måndag 24 augusti 2015

Swedish Whisky from Smögen – Single Sauternes Cask 57,3% ABV

Today I bring you a review of the coming release from the Swedish west coast distillery, Smögen! As you know by now they only produce peated whisky (45 ppm). During the Gothenburg Beer and Whisky festival I was very lucky to exchange a couple of words with Pär, the distillery manager/master distiller, to see if there was anything in particular that he wanted me to review. And of course there was, a single sauternes cask (7/2011) at the age of 4 yo. It has of course spent all of it's time in the sauternes cask, so no silly finish! Here in Sweden it will be released on thursday and international buyers can find the products of Smögen Distillery here

Ok let's see what's on the palate!










Nose:
The top layer is sweet and sour in an extreme mix! I imagine something like fermented dark raisins resting in freshly squeezed limejuice… (no wonder the raisins would ferment if you leave ’em resting in juice just like that… J ) very intriguing! Below the top layer I pick up something reminding me of a mix of extremely ripe plums in sugar syrup, damp leather, bicycle tire, green marzipan and some very, very dark and fat peat. Very earthy indeed… There’s also roasted hazelnuts and maraschino cherries, actually, this dram is quite christmas-y! Believe me people, I could nose this one forever!


Palate:
OOH    M-Y    G-O-D! I just have to buy a bottle of this one! The beginning of the the palate is soo smooth, sugar syrup-y, sugar candied dried figs, dark rasisins, chocolate sticky-cake. Simly amazing! After swollowing, everything is slowly moving on into a quite powerful kick of very dark and viscous/sluggish peat. Getting more and more dry, not just the tounge but even my throat! This is definitely, without a doubt, THE best Swedish whisky I’ve had so far, nothing else comes close so the other Swedish distillers really have something to be inspired by here. In fact, this is one of the best whiskies I’ve ever had!

now isn't that a beautiful color?!

I can’t believe this is ”only” four years old, so mature and full bodied, and it has spent all of it’s four years in a full sized 228 litre cask and I would describe the whisky as fully grown up. I can’t imagine what would happen if you let it rest in the cask for even longer…

the bottle. copyright belongs to Smögen Distillery
Sláinte and a big thanks to Pär for sharing a sample of this one! Please make sure also to follow my FB-page by going here, and my twitter-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 


Pär to the left, SamuelWhisky to the right
the sauternes cask! copyright belongs to Smögen Distillery

lördag 1 augusti 2015

Laphroaig CS batch 007 vs. Lahroaig Green Stripe 57,3% ABV!

Dear friends and followers! SamuelWhisky is back after a one month of summer break, although in retrospect it has not been that much of a summer weather, at least not here in Sweden… Anyways, today I will do something I've been longing to do for a looong time; put the newly released Laphroaig Cask Strength batch 007 at 56,3% ABV head to head with the so called "Green Stripe" Laphroaig Cask Strength at 57,3% ABV. The Green Stripe was the original and first version of Laphroaig CS to ever be relased. Since then it has changed design three times.  








So, I will put the latest release of Laphroaig CS, batch 007 which was released in honor of Laphroaigs 200th anniversary, against the old Green Stripe (released around 2005 I think). The difference between the two is only the ABV. Usually the Green Stripe is remembered among fans as a real peat monster, and it is said that the versions coming after are more accessible to "the big crowd", whatever that means… Lets find out by starting off with batch 007!


007 nose:
Very seasalt-y! Huge amounts of ”fresh” leather, or whatever the opposite of old leather is… we also got quite a big load of roasted bitter almond, and of course LOTS of peat, almost liquorice-infused peat in fact (or the other way around). The peat is not smoky though, rather drawing on ashes, or totally burnt out and cold peat. With a really deep nosing, and really looking for it, I do get quite a lot of dried lemon peel. Beautiful stuff, could nose this one  forever…


Green Stripe nose:
Wow! This old expression boasts of vanilla, huge amounts of it! I didn’t even pick that up in the 007… The peat is definitely more restrained in the Green Stripe and not as ”warm” and seasalt-y-ish as in the 007. The dried lemon peel is here too but more drawing towards dried orange peel, or citric peel in general, mixed up with full-fat (unwhipped) cream. On the other hand, in this one there is a more citric note in general that together with all the vanilla sort of surrounds or embraces everything else, compared to the 007 where the peat is sorrounding everything, interesting…

007 palate:
Oh damn! This is soo intense stuff! Extremely salt, not liquorice but rather actual salt! Not just on the front of the tounge but covering my whold mouth, throat, everything, almost like as if John Cambell himself decided to pour some salt directly into the bottle! Under the layer of salt is a quite agressive peat mixed with liquid smoke and citrus-fruits/citruspeel… In the layer below I get overripe pear and vanilla. This is incredibly intense and really warms my chest, I’m not kidding people, it really starts a warm almost fire-y feeling in my whole body, my forehead starts to sweat… wow! Ending with a pleasant mix of sweet and sour.

Green Stripe palate:
These two are really interesting to compare! The Green Stripe starts off really, really short on the salt, just for a micro-second, and then comes some huge vanilla, fudge and cream, almost vanilla ice-cream in fact, very more-ish! The salt in this one does not taste of actual salt, rather like sweet and soft liquorice. In general or overall the Green Stripe is softer or perhaps calmer than the 007. The Green Stripe does not at all have the same ooumph, don’t get me wrong, it’s a ”punch-in-your-face” kind of a dram but not really in the same way as the 007… Ending with peated milk chocolate and traces of cold coffee, nice!

Green Stripe to the left, batch 007 to the right. I found the 007 to be slightly darker in color 
To sum up, both versions are of course great expressions or interpretations of Laphroaig and it’s really hard for me to choose one over the other. Today however, on a quite warm and sunny day here in Sweden, I will go for the Green Stripe with its overall soft character (despite its one percent higher ABV than the 007). On a really rugged or cold winters day I would definitely go for the 007. After all it sure is very much depending on the occasion and the context. 

Sláinte to all friends and followers and big thanks for following SamuelWhisky! Please make sure also to follow my FB-page by going here, and my twitter-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 

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