Lost Spirits Abominations: Crying of the Puma & Sayers of the Law

Lost Spirits are a Californian Distillery (Yeah, USA California) producing American whiskey, Rum and other spirits including some interesting whisky under the Abomination brand. Why Abomination? Because what they did here is very unique and different, harnessing their technology to create them. They got some 45-55 ppm peated whisky from Islay, aged for 12-18 months in Bourbon casks before crossing the ocean to California. Some late-harvest Riesling seasoned oak staves were added and then those young spirits were  ‘tortured’ by the Lost Spirits Reactor for a few days. The reactor bombs the whisky with light, pressure, oxygen and who know what else, all to fast track the aging process – maybe even up to 15 years in a few days.

Both Abominations were named after a chapter of the island of Dr. Moreau and the difference between them is that Crying of the Puma was ‘reacted’ with Toasted Oak staves while Sayers of the Law was ‘reacted’ with Heavily charred Oak Staves (late harvest Riesling seasoned oak in both cases).

So does the reactor really works? How does it taste with speed aging?

Lost Spirits Abomination – Crying of the Puma (54%, £56.75)

Nose: Unmistakably Islay peat, malt, sweet vanilla and concentrated wood extracts like bourbon , soft sweet smoke. Continue reading

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Strathearn 3 Year Old Single Cask #115 ‘Sauron’s Eye’

It’s a great feeling crossing off another distillery from the “yet to taste” list of Scottish distilleries. And it’s even more satisfying when it’s the smallest active distillery in Scotland – Strathearn distillery.

“Strath” means valley and so Strathearn means “the valley of the River Earn”. The distillery near Perth started distilling back in 2013 and is known for using a variety of small casks for the 30,000 liters or so of new make they made every year.

Since there are no official bottlings out there (The special inaugural release notwithstanding), the best way to acquire a Strathearn whisky bottle is to purchase a private cask. I didn’t purchase a cask but Anders, a Finnish friend of mine did purchase such a private cask back in 2014 and I was lucky enough to taste the result.

The Sherry Octave cask was fully filled with 49 liters of unpeated new make on 07/08/2014 and was bottled on 17/11/2017 at 57.1%

Strathearn 3 Year Old Single Cask #115 ‘Sauron’s Eye’ (57.1%)

Nose: Fresh. Malt, sweet dried fruit, pine and mint spiciness. The sherry influence starts in the far background slowly creeping forward a bit with milk chocolate and berries but the malt and freshness still leads the way for a very balanced nose.

Continue reading

Compass Box Phenomenology

Along with No Name I reviewed yesterday, there was another interesting and engimatic Compass Box release coming out last year called Phenomenology with the slogan “Phenomenology – There’s No Right or Wrong”.

Phenomenology is a school of thought in psychology that focuses on
phenomena, or, the experiences that we get from our senses–what we
see, taste, smell, etc. It is a way of thinking about ourselves and the
very personal, subjective nature of experience.

True to its name, when Phenomenology was initially released, it was an enigmatic whisky with no recipe nor official tasting notes released, but it’s been months since the release and by now we do have the recipe information:

It doesn’t happen too often that you get to see Glenlossie and Tamdhu as the main ingredients of a whisky costing £150.

Compass Box Phenomenology (46%, 7908 btls, £143/€147.5)

Nose: Fruity pears, apples, salt and subtle peat smoke, sweet oak spices, fizzy minerals, sour hard candies.

Continue reading

Compass Box No Name Review

When Compass Box released No Name last October, there was a lot of buzz around it. It is the peatiest whisky ever from Compass Box with 75.5% of it hailing from Ardbeg. Take into account that the Ardbeg portion carries an unpublished but still obtainable (via email) age statement that wasn’t seen from indie Ardbegs in ages (although recently a few indie Ardbegs popped up with similar age) and you can see why people were enamored by it. And let’s not forget the sexy black presentation and the added wink in the form of the ‘No Name’ name.

So the large portion in this blended whisky, 75.5% comes from Ardbeg (from re-charred barrels,) 10.6% comes from Caol Ila (refill barrels), 13.4% from Clynelish (re-charred hogsheads) and measly 0.5% of Compass box Highland malt blend (which is 60% Clynelish and 20% of both Dailuaine and Teaninich) finished in Compass Box’s heavy toasted French Oak hybrid cask for 6 months.

15,000 bottles were produced, bottled at 48.9% without added color or chill filtering.

Compass Box No Name (48.9%, £98.00/€98,90)

Nose: Very clean peat, lemon and lime, lots of smoke and a bit of tar. Quite fatty with oil wax, fruitiness lead by pears, red apples and some peaches. Continue reading

Benromach 12 Year Old Cask Strength 2017 Batch #1 Review

Sorry about dropping out for a while during Feis but life took over with extra work, other projects and serious read binge (The 5 books of The Demon Cycle. Not bad at all). But now it’s time to get back into the reviewing mode.

Although I owe you three reviews from Feis (Kilchoman, Bunnahabhain and Ardbeg), those will integrated into the schedule in the coming weeks and today I wanna focus on an interesting whisky – An official Benromach 12 Year Old in Cask strength bottled exclusively for Taiwan market.

It’s always fun to lay hands on a bottle destined for different markets as you get to try official bottles with different flavor profiles targeted at the target market preferences.

Benromach 12 Year Old Cask Strength 2017 Batch #1 (58.9%)

Nose: Chocolate-y, dirty with a touch of sulphur (but in a good way), peat and subtle smoke, strong dried fruit and biscuits. Continue reading

Bowmore 2001 15 Year Old Signatory Vintage (TWE Exclusive) Review

The fifth day of Feis Ile is Bowmore open day, and you know the drill by now – a commemorative review is coming right here.

This time it’s a 15 Year Old Bowmore selected by Signatory and bottled exclusively for The Whisky Exchange. It’s hogshead 20117 (refill ex-bourbon) that was filled on 2/10/2001 matured for 15 years before being bottled on 23/8/2017

Bowmore 2001 15 Year Old Signatory Vintage for TWE (55.6%, £160, 233 bottles)

Nose: Soft, fruit mix juice with gentle and slightly wet peat, lemon, bread dough. After a few minutes very lemon-y but the fruits are clearer, there’s green melon, peaches and papaya. Continue reading

Laphroaig 2011 6 Year Old ‘Same as 10k’ (for Whiskybase) Review

The fourth day of Feis Ile belongs to Laphroaig, the distillery that sparked my journey into whisky. My commemorative review is of a young Laphroaig, only 6 (and a half) years old bottled for whiskybase.com to celebrate the fact they have 100,000 bottles in their database for users to create and track their collections and stock.

It’s named ‘Same as 10k’ because it was a Laphroaig they bottled for 10,000 bottles in the database. It was distilled on 5/5/11 (nice date!) filled into a Refill Sherry Hogshead #3199 and bottled roughly 6 and a half years later on 23/1/18. This hogshead yielded 354 bottles at 58.7% so the angels didn’t take much out of it.

Laphroaig 2011 6 Year Old ‘Same as 10k’ for Whiskybase (58,7%)

Nose: Laphoaig nose with the peat smoke and iodine, some ashes, TCP, very pharmaceutical and then some subtle red fruit sweetness. Continue reading