In the backdrop of Japan’s whisky shortage crisis in 2015, renowned brands such as Nikka and Suntory found themselves grappling with depleted stockpiles of aged whisky. In response, they made the strategic decision to either discontinue age statements for their flagship expressions or significantly curtail production, opting instead for controlled allocations to their distributors. This scarcity, coupled with a fervent fear of missing out and an element of greed, precipitated an unprecedented surge in prices for the remaining inventory, a trend that has persisted unabated till present day. Amidst this tumultuous landscape, however, That Boutique-y Whisky Company defied the odds by unearthing a cache of 21-year-old Japanese blended whisky, releasing six batches over a few years.Read more
I had the chance to be invited a few days ago to a Turntable Spirits tweet tasting, allowing me to taste the first three blends released by this new blending company. Turntable Spirits is a brand new blending house founded by two brothers, with transparency about the contents of their blends. Brexit made my participation to Tweet Tastings complicated to say the least, but thanks to Steve Rush, I was able to join this one. Before we start, let’s say on the record (laughs appreciated) that I received as part of this Tweet Tasting three generous samples for free, but that doesn’t have an influence on my reviews.Read more
We’ve covered these last couple weeks quite exclusive and rare whiskies and a couple brandies, with lost distillery after hyped distillery. So let’s get back down to earth, shall we? The Scotch Whisky world is still led, in terms of volume, by blends. And one of the most famous amongst them is Johnnie Walker. So let’s review two of their entry/mid-level blends: the Johnnie Walker Black and Green Label.Read more
The General is unusual as far as how expressions are made at Compass Box. Usually, and as we’ve seen in previous Compass Box reviews here, John Glaser or his other whisky makers select single malts of different profiles and assemble them themselves. Here, Glaser bought casks of whiskies already blended at a young age and left to marry in those casks for a very long time. Two parcels were bought, one being 33 years old at the time of The General’s final blending, and one rumoured to be 40 years old. John Glaser describes the whisky as having an “antique character lovers of old whiskies will seek out”. So let see what we think of this Compass Box The General.Read more
In 1987, Suntory’s Master Blender Keizo Saji decided to develop a blended whisky to reflect the sophistication of Suntory’s techniques. Suntory says that their Chief Blender, Koichi Inatomi, sampled and tasted aged malt whiskies from one million casks at Suntory. Maybe not just to make Hibiki, as 1 million casks sampled would mean 91 samples a day for 30 years… Anyway, in the end, Saji and Inatomi found the flavour they wanted by blending thirty distinctive malt and grain whiskies from Suntory distilleries, Yamazaki and Hakushu for the malt, and Chita for the grain. The first Hibiki, Hibiki 17-year-old was released in 1989 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Suntory whisky. The 21-year-old would follow in 1994. Whatever the expression from the range, they are always presented in the brand’s trademark 24-faceted bottle representing the Japanese seasons. So let’s try those two initial expressions from the range, Suntory Hibiki 17 and 21-year-old.Read more
The Whisky Cellar is back with its fourth series of Private Cellars Selection bottlings, but not only. Keith Bonnington, The Whisky Cellar‘s founder and ex-Edrington employee, bought, a few months ago, from his former employer, the Brig O’Perth blend brand. One of his other projects, Scalasaig, also is not only an island whiskies blend, but also now a bottler, with, I imagine, single malts coming from all the distilleries making up the Scalasaig blend. So for this fourth Whisky Cellar Tweet Tasting, we’ll try the Brig O’Perth, a Tobermory bottled under the Scalasaig brand, and three single malts and one single grain part of the Whisky Cellar Private Cellars Selection Series 4. We enjoyed a lot Keith’s selection during the first three Tweet Tastings, so I think we can have high hopes for this Whisky Cellar Fourth Tweet Tasting.Read more
Whilst the distillery is installed in a very old building, initially a mill constructed in the 1700s, in the heart of Dublin, it’s a very recent distillery that started production in 2019. The distillery is named after the Liberties district of Dublin, an historic district of this city. New distilleries have several choices when they start and until their whisk(e)y comes of age. They can produce unaged spirits like gin or vodka to have immediate income while the future whisky matures. They can also just wait the required three years, but that needs to have enough cash from the start as it means close to no income for the first few years, except maybe for the income from a visitor centre. And finally, they can source whisky from other distilleries, potentially blend it, mature it for an additional period, or finish it in a selection of casks, and sell it under their name with a markup. That’s the third choice Dublin Liberties Distillery did, and we’re now going to try four of their expressions, all sourced from undisclosed (as far as I know) Irish distilleries.Read more
Suntory’s first big announcement of 2021, back in January, was of two limited-edition variants on their two biggest brands: Yamazaki Limited Edition 2021 and Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2021. They were both released on May 25 and sold out almost immediately everywhere. There are allegedly 30,000 of each of these kicking around. They both had RRPs of ¥8800 (after tax, around €67 or $80), but now grace auction sites for 10x that.
Our focus here is the Hibiki Blossom Harmony.
Coldorak’s Note: today we welcome a guest author, Mac aka Kanpai Planet, who does Youtube reviews of Japanese whiskies and other Japanese drinks on his Youtube channel. Yōkoso!Read more
We’re back for another Walsh Whiskey Tweet Tasting, yay! Last year’s one was a really good one, with drams going from good to reaaally good. So what did they have for us in store for this year? Let’s find out what they brought for this Walsh Whiskey Tweet Tasting 2021. And if you want to know more about Walsh Whiskey’s history, go read my article from last year, then come back here to have a few drams with me.Read more
I guess you’re getting quite used to reading about Tweet Tastings from me now, as I’ve covered quite a few of them in the last 6 months… or more. Today, we’re back to an Irish bottler/blender, as we can see quite a lot these days. I guess it’s a sign the Irish whiskey industry is flourishing, so that’s quite good news! Let’s introduce The Quiet Man, before reviewing the three drams we got to try this time.Read more