Greetings Comrades! This week we are fortunate indeed to have Master Mixologist and White Rabbit Bar Manager Stu Inger musing on of some of his recent sippings from around the world. Sampling both the readily available and the really rare, Stu has the nose of a Bloodhound and the voice of Barry Manilow. Or was that the nose of Barry Manilow and the voice of a Bloodhound...Nevermind, just assume the Zazen posture, breathe deeply, relax and listen to The Master:
Glen Grant 10 Year Old
Region: Speyside, Scotland
An all round solid whisky that does everything well, without breaking the bank. It is a typical Speyside with a sweet nutty, caramel nose and a surprisingly exciting taste. Although it is very light and easy drinking, it has a robust and full flavour profile. It's fruity with some nut flavour and a long sweet caramel, vanilla finish.
A quality whisky, perfect for those starting their journey into whisky or a hard to beat every day whisky.
Hellyer's Road 10 Year Old
Region: Tasmania, Australia
A uniquely Australian whisky. This whisky is a bit of an oddball. It's all over the place but I can't help but love it. A generous proof give this whisky a beautiful, thick mouthfeel. The nose is just as odd as the rest. Reminding me of freshly cut timber or sawdust, followed by some predictable vanilla notes and some citrus and musk notes that tie it together. On the palate, you may find some big oak flavour with some sweet toasted cereal and nut notes. The strangest part is the finish which reminds me of the smell of wet dog. Almost off putting but somehow enjoyable. Although I am a dog person. Not exactly a beginners whisky, as it's complexity could be lost on some and become a muddy glass of confusion. but a very enjoyable and unique whisky. Well done, Australia.
Bushmills 16 year old
Scotland meets Ireland with this whisky. A single malt whiskey (with an "E" as the Irish like to spell it) aged in Oloroso sherry casks, ex bourbon casks and then finished in port casks. This almost excessive ageing process, results in a very interesting whisky. With the irish characteristics still shining through, It brings a massive oak flavour with undertones of sherry, almonds, vanilla and caramel. The oak remains for the tasting process, beginning with some subtle sweetness and finishing with big dry spiciness and traditional cereal notes. The finish is long, still spicy and thoroughly enjoyable.
Sazerac 6 year old Rye
Region: Kentucky, USA
This superb whiskey comes out of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky. Truly one of the best Rye's you can get your hands on, and at only 6 years of age. The nose brings notes of dough, dill pickle, caramel and oak. Once it hits your palate, you'll be experiencing spice, dominating some subtle sweetness. A tough whiskey to define, it should be experienced to be truly appreciated. It's herbaceous flavours gel with its softer sweet notes of caramel and vanilla, to create a truly wonderful Rye Whiskey.
Region: Kentucky, USA
This cask strength whiskey, for me is the benchmark for high quality bourbon. A product of Jim Beam (which can get a bad wrap from it's frankly hugely underwhelming white label) does everything a fantastic product should do. It's true to its brand, with a definitively Jim Bean flavour. it is unfiltered and untouched. With all the fantastically filthy parts poured straight from cask to bottle, it's a truly pure bourbon. Each bottle is unique and labelled accordingly with it's age, down to the month. The nose is immediately recognisable as a Jim Beam product, with oak and spice, vanilla and toasted nut aroma. It has massive flavour, huge spice is accompanied by oak,vanilla, more oak and spice as well as coconut and doughy sweetness. For an experienced whiskey drinker this is a tough one at cask strength. Some water does magical things to this bourbon. Dropping it's proof to your prefered level will make this a special experience. Don't be a hero, add some water,your taste buds with thank you. It also makes an old fashioned that will make you question your purpose in life.
Glendronach 21 Year Old, Parliament
Region: Highland, Scotland
This distillery is a personal favourite of mine. This whisky especial. Aged in two different sherry casks, Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso, they add exceptional features to this life changing whisky. The complexity is astonishing, with notes of berries, dates, plums, cedar and a coffee beans on the nose. The palate brings flavours of dates, raisins, honey and maple. The sweetness plays perfectly with the subtle spice. The proof is generous at 48% and quite honestly, that proof may be the peak for flavour and mouth feel. This truly is one of the best things you can put in your mouth and for the quality of whisky, is well priced.
Kavalan Solist: Vinho Barrique
Winner of the World Whisky Awards Whisky of the year in 2015. That's hard to top. The nose suggests a bourbon influence, with sweet vanilla, oak and a hint of some red vino. The nose, quite honestly, doesn't compare to the rest of the whisky. Once some of this beautiful creation hits your lips, you will understand how it was given the title of the best whisky in the world, possibly the universe. The intensity of flavour is unbelievable. It begins with a hint of smoked oak with some hearty red wine, a perfect balance between spice and sweetness. The thick mouthfeel lasts for an eternity, ending with a soft musk flavour. Although it is tolerable at the bottled proof, it really shines at around 45-50%ABV. The lack of age statement begins as a concern but given the colour, the origin and the fact they are willing to bottle it at cask strength, as well as the final product, those concerns soon dissipate.
Laphroaig 32 Year Old
Region: Islay, Scotland
Having tried over 300 whiskies now, I can honestly say, this one is one of the most memorable. If Laphroaig was willing to accept anything less than, and maybe including the price of my soul, I would pay it. If you go in, expecting anything like the savage (yet impressive) 10 year old Laphroaig, it's not going to happen. This whisky is aged in sherry casks for 32 years. 32 years! 32 years ago! That was 1984! If George Orwell was to write a book, the complete opposite of his hit dystopian novel, everyone would be drinking Laphroaig 32, all day, everyday. Unfortunately only 5800 bottles were produced worldwide. White Rabbit has one of them. The nose has a hint of cherry, some very light peat and iodine, give this tremendous whisky a definitive Laphroaig identity. The nose is special but once it hits your palate, you will understand why they pulled this whisky out of the casks after 32 years. It is so beautifully balanced. Some briny flavours hide around the cinnamon, cocoa and subtle peat flavours of this delicate whisky. The mouthfeel is like velvet, and although I hate to use this word to describe a whisky, it's incredibly smooth. Every element plays perfectly with each other. The result.. if you are a lover of whisky, especially Islay whisky. This whisky has to hit your lips.