Tuesday, September 20, 2016

07/21 - Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich


Day no. 2. Another good breakfast, then off to Bunnahabhain. I visited the distillery during my last visit on Islay but there was no activity therefore I was looking forward to it even more.

After our arrival there was still some time left until the tasting should start and due to this we got a very brief tour through the distillery and the most important spots. Efficient but nevertheless interesting.

Then we moved to the warehouse where we enjoyed an amazing tasting with 5 different Bunnahabhains. Oloroso sherry cask, Bourbon hogshead, unpeated, heavily peated. A very attractive range with fantastic whiskys, all straight from the cask with lots of additional information! Wow, that was definitely a great experience!

Luckily we're able to purchase cask samples from those casks in the shop (additionally we'd the chance to handfill our own bottle directly in the warehouse), because those were really great stuff!

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Andrew was kind enough to bring us to Bruichladdich distillery, the next stop on our schedule.

After a quick lunch at Debbie's Cafe just around the corner from the distillery we settled down in the visitor's center and tried some of the available stuff in preparation for the upcoming warehouse tasting. One of the ones we tried was the  Feis Isle 135 PHD which I really liked...

The warehouse tasting itself had the following range:
  • 26yo. from a Bourbon cask
  • 12 yo. Port Charlotte from a French Oak cask
  • 11 yo. Octomore from an Oloroso Sherry cask
All of them were really good but the 26 yo. was definitely my favorite even though I like the heavily peated stuff like Octomore, especially when being matured in a Sherry cask.







For the evening we'd a reservation for dinner at the Lochside Hotel, where we enjoyed some good food. Initially we planned to have some drams at the bar afterwards but their selection dropped rapidly after my visit 3 years ago, so we decided to change the location to go to Lucci's Bar at the Bowmore Hotel which's just around the corner. Definitely a good move as their range is really amazing, so we'd a few more drams there before we walked back to the Bowmore House. 

A great day with awesome whiskys and a lot of great experiences.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hoyo de Monterrey Pyramide EL 2003


Typical EL optic... colorado-maduro colored wrapper, matt and relatively coarse.

The cold smell of the cigar shows mainly ceddar, a decent sweetness and some hints of leather.

The lighting up process is very time-consuming, it took a while until the end is glowing after roasting it above the flame. After that the cut and the first puffs: leather, aromas of fresh milled black pepper reminding of a Partagas. Intensive notes of dark chocolate attend, they accentuate the whole smoke with a very pleasant and not bothersome sweetness.

In the second third leather and pepper fade away and make room for an interaction of different roasty tastes of cacao and coffee and also some bitter almond which comes up from time to time. The whole package seems to be balanced absolutely perfect, the smoke is fat and creamy.

The last third is extraordinary strong if you take into account that you are smoking a Hoyo, the leathery component comes up again, paired with an intensive sweetness of honey which makes it hard to put this cigar away.

The smoking time was a bit more than 2 hrs. the draw was perfect and the ash very firm, even if it looked a bit tattered.

Fantastic Smoke.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

08/14 - Old and shiny


Nothing more to say that those are my impressions of the 4th US Car and Bike Meeting. Enjoy it.

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

07/20 - Bowmore and Laphroaig


Wednesday morning, the first day of our stay on Islay. We woke up early, had an awesome full Scottish breakfast and decided for a spontanuous visit to Bowmore which's just down the road from the Bowmore House as there was plenty of time until we'd to be at Laphroaig.

In the bar of the visitor's center we'd the chance to try the top whiskys of their actual standard range: the 23yo. matured in Portcasks, the Devil Cask III (no clue about the two others before) and the 25yo. Small Batch Release. If I remember the 23yo. is the most expensive of that three and that's the one which was definitely not my favorite. I preferred the "cheapest" which's the 25yo. Well, cheap is relative of course, as this bottle is also around GBP 230... it would be interesting to compare it with an older 25yo., e.g. with the one I have at home...

After this little tasting we decided to make the standard tour through the distillery as it was starting a few minutes later with just a small bunch of other guys... and we had two more drams after the tour, one from a Bourbon, one from a sherry cask... and one more for the road...

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Back at the Bowmore House Andrew organized a taxi for us which brought us the way to the South coast of Islay, to Laphroaig where we have booked the "Water to Whisky Experience". After our arrival we still had some time until the tour would start, the perfect opportunity for... of course... another wee dram. I made my decision for the new bottling of the 10yo. Cask Strength, a whisky with which you never fail. That's the true Laphroaig flavor for a really fair price!

Our experience started with a standard tour and it felt very strange to walk through the distillery which looked and felt like a ghost distillery. Also in the silent season like Bowmore but it seemed that nobody was doing anything. Dead silence.

After the tour we took the car and were brought up the hills and took a little walk to reach the water source of Laphroaig where we also had a little lunch. Every participant had his own lunch box with different stuff, the guide poured out some different whiskys and I also had some Swiss cheese with me which went very well with the whisky. A great experience and luckily the weather wwas stable enough that it did not rain.

Strengthened by the food, and some whisky, we walked back to the car which brought us to the peat areas of Laphroaig. Laphraoig has it's own peat moss and they're the only distillery on Islay having their own. There we'd the chance to make some experience in peat cutting, stacking it for drying etc. Still an old school method in an industry which gets more and more modern, at least in regards of fancy marketing and packaging... all those stops were accompanied by different drams of whisky of there core range...

All were curious for some Laphroaig beside the main stream stuff and so everybody was looking forward to the last part of the tour: the warehouse tasting and the chance to fill your own bottle of Laphroaig. The selection was the following:
  • 12 or 13yo. from a Quarter Cask
  • 22yo. Bourbon Cask
  • 18yo. Sherry Cask
The Quarter Cask was ok, but nothing to be too excited about but the other two really rocked! Reto drew his bottle for the Sherry Cask, I drew mine from the Bourbon Cask, therefore we'd the chance to drink both later during the evening again...

Conclusion of the day: standard (but interesting) tour at Bowmore with some really nice drams and an outstanding afternoon at Laphroaig with a lot of interesting experiences and lots of good whisky!