Whisky Lady’s Top 5 Popular Posts (that may surprise you!)

As part of reflecting back on the last five years and 1,000 whisky posts, I’m amused by the top 5 whisky posts… that may perplex for their popularity.

The all time favourite Whisky Lady post are… drum roll please…


#1 Party Whisky – Amrut’s MaQintosh

Yup… for a whisky that I’ve purchased only once and had a few times at parties.

However it definately falls into the “populist” category of accessible, affordable Indian blends.

It has a really crappy photo – which may be contributing to its popularity as it seems a ‘wine shop’ in India has co-opted the image!

On my next trip back to India I may buy a bottle just to take better pictures and bring it back to Germany for the novelty factor.

20150111_Maqintosh

MaQintosh (WhiskyLady.co)


#2 Glen Deveron 20 year 

Another whisky you won’t see my running out to buy anytime soon! Why does it stand out? I suspect it is the combination of being 20 years, available at most duty free for a cheaper price and our completely panning it a few years ago when we tasted it side-by-side a 3 year old Japanese whisky.

Glen Deveron 20


#3 Irish Eyes – Green Spot, Yellow Spot, Redbreast

I suspect this rides on the back of increasing interest in Irish whiskies… and for some reason it “peaked” in popularity in 2018!

Green Spot


#4 The Quandary of the KinInvie 17 – Batch 1

No tasting notes, just putting out to the blogosphere my quandary – to open a bottle purchased in 2014…

Thanks to Ronald Ding of Whiskyrific, I did get a chance to try a sample! And concluded it probably wasn’t worth hanging on to… Fast forward a few years and it seems I have company in that final conclusion as the popularity of this whisky waned and auction prices are flat. I probably paid more at Singapore duty free than you could get it today in the UK.

I haven’t yet opened the KinInvie only as had planned a session with the Whisky Ladies to deconstruct a popular vatted malt – Monkey Shoulder. At the time, Monkey Shoulder was a vatted malt bringing together Balvenie, Glenfiddich and Kininvie. Unfortunately the recipe has now changed and all my old Monkey Shoulder bottles were long since consumed in past parties.

Hence the KinInvie still lies waiting for the right opportunity to open!

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Kininvie 17 year (WhiskyLady.co)


#5 Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu ‘The Floor Malted’ 3 year 50.5%

Remember #2 where a 20 year old was outclassed by a mere 3 year old toddler? This was the young upstart. No surprise it seems to be more the ‘battle’ between young and old than the reviews themselves that stand out.

20141016_Chichibu The Floor Malted

Chichibu (WhiskyLady.co)

As these are “All time” popular posts since starting this blog in October 2014… They pretty much all have crappy photos. And if the lense is shifted to look at only in the last year, except for the MaQintosh, different posts sparked attention.

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Exploring Japanese whiskies – Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu ‘The Floor Malted’ 3 year 50.5%

By now, it is quite clear that I’m a fan of Japanese whiskies. Alas two things are increasingly becoming a challenge – accessibility and affordability.

Six years ago, Suntory came to Mumbai for a trade fare to test the waters for distributing to India. I fell in love with their Hakushu even more than the lovely Yamazaki and Hibiki whiskies I could more readily obtain and had sampled many times before.

I remember following up to see if there was progress on their entering the Indian market – and more specifically the Hakushu range – at the time the answer was no.

So I would track down the nuanced character of the Hakushu 18 year in places like Singapore until the prices sky-rocketed beyond my bracket.

Since then, my interest in exploring Japanese whiskies hasn’t abated and through our fabulous Mumbai whisky tasting groups, from time to time, someone manages to snag an interesting bottle. Our journey expanded well beyond Suntory’s offerings to also explore Nikka and Ichiro’s Malts and more!

The challenge is that what we find and enjoy today is likely not available tomorrow. Nearly all of the Japanese whiskies we’ve sampled over the last few years are now found on auctions not directly through reliable sources like The Whisky Exchange or La Maison du Whisky.

For example, this delightful Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu ‘The Floor Malted’ 3 year, may be relatively well-known but not so easy to find. So read on… as you may not be able to track down a bottle… which is a pity!

Chichubu The Floor Malted

Ichiro’s MaltChichibu The Floor Malted 3 year, 50.5%

  • Colour – Light, young and sassy
  • Nose – Bright fresh peaches, dried apricot and coconut… after airing a bit, bananas and sweet honeyed caramel also made an appearance
  • Taste – Strong, dry and nutty with a coffee bean bite, bitter-sweet and very woody
  • Finish – Woody, coffee lingered
  • Water? Too piquant for most, water spoilt it with even only a few drops

Reactions from blind tasting – Scottish or not? Must be matured in burboun casks, hence the honey and fruit, age indeterminate… but definitely interesting

The reveal – A more difficult to find Japanese offering that is a mere three years old! From 2009, bottled in 2012. We sampled bottle # 8791 of 8800.

Originally tasted October 2014 together with Blair Athol 16 year and Glen Deveron 20 year.

It was, more than many other of our tasting sessions, a perfect example of how age is not the most important factor in producing an interesting whisky. The character of the new make spirit, cask quality and care in maturation can enable a young upstart of only three years to challenge a mature 20 year old.

Interested in exploring other Ichiro’s Malt?

And Suntory?

Or go discover Nikka‘s offerings…

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

Chichibu 2009 French Oak Cask 63.1%

When I spotted this cask strength Chichibu in the Isetan Department Store in Shinjuku, Tokyo in July 2014, our whisky tasting group had never tried anything from this distillery before. As my quest was to find something ‘different’ and ‘difficult to source’ outside of Japan, a recent release from Ichiro’s Malt seemed to meet the criteria perfectly!

Now, clearly great minds think alike as another Chichibu – specifically the 3 year ‘The Floor Malted‘ – was sourced by another of our whisky tasting members. We sampled it in October 2014 and it could easily hold its own against older whiskies.

So what about this particular whisky? Well… here is where it gets interesting!

Chichibu 2009 French Oak Cask

Chichibu 2009 French Oak Cask (Whisky Lady)

Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu 2009 French Oak Cask 63.1%, Cask number 2357, Bottled in 2014

First impression – solo interpretation

Confession time – I lost patience waiting from July 2014 to February 2015 for my next turn to curate our whisky evening… so I cracked open the bottle early and here is what I discovered:

  • Colour – Bright gold
  • Nose – A delightful burst of notes – strong sweet vanilla, tropical fruits, overripe banana, a deeper hint of chocolaty mint and cinnamon
  • Palate – Something slightly ‘rancio’, the fruits having an overripe quality, woodsy, a tinge oily and very chewy, the chocolate re-emerging
  • Finish – Spicy, nutty, slightly disappointing – sense of being a bit brash and ‘young’
  • Water? – Most certainly!

Second impression – group effort

Now here is what happened when I shared the same bottle with our intrepid tasters:

  • Nose – Medicinal, sweet perfume but with more depth and fruit than the Chita, pronounced pears, the more it aired the more we discovered – a whiff of grain, warm breeze on grass… then French vanilla… after sipping could smell dark molasses and cinnamon
  • Taste – Immediate sense of an aged whisky bursting with character, had punch, spice, very chewy, leather, bit of brine, woodsy
  • Finish – Coffee, bitter yet warm, hint of nuttiness and dark chocolate
  • Add water – This was definitely one we wanted to add water… Even dryer, woody elements emerged,  almost like eating rose petals, the French vanilla also became even more pronounced
Reactions:
  • Has ‘teeth’ and a ‘bit more alcohol’ than the Chita… perhaps 48%??
  • Also gave the sense of age given its robust character – something to feast on!
  • One suggested it was so chewy you felt like you could eat it!
Unveiling:
  • Very deceptive… absolutely unbelievable that it is cask strength at 63.1%
  • Also had the range and depth one would expect from an older whisky – remarkable it is only 2009 i.e. 5 year
  • I shared had opened it earlier so it had the advantage / disadvantage of a little bit of ‘air’ even before we sampled it together – in this case I believe it was an advantage
  • Overall an impressive whisky

I revisited my solo tasting notes only when writing this post – you can see that much overlapped but also some differences – including the finish.

What is so delightful about having a small group of friends taste together is the different descriptions and reactions. As we taste blind, we are also not influenced by origin, age, packaging, what we may have heard about a particular whisky… or even a previous acquaintance with the same whisky! Only the host knows what we are trying and we take seriously being ‘mum’ to not influence our fellow tasters.

Taste is deeply personal yet I find it tremendously enriching to have company when exploring the world of whisky… and pleased could share something less readily accessible.

Chichibu 2009 French Oak Cask

Chichibu 2009 French Oak Cask (Whisky Lady)

We sampled this together with Suntory’s Chita Single Grain Whisky, Nikka’s Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 Year and Ichiro’s Malt – possibly Houou-uhi in February 2015.

What others are saying:

  • Nonjatta – Brief note on the French Oak Cask and Chibidaru Cask
  • e-Ting – Mentions this release and the very same Isetan Shinjuku where I bought the whisky
  • Whisky Saga – On visiting the Chichibu distillery

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