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A change of gear?

1 21

@Robert99
Robert99 started a discussion

I am asking those who like something different to suggest three whiskies that are offering a unique style of whisky. Here are my suggestion:

First, I will not be original with Bernheim Original but those who have sampled a wheat whiskey know that it stand apart from Bourbon and Scotch.

Second suggestion, Nikka Coffey Malt. It is amazing how using a Coffey still change the profile of a single malt.

Last suggestion, Eddu Silver. A French whisky made out of buckyeat. Another grain, or pseudograin, with the French way of using cask.

The American have a few distilleries that are offering interesting products for the adventurous. Think of Corsair, Koval, Journeyman or Balcones among others. I have tasted some interesting Spelt whiskies but unfortunately, I never tasted any blue corn whiskey yet.

So, what are your peculiar gems?

2 years ago

21 replies

@Hewie
Hewie replied

@Robert99 here in New Zealand there is a native tree, called manuka, which is used for smoking foods, especially fish. A NZ distilery called the Whisky Workshop produced a single malt with the malt smoked with this manuka. It has a very different flavour profile compared to peat. I can't say I love it but it is definitely an interesting alternative.

2 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Hewie do you get hints of manuka honey?

2 years ago 0

@Hewie
Hewie replied

@Nozinan Nah, I wouldn't say so. In comparison to 'standard' honey (here standard would be clover honey) manuka honey has a deeper and richer flavour. The manuka smoked whisky has a savoury smoke but lacks the depth of the peat from Scotch whisky - the layers of vegetative notes that I love in Talisker, Springbank etc. No medicinal or iodine notes either - I guess a clean smoke if that makes sense.

2 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 replied

@Hewie Manuka honey is fantastic and, to me, close to scottish toffee, so I would not expect manuka smoke to imparted some peat notes. So could manuka smoke wood could be the NZ signature like maple is kind of a signature for Canadian whisky?

2 years ago 0

@Hewie
Hewie replied

@Robert99 forgive my ignorance, but is maple used in the production of Canadian whiskey? The wood from manuka trees is typically used for smoking fish and bacon etc. It is a novel application to use it to smoke the malt for whisky making. Yes, I guess it could become a signature of NZ whisky but very little NZ whisky is smoked in any way. Just an intriguing difference.

2 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Hewie There have been attempts to use maple wood in interesting ways to influence the flavour of Canadian whiskies. I believe the most notorious example is Collingwood 21 but I could be completely wrong.

Ralfy, I believe, has advocated for maple syrup in one of his malts that was not up to par.

2 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@Hewie_ Canadian Mist Distillers (owned by Brown-Foreman) uses maple on all of their Collingwood products. Maple has long been known to fix or mend funky whisk(e)y. I am not a fan of the maple "staves" used to finish or "mellow" the Collingwood whisky in holding tanks...yep_ holding tanks (they have their own cooperage_ but don't use maple barrels to finish the whisky_they use maple "staves" ...hmm). Brown-Foreman is catering to a niche market with their Collingwood brand. I suppose cola and ginger ale would cover-up any hint of maple. Brown-Foreman (of Louisville, Kentucky,) produces somel other brands you might have heard of: Jack Daniel's, Woodford Reserve, Early Times, Old Forester, BenRiach, GlenDronach, Glenglassaugh.

Gibson's (owned by William Grant & Sons - Glenfiddich - Balvenie) released the100th Anniversary Grey Cup Ltd. Ed. in 2012. It had a hint of maple in it. Glenfiddich & Balvenie Malt Master Brian Kinsman toyed with existing expressions of Gibson's and eventually came up with a newly created blend to complement the addition of genuine Canadian Maple Syrup to this whisky.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Hewie
Hewie replied

Thanks for the interesting info on the use of maple. So it seems there are a few other woods being used in whisky production in one way or another. Interestingly, when Captain James Cook (the first European to discover NZ) sailed around NZ in 1773 he brewed a version of a spruce beer using the needles of some native trees (probably rimu, matai, and kahikatea. The leaves were essentially used in place of hops and to combat scurvy! "We also began to brew beer from the branches or leaves of a tree, which much resembles the American black-spruce. From the knowledge I had of this tree, and the similarity it bore to the spruce, I judged that, with the addition of inspissated juice of wort and molasses, it would make a very wholesome beer, and supply the want of vegetables, which this place did not afford; and the event proved that I was not mistaken."

2 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@Hewie, your talk about spruce beer makes me want to mention a favourite spirit of mine. Clear Creek Distillery in Portland Oregon makes a Douglas Fir Eau de Vie. While drinking conifer-bud spirits is not to everybody's taste, I love the stuff. And it is of a natural pale green colour.

2 years ago 0

@Mancub
Mancub replied

@Victor That Douglas Fir Eau de Vie sounds very interesting. I just looked it up on the Clear Creek website, I'll have to remember that one.

2 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@Mancub, the Douglas Fir Eau de Vie really is a trip. There is a whole story to the ten year process of investigation that led to Clear Creek being able to finally get the spirit just right. Harvesting the buds at just the right time, stuff like that. I hope that you get a chance to try some.

Clear Creek's use of the term Brandy on the label is relatively recent. Older bottles use Eau de Vie.

2 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Victor Sounds fascinating. How does the green colour make it through distillation?

2 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@Nozinan, I can't say that I know, although there may be some additional fir-bud infusion after the distillation.

2 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Victor I guess when unencumbered by the SWA, you can do pretty much whatever you want to obtain a quality product.

Any chance a small glass bottle with some might find its way up north for our next tasting?

2 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 replied

@Hewie Just for your information, I am not a fan of maple in my whisky. You will find that even when there is no maple wood used, a lot of people will say that Canadian Rye have a maple taste. It is probably part of the Canadian image and maybe in some case a bit of imagination. It is ok, will draw the line when they will suggest there is some beaver in their dram. wink

I only had one whisky from NZ. It was the 10 yo from the New Zealand Cie. Unfortunately, it is not a good memory.

Thanks for bringing the use of Manuka wood to our attention.

2 years ago 3Who liked this?

@Hewie
Hewie replied

@Robert99 I agree. The little NZ whisky that I have tried has not inspired me to investigate others. I think I'll stick to Scotch for now, thanks ;)

2 years ago 0

@MadSingleMalt

@Robert99 , @Hewie : I only ever had one NZ whisky, "Lawry's Workshops Distillery Single Malt." It's OK, but it didn't inspire any fascination. And they're generally rare & expensive around here (the US), from what I can tell.

All that adds up to scotch for me too! :)

2 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 replied

@Hewie I am not saying that you should quit on trying NZ whiskies. I don't have access to any but I am sure there are some good ones. But don't trust my guts, trust the World Whisky Awards [worldwhiskiesawards.com/winner/…]. The winner seems to be a right choice to change gear. My only advice to you is to not expect Scotch when you are not drinking Scotch and you will appreciate it for what it is: a NZ whisky.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt

@Robert99 , is that World Whisky Awards one of the legit operations, then? There are so many; it's hard to remember which are worth paying attention to and which aren't.

2 years ago 0

@Frost
Frost replied

Fortunately here in Sydney it's easy and cheap enough to find NZ whisky if you are interested. Also, it's cheaper than Australian whisky.

I've tried four different New Zealand whisky by the New Zealand Whisky Company (10, 15, 16 & 21 yo). Only the 21 yr was a single malt from that line up. The others are blends, with approx 30% grain and 70% malt. A single distillery produced malt and grain blended together.

They tend to be ex-Bourbon with ex-wine cask, from the write up on the gift box some spend almost half their life in the ex-wine casks. I'm unsure when marrying occurs. I hypothesise that it's the long time in ex-wine that is a blend that people find unusual. Just a guess, I don't know for certain.

I admit they're a different taste to what is being produced, but I find them enjoyable.

Back on topic, shifting gears I want to try some Mellow Corn whiskey. I was inspired by a review from @Victor

Edit: also New Zealand has a large wine producing industry for local casks

2 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 replied

@MadSingleMalt I find their selection to be good to excellent. Because they have so many categories, you may have some average whisky in their selection from a remote region. They change the format a bit this year and have less categories so it should be a good starting point for your research. Though, I would not go for any bronze whisky. I usually pick some gold awards, look for other reviews that confirm the quality and end up with very good whiskies. Basically, it's a tool that help me to narrow my research.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

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