Tag Archives: Cinnamon

Speed dating… with whisk(e)y! Episode 2: Koval Bourbon


koval_bourbon_largeChicago, IL – 47% ABV – $53

Yet another date with a Koval whiskey.

This time it’s Koval Four Grain‘s (seemingly younger) sister, Koval Bourbon.

The mash bill is corn and millet.  Organic grains, of course.

Koval-Bourbon-1On the nose (Date # 1) –  Upfront spirity yet spicy sweetness that is reminiscent of Big Red gum.

Touches of dill weed and surprisingly enough, lithium grease.

Quite interesting for a bourbon with the industrial component.

On the mouth (Date # 2, a bit unsure about how this relationship is going however, I am hopeful) – That spice component is first and foremost.  She’s getting fresh with me.  I can dig that.

Koval-Bourbon-2Woody, for sure (the flavor, not my reaction to the spiciness) but the spirit is there as well.

Hmmm, bubble gummy and a nice little mouth feel to it.

Finish (Date # 3: The deciding factor) – Oatcakes and a touch more cinnamon.  Medium in length.

In sum (The decision) – This whiskey would hold up well in a tasting as it tells it’s own story.  And if you enjoy younger whiskeys this is right up your alley.

For me, it’s a little too young.  Some extra time in the barrel would marry well with what I can tell is a fine spirit.  Is that always the way?! Someone in a relationship is always acting a little immature – usually it’s me!

While I don’t think we’ll become malt-friend and boy-friend, we *will* remain friends.

Three various Single Casks in the Chieftain’s range: Jura, Glen Kieth and Craigellachie


Various regions of Scotland…  3 different single casks bottled for the Chieftain’s range.

After a few quick points, we will get straight on to the reviews today!

Special thanks to the folks from ImpEx for the cask samples!

To learn more about the Chieftain’s Range in general, click here.

Chieftain’s Glen Kieth 17yo bottled at 54.9% ABV

On the nose  A light peat influence here, or so it would seem.

Salty, hay and a touch of candy-like lemon drops (a thread of smoke?).

Sherry-like influence (getting hints of Amontillado) but also sort of bourbon in character (think wood spice, honey and even a shake of white pepper).

A fun little nose, if a little confused.

On the mouth Light white berries, unripened plums, sugared plums as well.

Biscuits, undercooked.  Pie crusts… Oh!  Gooseberry pie.  This is nice.

Somewhat simple but nice and focused.

Lightly oily slightly effervescent feel to it.

Finish –  Shortish with, again, a thread of smoke.

Chieftain’s Jura 12yo bottled at 58.4% ABV

On the nose Few whiskies yell at me from the glass saying, “Hey Hatton, I was distilled at such and such distillery… duh!!!” like Jura yells at me.

It always seems to start off with a note that I can only call Eeore’s thistles – like burning pricker bushes.

On top of this is a slight soapy quality.  People get a little freaked out about a soap quality in a whisky.  For me, done right, the soap “quality” can be just that, a “quality.”

The soap on this is within tolerance but surely on the higher side.

There’s also a touch of lavender in here as well as calking.

On the mouth Very industrial to taste, window putty, calking, wet cement.

Pushing these notes to the side and now we discover some great gristy notes.  You can taste the wash (beer to be distilled into spirit) but it’s very beer-like.  Lager-like.  But, a good lager (sans hops, obviously).

Rainbow candy buttons.

Finish Short and slightly drying.

Chieftain’s Craigellachie 21yo bottled at 58.3% ABV

On the nose You can see why they use so much of this malt in the Dewar’s blend.  It’s got a nice, balanced nose.

Let me start of with the fact that, even at 58.3%ABV, it’s not hot on the nose.  The scents are all right there.

This noses like a 21yo:  Wood spice and dill covered lemon slices.  Green wood and honey spice.  Apple sauce with brown spices.  Are you catching a theme here?  Tough to get beyond the spiced quality.

I’m a fan of the spice bombs so, let see how it translates in the flavor profile.

Adding a dash of water brings out some notes of pool water and gobs of malt!

On the mouth Yeah, yeah… this is it.  This is what I look for in, say, some of the older Dailuaines…  Fruity little spice bombs.

This is, however, just a little hot.  Without water, we’ve got baked pears with a slight hint of cloves.  Also, vanilla.  A good deal of vanilla.  Yeah, water is needed with this one.

Not just to temper the heat but the water *really* opens up this whisky!

Ooey flan comes to mind as I take another sip.  Browned sugar and candied fennel.

Finish A long and overly spiced finish.  Perhaps a bit too spiced (if there were such a thing).  Wow, very long.

In sum

Glen Kieth:  An interesting whisky.  My first Glen Kieth.  Over all, I liked it.  I wonder what a few more years in the cask might have done for this whisky…

Jura: Yeah, this is an odd one.  Over all, while it was a little all over the place, I enjoyed drinking it.  Nosing it was enjoyable mainly because it’s got that Jura oddness that has you coming back for more.  This really is a winter-warmer-upper!

Craigellachie: With a dash of water, I am incredibly impressed with this cask.  It tells a wonderfully balanced story from beginning to end (with the spice volume turned up just a touch too high at the finish).  Without the water….well, I suggest you add a dash.  Should you get a bottle, you’ll see what I mean.  This is one where the extra H20 makes an incredible difference.

For more solid reviews of Chieftain’s reviews, be sure to check out Peter’s (of “The Casks” fame) reviews.

An interview with David Perkins, the man behind High West Whiskey – part II of II


Video interview with David Perkins of High West – Part II of II: wherein David continues to take us through his new whiskey “Campfire” (my review of Campfire can be found beneath the videos) we discuss peat, blending and he then gives us a virtual tour of High West’s Distillery and award winning restaurant.

You can see Part I of this interview here.

I think the above intro basically tells all.  I hope you enjoy the balance of this interview as much as I enjoyed interviewing David:

And now the fourth and final video:

And finally, my review of High West’s Campfire whiskey – a blend of Bourbon, Rye whiskey and peated Scotch whisky:

High West Campfire – 46%ABV$50

On the nose  Spicy and bright nose. Hints of pine resin and toasted rye bread.  Brown spices and a touch of shoe leather.  Honey and chai.  Approachable/easy.  Joyful.

New charred-oak & subtle spice, jasmine & sandalwood.  Some citrus spice laced with just a hint of smoke as a backbone.

Given the name of the whiskey, not as much smoke on the nose as you’d expect.

On the mouth Forceful attack with big spice upfront.  A nice mouthfeel.   Toast and blueberry jam (notes I love to find with heavier toasted barrels).

Nutmeg, cinnamon and some orange zest.  Floral with citrus spice, like a rye IPA.

Smoke all around the edges, like burning twigs mayhaps…

Wonderful toasty and vanilla spice (chai) on the sides of the tongue.

Finish Long and spicy (with the spice staying toward the back of the tongue).

In sum — A warmer upper for sure.  This is a whiskey with a very “American” attitude however the addition of the Scotch whisky to the blend offers depth and dimension that many bourbons can’t provide.

Kudos to David Perkins for putting in some extra sweat equity in creating a truly different whisk(e)y experience.

Thanks, too, for the sample!

Hey Dora, you want some more’a that Chieftain’s 30yo Brora?

Highlands Region – 54.6%ABV – Sherry Butt # 1523 – 469 bottles –  1981/2011 – 30yo – was $249 at K&L Wines but is sadly all sold out (in a pre-release sale nonetheless!)

…how about you Fauna? You wanna?

A gold star to the first person that gets the references in this post’s title and in the first sentence.

It’s not often you get a chance to have Brora in your glass and when you do you need to give thanks to G-d, Adonai, the Whisky Fairy, El, Elvis… what ever you call your higher power.  Brora whiskies are like hens teeth.  Very expensive hens teeth (though comparatively speaking, at $249, this 30 Brora is cheap.  The last 30yo Brora I reviewed was from a $400 bottle!)

The Brora distillery, or “old Clynelish” as it’s sometimes referred to, closed in 1983 (along with many other distilleries).  It’s stills are no longer operational.  We’ll never see this lost distillery opened again which is quite sad as they produced stellar spirit!

As I pointed out in my last review of a Brora whisky, Serge Valentin of WhiskyFun! did a great piece on the Brora distillery over at the Connosr website.  It’s well worth a read.

On to the whisky at hand.

On the nose Upon first nosing there’s an oh-so noticeable waft of sherry and oak.  It sort of slaps you.  Wakes you up.  Well, I’m already awake and prefer not to be slapped.

Let’s give this whisky a little time with some air.  (Ten minutes go by.)

It’s amazing how I am rewarded just by simply displaying a touch of patience.  The sherried notes are there, yes, as is the oak/age.  However, wonderful hints of mint and fennel followed by smoked caramels (salted) say hello to my nose.  Hi.

I am now able to inhale deeply and when I do there’s a fair amount of black pepper and some cured meats (think Linguiça).

Increasingly peppery with traces of dried fruits and tanning oil.

On the mouth Wow.  Wow-wow.  Deliciously oily and slightly waxy.

Bursts of pepper along the sides of the tongue, crushed fruit cherry bars and sweet rose water up the center of the tongue.

Baked apples with a ton of brown spices and sugar.

Pot pourri, fig newtons.  Lots of fig cookie qualities here – breading and all.

Hints of smoke here and there.  Everytime you think you found the smoke, it hides away.

Not a touch of sulfur or a bit of that over-oaked “quality” you’d be concerned with in an older whisky such as this.

Finish Incredibly lengthy with an Oolong, floral sweetness at the way back of the tongue.

In sum  A absolute stunning single cask of whisky.  One of the best I’ve had this year.  Easily.  Balanced, luxurious, indulgent and warming.

Kudos to Chieftain’s for choosing this cask of Brora (great choice!)  and adding it to their range.

Sirius Whisky Purveyors – 1964 single cask of Dalmore

Highlands region – 60%ABV – $$??

Being that I don’t know much about this whisky (the exception being that it’s single cask, cask strength, 47 years old, natural color and no artificial coloring added) or the full scope of what Sirius Whisky Purveyors is up to with their whiskies, I’m going to keep the preamble to a minimum.

What I do know is that Sirius is an independent bottler to the Nth degree.  Pun is actually intended here as Sirius is owned and run by Mahesh Patel – the man responsible for a very unique whisky show – the “Nth” or, Universal Whisky Experience — THE ultimate whisky show with respects to it featuring only the oldest, rarest, high cost whiskies.

It’s no wonder that Mahesh has chosen this cask of Dalmore (in addition to many other casks soon to be released) – it screams premium!  A 47 year old single cask of Dalmore?  You know it.

Whisky shows as well as old and premium single malts aside, Mahesh is a heck of a guy.  A total charmer.  Personable, smart, sweet and, man, he knows his whisky!

I will release more information about Sirius Whisky Purveyors as soon as it’s available to me.

On the nose  Sharp and bright yet its age is made known.  Notes of sugar cane and demerara rum.

Tiramisu and a big, boozy orange with traces of cloves and allspice.

Interesting note here – raw ramen noodles!  For a 47yo whisky – this is very alive.  Not at all tired.

Roasted nuts, pickled ones too.

A full humidor cigar shop (I’m thinking Corona Cigar Company in Florida).

The addition of water softens the whisky a bit and adds a “dusty” element and puts a focus on the tobacco notes.

On the mouth Incredibly hot.  I think it’s safe to say that some water will help to open this one up a bit – it’s quite, tight.  The addition of water is like sending this to a whisky masseuse.

An interesting mix of what you’ve come to know and love from a sherried whisky (tobacco, prunes, cinnamon, cloves, citrus, etc…) but there’s a young, juicy quality here that I can only equate to Hi-C fruit juice – hey, I have kids.  What do you expect?

A touch of brine and a good deal of spice.

Finish Decent length with allspice and oranges.

In sum This whisky not only holds up to water but shines with it.  Without the water, I found it to be just too hot (for my tastes).  With water though, it’s really lovely.  No signs of its age from an over-oaked perspective.  However, it’s age shows in terms of complexity.  A touch off balance without water but spot on with.

I’m not sure what the cost of this whisky will be but my guess is a 47yo Dalmore will cost a pretty shekel so you’re most likely going to break this out for the “special times” in life or, this will make a great addition to your whisky collection (if that’s your bag).