zondag 7 december 2014

Tasting Aultmore 12 yo new edition

With Jeff Wayne's Forever Autumn breezing through the speakers, we are inspecting the recently purchased bottle of Aultmore 12 YO.

It looks like an old drugstore bottle with glass embossing letters. We are already thinking of good re-use for this bottle instead of throwing it away in the recycle bin. The bottle has a nice branded cap and every bottle is individually numbered.

The Aultmore is released by John Dewar & Sons in a series called Last Great Malts of Scotland. Next to Aultmore a 13 YO Craigellachie and 12 YO Aberfeldy are brought to market. Royal Brackla and Deveron will follow.
Aultmore was released as an official 12 yo single malt bottling by the (previous) owners before, but the current owners are planning some more expressions next to the new 12 YO.
Allthough most product of Aultmore is tankered away to Glasgow to matures and used in blends, the new packaging show John Dewar are really serious about marketing this malt. Understandable, since Aultmore is considered a Top Class malt by blenders.
This Aultmore is bottled at 46%, has natural colour and no chill-filtering. Hurray from all us whisky-geeks!
Off to savouring a wee dram. This is what we found:
Colour: yellow gold
Nose: pineapple, vanilla, cheesed butter, citrus, sweet
Taste: grassy as promised, barley notes, sugar, spicy, zesty, some marzipan and then vermouth comes to mind
Finish: again sweet, medium long, dry

Conclusion: Very happy with this effort of John Dewar's. Great to see another natural coloured whisky on the shelves. A real spicy Speysider this one. Together with the nice packaging and the decent price (we paid 41 euros) we'd quote our friend Paul: "Cannie go wrong with dat!".

Whiskypedia -Charles Maclean
Malt Whisky Yearbook - Ingvar Ronde

©Whiskytips 2014

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dinsdag 11 november 2014

Launch of the 8th whisky for the City of Zwolle, Ben Nevis 15 YO

The city of Zwolle lies in the east of the Netherlands at 52°31′N 6°6′E. It has the reputation of being a "gourmet" city and houses several good restaurants, food places and bars.

Eric Bartels of Slijterij Bartels ("slijterij" is the Dutch word for liquor store or drink shop that is licensed to sell alcoholic beverages over 15% alcohol. Supermarkets in the Netherlands are not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages over 15%) took the initiative to bottle a cask of malt whisky for the City of Zwolle in cooperation with Dutch whisky writer Hans Offringa. One of the first bottlings, a Macallan, now has an estimated value of € 200. Other bottlings were Auchentoshan, Aberlour and Highland Park (fantastic dram).

On November 9th 2014 the latest edition was launched in Brasserie Jansen, numer 8 in line, a 15 YO Ben Nevis of 1998 vintage, single cask with an outturn of just 279 bottles, chosen by Hans Offringa. It has matured in a sherry butt, nr 1238. Label design was done by ms Laurien Stam, who also designed the other labels. Reason to introduce this expression in Brasserie was the fact that the facade of the Brasserie Jansen building is on the label.

Bottle no. 1 was presented to ms Elles Hetebrij, of a neighbouring pub, who recently won an important industry prize.

The video impression we made has English subtitles for your convenience.

Single cask bottelingen of Ben Nevis are not common.

Ben Nevis is a distillery located near the highest peak in the UL. It is owned by the Japanese company Nikka .Ben Nevis has a capacity of 1.5 million liters alcohol per annum.

Of course we had a wee sniff'n'taste. A very nice whisky indeed. If you want a bottle either for drinking or collecting (or both..) get in touch with Eric Bartels, because the bottles tend to sell out soon. price should be around € 65.

Here are our notes:

Colour: herbal tea, almost green (it's a non chill filtered Scotch, hurray!)

Nose: definately an autumn dram, apple pie, stewed plum, malt, coconut oil, hazelnut

Taste: creamy, oily/waxy, sweet (cane sugar), dark chocolate

Finish: medium long, pleasant, sweet

Sources: Whiskypedia, revised edition - Charles MacLean



©Whiskytips 2014

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vrijdag 19 september 2014

Most wanted and famous whiskycollection worldwide bought by Dutchman

The Dutch documentary ‘Nederland Whiskyland’, which premieres on the 20th September at filmfestival ‘Film by the sea’, shows from nearby how Dutch whiskey-expert and investor Michel Kappen outsmarts everybody in buying the most wanted single malt Scottish whiskycollection in the world after years of intensive negotiations. The exact purchase price has not been revealed, but it concerns millions. It is also the only whiskycollection ever that appeared as a book.

Documentarymaker Gwen Jansen followed Michel Kappen with a camera for almost two years in order to be the first and only one to capture the dramatic takeover of the Valentino Zagatti collection. The dramatic takeover had been canceled or postponed several times during this period, because the 83-year old Italian owner Valentino Zagatti, who is blind,  found it extremely difficult to say farewell to his collection of almost 3000 whisky bottles. As the result of a genius move Michel eventually succeeded. The collection has been transferred  to the Scotch Whisky International museum in Sassenheim, and will be displayed there for the next decade.

Blind collector

Valentino Zagatti is an 83-year old Italian who collected the best bottles of whisky from across the world, despite the fact that he has been blind since the age of twelve. The collection containes 3013 bottles of Scottish single malt whisky. Zagatti lives together with his wife in a relatively small familyhouse in Italy. All bottles are closed and cover the wall in his house.

Nederland Whiskyland

With the arrival of the most famous Scottish whiskycollection worldwide, our country is enriched with another whiskeypearl. We already had the world largest whisky fair and the first whisky camping in the world. The documentary ‘Nederland Whiskeyland’ shows the viewer the remarkable rich whiskyculture in the Netherlands. Prominent Scottish whisky experts confirm on camera, slightly astonished, that the Dutch probably know more about Scottish single malt whisky than the Scotch do themselves. More than 2.5 million people drink whisky in our country. Producer of the documentary is JansenJager, Beeldmakers.
Gwen Jansen & crowdfunding
It is the first long documentary filmed by Gwen Jansen (40). She was a succesful entrepreneur in the automotive branche. Three years ago she sold her companies, which made it possible for her to focus on her biggest passion, namely making films. She launched the website www.nederlandwhiskyland.nl and started a crowdfund campaign in order to gather the required capital to make films without subsidies. Many private investors decided to participate, and especially with the support of Scotch Whisky International and Maxxium Nederland/World of Whisky, she managed to put the required capital on the table. There was also support from other organisations, such as Moët Hennessy Nederland, De Monnik Dranken, Infinity Nederland, VKV Groep, De Lunterse Boer, Intercaves en WhiskyPassion. All parties signed an agreemeent that kept Gwen Jansen in charge of the content of the movie. Jansen also instituted a Board of Advisory with independent experts from the whiskeyworld to ensure full independency of the film. 
Whiskytips is proud to be a member of the Board.

©Whiskytips 2014

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zaterdag 13 september 2014

Tasting Kings County Distillery chocolate “flavored” whiskey

On a sunny Saturday we made our way to Brooklyn NYC coming from Manhattan.

As real Dutchies by bicycle of course. Check out the GoPro video we made crossing the Brooklyn Bridge accompanied by music of Grandmaster Flash.

Going around on a bicycle in NYC is simply great. You get much better views on the city and it’s an easy town to cycle. More and more New Yorker discover the advantages of cycling. It’s fast, clean and you get a free work-out at the same time.

Our main target was Kings County Distillery located on the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the former Paymaster Building. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is located between the Brooklyn Bridge and Williamsburg bridge and looks out over Manhattan.

Kings County Distillery was founded in 2010 by Colin Spoelman and David Haskell. They are also the authors of: The Kings County Distillery Guide to Urban Moonshining: How to make and drink whiskey.

A craft distillery, with growing potential. But they are not in a rush, as Colin stated to us. Colin guided us around the distillery; we were able to shoot some videofootage before the official tour.

Kings County Distillery offers a range of products, like bourbon and moonshine.

Their most remarkable product in our humble opinion the chocolate “flavored” whiskey. It is basically moonshine, infused with ground cacao bean husks from Mast Brothers Chocolate, whose factory is nearby.

Without exaggeration this stuff can be put right next to Cointreau or Kahlua, perfect after dinner with a cup of coffee. The bottle we bought was empty even before we left the States. That was a shame, cause this fantastic product is not yet available in the Netherlands. Understandable however, because everyone in the States wants it. Anyway, we urge Dutch importers to get their hands on a few cases, we will order 6 bottles in advance thank you.
And Colin, please do pop over to introduce your products on one of the whisky festivals over here. We'll help you out!

Tasting notes:

Colour: dark sherry

Nose: pure chocolate, vanilla, pinewood, laurel, espresso coffee, wet tobacco

Taste: chocolate, sweet, the bourbon comes through, liquorice

Finish: the chocolate holds on for a comfortable long time, slightly salty, sweet bitterness, hint of white pepper

Conclusion: This is going to be a major hit, no doubt. One more reason to go back to NYC..

©Whiskytips 2014

Website of King County Distillery, NYC

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woensdag 2 juli 2014

Tasting Bowmore Small Batch

With Donna Summer's Grand Illusion pounding through our stereo we are opening the cardbox of a new Bowmore expression called the Small Batch.
Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay, founded in 1779 and part of Morrison Bowmore Distillers, who are owned by Suntory.
We were lucky enough to visit the distillery in May. A video of that visit will soon follow.

Small Batch has matured on first and second fill bourbon casks.
In a video we made earlier this year you can watch the findings on Bowmore Small Batch by European Brand Ambassador Ally Dickinson.

 We tried the combination with oysters and indeed it's a fine experience.

These are our findings of this new Bowmore:

Colour:yellow gold

Nose: grapefruit, vanilla, cereal, gooseberry, gewurztraminer, monoi de tahiti

Taste: cremay, lightly peated, salt, pear, Spanish melon

Finish:maritime, pleasant smokiness, medium dry

Conclusion: A creamy, lightly smoked, fresh whisky. Certainly well suited to drink in summer time. Also good for people who are used to Speyside malts and want to get introduced to more peaty or smoky whiskies.

©Whiskytips 2014

Special thanks to Intercaves and WhiskyEtc magazine.

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dinsdag 17 juni 2014

Tasting Glenglassaugh Torfa

With Love Is A Battlefield by Pat Benatar blasting through our speakers we are opening the latest release by the Glenglassaugh whisky distillery.
Glenglassaugh distillery has only been reopened since 2008. Before that it was mothballed from 1986 on. The distillery has been mothballed and reopened a few times earlier. The original distillery was founded in 1875. It is located is the most north eastern part of Speyside in Banffshire.
Benriach Distillery Co (also owner of Glendronach) is currently the owner of this revived distillery, which is a good thing, since these people know their trade.
A very nice book about Glenglassaugh's history, written by Ian Buxton, was published in 2010.
Three official larger expressions have been released with the new production, the Torfa is the third.
It is the first peated edition, bottled at 50%, natural colour and nonchill filtered.
The Torfa comes in an attractive packaging. A bit dark and moody, as they say on the backlabel.
It's a young whisky as you might expect, bearing in mind the year of re-opening. We guess 4 years old.
One element stood out in our tasting session: the vegetable notes, both in the nose as well as in the taste.
So we grabbed a piece of Double Gloucester with onions and chives to pair this dram.
A very nice match indeed, especially with a little jam for the cheese.
This is what we found:
Tasting notes for Glenglassaugh Torfa:

Colour: light yellow, straw

Nose: Grapefruit, peat, subtle smoke, ginger, sweet, laurel, barley and heather

Taste: Vegetable notes(radish comes to mind), salty liquorice, rosemary, peaty, light trace of wood, some orangepeel

Finish: lingering, peppery,

again vegetable but also green apple, medium long

Conclusion: All in all another nice young whisky from Glenglassaugh. It's powerful and vegetable and certainly raises interest for years of maturation to come. Available at you whisky-specialist. 

©Whiskytips 2014

Source: Malt Whisky Yearbook 2014 - Ingvar Ronde

->Thanks to De Monnik Dranken 

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donderdag 24 april 2014

Tasting Auchentoshan American Oak

With Rainbow's Tarot Woman blasting through our stereo, we are preparing for a tasting of a new expression of Auchentoshan to the Dutch market.
This new Auchentoshan is called the American Oak. It is a non age statement (NAS) Scotch whisky at 40%, with colour added. 

Although these days most Scotch whisky is matured on American oak (lots of supply, relatively cheap compared to scarce sherry casks, good constant quality, good flavour), Auchentoshan (Gaelic for "corner of the field") wants to express the typical flavour that comes off the American bourbon barrels: vanilla, coconut, citrus. And it must be said these notes can absolutely be found in this dram.
Now, as most malt fans know, Auchentoshan is the only Scottish malt that triple distills all its spirit.
We were very lucky to attend  an intimate tasting with European Brand Ambassador Alasdair Dickinson in the old town of Haarlem. We made a little videoreport:

There we could take a sip of the Auchentoshan new make spirit. Very juicy stuff indeed. Our general comment was: why don't you release this stuff for the general market? Excellent base for cocktails for example.
This fruitiness comes back in the taste, in a slightly different way. The spirit is more oily, has strawberry and a malty character, after having rested in bourbon barrels for a while, the fruity flavour is more southern: peach, apricot, citrus.

Tasting notes
  • Colour:  deep copper
  • Nose:  vanilla, coconut(sunscreen), bread, marmelade, peach
  • Taste: soft oak tones, creme brulee, apricot brandy, limoncello
  • Finish: creamy, bit dry (on the side of the tongue)
Conclusion: To tell the honest truth: we were able to get hold of a bottle two months ago already. That bottle didn't last very long. It's a nice, easy going dram, with indeed some typical bourbon barrels notes in it, that go well with the triple distilled spirit of Auchentoshan. A nice entry to the Auchentoshan range. When you are in in the neighbourhood of Glasgow, do go and visit the distillery. Here you can have a quick peek.

©Whiskytips 2014

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maandag 31 maart 2014

Tasting the Glenlivet Guardians Chapter - Limited Edition

With Iggy Pop's "The Passenger" blasting through the speakers we are opening the sky-blue box containing one bottle of The Glenlivet - Guardians Chapter- bottling. It is a limited edition, number of bottles stays unclosed. Maybe better, because other brands call an edition of 22,000 limited..
The label gives no age statement, alcohol is 48.7% and it's non chill filtered. So far so good. We can't help to keep looking at the bottle (nice thick bottom) and the blue colour. Bottle says: "Please open me".
We cannot resist.

Nice full colour. Although not stated on the label (you need to have an edition for the German or Danish market to be sure), we think this is natural colour.
Now, Glenlivet is a huge distillery with a capacity of more than 10 million litres of pure alcohol a year. It is owned by Pernod Ricard, a French company with 19,000 people working on numerous of brands worldwide. You can imagine these people have their things well organised. It's nice to see that they have a keen eye for a niche product like this Guardians Chapters edition. They could sell bottles of vodka much easier. It is a fine example (to other global players in all kinds of markets) how you can still attract loyal followers. The introduction of the Nadurra (cask strength, no big market product, admittedly one of our favs) can be seen is in the same perspective. We would very much like to speak to the person within Pernod who is responsible for this. We would like to say to keep up the good work. And we can even say this in French. ("Bien fait, continuez s'il'vous plaît!")
Stock price of Pernod is up at € 84,50. That's slightly more than the price you pay for this bottle. We'd prefer the bottle.
By the way: If the stock price falls, you will lose money. If the bottle loses value, you can always drink it: a genuine whiskytip.

That's a fine moment to move one to the tasting notes.
Tasting notes
  • Color: deep yellow gold
  • Nose: complex, milk chocolate, dried fruits (plum, apricot), orange peel, sherry notes, a little bit of honey, soft oaky tones, freshly baked bread (don't ask)
  • Taste: chocolate, spicy-peppery, honey, mandarine, some straight corn bourbon there, rhubarb (cooked with sugar), mashed and cooked apples with cinnamon (moms recipee)
  • Finish: the case of barely corn (rub a drop on the back of your hand and smell it), medium long dry.
Conclusion: A very nice dram indeed. Complex, fruity, warm. This is made of barley, yeast and water and you can taste it. We don't give figures but we surely can advice you: go and try it out yourself.

© Whiskytips 2014


dinsdag 11 maart 2014

Visiting Deanston Distillery

Arriving at Deanston's, lying beside the river Teith, on a typical Scottish day (rainy all the way, sunny after parking) is already a nice experience.
The distillery building is what you call atypical. Large part of the building was formerly used as a weavery/cotton mill, now mainly used to store casks. Some other parts were added to the building. Nothing that will startle you Frank Lloyd Wright fans, but the comic style fonts announcing that Deanston Distillery is located there made us happy enough.
Deanston turned into a distillery in 1965, which makes it a relatively young distillery, even with it's almost 50 years of age.
Apart from the usual mashing and still house, there a lot more to see in this distillery, for example the hydrogenerated power supply, which makes Deanston unique in Scotland.
They also do their own malt grinding. Finally you get a look around in one of the warehouses.

<-Deanston Hydro Electric Station

We made a video that gives you an impression of what to expect. We liked the part where they switched on the mash tun just for us.

 Festival 2013 edition

But seriously, this is a hands-on distillery, with a nice history, a little bit different than the others and comfortably close to Glasgow, Edinburgh and South Queensferry.
Deanston is part of Burn Stewart Distillers (that also has Bunnahabhain and Tobermory in the portfolio). In 2013 South African based drinks company Distell bought Burn Stewart.

At the distillery shop you can buy the core range of the Virgin Oak and the 12 year old. Especially the latter is real good value for (malt) money. That's our whiskytip and we'll do a proper tasting review another time.
You can also spend some more money and buy for example the Spanish Oak version, something really special, but you have to be quick as this is a limited edition.
Or fill your own bottle, which is a great souvenir.

You can enjoy a great lunch at the Coffee Bothy right next to the shop.

All in all we can certainly recommend a visit to this distillery. If you have already been there, share your thoughts on this page or on our Facebookpage.

Deanston Distillery
Doune, Perthshire, FK16 6AG, Scotland

Malt Whisky Yearbook 2014 - Ingvar Ronde
Malt Whisky, The Complete Guide - Charles MacLean

Thanks to the people of Deanston's for giving us permission to film and ask silly questions
Also thanks to Eve, Elaine and Land Rover
->Special thanks to Ronald Zwartepoorte of Whiskypassion.

©Whiskytips 2014

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maandag 3 maart 2014

Bourbon, Blues and BBQ, May 29th 2014 Den Ham, Netherlands

On Thursday 29th of May 2014 you can enjoy a special event, powered by Four Roses, in the Dutch village of Den Ham, close to the German border.
The event is titled: Bourbon, Blues and BBQ.
The bourbon will be presented by Dutch whiskeywriter Hans Offringa.
Local band 'Nuts' will take care of the blues, with a presentation of their new album.
The venue, where the events takes place, called 'De Zandstuve' takes care of the BBQ, with some delicious local meat.
Ticket's are €12,50 at the door.

See you in Den Ham!

vrijdag 21 februari 2014

Hielander Whisky Festival Alkmaar, the Netherlands 14-15 February 2014

This was the first time we visited the Hielander Festival in Alkmaar. Shame on us, because this was already the forth edition of the festival.
Check out the video-report we made.

Only a month before we met Wullie MacMorland, owner of the Hielander Restaurant .
Even though his restaurant was closed at the time we visited, he very kindly showed us around.
We thought it would only be polite to visit the festival that was initiated by Wullie together with Ebbo Voorhout of the Grand Church in Alkmaar.
Alkmaar is really a lovely place to visit. It has a lot of well reserved typical Dutch houses and of course a few canals. Alkmaar, a mere 40 km north of Amsterdam, is most famous for it's traditional cheesemarket.
Like many other whisky festivals in the Netherlands, the venue is located in a church. We're not sure if this says more about religion in the Netherlands or devotion to whisky. Anyway, the place is well located and the church, with it's 500+ age, is really grand. And luckily warm enough too.
A nice mix of market house and independent bottlings, old and new expressions, there's something for the starting whiskydrinker as well as for the more experienced connoisseur. Especially nice about this festival is that the organisation has made a level playing field in terms of space and promotion. Every participant gets a plain table, same size for everyone, be it Diageo or Kintra.
Most entry levels drams are free to try, using your complimentary Hieland 2014 Glencairn nosing glass, for others there's an extra fee.
Having visited several (...) festivals before, we are always looking for those hiddens gems at a festival. First one was a Mosstowie 1979, bottled by Dutch firm Van Wees, in their Ultimate Selection (already over 500 different bottlings!).
A subtle Speyside whisky, produced with Lomond stills. Mosstowie was never a distillery of itself, it was produced within the Miltonduff distillery. This is typically a whisky that developes in the glass. It started floral, a bit of straw and after 10 minutes or so the mint appeares. Amazing indeed.
Another great dram was the Mannochmore 1984, bottled in 1997 by Gordon and MacPhails, you know that family owned business that has the most beautiful casks filled with great malt.
Mannochmore is often overlooked, as it is a workhorse for many Diageo blends and a relatively young distillery. Well can we bring forward that the age of a distillery is no guarantee for a good malt? Mannochmore proves the opposite. Maybe we shouldn't promote Mannochmore that much, but hey,they might be looking for a brand ambassador in the future..
Another very nice dram we enjoyed is the Benromach Origins Batch no. 4, matured in Port pipes. Benromach seems to have found a nice balance between the wine and the whisky. If you don't believe us, try the latest Benromach Sassicaia finish.

©Whiskytips 2014

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Sources: Malt Madness and Hielander

zondag 12 januari 2014

The tale of the brandy barrel and the dog

Some time ago we came across bottle of whisky named "Balou" in the shop of the Whisky Specialist in Alkmaar, the Netherlands
This whisky has a label with a dog carrying a small barrel around his neck that supposedly contains an alcoholic liquid.

What's the history and the purpose?
Well, according to the leaflet this whisky is a hommage to (ancestors of) the St Bernard dogs that rescued people in the Alps.
First records go back to 1707.
Allthough we know now that the last thing you should do is providing alcohol to a hypothermic person (the veins will open up and loose even more body warmth), back in those days it was considered the obvious thing to do.
People of The Whisky Specialist claimed to have found the drink as it was in the old days in a small Swiss village. The recipe was kept a secret, but with experimenting and blending they have tried to somehow recreate the taste of the old drink that used to be in the barrel carried by the rescue dogs.
So on the label you will find a Berner Sennen dog, named Balou (this specific race was probably more likely the type of rescue dog in the old days) with a small cask.

That a great story of course.
But what's in the blend? The man in the shop only revealed that it's a blend of malt whiskies. If we were to guess we'd say Mortlach (spicy), Glen Grant (butter, vanilla) and a wee drop of Benromach Burgundy Finish (smoke, dry, wine tones).
More important: how does it taste?
Well, it's a real spicy dram, very nice for winter time. There's a hint of (Spanish or Portugese) wine there, that oaky, dry taste.

Whiskytips tasting notes
Colour: Gold copper, with a red gloss
Nose: Toasted bread, dark chocolate, clove, vanilla
Taste: coffee, some smoke (no peat), liquorice, again dark chocolate, laurel, mint, sugar
Finish: dry, medium long, sweet

Still a few bottles available for the very decent price of € 31,95.
Check out the website of the Whisky Specialist of go and visit the shop in Alkmaar:
Dijk 25
1811MB Alkmaar

We'll just have another sip. Sláinte Balou!

©Whiskytips 2014

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