Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique Single Cask - 2015 WWA Best Single Malt

The top single malt winner at the 2015 World Whiskies Awards, revealed last week, is Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique from the King Car Distillery in Taiwan. I picked up one of the only two I could find here in Tokyo and tasted it last night at the bar.

Facts:
  • Cask: Single cask - W090220052, bottle number 167 of 198. Cask had held both red and white wine before being re-toasted.
  • Alcohol: 58% abv, cask strength
  • Non chill-filtered, natural color
  • Price paid: ~$200 US

Tasting Notes

Appearance:
Caramel, golden brown

Nose:
Chocolate, toffee, raisins, vanilla, bourbon, fruitcake, as advertised - stewed fruits is right, malty, maple doughnut, honey
  
Palate:
Instant impact numbing the tongue
Sweet, spicy, cinnamon, bitter chocolate, raisins, pepper, fire
  
Finish:
Long
Fire gives way to comfortable warming, dried fruits and chocolate ever-present, black coffee, vanilla, hazelnut

Conclusion:

Consistent from nose to finish, very tasty, big, bold, Worth a try if you can get it for under $200 US.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Springbank 21 Year Old

Finally got around to opening my bottle of Springbank 21 y.o. I had no idea that I'd been putting off what turned out to be, quite possibly, the most well-crafted Springbank whisky I've tried to date. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and even at around $300 for a bottle, I feel it's worth keeping in the collection.

Facts:
Bottle code - 13/491
Limited Edition - 2700 bottles worldwide

Tasting Notes

Nose:
Sherry notes, raisins, apples, baked apple crisp, bitter chocolate, cherry pie, buttery peat, leather, cigars, evolves into buttery fruitiness, classic Springbank notes ever-present, cinnamon, vanilla, treacle

Palate:
Initially soft, develops beautifully, sweet and tart fruit, vanilla, hint of peat, cinnamon and subtle spices, wonderful bittersweet tang on the back of the tongue, oak

Finish,
Long
Nice smoke, sweetness of fruits and vanilla continues all the way through, dry, peaches, cinnamon, blackberry jam


Conclusion: Beautiful consistency like nothing I've ever tried before. That Springbank complexity is there, superbly-well balanced, not as intense as Springbank 12 yo, but being bottled at 46% abv after an extended maturation period, you'd expect that from Springbank 21 yo.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Ichiro's Malt: 9 of Spades

As mentioned in a previous post, I had the opportunity to try another of the Hanyu Ichiro's Malt Card series single malts. This time it was the Nine of Spades.

Facts:
Limited edition - 584 bottles (bottle 567)
52.4% abv
First Cask: Hogshead, Second Cask: Cream Sherry Butt
Distilled: 1990, Bottled: 2010
Tasted at Zoetrope Shot Bar in Nishishinjuku, Tokyo.

Tasting Notes

Appearance:
Burgundy

Nose:
Quite aromatic
Sherry, oak, vanilla, floral

Palate:
Immediate impact
Sweet, spicy, cinnamon and dried fruits

Finish:
Medium
Peppery, light smoke, oak and ash

Conclusion: Very tasty. Considering remaining bottles are being sold for over $3000 US, I feel lucky to have been able to try a glass of this at $20 US.