Category Archives: Let’s celebrate!

Glenmorangie’s 2016 Special Edition “Milsean”

 

Region – North Highlands – ABV – 46%

I’ve got very little time today to preamble before tasting.  However, let me tell you a Knock-Knock Joke:

Joke Teller: “Knock Knock”

Joke participant: “Who’s there?”

Joke Teller: “Control Freak. Now, this is where you say ‘Control Freak who?'”

Joke participant: “…”

…and laughter fills the room!

Today I’m tasting Glenmorangie’s Milsean and, spoiler alert, it’s fantastic juice.

Glenmorangie Milsean

On the nose — Quite crisp, almost piercing on the nose, all without being hot.

Fresh off the press, and wet, copper pennies. Peach – hard but not underripe. Some nice wood effect that tricks you into thinking there’s a bit of peat in here.

Glenmorangie MilseanAfter a few minutes the nose really softens to ripe peach, banana and strawberry taffy, candied orange peels and a Mai Tai on a beach in Honolulu.

After another few minutes I detect this wonderful sour sugared candies note (think Sour Patch Kids), vanilla and a hint of shaved coconut.

In the mouth — Boat loads of chewy and citrusy candies.

Glenmorangie MilseanAlso, fresh fruits such as honey dew melon, Santa Claus melon, and nectarine. Cover these in Wagamama chili oil and you’ve got something here!

Vanilla fondant, more chili oil, cooked butter with brown sugar over vanilla ice cream. Great mouthfeel here, folks. Just great.

Finish — Nice long finish with a handfuls of of melon Hi-Chews and sweet cream.

In sum — Surely not a whisky for all occasions but one to go for when you’re looking to celebrate and indulge yourself. It’s both dangerously easy to drink and gives you a lot in your glass to dissect. I’ve always been pro-Glenmorangie and this does not change my position, it only strengthens it.

Well done, Billy Lumsden!

Many thanks to DAMB for the sample!
Special thanks to IA for the joke!

Amrut single cask bottled for WhiskyBase, first fill bourbon, cask # 3434

 

Amrut WhiskyBase ShopRegion – Bangalore, India – ABV – 62.8%

True story:

A handful of months back my company bottled a 5yo single cask of Amrut under our Single Cask Nation label (as of 4th Jan, 2016, we still have a handful bottles left, btw).

Around this time, a single cask of Amrut was bottled for the WhiskyBase shop out of the Netherlands.

Back in November 2015, Serge Valentin over at the wonderful whiskyfun.com reviewed 6 different Amruts. Both our bottling and the WhiskyBase bottling were amongst the reviews and we both captured the highest rating of 89 points!

As far as Serge’s reviews go, 89 points is pretty damn high. Not too often does Serge give a 90+ rating. We were chuffed and obviously the WhiskyBase chaps were, too.

If you’re new to whiskyfun.com, where have you been?! Go there now. Read, learn, have fun!

Anywho, just after Serge’s review, we and WhiskyBase chatted over the interwebs and agreed upon a bottle trade.

The end.

Review time — I hope they enjoyed the Single Cask Nation Amrut as much as I enjoyed theirs:

Amrut WhiskyBase ShopOn the nose — Loads of caramel and toffee. Quite nutty, too.  Caramel covered almonds. Yum!  Moscato soaked apricots.

This is quite heavy (and dark, too. Much darker than you would think for a 5yo ex-bourbon cask).  Boatloads of vanilla, Kahlua, and dulce de leche. Holy heck, this smells wonderful.

Water brings out some brighter elements such as pear and quince.

In the mouth — Much hotter in the mouth than it is on the nose. This needs a touch of water.

Just five drops of water tames this whisky.  Cheap Oolong tea (but in a great, familiar, and comforting way), big spice on the sides of the tongue. Great oily mouthfeel.

Amrut WhiskyBase ShopHints of chicory and cornus kousa fruit (I have a cornus kousa dogwood in my front yard).  More vanilla and a fair amount of roasted almond pieces.

Finish — An interesting turn of events with notes of mandarins and golden raisin. Long and spicy, too.

In sum — This is up there with some of my favorite Amruts. This one seems to be an atypical example of Amrut but it’s damn good. I will be nursing this bottle for years to come.

Because it’s a Wednesday, I feel like having some 66yo Glen Grant in my glass. 1948 was a good year, no?

 

Region – Speyside – ABV – 46.6% ABV

Glen Grant 66 years old 1948 cask # 1369

**UPDATE** Shortly after I posted about this whisky, an announcement has been made that a 65yo Glen Grant will be bottled/released by the same Wealth Solutions/Gordon & MacPhail team. I *just* received this email. Kismet!

I’ve been sitting on this sample of the Wealth Solutions/Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 66yo single malt for a bit over a year now.

There was never one singular moment in time that seemed like the right time to taste this. I’m not sure there would ever be *THE* right time to taste it.

Because of this, I’ve decided not to wait for the right time and just live in the now.

What’s happening now is happening now-now.

Back in May of 2014, there was quite a to-do when this single cask was released:

It makes good sense that this would be released with such fanfare. How often does 66yo whisky get released?

Answer: not often. It’s kind of a big deal.

Without further ado, here is my review of the 1948 Glen Grant, 66yo, cask # 1369:

On the nose — Well, it smells as amazing as you might expect. How does one explain what a 66yo whisky smells like? It goes beyond tasting notes (though we will get to that). You can smell the age here, but it’s not age, it’s oaken maturity.

The initial note that hits me is cocoa butter.  After this I detect muddled mint.  Hay clippings and clean horse stables.

Hidden far beneath a veil of lace-like peat is a wonderful note of key lime sorbet. Grape seed oil.

The warm soft bellies of my kitties – comforting.

In the mouth — Very light, fairly bright. The oak comes through but this in no way is popsicle stick dry. Medium oily mouthfeel.

Fruity, like an astro-pop and spearmint chews. The farmyardiness is gone and is replaced with a floral presence. Wild flowers, not pretty “forgive me” flowers.

Wonderfully nutty and the cocoa butter is detected in flavor, too. Getting more floral now as we near the finish.

Finish — Chamomile and hibiscus and UK smarties. Long. Wonderful.

In sum — Sort of amazing. It’s nice to know that after 66 years the wonderful Glen Grant character is quite present.

The fact that I am lucky enough to have been given a sample of this fine whisky blows my mind. Many, MANY, thanks to the good people at Wealth Solutions for thinking of me.


There actually is a “why” to explain my reasons for tasting this one right now. I raise this glass and experience to a very sick friend. A toast to you in the hopes that you may heal soon.

Barrell Bourbon single cask release for Gordon’s Fine Wines – an 8yo “Tennessee whisky” *not* produced by Jack Daniels (so, it’s a big Dickel then, right?)

 

Region – Tennessee – 62.35% ABV (multiply by 2 to get “proof”, if you feel you need to. Or just keep it simple and use the more logical ABV system) – $89/bottle and only available at Gordon’s Fine Wines in Watham, MA.

Last night I did a seminar at Gordon’s Fine Wines in Watham (you know you’re pronouncing the town name right as when you say it, it sounds like you’re clearing your throat), Massachusetts.

I only recently (recent being this past March) found out about Gordon’s because of my new job with ImpEx Beverages.  Gordon’s is an account of mine.   In working with Gordon’s, I found that both Nick and Kenny (my contacts there) seemed to know and care more about whisk(e)y than most people I know. As a whisky geek myself, that was exciting.

Actually, I recently reviewed one of their single cask selections. A Russell’s Reserve single cask bourbon.  Their bottling and the one from Warehouse Liquors in Chicago selected by one of my favorite people, Gene Charness, helped me to appreciate these cask selections.

Anyway, after the seminar, Nick broke out bottles of “this and that” and we all had a good time tasting “this and that.”

As I was leaving, I asked Nick if there was anything else he felt I needed to taste of.

“Have you had our Barrell Bourbon selection?” asked Nick. “No,” I replied, “I’ve not had that one yet. I didn’t know that they were doing single cask bottlings.” Proudly, Nick said “actually, we were the first to do a Barrell Bourbon single cask selection.” “Well,” I exclaimed “let’s have a pour!”

Ladies and gents. this bourbon was the best bourbon I had this year hands down.  Gordon’s being my account or no, I speak truths here.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say this is in the top 5 whiskies I’ve had all year.  I had to buy a bottle, and buy a bottle I did.

I love bourbon, I really do.  My issue with bourbon, however, is that it all tastes like bourbon.  It’s all (for the most part) very samey with some fun nuances.  This bourbon, however, presented flavors to me that made it stand apart from the rest.

Barrell Bourbon George Dickel Gordon's Fine WinesPerhaps because it’s a Tennessee whisky (Yes, “whisky.” That’s how George Dickel spells it and we’re making an assumption here that this is a Dickel whisky) with their charcoal filtration process it’s different? Not sure. All I can say is — sweet fancy moses, this is good hooch!
So, what are the full details?  8yo & 6mos, new charred oak, cask # 013, bottle # 101, 62.35% ABV

Details on taste? Here you go:

Barrell Bourbon George Dickel Gordon's Fine WinesOn the nose — Corn (obviously, I mean this is a corn based spirit…).  Fried treats such as apple fritters (heavy in oil) and funnel cakes with powdered sugar.

Candied nuts such as cashew, filbert and pecans.  Sweet tomato sauce over fried dough on a paper bag with the oil soaking through the bag. I feel like they’ve bottled the smells from a fall country fair.  Salted butterscotch caramels, too.

Everything in its right place here. Amazing.

Barrell Bourbon George Dickel Gordon's Fine WinesIn the mouth — F#ck and Yes. A powerful entry (62.35% ABV after all) but the whisky is so viscous, the juice wraps your tongue in Phyllo dough, honey and walnuts (and walnut oil). It’s like drinking baklava.

If you feel like you need to add water, go ahead. Me? I think it’s at the perfect strength.

Honey cooked coconut flesh over vanilla ice cream with Kahlua poured over it all. This is such an indulgent whisky.

Finish — Interminable. The nuttiness takes over but there’s a salty element here to balance it out.

In sum — Drop dead gorgeous. I’m in love. This is one of those rare moments where I wish I had enough $$ to buy a whole case. I will need a 2nd bottle for sure. This is as celebratory a dram as it gets.  My hat’s off to you Nick and Kenny — a well selected cask of whisky!

 

Exclusive Malts 28yo Longmorn, 1985, 51.6%

 

Region – Speyside – 51.6% ABV – $200-285 (if you’re lucky enough to find a bottle)

Exclusive Malts Longmorn 1985 28 year oldOk. Full disclosure. By day I work for the US importer of The Exclusive Malts line of independently bottled whisky, ImpEx Beverages.

Full disclosure pt.2. This whisky is no longer available, and was actually imported well before I started my position with ImpEx.

Being that I don’t actually score whisky but instead just present tasting notes and general impressions (and occasional dick jokes), I figured it’s kosher for me give you said tasting notes and general impressions on this release.

What is “Exclusive Malts?” It’s a line of single cask whiskies bottled by David Stirk of Creative Whisky Company.  The line is fairly new to the US market.

So, there you go.  Truthfulness. Information. And below? Tasting notes:

Longmorn Exclusive Malts 1985 28 years oldOn the nose — Honey, honey honey smoked honey! Caramels covered by orange oil rubbed cigar wrappers.

There’s a flinty minerality to this whisky that seems to enter my nose in the form of light peat (perhaps wood effect?).  Crushed chardonnay grapes sans the sweetness.

Aged (read: an oaky presence)  with a good bit of life to it (read: not a tired old 28yo but a whisky that has life, and vibrance).  There’s a waxy texture to the nose, and a hint of the powder you’d find on a bubblegum cigar.

On the mouth — Given the waxy mouth feel, some would confuse this with an old Clynelish or Brora. Given the fizzy quality that floats on the waxiness, some would doubt this was a 28yo whisky.  It’s a bit of a contradiction in the mouth, but a welcome one, to be sure!

Cacao nibs

There’s all sorts of soft spice and light tobacco notes mixed in with chili infused milk chocolate, cocoa nibs, and macca root.

 

 

Longmorn Exclusive Malts 1985 28 years oldThe pears, they are baked with whole anise star, and cinnamon’d walnut oil.

There’s an elegance to this whisky that is very much a Longmorn quality.

Finish – Beautifully floral yet grassy, mineral-y yet sweet, and quite looooooonnnnnggg…

In sum – This is a great example of Longmorn.  Perhaps the best Longmorn I’ve had to date. This is a treat to any whisky fan or whisky novice.  A celebratory whisky, if you will.