Longrow 1998 (55.7%, CA, 2010)

I wrote this mini-review during my last vacation, when I visited my family and hiked with my father in the Salbertrand forest, on the Italian Alps. After the short (but very nice) I enjoyed the pause and the view by trying a great Longrow 1998 – 2010, bottled by Cadenhead’s after maturing for 12 years in a rum cask (whaaaat??). I originally posted this review on my Instagram account, but I definitely cannot neglect the blog! Therefore here it is, a great whisky to match the great view, described by my not so great tasting notes.

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Kilchoman 100% Islay: 2015 vs 2018


Kilchoman is Islay’s small “farm distillery”, and as such it pays a great deal of attention to the ingredients, in particular to the barley used in whisky production. One of the most successful products from this distillery is the Kilchoman 100% Islay: as the name says, this one is produced with barley exclusively grown on the island of Islay. Moreover, the Kilcho-men completed every step of whisky-making at the distillery, from the malting to the bottling. It’s a nice concept, and it is meanwhile a pretty established annual release in the nice Kilchoman range, as the first one came out already in 2011. I am always curious on how editions evolve and on how whiskies compare to each other, so today I decided to stare at a fight between two versions, and will share with you my thoughts while the samples of the 5th and the 8th releases will punch each other in the malts.

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Sensology Tasting with The Glenlivet


Thanks to Joules, the brand ambassador for The Glenlivet here in France, I was invited to an interesting experience with some other local whisky enthusiasts. Joules organised in a nearby wine shop (À l’Ombre d’un Bouchon) a “Sensology” tasting: it consists of a pairing of whiskies with ingredients delivering the smells and flavours you can find in the water of life. The whole point is that we are usually deceived by our eyes, our knowledge, our expectations. Therefore, in order to fully experience these malts from The Glenlivet without such distractions, we taste the whiskies in opaque glasses, and without knowing anything about the age or the maturation of the liquid inside them. We have access, as I said, to a pletora of fruits (dried and fresh) and spices and ingredients to help us in identifying the tasting notes.

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A Michel Couvreur Masterclass

Michel Couvreur is a French independent bottler, well known in the business since over 30 years. The founder, Micher Couvreur himself, passed away in 2013, but his son-in-law Cyril Dechamps and the master of cellar Jean-Arnaud Frantzen kept intact the company reputation and the quality of their product. So, since I am curious about this French bottler as little Georgie is (was?) about talking to evil man-eater clowns popping up in the sewer, I decided to participate to a masterclass organised by the Whisky Shop Paris.

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Tormore 16 Y.O. (48%, OB, 2019)


I met Lucy, the brand ambassador for Tormore, Aberlour and Scapa here in France, at a fantastic Highland Park Masterclass by Nicola Riske. We chatted a bit before the tasting and soon the discussion focused on my complete and utter ignorance about what Tormore has been up to. I mean, I tasted a couple of Tormore single casks over the years (you can find my reviews in Italian here and here), but I had never tried a distillery bottling. To make up for this disgraceful lack of Tormority in my whisky education, Lucy sent me a very generous sample of this France-exclusive, bourbon cask matured, Tormore 16 years old!

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Bunnahabhain 1989 (45.8%, CS, 2014)


An indie Bunnahabhain today! I originally tasted this malt a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It was in Hamburg, where I had the chance to participate to some very informal monthly meetings of local malt maniacs, where I could meet really nice people with a greeeaaaat deal of experience about whisky. And one of these nice people once pull out this weirdly looking bottle, with a label devoid of any aesthetically pleasing swirls à la Compass Box, but rather full of crude, Teutonically precise facts.

The bottler, Andrea Cammineci, Great Master of C&S, tells us that this Bunna was distilled on 20/10/1989, and bottled on 08/09/2014, after almost 25 years spent in an ex-bourbon cask. After tasting this malt, and it was one of the first indie for me at the time, and I kind of fell in love with it. I painfully tracked and bought a bottle (the last one there!) in a German shop, and cherished it and caressed it. And drank it, fo course! And here I am boring you with my tedious tasting notes.

Nose: It starts with a strong grainy smell. I feel a bit like Russel Crowe in Gladiator, mentally passing my hand through ears of wheat. But I’m definitely not an Hispano-Roman general, and instead of the smell of blood I smell malt and herbs (rosemary?). It’s very herbal, I think, intense and yet very sweet, with tons of honey (poor bees!). Sweet, I was saying, but also savoury and sapid. After some time the nose makes a turnaround like Luis Figo when he left Barça for Real and becomes sweet again, mitigated by something like wood polish. I understand that not everybody would like it, but I surely do!

Taste: A bit of alcohol, but not too much – and the alcohol content is, for a single cask bottled at cask strength, not excessive. After this alcoholic attack it becomes very intense, even bit fruity. The bulk of the Grande Armée of the Bunna, though, consists mainly of malt and grain. I don’t really know why I feel this urgent need of military metaphors right now… but here there are some cavalry squadrons of limes and lemons attacking the flanks, and finally a decisive charge of vanilla, honey and herbs that smashes through the remaining defences of my palate. It’s really good. And also quite salty, and since I love the salt more than a goat, I quite enjoy this nice last marine backlash.

Finish: Dry and quite long, with a sweet lemon cream lingering for a while. Salty here too, and with some malty waves coming and going.

Overall: I really really enjoy this whisky, I’m very satisfied with my purchase: 91/100, I’m full of that sweet sweet Bunnalove. It’s a pity that it’s not available anymore, but you can definitely find many other quality Bunnas on the market. And if you’re bursting with love for Babadabubi like me, just think at what the wise Fox Mulder once said:

The Bunna is out there“.

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Caol Ila 2002 (50.7%, V&M, 2016)

A couple of years ago I visited the beautiful Rome Whisky Festival, and after annoying at length Davide Romano, I decided to get one bottle of this nice Caol Ila. Bottled in 2016 after 14 years spent in an ex-sherry hogshead (number 16-242), it comes with one of those amazing boxes that make the Valinch & Mallet bottlings so cool also from a totally unnecessary aesthetic point of view. The Valinchs (or the Mallets? The Valinchandmallets?) bottled 322 of these beauties, and I’ve almost finished mine. How did it taste? Well, just keep reading, my imaginary friend!

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Un mini tasting giapponese


After spending a nice Saturday morning climbing, I decided I deserved a treat and I took a stroll in the center of Paris to visit my favourite ramen shop. And what do you know… on my way there I took my sweet time to stare at the amazing collections on display at La Maison du Whisky in Rue d’Anjou 20. Completely randomly, I happened to be there exactly by the time when the Maison was offering a free tasting of two recent Japanese gems: Shinshu Mars Komagatake and Chichibu The Peated!

I felt luckier than Gladstone Gander, and not really believing my timing, I buckled up for this amazing tasting of the products of two small Japanese distilleries! And we started with a whisky from Nagano Prefecture, the new limited edition of…

Shinshu Mars Komagatake (48%, OB, 2018) Matured in ex-bourbon casks and bottled at 48%, it’s a limited edition of this single malt, with about 10000 bottles produced. Nose: There is a kaijū breathing malt and vanilla instead of fire or nuclear blasts here! Really classy and… classic I’d say. And I mean it in the best possible way. Clean and expressive, with some alcohol punching different tropical fruits (bananas and mangos) hard in the face. Caramel then, very sweet, maybe a bit simple, but definitely very good. Taste: Immediately it wraps my palate with some alcoholic tentacles, but luckily there is a sweet banana here that frees me from the monster. And now a truck unloads in my mouth tons of apples (dried apples maybe?). I really like it, it’s so very equilibrate and drinkable. And spicy, too! Finish: The aftertaste is not too long maybe, but it’s sweet, clean, and very well done. So nice. Overall: The start of this mini-tasting was simply great: 85/100. Maybe not the most complex of the whiskies, but extremely well-balanced and enjoyable. I’d gladly drink a whole bottle of it, and maybe a bit too fast… but the price is, sadly, too high for me: you can find it around (but often above) the 100 euros mark.

And here it is, the highlight of the (early, sic) afternoon! From the distillery founded in 2004 by Ichiro Akuto comes the famed…

Chichibu The Peated (55.5%, OB, 2018) Bottled for the 10th anniversary of the first Chichibu bottling, it’s a mix of 5-9 years old malts matured in ex-bourbon casks. The distillery produced 11550 bottles of this beauty… Oh, I’m dying to try it! Nose: Some very angry peat embroiled in a deadly dance with some very young malt. Salt, vanilla, white pepper! There is quite something going on here, and it’s worthy to give it time to open. Very briny, with wood smoke and dried grass, almost like hay. It’s also kind of nutty, or at least it seems nutty to my nutty nose (Jesus, Fabio…). Taste: It immediately tickles my palate with some delicate peat. It’s very nice, very interesting, very good. Salt and pepper, lemon and ginger, caramel and peat smoke. It’s also a bit mineral, but still very well-balanced and with a subtle vanilla floating around you like a bourbon ghost. Who you gonna call? No one, absolutely no one! Finish: Dry and long, with pepper, apples and a delicate and sweet peat lingering for what it seems like an eternity. At least until you’re not covering it with some fat ramen… Overall: Long story short. it’s awesome: 92/100. There was a lot of hype around this bottle, and from my point of view it was absolutely justified. It’s young, true, but it’s simply very very tasty, and more complex than I thought, too. The issue? Well, the price: around 250 euros (imagine a super sad emoji here).

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Una masterclass da Antichi Leoni (degli Spiriti)

P_20181110_155933_LL-01Al recente Milano Whisky Festival ho deciso di partecipare a una Signora Masterclass organizzata dal grande Max Righi: la massiccia e decisiva Max’s Choice. Il tasting si prospettava una bella scampagnata nel mondo di Antique Lions of Spirits (ALOS), una collaborazione di tre signori imbottigliatori e selezionatori di malto. Si parla ovviamente del già citato Max Righi (Silver Seal), Diego Sandrin (Lion’s Whisky) e del tedesco Jens Drewitz (Sansibar Whisky): tre bei personaggioni che, come ci ha raccontato Max all’inizio della degustazione, si sono messi d’accordo per acquistare alcuni barilazzi superpiù! A differenza di Terence Hill, questi non barili non danno sganascioni ma promettono una libidine più godereccia di un buffet a un matrimonio indiano. In questa degustazione abbiamo sbevazzato ben 5 delle ultime uscite degli ALOS. E io, per condividere questa degustazione con voi, miei cari lettori immaginari, sono riuscito a riempire anche delle bottigliette di 4 whiskettini. Purtroppo mi son perso per strada uno stupendo Clynelish 1997-2018, vi dovrete accontentare degli altri quattro mostriciattoli qua… Continue reading

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A Tasting of Ice and Fire: A review of ALL Game of Thrones Whiskies

In this early 2019 Diageo decided to ride along a Dothraki horde the incredible hype for the launch of the last season of Game of Thrones releasing a limited series of whiskies dedicated to the Great Houses of Westeros. And the Night’s Watch, because why not.

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Posted in Cardhu, Clynelish, Dalwhinnie, Glendullan, Lagavulin, Oban, Royal Lochnagar, Talisker | Leave a comment