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By @Nozinan @Nozinan on 22nd Apr 2015, show post

Replies: page 20/20


@Victor Smith & Cross is a beautiful rum. Or at least, my current open bottle is and has been from the first pour right up to the last time I tasted it a few weeks ago.

about one year ago 4Who liked this?

Victor replied

@OdysseusUnbound I was the one who introduced Smith & Cross Rum to the Toronto Connosr circle about 7 years ago, from which it has since become popular. That was my FIRST bottle of it. which was excellent from the get-go. My second bottle was not like the first bottle, not by a long shot-- until it took 3 years of air time. Batches, my friend. Sad, but true. Sad mainly because, man, I would like all of my bottles of S & C Rum to taste just like that first one.

about one year ago 3Who liked this?

BlueNote replied

@Victor That’s a very good tip about pre-opening bottles slated for a tasting event.

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

paddockjudge replied

@YakLord, I stand corrected. The first/early batch(es) of Virginia black did not state that it isn't made in Virginia.... later batch(es) carry this comment. I have one of each, both are gifts, neither have been opened.....yet. tumbler_glass tumbler_glass

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

Nozinan replied

@Victor Talk about epic tastings! I remember that Smith and Cross sample you brought with you when we met up north. I believe I was inspired to buy two bottles at the LCBO the day I drove home. Sadly that expression is now rare as hen's teeth in Ontario. Luckily I have a good stock - it's great for Flambes.

Now Lemon Hart 151 - the other rum you introduced me to that day - it took me a LONG time to find it in Canada. I'm still enjoying the bottle you gave me those many years ago. And I never want to be without a backup of that one.

about one year ago 4Who liked this?

Nozinan replied

Today my brother-in-law and his wife came to Toronto for a few days. My niece has been staying with us for the past few weeks to spend time with her cousins. They will stay past the weekend and then take her home in time for school.

Last couple of visits here, we had a few evening dram sessions where I introduced him to some fine whiskies and spirits (I just noticed that between his visits in 2018 and 2019, 26 of the bottles we tasted from are still open in my cabinet...sigh). Of course COVID has kept hims away for three years.

After dinner we did some shopping to prepare for tomorrow's big dinner, and then we sat down to try a few drams. Given this was our first visit since the death of our brother-in-law @nosebleed, we first had some Glenlivet Nadurra from a bottle that had been in his collection (which I opened with Connosr friends in November). We talked about him for a while.

Then I introduced him to some Israeli single malts. I passed on the new-make, "Last One" underage and Classic expressions, then joined him for the Elements Sherry cask finished bottling. We finished off with the Apex series CS pomegranate wine cask finished whisky.

Tomorrow we are grilling XinJiang - style lamb kebabs, so we may have a little peated whisky to go with it.

So nice to have someone to share whisky with. Makes me long all the more for in-person whisky tastings, which are hopefully not far away...

9 months ago 6Who liked this?

Nozinan replied

And…. We had an Epic tasting of Epic proportions.

Saturday and Sunday nights a small group of us tested the COVID waters and met, first at my home, then at the home of @fiddich1980, to eat great food and sample great spirits.

Stay tuned - I will try to post the whole story sometime soon…

9 months ago 2Who liked this?

Nozinan replied

Epic Tasting Sept. 3/4 2022

A very long awaited get-together. On Sept. 3/4, we took advantage of the long weekend to schedule 2 back to back tastings. The first night, @Cricklewood, @Paddockjudge, @Fiddich1980 came over to my place, and the second night was hosted by @fiddich1980.

Part 1 - Sept. 3

The first night had a couple of broad themes. We started with a vertical tasting of Milk and Honey distillery offerings. We had all tasted 4 malt expressions (Newmake, under 3, 3YO Classic and a distillery bottling) in a zoom tasting in 2021, and one sherry cask finished bottling last fall, so this time we focused on some more advanced tasting.

  • We started off with the Classic (3 YO, 46%) to get a good baseline

  • Next up we revisited the Elements Sherry cask (46%). This bottle was originally @Taleander’s, and contributed for our education. This one has very clean sherry.

  • Next we cracked the seal on the Elements Red wine (STR) cask (46%). This one has a creamy nose.

  • We stayed with the wine cask theme by moving to the Apex Pomegranate wine cask (batch 8 - 59.5%). This one takes water and has some interesting properties. It will take some more exploring.

  • We rounded out the Elements series with the peated Islay cask (46%). This one was very impressive.

Then we moved along to a Balvenie flight curated by @paddockjudge with some contributions from @fiddich1980. Many good examples of the Balvenie signature on display

  • We started with some unobtainium - Blavenie Tun 1401 (Batch 9 - 49.6%). This one was phenomenal. Simply phenomenal, and my favourite of the flight.

  • Then the 17 YO doublewood (43%)

  • This was followed by the 16 YO triple cask (40%). Some unique tangerine notes on the nose.

  • Next up a 15 YO single barrel (Sherry cask - 47.8%). This one was a real treat, with juicy sherry and the Balvenie signature coming through.

  • Next up, a Boutique-y Whisky Co. blended malt, essentially a 25 YO teaspooned Balvenie, bottled at 50.8%

  • Then we had a 23 YO from The Whisky Agency presented at 51.%

  • The last one of the series was another teaspooned expression (Burnside) from Archives. A 25 YO at 54.7%.

We then shifted to some ryes and Canadian whiskies, starting with:

  • Lock Stock and Barrel 16 YO 100% rye (53.5%). This is one that a number of the group had been looking forward for a long time, and I would say it went over pretty well.

  • We decided to contrast this with Shelter Point Single Grain Rye 2019 release (59.6%). This was the KWM bottling (68 of 240 bottles) of cask 343. I must admit I still enjoy this every time I taste it.

  • Then we emptied the heel of @Talexander’s Paradigm Spirits Heritage Collection 19 YO CS (67.9%). This is one of the most delicious Canadian whiskies I have ever tasted. And after about 24 h to reflect, and upon hearing that one of the others had ordered one of the remaining bottles from the distillery (while at the table the second night), I succumbed to “peer pressure” and FOMO/FORO and bought a bottle for myself…the most expensive whisky bottling I have bought for myself. Luckily the usual shipping fee was waived so that helped a little.

  • In Early Feb/Mar The Drop Collective (I am still not really sure what it is but I joined on a lark for this purpose) held a lottery for its members for the chance to purchase a bottle of Corby’s Lot 40 Cask Strength 18 year old 100% Rye (56.1%). I was surprised to see that I had won, and after some consultation, three of us decided to go in together for this (probably overpriced) bottle. This was our first opportunity to crack it and split it. It is VERY oaky.

  • We finished of the Canadians with some sips of Canadian Rockies 28 YO (46%). This one had the classic Highwood signature, and a peaches and cream corn quality to it.

As a group we finished the evening with a pour from @Nosebleed’s legacy bottle of Glenlivet Nadurra 16 YO 60.2%. Always nice to taste such a well-rounded scotch, and of course remember our fallen friend and family member.

@Paddockjudge finished things off with a taste of Blue Spot, as the only one of us who had not yet tried it.

The next day we joined @Talexander for an excellent lunch at a mid-town patio. I’ve discovered my favourite place for falafel in Toronto.

Part 2 - Sept. 4

It should be noted that at this sitting, @paddockjudge’s long-standing craving for oxtail was finally addressed. The main theme for the second day was “malternatives”. After loading up on single malts the day before, they took a backseat.

  • We started off with Casterède Année 1960 Armagnac, (40%) a 59-60 year old.

  • Next was a Delord Vieil Armagnac (Récolt 1980) 20 YO (40%),

  • Then, perhaps unfortunately, we had a quick taste of Llaird’s Apple Jack (not the cereal) (40%), to prepare for…

  • Manoir de Durcet 2007 Calvados (13-14 YO, 47%). This one was delightful. It makes me want to learn a lot more about Calvados, but I suspect such examples are few and far between.

  • To contrast, we then poured one of my favourite Springbank expressions, the 12 YO CS Calvados cask (6 years ex-bourbon, 6 years ex-calvados). Bottled in 2012 at 52.7%. I bought it as an afterthought when I picked up some Claret wood finish Springbank CS. Had I known how good it was then, I would have bought more. So glad we didn’t look it up on WineSearcher until AFTER we opened it or it would still be sealed…

We then moved to a flight of rums starting with:

  • Havana Club Seleción de Maestros (45%)

  • Then we moved on to Mount Gay 1703 Master Select, 2018 release (>10 YO, 43%).

  • We decided, for fun, to try Plantation Pineapple rum, made from pineapple infused rum and macerated pineapple rinds. This is not a liqueur, and is bottled at 40%.

  • Then we moved to a Valinch and Mallet Clarendon pot still rum (26 YO, 56.9%).

  • The Whisky Agency Caroni Trinidadian rum (23 YO 42.9%)

  • Cadenhead’s Caroni 21 YO rum (61.6%).

  • Kill Devil 17 YO Jamaican rum from Hampden distillers (46%).

At this point things “degenerated” a little. There were a few more that we wanted to get through, and we went through them a little more quickly and perhaps not as carefully (I speak for my own palate fatigue):

  • Barrell Seagrass rye finished in barrels that used to contain Martinique rum, Madeira and Apricot Brandy (59.56%).

  • Vallinch and Mallet Glendullan Single Malt (sorry I did not get the age), sherry hogshead (53.1%).

  • That Boutique-y Whisky Co,. Glen Elgin 22 YO Batch 2 (48.2%)

  • Antiquary 35 YO blended whisky (50:50 Girvan and Tomatin) at 46%.

  • Aberlour A’Bunadh Alba Batch 4 (60.9%). Not a bad young whisky but a but outclassed here.

  • And we finished off with Fortaleza 100% Agave reposada tequila at 40%.

This was definitely an epic 2 day event. Having two days meant each night was less rushed and more relaxed. The company was great, the food was great, and the spirits were fantastic. Until the next one!

9 months ago 7Who liked this?

YakLord replied

Thursday night's OWG Halloween Spirits Tasting...

7 months ago 3Who liked this?

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Nozinan replied

On Saturday, Dec 10, an Epic tasting was held in my home. It was epic from many perspectives. First, the company. It was great to welcome @Cricklewood, @fiddich1980, @paddockjudge and @Astroke into my home.

Second, the food. My wife decided that our food plans were insufficient so she brought us Persian kebabs with rice and tomatoes for a late lunch. Our dinner included a whole roasted pig (@paddockjudge guided my son to make the first cut - it was cool), various cheeses, and home-made rye bread (slow-rise), one with dried cranberries and sunflower seeds (the only one of my slow-rise breads that my wife will eat). My wife made an impressive variation of Tiramisu for dessert.

On Sunday, @TAlexander joined us for Montreal smoked meat, bagels, and other goodies.

Oh yes. And there were the spirits. 23 in all, not a bad one among them.

  • We started off with an extremely fine rum, Black Tot 50th anniversary blend (54.5%), composed of 9 different rums.

  • We then moved to whisky - Compass Box Orchard Home, batch 2 46%. Very light and so fruity.

  • Next we honoured @Nosebleed with a toast from the bottle of Glenlivet Nadurra (batch 1214E - 60.2%) that had belonged to him. Over the years he has helped all of us obtain some special bottles (and as my brother in law, he was so much more) and I think it is important to keep him in our thoughts.

  • After that we poured some Smooth Ambler Old Scoot 10 YO CS bourbon (59.6%). I hadn’t tasted that since before the pandemic started.

  • This was followed by Knob Creek 18 YO single barrel special edition (KC001 - 50%). This bottle created quite a stir when it was released by the LCBO.

  • We then opened a Russell’s Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon 55% - I had obtained this bottle from @TAlexander earlier this year.

  • We then moved to sherry-matured Scotch with a pair of Glenfarclas. The first was the 185th Anniversary at 46%, but if you told me it was closer to cask strength I would have believed it. A very clean sherry.

  • This was followed by a GF Family Cask 1994-2021 (54.3%). This one was matured in a refill Sherry cask - absolutely delicious.

  • We then had a pair of undisclosed Speysiders from The Whisky Agency, brought to Canada by Igor of Scotch of Heads and Tails Spirits. The first we named the Dalmatian because of the label art. It was 27 YO at 52.3%. The second we named the Circus for similar reasons. It was 26 YO at 49.8%.

  • After a break for dinner we came back with Old Perth Blended Malt 1996-2021 at 55.8%. This one was impressive.

  • We then samples the North Star Vega limited edition 28 YO blended malt (55.8%). This and the other blends we had today are proof that blends can be as good as single malts.

  • Next up was a Ben Nevis Edition Spirits IB. 23 YO at 57.8%.

  • The Whisky Agency returned with a Glenrothes 23 YO at 51.3%.

  • We then changed continents again, moving to Paul John Mithuna Batch 1, a very clever Indian Malt bottled at 58%.

  • This was followed by Amrut 8 YO Jaggery Rum Cask at 60%. This was batch 1 from July 2018.

  • We then moved to a freshly opened (for a bottle split) Amrut Spectrum. This one, Also Batch 1 (Oct. 2021), is bottled at 50%, matured in ex-bourbon casks and finished in a cask made from 4 types of wood. I look forward to exploring this one further.

  • We then moved a little West for a quick stop at Milk and Honey Distillery so that anyone who had not yet tried the Apex series Pomegranate wine cask-finished malt could do so.

  • Then it was Bladnoch time. The reason for this was that I had received a bottle as a gift last Christmas and I had failed to remember to open it at our last tasting. But first we tried a (also freshly opened) 10 YO bourbon cask matured 46.7%

  • Then we moved to the 17 YO California Red wine cask finished bottle, also 46.7%. Some of us felt that maybe that finish was trying to hide something. I will have to look into that more.

  • Looking at the ages of these last 2 whiskies one has to wonder where they got the distillate for the bottlings, since Bladnoch had limited distilling under their contract with Diageo. And they are very different from the high ABV mostly sherry cask matured bottlings that were around about 10-12 years ago when Raymond Armstrong held the reins of this distillery. I took the opportunity to unseal one of my remaining bottles of the 10 YO, bottled at 55%. It was fantastic. I look forward to revisiting this with friends in the future.

  • As we started to worry about palate fatigue, out came a Highland Part Cask Strength (batch 2 - 63.9%). To me this tasted like classic HP, almost like the 12 YO on steroids.

  • Finally, we finished off with a G&M Caol Ila (batch 12/154, 1997-2021, 59.9%), first fill sherry cask. This one was a real treat.

We ended “early”, about 11 pm, though to be fair we started about 330. It was a well-paced, small pour tasting that left everyone satisfied and looking forward to the next one.

Thanks again guys for coming together!

5 months ago 7Who liked this?

Victor replied

@Nozinan, wonderful report, wonderful line-up, wonderful company, wonderful times.

Sigh...Canada in December. I REALLY enjoy how dark Canada is in December!

5 months ago 3Who liked this?

Astroke replied

@Nozinan Thanks again for having me over. Was very nice to see the familiar faces again after so many years.

5 months ago 5Who liked this?


Afternoon plan!

17 days ago 6Who liked this?

Nozinan replied

Epic Tasting May 20-21 2023

For reasons I cannot understand, Canadians get a long weekend in May to celebrate one of Britain’s longest reigning Queens, Victoria. Well, it’s a day off, so I’ll take it.

Long weekends are good because if you want to get people together from out of town for a tasting, you can usually do it over two nights. This allows you to slow the pace, sit and enjoy each expression a bit more, and lessen palate fatigue.

This weekend was probably one of the most unique tastings we have had so far. As always, we planned on tasting far more than we actually got through. but we also built in a considerable amount of non-spirit activity.

We started on Saturday at my home. A small group, only 4 of us. We put together the finishing touches on the buffet that included 2 types of home-made bread (including a wheatberry beer bread I’ve been experimenting with), smoked meat, smoked brisket, Quebec cheeses and charcuterie, and some home-baked cookies. Then we sat down and slowly worked our way through only 12 expressions over about 7 hours. Paert of the theme was “dead bottles” - bottles originally purchased for drinking but never gotten around to opening. I apologize if I misrepresented the provenance of the bottles:

  • Gold Spot 9 YO CS (51.4%) Irish Whiskey, freshly opened for a bottle share between three of us.

  • Blue Spot 7 YO CS (58.9%) Irish whisky, which I brought up from the cabinet to compare and contrast.

  • Arran 18 YO Scotch (46%) courtesy @fiddich1980.

  • Teaninich 21 YO bourbon cask bottling (48.8%) courtesy @paddockjudge.

  • G & M Mortlach CS (57.2%) 18 YO first fill bourbon cask. This “dead bottle” courtesy @fiddich1980. Mortlach is often matured in sherry casks so this was an interesting expression.

  • Teaninich 29 YO (47.1%) Sherry cask courtesy @Paddocjudge

  • Johnnie Walker Swing (40%) - I bought this “dead bottle” 10 years as an impulse buy at the DF in Newark Airport because there was nothing else of interest. After trying it and finding it to be fairy sipable, we tried an experiment. I had received a cocktail smoking set for my birthday and we smoked some of this with Applewood chips. The result really changed the nose (even in a different glass), but I didn’t appreciate much of a difference on the palate, certainly not smoke.

  • Tobermory Handfilled cask (52.7%) 25-26 YO - refill bourbon cask then 13 years in Manzanilla cask - courtesy @Cricklewood

  • Bunnahabhain 25 YO (46.3%) courtesy @fiddich1980.

  • Whisky Sponge Equilibrium (Edradour /Ballechin) 10 YO (52%) courtesy @Cricklewood.

  • Bowmore Laimrig Batch 4 (54.1%) courtesy @paddockjudge

  • Nikka Yoichi 10 YO (45%) courtesy @fiddich1980

We dispersed around midnight or so.

The next day, some of us went to catch an afternoon BlueJays / Orioles game that went 11 innings, joining @Talexander, then made our way to the home of @fiddich1980 where @cricklewood was preparing a fantastic supper.

Let’s just say this tasting was a bit less structured than the one the night before. I tried to taste everything that was poured but I may have missed one or two, and the order for others may have been different than I tasted them in (which is below). The theme was, loosely, Malternatives, which by the end of the evening included whiskies that were either mostly not malted barley derivatives, or malted barley finished in a malternative cask:

  • When I arrived, People were pouring a Valinch and Mallet 18 YO single cask Venezuelan rum (56.3%), courtesy the legendary Igor of Scotch. It was delicious and rich.

  • A couple of years ago I participated in a sample tasting of 10 single casks (it was online during the COVID 19 shutdown) from the North of 7 Distillery, and the result was the purchase and bottling of a 4 grain “bourbonne” and the selection of a 95% rye/5% malted barley cask for further maturation. That cask (just over 7 YO now, I believe), was bottled earlier this year at 65%. I was lucky enough to piggyback a small purchase but have not yet received my bottles. As a surprise to me, @Fiddich1980 cracked his bottle for me to try (and take home a sample for further study). Delicious!

  • At the recommendation of Igor of Scotch, we had a Famille Vallein Tersigner “L’érotique” Cognac - Vintage 1969 (my birth year) (48.9%), courtesy @paddockjudge.

Dinner was one of the most impressive rib roasts I have ever seen (or tasted), with smashed and roasted potatoes, carrots, Yorkshire pudding, and asparagus, with fresh cannoli for dessert.

  • Our after dinner dram was Manoir de Durcet Calvados (47%), a 13-14 YO made with some pears added to the apples, courtesy Igor of Scotch

  • We contrasted this with a 1985 vintage Calvados (40%) courtesy @paddockjudge.

  • Then another Cognac from Vallein Tercinier, “Très vieux Cognac” small batch (48.2%), Distilled between 1941-1943, and put in “demi-jeannes” in 2006 (Heads and Tails), courtesy @Paddockjudge

  • Malternatives’ Cognac Lot 60 (1960) Daniel Bouju (50.5%),bottle 147 of 246 courtesy @ paddockjudge

  • The we moved to rums, starting with Chairman.s Reserve (St. Lucia) 8 YO rum (59.8%, cask 13680608, distilled in 2012 using 2 sills, a John Dore 1 and Vendome. This courtesy @Cricklewood.

  • Next up a Worthy Park 12 YO Jamaican rum single estate distilled in 2006 (56%), courtesy @cricklewood.

  • Then Compagnie Des Indes 12 YO Jamaican rum (New Yarmouth) single cask (60.2%), bottle 100/261, courtesy @Cricklewood.

  • Then a Single Cask Nation 11 YO Four Square barbados rum (55.8%), aged in a first fill bourbon hogshead, courtesy @fiddich1980.

  • Black Tot Rum 2021 (54.5%), courtesy @paddockjudge.

  • Black Tot Rum 2020 50th Anniversary blend (54.5%), courtesy @fiddich1980. After tasting it at a previous tasting, many of us wanted a bottle and @Cricklewood had managed to source a few in Alberta.

  • We thought we were ending off with a rum-finished 10 year old Kavalan Solist (56.3%), presented by @fiddich1980, but:

  • Someone brought out a Lot 84 (1984 distillation) Cognac Grosperrin (56.6%), courtesy @paddockjudge.

  • In order to make sure our palates were thoroufghly saturated, @fiddich1980 brought out a bottle of Mr. Sam (66.9%).

What a night!

And what a great couple of days. Thanks to all who made it happen!

15 days ago 6Who liked this?

Jonesz replied

@Nozinan Sounds like a truly delightful time and well spent with friends! Jealous of quite a few of those sips BTW,

14 days ago 2Who liked this?

Victor replied

@Nozinan thank you for a lovely report!

14 days ago 1Who liked this?

BlueNote replied

@Nozinan Queen Vickie would have approved of how you boys celebrated her birthday.

13 days ago 1Who liked this?

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