lördag 11 oktober 2014

SamuelWhisky turns 1yo – Celebrates with tasting the all new Connemara 22yo!

Friends and followers, dear readers! I’m so happy to announce that as of today, SamuelWhisky turns 1yo! I’m even happier to, on this particular day, take a stroll down to my local post office (yes, on a Saturday) to collect the all new Connemara 22yo that I ordered a couple of days ago! As you all now, I am a bit of a Connemara ambassador, running the ’Connemara Clan’ since 2009, so I’m also extra happy to taste the first release of a new Connemara expression since 2011, a period of almost three years (the latest release as you might recall was the ’Bog Oak’ so…). I guess that the Beam takeover and then the Suntory takeover has made things a bit slow, but now it seems that things are on the move again ☺

You can pick up this new expression in store at the Celtic Whiskey Shop for 170 euros and it is about to become available online any time now. You might also find it in various stores in Germany, or like I did, pick it up via ebay.de if you are fast, and lucky!

I have not been blessed with all info yet but as far as I know it has been matured in first-fill bourbon barrels only, from some of the first stocks produced and laid down in 1991/1992. (Although I’ve heard there is some even older Connemara maturing in the warehouses from 1989 so if we are lucky we might see a 25yo soon. Who knows?!). The only thing regarding number of bottles produced that I’ve heard is around 4300 so definitely a small batch. During my visit to Kilbeggan Distillery this summer, my contact in the company told me that if it sells well it will probably be a ”standard bottling” all though, in very limited quantities of course. It holds 46% ABV. Well let’s have a taste! 

Incredible big, or rather huge vanilla! And when I say huge I mean huge! Vanilla ice-cream, almost like that beautiful old style Kilbeggan-vanilla-ice-cream they serve at the Kilbeggan Distillery. Surrounding the vanilla is a very soft but very present touch of peach, almost candy-like peach. There is also soft sort of mint or menthol mixed with soft earthy liquorice. Touches of honey melon, a bar of milk-chocolate… Mmm, everything is veeeeery soft and calm, perfect balance between all the stuff that’s on the nose. Definitely very much in the style of Connemara with that green, earthy/woody touch, if you know what I mean? This is so elegant you can’t even believe it friends… ”Well what about the peat?!” you might ask, well you see folks, it lures in a mysterious way beneath everything else ☺ very mature and mellow. Let’s have a sip!

I have said it many times before regarding other whiskies, but W-O-W! This Connemara is complex stuff! Beautiful sweetness in combo with liquorice and elder-flower actually, at the tip of the tounge the first second or so, but then, there’s not a boom but rather a slooow wave of soooft peat flowing through my mouth. The peat is much more present on the palate than on the nose, which makes me happy. The fact that there is still so ”much” peat on the palate after this many years of maturation is just great. A really earthy/forrest-y tone is part of it all, that makes everything become so much Connemara. A long lingering soft peat and vanilla in perfect interplay. The aftertaste is not dry at all, but rather mouth-watering… Seriously people, I’m not exaggerating a bit, the balance is wonderful. 

To sum up:
You just have to try this one friends, it’s absolutely one of my favorite expressions of Connemara, alongside the ’Bog Oak’ and the 8yo for Sweden! And then, finally a big thanks to myself for purchasing a bottle of this one, to myself ☺ 

Thank you for staying tuned to SamuelWhisky during my first year as a blogger and please do keep in touch, why not on Facebook through this link, or on twitter through this link. Sláinte and here’s to another exciting year!   

tisdag 23 september 2014

Warming up for 'Laphroaig Live' with the Cairdeas 2014!

Friends and followers! Tomorrow is the time for this years ’Laphroaig Live’! I thought I’d start celebrating this festive event already today by warming up and taste one of four Laphroaigs they will taste tomorrow, namely the 2014 edition of Laphroaig Cairdeas! 

As you might know by now Cairdeas is Gaelic for friendship, which leads us to the fact that Laphroaig once a year during the Islay festival releases a limited edition for all visitors to taste there, at the festival. A bunch of bottles is also sold via their website, exclusive to the ’Friends of Laphroaig’. However, Sweden has been very lucky for a few years now to receive a small shipment of the Cairdeas, which is great! This probably due to the fact that here in Sweden Laphroaig is so popular that it’s the number one selling single malt (!) which reminds me that in Sweden, the Cairdeas 2014 edition will be launched on the 17th of October so don't miss out!

Now, each Cairdeas is different. The 2013 edition was first matured in first fill bourbon barrels for 8 years and then finished in ”half portpipes” for 16 months. The 2014 edition is similarly matured in first fill bourbon barrels, also for 8 years, but this time transferred for finishing in casks that previously held amontillado! The strength is 51,4% ABV which is not cask strength, it’s simply watered down to this strength so that the last to digits respond to the year of release. Cask strength or not, still sounds yummy right?! Well then, let’s try it!

The peat is covered with veeery soft vanilla! Actually, I would say that the vanilla is definitely at the center of attention here, with a rather soft peat. More on very very sweet peat, almost sugar-y, hints of ashes. Orange and apricot marmelade, something else that’s sort of citiric but not at all ”out there”, so I can’t really put my finger on it…Definitely smooth on the nose and although it’s quite high strength it’s not at all tiresome for the nose to nose ☺

Starts of really soft for just a second or two, but then, when holding a sip in my mouth, the peat really builds up! Gets more and more intense, almost salt. It dries my mouth although I still have a sip in my mouth, this is heavy stuff! Quite fast after I’ve swalloved things get really dry, some touches of firstly violet but then moving on into an interesting mix of vanilla, fudge and saltlicorice… very interesting. Never really tasted anything like it! Comparing (in my mind) with the 2013 edition, this one has a much longer aftertaste, really clinging on to my tounge and throat, warming my chest in a beautiful way, which is perfect on this first autumn day here in Sweden. 

Well, I will try to hang on to the last few drops in my sample bottle for tomorrows event… Might be hard cause this was really good! Please follow SamuelWhisky on Facebook here and on twitter here. See you soon and don't forget to tune in to Laphroaig Live tomorrow, Sláinte! 

tisdag 16 september 2014

Laphroaig 11yo Single Cask, 46% ABV – ’Hepburns Choice’

A couple of days ago a package with some new samples (finally!) arrived from the nice people at Clydesdale, one of Swedens top importer and seller of whisk(e)y! A big thanks goes out especially to Tina who let’s me in on some of Clydesdales goodies! Yay!

It’s been a while since I tasted a Laphroaig and luckily the package, among other things, contained one! It’s from Stewart Laings new series ’Hepburns Choice’, a single (bourbon?) cask Laphroaig, 151 bottles at 46% ABV… Exciting!

In Sweden this one will be released on the 1st of October so please check it out here!

Aah, classic Laphroaig! Vanilla mixed with peat, slightly caramellised fudge, maybe a tad more ”smoke” (rather than peat) than what I usually pick up in Laphroaigs… Still very very mild and soft in some way… a very interesting nose although it’s mildness. I also get something chocolate-ish. We have a touch of salt, if that is something you can nose… and also something quite ”damp”. Quite different indeed… Still, simply a joy to nose this one, which I could probably do forever…  But then I won’t get to taste it which would be a pity, not only for me J

Oh yes, definitely more smoke (burnt/ashes) than peat. Very nice! I feared that it would not have any power, due to the somewhat mildness of the nose, but oh how wrong I was! Actually really nice power for being at 46% ABV! Starts of quite salty, for a second or two but fudge and smoke takes over quite fast moving into medium-dry. Actually, holding a sip in my mouth and letting it roll, the most dominant thing on the palate is saltyness which is cool. Kind of barbecue-ish on the aftertaste this time… Warms my chest in a beatuful way…

A big thank you once again to the nice people at Clydesdale! Please follow SamuelWhisky on Facebook here and on twitter here. Thanks for following and see you soon folks!

söndag 31 augusti 2014

Svenska Eldvatten – Ardmore 2000 50,2% ABV

Hey all friends and followers! SamuelWhisky is back after a long and well needed vacation! I’ve had a great summer, amongst many other things I did trips to two distilleries and I’ll make sure to share some pictures and a few lines on those adventures sometime soon… Hope all of you guys also have had a grrreat time and are ready to move on into a cozy autumn and a lot of interesting releases, festivals and tasting notes!

I sure do feel ready because a couple of days ago I received some mail from the guys at ’Svenska Eldvatten’ (Swedish Firewaters), the envelope contained a sample of their next release, due tomorrow at the swedish state monopoly, a single cask bourbon matured Ardmore at 50,2% ABV. As you might know Ardmore is special in the way that it’s a Highland (Speyside) distillery that produces peated whisky! As far as I’ve learned the ppm is between 12-15. This particular cask, SE030, gave 180 bottles so it’s a quite small release. Almost 14yo.

For those of you not living in Sweden ’Svenska Eldvatten’ is available here. Okey, let’s try it!

Opening the sample bottle there is instantly big whiffs of some really heavy smoke, drawing towards logs and bold pipe tobacco. Nice! Pouring some in my glass and nosing it carefully gives a kind of a ”dry smoke” with almost grape-peel-ish vibes. Cool! The bourbon influence (vanilla) also gives me a kind of a ”dry” feeling, as if I can feel on the nose that this will really dry out my mouth. Quite complex this little dram… There is actually something reminding me of cucumber-water, which I’ve never felt in a whisky before J and it’s kind of moving into just a tad tequila-esque (what?!) somehow… it’s all kind of ”green” if you know what I mean… exciting! Let’s se what we have on the palate!

This is great stuff (in Swedish I loudly bursted out to myself ”Å fy f*n va god!” but we will censor that in this politically correct translation…)! Wow, It’s really robust in the peat, big peat comes first, but not too big, saltyness that clings to the tip of my tounge, then we have a grand vanilla and creaminess, I never thought it would be this creamy, I thought it would be rather dry, but this is mouthwatering creaminess! The alcohol-level is perfect. In the aftertaste comes something really herby-ish and a slight rubber touch, and then actually becomes quite dry (smacking my mouth…), just above medium dry.

Wow, the ones who manages to get a hold of a bottle from this release sure is lucky! Well done in choosing this cask fellas! A big thanks to Tommy and Peter for the sample, now I’ll pour myself the rest of it! J Slainté!

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tisdag 22 juli 2014

Tasting the Swedish whisky Box 3yo – ’The Pioneer’ 48,1% ABV

Friends! On this very warm summer day (at least here in Sweden), I will taste the first release from the northern Swedish distillery Box! The name of this first release is ’The Pioneer’ for reasons we can all understand ☺ 

Now, Box is the 6th active distillery in Sweden to release ”fully matured” whisky (3yo as the law requires). So far I have tasted Mackmyra (but not done any tasting note here on the blog), Smögen and a couple of weeks ago I tasted Hven and they have all been really good so I’m really excited to try whisky from Box! Their name has had a very good international reputation ever since whisky experts around the world for the first time tried their new-make. I’ve never tried anything from Box before so, again, very excited. 

Box are (and will be) very very very open with their recipies and production process and so they really want us to know how this first bottling is composed, so for swedish followers please take time to read about that here

A short version of the recipie reads as follows: 50% of the whisky is unpeated and matured in 40 litre bourbon casks, 35% of the whisky is 31ppm peated malt and matured in 40 litre bourbon casks, the rest, 15% unpeated and matured in 200 litre bourbon casks and that part has in turn been transferred to 100 litre new charred swedish oak casks. All in all this gave 6508 bottles out of which 5000 went to the swedish state monopoly and sold out in one day (!) Ok, let’s try this one!    

At the absolute first nosing, coming straight from the sample bottle, I only get things reminding me of alcohol/new spirit etcetera. Now the whiskey has been in the glass for 15 minutes, the new spirit-touch is still there but more in the background, we also have a very big almost sugar-y sweetness in combo with some very light liquid honey (”akacia” sort of)… There’s also a quite small or mellow layer of peat with something citric behind it… I also pick up something kind of green, not herbal but maybe a touch of un-ripe honey melon… The whisky has now been in the glass for 30 minutes, the spirit-touch is ”still” in the centre of the nose together with something salt liquorice-ish. To me, my (first) impression is that this is a somehow quite anonymous whisky, at least on the nose but it does not have to be so on the palate, maybe my expectations are too high…  Anyways, let’s have a taste and see what the fuzz is all about ☺

Mmm! Very nice indeed, definitely the perfect/optimal strength for this flavor and this style of whisky which creates a nice balance. The first thing I pick up is a quite salty and peaty start that really grabs a hold of my tounge. The flavors after that really do delvelope very slowly and almost seamless, good work fellas! We have fudge and soft vanilla, in other words stuff reminding of bourbon maturation, there’s touches of almond paste or maybe more of marzipan actually, a touch of bread yeast in combo with a very very small new spirit-touch, a little spicyness… Medium dry at the very end of the aftertaste, but oh soo calm, and that sugary sweetness from the nose is there on the palate, especially in the aftertaste… Overall on the palate, we have a lot more going on than on the nose, absolutely not anonymous on this side of things, in fact, probably very good for being this young. Extra points for the perfect strength for this particular flavor, nice!

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onsdag 9 juli 2014

Swedish whisky from Hven – 'Sankt Ibb' Single Cask

It's an amazing summer here in Sweden, at least where I am, that is in the archipelago on the east coast of Sweden not far from the town Norrtälje! 

Today I will try something very special that sold out on the same day that it was launched. You guessed it! Swedish single malt from the small island of Hven. The whisky comes from single cask no. 11-217 which gave 273 bottles. The productionprocess of this particular whisky is very special and hard to retell so do take part of the distillerys own words: 

"Sankt Ibb, cask 11-217, is made from barley grown on the coordinates 55°91’N, 12°69’S just outside the distillery. The barley was malted in our pilot plant and the kilning was done with Chinquapin oak from old casks and locally harvested sea weed. After 120 hours fermentation with two different yeast strains, specifically grown to embrace the fruity phenolic character, the wash was gently distilled and the heart was carefully collected. The spirit was laid to rest on a high toast, high char cask made of air dried Quercus Muehlenbergii harvested on the shores of Meramec river. After given its initial character the spirit was transferred to a cask made from air dried Quercus Petraea harvested outside Moulin’s (Allier). This cask was previously used to enhance one of the most rewarded Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot wines from Italy.This whisky is bottled at the site of the distillery at cask strength 51,4 vol%, without any carbon- or chill filtering, no colour or additives. Completely natural, as should be". 

Swedish summer seen from where I am right now...
Ok, let's see what we got here! 

Wow! This is a dark one, not only in the apperance and the amazing color that is but also on the nose. The first thing I got was a kind of mix of newly ground coffe and arrak almost rhum-esque, there is also dark raisins. At a more deep nosing we also have something that seems to be a great deal herb-ish, in the 2nd or 3rd layer maybe going towards the swiss spirit ’Unicum’ which definitely is there for the first time in a whisky for me… reminiscence of a dark (food)cellar? Just a touch of wood/barell that moulder away (but in a good way of course), in that fragrance we also have a something really citric, like lime or lemon peel. Surrounding all this is a very special dark smoky-ness in a style I’ve never felt before, must be the special peating… Nice! As you understand this is very interesting stuff indeed and I really have no idea what to expect on the palate, let’s see!

Oooh! So incredibly good! Wow, wish I had a whole bottle and not just a sample… Starts off really salty, sea-salt almost. Then moving on into liquorice, and after that a very big and quite bold sea-ish smoke. The coffe and the arrak is definitely there together with the dark dark raisins and dark sluggishly flowing honey. Very rich in mouthfeel and texture. The aftertaste is also rich and big with the ’Unicum’-esque style and the smoke in a beautiful interplay moving back and forth together with a faint touch of woermanns cigarillos no.23 ☺

To sum up, absolutely beautiful and a wonderful experience to taste a swedish single cask whisky!

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tisdag 1 juli 2014

A peated trio from anCnoc!

Friends! As you might remember it was not that very long ago since I reviewed the ’tushkar’ from the newly released peated range of anCnoc. Now if you never did read that post please check it out here to see what I thougth about the ’tushkar’ and please also take part of an interesting post on the whole range and some story behind it here.

Now it sure is time to try the other two, namely ’rutter’ and ’flaughter’ and do a small comparison with tushkar. Okey, I will taste these three peated anCnocs’ more or less comparing them ”at the same time” (going from glass to glass) rather than seperating them from each other, if you see what I mean… J

So, starting of with the nose of the rutter it does seem a bit younger than the other two (although it probably isn’t…) and has a lot of liquorice in it… quickly nosing the other two it seems to me that the flaughter is the ”most mature” or maybe it’s just more balanced? Peat-wise on the nose the rutter and the flaughter are quite alike in profile indeed, both are very damp; wet stones, a moist kind of peaty-ness and quite forrest-y, but the flaughter has a bit more salt in the peat and is a bit more closed… picking up the glass with the tushkar I do find it to be a lot softer on the peat than the other two, which is quite strange indeed (since it’s supposed to be the peatiest of the three) but that might depend on the fact that the samplebottle has been half-full since the first time I tasted the tushkar. The tushkar also by far has a lot (yes a lot) more vanilla on the nose than the other two… there is also something a bit fire-y on the nose of the tushkar when you manage to get beneath the peat-layer Okey, let’s have a sip!

Starting of with the rutter is a very pleasent surprise peat-wise, not at all damp and ”moist” as on the nose but rather a fair part of saltyness and at least a fair part of punsch/attack, not very dry but still dry, which could mean medium dry ;) a mix of sweet liquorice and milkchocolate in the distant aftertaste. Moving on to the palate of the flaughter we have… (tasting…) mmm! Very nice, a lot more saltyness! Mmm, very nice, not nessecarily peatier but the saltyness might make it seem that way… the milkchocolate is not there in the same way, but overall definitely more of everything and thicker mouthfeel compared to the rutter. moving on to tushkar I get… oh yeah! This is a boosted version of the previous for sure, more of everything, more salt, more peat, and oooh! I actually get someting I’ve never felt before in a whisky, vanilla infused with coconut milk! Or maybe it’s the other way around… very good!

To sum up:  
Wow, I really have a nice mix of different peat-styles on the aftertaste now… beautiful and such a treat to be able to compare these three side by side. As you know by now the tushkar is exclusive to the swedish market, which is a treat in itself, but if you ever do get the chance to compare all three, don’t miss out!

Swedish fans actually will be able to compare all three since rutter and flaughter were released at the monopoly store today (although in very limited quantities), so do check it out here and here! A big thanks to David at Berntson for sharing these samples to me during the Gothenburg Beer and Whisky festival! Sláinte!

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