Drinking in early 2018


I've been attending a lot of tastings, classes, etc. over the last year or so. Getting some details down in writing seems like a thing to do. Posted by Thomas Sutton on March 25, 2018

The last few years I’ve been dabbling with whisky and sake: attending tastings and events, buying bottles of drinks I don’t really know much about, running a whisky club at work, etc. I often take notes about what I drink but they generally aren’t worth bothering with.

Below I’ve listed most of the events I’ve been to and what I drank, along with a note or two.

4th February

I visited Starward Distillery in Port Melbourne and took the distillery tour. It ended with a tasting and I tried one or two others at the bar before heading for the airport and home to Sydney. I really like Starward: they make some great whisky and they make sure it’s available and affordable.

  • Starward Solera

  • Starward Wine Cask

  • One of their pre-mixed cocktails, can’t remember which.

  • Starward 10th Anniversary Bottling

Their 10th Anniversary Bottling is very nice and I bought some to take home.

15th February

Whisky appreciation at the Oak Barrel

  • Slane

    Nose sultanas, raisins, vanilla, Xmas cake

    Thick mouth feel, coated the mouth.

    A oak, spice, fruit.

  • Glenrothes

    Bigger nose, savoury umami egg seaside notes.

    Quite thick, coating.

    Flash of alcohol, lots of oak.

    With water less burn, more of the spices and sweetness to the fore, long oak finish.

  • Paul John

    Massive blast on nose, nutty almond/walnut nose.

    Water makes nuttiness much more prominent. Brings out a syrup note.

  • Kilkerran

    Much tamer nose. Some seaside hints.

    Light Highland peat.

  • Overeem

    Port with a sour note

  • Kilchoman

    Quite pale

    Ashtray nose first, then rained out bonfire.

    Very light mouthfeel.

    Smoke, spice, oak drawing out.

    Later the nose calms down: less ash and a touch of iodine.

  • Stroma

    Nose is interesting. Honey, floral, maybe a chilli

    Thick in glass and syrupy in mouth, really coats tongue.

19th February

Bruichladdich tasting with brand ambassador Chloe Wood at the Oak Barrel.

  • Bruichladdich Classic Laddie

  • Bruichladdich 2001 Resurrection

  • Port Charlotte Islay Barley

  • Octomore 7.1 Scottish Barley

  • Octomore 7.3 Islay Barley

  • Octomore 10 Year Old Edition 2

I have bottles of the Port Charlotte and the Octomore 10 but these are all very nice.

20th February

Sake appreciation at the Oak Barrel.

  • Shirakawa Onikoroshi A little funky with floral notes. Clean taste with hints of fruit, sweet but quickly gone.

  • Shirakawa Komedakeno A little restrained than the first. Feels and tastes a bit thinner.

  • Imada Fukucho Junmai Ginjo Genshu Apple and melon. Fuller bodied taste, quite sweet. Feels a little fizzy in the mouth, as with some nigori.

  • Wakatsuru Oyamanishiki Junmai A touch of funkiness, a little dry.

  • Wakatsuru Sohin Daiginjo Quite restrained nose. Quite dry with a long finish. Feels rather viscous (for sake) in the mouth.

  • Wakatsuru Ginjo Koshu Nose is quite prominent with funky, cheesey, savoury elements. Tangy acidic finish.

  • Heiwa Shuzo Tsuru-ume Yuzushu Smells like yuzu. Tastes like yuzu. It’s made from junmai sake and yuzu juice, so that’s not really a surprise. Happily yuzu is delicious. Think limoncello without the sugary sweetness and you have a pretty good idea.

Wakatsuru also make whisky. I have a bottle of their Junenmyo blended whisky.

27th February

After a company dinner several colleagues adjourned to the Baxter Inn. This is one instance where I didn’t note anything down.

1st March

Kilkerran tasting with David Allen at the Oak Barrel.

  • Kilkerran 12 year old (46%) Lightly peated, sweet, spicy. A hint medicinal.

  • Kilkerran 8 year old (56.2%) Nose has buggered off; just the tiniest hint of something sweet and medicinal. Less peat, gentler spice.

  • 2016 Open Day Bottling (56.4%) Single sherry cask. Very dark. Sweet nose, dried fruits - currants. Quite a fast finish. Honey, burned caramel.

  • Kilkerran Run Cask Not much nose to speak of; smooth, raw sugar.

  • Kilkerran Madeira Cask (57%) Sweet syrups. Thick. Cereal notes. More spices than the rum cask. Molasses.

  • Kilkerran Triple Distilled Ex-bourbon. Low key, delicate nose. Cream. Stewed apple, cinnamon.

  • Kilkerran Triple Distilled Open Day 2017? (60.3%) Vanilla, cream, caramel, butterscotch.

  • Kilkerran Heavily Peated Peat but not super smokey. Sweet. Doesn’t stick around.

9th March

This was the first attempt to resurrect the monthly whisky club I used to run. A few people came - far fewer than needed to make it viable - and we drank some Australian spirits:

  • Limeburners PX Sherry Cask - bottled for ‘The Whisky Club’
  • Starward 10th Anniversary
  • Upshot Australian Whiskey (It’d be bourbon if it was made in the US)
  • Melbourne Moonshine Single Cask #5 - barrel aged moonshine

10th March

I did the WSET Level 1 Award in Sake course at Chef’s Armoury Sake Shop in Sydney. It’s one day and this was the first time in my life I’ve ever spat alcohol out after tasting it! We tried, in order:

  1. Kirinzan Dento Karakuchi (Futsushu)
  2. Hanamikura Kuro (Junmai Daiginjo)
  3. Nagaragawa Junmai (Junmai)
  4. Nagaragawa Tenkawa
  5. Yamamoto Midnight Blue (Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu)
  6. Dewatsuru Sparkling Sakura Emaki
  7. Daruma Masamune 3 Year Old Koshu
  8. Kariho Junkei Karakuchi (Junmai)
  9. Kubota Shuzo Sou (Namachozo)

13th March

North Star Spirits tasting with Iain Croucher at the Oak Barrel.

  • Benrinnes 10 Year Old PX Finish Triple distilled. Sultana, caramel, cooked sugar. Plums and red fruit. Vanilla. Finishes with stewed fruit.

  • Cambus 24 Year Old Refill PX Butt Single grain. Nose clean and clear, hints of resin. Run and rasin.

  • Bruichladdich 15 Year Old French Oak Fruits. Long, dry, smokey finish. Pitchy.

  • Glenturret 8 Year Old Refill Ex-Bourbon Savoury, meaty notes. Long, peaty finish. Very nice.

  • Orkney 17 Year Old PX Finish Honey and herbs. Cream, sultanas, oils.

  • Islay 12 Year Old Refill Hogshead Smokey, sweatness, heather. Lovely waves of alternating smoke and peat.

  • Montilla PX Fortified Wine I’m no wine drinker (I’ll generally drink water instead) but this is very nice.

I got a bottle of the Glenturret and, for the second time, missed out on the fortified wine.

14th March

Masterclass with Dave Broom, Charles MacLean and Alex Bruce at the Oak Barrel.

  • Adelphi Brisbane

  • Adelphi E&K

  • Signatory Vintage Port Dundas

  • GlenDronach Allardice 18 Year Old

  • Ardnamurchan 2017 AD Spirit

  • Adelphi Laphriog 2000 17 Year Old

15th March

Whisky appreciation at the Oak Barrel.

  • Black Bottle Treacle with a touch of dried summer fruits. A little smoke upfront, quickly fades. Short and simple.

  • North Star Vega Blended malt. Sweet cherries and candied fruit. Thin. Touch of caramels. Finish has hints of banana.

  • Iniquity Batch 8 Medicinal notes, sweet, sourdough. Vanilla. Thick and syrupy.

  • Kilkerran 8 Year Old A little smoke and peat. Quite sweet with developing spices.

  • Paul John Oak Barrel Bottling Calm nose: almonds and walnuts. Unusually, to my taste, gets better with water.

  • Port Charlotte Islay Smoke and peat. Lemongrass, fresh cut grass. Yum!

  • Limeburners Whisky Liqueur Thick, golden. Honey and flowers (maybe eucalypts).

22nd March

“hot vs cold” sake masterclass with Rey from SakeNet at the Oak Barrel. Six drinks (five sake and one umeshu) tasted warmed and cold.

  • Hiokizakura Junmai Daiginjo Goriki

  • Taka Junmai Ginjo Omachi

  • Bentenmusume Junmai Goriki

  • Suiryu Junmai Hiyaoroshi

  • Suiryu Junmai Nigori “Kimoto no Dobu”

  • Uzenshiraume Junmai Umeshu

I bought a 1800 ml bottle of the Bentenmusume.

This post was published on March 25, 2018 and last modified on September 18, 2018. It is tagged with: drinking, alcohol, sake, whisky.