Denmark’s Stauning Rye with Mezcal finish

This wasn’t my first taste of Denmark’s Stauning offerings…. a distillery in Western Denmark started by nine friends back in 2005. I believe my first sample of their Rye was before it could even officially be called whisky and the 2nd their 2nd batch of peat. So I was curious to see how they evolved over the last few years.

This particular bottle with its original artwork and distinctive name “Bastard” was what inspired the whole evening’s trio of unusual finishes. You gotta admit, with both a moniker like “Bastard” and a roaring slobbering wild beast on the bottle, one can’t help but think this will be a brash bold humdinger of a dram!

So what did we think?

Stauning Rye (2021) Mezcal Finish 46.3%

  • Nose – Caraway, rye, grassy, heather… a hint of smoke like faint smoke of sweet grass, some sour mash that then shifted into quite a strong sourdough bread, honey-sweet with slightly sour yogurt… then as it opened up further heaps of caramel, quite warming with a touch of salt, dried cherry or that Chinese dried plum that is all at the same time sweet, sour, spicy and salty! Then shifted to porridge, a bit of oak and something else which was a bit hard to pin down – perhaps this is the Mezcal element??
  • Palate – Think dark rye bread, some burnt caramel, resin, and yes – here you can find a Mezcal influence combined with sweet spices like cinnamon – a slightly curious combination with the rye
  • Finish – Wood shavings and sawdust, very bitter and long

Clearly young and a bit brash – once the aromas settled down there was a pleasant sweet sourdough on the nose. Overall an interesting experiment and talk turned to how it should pair well with cigars…. however I will admit this isn’t one I’m desperate to run out and repeat!

What do the folks at Stauning have to say about the “Bastard”?

The wind from the North Sea mixes blood with the desert of Mexico in this double-distilled rye whisky aged in old mezcal casks. An illegal love affair with a gentle and exotic aftertaste.

Stauning Bastard a rye whisky made purely of local ingredients, malted on the floor at our distillery and double-distilled in flame-heated pot stills. After three years in new, toasted virgin American oak casks, it has been rounded off with 6-months ageing in old mezcal casks from Mexican Oro de Oaxaca.

The result is an elegant love child whose equal you won’t find anywhere else in this world.

Official tasting notes:

  • Nose – Sweet tobacco smoke, raisins, oat biscuit, citrus, oak
  • Taste – Tobacco, vanilla, barley, dried fruit, cinnamon, brown sugar, molasses, shortbread, oak
  • Finish – Long sweet, slightly smoky, salty, brown sugar, pepper

Well…. I’m not sure I would describe this as an ‘elegant love child’ however would agree to the oats, oak,

So here goes an evening devoted to a curious trio of Rum, Tequila and Mezcal finishes with:

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Kilchoman Tequila Finish 53.4%

It has been a while since I sat down and properly tasted a Kilchoman… in truth, I don’t think even once since meeting Kilchoman’s charming founder Anthony Willis in the Spirited Stories tent at The Vault Biennale. I will fully admit to a certain fondness for Kilchoman – in part as this Islay distillery is part of the ‘new generation’ of distilleries who have proven with an eye to quality and artistry, you don’t need to wait more than a decade to produce a fine dram.

So what did we think of Anthony’s experiment with Tequila? Did it need salt and lime to knock back as a shot? Or favour an extra anejo? Or reveal little to no influence of the agave finish at all?

Kilchoman 8 year (11 Dec 2012 / 15 Nov 2021) Bourbon Cask No 824/2012, Tequila Finish 53.4% (50 PPM) TWE Exclusive, Bottle 147 of 267

  • Nose – Ripe mushy bananas, a fruity sour mash, leafy and a bit vegetal, saline with light hint of smoke, we even speculated if there was a touch of black salt? However the more time it spent in the glass, the more it opened up… shifting into candied red apples, marshmallows, then more tropical fruits
  • Palate – Unmistakable peat and sweet, powerful yet exceedingly well balanced, chewy with a good mouthfeel, some pepper and sweet spices, perhaps a bit of that agave element subtly peaking through
  • Finish – Sweet red cinnamon candies, followed by a nice agave finish
  • Water – Not necessary but holds well with a splash, becoming more herbal

So…. does the tequila work? Yes… as it has only a subtle influence rather than being very pronounced unbalancing the other elements. And that was the success here – everything in perfect harmony – sweet and salt, peat and sweet, spice and herb – all working together.

What more do we know? As usual, Kilchoman peats to 50 PPM and in this case used an ex-Bourbon cask for 8 years before finishing for approx 8 months in an ex-Tequila cask. It reminded me why Kilchoman has made its mark – there is no dramatic heavy peat here – instead, the peat provides a lovely interplay with the other cask elements.

I noted down the official tasting notes from the bottle:

  • Nose – Malted hay and tropical fruit sweetness
  • Palate – Herbacsious with layers of fresh fruits and burst of agave
  • Finish – Waves of agave freshness with soft sweet peat

In large part, I would agree with the notes… however, personally found the peat more pronounced on the palate with the agave much more subtle.

Talisker, Kilchoman, Stauning

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Talisker 8 Year (2020) Rum Finish 57.9%

Talisker is known for its lightly peated salty maritime character, situated on the Isle of Sky. Part of the Diageo stable of whiskies, their range has been quite stable over the years with a 10 year, 18 year, Storm… More recently, they have launched some variations with whiskies matured to 8 years – one of which I tried as an ‘Old Particular’ mini from Douglas Laing – quite a pleasant dram that hit the spot in colder climes…

So what did we think of this new cask strength experiment?

Talisker 8 year (2020) Rum Finish 57.9%

  • Nose – Hay, heather, leather, comes across as ‘dry’ yet also has a rum sweetness and raisins, heavy on the ripe bananas joined by other tropical fruit, some roasted pineapple, a hint of coconut and pepper spice chased by a light curl of smoke and sea spray
  • Palate – Jeera (cumin) tamarind ‘goli’… loads of bitter (almost edging into bitter gourd) that initially got in the way of discerning other elements… gradually easing into a roasted black pepper, followed by a sour rum, steeped neem leaves – slightly astringent, then salty
  • Finish – There but… didn’t have any predominant notes – perhaps a bit of black licorice at the end?
  • Revisit – After setting aside, when returned the rum dimension was much more evident – in a good way!

Whilst clearly not a typical Talisker, the light peat, pepper, and saline maritime elements were there. The rum certainly took it in a different direction however it wasn’t entirely harmonious. The nose was the most appealing part with the palate more curious than enjoyable and the finish almost forgettable.

I realized much later that I wasn’t in the least bit tempted to try with water – though this was at cask strength. Perhaps that would have brought out different elements and tempered the slightly strange palate.

So what more do we know? This is part of the Diageo Special Releases 2020 and was finished in pot-distilled Jamaican rum casks.

What else? There was also care taken with the packaging – certainly upping their ‘game’… Not just with this special edition – they have also refreshed their standard range too.

Talisker, Kilchoman, Stauning

This whisky joined an evening devoted to a curious trio of Rum, Tequila and Mezcal finishes… followed by:

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Rum, Tequila and Mezcal Finishes from Talisker, Kilchoman and Stauning

Spirits like rum, tequila and mezcal are each in quite a different category than Whisky. However with the increasing shortage of casks and voracious appetite for something ‘new’ and ‘different’, there has been an explosion of experimentation all around.

Inspired by the Stauning “Bastard” bottle, our whisky host for the evening amusingly dubbed this trio “Cheap Bastard” as none were outrageously priced. (However, he did mention in dismay, the increase in average whisky prices at The Whisky Exchange in London – more than what can be found elsewhere in the UK.)

Talisker, Kilchoman, Stauning

So here goes an evening devoted to a curious trio of Rum, Tequila and Mezcal finishes with:

And considering our host called this a “Cheap Bastard” evening – his words, not mine – I took the liberty to add the current prices for each. Not exactly what I would consider “cheap” however I must admit to becoming spoilt with more accessible prices in Germany!

And whilst I likely wouldn’t have chosen these whiskies, that’s the brilliant part of tasting with others – each brings what tickles their fancy to the table – expanding your exposure and explorations well beyond what one person alone could ever hope to purchase!

Be a wee bit patient as detailed tasting notes will follow…

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Maison Benjamin Kuentz – Inouïe Mélodie

With Maison Benjamin Kuentz whiskies, we were introduced first to their core trio with (D’un) Verre PrintanierFin de PartieAveux Gourmands then during a trip to Paris explored their limited editions of Aux Particulares Vines 1, 4 and 5.

Next was a special treat in honour of a famous French composer – Pascal Dusapin – who is also a whisky fan…. whose music Benjamin described as stormy….  he is also known for microtonality, tension, energy and romantic constraint.

As Benjamin described it, this was a true collaboration –  a result of “four hands” at play. Where is the whisky from? Rozelieres distillery from a single cask which produced approx 600 bottles.
Inouïe Mélodie
  • Nose – Best word to describe? Stormy! Followed by fresh pine needles then a burst of juicy red berries and fruits
  • Palate – Sweet and very full, a feast in your mouth! Lots of sweet caramel counterbalanced with fresh forrest
  • Finish – Long sweet spices, bitter leaf and a hint of fruits like an echo resonating

It is aptly named! There is a delightful melody…

What more do we know? Here’s what the folks at Maison Benjamin Kuentz have to say on the back of their beautiful label….

Curious about other forays into whiskies created by Maison Benjamin Kuentz :

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whiskey Lady on:

Arran Cask Finishes – Arran Port Cask Finish 50%

Last in our evening of Arran “finishes” was the Port Cask Finish, which followed the Arran Sauternes, Amarone and Sherry.

Years ago this Port finish was my first introduction to Arran, courtesy of purchase by an actuarial friend (on condition I could reimburse!) who was in Edinburgh. I recently came across the faded receipt for £45 from Stirling Whisky Shop, near Stirling Castle… It meant so much more given I’ve now both been to that very shop and the distillery!

Today in 2022, it no longer is part of their core range… Which is a pity. While it may not be for everyone, I remembered the Port Cask Finish as a rich intense whisky that stands proud at 50% yet also works with a dash of water.

So what did we think?

Arran Port Cask Finish 50%  

  • Nose – Heavy and intense – prunes, dark rich wood, then shifted to be intensely floral, rose, vanilla, then deep forest, even some slightly sour black cherries
  • Palate – Full-bodied, tobacco, a nice spice – think more of garam masala than sweet spices alone
  • Finish – Dry, very long, with more of that light spice
  • Water –  Just a dash opens it up nicely – after the extra kick of spice subsides, it makes this more approachable, dry to ripe fruits, yet still nicely robust

This whisky was full of dark heavy elements – from the dark fruit aromas to the tobacco… there is something that makes you ‘picker up’ with this one. It also paired rather well with a Cigar,

I’ve revisited this one a couple times – it’s more intense and flavourful than I prefer for a “daily dram”.

What do the folks at Arran have to say?

A fantastic choice at any time, particularly as an after dinner dram, especially with a delicious cheese selection.

After initially maturing in traditional oak casks for approximately 8 years, The Arran Single Malt in this bottling was finished in a selection of Port casks sourced from an artisan producer of this iconic Portuguese fortified wine.

The maturation process was monitored under the watchful eye of our Master Distiller, to ensure that the Port casks and the intrinsic character of The Arran Single Malt partnered with each other perfectly. The end result is a combination that’s full of charm and rich flavour, and a wonderful way to discover more about the Arran range of Single Malts.

Official distillery tasting notes:

  • Nose – Cinnamon, baked apples
  • Palate – Vanilla spice, ripe citrus & dried fruits and nuttiness. With a splash of water more depth of mandarin citrus with fudge and honeyed notes.
  • Finish – Spice, Bitter orange, Chocolate, Cherries.

We chose to try this Port together with three other Arran whiskies:

Whilst all from this finishes series are no age statements, there was no doubt that they are well-thought-out expressions that are worthy of attention.

So far, we’ve already tried the Arran Port Cask Finish 50% together with:

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Paris Nights – Michel Courveur “Candid” and Godet Osokye

In December 2021, the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai got together to explore a trio recently acquired in Paris. Amusingly, at the same time I tasted one of the whiskies – The Bellevoye “Red” Grand Cru! When the host generously agreed to set aside samples, I, therefore, chose to bring back to Germany only the two not tried. And yes – I’m aware of the irony of European whiskies being brought to India and then back to Europe! Such is the wandering way of our whisky explorations.

So there I was… on a rather miserable February Friday night… the winds howling, the rain relentless… and decided this was the perfect moment to put on some fab French pop musique and pour myself a couple of drams…


This isn’t our first brush with Michel Courveur – which is a Burgundy based operation which adopts, matures and blends. Started in 1978 by cellar-master Jean-Arnaud Frantzen, the tradition continues with Michel’s wife, daughter, son-in-law.

Our initial experience was… peculiar… it was a peated Vatted Malt. It had quite a pronounced wine influence – not entirely harmonious. However, I always try to bring an open mindset to new bottles… So what did I discover?

Michel Courveur “Candid” L 2019018 49%

  • Nose – There is a sense of something almost musty at first, then it shifted into dark fruits, quince, cloves, nutmeg, it reminded of a rich butter tart bursting with raisins, rich old oak dry woods, dark purple grapes combined with dried dates and figs, classic Christmas cake and pudding, spiced eggnog, rich chocolate milk
  • Palate – Woh! Very sherry, a piquant spice, quite dry, and yes – there is certainly some peat here!
  • Finish – Long strong, spice and more of that bold sherry quality, black licorice, with a hint of almond and smoke chased by bitters
  • Water – Cranks up the spice, augments the rich sherry aromas, sweetens and softens it on the palate

There was a heavy sherry influence at work here – nothing subtle about it. On the palate I found it a bit imbalanced – loads of sherry elements, chili spice but somehow it was missing a fruity roundness… instead the peat pushes it into another direction.

However when I revisited it after some time…  found more chocolate notes, fruit and nuts, spice and smoke… coming together much better – with the peat much more pronounced. It worked!

What more do we know? Not much… It is a malt Whisky distilled in Scotland and then further matured in sherry casks in Burgundy, France.

Osokye French Single Malt Series No. 4, PX Finish 40.8% Bottle 3237/5124

  • Nose – A curious mix of malt and dark fruits, cherries, sherry, a hint of lemon zest, almond, rum-soaked raisins, some salted caramel and was that also a hint of tobacco leaves?
  • Palate – Chocolate and peat, malt and more… it reminded me of crunching on a malted milk ball like “whoppers“, addictively tasty, creamy, softly well rounded
  • Finish – Nicely follows through – fruitier with roasted wood chased by cinnamon – delicious!
  • Water – No need at all

I have to admit this was dangerously drinkable. I barely realised how it went from being poured into the glass to gone!

What more do we know? Osokye is the name of a plot in Lorraine, France where barley is grown. This particularly whisky is made from that barley and then distilled with a Cognac Alambic, then finished in an ex PX cask.

What more do we know? I found this on The Cognac Expert:

Godet Osokyé Single Malt Whisky: a Burst of Smoke and Fruit

This French single malt is named after the lot in Lorraine where the Godet family grows their barley. Godet Osokyé Single Malt Whisky Batch 4 is a smoky malt, distilled in an alembic still normally used for Cognac and finished in Pedro Ximenez casks to balance out the spirit with a burst of dark fruits. Presented at a natural strength of 40.8%, this full-bodied whisky is complex but superbly drinkable – suited to whisky lovers and Cognac lovers alike. Only 5,124 bottles have been produced.

Founded in 1782, Godet Cognac ranges amongst the oldest Cognac houses. The Godet family has been based in the seaside town and former trading hub La Rochelle for 400 years and since the very beginnings of Cognac production, they have played an important role in perfecting this culture. Cognac Godet has been in the hands of the same family for an astonishing 15 generations, who have placed tradition and excellence at the heart of their business.

Tasting notes:

  • Eye: Antique gold.
  • Nose: Chewy barley, white fruits and a chalky-gravely minerality followed by honey, cherry liqueur and tart lemon.
  • Palate: Fresh, malty and honeyed with a hint of peat. Creamy with vanilla, poached pear and cooked apple, leading to a finish of smoke and oak wood.

So whilst I missed the merriment, with the samples I could get a glimpse into the Whisky Ladies experience. I much appreciated the opportunity and look forward to joining the next session in person!

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Arran Cask Finishes – The Sherry Cask 55.8%

There are times when only a sherry bomb will satisfy. After progressing from the Arran Sauternes to Amarone, we shifted gears to the cask strength “The Bodega” Sherry finish. Just looking at the colour, there was every indication this would be one serious dram!

So what did we think?

Arran “The Bodega” Sherry Cask 55.8%

  • Colour – Deep burnt orange, almost a red copper
  • Nose – Oh my! Sherry meets banoffee pie! Rich, dry fruits, drunken raisins, intense, salted caramel, roasted almonds, dark berries, dates, a hint of leather, fruity sweet and sour cherries with a pinch of salt
  • Palate – Smooth! No burn even at 55.8% Proud and full-bodied, a complete sherry bomb, bursting with dark fruits and berries, a spark of spice, a swirl of dark chocolate and marmalade
  • Finish – Long finish with a dash of salt joining the dark dry fruits, chased by sweet dry spices
  • Water – Necessary? No. But a generous dollop opens up tames the aromas and transforms the palate into juicy ripe fruits – more plums than figs – delicious!

Well, well, well… There was absolutely no doubt this was matured in a Sherry cask. Too rich and robust for an ‘everyday’ dram, it had balance and charm. Fabulous!

What do the folks over at Lochranza have to say about The Bodega?

Sherry Cask ‘The Bodega’ is a stunning new addition to our core range of whiskies and is the perfect choice for someone who enjoys their Single Malt with plenty of body and complexity.

Matured in some of the finest casks available to the whisky industry, this cask strength Sherry matured Single Malt is both luxurious and elegant with layers of rich sweet spice and oak. Our Master Distiller has worked with producers in some of the most prestigious Sherry Bodegas in Jerez, Spain to select only the best quality casks to be filled with our precious spirit.

This bottling is a return to the style of some of the earliest Arran Single Malt, which was mostly matured in Sherry Casks.

And the official tasting notes?

  • Nose – Toffee, sweet spice and fruit
  • Taste – Ripe fig and cherries
  • Finish – Dark chocolate, Mandarins, Ripe figs.

And with that, we continued our evening exploring Arran Cask Finishes:

Currently, The Arran Sherry Cask remains available for approx GBP 46 / EUR 48.

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Whisky Lady – February 2022

February can be a mixed month – in some parts of the world crazy cold, in others dreary and rainy and others… well… you can enjoy the sunshine and balmy breezes! So what about our whisky explorations?

Back in Deutschland, virtual tastings continued – this time with a set from Warehouse No 8 purchased the previous year set-up to explore Scottish regions:

Our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai explored a Swedish Trio with:

And our Bombay Malt & Cigar gents held a fun-filled evening of one of my favorite distilleries – Lochranza – with a quartet of Arran expressions exploring cask finishes:

I also posted notes from the previous month from a social evening with Gin featuring Portobello Road No 171 London Dry 42%, Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish 43%, Brockmans 40%, Sacred  London Dry 43%.

Curious to know more? Check out a few more monthly summaries:

And if you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Additionally, there are the two ‘off-shoots’ with:

Arran Cask Finishes – Amarone 50%

Oh the beautiful Arran Amarone Cask Finish… we fell in love with you back in September 2017 during a delightful Sunday sundowner… I had such fond memories I feared trying again and being disappointed.

Back in 2017, there was an announcement that the Amarone would be back soon…. it was… but then next it wasn’t, and currently, there is no update on if and when it will return… much like some of the other cask finishes like Sauternes.

However for that fine evening in early January 2022, here is what we thought of the Amarone…

Arran Amarone Cask Finish 50%

  • Colour – A lovely bright pink rose blush
  • Nose – Fresh and fruity! Raisins then red fruits… ripe raspberries and cream, sour plum and cherries… then shifted back to raspberries but this time Rogers raspberry cream soda! Then back to cherries again… and then the slightly tart cranberry…. back to raspberries… simply yum!
  • Palate – Silky smooth… tempting and teasing like Turkish delight, fruit and berry sweet, slightly gingery with a touch of pink peppercorns
  • Finish – Slightly spicy, rich, and satisfying
  • Water – Does it need it? Nope! But if you feel like adding a wee splash… it greedily marries it with the whisky to become even fruitier

Did it stand up to my romanticized notion of this whisky? It did indeed… It is like a decadent dessert, yet not cloyingly sweet. A perfect balance of its different elements, harmonious from its intoxicating aromas to captivating taste which carries through in a lingering finish.

What do the folks at Lochranza distillery have to say about their “Out of Stock” Amarone finish?

Our Arran Amarone Cask Finish is the perfect partnership of rich, red wine and our iconic Arran Single Malt taste.

After initially maturing in traditional oak casks over a number of years, The Arran Single Malt in this bottling was ‘finished’ in a selection of Amarone wine casks. The wine casks used in this bottling were sourced from an artisan producer of Amarone wine in the Veneto region of Italy.

A luxurious Italian wine meets a complex and vibrant Scottish character – there is a lot to love and appreciate about this Single Malt and you will enjoy every dram.

And the official tasting notes?

  • Nose – Cherry, turkish delight, chocolate
  • Taste – Poached pears, touch of cranberry and honey
  • Finish – Sweetness, Pears, Turkish Delight, Cherries, Dark chocolate

Would we agree? Yes indeed!

We explored this together with:

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on: