Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Heartwood The Toddler

A whisky from Tasmanian independent bottler Heartwood who, in my somewhat limited experience, have a very good track record with their bottlings. I tried a wee sip of this amongst some other Heartwoods at a tasting the other day but, knowing that I had a sample waiting at home, I thought I'd wait until I had a proper chance to taste before writing up notes. My impressions are largely the same, though, I think.

This is a 4 year old heavily peated whisky from Lark, distilled in 2012 and matured in a sherry barrel.

Heartwood The Toddler 63.1%

Nose: Heat, peanuts, peanut skins, vanilla. Something spicy lurking behind the vanilla too – clove maybe? After a little while some white peach emerges too. Nice. Water seems to draw out the faintest hint of sweet cigar smoke.

Palate: Sweet almost medicinal arrival. Viscous and thick on entry with red fruits and herbal cough syrup before the alcohol burn turns up to shut things down a little. The addition of water allows that herbal element to further emerge – licorice, thyme and gum leaf.

Finish: Very long. Red fruits, syrup and watermelon. Water broadens the finish – it’s now less sweet with the aniseed and spice more dominant.

Awesome young whisky. Complex and extremely well balanced, with that nutty Lark peat holding things together but never domnating.

Thanks to Jamie for the sample!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Whisky-Fassle Blended Malt "Very Old"

A blended malt (that's vatted malt to those of you reading this ten years ago) from German bottler Whisky-Fässle. No details as to the distilleries involved, and the age information is limited to the label's simple "very old".

I'm not particularly fazed by the lack of age statement on blends like this, although the move to cognac-style labelling like this (and more blatantly this) is an interesting development. Archives certainly didn't feel the need to do it with their (fantastic) blended malt from last year, which carried a vintage despite being comprised of older malts as well. (Admittedly, the exact ages of the older malts in the Archives release were, I believe, unknown).

Whisky-Fässle Blended Malt “very old”, 45.2%

Nose: Reticent at first. After a while, the faint whiffs of sherry and oak are joined by lighter notes of fruit and spices which are drawn out a little further with the addition of water.

Palate: Starts with sweet old spiced sherry – cloves, oranges, leather and a hint of chocolate – but then brighter top notes emerge showing yellow fruits, honey and a touch of salt. Is that a faint suggestion of heathery peat? Water brings the two parts closer together while simultaneously expanding the whole. 

Finish: The sweet/salt combo continues through the medium finish. Water extends the finish slightly, broadening the yellow fruit in combination with the spices, but also releasing some slightly astringent tannins right at the death. (Careful with the water.)

A lovely blended malt. While not particularly complex, it is very enjoyable and drinkable indeed. 
Very old? I dunno. I certainly found some notes indicative of some older stuff, but what do I know.
One man's "very" is another's "quite" anyway, I suppose.
Still available I think and definitely recommended.