November 8th, 2017 will be a date to remember, because it marks the exact day we discovered a new den of whiskophiles in Milan. Just a stone’s throw from the Navigli, precisely in the headquarters of the cultural association La Corte dei Miracoli, the whisky-loving duo composed of Corrado De Rosa and Alessandro Vigorelli Porro, has in fact recently begun to engage in themed evenings: well, whisky tastings, in fact. The approach is very convivial, with a very simple purpose: to achieve a balanced budget and to enrich merely the bottle-rack of the club with the bottles (possibly) survived the evening. We have found a hard core of friends and frequenters of the association who were curious about the world of malt. In short, an informal context where everyone was on an equal footing, sniffing out suggestions on the malts being tasted and trying to demolish the credibility of the brave speakers.
But it was said on November 8th: the Botte da orbi tasting was about wood finish: bottlings with full or partial maturation in “anomalous” barrels, compared to the usual ex-bourbon/ex-sherry cask dichotomy. We spread our tasting notes of three whiskies, in reduced format, to meet for once the supporters of the “small is beautiful”. Which – let’s face it – in times of globalization and maxi mergers between Chinese conglomerates, are not doing so well. Eh?
Arran The Sauternes Cask Finish (2017, OB, 50%): the alcohol is barely detectable. It immediately gives a feeling of creaminess (lemon cake). Marshmallow and honey. Then the fruit (apricot, banana) arrives, but also a little toasted wood. In the mouth alcohol is more strong and unfortunately there is also a growing sense of youth, based on fresh wood. Still yellow fruit, banana and vanilla. In the finish, still toasted oak. Even too much, let’s say. This Arran gives you some joy in the early stages and then gradually loses itself, but we give it a decent 82/100.
Balvenie 14 yo ‘Old Caribbean Cask’ (2015, OB, 43%): suddenly that floury and very ripe grated apple, with a certain sweetness, not excessive. Sandalwood, almonds and cocoa butter. It also withstands that beautiful hint of Balvenie’s warm malt. In the mouth it is rather elegant, with notes of peaches, apples and honey. Dried fruit. In general it is definetely sweet, but it stops a moment before becoming cloying: 84/100.
Teeling Stout Cask Finish (2017, OB, 46%): yes, it’s a finish in barrels that have previously contained “Fathoms 200” Imperial Stout, a beer produced by Galway Bay Brewery. We would not want to give the idea of being prejudiced, but it is sometimes embarrassing: olive oil, with herbaceous notes of salad leaves and a lot of young naked distillate on the shields. Rinsing of dishes (pear style). Coffee. Beer can be tasted, unfortunately: 74/100.
The fourth whisky was a Port Charlotte OB: 8 years completely spent in a former cognac cask. It immediately seemed to us very interesting and for this reason it deserved a more meditated taste; so we took it home and soon we will be very happy to review it in a proper way.
Recommended soundtrack: Queen – The Miracle