Hellyer’s Road The George Henry’s Legacy Limited Edition

the George

Recommended use: Serve neat

Rating: stars 4.5

Recommendation: Buy it

Type: Single malt

Origin: Tasmania, Australia

ABV: 59.4%

Memories conjured: Tasting red wine from the oak barrel, eating billy tea chocolate, smoking the last third of a cigar, standing in the citrus section of the fruit market, eating honey

Nose:

Fresh citrus peel, mainly orange and mandarin with bursts of pink grapefruit, combine with vanilla, rapadura sugar, dried figs, natural lemonade, fizzy sherbet, effervescent fruit salts, splints of wood and cinnamon.  

Taste:

A sweet entry of tropical fruit, papaya, apple, rock melon and honey is short-lived, as heavier citrus and then big wood notes take hold on the palate with lots of spice, pepper and cinnamon; a real treat for those who appreciate the layers in a woody cigar or mouth puckering Shiraz.

Finish:

A bitter floral and chicory finish with oak tannin, black tea, tobacco, tar and dark chocolate dominate over soft bursts of fresh almond, herbaceous notes, honey and melon.

Bottom line:

Buy it! Finally, rather than a replication of typical Scotch flavours, we have an Australian whisky in its own right; initial sweetness is swept away by oak and tannins, which evolve into a deep complex balanced finish. Overall, this is a distinctive Tasmanian whisky that brings to life that heaven sent ingredient that is integral to whisky: oak. Oftentimes whisky marketers equate woody whisky to chewing wood, but this is an oversimplification of wood notes in whisky. It misses one of the main delights of drinking whisky or any oak matured alcohol – exploring the layers and flavours that oak imparts into alcohol (whether it is wine, whisky, Cognac etc). Granted, like the beaver, I like the taste of wood. Apart from chewing pencils beyond recognition, I savour the pronounced wood flavours in some wine, cigars, chocolate and coffee. So, if the smell of these woody delights gets you salivating like Pavlov’s dogs (or me), then the complex Hellyer’s Road The George may be for you. 

Benromach 10 year old 100 proof 57%

Benromach-100-Proof-10-Year

Rating: stars 4.5

Recommendation: Buy it! 

Type: Single malt whisky

Origin: Speyside, Scotland

ABV: 57%

Reaction: 😀

Nose:

Chocolate and stewed fruits, cooked strawberries, drying grapefruit, nuts and balsamic; this a lusciously sweet and yet drying bouquet with waves of Oloroso sherry and wood dominating over mild smokiness. 

Taste:

Sweet sherry, dried fruit (dates, raisin), wood and undercurrents of honey unleash on the palate with a medicinal and herbal eucalyptus/menthol hue that is interlaced with peat smoke. The malt becomes more potent towards the finish. This is a serious flavour packed malt with an angry slugger’s punch – Kapow! 

With time it becomes clear that the peat is the backbone, supporting sherry, dark chocolate and the herbal eucalyptus/menthol

Finish:

The finish is slightly drying with underlying creaminess, dark dried fruit and wisps of smoke remaining on the palate.

Bottom line:  

Buy it! This is a complex malt with a big sherry nose and palate that seems to inspire a wrestling match between the dry notes and sweet notes, as they vie for supremacy on the palate amidst mild peat smoke and a herbal hue. Tasting this whisky is almost as phenomenal as watching Hulk Hogan and the Macho Man Randy Savage, back in the – *ahem* – “olden days”. Oooohhh yeahhhh!   

DEAU Black

deau cognac

Rating: stars 4.5

Origin: Cognac, France

Type: Brandy

ABV: 40%

Price: $US150-$200 (USA)

DEAU Black is comprised of eaux-de-vie made from grapes that have grown in the Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne regions of Cognac. DEAU mature this eaux-de-vie in new oak casks, which, being untouched virgin wood, would likely infuse the Cognac with heavy wood flavours. DEAU then move the brandy to older casks, which impart less tannins into the Cognac but still serve to mature the spirit.  DEAU Black takes its name from the colour of the tasting glasses that were used during blind tastings of the Cognac, a practice which I can only imagine is used to ensure the tasters are not prejudiced by the colour of the Cognac and instead only rely on aroma and taste. 

Nose:

The aroma of tropical fruits is first noticeable, with lychee, pineapple and other tropical fruit in syrup being most prominent. The layers of tropical fruit are accompanied by creamy chocolate, spice, bay-leaf, eucalyptus, honey, soy, BBQ Chinese pork, sizzling sweet and sour with pineapple, pine nuts, pistachio baklava, hazelnut gelato, lemon curd, menthol Turkish delight, truffle oil, walnuts, old leather and Christmas cake with icing.   

Palate:

The tropical fruit notes move seamlessly from the nose, but the lychee is fresh and the pineapple syrupy and tinned. Refreshing menthol then emerges with orange peel, citrus oils, sweet infused tea, fresh flowers, cocoa and curry powder. Mild wood notes and rigid spice, similar to cracked pepper, develop at mid-palate when the Cognac is aerated and slurped. 

Finish:

On the finish the palate is prickled by mild spices which are softened by sugars, glazed cherries, mild nutmeg, the taste of a freshly opened cigar box and teas galore – watery rose gray tea develops into a raw sugar sweetened milky earl grey tea, and then mildly nutty Russian Caravan tea with milk.  The taste of milk chocolate, nuts and red gum honey lingers as the tea notes fade. 

Bottom line:

Buy it, if you can find it and it is within your budget. This is a Cognac that glows with delicious flavours often associated with very old Cognac – find lychee and tropical fruit, eucalyptus and other notes. This is a serious Cognac, for the serious Cognac aficionado. 

wpid-wp-1419319778607.jpeg

Reisetbauer 12 year old

Reisetbauer 12 Years Old

Score: stars 4.5

ABV: 48%

Origin: Austria

Price: €93-€123

Reisetbauer is a distillery in Austria that produces brandy and whisky. Nein that is not typo, I did say Austria! In 1995 Reisetbauer started distilling malt whisky that was designed to be (and is) distinctly Austrian. The barley used to make the wash is grown on the distillery owner’s four hectares of land and once the wash is distilled the new make spirit is matured in Chardonnay and Trockenbeerenauslese casks sourced exclusively from Austrian vineyards and used by Austrian winemakers Alois Kracher and Heinz Velich. Just in case you are wondering how on Earth to pronounce Trockenbeerenauslese, it is TROCK-en-BEHR-en-OWS-lay-zeh. Quite a mouthful, but as Austrian sounding as Schwarzenegger!  (that reminds me, happy birthday Arnie!)

Reisetbauer’s use of Austrian Chardonnay and Trockenbeerenauslese casks to mature their whisky is a breath of fresh air in an industry dominated by whisky aged in the bourbon casks, sherry casks or port casks. Wine casks are certainly becoming increasingly popular for ageing or finishing whisky, but the use of Trockenbeerenauslese casks by Reisetbauer is something particularly special. This is because Trockenbeerenauslese is a notoriously expensive dessert wine that is made from grapes that, once affected by a form of fungus known as “noble rot”, are individually selected and handpicked one by one. Shriveled and raisin-like from the “noble rot”, the grapes produce a wine with an intensely sweet and rich flavour.

In this review Malt Mileage tastes the Reisetbauer 12 year old.

The bouquet offers considerable depth and a rich herbal smokiness that immediately indicates that this whisky is very special and unique – the aroma of raspberries, cranberries, forest undergrowth, dry berry bushes, shiitake mushrooms, green olives, hazelnuts, water chestnuts, chocolate licorice bullets, pistachio baklava and sweet vanillas sit over the most curious savoury and sweet herbal notes that carry a whiff of astringent dryness.  On the palate the whisky is beautifully balanced with a tug of war breaking out between sweet and dry no doubt the result of the Trockenbeerenauslese casks, and then wisps of smoke drift over crumbling dried herbs and hard herbal candy, cranberries, red berry compote, hazelnuts, earthy snow pea shoots, anise, fennel, oyster sauce, Chinese mushrooms and chocolate.  On the finish the herbal notes remain with hints of cough syrup and drying prune notes at the top of the tongue.

Overall, the Reisetbauer 12 year old is an extraordinary whisky that is unmistakably Austrian. Being aged in Austrian Chardonnay and Trockenbeerenauslese casks this whisky is infused with aromas and flavours that will not be easily found in the vast majority of other whiskies on the market. Get the flavour profile of Scotch, Irish or even Japanese whisky out of your head. This is something very different, and yet intriguing and down right delicious! Its deep rich herbal smokiness with fascinating umami undertones is certainly something to be experienced. I’m already salivating for more.

Reisetbauer 12 year old is definitely a whisky to try before you die.

Highland Park 40 Year Old

Spirit Name:
Spirit Type:
 
Highland Park 40 Year Old
Single malt

Score:
stars 4.5

ABV:
48.3%
Region:
Orkney Islands, Scotland
Themes: Musty, old library, leather, dark fruit and berries, cranberries, dark chocolate, mixed peel, mild sarsaparilla and licorice, creamy, polished wood, nutmeg, toffee, broken cigar
Summary:
A mark of only the very best whiskies is their ability to conjure vivid memroies as clear as day, and this whisky beams with the Christmas themed aromas that filled historic pubs and dining halls in Oxford – the old wood, the leather, the aroma of berries, black cherries, dark chocolate, wood spices and sweet honeyed desserts. Highland Park 40 Year Old is a walk down memory lane for those who have enjoyed a British Christmas, or an introduction to a British Christmas for those who have not!  

Tasting notes:
Highland Park is nestled in the Orkney Islands which sit dotted off the most northern shores of the Scottish mainland. For 40 years whisky sat maturing on these islands, and that whisky was then bottled as the Highland Park 40 Year Old – a single malt whisky that beams character that can only be achieved by maturing Highland Park distillate in superb quality re-full casks that, over four long decades, unlock their secrets. 

Highland Park uses re-fill casks because these casks will be less aggressive on the spirit because they have already had some of their character drawn out by other whisky, and over 40 years that is very important because it means that the whisky is less likely to be overdone with oak. That decision has obviously resulted in a whisky with near perfect balance, and just the right amount of oak influence that lets the spirit shine with energy. 

Superb whiskies bring back memories, but only the very best such as the Highland Park 40 Year Old conjure vivid memories that are as clear as day – the flavour compounds in the spirit and the oak work together to reproduce the same smells and tastes that we encounter in our lives, and so they are a cue for the memories to come flooding back. Those memories included sitting in libraries turning the pages of a one hundred year old leather bound book in a centuries old library, and, probably most vividly, all the Christmas themed aromas that filled historic pubs and dining halls in Oxford – the wood, the leather, the aroma of berries, black cherries, dark chocolate, wood spices and honeyed desserts. 

Enjoying HP 40

Nose: Musty, dark fruit and berries (blackberries especially) brightly beam through the smell of an old library with its wooden chairs, tables and dusty leather bound books. The aroma of thick dark chocolate then develops, almost the same as Italian hot chocolate, with damp and sappy sugars. As the whisky rests the fruity sweetness develops into more vibrant red fruit such as dried cranberries with mild shimmers of sarsaparilla and licorice, and with this sweetness comes light cream, leather, old paper or parchment, polished wood, apricot jam, marmalade with orange liqueur, mixed peel and pencil shavings. 

Taste: Luscious and wonderfully smooth on the entry, the striking feature of this whisky is its lingering finish that electrifies the taste buds and makes them buzz with energy in a way that makes you hope the experience does not end. The initial entry is velvety and almost indescribable – there is a fusion of flavours that are melded together into one lovely whole. On consecutive tastings, the secrets of the oak and Orkney begin to unravel – the wood and oak forms the foundation with powdery cocoa developing with nutmeg and burnt toffee that is softened by a mild creaminess as the taste of a torn cigar and salted butter flicker with fresh dark plum and mixed berries. 

Finish: Creamy dark chocolate continues to sit on the palate with green walnuts and dense layers of the freshest honeycomb layered over milky biscuits. The taste of the broken cigar also develops into the mildest dense cigar tobacco which accompanies a smoky honey.