Glenlossie 20yo 1992/2012 (57%, The Whisky Mercenary, 144 bottles)

Jürgen (The Whisky Mercenary) has issued two new bottlings recently, a 21yo Littlemill from 1992, a closed distillery that enjoys a cult status these days. The second new bottling is ‘The Nameless One’ from 1995. Jürgen claims to know nothing about this one, well….

But before we get to that, rummaging through my collection of accumulating samples, I found this Glenlossie bottled by Jürgen. Glenlossie is a Speyside distillery founded in 1876 and today is owned by Diageo. The distillery itself isn’t that big, it has three wash stills and three spirit stills and produces in excess of 2 million litres of alcohol per annum. Glenlossie Bonds ís big. It warehouses around 250.000 casks of various Diageo Whiskies on site, but that’s not all. In 1971 SMD constructed a second distillery on the premises of Glenlossie, which we know as Mannochmore. Also a dark grains plant was built, to produce 150.000 tonnes of cattle fodder from the residues of distilling per annum.

Glenlossie 20yo 1992/2012 (57%, The Whisky Mercenary, 144 bottles)Color: Bright light gold.

Nose: Elegantly oaked with fresh citrus and a hint of gravy. There are some yellow sweet tropical fruits, coconut and pear in here but they are integrated with some light mocha. Than the Whisky turns into something more floral. Honeysuckle comes to mind. A little bit of wood-spice and creamy vanilla from the oak, but otherwise very clean smelling. Late in the finish after some breathing, another kind of clean shows up, a tiny hint of floral soap, which is not a problem. Altogether a nice, pleasant and elegant nose.

Taste: Quite hot at first (it’s 57% ABV you know!) with just a tad of white pepper. The oak is upfront, together with lots of vanilla and some mint. The same sweet mint you can encounter in After Eight ice-cream. Hints of spice and sweet lemon water. Very creamy and soft. Sweet and minty. Actually quite good. Within the portfolio of a typical ex-Bourbon cask Whisky it has some nice traits, high in alcohol, sweet and refreshing at the same time. Good balance and a nice finish to boot what else could you possibly want from a Whisky like this.

Typical single Bourbon cask Single Malt Whisky. It’s clean, has vanilla and oak and I guess it’s the future of independent bottling. A lot more first fill and second fill Bourbon cask Whiskies are made than from Sherry or other kinds of casks, Port, Wine, Rum etc. etc. It does change the independent landscape a bit, but it offers us consumers, and Whisky geeks a chance to see more about the distillery character and you already know that the beauty lies in the details. Again an excellent choice by Jürgen, I understand the pick.

Points: 85

 

Port Morant 15yo 1992/2007 (46%, Berry Brothers & Rudd, Islay Cask, Guyana)

This Demerara Rum from Port Morant was bottled by Berry Brothers & Rudd and somewhere in its life came in contact with a cask that once held Islay Whisky. The label doesn’t state from which Islay distillery the cask came…

BBR Port Morant 1992 Demerara RumColor: White Wine with lots of viscosity.

Nose: Very aromatic with lots of petrol and tar, paper and cardboard and you know we like this in a rum. Vanilla, caramel, Demerara sugar. Industrial at first and not very fruity, Solvents, but not the usual stuff. Small hint of mint and a good body of wood, but nowhere near the amounts of wood that can be found in aged Rums. Fantastic balance, but wait. A lot more is happening here after a while. The wood opens up and the whole becomes more floral and adds notes of dry leaves. That’s a first for me with Demerara’s. Next are some spices, cardamom, white pepper and it finishes of in great funkiness. Actually it never ends, put it away and pick it up again and you smell new things. Wonderful stuff. Although this comes from an Islay cask, meaning peat I guess, I can not detect any peat at all but there is a tiny, tiny hint of smoke. Can’t imagine they would use an unpeated Malt Whisky cask for this.

Taste: Yes there is the peat! Very up front and comes sailing in on a wave of restrained sweetness. Nice. Fits the toasted wood note that comes next. Mocha, toffee and chocolate (not the darkest kinds though), hints of cucumber, can it get any crazier than this? The wood and the peat give off a slightly disturbing kind of bitterness to this not-so-sweet Demerara. The jury is still out if it actually fits the Rum. Sometimes this note resembles an electrical fire. Still, it oozes character and proves again that Demerara’s are a force to recon with. Alas, most distilleries are closed by now, luckily most stills have survived…

It reminds me a bit of a Cadenhead Enmore, also a Demerara Rum from Guyana which will be reviewed in the future. Talking about Cadenheads, also a Scottish independent bottler, that also used some Islay casks, but from them we know they were Laphroaigs, one of the most heavily peated Islay Whiskies.

Points: 87

 

Paul & Philippe Zinck Pinot Blanc 2009

And suddenly the sun came out! Nice temperature so I felt like a nice light and refreshing wine. I have a batch of Pinot Blancs lying around for the white asparagus season, but thought I would give this one a try by itself, for me you never can go wrong with an Alsatian Wine. This Pinot Blanc is made by Domaine Zinck from Eguisheim, Alsace, France. Zinck have four great Grand Crus: Eichberg, Pfersigberg, Goldert and Rangen. The last two I also know from Zind-Humbrecht. Spectacular stuff.

This Pinot Blanc is from the “Portrait” line of wines and are made as an introduction to Wine. We call that entry-level.

Zinck Pinot BlancColor: light yellow with a slight green tint, medium viscosity

Nose: Flowery and half sweet. Meaty and buttery with hints of earth. Quite a “thick” and aromatic nose (lots of yellow fruits), seems sweet at first. Vegetal and herbal, maybe sage. Coastal (the terroir is silty), and fruity, melon-style.

Taste: Syrupy sweet the acidity is in check. The sweetness and the acidity somehow doesn’t seem to be well married together. Something not quite right and I can not put my finger on it. The fruity melons are here too, and just like the nose, “thick”. Quite some bitterness too, that stays well into the finish. Where it shouldn’t be. Chewy and behind it all sweeter dan it appears to be.

Pinot Blanc is not Alsace’s favourite grape variety, and I guess this wine shows why. It is recommended with food, asparagus. Don’t have that here at the moment, but I’ve tried it with a salad, OK and with spicy chicken legs, that wa s quite good actually. Since the wine is quite thick the Pinot Blanc managed the spicy chicken well. Easily drinkable. I personally didn’t like this as much as a lot of other wines from the region, but it does seem to fare better with food than on its own. Well just a matter of taste really, since my wife did love this on its own and is more than happy to drink the rest of the bottles that are in the cellar.

Points: 77

Casal de Ventozela Branco Vinho Verde DOC 2013

Vinho Verde is a Portuguese wine from the Minho province in the far north of the country. The region has many small growers, which train their vines high off the ground, in trees, on fences, and even telephone poles so there still is some room on the ground for growing food crops. Vinho Verde means “green wine” as in “young wine”, so Vinho Verdes are made to be drunk in their youth, so don’t age them. Grape varieties used for white Vinho Verde are; Loreiro, Arinto, Trajadura, Avesso and Azal. Also red and rosé Vinho Verde’s are made.

In the old days, the slight effervesce of the wine came from malolactic fermentation taking place in the bottle, normally a wine fault, but in the case of Vinho Verde, it is considered a nice “effect”. Today in most cases the effervesce comes from artificial carbonation.

Casal de Ventozela BrancoThe wine has an ABV of 11,5%, which for a Vinho Verde is rather high.

Color: Light white wine, pale straw, not green. Medium viscosity.

Nose: Very fruity and almost lemonade-like. Lots of aromas leap out of the glass. A happy and summery smell. Typical sweet creamy yoghurt with chunks of peach and even some banana. Vanilla ice-cream (mind you, not vanillin from wood). The wine does have tiny bubbles (effervesce) which adds to the summery feel. After a while the creaminess dissipates and the nose gets more acidic and even more refreshing. Nice green notes too. Gooseberries. Very nicely made with an interesting and nice nose.

Taste: Good balance between its acidity and sweetness. Both are quite soft. Again the acidity is the same as yoghurt. The fruits are also more of the acidic kind, like lemons and limes, with the peach and banana in the background. The nose and the taste match, whereas the nose was more creamy and sweetish, the taste is definitely more acidic. The tiny bubbles this wine has also add to the refreshing quality it has.

Probably a seafood wine, it does need a culinary companion. Perfect for sushi and I will have to try another one with asparagus! Lovely stuff.

Points: 83

Warre’s Heritage Ruby

Heritage Ruby is Warre’s entry-level red Port. I attended a tasting lately where a lot of different products were presented and some cross-references were made. Arran finished in an ex-Amarone cask Whisky was matched with a Lenotti Amarone wine, but also an Edradour 10yo Port casked Whisky was matched with a Port. That Port was a Niepoort Ruby, yes a basic Port and it was so good, that it sold out completely that evening. Very fruity and extremely accessible and drinkable. So I thought, let’s have a look at another basic Ruby. Warre was my introduction to Port so I have some of those bottles lying around. A short trip to the cellars of Master Quill produced this (not the most current) bottle…

Warre's Heritage Ruby PortColor: Dark ruby-red with high viscosity.

Nose: Syrupy red Wine. Very fruity (but not as fruity as the Niepoort offering was), strawberry, blackberries and some blossoms as well, slightly perfumy. This is slightly darker (as an experience, as well as in color) but still very fruity. Jam, syrup. The added darkness comes from hints of soil and dry sunny earth. Small hint of petrol adds to the depth. Do I detect a tiny hint of coal smoke? Excellent nose.

Taste: Starts out with a very pleasant kind of sweetness, very restrained even when the whole is pretty syrupy and chewy. Not cloying. a very refined kind of sweetness, pure. Ahorn maybe. Next a balancing act with some lime-like acidity. The nose is fantastic and when you take a sip all is well too, The body itself is more on raisins and the sustained acidity, but not completely integrated. The acidity is maybe a wee bit too high and in the finish it all falls apart for a bit. Finish is also not very long.

I might have been a bit harsh on this one, for I still find it a very pleasant and drinkable Port. It has some faults towards the end, and for the money it is an excellent Port.

After a lot of the other types of Port like Vintages, Colheita’s, LBV’s and so on, I have to say that even an entry-level Port like this one or the Niepoort I tasted is still very good. You get a lot of quality from even a dirt cheap bottle like this or any other Ruby I guess, (or even Tawny, White or Pink Port). The quality assurance of the Port Institute makes sure that probably every bottle that goes out to the consumer meets a high set standard. Maybe we’ll know when I taste a no-name Port with the seal of the institute. ABV is 19%.

Points: 82

Bik & Arnold Dubbel (8.5%, 33 cl)

The Muifelbrouwerij was featured earlier on these pages with its Bergs Bier. That Beer was made for the town of Berghem. This Bik & Arnold is also a commissioned Beer. This Beer was made for Slijterij Zeewijck in IJmuiden, The Netherlands (An off licence). Zeewijck commissioned three Beers from Brewer Martin Ostendorf. The first one being a Blond Beer, called Blonde Kaairidder, which in comparison to other Blond Beers is quite high in alcohol. The second, a Dubbel, is this Bik & Arnold. And the third one is a Tripel called Breesaap. Lets start off with this Dubbel, a dark brown Beer, which hopefully isn’t too sweet, because I’m not very fond of those über-sweet brown Beers…

Bik & Arnold LabelColor: Very dark brown, with light Cappuccino foam (not a lot) and some yeast depot.

Nose: Hints of roasted malts, dark candy sugar and some vegetal notes from the coriander. Also the typical dishwater note returns. I know it sounds horrible but it isn’t. Murky and yet also fresh.

Taste: Hmmm nice, very easy and not as sweet as I expected, but it is sweet like light honey. The dark color and all the Belgian Dubbels, made me expect something more heavy and cloying, sweeter too, but this is another kind of Dubbel. Lighter in style and subtle. Very tasty and easy drinkable due to its slightly fruity acidity. It has a slight bitterness on the finish from roasted malts and chocolate but mostly dark candied sugar. Also the dishwater note settles in the finish.

For a beer that is as dark as it is, I expected a bit more of those dark Beer, or Dubbel, components. do I miss it? Nope. Due to the cloying sweetness some Dubbels have, I am not a fan of Dubbels. The beer is very good as it is. A nice light and refreshing Dubbel where every component seems to fit. Good balance and well made.

Points: 82

Warre’s Colheita 1999 (2012)

Yes another Warre’s Colheita! This is an earlier one from 1999. Just like it’s predecessor, both 1999 and 2002 weren’t declared as Vintage Port years, so the wines that were meant to be vintages were used for L.B.V.’s and Colheita’s (amongst others). Although the wines weren’t good enough to declare a vintage, most probably the best the year had to offer ended up in these Colheita’s.

Warre Colheita 1999/2012Color: Much paler than the 2002 Colheita. Pale red and less viscous than the 2002 reviewed earlier.

Nose: Fresh and some wood. Powdery, nice complexity. The wood added a lot of nice notes in here, From a Whisky point of view this nose is better than the one from the 2002 Colheita. A fantastic and delicate balance. Dry and complex. A little soap in this one too. Licorice and elegant wood. Hints of wood polish and petrol. Hints of old furniture. Definitely a more interesting nose. Nutty.

Taste: More syrupy and sweeter than the nose promised, but still enough acidity, maybe even better balance and a little bit more depth to it. Seems also higher in ABV (although it is not) than the 2002 Colheita, the alcohol is more present in this one. Less sweet and again the complexity shows over time. Less lively and summery red fruit, but that doesn’t mean its less everything. This has a lot going for it too. It has added depth and is a different Colheita from the 2002 Colheita.

The 1999 Colheita is a more refined and delicate Colheita than the 2002, which is simpler, sweeter and fruitier in it presentation and is more Obvious. The difference between both is in the details for sure, so it probably was a good thing I had a few sessions comparing both to each other. It hardly makes any sense to score both differently and a difference is purely a matter of taste, but I will score this one point higher for its elegance.

Points: 85