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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

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Most Recent Whisky Review

Glenfiddich Fire and Cane

This release is part of the Glenfiddich Experimental series and bottled at 43% ABV (which is quite unusual from Glenfiddich).   It is a peated malt that is finished in rum casks, hence the Fire and Cane (as in sugarcane)  name.  The nose is smokey, but more camp fire rather than strong peat.  Fire before the Cane.  The taste is spicy and nutty, chocolate, pepper, brown sugar and some honey and a hint of the phenol from peat.  The finish is a little hot, like eating burnt cake batter off a wooden spoon.  Water brings up more brown sugar and some lemon peel.  Very nicely done but not sure I would pair peat and rum casks, personnally I prefer peat and sherry casks.

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  • Thursday, 03 August 2017 01:14

    I learned I am not alone.... (although my occasional reader probably is)

    Written by

    I don't need to introduce Martine Nouet to anyone who reads this obscure and occasional blog.  But I am going to.   Martine is a well respected French whisky writer with a penchant for whisky and food pariings and to best of my knowledge she makes her home on Islay (unless some Beexiteers have chased her off by now).  However after reading the attached article (link below) I might worry about the pitchforks and burning torches of the "Cask Strength Brigade" who may upon march upon her cottage chanting their mantra "you can put water in but you can't take it out" and demanding she be burnt in a wicker whisky bottle (a whisker bottle perhaps?) for her herecy.  Why I hear you ask?  What crime against high ABV whisky did she commit?  Well she actually wrote the words "Why I dislike cask strength whisky" on the scotchwhisky.com blog earlier this year. 

    And of course she is 100% proof right.

    https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/the-way-i-see-it/12917/why-i-dislike-cask-strength-whisky/

    I wish I could write (indeed spell) as well her but I did express almost all the same feelings in my blog in March 2013 .... and I have pasted relevent extract below.

    "Occasionally I have 'humbly' suggested that bottling whiskies at 60%+ ABV doesn’t help the product and I end up having to dilute anyway. Someone will often try and argue that is a good thing because I can “dilute to my personal taste”. I can hear them now chanting the mantra of the ABV obsessed “you can put water in but you can’t take it out, you can put water in but you can’t take it out”. But it is a silly argument. This is whisky, usually expensive whisky, not orange squash. I don’t want to buy concentrate of whisky that I can easily screw up. I want to buy the product presented to me by the people who created it at the ABV they feel best showcases their product. Many chefs don’t have salt on their restaurant tables because they want the diner to enjoy the food as they think it is best seasoned. They want the food to be judged that way and I feel whisky should be the same. I am not saying a few drops of water to open up a dram aren’t necessary, they often are, but presenting me with 60% ABV spirit (often at cost of $100 or more a bottle) and then expecting me to guess the right water content to add to their whisky is a little asinine.  I dont care what the ABV of a whisky is.... I just want it to taste good.  if it does, then I am happy."

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    Random Whisky

    Hakushu Heavily Peated

    This is an infrequently bottled expression from Suntory's Hakushu distillery that I got to try (it was a small sample I admit) at a recent Suntory tasting at Reserve101 in Houston.  It was literally a blind tasting as the nearby transformer blew about 30 minutes before event and the whole tasting was conducted by candlelight.  At 25ppm Phenols I think it is a stretch to call it heavily peated, most Islay distilleries would label it lightly peated. The nose has peat smoke and the fresh, pine laden mountain air you expect from Hakushu.   The taste is a nice balance of sweet and spicy, with pepper, lemon, pine needles and coconut.  Finish returns to peat from the nose.  Small sample but impression was positive, not massively complex but nice.