31 May 2016

What Did I Learn Till Now

Some time ago I have begun reading about the influences of wooden barrels on maturing whisky. I really did not know where to begin. Since Google is our friend, I started there "whisky influence of oak".

After browsing loads of blogs I started finding science journals for more in depth information. Lots can be found in that kind of information too. Other sources are International standards, laws, guidelines from the industry, websites of distilleries, and pages about wine, port, beer and general brewing.

What did I learn? Here is a short overview of what I learned so far.

Laws prescribe the use of wood in Europe when maturing whisky. In the USA similar laws exist. Scotland also has laws that prescribe the use of wood, particularly only the use of oak.

The time spend in the barrel also has minimal times set to it by law. Depending on the laws and the nations the minimum time differs.

Other laws prescribe the content of the mash bill, thereby setting guidelines for types of whisky. This is mostly done in the USA.

Barrel size influences the speed of chemical processes in a barrel. The speed of these progresses can be, but should not always, be presumed equal to aging or maturation.

The previous content, if any, of the barrel influences the chemical compounds already present in the barrel. It therefore influences the chemical processes that still can happen or that would otherwise not happen. Other chemical processes will not happen anymore, since the reactants have already reacted with the previous content.

The way the barrel is stored influence the open space and the shape of the open space above the liquid in the barrel. Gasses like oxygen will react in different speeds depending on this. The orientation of the barrel in storage, upright or on its side, influences the exploded surface therefore influencing the taste over time. If the bung is in contact with the spirit influences the taste and "water tightness". Most bungs are not made from oak. Oak is to hard for use as a bung.

Oak has particular properties that no other woods has, also on a cell base level, that influence the absorption of liquid and the blocking of liquid. This is dependent on the part of the tree the oak is taken out of. Near the centre is normally not used since this is where the sap flow is. The oak also influence the gasses able to get into the barrel from the outside and from the inside out.

The inside of the barrels are often, but not always, influenced by fire or heat. In the USA this is called charring and differently than in Europe where it's called toasting. Different levels of exposing to heat start different processes in the wood. This results in different chemical processes that will or will not happen over time. The carbon layer acts like a filter, just like an active carbon filter does in a breathing apparatus.

The type of grain used can be combinations (mash bill) or just one kind of grain. The biological build-up of these grains result in different reactions taking place throughout the processes used to make and mature whisky. Compounds not present in one grain will not be able to react and will therefore influence the end result.

The yeasts used influence the outcome in a similar way. Yeasts are described in strains and kinds.

The tools used to distil influence the outcome. This is a field on its own but not well documented in science. Science does describe the reactions between heated, evaporated and condensed spirits and the used tools. Copper in the evaporation parts of the stills have a filtering function by combining with sulphur.

Lagavulin 12 and 16 year old limited anniversary editions

Later this year Lagavulin will present a second and third bottle for its 200 year anniversary. 

The first bottle was the 8 year old. 

The second a double matured 16 year old from batch lgv 4/505, at 43 ABV.

The third It will be a 12 Year old single malt, Limited Edition at a natural cask strength of 57,7% ABV. 

The label gives little information about chill filtration or addition of caramel colour, but the term "natural" would suggest something. 

The other labels quote a text. 

"The strange horse of Suinabhal" by William Black. 

"I hef been in Isla more as three times or two times myself, and I hef been close to the "Lagavulin" Distillery, and I know that it is the clear water of the Spring that will make the "Lagavulin" Whisky just as fine as new milk."

So more to come this year! Enjoy! 

22 May 2016

Bruichladdich Feis Ile 2016 Master Class

During the Feis Ile Festival on Islay The Bruichladdich Head Distiller Adam Hannett spoke during a Masterclass. The venue was held in warehouse 12 and hosted around 200 lucky attendees. I was looking at the live YouTube Stream and had very interesting interaction with people from around the globe. Some viewers were from Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, USA and I. I am from The Netherlands.

This is the link to the YouTube recording of the life stream.

Background information was given about 7 drams that were discussed during the Masterclass.

All photos are published by Bruichladdich via their Twitter account. The photo's link to the Twitter URL's. Bruichladdich has the Copyrights.

The first dram is the Feis Ile 2016 Bruichladdich. The Festival dram. Distilled in 2001. Matured in a variety of casks. Some bourbon, some wine casks. In the 6 weeks before the festival the whisky was finished in virgin Oak for about a month. Gentle, soft, fruity nose. Malt was 10ppm. The whisky at Bruichladdich is made with a company DNA, because the same equipment, people and philosophy is used every time. The band of gold is one or the results of this DNA. When adding water the oils from the Bruichladdich DNA process separates and you can feel the texture and the body it gives the dram. The price level for a bottle is about £95 and can only be bought by people on the grounds at Bruichladdich during the festival.

The next two drams I need to review the YouTube stream again in order to listen carefully to what Adam said. For me this was the most of the masterclass interesting parts since it went deeper into what happens to a 2 year old dram when put into the same conditions but made from barley sourced from two different places.

These two drams are the result of regional trials.

The first barley is grown on the Black Isle and the other grown near Aberdeen. Both are of the same variety of Barley. Both distilled in 2014. Adam had the audience look at both glasses and explained how the differences between these two drams. Both the smell and the taste are different just because of the influence of location and weather. This proves to Bruichladdich that with the Sam DNA in all the influences except the location where the barley grew Terroir does indeed matter. Two brothers with almost the same DNA but not the same.

The fourth sherry 1990 dram that is called DNA was an emotional one for Adam Hannett. It pays homage to one of the employees David 'Hoppy' Hope at bruichladdich that is no longer alive. This is where the Bruichladdich Distillery is a family that cares for it ow. It is what sharing a dram is about. I who has lost a Sister at 37 know how important family is and writing this is bringing tears in my eyes. Adam did well to honour his family in such a way.

The fifth dram is a 1988 bourbon matured whisky. I will need to rematch the life stream again to get the details on this dram!

This is a rare whisky from 1988 refill bourbon cask and it is Adam's favourite style of Bruichladdich.  Currently 61791 cask are maturing at Bruichladdich. This whisky is from one of a 116 cask from earlier then October of 1989 are in stock.

Adam informs us, that in the opinion of Jim, the best style of Bruichladdich is when matured in first fill bourbon casks matured between 15 and 17 years old. 

Whisky number 5 is 28 years old. Nose: Honey, Marzipan, and creme brulee, fruit, pear, Mellon, mango. The older Bruichladdich gets the more exotic the fruit. Coconut, cacao (coco), light fresh. Result From distilling in tall narrow necked stills. 

Taste: Smooth, Tabaco, citrus, lemon, fresh, Atlantic freshness,

The sixth dram is a Port Charlotte PC 13. I will add more details later. 40ppm peat. Normally peat nose will diminish over time but with port Charlotte it stays. It is unknown why. 59,1% ABV. Farmyard character. Twists and turns while in the glass. In the finish the DNA of Bruichladdich comes again. Citrus notes, Salt, maritime note at the Finish. Sweet and floral. Marzipan from the casks. 

The final dram is a Black Art Octomore! People online watching the YouTube webcast went like OMG! Adam Went on how Jim McEwen told a story to Ger... I mean Japanese guys about the origins of black Art and when is the best time to enjoy a black Art. Very interesting story, but like with any Black Art nothing about the age, composition anything! Mentioned on Twitter is that the youngest whisky to go into this is from 2007. 

The 200 ml bottle that the attendees get is a ten year old Octomore. It is given to the attendees with the message from Adam Hannett that he does not want this to end up on E-Bay. It is meant to be drunk with friends! Here ones again the reference to sharing and friendship is made by Adam and I hope the attendees honour this gift by not selling it as just another collectible item. 

The first 10 yo Octomore was released in 2012 from first Octomore distilled. Black art Octomore had 2007 as the youngest put in. This means the black art Octomore was made from distillations between 2002 and 2007. With age the ppm gets softer as Adam said. 

21 May 2016

Unboxing Corsair Triple Smoke Whiskey

My order of Corsair Triple Smoke 100% malted barley artisan whiskey from the USA is in! Ordered it at luxuriousdrinks here in the Netherlands.

The box is excellent quality and it sort of wraps itself around the bottle. 

Ones open the empty space is filled with Styrofoam stuff that protects the bottle from moving to much. 

Here you can see how this box seems to be something of a jigsaw puzzle. 

Ones the bottle is out you can use the box again for shipping stuff out yourself. I plan to cell some bottle myself, so this will come in handy!

The bottle was damaged in some places and somehow the batch number was the thing to go first. I'm hoping corsair will know which batch this is based on the number of bottles.

Will put up a tasting blog later! For now it's sitting pretty to some of my other bottles. 

14 May 2016

Dutch Whisky Importers

This blog is not really a blog but a list of importers of whisky that will help me speed up searching the right websites for a whisky I like to get my hands on:

  • A.D Rattray
  • Artist #4
  • Boutique-y Whisky Company
  • Cadenhead
  • Chapter 7
  • Chieftains
  • Compass Box
  • Coopers Choice
  • Daily Dram
  • Darkness!
  • Dun Bheagan
  • Duthies Classic
  • Elements of Islay
  • Glencadam
  • Kilchoman
  • Kilkerran Glengyle Distillery
  • Muirheads Silver Seal
  • Paul John India
  • Penderyn Welsh
  • Port Askaig
  • Single Malt of Scotland
  • Taiwan Kavalan
  • Tamdhu
  • Teeling Irish
  • The Lost Distillery
  • The Ten Single Malt
  • Tomatin
  • Tullibardine
  • Valinch & Mallet
  • Whisky Agency/Perfect Dram/Liquid Library


13 May 2016

Hunting for Corsair Triple Smoke, Small Batch

I have been checking out some of the artisan distilleries that are active in the USA. One of these is the Corsair Distillery in Tennesee. I was asking E-Man Booze for advice on a USA made, Single Malt, matured in American Fresh Oak casks, because I want to find out what a Single Malt would taste like if matured in the most active fresh American Oak.

Why do I want to find out? I drank "DenHool" whisky and this has so much bourbon like tastes in it that are probably from the American Oak used to mature it in. Since this is an assumption I wanted to find a reference Single Malt that is matured in Fresh American Oak. 

Since not many Scottish Distileries use these fresh American Oak casks it would be hard to find such a dram in Scotland. So I asked E-Man Booze which USA based dram's are made from 100% Barley. His answer was a single malt made by Westland and one by Corsair. After I explained what I wanted to try he adviced me the Corsair. This Corsair Triple Smoke fits the bill.

Hence my hunting for this dram here in the Netherlands. The result of my hunting on websites can be found below.

Photo as linked to on the Corsair website.

More about these guys in updates of this blog.

For now just a small overview of Dutch sites that actually sell this dram in the 75 cl version. In Germany it is more readily available, also via Amazon.de

Drankgigant.nl : €59,95 for 75 cl.
luxuriousdrinks.com : €60,71 for 75 cl. 
Neeldrinks.com : €57,65 for 75 cl.
Drankdozijn.nl : - not available
Mastersofmalt.com : - not available
Bestofwhisky.com : - not available
Drinkology.de : €57,60 for 70 cl. 

I have ordered a bottle via luxuriousdrinks just to try out their service. 

The distillery owners choose the Corsair name in 2008 as a reference to being somewhat of a gentleman Pirate distillery in the business. The gentleman pirate part meaning they pay taxes and are therefore legal. For the rest they like to play the pirate role of innovators and basically try anything they damn well please. The Corsair name was chosen over "Privateer" according to distillery ambassador Will Atkinson.

The label was conceived by Darek Bell while stepping out of the pub when he followed the Bruichladdich distilling academy on the island of Islay in Scotland. This means thumbs up in my book since I love Bruichladdich. Apparently he saw some guys strutting around in the way depicted on the label and thought that should be the way his whiskey should be enjoyed. 

The label also intentionality makes reference to several (cult)movies. We are left to guess which ones. This allows your own personality to identify with the label. One of the movies is "reservoir dogs"

They use a 50 gallon copper pot still in the Bowling Green Kentucky location (with carter head / vapor basket) for distillation but also a 250 gallon still in the Nashville Tennessee location. The 50 gallon still was commissioned to be like "the bat-mobile" in the way that it can perform all kinds of tasks, like distilling gin. According to Andrew Webber the 250 gallon still is a pre-prohibition 1920/1921 gin still which also does strait Whiskies well. It is referred to as being the "Mack truck" to the "bat-mobile" by Clay Smith. The wash still is called dimples. Many of the brewing and distilling hardware was bought from the Yazoo Brewing Company. 

The Tripple Smoke whiskey is made in barrels according to USA whiskey laws, which means new charred American Oak casks are used. 

The mash bill is 100% Malted Barley. Normally this is made from one batch malted in one way. This is where Corsair did something different. Three parts of the Barley were made. One part was smoked using cherry wood, one peat, one beech wood. Hence the name "Tripple Smoke".

A video review by the Scotch Test Dummies:

A video review by Ralfy:

A video review by E-man Booze:

8 May 2016

Standardized Whisky Tasting Glass ISO 3591:1977

This blog has moved to : iladdie.wordpress.com

Thank you for reading this blog! All my posts have been copied to Wordpress.

This blog is not very opinionated. It is in fact quite boring in it's factuality.

The tools for tasting whisky are off course a whisky, whiskey or a bourbon. Next you need your hands, nose, mouth and eyes. The other thing you need, if you don't drink from the bottle, is some kind of container.

There is wide debate which glass you need for the best experience. Questions like "What is the best whiskey glass?" or "Is the Norlan Whisky glass better?" or "is a Glencairn the best whisky glass?" This blog is about non of that debate. This blog is about world wide standardisation of a glass, a tasting glass.

The good people of the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) give us all kinds off standards to enjoy reading. Most, in fact all, of the standards on the site are download protected and need to be bought. Luckily for me, as an engineer, I know my way around some of these minor hurtles and I was able to download a copy of IS 14594:1998 (copy off ISO 3591:1977) which details the characteristics of a tasting glass. A wine tasting glass. Since there are no other ISO standards for tasting glasses this is apparently it.

Just like any other standard it lists all kinds of stuff.

The text below was found on the Indian standards site and was freely available here: https://law.resource.org/pub/in/bis/S06/is.14594.1998.pdf

This Indian Standard which is identical with IS0 3591 : 1977 ‘Sensory analysis - Apparatus -Wine tasting glass’ issued by the International Organisation for Standardisation (IS01 was adopted by the Bureau of Indian Standards on the recommendation of the Food Analysis and Nutrition Sectional Committee and approval of the Food and Agriculture Division Council. In the adopted standard certain terminology and conventions are not identical to those used in Indian Standards; attention is drawn specially to the following:


a) Wherever the words ‘International Standard’ appear referring to this standard, they should be read as ‘Indian Standard’.

b) Comma (,I) has been used as a decimal marker while in Indian Standards, the current practice is to use a point (.I) as the decimal marker.

This International Standard specifies the characteristics of a wine-tasting glass to be used for the sensory analysis of wines. This glass may be used for the examination, by all types of tests (simple tasting, profile analysis, etc.), of all organoleptic characteristics of wine samples (colour, clarity, bouquet, flavour).

2 DESCRIPTION (See figure)

The tasting glass consists of a cup (an “elongated egg”) supported by a stem resting on a base. The opening of the cup is narrower than the convex part so as to concentrate the bouquet.


The tasting glass shall be made from colourless’) trans- parent glass (see note), which shall be free of grooves and bubbles.NOTE - The so-called “cr-ystallin” type (crystal glass) is a colourless transparent glass that has been found suitable. characteristics are as follows :Zinc oxide L&O), barium oxide (BaO), leadpotassium oxide (Kg01 (singly or in combination) > 10 % (m/m)The tasting glass may, if required, be provided with a lid.The tasting glassmay be graduated. 2) Ground to ensure that the edge is regular and horizontal.Relative density b 2.45 Refractive index > 1,520‘ts rim shall be regular, smooth and rounded (for example cold-cut, ground flat2) and reheated) and without unnecessary thickening as a result of annealing.

The tasting glass shall be annealed to a good commercial standard.


The tasting glass shall have the dimensions shown in the figure.


5.1 Lid

The tasting glass may, if required, be provided with a lid.

5.2 Marking

A small ground area for marking may be provided on the upper surface of the base.

5.3 Coloured glass

In certain special tests it is necessary to use a tasting glass made of a glass which is sufficiently deep in colour to mask the colour of the wine and thus to eliminate the visual factor.

5.4 Glass with an area for effervescence

In order to obtain reproducible results when determining the effervescence of certain wines, the tasting glass shall, in this case, have a ground circular area for the formation of bubbles. This ground area shall be in the central part of the bottom of the cup, and shall have a diameter of 5 f 0,5 mm.

1) Except for special cases free 5.3).


Recommendations for use.


The tasting glass should not be completely filled with the wine sample as a space is necessary above the liquid to collect the volatile substances given off by the sample before the olfactory examination. A quantity of 50 ml of liquid should be poured into the glass to allow two samplings each of 25 ml.


The tasting glass should be perfectly clean; it should there- fore be carefully rinsed with distilled water after having been washed in such a way as to leave it completely odourless. Particular attention is drawn to the fact that the majority of commercial detergents are perfumed, and that drying towels can transmit an odour from the washing product used. The use of detergents is prohibited in particular when the glass is to be used to examine the effervescence of wines. Cleaning by use of concentrated mineral acids or a chromic- sulphuric mixture is not permitted.

Drying should preferably be carried out using hot air, free from traces of oil. Glasses to be used for the examination of effervescence should be rinsed several times with distilled water and left to dry, without a drying towel being used, in an inverted position. After drying, the glass should be protected from dust, preferably being suspended by its base or fitted with its lid if it is provided with one.


If markings are to be made on the ground area on the base, it is recommended that a pencil or a perfectly odourless ink be used.


Before use, it is necessary to rinse the glass with the wine to be tasted, except in the case of effervescent wines in which case only a perfectly dry glass should be used. To avoid the influence of body warmth, the glass should be grasped by the stem only, and the cup should not be touched by the fingers or the nose.

As any engineer can see the glass dimensions are under-dimentioned. Radius and other measurements are not given. But from this drawing I am sure people have been able to produce a proximate.

As one can read there are some good tips in there for anyone wanting to taste whisky how it "is standardised". Please note that "standardised" does not equal "best", "optimal", or indeed most aesthetic or fun!

As is mentioned in the standard both transparent and coloured glasses may be use for unbiased flavour evaluation. This is why black and blue versions of this ISO glass are also available. You will notice that the exact shape is not one and the same, since the standard has under-dimensioned the technical specifications.
Black ISO Glass
Blue ISO Glass

6 May 2016

DenHool, first tasting notes.

I opened my bottle of DenHool Drentse Single Malt Whisky. 

This is one interesting dram! It is confusing me and that is good! 

The nose is confusing me. First thought was bourbon! Noah's Mill! That makes sense because of the fresh American oak. But this is 100% barley, no corn in this mashbill. No mashbill at all off cause! Next thought I get is "spiritus". It tickles the bottom of my Nostrils, but not in a bad way. Next I think oranges, pear, mandarin, overripe banana, honey. I'm not trained in smelling oak yet. The oak I have around is French and I just smelled it as reference. Nope. Nothing like this oak in this dram.

Taste is a combination of Noah's mill bourbon, Bruichladdich laddieMP3 port cask and sherry cask. The strength is 46% and that's a good thing because this is potent stuff. Bottling this at cask strength would be too potent for most whisky drinkers. 

The finish is longer then I thought it would be. I have been writing this blog for about 8 minutes now and the taste still lingers. Light chocolate taste which is again confusing me! 

This stuff is interesting! It is confusing the hell out of me. That might be because I'm just 2 years down this road. The influence of fresh American Oak in combination with the PX sherry is giving this whisky all kinds of intense flavours and smells that I'm starting to enjoy ever since I started tasting LaddieMP3 and bourbons. 

Rating? I don't do ratings! But it's slam dunked into my top 5! 

5 May 2016

Unboxing DenHool Drentse Single Malt Whisky

I received my order of DenHool single malt whisky. It came in a "flessenpakket" box. 

The box is protecting the bottle and box very well. Some extra stuff is to protect against bumping from that end.

A photo of the box.

The back of the box

The bottom of the box

Opening the box.

Detail off the back label. This is bottle 585 out of 1130. The barley is prestige. It is from the 07-2008 harvest. Malted at Dingemans on 07-2009. Distilled at Zuidam 01-2010. Filled in casks on 19-02-2010. Used barrels are new American oak, first refill bourbon and PX Sherry casks. Bottled on 04-2016.

Information about the whisky.

The back of the bottle in total overview

The front.

Detail of the front label.

The box and bottle.