Old Pulteney Noss Head 46%

From Old Pulteney’s Lighthouse series, which is only available at Travel Retail. Noss Head is from ex-bourbon casks. Blind tasting.

Nose: Curry, coriander and garam masala. With water I also get green apples, malt and rock dust.

Palate: There is something curryish on the palate as well, but also malt and vanilla.

Comment: An unexpected nose and taste combination, I must say, but I rather like it. I need to try to get hold of another sample and try it again to see if it’s just my nose that’s out of whack today. And if this is how it appears to me consistently, I will probably try to get hold of a bottle, because this is unusual – but good – stuff.

Box The Pioneer 48.1%

box_pioneerNose: A bit rough, you can smell its age. Pear lollies and spruce. Water adds bay leaf and lemon, rosemary and some congeners. More water tames the congeners and brings out the malt.

Palate: There’s something undefinably young on the palate as well, but it’s a well-balanced dram, with black pepper and wood, a hint of acetone and something fruity. Plums, perhaps? Water emphasises the acetone, but also provides peach jelly and more wood. With quite a lot of water it blossoms. The pepper is still there, but otherwise I get vanilla ice cream with lemon balm.

Comments: It presents as somewhat too young, but with enough water it’s quite nice. I remeber the Försmak edition I tasted at TWF as less congener-affected, but then that was a peated version and peat does conceal rather a lot. I’ve poured another and let it stand for half an hour or so to breathe, and that has helped a lot. I doubt I’ll add water now, it’s nice as is. The overall judgement is promising rather than perfect, but then I guess the destillery would agree, they have, after all, released it as an early days edition.

Nøgne Ø Asian Pale Ale

Nøgne Ø is getting better and better distribution in Norway after being taken over by the Hansa-Borg group. Even my local grocery store (quite small) has a decent selection of their max 4.7% abv. beers. Amongst them is the lastest offering Asian Pale Ale – a light refreshing ale with generous amounts of lemongrass (end quote).

It should be said that I’m no great fan of lemongrass and might be slightly biased when it comes to reviewing this ale.

Nøgne Ø Asian Pale AleColour: Hazy deep golden

Nose: Fresh sitrus with a dash og malted barley and some wheat. The lemongrass is present without making a nuisance of itself.

Palate: Light, watery taste of lemongrass soup with some malted cereals. A slight bitterness hiding in the background acting all shy.

In summary: I won’t be purchasing this ale again, but I can see it  going well with sushi and lighter asian foods. Or as a thirst quencher for those who aren’t biased against lemongrass.

Dalarado The Year One

In Dalarna, Sweden, a microbrewery was started a little over a year ago, Dalarado. The man behind it, Chris Slawson, a native of Colorado, USA, had started homebrewing with his best mate there. But his heart lead him to the Swedish countryside and the little town of Malung (pop. 5126). After brewing at home for some time with ever increasing quality the dream of a proper brewery started to grow. During the winter of 2012 things were set in motion and a 200 litre brewery was installed.

Today 800 bottles are produced each week, mainly of the tre standard brews: an American IPA, a Rye Pale and a Coffee Stout. To celebrate their one year anniversary they produced a limited edition beer – Dalarado The Year One, a belgish triple with chanterelle mushrooms!

Dalarado The Year OneColour: Clear amber-yellow.

Nose: Smells like a low tone triple with a earthy tone in the background.

Taste: Ooh, this was strange. Sweet vanilla, mushrooms, strawberries, earthy/musty tones and a hint of yeast.

In summary: Not all there, but a fun experiment. The mushrooms gave the brew too much strangeness for my palate. Don’t see mushroom beers taking over the world anytime soon.

Nordic whisky news #1

Times are exciting when it comes to Nordic whisky. This series of blog posts (in English) will sum up some of the most important news on the subject. Looking for news in Norwegian? See Nyheter.

Sweden: Two Swedish distilleries launched exciting expressions in Systembolaget’s June release on the 5th. Spirit of Hven released a single cask bottling, Sankt Ibb, fat 11-217, distilled from barley grown just outside the distillery. With only 273 bottles available, it was gone before you could blink. More interesting, as far as I’m concerned, Box launched their first whisky bottling (their earlier releases have been less than three years old). Box Pioneer was available in a batch of 5000 bottles, with a maximum order per person of 2 bottles, but even so, it was all gone by the end of the first day. I have two bottles waiting for me, and will publish tasting notes in due time.

Sweden: Talking about Box, the distillery has its own mini-festival, and it’s taking place on the 28th of June. Box Whiskyfestival features loads of masterclasses, a chance to tour the distillery, food and drink at the bar, including a festival beer, several whisky importers with their wares and live music.

Norway: The news of a planned distillery at Myken, north of the Arctic Circle, has garnered interest worldwide. Among others: Canadian Eye on the Arctic, Barents Observer and The Spirits Business. The distillery plans are part of a greater initiative to breathe new life into the community of Myken, The Myken Project. If this sparks your interest, there is a Kickstarter project in search of funding to make a documentary about the whole thing.

Lost Spirits Leviathan II 53%

Leviathan II, according to Lost Spirits, has a ppm of 110 (measured in the malt, I assume) from American peat and has been matured in ex-Semillion casks, casks that have been used to mature white wine, in other words.

Nose: Newmake (sulfur and malt spirit). Sweet yeallow raisins. Apple pie and custard.

Palate: Smoke, but wrapped in interesting ways. Raisins, peat smoke and dark chocolate with coffee notes, especially on the finish.

Comments: First and foremost: Weird. A somewhat split personality, as if it needs more time, either in the cask (well, the newmake character would suggest that anyway) or in the vat. Did they skip the marrying period? I’d also seriously consider other casks for further maturation, or at least some other casks in the mix.  However weird, though, I don’t dislike it. Rather the opposite. Once you get past the newmake on the nose it’s rather nice in its way. Smoked dark chocolate with raisins? Who wouldn’t buy that? The VERY young nose detracts, though. And who knows where the 110 ppm ended up, not in the bottle, that’s for sure. Peat monster it ain’t.

Thanks to Daniel for the sample.

Eagle Rare 10 år Single Barrel 45 %

Nose: Dark chocolate, cardamum and oaky perfume. Water brings out citrus, especially orange, some lilacs and lemon curd. Somehow I end up thinking about old fashioned ladies’ soap.

Palate: Wet, warm wood (as in a wet sauna) with a vague rotting note (an old sauna, obviously). With water I get soap, citrus and perfume.

Comments: The nose is quite nice, though perhaps a bit too perfumey. On the palate I can choose between rotting wood without water and soap with water and my answer has to be “I’ll pass”. Not undrinkable, but teetering on the edge.

Thanks to Daniel for the sample.

Mackmyra Vit hund Newmake 46.1%

The newmake bottled as Vit hund is of the variety Mackmyra calls “Elegant”, distilled from unpeated malt.


Nose: Sulfur, a touch of apricots, clear malt notes, like a grain store. Almonds and a little fennel. With water I get lemon and a bit of acetone, then honeydew melon and almond essence. Sulfur and congeners throughout.

Palate: Spice, peaches, hint of pineapple. Grainstore as well. A sharp note on the finish. With water there are more spices; cardamum and coriander, as well as baked, mealy apples.

Comments: This is nice enough to beg the question of whether maturing it is really neccessary. On the other hand it’s nice in a very different way than whisky, so perhaps, “Both, please” is the correct response. There is a lot both on the nose and the palate, and it opens beautifully with water. There is newmake roughness, of course, but that is to be expected and personally I rather like it (if you like your whisky smelling of tar I guess you may like sulfur as well, though there will probably be a lot of people who like one or the other and some will like none). Clear malty and grainy notes leave you in no doubt what sort of spirit this is, also a good thing.


Bunnahabhain Bn2 Elements of Islay 56.1%

The Elements of Islay series is bottled by Speciality Drinks.

Nose: Light smokyness, green wood burning, with rather a lot of leaves still on the branches. Banana and honey. More fruitiness and sweetness with water, barbequed peaches and rosemary.

Palate: Cold fireplace, ashes and coal. Maltiness and sweetness. Water lights the fire (strangely enough), the smoke becomes warmer. Underneath there is banana toffee and yellow apples.

Comments: I can only state (categorically) that peated Bunnahabhains are nice. Very nice.

Thanks to Daniel for the sample.