Whisky Live’s Collectors Room – Caol Ila 1969 and Yamazaki 12 year

Whisky Live’s Collector’s Room was such a terrific experience at the Singapore 2016 event. I couldn’t wait to see what treasures would be available to purchase a small dram…

However it was quite the scaled back version… no delightful fully separate “Collector’s Room“. Instead it was a simple bar area with a row of whiskies on offer. Those we considered started at SGD80 a glass… we decided to try two and share… it was not an easy decision.

My companion settled on:

Yamazaki 12 year (1996/2009) Cask No AX70012 Sherry Butt 60% (Whisky Live Japan 10 year anniversary edition)

  • Nose – Sherry explosion… one even said headache inducing
  • Palate – Almost overwhelming, woody, spice, all the dark fruits, black cherry, phenomenal
  • Finish – What a fabulous finish!
  • Water – Opens it up further, bringing balance

It was truly intense, dense, rich and almost on the edge of being too… everything! Remarkable, unforgettable and worth trying… once.

Whereas I leaned towards a certain sentimentality – a whisky from the same year I was born! It was a rare 1980s Caol Ila bottled by Gordon & MacPhail.

Caol Ila 16 year (1969) 40%

  • Nose – Peat, sour, overripe fruit, a bit of varnish, old and musty, then these darker qualities dissipated to be replace instead by vanilla, bananas, an almost briney quality that then became quite sweet
  • Palate – Spice, peat, sweet and much softer than anticipated from the nose
  • Finish – Long peat, sweet and spicy finish

We remarked on how very different it was from the Caol Ila style of today.

It was last seen on auction for approx £510.00.

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5 Best Japanese Whiskies…

It is no secret I quite like Japanese whiskies. It equally is no secret I find the price-tags abhorrent and many are frustratingly difficult to find.

So when I was asked by the editor of Mans World magazine to write about the ‘5 Best Japanese Whiskies’ for their 15th Anniversary edition, knew the biggest challenge for readers is that what is here today is gone tomorrow. He left it to me to choose and I opted to feature producers / distilleries with a mix of more readily available plus hidden gems. As we all need a gem or two!

Mans World, Oct 2015

Mans World, Oct 2015

So what whiskies were featured and why?

Naturally this article was prepared before I sampled the spectacular Karuizawa 39 year. And there is always more to discover!

Any favourite Japanese whiskies out there?

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Whisky archives – Penderyn, Glenfiddich, Yamazaki, Wemyss + Glenglassaug

I was digging through some old emails and stumbled across notes from one of our early sessions from 2011!

Alas I missed the tasting however it was unique as it was joined by India‘s own Malt Maniac, Krishna Nakula, who travelled from Hyderabad for the evening to share his passion and stories.

For those, like myself, who missed another member shared a brief summary of what was sampled. The approach was Blind Tastings as usual, in no particular order. (NAS – No age statement. R – ratings out of 100 by Krishna).

Penderyn Peated. 46% NAS. R- 78

A little Welsh whisky

Penderyn Peated (http://www.welsh-whisky.co.uk/Our-Whiskies/Penderyn-Peated.aspx)

Penderyn Peated (www.welsh-whisky.co.uk)

Glenfiddich Rich Oak 14 year, 40%. R-80

First fill Bourbon and First Fill Sherry finish (understand these are actually filled only for 12 weeks in first fills)

Glenfiddich Rich Oak 14 year (GQ 15 Dec 2011)

Glenfiddich Rich Oak 14 year (GQ 15 Dec 2011)

Yamazaki 12 year, 43%. NAS. R-82

This was an early entry point into Japanese whisky years ago.

Yamazaki 12 year (Master of Malt)

Yamazaki 12 year (Master of Malt)

Wemyss ‘The Hive’ 12 year, 40% NAS R-81

A vatted malt…

Wemyss 12 year (WhiskyExchange)

Wemyss 12 year (WhiskyExchange)

Glenglassaug New Make Spirit

The highlight of the evening was a ‘blind’ tasting with a twist. Everyone had to close their eyes and taste something that none of them (except Krishna) had tried before – A new Make Spirit!

Finished on the 23rd March 2009, this middle cut was bottled at 50% abv. by the Glenglassaug Distillery. Tasting this was a remarkable way to understand the contribution of the mash and fermentation to a whisky’s bouquet.

Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of more than one delightful evening with Krishna.

Whisky evenings with Krishna:

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