tisdag 10 maj 2016

Highland Park – ICE 17 yo 53,9% ABV

Friends and followers! Two months ago (the 10th of march) I was very fortunate and lucky to attend the release event of Highland Park ICE at the Edrington head quarters in Stockholm, Sweden! I think you can all imagine that I was pretty excited to be one of the first people in Sweden, in the good company of other bloggers, whiskywriters, connoisseurs and guests, to try a new whisky from Highland Park Distillery!











When we entered the tasting room a beautifully decorated table met our eyes. 


Especially cool was, standing at the back of the room, the visually attracting BIG cube of Ice, with an actual bottle of the new whisky frozen in to it, cool right?! 

ICE in ice :)
I soon understood that we were not only going to taste ICE but also five additional whiskies from HP. The line-up consisted of 12yo, Dark Origins, 18yo, Harald, and Sigurd (followed by ICE). In my opinion, Dark Origins definitely kicked the living crap out of the other four first whiskies. (ICE did the same with the entire line-up!). 


the line-up of the evening!

Guiding us through the tasting and the release event, of course was non other than the very entertaining and highly knowledgeable Senior Brand Ambassador, Martin Markvardsen. 

Martin Markvardsen
The info on ICE that I received during the tasting was as follows: 
Yes, it has an age statement; 17yo, but moving all the way up 19yo. The strenght is 53,9% ABV (vatting strength rather than cask strength). ICE has been fully matured in firstfill bourbon casks, namely 250 litre hogsheads that has been rebuilt from 200 litre barrels. AND (!) the ends/lids of the casks consist of new american oak. Here in Sweden, 1400 bottles (out of 30k worldwide) will be released this Thursday at the swedish state monopoly (direct link here). It will cost 1999kr (approximately 200 euros). 

Martin and I after the tasting

Those of you following my facebook-page, know that I at the night of the event posted my quite brief tasting notes. Since I received a little goodiebag contatining a sample of ICE


and given the fact that some time has passed and the release here in Sweden is getting closer, I decided that it was time to do a second, in-depth tasting and share these impressions with you dear friends and followers. So here we go!


Nose:
The thing that first appears on the nose is that ICE is very, very, very rich on fruits. First and foremost ”tropical” fruits, in this case being peach (peach jellycandy), passionfruit, lemon and lime, even lemon jucie and/or lemon curd. We also have some really floral stuff. There’s also red apples and a slight touch of very ripe pear. Below the fruity layer is quite a big whiff of vanilla, light honey and also some almond paste. I would’nt say that there is much peat though, if there is peat in there, i’d say it’s presenting itself as something quite distant/fleeing, maybe moving towards leaves and bog, the early stages of autumn… very intriguing nose, a great experience just to nose this one in fact… (mmm, dreaming away…). But, I have to taste it of course!


Palate:
Begins very sugar-y-sweet, fruity (peaches and overripe banana) and vanilla for less than a second. Then everything indeed does explode! First into big, big, almond paste, nutty-ness (or rather ”almond-ness”), then very quickly comes some really green and bold herbs, and finally, what I’ve been waiting for, the PEAT! A very dry peat, drawing on gunpowder, peatbog, a medium big body/base. It really fills up your mouth. There is quite a lot of a ”strong” and powerful alcohol character in this phase of the palate, very mature/grown up, wow! In the aftertaste we have milk chocolate, warm vanilla and slight traces of coffee. Also, my mouth is watering although everthing is very dry towards the end…

an actual bottle of ICE!

To sum up
The nose does not at all reveal the power that is about to hit you on the palate! The explosion of tastes on the palate kind of sneeks up on you. All in all a really interesting dram that shows two very, very different sides of what Highland Park is or can be all about! A great dram for sure! Big thanks to Martin and to the nice people at Edrington for inviting me to attend this release event, and for the goodie bag! 

fellow blogger David (Tjeders Whisky), myself,
Emma from swedish whisky magazine "Allt om Whisky", and Martin

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

copyright of this pic belongs to Highland Park

söndag 1 maj 2016

Svenska Eldvatten – Bruichladdich 2006 9yo single fresh ex-oloroso sherry hogshead no. 1339!

now isn't that an incredible color?! 
Friends and followers! Once again I am very happy to be able to bring you my impressions of a coming release from swedish independent bottler "Svenska Eldvatten" (Swedish Firewater). This time it's the third release in their anniversary-series with which they are celebrating their first five years! As I've shared with you before my dear friends and followers, every release in the series has a very special and exclusive label showing a motif painted by the well-known artist/painter and whisky-aficionado alike, Petri Jäsperi

This third release was distilled at Bruichladdich Distillery in july 2006 and bottled in january 2016 at 59,9% ABV. The whisky has been matured in fresh ex-oloroso sherry hogshead number 1339, and the cask gave 282 bottles out of which 250 will be released tomorrow at 10 o'clock. People in Sweden can order this bottling by following the instructions given here. Ok, let's see what we they've chosen this time! 


  

Nose:
Absolutely enormous and gigantic whiffs of dried figs is the first thing that springs to mind! Or rather, it really is there, there’s simply no way to not notice it or pick it up! I’ve never felt this much dried fig before! There’s also GREAT amounts of vanilla and dark raisins. Dark milk chocolate, coconut, rhum-raisin filled pralines, overripe banana, dark dark dark rhum (almost Diplomatico-style), there’s even something cognac-esque going on here, the list goes on and on… To imagine what this whisky is like, take everything you think of when you think of a heavily sherrymatured whisky, now multiply that at least four times! I’m not kidding! It’s so big. The intereseting thing with this incredibly big sherrynose is that it’s not too much, and it’s not in any way nasty, soo incredibly soft and well-balance. It’s soft on everything, especially the figs, the vanilla and the raisins. In the very top layer is something like lime and brown dark raw-sugar… that’s been covered in sugar So far, I have’nt fealt any peat at all, let’s se if there's any on the palate!


Palate:
I did not at all expect this! Wow! Bold and very intense, in fact not at all as soft as the nose, this truly is a sherry bomb, with an emphasis on bomb! Starts of with a very, very sweet core or center-flavour, raw-sugar-sweet, mixed up with something very citric. Surrounding all of that is something instantly dry and nutty, something like a sugar coated dough of almond paste with cut-up pieces of dried figs in it. Yes, very, very bold and dry, not so much vanilla though, rather dark-brown fudge. There’s actually also coffee in there, and definitely something resembling the rhum-raisin filled pralines that was on the nose… there is also cocoa and even some desiccated coconut… But the main thing here is and explosion of very DARK sherry! And what about the peat?! Well it’s barely there actually. If it is there it’s in the aftertaste, but just traces of peat (not smoke). Anyways, the aftertaste goes on and on and on and… I think you get the picture… 


To sum up:
I’ve never felt this much sherry-influence before in a whisky, at least not this intence, this must’ve really been a really fresh sherry hogshead indeed. The guys at Svenska Eldvatten sure knows how to pick ’em, impressive work! Big thanks for the opportunity fellas! Sláinte! 

Please make sure 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

all rights reserved/copyright belongs to Svenska Eldvatten

tisdag 19 april 2016

Svenska Eldvatten – Wheskykôrka 2016 6yo first fill Single Pedro Ximenez Hogshead 57,3% ABV

Friends and followers! This thursday (the 21st of April), people living in Sweden will be able to order the latest release from independent bottler Svenska Eldvatten ("Swedish Firewater"). The whisky will be available from 10 o'clock following this link.

This time around it's the third release in their series of bottlings called "Wheskykôrka". Now, as you might remember the name Wheskykôrka is a play with words of a famous Gothenburg seafood market called Feskekôrka (Fish-church) thus being modified into slightly west-coast dialect resulting in Wheskykôrka simply meaning Whiskychurch.

And of course I am very happy and thankful that Peter and Tommy has given me the opportunity to try the whisky before its release! On the facebook-page of Svenska Eldvatten they describe this third bottling in the following way (freely translated from swedish):






"Very smoky/peated and matured in a PX-sherry hogshead [250 litre] makes this bottling stand out very much from the previous editions of Wheskykôrka. Also, the two previous bottlings have been produced at Bunnahabhain, but this time around the whisky comes from another big distillery on Islay... Wheskykôrka 2016 was distilled in march 2009 and in november 2015 we bottled 246 bottles at a cask strenght of 57,3% ABV"

That being said, this is to be understood as a secret malt or as we say, a "bastard" malt! Exciting, right?! Ok, let's see what's on the nose!

cask sample of Wheskykôrka 2016
Nose:
Very, very peaty! The first thing that comes to mind besides the peaty-ness is something like band aid or plaster, meaning very medicinal. The peaty-ness also includes things like big whiffs of rubber, or even burnt rubber. Underneath that layer is something like smoked vanilla-chocolate in combination with sweet liquorice and pipe-tobacco. There is black pepper, some different herbs that seems impossible to pin down, and also something reminding me slightly of dark honey… wow, this is complex stuff indeed. But let me tell you people, it’s really hard to go beneath the top layer of peaty-ness, the peat covers almost all the other things on the nose… ok, let’s have a sip shall we?!

Palate:
Ooh! Very peaty indeed! In fact, big fat smoke in combination with a sugar- and citric-sweetness, at least for the first 2-3 seconds but then instantly a quite extreme salty-ness takes over, wow, that was quick! Once I’ve swallowed, back comes that enormous peat, or rather medicinal rubber smoke, and takes over. This is powerful and warming stuff! A huge dryness dominates everything in the aftertaste, giving in to the herbs and the black pepper… it’s almost like my mouth is filled with smoke from a chocolat-y cigarillo, after a few seconds my mouth starts to water immensly… slight, slight touches of honey in the distant… this was a really interesting experience, a real beast!


To sum-up:
The agressive-ness surely is related to the age, the fact that the whisky is not so old, but let me say that I really don not experience the whisky as being ”too young” or immature, rather just BIG. Also I’ve never really felt or experienced PX-maturation expressing itself like this before. In fact, it's very brutal in style!

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

picture/copyright belongs to Svenska Eldvatten

måndag 11 april 2016

Swedish whisky from Hven – Megrez 45% ABV

Friends and followers! Once again I've been sent a nice package from the nice people of the swedish Island distillery Hven! This time it contained their latest whisky "Megrez" (one of the stars in the constellation "The Big Dipper"). Megrez was released about a month ago and now I finally have time to review it! 

The info regarding maturation etcetera that I have received from the distillery is the following: 

"The Base in Megrez is 5% Chocolate malt, 40% Peated malt [26ppm] and 55% Pilsner malt. The distillate has matured on 8,4% French Petraea, 33,4% French Robur and 58,2% American Muehlenbergii. The whisky has had a finish on Spanish Quercus Robur. These 500L marrying casks have previously held Pedro Ximénez Sherry... (...) This whisky is bottled at site of the distillery holding 45 vol%, no carbon- or chill filtering, no colour or other additives. It is organic certified and natural, as should be. Every bottle is individually numbered and controlled before being waxed by hand"

Sounds great right?! Ok, let's see what we have here! 

Nose:
When nosing on a distance of say 5 centimetres from my nose I pick up a sweet kind of brown sugary nose with really interesting hints of iron or some other kind of metal… I also pick up something like weak and refrigirator cold coffe, touches of milk chocolate mixed with that iron thing again. With the nose in the glass I feel a soft peat, dried peach, vanilla in the background and leather in the very distant. There is also something wine-ish, or port-ish, moving towards an oloroso-esque nose. Nosing deeply and even closer I feel something a bit, not really sour but, citric in combo with that iron thing again, hmm, interesting with that iron thing, I’ve never really felt that before… In general, the nose is medium dark in style, quite fruity (peach) and medium peat.


Palate:
Sooo incredibly smoooooth! Wow… Very much on brown sugar, soft vanilla, overripe banana, whisky soaked dark raisins, and a slight but thick or forest-y kind of peaty-ness… also milk chocolate and in the distant that cold coffee thing is present. Taking a bigger sip the citric stuff shows itself for fractions of a second but quickly moves on into what might best be described as a very appealing ”malt-y character”… Taking an even bigger sip the aftertaste has a medium ”burn” to it that gives a bit of a fire-y charachter, nice!


To sum up:
People, if there was a price in the category ”Perfect balance”, tastewise, this whisky would definitely win the gold! This is a masterpice in balance, not meaning boring of course but perfect balance between all the elements in first and foremost the palate. The peat-yness is present to perfection, just enough peat to match the overall character, wow!

Big thanks to the nice people at Hven for the opportunity to try this beauty!


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

måndag 7 mars 2016

Swedish Whisky from Smögen – Single Bordeaux Barrique 61,3% ABV

Friends and Followers! During the Linköping Whisky Expo I was very lucky to retrieve a sample of the coming release from the Swedish west coast distillery Smögen! The festival was in february and I have had the sample for quite some time (trying to balance between resisting to taste it and to publish my review in time for the release), so as you can all understand I am today very eager to taste the whisky! As you know by now, at Smögen they only produce peated whisky, and in this release they have used 40ppm malt. 









Being casked 100827 and bottled 160106, the whisky is 5 years (and 4 months) old. It has spent it's entire life in Single Bordeaux Cask 3/2010 (european oak 225 litres). At 61,3% ABV (natural cask strength), the cask gave 424 bottles out of which 300 bottles has been sent to the swedish state monopoly. The 300 bottles are ready to go on sale this thursday at 10 o'clock as a web-release. International buyers can find the products of Smögen Distillery here

Just now I wrote an e-mail to Pär Caldenby, the master distiller, asking how much time the Bordeaux-wine has spent in the barrique (simply meaning "cask"), before the spirit went in to it and this is what he replied (freely translated from swedish): 

"Usually barriques are used for 2-3 fillings, roughly 1-1,5 years per filling (a little bit longer for Sauternes-wine), so if I guess, around three years in total. There are no clues regarding this written on the cask ends besides an incomprehensible number/code" 

So my friends, the cask has had Bordeaux-wine in it for quite some time indeed, this should be a treat! But before I try let me just send out big thanks to Pär for the opportunity! Ok, let's see what we have here! 


Nose:
When opening the bottle and pouring some of the whisky in my glass I initially pick up very, very slight touches of baking yeast. Besides the somewhat expected sherry-esque/wine-ish stuff like sultana raisins, dark raisins and  liquid dark honey, I also pick up under-ripe pear (sliced), but most of all very generous whiffs of fullfat whipped cream, vanilla dryness and something like redwine liquorice. The vanilla in this whisky is quite special indeed, not really fudge-y but rather something like vanilla powder (the kind one uses when baking), so a very dry vanilla or austere if you know what I mean… when nosing I can almost feel how the vanilla dryness would feel in my mouth sort of. For me there is also very obvious stuff reminding me of chocolate/cocoa powder infused with vanilla, so all in all a quite bake-ish/dessert-ish style. I must say that there is actually a focus on vanilla rather than the sherry-esque/wine-ish stuff you might expect from a whisky that’s matured in this kind of cask. Now, I haven’t even written anything about the peat, I guess I didn’t event hink of it because it’s so extremely well integrated into the whole nose. If I would even try to compare this whisky with anything (nose-wise) I can only draw my mind to something like a heavily sherry matured and medium peated, Springbank of say the age 12-15yo, veeery good stuff! Ok, let’s have a sip!


Palate:
Wow! Soo much more peat on the palate than on the nose! Also, a beautiful and very intriguing red/pink style of flavour, yep, that’s it! when having the first sip and closing my eyes I saw a cloudy beautiful pink colour. Further on the palate it really does remind me of heavily sherry matured and medium peated Springbank, we have a very, very dry but mouthwatering style of sherry-esque/wine-ish style going on here people! And the dry vanilla is definitely there also on the palate, in combo with something as slightly bizzare (?) as smoked strawberry bubble gum and spruce shoots, hehe never had that before in a whisky! Moving on from that, I also happen to find something like ginger slowly moving up my nostrils, sounds weird but it does… The aftertaste is really warming my chest, a very more-ish peated aftertaste in combo with black pepper, epresso and something like gunpowder and/or fireworks

Anyways, to sum up
You might remember me raving on about how freakishly great the previous SC release from Smögen was (the Sauternes one), folks, this is if possible even better and I simply can’t believe this is only 5yo! Given the fact that this whisky has been matured in a full-size 225 litre barrel it’s f-ing amazing that it has reached this very mature state already, so don’t miss out when it’s launched, if I had the possibility I would definitely buy a whole case of this whisky! Sláinte! 

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 

torsdag 11 februari 2016

Ailsa Bay – 48,9% ABV

Friends and followers! A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be contacted by the nice people at the PR-firm Edelman Deportivo, working for the swedish drinks-distributor Nigab. They wanted to know if I would like to review their coming release of a whisky called Ailsa Bay, of course I wanted to, and so they sent me a sample, so big thanks for that!

Ailsa Bay was founded in 2007 and is produced at the distillery with the same name. It’s situated in the Lowlands, right beside the grain distillery Girvan. Both distilleries are owned by drinks giant William Grant and Sons. 





The whiskey is a peated (21ppm) NAS, and has been matured in bourbon casks from Hudson Whiskey. It’s bottled at 48,9% ABV. Ok, let’s see what we are dealing with!


Nose:
Seems very peaty and dry! Touches of newly grounded black pepper, also very ”green” in style. In the distant there are layers of citrus/lemon-y-ness, quite a big rubber-y-ness, something like unpacking collectors card from it’s package. Since this is most definitely matured in bourbon casks I thought I’d find something vanilla, but not really, maybe a tad vanilla below all the peat and the rubber-y-ness but that might be imagination/psychological… not really any traces of newmake which in my opinion is something good to lack in a whisky that’s probably quite young, the lack of newmake-scents might also be because of quite low strength. Anyways, definitely an interesting and promising nose that kind of reminds me of a young and peated anCnoc! Let’s have a sip 


Palate:
Hmm… cool stuff! The initial taste is very soft (for about half a second) but then the peat instantly takes over with actually quite a lot of the black pepper from the nose coming through! I also get a quite pepper-y feeling in general and something like salt liquorice taking over when the peat has gone away (which it does quite fast). Even if there’s not really a feeling of newmake on the nose it’s sort of there on the palate mixed up with something kind of vanilla-esque, so the ”young whisky”-style is quite well hidden because of the slightly bourbon-y stuff… Style and profile-wise, this is a quite interesting whisky indeed, but, the aftertaste is very short only lasting 2-3 seconds after swallowing. This probably happens due to age and because of a too low bottling strength, for my taste that is. Also, the aftertaste almost only consists of the feeling of black pepper… Really looking forward to trying the coming releases though! 

Please follow SamuelWhisky on my Zuckerberg-page by going here and 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(at)gmail.com Sláinte!


tisdag 26 januari 2016

Svenska Eldvatten – Bruichladdich 2004 11yo first fill single bourbon barrel

copyright belongs to Svenska Eldvatten
Friends and followers! As promised in my last post, I now bring you a tasting note of the second bottling in the anniversary-series celebrating the first five years of Svenska Eldvatten (”Swedish Firewater”) as independent bottlers! 

Every release in the series (as you can see from the picture to the left) has a very special and exclusive label showing a motif painted by the well-known artist/painter and whisky-afficionado Petri Jäsperi

This particular whisky was distilled at Bruichladdich Distillery in november 2004. It was put into barrel no.1407, a fresh Ex-Bourbon Barrel (that is to say first-fill) and then bottled in november 2015 (11 years old) resulting in 102 bottles at 59,2 % ABV. 








Peter and Tommy will bring this whisky (and the oloroso matured Laddie) to the Linköping whisky festival this weekend! It will be released at the swedish state monopoly and you will pick it up if you have 1295kr (circa 140 euros) in your wallet, or on your card ;) Ok, let’s have a taste! 


Nose:
At first holding the glass on a distance of say 15 centimetres from my nose, I pick up some very exotic fruits, more precisely slightly immature pineapple, yellow kiwi and pealed non-ripe slices of pear together with some carbonated elderflower soft drink. Also something a tad ”sweet and/or sour” mixed up with something creamy (dairy), together reminding me almost of a brie that’s been out of the fridge for a couple of hours… Moving closer to the glass I pick up loads  and loads of nutty-ness (yes of course I mean marzipan/almond paste). The creamy-/dairy-ness also reflects itself through something like white chocolate mousse. A very distant peaty-ness is also traceable, or maybe more moving on into a faded fire/ashy-ness? Trying to dig into that layer of scents I also pick up a slight touch of ground coffee and, wait for it, mint that strangely enough (given the age) mixed with raw-spirit. Ok fellas, a very complex and special nose on this one indeed, let’s have a taste! 


Palate:  
Oh wow! Lots and lots more peat on the palate than on the nose! Not really the ashy kind of peat that was on the nose but actually classic and very straight forward peat. Quite a medium-sweet centre in this dram, moving very much towards the pear and the brie from the nose. Then quickly moving on into a distinct woody-/cask-y-ness with lots and lots of the almond paste from the nose mixed up with something like herbal vanilla… sounds strange but tastes really good, and exciting if you know what I mean (?) In the aftertaste some lemonzest reveals itself in a very direct way, moving on into some bubbly-ness or a carbonated feeling. All in all a very creamy and nicely peated dram, I’ve never really tasted anything like it! 

Big thanks to Peter and Tommy for the oppurtunity! Please follow SamuelWhisky on my Zuckerberg-page by going here and 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(at)gmail.com Sláinte!

copyright belongs to Svenska Eldvatten