We can’t hide our love for whisky produced in Scotland: among the 1200 reviews published to date on this blog, more than a thousand tell the thousands faces of Scotch whisky. And yet every now and then we have to cast off and leave our safe harbour, because the production of whisk(e)y is now a fully global phenomenon. Thanks to his usual foresight, Claudio Riva has been suggesting it for a long time. So – after he reached with Whiskyclub the impressive result of more than 11 thousand members in 6 years -, now he bet on the growth of the movement of our craft distilleries with Distillerie.it. In our country, Puni is now a solid reality, but in the coming years also new and old distilleries could decide to produce the King of spirits… Today, however, the game of reviews takes us away from these romantic suggestions.
Mars Kasei (2019, OB, 40%)
This NAS Japanese blended with a definetely inviting price (40 euros for a Japanese whisky is a godsend, nowadays) comes from the Shinshu Mars micro-distillery, holder of a not inconsiderable record: it is the highest distillery in the country, operating at about 800 meters above sea level. “Kasei” means Mars, but are we really going to fly off into space between the planets?
N. potato vodka, starfruit, raw doughnut paste, green apple skin and lemon. It’s a bit rude, with an excessive acidity. Strawberry flavored cocoa butter.
P. very sweet and quite dull, with a watery body. Acacia honey, apple candy, cereal grain.
F. short and sugary, with a hint of grapefruit.
We need a premise. We’re not judging this whisky as a meditation spirit. Its extreme simplicity and its disarming ease of drinking make it an interesting product more than anything else for blending. For example, in a mizuwari it can recover its absolute dignity. If, however, we rate it “in purity”, it is a 75/100.
Few Rye (2019, OB, 46,5%)
Few Spirits is a distillery based in Evanston, Illinois, which of course also produces bourbon whiskey. Today we taste their Rye, aged about 4 years and obtained from a very high percentage of rye, about 70%.
N. very pleasant and open, the alcohol is well covered and integrated. The first impact is spectacularly aromatic: the fruit takes the path of mango and red fruits, while a nice floral whiff, we would say hibiscus (as it was done at the three-day visit to avoid the military service). Slowly emerges also a balsamic, maybe aloe, maybe chlorophyll.
P. the wood solvent that so much joy has given to rye drinkers around the world is here. Followed by a tropical fruit where mango and melon are in with bladder cherries. The body is really full, robust. The rye with its characteristic pinch, mint tea and dried coconut. Plums. In fact, plum brandy, like slivovitz but without that aggressiveness.
F. caramel, mint and prunes. Floral again.
We were commenting that this rye boom has become a bit mainstream, when suddenly a whiskey that goes beyond our expectations comes out. It sounds loud at every stage and it never make mistakes: not too spicy, not too sweet, not too floral, not too woody. And yet with a nice personal kick. And we always like the kick: 87/100. Important price for a Rye, about 70 euros.
Amrut Naarangi (6 yo, OB, batch 1, 2014)
This is for people who don’t even know the meaning of the word “preconception”. Luckily we feel really brave today and we saber our sample. The 900 bottles, forged back in 2014, were filled with Amrut Indian whisky that has been aged in Oloroso sherry barrels in which orange peels (Naarangi in Hindu language) have been infused for two years. When you say innovation…
N: it’s hard to tell blindly that it’s a whisky. The grappa Bonollo Dorange Of comes to mind, with oranges macerated in Amarone grappa. Frankly, we would have avoided the suggestion. The orange planes everything, it smells like candied orange peel covered in chocolate. Suddenly the parquet cleanser appears.
P: very, very dry. The alcoholic kick is strong. Impressive, pure chocolate, paradoxically the oranges stay one step behind, while remaining evident. A bitter bite of orange peel. Pure licorice.
F: more licorice and guess what… Oranges!!!!
It leaves the mouth sweet even if it’s a little bit astringent.
A very strange whisky, young but firm and certainly not anonymous at all, also thanks to that extra orange dressing a bit freak that would give nightmares to the Scotch Whisky Association: 76/100. Today it costs about 120 euros.
Dunville’s Very Rare 10 yo (2019, OB, 46%)
About the meritorious project of the newborn Echlinville Distillery we spoke just a few days ago. We don’t like to repeat ourselves and so you can find here the story of the rebirth of the historic brand Dunville’s. But we love to repeat the tastings and so we’re going to complete a series that also includes Dunville’s Three Crowns and the Three Crowns Peated.
N: it starts on an irrefutable note of wood polish – if you have a raw Ikea bookcase, you know what we’re talking about. Virgin wood, it’s like walking into a sawmill. Notes of pine resin, among the most pleasant things. There’s a strangely acetic note, reminiscent of the sweet and sour onions… There’s a sweetness of wheat, and a dried hyper-sugar coconut. Industrial snacks (Fiesta anyone?), orange liqueur.
P: definitely different from the nose, definitely better anyway. The turpentine disappears, the pure wood disappears, the sweetness emerges: milk chocolate, sweetened orange, very sweet. Fiesta again. It remains a bit chemical, but overall it is fresh.
F: sweet, pleasant, you get between a chemical sweet orange and white chocolate.
As you may have guessed, on this Irish whiskey hovers the bulky ghost of the sherry casks, moreover Pedro Ximenez. Of the three Dunville’s we tasted, this seems the least successful, with a very forced style, so little territorial. PX finish lovers, bring it on! It costs about 70 euros and for us it’s 77/100.