Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Whiskybrother Glenlivet

Whiskybrother is located in Johannesburg, South Africa. According to their website it's Johannesburg's first speciality whiskystore.

Whiskybrother was started by Marc Pendlebury, whose adventure from a whiskyentusiast into running a whiskyshop I have been following on twitter the last several years. He kindly supplied me with sample, which will be my first review in more than 6 months! 

Here we go:


In my glass the whisky actually appears darker than in this promotional photo.

There is no doubt this is heavy on the sherry. Slight hint of rubber on the nose, With my sensitivity to sulphur I doubt many others could detect this. Maybe a gnome could, but I bet most humans wouldn't.

The nose rather quickly turns into a cold soup of raisins. That's dried fruits. Basically this is essential sherry whisky. Below this sherryfruit, there is a faint nice spicyness, vanilla, licorise, almond, marcipan and cardemom

The palate is not that sweet, it's dry and nutty. A solution of dried grapes. This is semi-heavy on the sherry side but I also find a really creamy nice butterscotchy compliment when the finish is approaching. 

The finish itself is long, spicy and the dried fruits keep lingering in my mount

I tried adding a bit of water, just a drop or two, and the whisky benefits from this, the alcoholic burn is lessened and the flavours enhanced.

A very delicious whisky, and this is gonna be hit with sherry fans, and a nice little treat for the South African whiskyentusiast

Score 88/100

It's the finish I like best with this whisky. By now I am used to a lot of sherried whisky having a sulphur approach on me, but the creamy finish followed by dried fruits makes this something I enjoyed drinking. If it makes sense saying a finish can be followed by something else :-)

This whisky has also been reviewed by Dramming and Malt Fascination , I'll add more when I get aware of them!

Friday, January 2, 2015

The biggest problem with bourbon

is diversity.

One thing is the flavour gap. Compared to single malt most people think that bourbon are more similar. This is true, but with some experience you can distuinguish flavours in bourbons better. So the more you drink, the more you get back. If you include ryes you get a bigger flavour gap. Not as big as single malt, but this is due to single malt using a lot of different types of cask and also peat.

No, when I say lack of diversity it's the diversity of different bottlings. I suffer from this personally. I am in charge of a few bourbon tastings in Denmark. Just coming up with a different setup once a year for an annual tasting is tough. Mind you, most of the things I want to present has to be a little more interesting than common stuff like Jim Beam White and Bulleit. It has to be something new and exciting. But the lack of diversity makes me struggle just finding bottles to present.

I could organise a top single malt whisky tasting every week from now on and 20 years in to the future, All different bottlings and all interesting special bottlings. Every week. Probably twice a week if I wanted to.

With bourbon I struggle to do one tasting a year. I know the selection in Denmark is not as big as other places, especially like the US. But the selection in the US is also quite mediocre. Not the quality of the bottles but the amount of different bottlings. I have been visiting many shops selling whisky in the US, and it's not like the bootles are jumping into my basket

The main reason for this is fewer distilleries and fewer independent bottlers and the added fact that both destilleries and bottlers do not bottle that many different interesting things. The only distillery that has a bigger setup is Buffalo Trace.

When a distillery do bottle single barrels they tend to bottle very similar stuff (Like the Evan Williams SB, or the Four Roses SB)

I reckon SMWS, an independent bottler of mainly scottish single malts, bottles more diffrent new stuff than there is bottled new bourbons

One thing I omit from this discussion so far, and which must be included is the explosion of new small distilleries all over America. Hundreds of distilleries, most very small, make bourbon today.

But most of this is too young to be considered. It can also be hard to find except locally. But maybe there is hop for the future. Some of this stuff will grow up and be very interesting in the future. Some of it allready is. If you can find it.

But end of the day, festivals, private gatherings and tastings will be centered around single malt. There just isn't enough interesting bourbons out there to match it. 

It's a shame. I love bourbon. Most of of my bourbon collection is multiple bottles. If you want the good stuff you need to stock up. Single malt wise, I tend to have only one of each. There is just so many different bottlings and it's impossible to keep track. How many different new bottlings of single malt is released every year. I reckon more than 3000

As a bourbon drinker this is probably not a very big problem. There is always good bourbon to be drunk. But as an entusiast, it's hard to gather people for bourbon, when there is 3000 bottles of single malt to be tasted.

I wish there were more bourbons for us entusiasts. It could be fun.

It doesn't help either that bourbon is so popular these days that the most interesting bottlings is getting vacuumed of the shelves. Who wouldn't want to organise a van Winkle vertical?