Box Cask Sample Sherry Cask #A682 53.8%

Filled 5 October 2011, bottled 29 November 2014, unpeated spirit matured in a 40 litre ex-oloroso sherry cask.

IMG_4245-2Nose: Butterscotch, a lot of butterscotch. A little roasted grain. With water, rubber appears on the nose as well; warm car tyres. And a hint of black pepper.

Palate: Burnt rubber, garden hose and a faint whiff of toffee. it’s all less intense with water, but the impression of chewing a garden hose lingers.

Comments: WAY too much cask influence, for my palate. I’d MUCH rather have the adolescent congenners of the bourbon cask variety. It’s interesting to taste this, especially in contrast with the other, as it’s a text book example of cask influence making all the difference, but unfortunately it’s not a drinkable dram.

Macallan 1996 13 years Adelphi 58.8%

the_whisky_bar-3Nose: Toffee with a hint of mint. Dry oak and vanilla. With water it develops raisins and baked apples, but the vanilla gets a somewhat rotten side note.

Palate: Too much oak? After only 13 years that’s actually kind of impressive. Oak, varnish, slightly rotten wood. With water it develops some bitterness, which for once is a good thing as it kills off the note of decay.

Comments: I’m ambivalent, but land on “No”. Too much cask and it’s also all over the place and tastes different for every sip.

Cragganmore 1998 Noorbohandelen 42%

cragganmore_times_twoNose: Pear, a little oak, a hint of black pepper.

Palate: Cloying, varnished oak and some acetone.

Comments: Not nice. The nose is ok, but faint and not very exciting, and the palate is simply off-putting. I poured most of my dram down the drain, and passed the bottle to Arve, who drank a couple of drams while enjoying a pipe. However, once the pipe was done and he had a sip, he discovered just how horrid the whisky really was, and stopped drinking. The conclusion, therefore: Dinkable with a pipe (a cigar probably works as well), but generally not drinkable.

Highland Park 18 years Duthies Cadenhead 46%

Nose: Butterscotch and rubber. With water I get rather rubbery “Hubba Bubba” (chewing gum brand) with liquorice flavour.

Palate: Rubber. You know those balloons you can hardly bear to inflate because they taste harshly of rubber. Water does very little to help.

Comments: Undrinkable. With enough water the rubber is sufficiently diluted both on the nose and the tast that I could finish it, but since nothing else shows up to take its place I’m left with water with a vaguely rubbery taste and a hint of alchocol and it’s not worth it.

Thanks (I think) to Daniel for the sample.

Fary Lochan 2011 Second Release Danish Oak 46%

Tomorrow, 28 September 2013, it’s open day at Fary Lochan, and the Danish distillery releases its first whisky. The very first bottle will be auctioned off, and stock holders have been able to pre-order. At 1500 DKK for 50 cl the whisky had better deliver…

800px-Fary_lochan_warehouse2We visited Fary Lochan in 2011. At that point they sold newmake and bottles with newmake and an added bit of charred Danish oak. The theory was that the spirit would mature in the bottle. The mini-stave is of a size calculated to the proportion of exposure in a cask, but the destillery manager, Jens-Erik Jørgensen, said that they had noticed that the “maturation” was much quicker than expected and they expected that the “whisky” would reach its peak some time during 2013 or 2014. We decanted 20 cl from our bottle before the summer, and we’re planning to decant another 10 or 20 before the end of the year. The dram I’m tasting tonight is from the bottle cotaining the “stave”.

fary_lochan-1Nose: Newmake, a little paint stripper. Water brings out spice and tart apples, but the paint stripper remains.

Palate: Weird. Newmake with oakiness. It tastes a bit like newly varnished wooden floors (not that I’ve actually tried to eat a newly varnished floor, mind you). Water releases a hint of spice.

Comments: The nose is just horrible. The palate is a little better, even if I’m sticking to the varnished floors. It also appears rather unbalanced, the wood is not well integrated with the spirit.

I remember the “clean” newmake as pretty good, so my conclusion is that though the idea of a stave in the bottle is an entertaining one, it does not work the way it was intended. We’ve got a bottle of the untarnished (I almost wrote “unvarnished”) newmake as well, but it’s in the cupboard that’s so child-proofed even we can’t open it (well, not without undoing the child-prrofing permanently). But once I can get at it I’ll write notes, and perhaps revisit this, too. We’ll put off decanting any more, I think, at this stage it’s not worth keeping.

Fary Lochans spritstill
The spirit still at Fary Lochan