If you would have told me in April of 2010 that I would still be blogging in late 2012, I would have never believed you. What started out as a quasi-joke has become one of the most enjoyable hobbies that I have ever undertaken. Yes, we occasionally get free stuff, but that’s not what keeps me going. As I mentioned in our Whisky Woman Q + A, it’s the interactions with our readers, other bloggers, and industry professionals that has made this whole blogging adventure so rewarding.
One of the people that we have had several interactions with over the years is Joshua Hatton of the JewMalt Whisky Review blog. Josh has done what I wish we had the opportunity to do: he has made the transition from whisky blogger to industry professional by starting a whisky import business called The Jewish Whisky Company with his friends Jason Johnstone-Yellin of the Guid Scotch Drink blog and Seth Klaskin. Their single cask bottlings are sold under the Single Cask Nation label (to get more information about the founding of The Jewish Whisky Company, click here).
Without further ado, here are my reviews…
Kilchoman Cask 378/07
- Appearance: Pale golden color.
- Aroma: That first sniff is all peat smoke and brine. Put the glass down to let the smoke settle, then pick it up again, stick your nose back in it, and smell the sweet herbal notes coming through. Eucalyptus, licorice, spearmint, powdered sugar, and a whiff of butterscotch are breaking through. Adding a bit of water helps to cut back on the alcohol vapors (not super intense given the high ABV) and alters the smokiness a bit to give it a more pipe tobacco like quality.
- Taste: Definitely not a shy whisky. Starts off with white pepper heat that coats the middle and tip of your tongue. At mid-palate, the smokiness is front and center with powdered sugar sweetness and herbal notes playing back up. The herbal notes dominate the finish and leave you with a soothing, lingering licorice and menthol aftertaste. With water, the white pepper spiciness is toned down a bit and the herbal notes are allowed to shine through.
- Age Statement: 4 Years Old, 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon
- ABV: 58.4%
After trying a wee dram of the Kilchoman Machir Bay during a WhiskyCast Virtual Tasting this past summer, I immediately developed a fondness for this distillery and looked forward to trying more of their expressions. Machir Bay was delicious, and this Single Cask Nation bottling is equally enjoyable. While I would never consider myself an expert, I have had enough Islay whiskies to know that the longer it ages, the more mellow the smokiness becomes (Laphroaig 18 is a prime example of this). Mellow is not a word that I would use to describe this particular whisky. This is a young, vibrant, and intensely flavorful whisky. I enjoyed it immensely.
Arran Pinot Cask #6
- Appearance: Clear copper color.
- Aroma: Just like the Kilchoman, there is very little alcohol burn on the nose at full strength. Smith Brothers Black Licorice Cough Drops is the first thing that jumps out when I take that 1st sniff. After that, some subtle vanilla, ripe pineapple, light brown sugar, caramelized onions, and allspice. Things change a bit when you add water, i.e. the fruitiness intensifies while the herbal/spicy notes step to the side just a wee bit. A bit of salt water brininess comes through too.
- Taste: Very light yet slightly oily mouthfeel. Fruit forward but with a slight saltiness at the onset. Allspice and cinnamon heat kicks in at mid-palate and tingles the middle and tip of my tongue. It all comes together at the finish, i.e. fruit, spice, and a lush brown sugar bouquet of flavors. Some of those licorice notes show up in the aftertaste. With water, the saltiness comes through much more and I can almost pick up the Ex-Pinot cask influence, i.e. fruity and a bit astringent on the finish like a really good glass of dry red wine.
- Age Statement: 12 Years Old, 8 years 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon + 4 Years Ex-Pinot Noir
- ABV: 54.8%
This is my second experience with the Arran Distillery. My first experience was courtesy of an independent bottling that was purchased by The Wookie. That bottle was very well received by the Booze Dancing crew and I don’t think it lasted very long. That first Arran sampling was at least two years ago, so although I don’t remember many details, I do know one thing for sure: I really enjoyed it.
I am happy to report that my second Arran whisky tasting was equally delicious. I particularly enjoyed how it balanced the licorice notes with all of the fruity, spicy, and salty notes. The Arran Pinot Cask was a delightful and multilayered drinking experience from start to finish. In a word, this whisky was yummilicious!
Many thanks to Single Cask Nation for sending us these very generous samples!