Another resolution regarding samples (+ three reviews)

I forgot to add one more resolution in the earlier post.

In one of my cupboards filled with whisky related crap there is a huge box of samples. Most of what’s in there is very random and has been sitting there for ages. I know it at least contains some rum, jenever, absinthe and tequila. Of course, there’s a boat load of whisky in there too that I have all but forgotten about.

My added resolution for 2015 is to go through that stuff and finish it. A lot of stuff in that box has been traded for, bought or gotten for free from bottlers, shops or distillers. I made sure to review the ones I got from commercial outlets at some point but there’s still quite some scraps in there that need to be finished.

Also, back when Ian Buxton’s first 101 whiskies came out some years ago I tried to try all of them and by now I think I’ve had about 98 of them. The missing ones are the most expensive ones. At least Highland Park 40, Johnny Walker Blue King George V and Hibiki 30 are not checked off. I might forget one but I think I’ve gotten very close to that. Well, I did get very close in trading for samples that were in the book but I never got around to trying quite a few of them.

Those samples are still sitting there without me caring about them. At least, maybe not in the way I should care about them.

So I took it upon myself to start reviewing all the stuff that’s in the box, in short and concise reviews that have short notes and a bit of opinion, and I guess I will combining them to get things over with. Of course, I will not let them get in the way of the regular reviews, and if stuff is really uninteresting, I’ll just skip it all together.

So, in short, the resolution is to get things out of the way. Here’s the first three reviews.

Wambrechies Single Malt, 3yo, 40%
The nose is young and spirity, in a raw way. I think I get some smoke and big notes of grain and green malt. It’s rather okay and actually better than I expected, even though it feels quite unfinished. The palate is raw again and very consistent with the nose. It’s very gentle on the taste buds in a way of intensity, but the rawness does make for an experience. Almost jenever like because of its youth, with some sugar syrup in the mix. The finish is tingling and longer than expected.

This is a very farmy single malt that is in a way similar to Abhainn Dearg, but where the Isle of Lewis Distillers go wrong, they do it right here. The distillery is one that traditionally makes genever but has been making whisky for some years now. There is also an eight year old, according to Whisky Opus (Thanks, Google Books!)

Dewar’s Signature (btl. ref. AA17710), 43%
This blend by Dewar’s feels surprisingly rich at first, but not too high in alcohol (I had to look up the ABV). The richness stands out if I compare it to other blends I know like Johnnie Walker and Famous Grouse. There’s a hint of sherry but rather mellow, with coconut and barley from the grain whisky. Since it has some water added it does feel a bit thin after a while. The palate is very gentle with grain and a touch of black pepper. It’s all relatively sweet and ‘safe’. A touch of orange too, maybe? The finish is surprisingly peppery with finally some oak showing with pepper and sweetness. Also slightly bitter and a hint of sherry. Surprisingly long.

I reviewed this blind, except the name of the whisky, and this was written before looking up anything. If I compare it to what I know about luxury blended whiskies, this might be an expensive one in the league of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. That is not to say I’m overjoyed by this whisky since I find this one not very expressive. On the nose the grain is watered down and I do feel you can smell that. It’s lost some of its intensity.

On the other hand, that is probably what they were aiming at. If the goal was to get a luxury and rather rich blended whisky out there that gives an alternative to the more well known blends, Dewar’s have succeeded. It’s just not my cup of tea.

Dewar’s 12 year old, 40%
And the third whisky, the second Dewar’s and maybe even my second Dewar’s ever. I don’t think I ever had one before. On the nose the 12 year old is very spicy and there’s quite some wood influence. Grainy and floral too. It’s got a bit of everything, but no discernable sherry influence. Quite nice. There’s no smoke, but I do think I get some ashes. The palate is spicy too, no surprise, with oak, pepper and red cinnamon. Behind this layer of spice there isn’t much else showing and it feels a bit watery. The grain whisky influence is very light, I think. The finish continues down the same path but shows more spices than before. Potter’s and licorice all of a sudden. Pretty sharp.

I prefer this one to the Signature, to be honest. The spices are fierce, but it does give it some character. I think this is mostly because at 12 year old the grain whisky is still rather strong and intense. Quite nice, but not much more interesting than, let’s say, Johnnie Walker Black Label, or the older Famous Grouse expressions.

That’s the first three done. Some 100 more to go or so.

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
This entry was posted in - Blended Whisky, Dewar's, Wambrechies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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