Whisky Advent Calendar day 22 : Teeling Small Batch

Day 22. The end is near.

And here I was three days ago at a local cave asking the vendor if this was any good, and hesitating on buying one bottle.

Well I’ll be able to judge by myself now :-)

Name: Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey
Owner: Teeling Whiskey Company
Distillery: Teeling
Region: Dublin, Ireland
Cask: Partially in rum casks
ABV: 46%
Bottle size: 3cl

Colour: Straw

Nose: Sweet and spicy. It actually seems quite powerful. It starts on a load of tropical fruits (pineapples, bananas) backed up by some sweet barley and pepper. Then some vanilla, toffee and litchi appears and finally, after some time, crunchy apples and peaches.

Palate: Creamier than I expected. Begins with green bananas with some nice ginger and pepper behind. Quite punchy yet seems balanced. More vanilla, then licorice and more fruits : lemons, oranges, peaches and pineapples.

Finish: Medium length and mouth warming on white pepper and lemon peel.

Overall: Quite nice. I don't get how I tend to prefer the nosing in my recent tasting though :-( I hope that doesn't become a general scenario. Well that does sounds quite negative, but don't get me wrong, I liked it either way and I won't hesitate to get one bottle (especially since it's reasonably priced). The palate could have been a bit more complex though.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 21 : Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold

Day 21.

Aaaah… here is the famous Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold, that the distillery recommend to try “freezed”. It’s supposedly very nice that way…

Well sorry, but I have too few a quantity to try (and no freezer at hand), so I’ll be drinking this neat.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 21 : Dalwhinnie Winter

Name: Winter's Gold
Owner: Diageo
Distillery: Dalwhinnie
Region: Highlands
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
ABV: 43%
Bottle size: 3cl

Colour: Gold ! :-)

Nose: Delicate and balanced. Starts on wonderful pears, followed closely by apples, pineapples and finally honey with cloves. Very "juicy" and salad fruit like. Vanilla in the background as well as grapefruits and oranges.

Palate: Creamy. Starts on crunchy apples and bitter lemons next to grapefruits and orange peels. Vanilla cream quickly follows. A bit of a darker note behind... pepper and... is that some cloves ? Wouldn't bet on it.

Finish: Medium length and warm on pears, lemon and pepper.

Overall: Well... that's a very fine NAS ! Simple, but does that job well for an easy after-work dram. The nose was above average.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 20 : Isle of Jura Elixir

Day 20 ! Four more days and four more drams to go !

Another Isle of Jura today. Don’t know this one too much either, to my entire satisfaction since this calendar would be boring otherwise.

Let’s taste this Elixir of life.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 20 : Isle of Jura Elixir

Name: Elixir - 12 years old
Owner: Whyte and Mackay Ltd
Distillery: Isle of Jura
Region: Isle of Jura
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 12 years old
ABV: 40%
Bottle size: 3cl

Colour: Copper (E150? :-/)

Nose: Rich & spicy. Begins on heavy wood, sawdust and continues towards a more gourmand side with "caramel au beurre salé", grapes and milk chocolate. Next to that, nice cinnamon and coffee.

Palate: Sweet and creamy. Lots of vanilla cream along with lemon cake and butterscotch. We have some licorice creating a bit of a contrast, as well as bitter black chocolate on the end palate.

Finish: Relatively short... on caramel... disappointing...

Overall: The nose and palate were nice, though missing a bit of punch in my book (but some people might prefer it that way). The low ABV didn't feel too much until the finish, which was nearly existent. Seems a bit expensive honestly.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 19 : The Lost Distilleries Blend – Batch 6

Day 19th.

All right, no need to introduce this one too much. Gold medal at the “International Wine & Spirit Competition” 2015 and gold at the “World Whiskies Awards” 2014 (Category : Scotch Blend No Age Statement).

This is probably a highlight of this Advent Calendar name and reputation wise, let’s see if it is taste wise.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 19 : The Lost Distilleries Blend - Batch 6

Name: The Lost Distilleries Blend - Batch 6
Distillery: Mosstowie, Port Ellen, Glenisla, Imperial, Caperdonich, Glen Mhor, Brora, Port Dundas
Bottler: The Blended Whisky Company
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
ABV: 49.3%
Bottle size: 3cl

Colour: Gold

Nose: Sweet and creamy. Incredible balance here, it starts on fresh fruits known as grapes, plums and apricots and switches towards hazelnuts, sweet caramel, white chocolate and molasses. Damn that smells so good, I could enjoy that for hours. After some time there is another layer with grapefruits and lemon.

Palate: Winey. Begins on light caramelized pineapples, grapes, then continues on milk chocolate, butterscotch and once again molasses giving a rum~ish side to the palate. It doesn't lack power and doesn't overdo it either: the bottling strength has been rightly selected (or this is cask strength and they didn't have a choice). Yellow fruits now... oh there is so much going on that I have trouble describing it, and the sample is going out. You know what ? I'm gonna stop now and enjoy that last sip to the fullest.

Finish: Long, sweet and warm on grapes, toffee and plums.

Overall: Oh so excellent. It doesn't even that much power to provides all those flavors as the balance and subtlety is astonishing. All those fruits, that richness ! Oh how I wish I had more of it. I do not like giving scores (I'm actually looking for an alternative notation system), especially with small quantities like this, but if I had to do it I would certainly score it very, very (and I mean VERY) high.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 18 : The Girvan Patent Still Proof Strength

Day…. 18th.

Alright, I know, mea culpa and all that : I’m late.

I’ve gone out last night and tasted some awesome cocktails, tequilas, mezcals and vodkas at the “Experimental Cocktail Club” Paris. No need to say I did not have any palate left after all that, especially after that awesome mezcal.

Well that being said, today we have a dram from the Girvan grain distillery, made using a patent still (also known as Coffey still, the name of its creator).

I tasted some of their expression at a previous Whisky Live Paris, and I was quite impressed, by both the taste and the price (but it was quite old expression to be fair).

I’m sure this one was not one of them though, so total discovery ahead.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 18 - The Girvan Patent Still Proof Strength

Name: The Girvan Patent Still Proof Strength
Owner: William Grant & Sons Ltd
Distillery: Girvan
Region: Lowlands
Type: Single Grain Scotch Whisky
ABV: 57.1%
Bottle size: 3cl

Colour: Pale white wine

Nose: Sweet & spicy. Well that is indeed grain whisky, the nose doesn't lie. It starts on a rich tide of sweet cereals notes with quite a spicy after-kick delivered by black pepper. Then, we get almonds, bananas, sawdust, dry flowers and a touch of vanilla toffee. Very nice and subtle. Water makes it more elegant.

Palate: Woah this is very powerful. The black pepper and some piment d'espelette takes the main part of the palate. Then there is almonds, ripe bananas, lemon and lemon peel, cereals and frangipane. Extremely complex, but with this power we're gonna need water. With water : Sweeter and much more accessible. This is delicious and I do no pull-out my comment on the complexity. The pepper calms down (but not too much) and the other notes are enhanced by it.

Finish: Very long on spicy almonds, pepper and banana.

Overall: Damn this is delicious. Exquisite. Very high complexity, a mix between sweetness and spices that is near perfection (after water has been added ;-), and this time I find the price not that high for this kind of quality.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 17 : Mackmyra Brukswhisky

Day 17th, and I’m very late for my daily tasting note.

I’ve a good pretext though, I’ve been quite busy preparing for my marriage at the start of May 2016 ;-)

Anyway, keyword is Mackmyra, a quite famous Swedish distillery. Can’t remember having tasted any, so I’m quite curious to see what’s going on in there.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 17 - Mackmyra Brukswhisky

Name: Mackmyra Brukswhisky
Distillery: Mackmyra
Region: Sweden
Type: Single Malt
ABV: 41.4%
Bottle size: 3cl

Colour: Pale white wine

Nose: Very fresh. At first it reminded me of "Mars The Revival 2011", with its freshness, strong peppery side and barley. A second nosing reveals the barley is much less present that I remembered in the Shinshu Mars, and that this is much fresher with a lot of mint, eucalyptus and a little bit of green banana behind.

Palate: Surprising. This is powerful and dry, don't trust the ABV. Very fresh with intense floral notes (again mint, eucalyptus), lemon, some light licorice and cloves. Sweeter barley then comes, and green bananas arrives yet again as a reflection of the end of the nose. Nice, quite unlike.

Finish: Very long, on pepper, mint and eucalyptus.

Overall: Well, no need to brush my teeth tonight, my mouth feels fresh enough and I guess the ethanol will take care of the rest. Either than that, if you want to try something different go ahead, this is really unlike but not for the sake of unlikeness : Quite a nice complexity and I must say this is good. Freshness is the word. I'll definitely try other expressions from Mackmyra !

Whisky Advent Calendar day 16 : Balvenie 12 years old Double Wood

16th day is the same distillery as the 8th (Balvenie)… coincidence ? Or is the 18th going to be a Tullamore D.E.W. ? And the 17th a blend between Balvenie and Tullamore D.E.W. ? ;-)

We’ll see, meanwhile, let’s try that Balvenie 12 years old Double Wood.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 16 - Balvenie 12 years old Double Wood

Name: Balvenie 12 years old Double Wood
Owner: William Grant & Sons
Distillery: Balvenie
Region: Speyside
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 12 years old
Cask: Bourbon cask and finished in Sherry Oloroso
ABV: 40%
Bottle size: 3cl

Colour: Gold

Nose: Mellow, rich and spicy. Good combo ! It starts on vanilla fudge, toffee, fresh fruits (peaches, apricots, pineapples) and éclair au chocolat. Yummy ! Some spices in the background (bit of cloves and licorice).

Palate: Creamy and medium power. It starts on cacao and fresh fruits again, then quickly switches towards a more patisserie side with some éclair au café and religieuse. It continues on licorice and cloves, but stronger than on the nose. This actually gives a good contrast with the gourmand side.

Finish: Medium / Long on black chocolate, licorice and cloves.

Overall: Well I'm starting to really like Balvenie ! How come I'm only looking at it now ? Good nose, good palate (especially with the spice contrast), the finish is a bit less interesting but it remains fine. The price is very fine too ! Good value. Recommend !

Whisky Advent Calendar day 15 : Fettercairn Fior

Half the month is gone ! Unfortunately, this Advent calendar doesn’t even goes until the end of December. What a shame :-(

Fettercairn Fior. This is totally unknown to me honestly. The distillery is apparently owned by Whyte & Mackay, which is also the owner of Jura (yesterday’s dram) and Dalmore (day 5 dram).

I like the bottle design, though I hope they haven’t put any caramel coloring inside… can’t find the info online.

Let’s discover how it taste.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 15 - Fettercairn Fior

Name: Fettercairn Fior
Owner: Whyte & Mackay Ltd
Distillery: Fettercairn
Region: Highlands
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
ABV: 42%
Bottle size: 3cl

Colour: Dark amber

Nose: Spicy and sweet on butterscotch, grape, cacao and coffee. Quite powerful actually, it fills up your nose. The background is loaded with pepper, a bit of cinnamon and some wood smoke.

Palate: Powerful despite it being only 42%. Heavy notes of coffee and black chocolate, then it continues on oranges, lemons and grapefruits zest in a lighter way.

Finish: Short on black chocolate and coffee.

Overall: Not really convinced, but I guess it depends on the price (haven't checked). The nose was quite nice, but the palate is missing complexity and the finish is just too short.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 14 : Isle of Jura Superstition

14th of December.

I had a bottle of Jura Superstition once during my early whisky days. I quite liked the whole “hand on the cross while you serve” story, and I remember that I liked it but was not exceptionally fond of it either. It was quite a peculiar profile though, and I admired the originality.

I have tasted it last year and it was the same, so I honestly don’t expect any surprise now :-)

But hey, let’s not be close minded and try to see if anything’s changed !

Whisky Advent Calendar day 14 - Isle of Jura Superstition

Name: Isle of Jura Superstition
Owner: Whyte and Mackay Ltd
Distillery: Jura
Region: Isle of Jura
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
ABV: 43%
Bottle size: 3cl

Colour: Dark amber (E150...)

Nose: Kind of sweet, but in a delicate way. Subtle caramel on the front with cacao and a light wood smoke in the background. We then get light grapes, light plums and light vanilla. Yeah, I know... everything is quite light in this nose.

Palate: Light and oily. Nice smoke going on there, like the last gas that escapes from and extinguishing fireplace. It continues on citrus fruits and the bitterness associated with them. A bit of apples, grapes the anise. Some spices there too (a tad of pepper and maybe some cinnamon).

Finish: Long, on lemon bitterness and a really warm pepper spiciness.

Overall: "Weird"... but it works. I guess I could even say "weird in an original way". I don't think there is another whisky with this distinctive a profile out there, and just for the sake of it, I think everyone should try it. Because don't take me wrong, it's not exactly my cup of tea, but it's a good whisky and the packaging with all the superstition and legends is nice. Not that expensive too I think. Conclusion ? Nope, hasn't really changed since the first time I tasted it ;-)

Whisky Advent Calendar day 13 : The Glendronach 12 years old

December 13th.

I don’t know Glendronach’s range very well. The only one I truly know is the 15 years old. The others I tried during Whisky Live Paris (not this year, 2014 I think) are some vintage (1995 and 2003 I think) and the 18 years old.

I know I liked them and they left me a good impression of Glendronach, but well… difficult to really make up your mind during so big a tasting.

Let’s get to it.

Whisky Advent Calendar day 13 - The Glendronach 12 years old

Name: The Glendronach 12 years old
Owner: The Benriach Distillery Company Ltd.
Distillery: Glendronach
Region: Speyside
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 12 years old
Cask: Sherry Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez
ABV: 43%
Bottle size: 3cl

Colour: Amber

Nose: Sweet and gourmand. Starts on heavy chocolate, honey and toffee on a cinnamon / pain d'épices background. It continues on hazelnuts, vanilla and then the fruits kicks in with plums and grapes. Nice.

Palate: Rich, creamy and gourmand. The flavor order from the nose is reversed with first the plums and grapes showing their faces, then intense toffee again and éclair au chocolat. Coffee, orange and cinnamon follows. Really rich and dessert like.

Finish: Long on milk chocolate and oranges.

Overall: Please let this dram sit down twenty minutes or so, especially if you just opened the bottle. Before doing that, the nose felt really unbalanced (thus, I preferred not to try the palate). After you've done that... well that's a lot better and I can now say this is a really good expression from Glendronach. A style I'm not really used to, but that I'd not mind knowing more.