Tag Archives: Pipe Tobacco

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar dram # 18 – A.D. Rattray’s Auchroisk 1993, 22yo, Cask # 2789


Region – Speyside – ABV – 52.6%

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015Known for its spicy character, Auchroisk is a natural for blends that require a little bit of a spicy or peppery zing to them. The distillery name “Auchroisk” is also known for having a plethora of mispronunciations. As I am told, the true pronunciation is “Oth-rusk.”

There you go! You’ve just learned something new. You’re welcome.

I tend to put Auchroisk, Tormore and Dailuaine in the “these are the spicy malts” category.  And hey, it’s Friday, right? Shouldn’t we have a little spice in our lives on a Friday?

Also, words, words, words, blah, blah, blah… You’re likely in line for the new Star Wars film so I could start writing whatever the heck I want to right now. Maybe even toss in some swear words and dick jokes if the feeling so hits me. No one will care because… oh, wait, you can read this on Dec 19th and thereafter, huh? Ok, ok, on to the review… (darn it):

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015On the nose — It takes a little bit but… Delicately floral, and only hints of chiles. What follows this are notes of lemongrass, kefir leaves, coconut soup!

Melon and citrus infused simple syrup.  Top this off with some hints of crushed almonds.

In the mouth — Here’s where the spice kicks in. Bright and gripping with added softer tones of chamomile, vanilla, honeysuckle, and pipe tobacco.

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015Meyer lemon zest with a wonderful almond paste note. This is such a great combination of fresh, spicy, inviting and yet soft.

Finish — Not long enough!!

In sum — Just a wonderfully delicious single cask of whisky. If you’ve ever thought of taking a chance on a bottle of Auchroisk, this’d be a GREAT entrée!

Nikka Whisky from the Barrel

Japan – 51.4% ABV –  50cl – $40 | £25 | €29

Welcome, my friends, to Desert Island dram-land.

This past Friday I ended the week on with a review on quite possibly one of the worst whiskies I’ve ever had.  I’m not one who normally ends the week on a bad note but hey, whatevs – “I do what I want

I figured, however, that being that I ended on such a negative note last week that I should start off this week with one of the best whiskies out there – especially for the money.

A solid Japanese blended whisky from Nikka that has a permanent spot on my whisky shelf.

Nikka “Whisky from the Barrel”:

On the nose Jolly Rancher grapefruit sweetness, big oak (like a baseball bat being stuck up my nose), turmeric, floral and spiced, old books…

Some slight pipe tobacco (while pipe is burning).

The list is going on and on and on…

Taking a break…

A return to the nose reveals holiday cake (OK, Christmas Cake) and artificial chocolate.

On the mouth Spicy, chewy caramels.

Vanilla, more oak (damp, damp oak).

Last year’s gone-soft Werther’s candies.

Finish A nice length with lasting vanilla and oak spice candles.

In sum At 25gbp for 50cl, this is an insane steal. This is an everyday dram for me.  Cracking, powerful, easy drinking and a well crafted cask strength Japanese blended whisky.

I’m not the only one who has a woody over this one —  you can read Jason of Guid Scotch Drink notes here, Gal of Whisky Israel’s notes here (toward the very bottom of the post) and you can read the notes from Whisky for Everyone here.

Yamazaki 18yr – wonderfully sherried

Japan – 43%ABV – 750ml –  $80-100 | £60 | €73

I’ll get right to the point here, I loves me some Japanese whisky.  Yamazaki 12yr?  Loved it.  Nikka Yoichi 12yr?  Can I have more?  The Yamazaki Sherry cask?  I will sin for you.  Nikka Yoichi 20yr 1988 vintage?  Sweet fancy Moshe!!

This is the tip of the iceberg.  Here’s my next new love – The Yamazaki 18yr – a fine sherried whisky.

On the nose Delicious sherried nose. Spicy as all hell with bursts of cinnamon.

Hot pepper peanut butter.

Red grapes and grappa.

Underneath some great notes of prunes.

That high sweet note that I just love from the Yamazaki whiskies.

A salty note is here – celery salt?

Finally, new leather and pipe tobacco.

On the mouth Chili pepper chocolates.

Crystalized ginger.

Caramels, poached pear (slight).

Fresh lawn mulch.

The mouth feel is so chewylicious….  Not a super winey sherried malt (thank you Suntory!) just, nice.

Finish Cheyenne peppers and breakfast cereals – Kellogs mini-wheats (sans frosting).

Oak and tobacco.

Lasting & lovely.

In sum I haven’t met a Yamazaki I haven’t loved.  A finely balanced whisky perfect for the fall time.  Watch the leaves fall, throw on a sweater, get ready for the new year (I’m talking Rosh Hashanah here, folks).

Glenmorangie Signet – Wonderfully different yet so quintessentially Glenmo!

Glenmorangie Signet

Highlands region – 46%ABV – 750ml bottle – $150200 | £110 | €134

Hi, my name is Joshua and I loves me some Glenmorangie.  But, let’s back up a little bit, shall we?

Growing up I was a fat kid.  Yeah, that’s me with the man-boy boobs and the feathered cow-lick on the left there.  We’re looking at 1984 – 1985 or so.  I was 11 or 12.  This is the summer I started getting into the Dead Kennedys and got hooked on The Goonies (can’t you just picture me doing the truffle-shuffle?) and Back to the Future.

Why do I bring this up and what does it have to do with Glenmorangie?

Well, it was the summer of 1985 where I ate ‘G-d knows how many peaches’ in one sitting after watching the Cool Hand Luke 50 egg scene just to see how many I could eat (I never did vomit, by the way).  We had 10 peaches and yes, I ate them all (shit, look at that picture of me!).  You see, I love peaches & nectarines.  Always have.  I actually prefer nectarine (they’re like peaches that got a Brazilian wax).

“Dear Joshua, what does this have to do with Glenmorangie?”  Well, I’ll tell you.  Ardbeg is known for peat & lemons.  The Balvenie has their “honeyed” notes.  And, Glenmorangie is known for it’s, among other notes, peach notes.  It’s all coming together now, right?  Love for peaches, love for Glenmorangie… see??

Ok, its a stretch.  I needed a chance to show fat Josh (yeah, right) so, there you go.  Let’s review this.

On the nose Aero milk chocolate bars.

Wonderful scents of paraffin wax.

Whiffs of recently extinguished candles.

Notes of ripe lush oranges and freshly brewed coffee.

Stewed figs and prune juice.

Underneath all of this lies the juicy peach notes (seeeeee!) that I always search for when having a Glenmorangie.

Finally, some great blasts of pipe smoke (how did I not detect this right off).

On the mouth Oh, G-d damn.  Brilliant and warming notes of melting chocolate chips with bits of cookie attached.

Whole milk and steamy lattes.

Fine dry wine.

Like some Clarets I’ve had – soft but tannic.

The mouth feel is right up my alley, lush.

Walnut shells and cherry skins.

Finish Zucchini bread and/or carrot cake with walnuts minus the cream cheese frosting.

There’s a drying nuttiness that pops up about 45 seconds after the swallow.

Yes, this is a nice, long finish!!

In sum I’ve had many-many a Glenmorangie in my whisky tasting life.  Of all the whiskies I’ve had, I’ve had more expressions of Glenmorangie than any other brand of whisk(e)y.  This expression was as much un-like a Glenmorangie as it was like the quintessential Glenmorangie.  Brilliantly different yet so dead on.  Beyond this, it’s unlike any other whisky I’ve ever had.  A bit of a conundrum but, that’s a good thing.  Kudos/Bravo Glenmorangie and Dr. Bill Lumsden!  If you have the money, this is most likely one of the nicest every day drinkers for you to have.  It’s that good.

Nikka Yoichi 20yr 1988 Vintage

Japan – 55%ABV – 700ml bottle – $|£|€ ???

No matter where I look, this whisky is sold out.  And, I think I know why  (see my notes below) – here’s what the good folks over that The Whisky Exchange have to say about it:

“A follow up to the incredible Nikka 1987 vintage 20yo that won the World’s Best Single Malt at last year’s World Whiskies Awards, this 1988 is a full-strength mix of both light and heavily-peated whiskies from new oak, refill casks, bourbon barrel and sherry butts – sounds phenomenal.”

Phenomenal??  Hell yes.  A HUGE thanks to The Whisky Wall for the sample!

On the nose Oh mercy, what an amazing nose!

Very strange notes of baklavah, pipe tobacco (being smoked), kim chee and sherry.

Deep dried fruit (like a fried compote filled with plums and apricots – actually, I’m reminded of a Charoset I had a couple of years back.).

Insanely easy to nose.

A tad spicy and (like many Japanese whiskies I’ve had) some sweet top notes that remind me of bourbon.

Green tea and dark chocolate with elegant peat smoke.

On the mouth Like chewing on chocolate covered fresh tobacco leaves.

Both salty and smoky (like smoked capers).

Dried dates and papaya.  Floral potpourri.

Stewed fruits then a highlight on sweetly smoked lemons.

Finish Lasting fruit – every dried fruit imaginable, lovely & lasting.

In sum– Quite remarkable, really; nearing on ridiculous (or ludicrous) as to how good this whisky was.  The balance is remarkable and at 55%, with the nose/palate/finish combination it’s very drinkable.  Only 3500 bottles were made available and, you guessed it, not in the US.  Feck.

This is a very contemplative dram.  If you can get your hands on some of this, save it for some “YOU” time.  Sit back, enjoy the cool breeze (maybe throw a sweater on, light a fire) and think about “what it all means”.