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Closing Off - World Whisky Tour 2016 Session 1

Author: Matt Wooler - Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Thanks for attending

Saturday 7th May 2016 saw Dramnation return to Castle Hill's local small bar Crooked Tailor to present A World Whisky Tour 2016 Session 1.

So why Session1? Once a year we always aim to run a World Whisky Tour particularly aimed towards our audience entering into whisky appreciation and for those wanting to explore the idea of whiskies outside of Scotland. We also love these sessions as a way of showing how more and more of the world whiskies are not emphasising age statements but rather look to bottle when the time is right. Environment plays a crucial part in how long a whisky matures. Equatorial regions such as India, the USA, and Taiwan celebrate the fast maturation processes that occurs while Australia, falling into the Southern Hemisphere, also suffers from similar environmental impacts producing fast, dense, and juicy whiskies.

It was a sell out crowd yet again as our capacity for seating was filled. Seated in the front room to the bar, tables were set with x6 whiskies +1 whisky cocktail totaling 7 whiskies appreciated in this tour. On taste were whiskies from the India, Australia, Scotland, USA, Taiwan, Japan and a rarer whisky from Switzerland (tasting notes below).

The starter cocktail was a Morning Glory Fizz (see recipe below) built on a base of The Glenlivet Founders Reserve. Light and fruity with a real lemon zing, this cocktail delivered the floral notes of Speyside and a refreshing start to the afternoon.

Accompanying foods saw the always reliable palate cleanser of mozzarella cheese, the palate exciter of a sharp hard parmesan, then fruit and nut chocolate, sweet & sour Indian spice mix, dry water crackers and tinned smoked oysters for a bit of oily protein. The oysters particularly was chosen to work with the spicier smokier nature of the Kavalan and Paul John whiskies.

Always nice to see media attend, we had Sydney local blogger Whisky Nick attend this session. We have know Nicholas since he started writing about whisky and we certainly recommend any instagrammer to shoot over to @whiskynick for a gander.

Each time we hold these whisky experiences the mix of crowd is always a bit different. This time round we had a more that excitable group. Many questions were asked and in between breaking up the tasting as we explored the nature of casks and wood, experimented with caramel colouring, and took a look at a curated selection of whiskies from White Possum (see road test article for more).

To close off Crooked Tailor provided a delicious round of beef and tandoori chicken sliders to nourish the hearts of the guests. We can never say enough about how great the food is at the bar.

We will be holding our 2nd World Whisky Tour for the year at Pocket Bar Darlinghurst on the 25th June, 2016 so be sure to watch out for this if you missed this session just gone. The line up will be slightly different with some special whiskies entering the field. Folowing is our next session at Crooked Tailor on the 30th July where we will be looking exclusively at Wine Cask Matured Whiskies.

For a full compliment of images taken on the day shoot over to our facebook album.

Thanks to all who attended and look forward to seeing you all again soon. 

Whiskies Tasted

Following are the personal notes we supply at our tastings. We want to emphasis that we have listed, in many cases, ages for these whiskies even though they do not carry an age statement. This indication is an average only as a means to show how youth full whiskies display strengths and characteristics longer aged whiskies cannot. It is to be expected that these average ages will vary from batch to batch and year to year.

The Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve, Single Malt

Distillery:  Hakushu Distillery, Suntory
Region: Honshu, Southern Alps, Japan
ABV: 43%
Age: 8 to 10 years average with some 18+
Wood: Ex-Bourbon of various age, some Spanish Ex-Oloroso Sherry
Nose: Fleshy green melon, pine needles, mint bubble gum, mild liquorice, a touch of smoke
Taste: Young, light & delicate. Fresh picked peppermint with a fruity melon ripeness complimented by elements of green tea 
Finish: Considerably long with lightly spiced peppermint that grows into lemon zest & dry oaks
Other: Contains barley lightly peated under 10yo, medium peated around 12yo, some heavily peated older than 18yo + some sherry casks. Though the maturation process is much slower in Japan due to their cold winters, the country also suffers humid days in the summer giving. As The Hakushu is a vatting of several varied ages of malts form the one distillery this whisky does not carry an age statement.

Santis Malt Port Cask, Alpstien EditioN, Single Malt

Distiller: Locher Brewery
Region: Appenzell, Switzerland
ABV: 48%
Age: 7 years
Wood: Port Cask (style undisclosed)
Nose: Fragrant florals, rich oily vanillas, grape juice, fine leather & paper dust
Taste: Sweet vanilla, light & leathery with an oily chew that then displays elements of boxed up tweed jackets
Finish: Long and sweet with a continued oily mouth feel
Other: Produced using high altitude malted barley which delivers an extremely oily textured spirit. Look up the Appenzeller Whisky Trek.

Starward Solera, NAS

Distillery: New World Whisky Distillery
Region: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
ABV: 43%
Age: 2 to 3 years average
Wood: Wood: re-coopered Apera (Australian Sherry)
Nose: Thick and fruity with caramelised banana depth and oaky char, warm butter grilled banana bread
Taste: Warm overripe bananas, caramelised brown sugar and bacon fat and an effect of condensed milk sweetness, chewy texture
Finish: Dry alcohols, buttery and maple syrup textures
Other: David Vitale created Starward to be an accessible Australia whisky with a target price point affordable to the general public. Watch independent bottle shops and the Starward website for the Starward Projects releases recognisable by the white labels. The Projects series are all experimental in nature and often bottled at high proof ABV with big juicy chewy textures. Like many world whiskies region defines the period of maturation and age is not an important factor in judging this whisky.

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Distiller: Woodford Reserve Distillery
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 45.2%
Age: 7 to 8 + 6 months to 1 year second maturation as an average
Wood: New American White Oak x2
Nose: Soft maple syrup with dark fruity cinnamon spices, corn, toasted caramel oaks rounded out with oranges & apples.
Taste: Soft and sweet with a cushioning mouthfeel that opens up to a big maple syrup, hazelnut chocolate & dark spices.
Finish: Long, well rounded & gentle as the maple textures continue to coat the mouth with a return nuttiness.
Other: First seeing maturation in traditional heavy charred barrels, 2nd maturation is delivered using slow toasted lightly charred barrels. Woodford Reserve do not put an emphasis on age. The whisky is ready when it is ready.

Kavalan, Single Malt 

Distillery: Kavalan Distillery
Region: Taiwan
ABV: 40%
Age: 3 years average
Wood: New oak, ex-Bourbon, ex-Oloroso Sherry
Nose: Floral with ripening green mango, fruit punch, sweet malt, light elements of smoke laced with white mango tree sap
Taste: Green mango flesh & orange skins that are assertively spicy, sharp & tangy oranges oils
Finish: Very high citrus rush to the palate the sparks citric bitter orange skins on the lips and tongue
Other: Barley & yeast is 100% imported from Scotland. Kavalan casks generally suffer from 10% to 12% barrel evaporation (angels share) per year during maturation somtimes exceeding temps of 42ºC.

Paul John Edited, Single Malt

Distiller: Paul John Distillery
Region: Western Ghats Goa, India
ABV: 46%
Age: 4 to 6 years
Wood: Various
Nose: Fresh sliced ripe fleshy fruits, smoked peanuts, coconut, roasted coffee beans dusted with cocoa, salty canvas sports bag
Taste: Juicy & nutty with key embedded smoke elements, mint spice & an oily mouth coating
Finish: Long mint spice with bitter dark chocolate notes & a smoky breeze
Other: Paul John whiskies benefit from fresh sea air & equatorial maturation. Warehouses have been custom built partly underground to aid in slowing down the maturation process. The distillery looks to grow its barley in the cleanest environment possible with water being purified before irrigation occurs, while peat is imported from Scotland.

The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve, Single Malt

Distiller: The Glenlivet Distillery
Region: Speyside, Scotland
ABV: 40%
Age: Undisclosed
Wood: Ex-Bourbon American Oak
Nose: Ripe green pears, peaches, apples, orange flesh, floral caramels, toffee apples
Taste: Creamy mouth feel that is fruity at first leaning towards sweet oranges with a little ginger zing
Finish: Drying sweet fruits & caramelised apple or pears.
Other: Set to succeed The Glenlivet 12 Years Old in Australia, this whisky should not be judged as a no age version of the same whisky. Created from a different recipe this whisky delivers lovely fresh morning tea cake feel with a very light finish. Makes for an excellent addition to a cocktail (see below).

Introduction Cocktail by Crooked Tailor

Morning Glory Fizz

Whisky: The Glenlivet Founders Reserve
Ingredients: 30ml whisky, 20ml lemon, 15ml sugar syrup (2 parts water to 1 part sugar), 1 dash absinthe, 1 egg white, soda to top up, lemon wedge garnish.
Vigorously shake the first 5 ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker then strain into chilled glass excluding ice. Top up with soda water then spritz and garnish with a lemon edge.
Glass: Tumbler for more intense flavour and aroma or a Highball with more soda to quell the citric notes.

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