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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Grangestone Sherry Cask Finish

The third expression in this series is, like the other two, bottled at 40% ABV.  The nose has lots of dried fruits, prunes, raisins, digestive biscuits and a slight farmyuard, vegatal funkiness.   The taste is more dried fruit, prunes, bitter dark chocolate and citrus peel.  The mouthfeel is quite creamy, chewy and even oily.  The finish is spicy with fresh cut jalepenos and black pepper.  Not massively complex... consider if Macallan had an off day.  However Macallan's bad days are still better than many distilleries good days.

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  • If recent media activity is any indicator (which it probably isn’t) then the merger of Japanese Suntory and Beam is the biggest international whisky based crisis since Makers Mark reduced their ABV for about the same length of time that the Houston Texans were a dominant force in the NFL. For those interested, in both cases, the time was less than 1 month. There are actually images of American consumers pouring bourbon down the sink as a protest at the Japanese ownership of Jim Beam. Caught up in all the hype and excitement I personally poured a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black down the sink, but that had nothing to do with patriotism; I just don’t like it that much.

    As with many things in life I think it is all about how you sell something and the marketing department missed a trick with this one. Personally I think “Suntory and Beam” would be a great cop / buddy story and suggest that if they had promoted the merger in the form of an internet movie trailer everyone would have been thrilled. I propose it would go something like this (imagine caps = deep gravelly voice):

    SUNTORY IS JAPANESE COP AND A STRANGER IN THE USA. HE WAS SENT HERE TO DEFEND HIS HONOR AGAINST THE MYSTERIOUS DIAGEO CRIME EMPIRE AND FORCED TO WORK WITH THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN HELP HIM, THE SMALL TOWN SHERIFF, JIM BEAM. TOGETHER THEY ARE SUNTORY AND BEAM.

    SUNTORY: We aim to be good corporate citizens not only by delivering top quality products and services to meet the needs of our customers, but also by striving to protect the global environment and undertaking various social initiatives to help realize a truly prosperous society.

    BEAM: Well you are in my country now, and we have a culture and a passion for making some really great spirits and creating innovative spirits brands. Now excuse me, I am going to kick this Diageo’s ass.

    SUNTORY: As we like to say: Yatte Minahare. Go for it

    SUNTORY AND BEAM. COMING TO A LIQUOR STORE NEAR YOU.

    I am afraid can’t take all the credit for the screenwriting. Most of Suntory and Beam’s dialogue was taken from corporate websites. Except the bit about kicking Diageo’s ass. I found that on the back of a Beam Global Ambassador’s business card.

    Internet tip: when searching for images for your blog on the internet with a work PC do not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES type in the words “Japanese Western partners images”.

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    Random Whisky

    Edradour 1996 Port Cask Finish

    When I was in Paris in May 2013 I visited La Maison du Whisky and I noticed a sample set of four cask strength Edradour expressions and this was the first one I tried back my hotel.   The nose was fruity and buttery with marshmallow and vanilla as well. The alcohol develops with a little time (maybe warmth) as this was bottled at 57% ABV. The taste is alcohol led at first, powerful but still balanced and not too heavy. More creamy sweet fruits and then some oak spice and unexpected coffee notes. The finish is sweet and long as the alcohol dries the palate. A little water helps to soften the alcohol and bring up the sweetness. Of the four samples this was probably my favorite, don’t know much about it but I would guess by color it was not a ruby port cask.