onsdag 1 juli 2015

Laphroaig 15 yo – 200th anniversary edition!

In celebration of 200 years of Laphroaig, they decided to bring back the 15yo, which was discontinued in 2009 in favor of an 18 yo, which will instead be discontinued (in 2016) in favor of the 15 yo coming back… sounds complicated? Well, never mind that, let's just try the new limited edition 200th anniversary 15yo (I know it's complicated…). Anyways, it holds 43% ABV and I guess it is only, or near to only, matured in bourbon barrels.










Nose:
Mmm… classic Laphroaig! but overall very soft, both in terms of peat and in terms of everything else, so to speak… Trying to describe what’s on the nose I’d say that the peat is in the background and in the foreground we instead have very ”exotic fruits” and sweet liquorice actually. The exotic fruits are peach, passionfruit, and pear (maybe not that exotic but anyway…). Now that I think about it, when focusing on the peat-y stuff of this one, which is as I said more in the background or in the second layer, I feel that it kind of draws towards freshly ground black pepper… the black pepper mingles very nice with the liquorice and some kind of citric stuff… there are also some whiffs of arrack and soft vanilla… Now I wonder how this new 15yo compares to the old one?? Isn’t it amazing that I just ”happen” to have a sample of the old one lying around?! ☺

old on the left, new to the right

Nose of old 15yo:
Wow, I did not expect this… extremly calm and almost anonymous in comparison… almost no peat at all (!) there is a handful of vanilla though. The only exotic fruit that I pick up in this one is a very, very distant peach, maybe a touch of overripe banana or something like that. Other than that, in comparison with the new one, this is as calm as the night on a windless night. The new one is an explosion, yes an explosion, of scents on the nose… Ok, let’s see what the new on tastes like!

Palate (new 15yo):
Oh yes! Beautiful and classic Laphroaig! Starts of with a mix of salt and peat, elderflower lemonade. We also have a quite evident vanilla, there is also something reminding me of coffee, sort of, and something almost like milk-chocolate. Very thick and rich in texture actually, very more-ish/chewy… A bit of ”iron” and something citric or rather orange-y. The aftertaste is dry and softly, softly burning, but definitely not drying (which might sound strange but it’s the truth, I swear). Warming my chest beautifully…


Palate of old 15yo:
Compeltely different! At least when it comes to the first seconds/the first experience. The old one is not as elegant and soft/polished, but rather more ”out there”! The opposite of it’s nose that is… Very funny, a strange experience. Compared to the palate of the new one, the old one is as I said more out there, ”lots” of peat and kind of rugged, but sadly it does not have much of the elegant and soft side which is so nice and chewy/more-ish with the new one… The aftertaste of this old version brings something to mind that has to do with sherry-influence, maybe dried figs… other than that it’s kind of agressive on the aftertaste (in comparison at least), and also somthing quite green/herb-y. 

Overall
I would not really say that I would like to pick the nose from one and the palate from one to make an ultimate combination, because it’s so much about what mood you are in from time to time, and what kind of scents and tastes you would like to experience in a particular moment so I really don’t think that I can pick a combo of the two. But for now, during this beautiful summer day, I will go for the new version with it’s elegant nose and its more-ish palate! So Sláinte to 200 years of wonderful Laphroaig, and here’s to 200 more! 


Please follow SamuelWhisky on my Zuckerberg-page by going here, and on my bird-page by going here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro@gmail.com Sláinte!

onsdag 24 juni 2015

Kilchoman Loch Gorm (Batch 3 – 2015) 46% ABV

Dear followers! As you know by now, a couple of weeks ago I was very lucky to once again receive a package of samples from the nice people at Clydesdale (Sweden stop importer and seller of whisky and other beverages). The package contained a bunch of Kilchomans and now the time has finally come for me to try another one of the, namely the third batch of Kilchoman Loch Gorm that has been matured solely in sherry casks! Swedes will find it here. Ok, let’s see what we have here!

Nose:
Unfortunately I can’t really say that I pick up any specific or very evident notes of sherry cask… However, I do pick up something strongly reminding me of oranges or orange peel (maybe qumquats?) in combo with burnt sugar (maybe that’s the sherry influence in this whisky…). There’s also a fair amount of smooth vanilla. Beneath this top layer it’s of course impossible not to notice the very big peat, which has bold notes of burnt grass, pear and a very citric overnote in it. Nice, a really bold peat!

Palate:
Luckily there is some sherry-stuff on the palate! In the beginning I pick up a combo of salt and burnt sugar, sounds strange but I do… then of course comes the peat, a very rubber-y-ish kind of peat, rubber as in bicycle tires, moving on into sultana raisins so no really dark notes of sherry. The orange-y stuff actually comes back on the palate, or maybe it’s in there with the sugary stuff(?). We also have sweet and quite chewy liquorice. After a while everything becomes very, very dry, the whole tounge aswell as the upper-inner mouth… what ’s left in the late aftertaste is sort of a mix of peat, smoke and milkchocolate, kind of like having enjoyed a nice cigar… 


To sum up, please feel free to compare this tasting note with my tasting note of last years batch of the Loch Gorm. To me it's very interesting to see that I basically or in general picked up kind of the same things back then… I find it hard to believe that the sherry casks used for Loch Gorm are first fill, not that anyone has claimed that of course, but if I was the master distiller of Kilchoman I would definitely take this expression a bit longer and put the new-make into some really active and first fill sherry casks and let the fans of Kilchoman really experience that profile! Anyways, this expression of Kilchoman is of course nice in its own way, a very unique style and a very unique distillery for sure, but that is what I would like to experience!

A big thanks to the nice people at Clydesdale Original Scotch Whisky Co. Ltd Great Britain for sending me this tradesample! Please follow SamuelWhisky on my Zuckerberg-page by going here, and on my bird-page by going here

Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro@gmail.com Sláinte!

all rights/copyright to this pic belongs to Kilchoman distillery


tisdag 16 juni 2015

anCnoc 18yo 46% ABV!

When working with/taking care of Laphroaig at this years Beer and Whiskyfestival in Gothenburg I also had the great oppurtunity to visit some friends of mine in the buisness and talk about my favourite distillers/brands. I stopped by at Berntson Brands to see what’s going on and asked if there was anything in particular they wanted me to review. My friend Tommy was very keen on having me do a review of their next release, namely the new 18yo from anCnoc (Knockdhu Distillery). The 18yo will soon replace the 16yo so...

Now, according to the website the 18yo has been matured in a combination of Spanish ex-sherry casks as well as in American bourbon barrels. However, from the inside-material I have been provided with (big thanks Tommy) we get some more precise info stating the following: "Matured initially in first and second fill American oak, ex-bourbon casks, with a period of further maturation in first fill Spanish oak, ex sherry butts".

That's more like it! In other words, this is a sherry finished anCnoc! Also, bottled at 46% ABV and non chill-filtered. In Sweden, this bottling was released on the 5th of June but in very limited numbers, only 132 bottles. That said, only a few bottles are still available but Tommy tells me that they will try and source some more bottles ASAP. For international buyers it's available here  

So, is it yummy? Well let's find out… 


Nose: Mmm, really nice! So soft but still fat… Compared to the other anCnoc standard editions (the 12yo and  the 16yo which I would think of as primarily bourbon-ish) this one has a lot of sherry influence on the nose! The sherry-style is in fact the first thing I pick up so that’s nice! Quite powerful sherry influence that is, and also being quite thick and bold for being an anCnoc. This particular part of the nose also has a quite rich "citric" charachter to it. Besides this I also pick up a mix of dried peaches, dried figs and something like canned pears, maybe even the juice itself… maybe even a bit of pinneaple? Cool! below this layer of stuff we also have a quite fat vanilla vibe going on and on and on that’s sort of carrying all of the other stuff in it’s hand. I really could nose this forever… BUT! At the same time I really want to have a taste!

Tommy to the left, me on the right. As you can see I have a tasting note of Old Pulteney 35yo coming up! :)
Palate: Oh yes! This 18 year old really has an emphasis on sherry! Absolutetly beautiful palate! Together with this very ”warm” and confident mouthfeel of bold sherry-influence I pick up what I would refer to as slowly running quite dark honey… mmm… we also have a big hand of vanilla but not the fudge-ey kind, rather high-class vanilla powder in style (not dry of course)… also, we have smooooth almond paste, and dried sticky/chewy dates, but I can’t really pick up any of the fruits from the nose. All this is warming my chest in a wonderful way. Folks, together with the 35yo this is definitely the best (unpeated) anCnoc I’ve tasted so far, and I’m really not used to an anCnoc being this sherry-influenced, great stuff let me tell you, if I had a bottle of this one at home, I would definitely enjoy a wee dram of it every day!

A big thanks to the nice people at Berntson, especially to Tommy for providing me with the opportunity to try this beauty! Please follow SamuelWhisky on my Zuckerberg-page by going here, and on my bird-page by going here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro@gmail.com Sláinte!

pic belongs to/copyright of anCnoc

p.s I've heard there is a 24yo anCnoc coming soon and I think it is supposed to be exclusive for Sweden! it will be released at systembolaget as soon as the stock of the 22yo is out!

onsdag 3 juni 2015

Swedish whisky from Box – The Explorer 48,3% ABV!

Friends and followers! As you might remember, I very recently visited the Swedish distillery Box together with a small bunch of bloggers and colleagues alike, if you have not read that story yet, please check it out here. One of the reasons we were invited was to have an exclusive taste of their upcoming release The Explorer which will be released this friday, at least here in Sweden, so do check out the link to the release by clicking here

The Explorer is the third release in their series called the Early Days Collection. As you might know by now the people at Box Distillery are (and always will be) very, very, very open with their recipies and production process because they really want us to know what we are drinking, and how it was produced. This is of course the case also with The Explorer. 

So quoting (and translating) the press-release-kit I was provided with:

"The Explorer is mainly matured in bourbon casks, three different sizes, 40 litre, 100 litre, and traditional quarter casks at 130 litres. The ages vary from 3 years and 3 months, to roughly above 4 years. 61 percent of the whisky is peated, which gives The Explorer a quite smoky character. 

Much of the taste also comes from new oak. Ten percent of the casks are so called Fresh Oak, which contributes with lots of powerful tastes. The kinds of new oak used are three; swedish oak, hungarian oak and american oak. The casks have been charred from three given specifications; moving from medium charring up to heavily charring. The charring is of great significance for the features of the whisky and a very important part of the work behind the Early Days Collection"


Ok, sounds great, let's have a taste shall we?! 

Nose:
Gentle peat, soft smoke in mix with a very present but still restrained vanilla, sounds strange but it’s a bit hard to explain… to say that the vanilla definitely is there but not in the absolute foreground might be better… there is also some sugar-y-ish fudge, a bit of ”burned out campfire” (yay, my first time picking up campfire in a whisky!). I also pick up a touch of christmas tree, something citric but not very pronounced, the sweetness from overripe red apples… Veeery soft and quite fruity actually! Also, when it comes to the peat-profile/style of the peating itself, I kind of get a feeling of Connemara, yes! quite similar… (and you all know that I looove Connemara). One thing that is very obvious, compared to the previous releases is that on the nose there is no sign of, or anything at all reminding me of raw-spirit/new-make in this release. There was a wee bit of that in the previous releases, but non in this one. A very good sign. Let’s have a taste!


Palate:
The peat is the thing that hits the tounge first. More peat on the palate than I figured there would be judging from the nose! Very delicate mix of soft vanilla somewhere in the background of everything, but the most pronounced stuff on the palate, after the peat, is a variety of different fruits, sort of like overripe banana, peach (both the actual fruit and peach-candy), honey-melon, apple, a touch of new oak, and quite fire-y-ish wood so to speak… When holding the whisky in my mouth for a couple of seconds or three, really tasting it, almost ”chewing” the whisky, I find that first comes the peat, then the touches of/the feeling of new oak acts as a bridge that slowly moves on into the fruity stuff. An absolute seamless developement of tastes on the palate, I’m not kidding folks, this is very good stuff… such a great composition when it comes to the total balance and how the flavours develop and interact! And, as I observed on the nose with no ”new-make vibes”, it’s absolutely the same on the palate. Of course one feels that it is quite a young whisky, but this is very, very good for being this age, very smooth, this is definitely their best so far!

Finally, a big thanks to the nice people at Box Distillery for providing me with the opportunity to try The Explorer! 

Please follow SamuelWhisky on my Zuckerberg-page by going here, and on my bird-page by going here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro@gmail.com Sláinte!

picture belongs to/copyright Box Distillery


lördag 30 maj 2015

Kilchoman 100% Islay (5th edition) 50% ABV

Dear friends and followers, thanks for stopping by to see what's happening in the world of SamuelWhisky! A couple of days ago I was very lucky to once again receive a package of samples from the nice people of Clydesdale (Swedens top importer and seller of whisky and other beverages). 

This time the package contained samples (whisky and a Bramble Liquer) from the Islay Distillery Kilchoman only! Out of the latest release of their "Machir Bay" and their dito "Loch Gorm" and "100% Islay" I decided to devote todays blog-entry to the latter. Here in Sweden it will be released on the 1st of June

The Kilchoman 100% Islay has as you can all understand been produced with barley only coming from Islay and having been malted and peated at the distillery. The yeast is not from Islay (and of course not the barrels/casks) but other than that, it is all Islay! It has been matured in ex-bourbon barrels which were filled between 2009 and 2010, meaning that this whisky should be 5yo at its youngest and 6yo at its oldest. This is how Anthony Wills (Kilchoman Founder and Managing Director) describes the difference between this Kilchoman expression and the regular expressions: 

"There is a clear difference between the 100% Islay range and other releases, the lighter peating level and maturation exclusively in ex-bourbon barrels gives the whisky a beautiful fragrance and balance (…) We expect that followers of Kilchoman will enjoy this latest Edition of the 100% Islay, the added maturation time compared to previous releases has given the whisky added depth and balance, we expect it to be a hit"

Well let's see if Anthony is right then shall we?! 

Nose:
Holding the glass at a few centimetres from my nose I get a really soft mint with touches of something green, some kind of mint-ish and/or herby-ish leaves, or maybe I’m just thinking about the herb you put in a Mojito… (?) at the same distance there is also touches of very mature pear and a quite ashy smoke. Movning the glass closer, almost dipping my nose in there, I also get citrus, moving towards orange peel mingling with smoked vanilla and cucumber-water. This Kilchoman does not scream ”PEAT!” right in your face, but you can’t really not notice the peat, it’s definitely there and always in combo with other stuff, I guess what I’m trying to say is that the peat does not stand alone, if you know what I mean? Really mature for it’s age and that wee touch of new-spirit that has been in a couple of earlier Kilchomans is not in this one. So a taste maybe?! 


Palate:
Beginning on smoked salt! A wee bit of new-spirit in the beginning of the palate mixed up with something rubber-ish, but that quickly goes away and moves on to what is definitely a nice handfull of peat, and salt, but still very soft, so not really a fist of peat that slaps you in the face, rather it caresses your mouth. This soft peat is not bad of course, on the contrary, I’d say that this is one of the most elegant and sophisticated Kilchomans I’ve ever tried! Really smooth, and the interesting thing is the very smooth parts of the early aftertaste, not really showing the mint, but almost as if there had been som orangepeel macerated in the whisky for a short period of time, giving this whisky a really nice touch of citrus, also the cucumber-water comes back. The late aftertaste is a combo of dry and mouthwatering, very interesting feeling!

A big thanks to the nice people at Clydesdale Original Scotch Whisky Co. Ltd Great Britain for sending me this tradesample! Please follow SamuelWhisky on my Zuckerberg-page by going here, and on my bird-page by going here

Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro@gmail.com Sláinte!

pic belongs to Clydesdale/Kilchoman Distillery


onsdag 20 maj 2015

Visiting the Swedish Box Distillery to taste their next release!!!

Dear friends, followers and fellow whiskydrinkers! About five months ago, Hasse Nilsson, the Senior Brand Ambassador of Box Distillery, came to the pub where I do tastings once a month, to host a tasting himself, completely consisting of Box whisky. Not only did I have the wonderful pleasure to for once actually attend and enjoy a tasting (instead of ”just” conducting it), I was also informed that Box Distillery would soon invite a bunch of bloggers to visit the distillery, and I was told I was one of them! I was as you can all understand very happy to hear these great news and said to Hasse in a typically swedish insecure way: ”But my blog is so small... Is this really true?!” upon which he replied ”That might be, but you are one of the bloggers we would really like to pay us a visit!”

So, last weekend, the time had finally come for us to visit the distillery, AND also to taste their next release, "The Explorer"! Nine bloggers including myself travelled from our respective hometowns to Stockholm and Uppsala, where we were all picked up by Hasse, and the Distillery Manager/Master Distiller Roger Melander himself and went on a road trip to the region where the distillery is situated.

Now, Box Distillery (producing whisky since 2010) is one of the worlds most northern distilleries producing both peated and non-peated whisky. On the site of the distillery, production of material for wooden boxes took place, hence the name, Box. As you can see from the picture below the distillery (in the brick building) kind of looks like a box, although a really good-looking one, right? (To check out what critics from the business have to say about Box Distillery please read here, and for a 360-tour of the still-house please click here)

Box Distillery © BOX 

After many, many, many hours by car (having a wee “car-tasting” and a fun music quiz as we went along)



we finally reached the first stop, the Höga Kusten Hotell (High Coast Hotel) with it’s beautiful surroundings and the amazing High Coast-bridge just out front! 

The High Coast-bridge

We all sat down in the restaurant and enjoyed a really nice three-course dinner after which we were invited to a tasting.

 

But, no tasting of Box Whisky is complete without a proper and super informative/nerdy lecture from the Distillery Manager on the how-to of whisky production in general, and the art of producing Box whisky in particular. 


After a while our mouths started watering (or rather drooling) and it was finally  
time for the tasting, a blind tasting!


The tasting consisted of five whiskies, all of them of course from Box. Out of these five, each one of us was assigned the mission to choose two whiskies of our liking, which was not very easy, believe me! We tasted (although not knowing it at the time)

1. Their next release “The Explorer” 48,3% ABV
2. Cask sample of a 3yo fully oloroso sherrymatured non-peated whisky 54% ABV (first fill)
3. Cask sample of a 2,5yo fully bourbonmatured non-peated whisky 54% ABC (first fill)
4. Cask sample of an almost 3yo fully bourbonmatured 43ppm peated whisky 54% ABV (first fill)
5. Box Distillery festival bottling 3yo “Festival 2014 [Non-official version]” 52,7% ABV


Anyways, from this line-up I chose number 3 (which was sooo good!) and 2 as my two favourite whiskies, and together with the other bloggers we actually purchased a cask of bourbonmatured non-peated whisky from Box that will be ready to bottle in three to four years time. And you should really think about doing the same (following this link). 

Roger Melander with the complete line-up!
The whole crew!



























After the tasting, the hotel bar sadly turned out to be closed, but as you can imagine, in some magic way the party went on any way!

yay!
The next morning, after a couple of hours of sleep, some breakfast and a half hour trip by car, we finally arrived at the distillery! If I say that we received an ordinary distillery tour, well then I wouldn’t tell you the truth, cause it was definitely a VIP-tour! We did everything you can imagine. We checked out the mill. Got distilling at Box Distillery thoroughly explained

Spirit-still and the wash-still in the background
What is Roger measuring?!

we tasted the wash, which was amazing and in a kind of “wheat-beer”-style, sparkling with a taste of fizzy lemon and lime 

 © Bennie of tastenote.se

























 visited the bottling-line/bottling-room

bottles waiting for labels




















of course we tasted the peated as well as the non-peated spirit

 


took a tour in the two warehouses filled with maturing whisky



and what all the bloggers of course looked forward to, yes tasting Box whisky straight from the cask!

















We started out with tasting a non-peated whisky maturing in a first fill oloroso sherrybutt number 2013-7 of 500 litres. The whisky was at around 61,5% ABV and at the age of 2 years and four months old. It tasted amazing and so smooth, at least like a 10yo!



Then Roger let us taste a peated whisky from a bourbon barrel which he described as something like “peat gone mad”, but let me tell you friends, it was definitely alright! The tasting session ended in a very exciting way, a non-peated whisky that had first been matured for 3 years in a 40 litre bourbon barrel and then been transferred to an as close to square-shaped barrel (!) as possible, made out of Swedish oak, for a final finishing of seven months. 





This particular barrel was, as most casks/barrels used by Box, of course produced by Swedens only cooper in an homage to Box Distillery, trying to make something funny and extraordinaire associating to the name “Box” J

Roger drawing a big sample for us to taste

Mmmm... the "boxed" Box was amazing!
As you can all understand, we had a great time and I felt really sad to leave the distillery… But, we will of course go back very soon to follow the progress of our maturing whisky! Tasting note of "The Explorer" will come very soon, so watch this space. Finally, a BIG thanks to Hasse, Roger and all the other great people at Box Distillery for arranging such a nice visit!

 

Please follow SamuelWhisky on my Zuckerberg-page by going here, and on my bird-page by going here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro@gmail.com Sláinte!

The whole crew! © Martin of peat.se