region – California – price – $40

Lost Spirits Cuban Style Rum 151Today’s review is of Lost Spirit’s Cuban Style rum. This one is bottled at the over-proof ABV of 75.5%, or, 151 proof.

There are a few 151 rums out there. Most of these bottlings are ones I stay away from as they just tend to be bottles of pure unadulterated hellfire.

If I do have any 151 rum, I’ll most likely find it sitting on top of a Mai Tai.

I never though I’d see myself pouring and analyzing a 151 rum but given that the Lost Spirits Navy Style rum (bottled at 68% ABV) was down right wonderful, I am going to give this one a go.

So, here we go.

On the nose — This does not nose like you’d expect something that’s 75.5% ABV would (meaning that, you’re face does not explode upon getting within 6 inches of the glass). Actually, it’s quite approachable and there is little, if any, stinging alcohol vapor shooting up your nostrils.

Lost Spirits Cuban Style Rum 151I am immediately taken by the scent of melting caramel and nutty toffee.  There’s a hint of wintergreen or menthol in the background and sassafras tea.

Whoppers malted milk balls with a side of high-milk hot cocoa with a candy cane (purely for stirring purposes, mind you).

Crackling’ oat bran cereal.

On the mouth — Ok, here is where the heat kicks in.  Yes, it’s a hot Fother Mucker but, like George T Stagg, it’s bursting with flavor.

Lost Spirits Cuban Style Rum 151Crushed winterberries, sugar cookies and pine needles (slight).  Cellophane wrapped brown sugar with hints of pecan syrup flowing into a Bailey’s ice luge.

keep-calm-butterbeer1I’m getting echoes of smoke and good notes of cooked & browning butter, butter scotch and if Harry Potter and the gang were sipping, I’m sure they’d say they detected Butter Beer.

Finish — Quite creamy, nutty with dashes of both milk and white chocolate and it’s a long, really long finish.

In sum — You know, Lost Spirits makes some nice and unusual American single malt whiskey (really nice, actually). But when they put their minds to rum, pure magic happens.

I’ve had some fine rums/rhums, aged both young and old and I’d have to say that Lost Spirits rums are up there with the best of the best with regards to flavor, balance and complexity.  And, $40 for a bottle?! Holy Crap. Deals *do* still exist in this crazy world of brown spirits!

Many thanks to Bryan D for the sample!

Tuthilltown Spirits – the tale of two Maple Cask Rye Whiskey releases

 

Region – Upstate New York – $40-50 for a 375ml bottle

Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Maple Cask Rye WhiskeyThis here post was something I started just over a year ago.  I often find myself traveling throughout Upstate New York and when I do, I like to stop in to the Tuthilltown Distillery. I do this in part to see the non-stop updates to the distillery (it never ends there!). I also like to say hello to Ralph and Gable Erenzo.  Two super cool and humble guys that really want to just make and sell good hooch.

On one of my visits last year they happen to have a new release: Maple Cask Rye Whiskey. “Well, hello there!” I thought.  I had to have a bottle.  Actually, I had to have two bottles so I bought two bottles.  I figured I’d have one to drink and one to keep.  I meant to review my drinking bottle shortly after the purchase but hey, they’re only 375ml in size and I drank/shared it all before I could review it. Dang it!

Wouldn’t you know it but a year passed and Tuthilltown decided to do a 2nd release of the Maple Cask Rye Whiskey.  I heard about this in advance of its release this time and drove out there expecting to get a couple of bottles.  I totally jumped the gun. I got to the distillery the day they were bottling rather than the day they were selling the bottles. Oy.

Gable, being the gent he is, let me have a taste of the whiskey from their holding tank and it was exactly what I had hoped it would be: delicious.  Gable, again being the gent that he is, also sent me a sample bottle for review (thanks again, Gable!).

Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Maple Cask Rye WhiskeyBeing that I had this 2014 bottle for review I figured I should crack open the bottle I bought in 2013 to do a side by side.  That brings us here now.

Here are my reviews of the 2013 & 2014 Maple Cask Rye Whiskey from Tuthilltown Spirits:

 

2013 Version:

On the nose – Thick and warm Weetabix covered in sweetened cinnamon and nutmeg.

Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Maple Cask Rye WhiskeySugar daddy pop gives birth to a box of sugar babies (would that make it a sugar mama?).  If you mixed slightly effervescent vanilla cream soda and RC cola, that’d be a perfect note. Let’s just, for the sake of argument, say that that combo exists.

Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Maple Cask Rye WhiskeyOn the mouth – Red hots meets high-milk chocolate meets maple sugar candies meets cola syrup meets honey sticks meets bit o’honey meets Mary Janes (the candy, not the stuff you smoke).

All of this wrapped up in a solid and oily mouthfeel – all of this starts to dry your palate a bit as we get to the finish..

Finish – Red hots and rye spice continue on for a nice long finish.

2014 Version:

073-002Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Maple Cask Rye WhiskeyOn the nose – Not as heavy as the 2013 version.  Lightly sugared celery root (another odd combo my brain is creating here).  Muesli, heavy on the oats (powder and all) and golden raisins instead of the regular dark raisins.

Mead!!  Lots of honey wine on this nose.  Very different from the 2013 version so far.  After about 10 minutes in the glass I smell Douglas Fur wreaths.

On the mouth – Not as complex as the 2013 version.  Wait a sec. I spoke too soon!  Salted beef jerky along the sides of the tongue followed by browning apples.

Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Maple Cask Rye WhiskeyMaple cooked sausages (where the heat from the pan starts to make the maple syrup burn & solidify a bit).  Some of those honey sticks I got on the 2013 version, albeit maple honey sticks!  Decent mouthfeel. Not overly dry but not overly oily, smack dab in the middle.

Finish – Lasts with some honey and cracked black pepper and a touch of nuttiness.

In sum — Those other *flavored* whiskeys on the market are really for mixing and for the non-whiskey drinker.

These are the real deal as they are not flavored whiskeys but whiskeys matured in casks that previously held maple syrup.

These are Maple whiskeys for people that actually like and know whiskey.  Well done, Tuthilltown folks!  You know how to construct good whiskeys.  Nay, great whiskeys.

Thanks again for the 2014 sample, Gable!

PX Finished Kilchoman single cask – an Abbey Whisky Exclusive

 

Kilchoman-Abbey-Whisky-Exclusive-Cask-285-09-PX-finish-whisky-250Islay Region – 58.3% ABV – £79 (£66 ex. VAT, $106 for those of us in the US of A)

Here we have a Kilchoman distilled in 2009 that spent 4.5yrs in first fill bourbon then 4mos in a PX sherry cask.  Bottled at full cask strength, this cask rendered a total of only 270 bottles, all of which were bottled at 58.3% ABV.

Let the intro be short and the review come soon and the whisky be wonderfully delicious!

My wish is my command.

Kilchoman-Abbey-WhiskyOn the nose  What a lovely little mixture of peat smoked, chipotle infused eraser rubbings!  Drizzlings of smoked Molé sauce over grilled cayenne peppers and burnt Douglas fur needles.

Kilchoman-Abbey-WhiskyIt’s like Christmas is burning in Mexico, in a glass!  This is a Kilchoman for Cinco de Mayo.

Kilchoman-Abbey-WhiskyOn the mouth This is absolutely wild whisky. The peat-meets-sherry reminds me a bit of the Lost Spirits Leviathan (albeit a more tame version).  Lots of horse butt and damp farm barns here.

Incredibly sweet but thankfully not as forceful as most PX matured whisky (perhaps this is the difference between fully matured in PX and finished in PX?).

Kilchoman-Abbey-WhiskySalted licorice.  Actually, this is quite salty and anise-y.

Some of those savory pepper notes I got on the nose help to take me to the finish which is…

Finish Quite long and drying with growing salt and peppery notes along the side of the tongue.

In sum A not-very-Kilchoman-y Kilchoman but a wonderful experience nonetheless.  So good, in fact, I bought a bottle after receiving and reviewing this sample.  If you enjoy big and brash Islay whiskies, this’ll be up your alley.  Defo one to share with friends.  It’s a “Hey, you’ve got to get your tastes buds on this crazy-mo-fo!” sort of whisky.

Special thanks to one of the Sharpest guys in Scotland, Mike Sharples, for the sample!

I drink booze, and sometimes I talk about it.