Nice but really lacks complexity, especially when compared to a Calvados. I guess it would have been better with a few more years, but it’s perfectly done for such a young age. Lots of odd aromas: parsley, dill, rotten orange, old wood, cardboard, dried Chinese mushrooms, fresh pepper… Again some weird tastes: fruit spirit, cheap Cognac, old wood, burnt cake… 75 points According to fellow malt maniac Ho-cheng, from Taiwan, that means ‘Red Star King’s Liquor’, and it’s a very famous and popular liquor. First mouthfeel: again, almost the same as #1, just a little more ‘dirty’. First nosing: we’re along the same lines again, if this one is a little more ‘stylish’ and quite cleaner.
Much less fruity than the nose, but still very good. I guess it’s the best non-Scottish or Irish or Japanese Single Malt whisky I ever had, and I guess it deserves no less than 83 points. According to Suntory, this is one of the finest blended whiskies in Japan. Its colour is dark straw, and it’s quite weak at first nosing. Let’s check the palate now: the first mouthfeel is weak and watery. Yes, very enjoyable, even if again, I wouldn’t say it tastes like a single malt whisky at all. Again, better than #1 and 2, but nothing thrilling, still.
But I guess the nomenklatura had some better ones, especially some from Crimea. This one’s made in Yerevan, and it seems that it’s got quite a reputation, despite the fact that Armenians only make some brandy since 1937. Quite winey, with some nice notes of wood and vanilla. The name is 18 Carats, it's made by the Orkney Wine Company, and it's an Orkney carrot wine fortified with Orkney single malt whisky. I don't know what they think at Talisker's, but I must admit I'd love to taste it. Yes, the Islay Festival is around the corner, so I felt it would be a good idea not to focus on single malts too much at this very moment. Some quite unpleasant off-notes, but I guess this one has to be drunk with a lot of water anyway. Yes, the palate is much better than the nose, even when tasted ‘naked’. They’ll either tell you it could be Lou Reed, JJ Cale, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, James Taylor, Gram Parsons, or even marvellous newcomer Damien Rice, depending on the song you’ll choose. Develops on some slightly spirity notes, cider, nutmeg… I just put her back into the nearby river where she belongs. The second sample is worth 84 points on my scale – just the same rating as the OMC’s, even if both are very different. From left to right: 1967 Zsa Zsa gabor for Smirnoff 'Don't darling with me if it's not Smirnoff' (warning - yeah I know, it's no whisky but I like Zsa Zsa) - 1967 Lauren Hutton for White Horse (claiming) - 1971 J&B (inviting)From left to right: 1975 Black Velvet (very inviting) - 1981 Bushmill's (very very inviting) - 1995 Black Velvet 'as smooth as it gets' (calm down! His thick Scottish accent instantly transports you to Inverness, Port Charlotte or John o'Groats, whichever Scottish place you're in the mood for. Well, perhaps you just can't always talk about pure crystalline water running down the hills... - Maybe it's because the Islay Festival is approaching: I just felt the need to listen to some old Harry Lauder tunes. Hints of peat and a little pepper, then gets a little spirity and sourish (cooked green apple). The mouth is quite powerful at first but gets then much more balanced with some white fruit (gooseberry), some peat and some peppery notes. Very difficult to come up with a fair rating, especially because the Houng-Shin-Yu-Chou may well not have being made for occidental palates…Another young new singer I like a lot is Rachael Yamagata. It’s no secret that Clynelish is one of my favourite distilleries, and whereas some independent bottlings – especially some young ones - are quite ‘average’, I couldn’t admit Diageo came up with such a poor expression. Anyway, as I had a second sample on my shelves (thanks, Govert), I just decided to have another go at both, plus at a young OMC Clynelish worth 84 points on my scale.
Yes, being pretty doesn't obligatorily lead to some spineless pap... Starts with some perfumy notes (Muscat) and develops on pear, sure, but also on apple. As a matter of fact, Nick Morgan, Diageo’s Marketing Director for classic (and premium! Nose: light and fragrant again, not that different from the Speymalt Macallan. Should be a good benchmark – too bad I haven’t got any Flora & Fauna anymore. The orangey notes grow bigger and bigger, and it makes me think of John Glaser’s ‘Orangerie’, or of some Mandarine Imperiale liquor. It must be a cheap Highlander or something like that. Yes, like a regular gin in which they’d already have poured some ginger ale… Perhaps they could just add a few olives into each bottle. At first nosing, it’s very fruity and seems to be quite complex. Again, nothing special, but it appears we’re stepping towards the 70 points or more this time. Malty, a little woody, but gets a little dry towards the end. As for names, I’d say Tobermory, Arran, Auchentoshan… You should listen to 'Beautiful Day' (mp3) which is far from being her best tune, but gives you a good example of her beautiful voice and singing. Nose: mellow, quite perfumy and strong for just 40%. - While Jim Murray shoots at Cognac as much as he can, and while the French think it's out of date, the American R'n'B singers have made the 'yak' (Cognac in US slang) their favourite drink.