By @jeanluc on 14th Dec 2009, show post
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@paddockjudge I am much more attuned to Canadian whisky since your tutoring and sampling session. This one sounds very good.
Sorry I have yet to respond to your recent PM, but retirement is such a busy time of life; I just don't know where all those hours of the day go. I'll get on it next week.
I managed to confine myself to 2 bottles from the KWM sale this weekend: 12 year old Kilchomen KWM bourbon cask and Glen Scotia Victoriana....so far. Still waffling on the KWM Tomatin 14 yr old recharred American Oak cask.
8 months ago 4Who liked this?
My Alberta Premium 20 Year was laid to rest tonight. Most of this whisky went out as samples (do you want a sample of the worst or second worst whisky I’ve ever had? is a surprisingly good line) and/or was consumed near the end of the night when my tasting faculties were already filled. It was often mixed with PC Ginger ale most of the time.
@OdysseusUnbound It's hard to imagine a 20 year old whisky being that bad. I guess age isn't everything, as we have discovered lately via some outstanding 5 to 8 year old whiskies.
8 months ago 3Who liked this?
@BlueNote Honestly, with ginger ale it wasn’t terrible but at $80-$90/bottle you’d expect much better. AP 20 was, for me, undrinkable neat because of the awful aromas.
8 months ago 2Who liked this?
How much aging time is required to make great whiski? 5 to 8 years to mature great whiski is for cold weather climates, e.g. Bruichladdich Octomore.. In India, Taiwan, or the US great whiski can be fully mature in 2 years or less.
And keeping whisky in a cask for an unlimited number of years doesn't mean that it will be any good. Those casks are individuals, and many individual casks put out awful flavours after a time. This is why all huge distilleries putting out single types of products, e.g. US bourbon or rye, have categories of quality. (Scottish malt distilleries monetize the lowest 70% of their barrels by quality by putting them into blends, viz. "mixed drinks blended right at the factory").Those low-end commodity products that cost about $ 8 per 750 ml where I live are the worst barrels in the bunch, the ones which could not under any circumstances improve, and would only get worse, by being kept around for 10, or 20, or 30 years. That is why they bottle them in about 3 years. They know that these barrels will not get any better with more age and will just get worse, usually meaning more tannic and bitter. The low-end products are still sold in the marketplace because these distilleries are businesses that need to monetize all of their production in order to keep their businesses profitable. And the low end stuff is still usually perfectly fine for mixed drinks.
One year at The Tales of he Cocktail we were served up a horrible 52 year old Scottish whisky. It WAS horrible. Maybe 65 points out of 100. That was the whole point. Increased age is an asset only when the cask maturation process is well managed, and the barrels kept aging for the longer periods of time are barrels of a quality which will lead to further improvement with the advancing age.
How many times on Connosr in the last 5 years have people posted that OB Highland Park 18 year old is just not so very good any more? These are now different batches from different barrels than whisky with the same label 10 years ago.
I like Pappy Van Winkle 23 year old bourbon. But I can enjoy a LOT of wood influence. Most of the people I've known who have tried that now-average-asking price $ 6,189 bottle do NOT like it, and find it far too woody. For me and for many the sweet spot for Van Winkle wheated bourbon is 15 years in barrel, not 20 years, nor 23. I still like it a lot at 23 years old, but the tastes of MANY consider that to be a case of over-oaking the whiskey.
"Older is better" for whiski assumes a lot of things that are not true: 1) all barrels are equal, 2) the judgment of the distiller in the aging process is unimportant to the final result, or 3) all commercial distillers are skillful and prudent and never make mistakes, and 4) this malt whisky I am drinking is typical of the average whisky produced at that distillery. There are many bad barrels which go into blends. The skill and judgment of the distiller are critical to the quality of the final product. And what you get in your bottle of malt whisky is already pre-selected from the top 30% of barrels made at that distillery.
8 months ago 10Who liked this?
Great explanation @Victor, and your last paragraph sums it up perfectly.
@BlueNote thank you very much. Sometimes it is a challenge to make points without sounding preachy. I don't ever want to sound preachy, but I would like to make the points strongly.
8 months ago 7Who liked this?
@Victor Great response. It’s funny that you mention HP since I have a hypothesis about them which can not really be tested but is an interesting thought experiment nonetheless. My hypothesis is that HP would be significantly better if it used no “sherry casks” or almost no sherry casks. I feel as though an exclusive regimen of ex-bourbon cask maturation would allow the usually excellent HP distillate to shine through much better.
8 months ago 6Who liked this?
@OdysseusUnbound that is interesting that you say that about Highland Park. I have for at least 8 years thought that the barley in whisky from Highland Park is some of my favourite barley. Highland Park barley and Linkwood.barley are at the top of my list. Adjectives to describe the quality of those two barleys? Bright and juicy. .
8 months ago 5Who liked this?
@OdysseusUnbound Excellent point. I have had more than one IB HP that has had no, or very little sherry influence. Had a Cooper,s Choice version that was spectacular, a Berry Bros that was equally impressive, and I’m told the AD Rattray Cask Orkney (HP) is an 18 year old matured only in bourbon casks. A friend with a reliable palate assures me it is killer. I still have an unopened bottle of the OB 18 that I have had in the closet for at least 10 years. I’m about ready to check it out. I’m not overly optimistic.
@BlueNote I tasted an IB Highland Park 15 year single cask from an ex-bourbon cask a few years ago and it was fantastic. Slightly Talisker-esque. Not an exact match but in that kind of vein. My friend bought it on his travels (remember travelling?) knowing very little other than “Highland Park is good”.
@OdysseusUnbound Great comment re the bourbon cask HP. I had a bottle of refill bourbon 15 Highland Park from Gordon and Macphails cask strength range a few years ago and it was a lovely bottle. Should look out some more IBs.
@OdysseusUnbound @Timp The IB HPs are routinely far better than the distillery's OBs. How is it that the independents can do so much more with the HP output than the distillery can do with its own casks. Endless non-descript expressions and silly Viking marketing do nothing for HPs credibility. Most of their stuff is way out of my price range anyway. The Twisted Tattoo 16 year old was the last one I had that was pretty good. Full Volume, which I recall was an 18 year old, was also decent.
Today is @Cricklewood's birthday. I have not been drinking much this month but I wanted to have something in his honour.
I opened this Amrut single cask (Bourbon cask) in December 2017, at an epic tasting he attended. He was so taken by it that I let him take one of my unopened bottles off my hands. No regrets - it went to a great home.
I last poured this (long since decanted) exactly one year ago, at a zoom tasting for his birthday.
I can't think of a better day to finally let this one go... and create a tiny bit of space in my cabinet for the next gem.
It is as delicious as the first pour was almost four years ago...
4 months ago 5Who liked this?
Happy belated birthday to @cricklewood !
4 months ago 3Who liked this?
@Nozinan Have a heel of this left, excellent bottle, picked during the LCBO Amrut purge. Happy Birthday @cricklewood
4 months ago 2Who liked this?
@OdysseusUnbound, I missed this post from three months ago. Dirty, Dirty Sherry has tainted more than one bottle of Indy Highland Park from which I have drunk. I have tasted some delicious Indy HP, they have all been ex-bourbon casks. I tend to agree with your hypothesis.
@paddockjudge I missed the original discussion about HP too. But would agree that indy bottles of 'Orkney' prove that Highland Park make a very good spirit. You wouldn't know that from current official bottlings. Because they are let down by a number of factors. Poor cask choices, Chill-Filtering, low abv and although it doesn't directly effect the liquid it does effect the overall product: Silly pretentious presentation.
Poured this tonight to sip while my wife and I watched a Korean Drama. I decided to have a dram and it was the first thing that called out to me.
I’ve been wanting to finish off some of my open bottles to make room to open some bottles. This one was opened almost 6 years ago!
Of course, decanted bottles don’t take up as much room as full-size bottles, so I still have a lot of work cut out for me.
3 months ago 6Who liked this?
I recently finished my only bottle of Glengoyne 21. It was a superb batch. R.I.P. I’m unlikely to replace it due to the steady rise in the price of this expression.
3 months ago 3Who liked this?
@MRick, unfortunately, my current bottle of Glengoyne 21 YO has a sulfur note. I've poured from it yet again and there is no change as it nears the half-fill level. I'm adjusting by blending it with Glenfiddich 21 YO and Laphroaig Lore, 8:4:1. The 'fiddich mutes the sulfur while the 'phroaig draws it back and mingles it with a more favourable tar note....apricots and roofing tar...could be a SMWS label. lol
3 months ago 5Who liked this?
Foursquare does not get better as level drops and fill level drops. The bourbon barrel dominate the flavour profile towards the end.
Chateau Bordeneuve a young Armagnac just kept improving, more flavour, better mouth feel as fill level drops.
Springbank 18 (2013 bottling), ABV 46%, a challenging one. It stays concentrated and tight. It needs water to open up.
5 days ago 7Who liked this?
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