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Whisky

Booze

I love whisky. I discovered this liquid during my student years, and I'm still fond of it. I hardly have a standard whisky brand I'm allways buying : I'm discovering many new brands, some I love, some I dislike. On this page, I try to give you, dear reader, an overview of the many whiskies I tried, and a glimpse into my personal top 5 list of whiskies.

Top 5 :
1. Scapa, 13yo
2. Bruichladdich, peat
3. Highland Park, 16yo
4. Black Bush
5. Tullamore Dew

List of tasted whiskies :

Tomatin, 18yo

Booze

Long time since I tasted some Speyside whisky - Tomatin is one of Scotlands highest located distilleries, nestled between Aviemore and Inverness. The name 'Tomatin' comes from Gaelic and means 'the hill of the juniper bushes'. At least, that's what I have been told and am inclined to believe due to my naive and romantic character. Whatever. This Tomatin is newly formulated in 2009, with an Oloroso Sherry Cask finish, and bottled at 46% non chill-filtered.

Color : dark amber, almost like red gold
Nose : Vanilla, fruity, maple syrup and sweet smoke.
Taste : Oooh, much sweeter than the smell predicted, a whole orchard is coming trough life with some chilled water added. Citrus, orange zest, dark chocolate and some faint smoke in the background.
Finish : Long and sweet, slightly bitter (that zest again) and a bit of pepper.

Niiice - quite complex for a Speyside (the Highlands are not so far away after all), but extremely well balanced. I expected more peat and smoke, but it turned out a true Speysider on that matter with its fruitiness and sweetness.
I like this *a lot* : the sweetness of Speyside combined with the complexity of the Highlands.

Port Charlotte, An Turas Mor

Booze

Anyone familiar with the typical shape of a Bruichladdich bottle, knows that Port Charlotte is a product of the same distillery. 'An Turas Mor' means 'The Great Journey', and should be comparable with the Peat version of Bruichladdich, although slightly less peated. Sounds promising, not ? So cut the talking, and let's dive in, shall we ?

Color : Gold
Nose : *lots* of smoke and a hint of fruit & the sea. Hmm, surprisingly unpromising, and quite one-dimensional.
Taste : Fruity at first, nicely balanced sweetness, and then the peated smoke army rolls in. Still quite balanced. A hint even of wine, and more fruit in the aftertaste, maybe pear ? I expected pepper, and saltiness, but these stay absent. Much better than the smell promised.

What is there to say ? Clearly again a great whisky from Bruichladdich, only if the smell was a bit more interesting, this would be a winner ! Anyway, if you're into Islay stuff, be sure to check this one out !

Highland Park, 16yo

Booze

One of the drawbacks of the gaining popularity of whisky, is the increasing amount of wannabe-connoisseurs. How to recognize them ? Simply, they're the ones sending back a perfectly good single malt because there's a tiny ice block in it. Because "it's diluted with water" ! Dude, just go back to your bottles of Chivas or Jameson, shees !

That issue been vented, time for another tasting of one of my favorites : Highland Park, this time the 16yo variant. This Highland Park was created exclusively for global travel retail and duty free markets and was first released in October 2005, it was withdrawn in April 2010. I found this one liter treat while waiting for my plane in Budapest. One of the advantages of duty-free shops, is that they provide a more cheaper provisioning as whisky gets more and more expensive.

The color : amber
The nose : a wealth of floral bouquet, a speck of peat, layered with a thick honey aroma. This is gonna be a real treat !
The taste : oily, then some malt and full of pepper; and after that, spices and flowers. A loooong gentle aftertaste that keeps caressing your taste buds with marvelous caramelized fruit and honey.

Again a clear winner, but that's no surprise from a Highland Park.

Macallan, 1999

Booze

The people behind The Macallan have managed to cultivate an 'exclusive' and luxurious brand perception, even though the distillery actually has the second largest production capacity in Scotland, right behind Glenfiddich. The distillery is Speyside’s best known heavyweight – and constantly embracing a new challenge : its current view is that the reaction between wood and sherry is also of great importance. This appears to wash out the harshest tannins and help release a rich, rounded spiciness. This is felt to be far more significant than any aromas and flavors imparted by the sherry itself. One rather extreme piece of research suggested that barely a third of aromas and flavors originated from the spirit, almost 60 per cent from the oak, and less than 10 per cent from the sherry.

That's why it's no surprise that my whisky reseller praised me the Macallan Gordon & McPhail 1999 vintage edition, as a must in every liquor cabinet. As I'm a man who's fond of good advice, the bottle was mine some minutes later.

The color : amber, dark gold.
The nose : sweet, fruity, typical Speyside. So far no surprises.
The taste : oh so sweet, could be creamy rum for what it's worth. Apples, honey, raisins. Some chocolate and malt, and after that, light sherry tones flowing in, with an amazing caramel candy aftertaste that lingers forever. Wonderfully complex and ditto balanced.

This Macallan is not good, it's excellent ! One of the best Speysides I've ever tasted. So sweet, so friendly, such a marvellous combination of sherry & whisky tastes.

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