February Tasting Sessions – Pour & Sip
How on earth is it now the end of February! This year seems to be going quicker then ever but once again we had the pleasure of joining Pour and Sip with their hosts and guests for two more tasting sessions.
As you will know from January’s review, the first box of the year covered the USA, New Zealand, Ireland, and of course Scotland. February continued with the international theme. The first session was exclusively scotch whisky (the dream right!). Whilst the following session featured an Indian whisky, and a Japanese whisky – just two days after the new standards were released for Japanese whisky production.
Tasting session one:
|Tomintoul – Cigar Malt||Tomintoul||Speyside, Scotland||43%|
|Arran Port Cask – Single Malt||Arran||Isle of Arran, Scotland||50%|
|Kilchoman – Machir Bay, Cask Strength||Kilchoman||Islay, Scotland||58.6%|
Tomintoul – Cigar Malt
Nose: smokey and creamy with hints of burnt toffee and fudge
Palate: baking spices such as cinnamon and allspice, more spoke and hints of dark berry jam
Finish: the Oloroso cask finish really comes through with hints of red berry and spice, the oak from the cask appears right at the end
I really like this whisky – clearly a sucker for peat!. This is unusual for this distillery but I hope there is more to come as this was delicious, and kept developing as the spirit breathed. During this tasting a guest from the distillery joined us to tell us more about the distillery, the whisky and what is to come from them. His recommendation was to have this whisky with a Davidoff Cigar (disclaimer, this isn’t us telling you to start smoking! As non-smokers ourselves, we can’t speak to the pairing but others on the tasting were very complimentary). Tomintoul has been added to the list of places to visit for our travels.
Arran Port Cask – Single Malt
Nose: hints of aniseed with berry jam and lots of cream
Palate: dark berries like blackberries and blackcurrants amongst others, the cream continues. The best thing I can liken this too is a very indulgent Black Forest Gateau!
Finish: buttery tart with candied ginger and coco – a long and smooth finish
So last month we had the Rioja Cask Ledaig Sinclair Series (and we loved it!) however, this Arran is right up there too. It’s around the £40 mark so again accessible considering the depth of flavour. Subsequently we ordered a bottle and explored the Arran distillery for other single malts – reviews pending. The port cask adds bags of flavour and character and it is another must have.
Kilchoman – Machir Bay, Cask Strength
Nose: freshly cut grass and hay stacks, vanilla which is followed by peated smoke
Palate: oily peat leading to zesty citrus, tastes like your clothes smell after a bonfire
Finish: smoked chilli – think ancho chilli – an oaky pepperiness and marmalade to finish
Now we have tried the normal release of this as you would have seen from our post about our Soho Whisky Club experience. Don’t get us wrong the standard bottle is great, however the cask strength expression is something else altogether! Lots of oopmf but without blowing your tongue away. We vary on our fondness for peated flavours, however we both enjoyed this dram and didn’t find it overpowering. Later in the month we have a Kilchoman specific tasting at which we’re looking forward to trying some of their limited releases like their Loch Gorm.
Tasting session two:
|Cosmo – Mars Maltage||Mars Shinshu||Kyushu, Japan||43%|
|Amrut Fusion||Amrut||Bangalore, India||50%|
Cosmo – Mars Maltage
Nose: vanilla, sweet apple blossom and hints of citrus – an old fashioned sweet shop
Palate: oily with milk chocolate and hints of spice and smoke
Finish: peppery spice and a distinct crunchie bar taste
I’m going to get straight to it, I’m not a fan and neither is R so much so she gave me hers. I really tried but it just didn’t come together for me and was a little confused on the palate. I like the individual elements of the sweet shop on the nose hints of milk chocolate on the palate and who doesn’t love a Crunchie?! I am yet to find a Japanese whisky I like but the quest continues. Prior to this tasting the Japanese whisky industry agreed on a set number of criteria much like that of the Scottish Whisky association or the legal requirements for a Bourbon to be a Bourbon. Below are the agreed criteria:
- must be malted grains and water from Japan
- fermentation and distillation has to be in Japan and produced at an alcohol content no less than 95%
- this has to be aged in wooden cask no larger than 700 litres and in Japan for at least 3 years
- bottling must take place in Japan with an ABV of at least 40%
- plain caramel colour can be used
Nose: vanilla toffee, tropical fruits, creamy malted biscuits, cardamom and pepper with hints of smoke
Palate: punchy, peppery with mandarin and baking spices
Finish: milky coffee and orange oil
Who knew India made whisky?! I really liked this, it was punchy that’s for sure but we were warned by the guest. Interestingly this whisky won an award for being the best whisky for a Manhattan, I can see it working really well as an Old Fashioned also (we will try this and let you know how it goes). Certainly a different whisky to try and was again a good dram. I wouldn’t rush back to it but definitely contemplate having a bottle as something different.
Having started in Scotland and ending in India it was another great tasting box with more delicious whisky being identified; March is already looking like a good prospect.
In the meantime don’t forget to leave your comments on the whiskies we have mentioned and leave us some recommendations!