Friday, October 30, 2009

Ben Nevis 10 years - Review

Ben Nevis_whisky review

I visited a friend yesterday and he invited me for a dram.
We did a tasting and below are the tasting notes

This is a whisky review of a Ben Nevis 10 years Single Malt 1997 46% from Douglas Laing (Provenance).

Pale straw

Nose, without water:

Nose, with water:
Sweets, dried fruit, apricot


Mouth feel:

Primary taste:

Overall flavour:
Woody, nutty, spicy with some honey


Although the finish is short it is a pleasant whisky

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How to prepare for a whisky review or whisky tasting

Whisky Tasting
Four to five types of whisky is a good number to discover the difference in taste and smell. Before you begin, it is important to decide which type of test you want to do. If it is a test for beginners, you can choose whiskies from different countries or regions to learn how to distinguish between the different kinds. For those who know a bit more, rather than engaging a test of five varieties of whisky, use five kinds of e.g. blended whisky or single malt whisky or from the same region. When you get even more experienced you can have a theme for the whisky review, like bottling from one distillery but by different independent distillers or from “silent” distilleries. There are many variations. Pour app. 2 – 2.5 centilitres (~0.7 – 0.8oz US) in each glass.

Whisky Tasting Glass
What we call a daily glass of whisky, or "tumblers" are not suitable for whisky tasting, because much of the aroma disappears through the wide opening. Real whisky tasting glasses are sometimes called "tasting glasses" or "sniffers" and are tulip shaped glass that is slightly dished bottom with a narrow opening at the top, as you can see on the images to left and the right. With such a glass, you can spin around whisky properly so that the aroma is released and concentrated in the tapered opening. If you don’t have such glasses, you can use regular brandy cups or small wine glasses. Whisky Tasting Glass

It is best to avoid snacks and wait to eat until after a whisky review. The reason is that one is more aware of smells and tastes when you're a bit hungry and the food does not interfere with the whisky taste. On the other hand you can have a bit of white bread on the table. The bread is to neutralise the taste in your mouth after each whisky.

Water should be included in a tasting. One reason to add water is to reduce the alcohol strength. The other is to release more flavours from the whisky. Usually it’s sufficient to add a few drops of water, depending on the alcohol strength. Only use tap water or still water. Never use ice as ice kills both taste and smell. Both the whisky and water should be at room temperature.

Use a tasting mat and have a pen ready so you can write your notes on the mat. Keep the notes of the whisky review as a reference to use later on. Try not to spill too much whisky on the mat! I have created some simple tasting mats in both PDF and Word format, so you can change them. You can download them from the link to the right.

I will continue later with new posts with information on how to perform a tasting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back From Vacation

whisky-review - birdie-whisky

I’ve returned from a week of vacation in Portugal on the Algarve coast.
That’s why there is a gap in the posting.

We had a lovely week with blue skies and temperatures between 25°C and 30°C (77°F – 86°F).

We played golf every day and went to the pool or the sea afterwords. The temperature in the sea was 25°C (77°F). Very nice.

On Tuesday we had a competition where my team ended second and the price was amongst other things a bottle of whisky. It was a blended Scotch by the name of “Clan Mac Gregor”, which was new to me. Please see the image above. It wasn’t any special whisky, but ok.
We used it as a “Birdie whisky” and as a nightcap. I will not do a whisky review on this one.

On the airport I bought a real whisky, a 12-year old Caol Ila single malt from the island of Islay. It's a peaty one. I will review it later on.

See ya!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Laphroaig mugs

whisky review - Laphroaig_mugs

I have just received my Laphroaig mugs. They look really nice.

If you are a “Friend of Laphroaig” (FoL), you will get birthday greetings from Laphroaig when it's your birthday.
You will also get a discount in their online shop. As a Friend of Laphroaig you already have a 10% discount in the shop.
I recently celebrated my birthday and then ordered 2 Laphroaig mugs with the special discount.

To become a Friend of Laphroaig you will have to purchase a bottle of Laphroaig
(10 Year Old, 15 Year Old, 30 Year Old, Quarter Cask or Cask Strength Laphroaig) and register the bar-code from the backside of the bottle or tube on their homepage.

You will then become a happy owner of a plot (square foot) of land on the island of Islay.
If you visit Laphroaig distillery, which you should, you will get a pair of Wellington boots and your country flag and then you can walk to your plot and stick the flag in the ground.
When you’re there you should also collect your rent – a dram of the finest!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Mackmyra Whisky - Review Of The Whisky

whisky review - first edition

The idea was to create a Swedish whisky and not to copy a Scottish one.
After testing and testing and many whisky reviews they finally found the recipe for a Swedish whisky with Swedish ingredients under Swedish conditions.

In 2002 they installed new equipment and started the full-scale production,
although it is a small production compared with the big dragons.

The recipe is two kinds of whisky, one fruity and elegant and the other smoky.
Juniper twigs and bog moss peat from the local area is used for the smoky version.

Three types of casks are used, bourbon, sherry or virgin Swedish oak.
When you order a cask you can combine one of the whiskies with any of the casks.

Normally a single malt whisky has to mature at least 10 years to be good and enjoyable,but in the 30-litre casks it takes only about 3 years to mature and be enjoyable.

After 3 years you can do a whisky review of your own cask whenever you like,
so you can decide when it is time to bottle it.
You can bottle it twice if you like. The minimum amount of bottles (0.5 litre) are 12 pcs.

A whisky review of the different kinds shows that a smoky whisky in a Swedish oak cask matures quickest. It is ready for bottling after 3 years and it is a very good one, dark in colour, full body and smooth.

The other combinations can mature longer but not more than 6 years, otherwise the whisky will take to much taste from the cask (wood).

Mackmyra Whisky - Review Of The Distillery

whisky review - distillery winter

Mackmyra Distillery opened in 1999 and was then the only whisky distillery in Sweden.
It is also the world's most northern distillery.
They store their ordinary whisky mostly in 100 litre (~26.4 US gallons) casks.
This whisky is sold to the public through ordinary channels.
The unique thing about Macmyra is that they also store whisky in
30 litre (~7.9 US gallons) casks and you can order one or more casks directly from the distillery.

It is very common for people to join and share one or more casks.
The bottles from these 30 litre casks are private and not sold in public.
Although a lot of people are swapping bottles with each other to compare the brew.

The casks are stored in four different places in Sweden. One is an old mine close to the distillery, the second one is on an island in Stockholm archipelago in an old military bunker, the third one is in a castle in the south of Sweden and the fourth is on the west coast near Gothenborg also in an old military bunker.

If you take 4 similar casks with the same kind of whisky and store one in each of the four places and then do a whisky review, you'll end up with four different whiskies.