zondag 23 december 2012

Tasting Braeval 1998 13 YO single cask by The Utimate

Braeval is one the hidden distillery gems in Scotland's largest whisky producing area, Speyside.
Reason is that the whisky from this distillery is not released as an official bottling by the current owners, Pernod Ricard.
In fact, the spirit is not even matured on site, but tankered away and stored and matured elsewhere in Scotland.
Most of the production goes into blends. Which ones is not clear since the blenders usually hold their recipe as a secret.
Info on the net learns that Braeval is not only used in blends of the owning company but also sold to others.
Braeval is also known as Braes of Glenlivet, but the second part of the name was dropped later on, since there's another quite large brand already holding that name. The first part of the name changed into Braeval.
It's a relatively young distillery, founded in 1973.
Braeval was mothballed in 2002 but restarted production in 2008.

This being said, Braeval is a whisky you will only find as an independent bottling. We @Whiskytips think it is a very underestimated malt whisky.
Take for example this bottling, released by the people of Van Wees, Netherlands on their owm label, the Ultimate.
Bottlings by the Ultimate, as this Braeval, are quite often single cask bottlings and we dare say of very good quality. The people over there know there whisky business for almost 50 years already.
The labels always provide lots of info, as you can see on the photo.
This bottling comes off a bourbon barrel nr 168883 with a yield of 227 bottles. The bottles are individually numbered.

This particular bottling is almost 14 years old, but due to Scottish whisky standards, only a full year counts, so this bottling only made it to 13 years.
Years however don't tell the whole story, how badly the marketeers want us to believe that: "more years is better quality". O yes, bottlings of older vintage will certainly cost you more money, but it doesn't mean it's 'better' whisky. In the end, it's you, the customer, who decides if a whisky is good, better or best.

Tasting notes for this bottling:
Colour: pale straw
Nose: barley, sweet, lemon, vanilla, oaky notes
Taste: creamy, oily, barley, some plum (the yellow ones), vanilla fudge, honey and white pepper in the end
Finish: pleasant, smooth, sweet, the peppery note holds on, mint and a mild bitter at the end.

Conclusion: if you like Speyside whisky, this is certainly a dram to try. You might be able to pick one up at a festival or tasting, you will not be disappointed.

Information from the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2013 and Malt Maniacs.

©whiskytips 2012

zondag 25 november 2012

Whisky tasting @ Stroomberg Zwolle

Stroomberg is a well reputated wine and store in the town of Zwolle, province capital to Overijssel, in the Netherlands.
The six shosp are well stocked with a wide range of whiskybrands, market house bottlings as well as independent releases. Because Stroomberg does not have a website with all the producst, it is well worth the time to visit the shops. You can still find some older and rarer bottlings for a decent price.
Once a year Stroomberg organizes a series of whiskytastings, a total of six evening this year in November.
For only €30 per evening you get the opportunity to taste 20 different whiskies. Stroomberg gives you two coupons of € 7,50 each in return to be converted at the purchase of a bottle of malt, so as a regular customer an evening basically will cost you €15,-.
There is also the option to take the MasterClass, three more exclusive and older bottlings for just € 10,-. As we regard as real masters (...) we tend to start with the MasterClass with fresh taste buds. A Whiskytip we would like to give to more people: start with the delicate whiskies and go the younger, less complex whiskies later on in the tasting. It is also important to keep drinking water in between, unless you have other intentions than familiarize yourself with a wide range of whisky flavours..
After the tasting there is the possibility to buy one or more of the whiskies tasted before. This is quite unique in the Netherlands, since we have a (typical Dutch)law that says products cannot be tasted and purchased on the same premises. Luckily the store is attached to the tasting room, so you can get a fair deal, especially when you use your coupon.
The whisky that made most impression was a 29 year Teaninich, a Scotch you don't come across to often as a single malt, since most of the production is used in blends by Diageo. Lovely smooth pear and creamy this whisky. Let it rest in the glass for at least 10 minutes (hey, it has been in a cask for 29 years, a few more minutes won't matter).
In the video below you'll find an impression of last year's session.
If you ever come to Zwolle, make some time to visit one of Stroomberg's stores, we're sure you'll find something you like.

donderdag 25 oktober 2012

Visiting Searcys Champagne Bar London

Whenever you go to London by train, which more and more people tend to do and you have a little time left, it is worth while to pay a visit to Searcys Champagne bar at St Pancras train station.
Champagne bar? Yes it is called that way, loads of that stuff to be found, however, the bar also holds a nice selection of (single malt) whisky.
To get to the bar, you take the staircase up right in the middle of the hall.
In the cabinet you will find a nice selection of bottles, the price is not too bad, at least not to London standards. And they serve a decent dram.

The whiskies are divided into regions which help you choose, allthough these days region is not a definition for taste anymore, take for example a peated Benriach and a non-peated Bunnahabhain.

We chose a dram from one of our favorite and relatively unknown distilleries, Mannochmore 1990, bottled by Gordon and Macphail, the independent bottler with probably the largest stock of great quality casks in Scotland.

The bottle had been opened a while ago, which usually does not add up to the taste.
Still the typical style and character of Mannochmore was noticeable: fruity (lemon), zesty, oily. It's really a pity this distillery doesn't get bottled as a single malt more often. We only have 20 bottles of Mannochmore in our collection..
If you ever get your hands on the James MacArthur's single cask 1990, buy it. Fantastic malt, add a bit of water and you'll enjoy it even more.
Anyway, back to Searcys. As we said, a nice place to start your visit to London.
Of course when you are departing from London eg to Brussels, it's a great place too.
More information can be found on their website

maandag 15 oktober 2012

Pot Still Festival Holland 2012

Pot Still Festival Amersfoort Netherlands 5-7 October 2012

The 10th edition of the Pot Still Festival took place in "het Klooster" (monastry or convent in Dutch) in Amersfoort from 5 to 7 October 2012.
Amersfoort is a (to Dutch standards) middle large town, second town in the province of Utrecht, right in the heart of the Netherlands.
It is home to whisky-importer Van Wees. Apart from importing whisky, Van Wees also has its own label, "The Ultimate".
These are great, often single cask bottlings from a wide variety of distilleries.
The standard quality of these bottlings is really high and the first bottlings have become collectors' items. Amongst these are Rosebank and Port Ellen bottlings.
Mr Van Wees sr is the man who brought whisky to the Netherlands back in the sixties. It is great to see him present at the festival, welcoming all the guests.
The Van Wees company is organiser of the Pot Still Festival and these people know what they are doing and talking about.

The Pot Still Festival is different from regular whisky festivals in the sense that you can also try and taste all kinds of other distillates like calvados, jenever, grappa, rums and eau de vie.
This makes the whisky tasting more interesting.

Another great thing about this festival is that it is not a commercial festival: you pay entrance fee and no extra drams, euros or other coins to try some older bottlings. Only exception was this years Treasure Room, which had some real spectacular rare and old bottlings. For this a extra fee of €20 was charged which is a bargain.

And last of all, because of the good relationships Van Wees has with a lot of producers you meet people from the actual distilleries, which is always added value in our opinion. So we met George Grant of Glenfarclas, Callum Fraser of Deanston and Keith Cruickshank of Benromach. You will see them all in the video above.

There is a special Glenfarclas Pot Still 10th Edition out. We tasted it..classic Glenfarclas. Don't miss out on that one. And remember: always buy two, one for tasting and one for collecting.

vrijdag 5 oktober 2012

Whiskytips start to blog

Along with a Youtube channel and a Twittersite, Whiskytips has started a blog. In this blog you will find our experiences, tasting notes,photos, links and of course tips on (the world of) whiskey, whisky, rye and bourbon. You can find our tweets here: www.twitter.com/whiskytips You can also find us on Youtube here: www.youtube.com/whiskytips Just look out for "Whiskytips"! This weekend we will be at the Potstill Festival in Amersfoort . Video-report coming soon! Enjoy your dram! (We know we will!)