On Friday 14th September a group of knowledgeable whisky drinking Geordies gathered in the Medieval Hall of the Blackfriars Restaurant for another Whisky Lounge tasting , this one was something very different , whisky from around the World ! No Scotch , No Irish , No American ! Tonights tasting was hosted by Joe , Eddie was sitting in the audience (next to me ) Merrily posting away on Twitter and Facebook during the proceedings……..
To begin our journey we headed down to South Africa , For a Bains Mountain Whisky from the James Sedgewick Distillery , this is a grain Whisky , on the nose i found it very sweet with vanilla and Toffee . The palate was the same as the nose with a very long sweet finish . A very good start to the tasting , up there with some of the best Scottish Grains i’ve had .
Next up we headed across the Southern hemisphere to Tasmania for a Sulivans Cove Double Cask (aged in both American and French Oak) , The initial nose was Solvent ! Then it progressed to a sweet thats name doesn’t spring to mindbut with a very synthetic fruit smell , spices and finally Chocolate Creme but a creme you get in cheap biscuits . It had a very weird palate , too synthetic for my liking and the finish was short and chemical . As you gather this wasn’t to my liking , my worst dram of the night .
For the Third dram we headed to Taiwan , to The King Car Whisky Distillery for a Kavalan Port Cask . The nose was very fruity , dark fruits to be more precise , and Port – not over powering unlike some previous Port finishes i’ve had – a very good balanced nose that has a touch of toffee after a while . The palate again has the Dark Fruits , toffee and a touch of spices , the finish is Long , Dry and fruity . Quite an exceptional dram , this is the 2nd Kavalan i’ve had (the 1st was the Classic) and both have been fantastic for such a low age , only disappointment is that Kavalan isn’t available in the UK at the moment .
The 4th Dram was from Sweden , Mackmyra , The Moment Skog . It was very bourbony on the nose , sweet , spices and Chocolate . The palate was Sweet winey and Fishermans Friend with a long , sweet fruity Finish . I must admit i wasn’t looking forward to this one as i haven’t enjoyed previous Mackmyras i’ve tried but this was superb , it reminded me of Glen Scotia on the palate .
For the Penultimate dram we headed to the Land of the Rising Sun , Japan , Suntorys Hakushu and the Bourbon Barrel release . Boy was this a good one ! Really smooth and complex on the nose , Sweet Vanilla , soft creamy fudge , absolutely beautiful , i could have smelled it all night ! The palate carried on from the nose adding chocolate and Digestive biscuits , the finish was long , sweet , touch spicy and chocolate digestives . I don’t think i’ve had a bad Hakushu and this one was stunning !
Last up we headed to India for a personal favourite of mine , Amrut Fusion ! What can you say ? Bags of liquorice on the nose along with chocolate digestives , spices and millionaires shortbread . There’s a slight peatiness on the palate along with liquorice , spices and chocolate . The finish is long , spicy , the Amrut liquorice and smoky . This was Batch 17 from January 2012 and was as good as ever !
A truly astonishing tasting made all the more outstanding by the fact that none of these whiskies had an age statement on the bottle and all were young . There’s a big wide world out there beyond Scotch , Irish and American and it tastes pretty damn good ! At the end we had the traditional vote of best of the night and Amrut came out on top , i was neutral and voted for the Kavalan but the Hakushu was a close second .