Whisky review : Compass box Juveniles

Another time, another Compass Box. I honestly love their stuff, so please hire me guys if you read this (what…? Dreaming is not forbidden). Tasted this the first time in a french restaurant in Paris on a Compass Box special menu, with the presence of the mighty Chris Maybin.

Now tasting while eating is a bit different, you don’t gets the same notes as when trying the spirit alone, but I liked it quite much (and it was affordable) so I decided to get a bottle to get drunk on my own enjoy it on its own. I made some quick notes on it back at the restaurant, but I can’t get my hands on them anymore… I will edit the post to add them if I find them back, it should be interesting to read the difference.

Now Chris informed me that this is a blend of mostly Clynelish and Glen Elgin. After a bit of dwelling online, the Clynelish is apparently a vatting of three casks matured 9 years on average, which compose 90% of the whisky. The Glen Elgin is apparently 15 years old. Take these information with care, I’m not sure of them.

This is one of the two whisky that I brought to my boat trip in June (that’s why the pictures are more beautiful than usual !), the other one being the Ardbeg Perpetuum (review coming “soon” !).

Let’s try that.


Compass Box - Juveniles

Name: Juveniles
Distillery: Clynelish and Glen Elgin
Bottler: Compass Box
Region: Highlands (Clynelish) and Speyside (Glen Elgin)
Type: Blended malt
Age: Apparently (?) 9 for the Clynelish, 15 for the Glen Elgin
ABV: 46%
Bottle size: 700mL

Colour: Light straw

Nose: Instantly fruity, with acid juicy apples, peaches and pears. There is also a gourmand side with salted caramel butter and toffee. All is very well integrated with spices (cinnamon), licorice and a point of vanilla. Rather a fresh nose. Going back to the nose after the tasting permits me to identify the mint found on the end of the palate.

Palate: Rich mouth dominated by toffee, salted caramel butter and vanilla. Here the gourmand side is on the front compared to the nose. The longer you keep it in your mouth, the spicier it gets with cinnamon, pepper and cloves. You of course also gets a lots of fruits that the label correctly qualify as orchard, and I comply. Who am I to contradict what's on the label ? ;-) Nevertheless, the fruits side is probably the influence of Clynelish with pears, peaches and apples (as in the nose). Please note that this may be the influence of Glen Elgin too... I've never tasted any of their malt, and coming from Speyside it wouldn't be weird. Anyway, there is a bitterness that appears in the end (think lemon and and orange peel), with some fresh mint in the background.

Finish: Wasn't expecting this, but it's actually quite long, mind you. Bitter (with lime zest), spiced (with black pepper and cloves) and fresh (mint).

Overall: Warning. While drinking this, you might get the impression of eating a well made spiced fruits salad. Don't go see the doctor, it's normal. This is a nice pleasant summer dram with a nice bouquet of fresh fruits. Balanced, while maintaining a nice level of complexity for it's age. Juvenile indeed ! A bit of an unlike dram. Recommend.

Rating: 88 / 100


Whisky review : Laphroaig Quarter Cask


Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Name: Quarter Cask
Owner: Beam Suntory
Distillery: Laphroaig
Bottler: Laphroaig
Region: Islay
Type: Single malt
Age: Probably a bit above 10 years
ABV: 48%
Bottle size: 700ml

Colour: Amber / Dark gold

Nose: White fruits with a pleasant bacon barbecue smoke enveloping them. Doesn't seems as medicinal as the 10 at first. Let's continue. There is a tad of leather, and quite a bit of dark chocolate. Speaking of them, this particular dram would go very well with it, too bad I don't have any at the moment. Well now, that's an odd one... I get blackberries after a time. Is my nose playing tricks ? There may be an hint of cinnamon infused oranges too. This is a very pleasant nose, not overwhelming with peat (i.e. : balanced). With water : Less smoke, more fruits.

Palate: More powerful than the nose, the medicinal and floral peat steals the show, with white fruits in the background. There is a pleasant sweetness in this, is that sherry ? You can keep it long in the mouth as it keeps developing. This is quite complex stuff. Damn this bites a bit, might get interesting with water. Lots of pears now.
With water : More gourmand, with baked apples and barbecued marshmallows. Caramel too.

Finish: Medium length on bitter lemon zest, plants and chimney ashes.

Overall: Less "in your face" than the 10th (i.e. this is much more balanced), and it is for the better. It might be a good idea to let it open up a bit in the glass (~10 minutes) to remove the alcohol bites. This is good stuff, though it might be a bit difficult to apprehend for newcomers maybe, but maybe not.

Rating: 89 / 100

Food pairing suggestion: Dark chocolate


Rum Review : Caroni 1997 (Bullion)

Found this baby at Julhès Paris shop a bit before french father’s day. Hesitated a bit with a Papalin (blend of Caroni and something else) that I managed to try (the vendor had a opened bottle and was nice enough to let me try). The blend was a sweeter and probably more to my father’s taste but well…. I myself prefer dryer ones, so I bought him the Bullion ;-)


Bullion - Caroni 1997

Name: Rum de Trinidad
Owner: State of Trinidad
Distillery: Caroni
Bottler: Bullion
Region: Trinidad
Age: The bottle hasn't been on shelves for long, so I would venture to say at least 15 years.
ABV: 40%
Bottle size: 700ml

Colour: Dark copper

Nose: Immediately on dark honey. Lot of spices and young leather with shoe wax. Hmmm.... trying to put a name on the spices... this looks like cloves. There is a strong smell lingering, is that the so called petrol notes of Caroni ? Nevertheless, caramelized tropical fruits (in particular pineapple) are very well integrated .With water, the oil sharp edge seems to go away and it brings out honey and juicer / fresher tropical fruits. Girlfriend comment : "it smells like apple cake".

Palate: Quite powerful despite this being only 40%. This is definitely Caroni style, can't fake this. My... this is quite delicious ! The oil is dominant. Strong tropical fruits (that are not caramelized anymore) follows suite, particularly mango and pineapple. Lots lots lots of spices, again with cloves among others. A little bit of water calms the show down and bring fruits to the front side instead of the oil.

Finish: Short / medium on oil, honey and spices. Rather more short than medium.

Overall: Again, as I said above, this is definitely Caroni style and it doesn't disappoint. The bad point of this dram would be the finish which isn't on par with the rest, but it's still good and well... at only 40% and this price range (~45€), this is a pretty good offer honestly. I might even say that I find the mouth to be a tad more complex that the official 12 years old, but more difficult because much more discrete. All in all, this is a good value and very nice bottle to discover Caroni style. If you're incommoded by the oil notes, put just a FEW drops of water (or you'll drown it).

Rating: 87 / 100

Food pairing suggestion: Hmm... this is a light dram, better drink it on its own or it might get drowned.


Whisky review : Hedonism Quindecimus

For their 15th anniversary, Compass Box released a limited edition of their renowned single grain : Hedonism. Named Hedonism Quindecimus, it is made from 5 different whiskys from 4 distillery :

  • North British 20yo from first-fill American standard barrels : 17.6%
  • Port Dundas 25yo from rejuvenated hogsheads : 36.6%
  • Dumbarton 28yo from American standard barrels : 8.4%
  • Port Dundas 20yo from first-fill American standard barrels : 19.4%
  • Loch Lomond mystery blended grain 32yo from American standard barrels : 18%

Can’t wait ! Let’s start.


Hedonism Quindecimus

Name: Hedonism Quindecimus
Owner: Compass Box
Distillery: See above
Type: Blended grain
Age: See above.
Cask: See above.
ABV: 46%
Bottle size: 700mL

Colour: Deep copper

Nose: Quite light to begin with. There is some caramel along with old-book dust. Honey, coconut and oranges appears along with vanilla creme. Peaches and toffee in the second part on the nose. Quite its fill of spices with cinnamon, light pepper and coriander. This is quite subtle.

Palate: Really creamy ! More gourmand than the nose with quite its share of toffee. There is also blood orange, lemon zest and spices like... huh... cloves I think. More caramel topped peaches along with grapefruits. Excellent !

Finish: Long, on bitter lemon and oranges with cloves running in the background.

Overall: Elegance made liquid. Astonishing balance between richness of the spirit and complexity. My mouth water for more. Excellent. Be careful though, the toffee on the palate is quite bold and can hide the subtler notes if unprepared / tired / already drunk. But don't underestimate this : this is an excellent and complex whisky.

Rating: 91 / 100


Whisky review : Yoichi NAS


Yoichi NAS

Name: Yoichi NAS
Owner: Nikka
Distillery: Yoichi
Region: Hokkaido, Japan
Type: Single Malt
Age: Non-aged statement
ABV: 43%
Bottle size: 500mL

Colour: Amber

Nose: Fresh fruits. Pears, apples, pineapple. Very fresh and rich. Spicy stuff floats around (cinnamon ?). Really nice nose. Can't say I detect usual Yoichi peat.

Palate: The fruits are stealing the show. Quite rich but it manage to keep fresh. Really tasty. "Strong" malt backend. The peat now appears as a light smoke, balanced with the rest of the palate. I was expecting something more one-dimensional to be honest, this is a nice surprise.

Finish: Fruits fruits fruits. Quite long fruits. The smoke keeps going on in the background.

Overall: Obviously less complex than the aged bottlings, but honestly this is really fair considering the price. The peat is more discreet than those bottling too but it's still Yoichi style. Well worth the price.

Rating: 85 / 100


Rhum Fest Paris 2015

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Bonjour !

Voici mon premier post sur ce blog dédié partiellement au whisky, et qui parlera de…. rhum.

Ce weekend se déroulait l’édition 2015 du Rhum Fest de Paris. Salon dédié aux rhums en tout genre, de toute provenance. Après avoir goûté quelques perles au dernier whisky live, j’ai donc décidé de m’essayer au rhum avant hier.

Je vais vous présenter rapidement ici les quelques expressions que j’ai pu goûter et qui ont retenu mon attention en tant qu’amateur de whisky. Ceci n’est absolument pas une liste exhaustive, je suis surement passé à coté de pas mal de choses. N’ayant pris aucune notes, je vais essayer de les décrire de mémoire… et après une journée comme ça, je ne suis pas sûr que ce sois une bonne idée ! ;-)

Commençons.

Rhum Nation - Jamaica 8 years old

Ce Rum Nation, finit en fut de sherry oloroso, est d’une très grande complexité. Le sherry ajoute de la profondeur sans prendre le dessus. Le tout est un rhum riche et complexe tout en équilibre.

À 53€ à la maison du whisky, c’est presque du vol !

Distillerie de Paris

Voici deux rhums de la distillerie de Paris découvert au stand des “rhums de demain”. La distillerie de Paris a reçu son autorisation de distiller peu avant l’été dernier, suite à une campagne de financement participatif plutôt réussie. Ils ont produit leur premier spiritueux le 22 janvier dernier : c’est du tout récent !

J’avais déjà eu l’occasion de goûter un de leur gin, une vodka aromatisé aux agrumes (d’une fraîcheur étonnante !) et un brandy (mon favori des trois). Tout les trois très réussis.

Voici maintenant au tour de leurs rhums distillés, si je ne m’abuse, à partir de sirop de jus de canne importé (la canne ne pousse pas à Paris ;-). Le second (à droite) a été vieilli quelques mois en fût neuf (provenant d’un tonnelier de cognac, si je ne m’abuse). Originaux, frais, complexe: une belle promesse pour l’avenir !

Ferroni 2007 - Rhum de marseille

Toujours sur le stand des rhums de demain, passons maintenant au Ferroni. Ce rhum de négoce, vieilli et assemblé à Marseille (et oui !), vient “tout juste” d’être commercialisé.

Distillé en 2007 à Belize, vieilli en fûts de bourbon. On pourrai penser à un petit manque de puissance à la vue des 42%, mais ce n’est pas vraiment le cas. C’est riche et profond comme j’aime.

HSE 2005 / 2013 - Islay Finish

Un rhum HSE de 8 ans provenant de la Martinique, vieilli en ancien fût de whisky tourbé provenant d’Islay. J’ai bien essayé de savoir exactement de quel distillerie provenait le fût, sans succès.

C’est un rhum qui plaira aux amateurs de whisky (mais pas que). Le coté tourbe me fait un petit peu penser au Kavalan peated cask de l’an dernier, avec la richesse des fruits exotiques d’un coté et le petit coté fumée / cendres de l’autre.

Passons maintenant aux rhums présentés au stand VIP.

Rhum JM - Armagnac Finish

(Désolé de la qualité exécrable de la photo…)

Il s’agit d’un rhum JM avec une finition en fût de d’armagnac. Il y avait deux autres finitions de proposé à ce stand :

  • Une finition Calvados… qu’on méprendrai pour du calvados. Le fût avait pris le dessus sur tout le reste. Pas mauvais, mais on ne reconnaissait plus vraiment le rhum.
  • Une finition Cognac : Très bon, moins marqué par le fût de cognac que l’avait été la bouteille précédente par le fût de calva. Ceci étant dis, cela ne casse pas 42 pattes à un canard non plus.

La finition Armagnac était de très loin la mieux réussi. Je dirai même qu’elle était extrêmement bien réussi, un mariage parfait entre les deux mondes. D’une complexité et d’un équilibre incroyable. Une profondeur de saveurs vraiment alléchante (j’en ai repris).

HSE - Single cask 2003 / 2015

Encore un HSE. Vraiment succulent. Si je tombe sur une bouteille et qu’elle n’est pas hors de prix, il y a une chance que je me l’achète.

Les bouteilles de très bonnes qualités ont commencer à s’enchaîner (et mon niveau d’alcoolémie avec), donc c’est un peu plus difficile d’aller piocher des arguments dans ma mémoire.

Diamond and Port Mourant 1999 / 2014

Un assemblage de rhum de Demerara distillés avec deux alambiques de types différents :

  • Un alambique Diamond (un double colonne apparemment)
  • Un alambique Port Mourant (Double Pot Still à repasse en bois) : “Vieux de plus de 250 ans et unique au monde : fabriqué en 1732, il opère d’abord dans la distillerie du même nom, avant d’être transféré plus tard à la distillerie Uitvlugt, et enfin en 2000 à l’unique distillerie du Guyana, la bien nommée Diamond.” (source : http://durhum.com/port-mourant-1993/)

Ces deux rhums ont été vieillis ensemble directement après distillation.

Que dire… c’est un des meilleurs rhums que j’ai pû goûter, avec le Uitvlugt qui suit et le Caroni 1998 que j’ai acheté dernièrement (note de dégustation dans un prochain billet).

Super nez qu’on pourrai inhaler des heures durant. La bouche a un profil aromatique lourd, très épicé, tout en puissance qui plaira aux amateurs de whisky . Une finale sur épices et bois brûlé excellente et interminable.

Uitvlugt 1997 / 2014

Terminons avec le Uitvlugt, aussi bon qu’imprononçable.

De mémoire (je n’y mettrai pas ma main à couper), plus équilibré et subtil que le Diamond and Port Mourant. Il en reste pas moins très très riche et puissant. La finale est au moins aussi longue voir même plus longue que le Diamond (et c’est pas peu dire).