All posts by Jewmalt

SuperJew, Husband, Father, Scotch aficionado, Musician, Whisky Society President

#Winning – this hashtag is so 2011 but this award is so 2017

 

Imagine my surprise when the good people at FeedSpot told me I was in their top 40 whisky blogs of the world list!

I remember when it felt like there was only 20 whisky blogs and I was one of 12 Knights of the Whisky Round Table (ah, the good ‘ol days).

Given that there are literally hundreds of whisky blogs on the webosphere nowadays, I’ll take top 40. Thanks FeedBlog folk!

 

To see the other 39 people on this list that are likely more qualified than me, check it out HERE.

A Westland Distillery Two’fer – Winter and Peat Week, 2016 style

 

Lets face it. 2016 was a punch in the face for everyone in some way, shape, or form. However, it was a good year for good whisky.

Today’s good whisky will be televised (or, youtube’vised – see below).

Westland is, in my opinion, one of the world’s best producers of single malt and, heck, they’re only 5 or 6 years old! Imagine what’ll happen in 5, 10, 15 years?

Today, instead of writing a review, I thought it’d be good to record my review of two lovely Westland whiskies:

  • Westland Winter 2016 – special limited edition
  • Westland Peat Week 2016- special limited edition

I hope you enjoy!

Happy Christmukwanzikkah, everyone!

Getting out of my comfort zone and into something so insanely magnificent, I had to write about it – Bodegas Valdespino’s Cardenal VORS Palo Cortado Sherry

 

Region – Spain – ABV – 22%

Cardenal Palo Cortado VORS (Valdespino)Guys. Gals. I’m headed in a fast and downward spiral into the world of sherry.

I’m in the rabbit hole.

I really hope others will join me. It’s an amazing world of flavors for us all to explore.

I’ve enjoyed my fair share of sherries (say that 3 times real fast) over the past 10 years or so but, as of late, I now find myself craving the Spanish fortified wine.

Cardenal Palo Cortado VORS (Valdespino)Normally, when one starts writing reviews for this or that product, they’ll start at the Chevy or Ford of that respective product.

I decided to begin with the Volvo P1800 of sherry.

This sherry I’m about to review is bad ass and one can spend forever and a day enveloped in its loveliness.

I could go into the details of various sherry types, how it’s made, etc… but I am no expert. If you want to know more, please be sure to visit sherrynotes.com

Bodegas Valdespino’s Cardenal VORS Palo Cortado Sherry:

On the nose — Absolutely amazing smelling. It noses a bit like a heavily sherried whisky.

Bodegas Valdespino’s Cardenal VORS Palo Cortado SherryGood oaky backbone with hints of menthol floating above notes of buckwheat syrup, crushed black peppercorns, toasted almond and coconut, damp autumn leaves, burnt pie crusts, toasted raw grain sprouted bread.

Magnificent. A perfect nose.

Bodegas Valdespino’s Cardenal VORS Palo Cortado SherryIn the mouth — Dry on the palate and intensely rich front to mid palate with lightening fast tones of fresh black grapes, oak chests you’ve inherited from your great-great grand father, coconut milk, treacle, licorice nibs and a mere hint of coal dust.

Bodegas Valdespino’s Cardenal VORS Palo Cortado SherryThe mouthfeel is lightly oiled. Kaffir (lime) leaves are noted on the 2nd sip and now I’m discovering just how salty this sherry is.

Building umami, chocolate covered raisins.

Finish — Rich and salty with lasting notes of menthol and mixed, roasted nuts.

In sum — As mentioned above, I’ve been dabbling in sherries for the past 10 years or more and this is easily the best sherry of it’s style I’ve ever had. Worth seeking out and shelling out a few shekels.

 

Things that’ve impressed the hell out of me this year.

 

Fukano Japanese Whisky Cask 300Things that’ve impressed the hell out of me this year?

Almost nothing.

2016 has be a crap year with too many good people dying and various tragedies that there just doesn’t seem to be an end to (take your pick).

Thankfully, there is whisky.

This single cask of Fukano Japanese whisky (distilled from rice), however, impressed the hell out of me.

Region – Japan – ABV – 41.8% (natural cask strength)

On the nose — Say what?! Nose this blindly and I would have guessed/assumed this was a 20+ year old Willett Rye.

Wonderful oak framing with a spiciness that is so rye-like.

Fukano Japanese Whisky Cask 300Chocolate, Vanilla (with hints of raspberry) tarts and seasoned oak. Top note of acetone that plays well with warmed dill sauce.

Crisp starfruit that leads into notes of Mexican chocolate, deep vanilla and fresh coconut.

A better nose than most American rye whiskies I’ve had. Wonderful to find this profile in Japanese hooch. I could just smell this for 20min straight.

Fukano Japanese Whisky Cask 300In the mouth — Easy and oily entry with a growing waxy mouthfeel.  The palate is very similar to the nose but somehow, warmer.

Nutmeg and chocolate come to the fore but so does a great deal of vanilla bean.

Mild pickling spices, gentle yet rich red fruits, boozy butterscotch verging on Werther’s Original candies.

Fukano Japanese Whisky Cask 300Finish — Long and lovely (that’s what she said?) with lasting notes of a spiced vanilla latte.

In sum — I am massively impressed with this whisky. There have been some stand-offish nay-sayers when it comes to whisky distilled from rice.

I say – take the Pepsi challenge. Taste this blind and you will be more than pleasantly surprised.

At only $69/bottle, I suggest you grab one and drink the shit out of it.

Crazy good Balblair from 1993, matured in a first fill sherry puncheon, bottled by Gordon MacPhail

 

Region – Speyside – ABV – 53.4% ABV – Cask 1962 – First Fill Sherry Puncheon – This was around $150

Gordon MacPhail 1993 Balblair first fill sherry puncheon cask 1962It wasn’t long ago that I had a chance to sit down with my good friend Jonathan Bray to review this Balblair.

Actually, yes, it was quite some time ago…. back in May/June based on my tasting notes and the published date of Jonathan’s review. Ugh.

♬ Ti-i-i-ime is not on my side, no it isn’t! ♬ Where does the time go?!

My apologies to you, dear reader, and my apologies to Jonathan, for not getting this review up sooner.

Gordon MacPhail 1993 Balblair first fill sherry puncheon cask 1962On the nose — A host of notes you’d come to expect from a heavily sherried whisky: pickled walnuts, cherry pits, German brown bread, cola syrup, and dark bitter chocolate.

What you’d not expect (or maybe you would) is a quite present phenolic component giving off notes of a fireworks finale, burning cardboard, and what I can only assume is the scent of the Heaven’s Gate cult compound living quarters. They kept quite clean, as I understand.  You know, before the end…

Gordon MacPhail 1993 Balblair first fill sherry puncheon cask 1962A-a-a-a-a-nyway, I’m also detecting sulphured figs and dried papaya, too.

In the mouth — Chewy, unctuous, moreish, dare I say massive.

Tasting notes aside, my initial reaction is “damn, this is good tasting juice!”

Gordon MacPhail 1993 Balblair first fill sherry puncheon cask 1962Deep and dark fruits (insert Landry list here) which is countered by Balblair’s natural tropical fruit notes but they’re dried (more papaya, candied medjool dates, black currant, and interestingly some raw coconut flesh).

This is near flawless on the palate.

Finish — Perfectly timed tannins, sweet Thai chili sauce, decent length

In sum — While the nose presented some slightly off/sulphuric notes, the palate delivered in a way that few heavily sherried whiskies do. Stunning delivery of flavors and a finish that makes you want to sip more. Without getting into too much detail, the addition of water turns this into a vorpal +4 whisky of drinking. You basically roll a natural 20 on a d20 when adding water and the fruits just multiply.

Oy, Oi, Oy, this is a cracking good dram and if you can still find a bottle, you could consider yourself *very* lucky.  Not convinced?  Be sure to check out Jonathan’s review of this gem.