Friday, 17 March 2017

The Glenlivet Sensology Experience

I was lucky enough that I got aproached by Patrick from a Swiss whisky club called Whiskybox who asked me if I wanted to join him and a few other guys from said club to visit Pernod Ricard Switzerland for their Sensology Experience. The Glenlivet Sensology Experience is a programm by Pernod Ricard with the intention to show people how our sense of taste is influenced by our other senses. Whisky Box are the first people outside of the Pernod Ricard group who were invited to this experience so it was very cool of Patrick to ask if I liked to join them

After arriving at the Pernod Ricard HQ in Wallisellen we were greeted with a cocktail by Brand Ambassador Deborah Stewart.
 The cocktail, a mix of Glenlivet Founder's Reserve, Blood Orange Licqueur and Ginger Ale was really nice and I think the Founders Reserve which I don't really like as a sipper works quite well in cocktails.

Then the actual experience started. The first step was that we had to taste some sugar with our noses closed. After taking the nose clips off we realized that it was actually a mix of sugar and cinnamon which none of us recognized at first. The next step was to drink two different liquids. One was red and the other one was yellow. Most of us expected that the red one was going to taste like strawberries and the yellow one like lemon but actually they were both the same - apple juice.
The third step was to listen to two different styles of music while drinking some whisky and to determine which one suited the whisky better. Between those steps Deborah gave us a lot of information about the Glenlivet and Pernod Ricard in general. The last and most important step was a blind tasting. Everyone had 4 glasses in front of them and we received 6 cards that all showed different expressions from the Glenlivet portfolio and some tasting notes.
Our goal was to determine all 4 whiskies in front of us. Deborah also told us that no one has ever achieved to name all 4 drams correctly. Since we were the first ones outside of Pernod Ricard that did this test which means that those people were sales persons and the likes we didn't expect to recognize too many. I don't want to brag right now but I was the only one who recognized all of them :) It was the Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso, the 18 years old, the Founder's Reserve and the Nadurra First Fill.
Because I was the first person to ever score 100% Deborah rewarded me with a Glenlivet Quaich which was really cool.

It was a very nice evening and I want to thank Patrick, the guys from Whisky Box and Deborah for everything. The Sensology Experience was a cool experience to show how our sense of taste depends on other senses.

Cheers, U

Friday, 24 February 2017

Why I Will Start Rating Whisky

It's been a long time since I last published a post on this blog but now I'm back and there will be some changes. Over the course of the last few months I was thinking a lot about the state of whisky today and also the state of whisky blogging and there are a few things that are bothering me to a certain extent. Now note that this will not be a rant on what is wrong with whisky nowadays but there are a few points that I would like to address.

Before I start explaining you what is bothering me in the current world of whisky and especially blogging I will have to explain to you what why 2016 was an amazing year for me from a whisky point of view. It all started in January of 2016 when I discovered a Swiss online forum for whisky where likeminded people can discuss make bottle shares and chat over their shared interest which is of course the water of life. I immediately registered and like it is custom in said forum I opened a thread to say hello to everyone and to introduce myself. As a result I got a lot of reactions from people who introduced themselves to me and welcomed me to the forum. One of them even went to visit me in the whisky shop around a week afterwards which was really cool. Through the whiskyforum I learnt that a lot of those people regularly attend a tasting that takes place every 2 months. I then decided to attend this tasting too to get to know more people from the forum (and of course also because I love to go to whisky tastings).

Friday, 4 November 2016

Tobermory 1995 Claxton's

The second expression in a little trio of Claxton's whiskies that I reviewed is a 20 years old Tobermory.
This spirit was distilled on 26.4.1995 and was matured in a refill hogshead. It is bottled at 48%.

Nose: It starts dry with notes of lemon and green Apples. A touch of seawater and a lot of malty aromas. There are also some grainy notes like oats and muesli. The alcohol is a bit stingy but not in an unpleasant way.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Auchroisk 1991 Claxton's

Picture by Claxton's

It was a really nice surprise when I recently got a message by Yorkshire based independent bottler Claxton's who asked if I want to review some of their expressions. As I had read some very interesting reviews of their whiskies I was really eager to try them.

The first whisky out of three samples I reviewed was a 25 years old Auchroisk from a single bourbon hogshead. It was distilled on April 26 1991 and bottled at 51.7% ABV. Claxton's bottle all their whiskies without chill filtration and without the addition of colouring.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Compass Box - Just Ask

In the spring of 2016 Compass Box started a campaign for more transparency in Scotch whisky after they had to remove the full recipe of all components of two of their blends (you can read everything about that campaign here)
Fast forward half a year and not much  has changed and Compass Box has now ended their drive for more transparency for now.
But with the release of two new bottlings the company has also found a solution for their intent to provide the consumer all the information that they want. As difficult the problem seemed as simple is the solution: Just ask them. The regulations of the SWA forbid them to acticely promote another age statement than the youngest component of the blend. But if you just ask them by writing a mail or on social media they are free to provide you all the information they want to. 
I only see one problem and that is that you can't be 100% sure if the provided informations are true because I think what really matters, legally that is, are the informations on the label. Nevertheless I am sure that Compass Box won't provide wrong information or something but it's just the same as if you go to visit a distillery and they tell you something that isn't written on the label. You can only be 100% sure about the information on the label but Compass Box would also provide those information on the label if they could, wouldn't they?

The new releases are a blended malt called "Three Years Deluxe" which is a perfect example of the problem with current regulations. The blend contains 0.4% 3yo malt whisky produced near the village of Brora (it must be Clynelish), 90.3% malt whisky from the same distillry, but "considerably older" and 9.3% malt whisky from the Isle of Skye (Talisker).

The other new release is a blended malt called "Spice Tree Extravaganza" which marks 10 years since the inaugural version of the Spice Tree had to be discontinued because of the use of inner staves made of a special French oak. A second version of the Spice Tree was released later that used the same oak as cask heads. The Extravaganza comes at 46% ABV and contains older components than the core range and also has some Sherry influence. 

If you want to know the ages of the components go and ask them

Slainte, U

The Resurgence Of The Age Statement?

Everyone who has even the  slightest interest in whisky must by now have heard of the term NAS (no age statement). The regulations for Scotch whisky say that if an age is stated it must be the age of the youngest component in the bottle. In recent years (although NAS is much older) it has become a trend in the industry to omit that age statement. The reason is that distilleries want to mix younger stocks in the blend but don't want to write an age statement of let's say 5 years on the bottle. Some people see the disappearance of the age statement just as a natural development  others are a bit more sceptical and other people see it as a monster that is haunting the industry. I still remember when I started drinking whisky and the Macallan, a distillery that was a favourite of many Scotch lovers announced that it replaced their age statement series with no age statement whiskies and people almost started running riot.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Scotland Roadtrip Pt. II

Part 1

About a year ago I was bored and on a whim I logged into my twitter account that I had created a few years ago (but never really used) and started to follow a few whisky distilleries and bloggers. Back then I wasn't writing a blog or anything I was just a young whisky fanatic from Switzerland. Nevertheless I got a follow back from some whisky bloggers and other whisky enthusiasts which got me really excited. Ever since that day I am interacting with people from all around the world who share the same passion and it is really great fun. If you are on twitter you should check out the #whiskyfabric.
When I announced on twitter that I was going to Scotland I got a messsage from fellow whisky lover Justine Hazelhurst if I wanted to meet up in Edinburgh. Of course I wanted and so we arranged everything. Through a coincidence we chose a hotel in Leith which is the very same part of the city where Justine lives.
I was really excited to finally meet someone from twitter in real life and the evening with Justine didn't disappoint.
First we went to a Pub called Teuchter's Landing where Pascal and me finally got to drink a well deserved beer (We wanted to drink one in Folkestone but we didn't get the chance). After our pre dinner drinks we got a taste of a British classic - Fish n' Chips. We were quite hungry and we really enojoyed the meal. After the dinner we made our way to the bar to grab some drams.

 At Teuchter's Landing they got a very fun game going that is called the hoops of destiny. For £3.50 you get 3 hoops which you then throw at the bottles at the bar. If you can get a hoop around the neck of a bottle they will pour you a measure of that bottle. If you miss all 3 throws you get a glass of a blend called Sheep Dip so you won't walk away empty-handed. After playing the game we also hit two other Pubs and Justine gave us more suggestions what we could do in Edinburgh and Scotland than we could ever remember. It was really nice meeting Justine and you should check out her website.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Scotland Roadtrip Pt. I

In July me and my friend Pascal made a dream come true and went on a roadtrip to the holy land of whisky. Since we got into drinking Scotch we were always talking about going to visit the distilleries and the beautiful country and now we finally made it happen. Because there is so much to write about this will be a write up in multiple parts and I intend to make a few in depth portraits of some distilleries.

After a long time of planning and calculating we decided to drive all the way from Switzerland and back. We both really liked the idea of a massive roadtrip and so everything was set to go. Pascal came and picked me up with his Volkswagen Passat which was the ideal car for this trip because there was so much space and we could take everything we needed with us. We had decided that we would make the trip to Edinburgh in 2 days because it is a 17 hours drive. On our first day of travelling we had to drive to Dunkerque where we then wanted to take the ferry to Dover. We had planned everything ahead and already got a ticket for the ferry and had a reservation for a hotel in Folkstone.

Our trusty VW Passat
According to google maps it takes around 8 hours from Zurich to Dunkerque and we planned in plenty of time so we could eat dinner before boarding the ferry. What we didn't reall plan though was the traffic in Belgium which cost us a lot of time. At a certain point we began to fear that maybe we won't catch our ferry because we had already lost two and a half hours and on our tickets it was written that we should check in 45 minutes befor arrival. When we could finally drive at the maximum speed again it was a race against time. In the end all went well and we arrived 20 minutes befor departure but they still let us in and we were also lucky not to get a ticket on our way there :)

Pascal on the Ferry
The ferry ride was very enjoyable and we were looking forward to arrive in Dover because we both have never been to the UK before. After having arrived we had to drive another 20 minutes to Folkestone, where our hotel was. It was then when we were confronted with one of our biggest fears before this trip. That fear was driving on the wrong side of the street (Yes you've heard right; wrong not just different). In the end driving on the other wrong side was way easier than expected and after 5 minutes of adjusting we never looked back.

Beautiful sunset over the English coast

The night in Folkestone would have been nice hadn't it been for a baby seagull right outside our window that started making noise at 3 o' clock in the morning. Nevertheless we were really excited for the second day of our adventure because in the evening we would reach our destination, Edinburgh. The second day of driving was very quiet and apart from some heavy rainfall in the Midlands nothing noteworthy happened. In the afternoon we arrived at the Scottish border and of course we stopped to take some pictures. The last hour on our way to Edinburgh was nice and I have to say that the Borders Region is beautiful and I regret that we couldn't really discover and apreciate it.

Finally we arrived in Edinburgh and after finding our hotel we prepared to meet up with a fellow whisky blogger. You can read all about that meeting in part 2 of this series of write ups.

Part II

Monday, 4 July 2016

Teeling Revival II

I was quite surprised when last week the postman delivered a package from Dublin. Inside the package was a sample bottle of whiskey alongside a letter from the Teeling Whiskey Company who invited me to review their latest release. That whiskey is the Revival Vol. II which is a commemorative bottling to mark the first anniversary of the Dublin based Distillery.

Teeling is the first distillery in Dublin for over 125 years and was founded by Jack Teeling who was previously at the helm at the Cooley Distillery but left the company after it was purchased by Jim Beam. The spirit that is currently bottled by Teeling was produced by Cooley.

The Revival II consists of whiskey that was distilled in 2002 and that was matured for 12 years in ex-Bourbon casks. It then got a finish in 250 litre ex-Calvados casks for another year. It is bottled at 46% ABV with no chill filtration. It is limited to 10'000 bottles and a bottle will cost around 100€.

Calvados is a French apple brandy that I am not too familiar with but I really liked what I have tasted so far. At a French wine tasting I was able to sample some really stunning Calvados called Pays d'Auge Coeur de Lion that was produced by Christian Drouin. I tasted some very old expressions including vintage bottlings from 1958 and 1967 that were absolutely fantastic.
I've never had a Calvados matured whisky before but as I just mentioned I quite like the apple brandy on its own and I am also a sucker for apple desserts so I'm quite interested how this whiskey is going to be.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Back From A Roadtrip - Next one ahead...

The last few weeks I didn't really get to enjoy as much whisky as I usually do. First I was pretty occupied with a paper for a course at the university and then I went to a little roadtrip with two friends. We made this trip to France to watch two matches of the Swiss national team at the football European Championship. First we drove from Zurich to Lille where Switzerland played the host France. Lille is a great city with good food and a good beer. The match was quite boring but the atmosphere was great.
In the city of Lille
After two days in Lille we crossed the border to Belgium and spent e days in Bruges. The city is just amazing and one of the most beautiful I've ever been to. One great thing about Belgium is their beer. The standard quality is outstanding and there is a vast variety.
Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel. A great beer from Bruges based brewery "de Halve Maan"
From Bruges we drove to Dijon the capital of Burgundy. There we only stayed one night but had a great time with great food again. Then we travelled to St- Etienne whe Switzerland played Poland in the round of 16. The game was great although Switzerland lost but at least we got to see the most beautiful goal of the tournament.

Now back in Switzerland I am already preparing for another roadtrip. On this one thoug I am sure I will get to enjoy a little bit more whisky because I am travelling to Scotland for two weeks. Me and my friend Pascal who is a whisky enthusiast aswell will drive to the promised land of every malthead for the first time and I am really looking forward to visiting distilleries and hopefully meeting up with fellow whisky bloggers and enthusiasts.

We will be in Scotland from July 9-23. If you want to meet up with us don't be shy and write me a mail or hit me up on social media.

Cheers, Julian

Friday, 27 May 2016

Amazing Acla Da Fans Tasting

In another article that I published at the end of march I wrote about a memorable whisky tasting that I attended. The tasting was organized by Acla Da Fans, a Swiss whisky retailer and a lot of people that I know through an online forum attend these events. Those who read that article might remember that I was absolutely amazed by this night and that's why I also attended their most recent tasting that took place this week. This time though I wasn't alone because I took my highschool buddy Pascal and his friend Chantal who both are relatively new to whisky with me.
Another thing that I took with me was some samples of whisky because at those tastings everyone brings a few samples to share with other people which makes those nights so fantastic.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Hosting Another Private Tasting

One way to really get into whisky is by attending a tasting. Here in Switzerland you have a lot of possibilities because there are lot of tastings being offered either at whisky events or by whisky shops. At whisky Neumarkt, the shop where I am employed we offer private tastings for groups of 4-8 persons. Normally my boss is hosting the tastings but two month ago I got the chance to lead a tasting for the first time ( read all about it here). We had a lot of fun there and tried some fantastic whisky so one of the attendants promised me to come back with another group of friends. He stood to his word and he booked another tasting. Because he asked my boss if it would be possible if I hosted the tasting again I got another chance to gain some experience. I felt really honoured that they asked if I could be the host for their evening and so I decided to give them some really fantastic stuff.

The first whisky that we poured was a Glen Keith, distilled in the year 1993 (which is my birthyear), bottled by Cooper's Choice. This whisky was matured in a hogshead for 19 years and was bottled at 46% ABV. This is a really lovely whisky that has a very fruity character and some delicious vanilla notes aswell. The perfect start for this evening.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

My First SMWS Tasting Part 2

for part 1 please click here

After the official tasting flight with the 5 aforementioned whiskies the night wasn't over yet. First we had the chance to sample some other expressions from the current SMWS outturn for 5 Swiss Francs a dram. I thought that this is a great deal because in a bar you would pay much more for single cask whiskies of this quality.
The first expression that I tried was the 35.140 called "Kreatives Füllhorn" or "Cornucopia of incredible creativity". This malt was distilled at the Glen Moray distillery in 1994 and was matured in a first fill toasted oak hogshead for 20 years until it was bottled at 55.5% ABV in 2015. Olaf explained to me that this toasted oak hogshead is the same type of cask that is used to mature the Glenmorangie Astar (Glen Moray belonged to the same concern as Glenmorangie until 2008). This whisky was absoultely incredible. On the nose I got cinamon and gingerbread aswell as some nice caramel notes and it also had a stunning mouthfeel. I think out of all the whiskies that I tried that night this was my favourite.
The next whisky that I tried came with a warning from Olaf. He told us that the name "Zorn der Götter" which means as "wrath of the gods" (In UK this expression is called "gritty-turned-pretty") doesn't lie and that everyone should try this at his own risk. This whisky from the Ardmore distillery was matured in a refill Gorda for 17 years, from 1998 until 2016 and was bottled at 57.5% ABV. I found this one absolutely incredible but I totally understand why a lot of people, including Olaf, don't like that one. It was a dirty sherried whisky with a lot of meaty and sulphury flavours and it got also some medicinal and ashy notes to it. I would recommend this to everyone who likes that style of whisky which is sometimes associated with sherried Ben Nevis or Mortlachs but someone who isn't into that style might pass on this one.

Friday, 15 April 2016

My Desert Island Dram

2 days ago I told you that I will be featured on another whisky blog. The blog that I'm talking about is The Amateur Drammer who has a series called Desert Island Drams. In this series each week a person from withing the whisky world nominates the one whisky that they would take to a deserted Island if they could only pick one.

When Andy contacted me and asked me if I want to take part and nominate a dram I got really excited. But it also got my brain working really hard. What whisky would you choose if you know that it would be the only one that you can take with you.

My First SMWS Tasting

sLast Friday I had the chance to attend a special tasting of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS).
The SMWS is an organisation that bottles single cask whiskies at their natural cask strength exclusively for their members. It all started in the late 70ies when a group of friends shared the cost to buy a cask from the Glenfarclas distillery. Over the time the group grew bigger and they purchased more casks. In 1983 they decided to open membership to a wider public and the society was born. Over the years the society has expanded and there are now branches all over the world. One of them is the Swiss branch who was founded by Scottish expats who were members of the SMWS. What's really special about the Society is that they don't put the name of the distillery on the bottle but a code. Each distillery has a certain number and the code is composed of this number and a second number which expresses the cask. So the 25th cask from Clynelish, which is distillery no. 26 would be called 26.50. Every bottling has also a quite unique nickname and some very wild tasting notes, you will see what I'm talking about later in this article.
The first time I learned about the society was a while back. It was my mothers birthday and I enjoyed a dram when my neighbour aproached me and told me that he is member of the SMWS. (read the full story here) Ever since he told me that I should come to a tasting in Zurich with him but most of the time he couldn't make it. A month ago, again on my moms birthday he asked me if I want to go with his friends instead of him. I didn't hesitate because I was really interested as I had only heard great things about the society so I was really eager to finally check out what all the hype was about. 
After I was done with working at the whisky shop I met up with Peters friends. I already knew two of them because I visited a whisky collector with them last year (you can read the whole story in the article I linked above). After grabbing a little snack and a beer we then headed to the location of the tasting which is only a 5 minutes walk of our shop
After entering we were seated by the host, Olaf Meier who is the SMWS brand ambassador and we took our seats. A really funny conicidence was that the persons opposite the table were teachers at my old highschool. They weren't teachers of one of my classes but I recognized them and we started talking about my old school and whisky. It was really funny and we all enjoyed this evening

Then the tasting started and we were served the first of a 5 whiskies. The bottle was 39.108 and had the nickname "Omelette Surprise" (The German names are different to the English ones. In UK that one is called "Baked Alaska"). This expression from the Linkwood distillery was distilled in 2004 and after maturing for 10 years in a refill barrel it was bottled at 61.3% ABV in 2015. This whisky was quite fruity and very palatable. A nice start indeed.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Whisky-U Being Featured On Another Blog

Very soon I'm going to be featured on another whisky blog. Watch this space...

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A Memorable Night At Acla Da Fans

Last week I attended a stunning tasting again. It took place in a village 10 minutes away from Zurich so after I was done with classes at the university I took the train to go to an event that would turn out to be one of my greatest whisky experiences. I didn't know anyone that attended the tasting in real life but I knew a lot of them through a Swiss whisky forum. Right after I got there a guy came to me and greeted me because he recognized me from my profile picture. He then introduced me to other people from the Whisky Forum. This was really nice and I apreciated it because I participated in some bottle sharings and had arranged that I could get the sample bottles at this tasting. After I completed the deal I took a seat right next to the guy who shared three fantastic bottles (I won't tell you what they are yet so you have to read it in another article, cheeky right?) and introduced myself to the other people at the table. Then before the tasting even started the dramming action began because some of the other people at my table passed around samples. I got to try a new Japanese whisky called the Fujikaj. If you have read some reviews of this whisky you might question the state of my mental health but I just wanted to test if it is really that bad (The chap who brought the sample didn't like it aswell, so please don't insult him in the comment box please). My conclusion was that all those reviews were right to tear this whisky apart as it was one of if not the single worst whisky I've come across so far. It smelled like burnt rubber and wasn't really palatable aswell. Thomas, the guy who served me this, made up for it by serving me a 15 years old Bowmore bottled by Malts of Scotland.

Then the tasting began and they kicked it off with the a travel retail exclusive - The Glenmorangie the Tayne. This expression of the Glenmorangie is the second in a series called the Legends Collection. It was matured in ex-bourbon casks (surprise, surprise, it's Glenmorangie after all) and then got a finish in amontillado sherry casks. It was quit a nice in the nose but for my taste it lacked depth and power on the palate.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Some Fantastic Douglas Laing Whiskies

As I scrolled through the pictures of my phone I saw this one that was made at the Whisky Ship in Lucerne. This picture shows me with Rick Drysdale who works for Douglas Laing (as the fast thinking ones among you may have already noticed).
Rick and me posing with some Douglas Laing Remarkable Malt Whiskies
 I totally forgot that I had this picture taken by my mate Pascal who attended the festival with me but as I saw it it instantly brought back good memories. We went to the Douglas Laing stand after attending a "Whisky Meets Wine" masterclass. We stopped there because I wanted to taste the recently released Rock Oyster Cask Strength which is a blended malt and belongs to a range called the Remarkable Regional Malts.
A blended malt or vatted malt as it was formerly known is a whisky that contains malt whisky (whisky that is made from malted barley) from different distilleries as opposed to a single malt which can only contain malt whisky from one single distillery. Douglas Laing created 4 blended malts which should all represent the typical style of a different whisky region. There is the Scallywag from the Speyside, the Timorous Beastie from the Highlands, Big Peat from Islay and Rock Oyster for the Islands.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Whisky Meets Wine Masterclass

Last saturday I had the pleasure to attend masterclass with the name "Whisky meets wine" at the whisky ships in Lucerne. The evening was hosted by Marcel Telser who is the owner of a whisky distillery in Liechtenstein, a tiny country next to Switzerland, and Jürgen Deibel who is an expert for spirits and a 40 years veteran in the whisky industry. Some of you may already know Jürgen Deibel because he was co author of one of the if not the single best book about the water of life - Michael Jackson: Whisky. Since I own a copy of this book I was quite excited to meet the man who wrote the chapter about distillation.

After travelling to Lucerne with my buddy Pascal we went to the whisky ships first and enjoyed a few drams. We went for some grain whisky because we wanted something light so we wouldn't overwork our palate. After an hour or so we went to the ship where the masterclass took place. It was all set up very beautifully. There was a total of 12 glasses at each place. 8 drams of whisky and 4 glasses of either sherry or wine.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Puni - The Italian Malt Whisky

Hi maltmates I hope you are all doing well. Last wednesday I've written that this weekend would be quite a whisky fueled one and I can tell you that it didn't disappoint. I got the chance to try a lot of new stuff which I'm going to tell you about so stay tuned for some new articles flying in. In todays post I want to tell you a little bit about two new whisky discoveries that I made last thursday when I travelled to Basel to meet up with a friend and to go to a whisky tasting. You can read more about the tasting in this article. The whiskies that I am going to talk about were quite special because they aren't produced in Scotland but in Italy. The distillery that made these whiskies is called Puni and it's quite new, actually the whiskies I had were only the second batch of Italian whisky ever produced, the first batch was bottled in October 2015.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

The Postman Has Been Busy

Yesterday the postman dropped a rather nice delivery at Whisky-U headquarter. I got three samples from the Benromach distillery: The 10 years old, the 15 years old, and the brand new 35 years old.
Next Thursday I will take part in the #Benromach35 tweet tasting. On March 10th from 19:00 GMT me and other whisky people on twitter will write our thoughts on this three expressions. You can follow the event by using the hashtag #Benromach35
Thanks a lot to the Benromach Distillery and to Steve Rush from The Whisky Wire for giving me the chance to be a part of this unique night.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Busy Whisky Week Ahead

This week is gonna be quite a whisky fueled one. Tomorrow I will travel from Zurich to Basel where I will meet up with a friend. We will then go to a whisky tasting where you can try whatever you want out of 50 different whiskies from all over the world. The after I will go back to my beloved Zurich (people from Zurich and Basel usually don't like each other) where I will work in the whisky shop. Just a day later me and one of my highschool mates will make the trip to Lucerne where we will go to the whisky ships. This is one of the biggest whisky events in Switzerland. We will attend a masterclass with the topic 'whisky meets wine' hosted by one of the greatest german speaking whisky experts, Jürgen Deibel. I am really looking forward to this and I am already very excited.
Next thursday will be another special whisky day but you will have to wait a little bit until I will break the news.
I hope you all have great whisky plans too and as always enjoy responsibly.
Slàinte mhath, U

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Hosting My First Whisky Tasting

Last saturday I had the chance to get a unique experience on my whisky adventure. My boss couldn't work this Saturday so I had to work friday and saturday. On friday morning as I was on my way to work I got a call from my boss. He got a request to host a private tasting on saturday afternoon in the shop and asked me if I was willing to host it. Of course I was very excited and quickly agreed. I thought it would be very interesting but I was a little bit nervous because this would be the first time I would

The guests were a group of 4 Germans. One of them recently moved to Zurich and his 3 friends came here to visit him. They weren't really experienced with whisky but they told me that they frequently went to wine tastings. They were really nice and they made it easy for me because they were very interested in all the steps of the whisky making process, different types of casks and the different styles of Scotch and whisky from all over the world.

Here are the whiskies that we tasted:

- Benrinnes 1998-2013 Old Malt Cask bottled by Douglas Laing, 14 yo, cask no. 9631, 50% ABV, matured in a refill sherry cask
-Tomintoul 1989-2005 bottled by Scott's Selection, 56.9% ABV
-Edradour 1998-2014 Sherry Decanter, 14yo, cask no. 2124, 58.2% ABV
-Balmenach 1988.2015, bottled by Signatory Vintage for Helvetian Selection, 27 yo, cask no. 3240, 49.6% ABV, matured in a hogshead
-Glenturret 1986-2015. bottled by Signatory Vintage for Helvetian Selection, 29yo, cask no.302, 49.1% ABV, matured in a hogshead
-Cask Islay by A.D. Rattray, 46% ABV
-Laphroaig 1998-2014 Signatory Vintage unchillfiltered collection, cask no. 700357, 46% ABV, matured in a Sherry Butt

The Balmenach and the Glenturret were bottled exclusively for our shop by Signatory Vintage. I will thell you mor about them in another article.

The guests genuinely enjoyed all of them with the Glenturret being the unanimous favourite.

It has been a fantastic evening and I enjoyed it very much.  Thanks to my guests and a special thank to my boss marcel for all the trust he always puts in me.

Cheers, U

Friday, 26 February 2016

Scotch Whisky Transparency

Hey everyone. You may or may not have heard about it but a week ago Glasgow based blending company Compass Box have launched a campaign for more transparency in Scotch whisky. Those of you who are up to date of what’s happening in the world of whisky may wonder why I publish this article now when the campaign started last week and there have been several articles about it. That has different reasons. The first reason is that I am just amazingly lazy and as a student a natural born procrastinator J. The second and more serious reason is that I didn’t want that important topic to be hot for a moment with thousands of articles being written about it and a few days later everyone forgetting about it. The truth is that I started writing on this article just when the campaign started and waited until now to try and keep the topic hot. I think this is a great campaign that is worth supporting so I will explain the background to you.

It all started in October 2015 when Compass Box released two limited editions; Flaming Heart 5th edition and “This is not a luxury whisky”. The special thing about those two releases was that Compass Box decided to publish the whole recipe of the blends.

This action earned them a lot of compliments from all over the whisky world because it was full transparency which was really nice if you think about all those NAS (no age statement) whiskies that are released at the moment.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Whisky Rev-U 2 Bruichladdich Rocks

Hi Malt Mates. I hope you are all fine. It’s been quite a while since I last posted a whisky review so I thought now would be the right time to publish my second Rev-U. The malt that I’m going to present is the Bruichladdich Rocks.

Bruichladdich is a malt distillery on the Isle of Islay. It was founded in 1881 and was shut down twice: From 1929-1937 and from 1994-2000. In the year 2000 the distillery was bought for 7’500’000 £ by a Group of Investors led by Mark Reynier who successfully brought in Jim McEwan as head distiller. McEwan is a legend in the whisky industry and has previously worked as master distiller at the Bowmore distillery. In 2012 Bruichladdich was sold to Rémy Cointreau for 58’000’000 £. Generally speaking I really like what Bruichladdich is doing. It is a progressive distillery that focuses on using local resources, and giving the consumer a little bit extra. All their whiskies are natural colour and unchillfiltered.

The name “Rocks” is inspired by the fact that the water which is used by the distillery has filtered up through “the oldest rocks in the whisky world – the curious 1.8 billion-year-old geology of the Rhinns of Islay”

The whisky has no age statement and is bottled at 46% ABV. It has been matured in bourbon casks and finished in Grenache wine casks.

This has been one of the first bottles of whisky that I possessed. I got it as a gift for my 19th birthday by my high school buddies. As I am writing this article I am enjoying the very last sips of this malt so thanks a lot to Rafi, Largey, Päsce, Vali and Simone if you are reading this J

Monday, 15 February 2016

Special Tasting at House of Single Malts

On Friday I went to a very special tasting. After I finished work I took the train to travel away from Zurich to a village near St. Gallen. The village is called Mörschwil and it is like the Swiss epicenter of whisky because two of the biggest whisky shops are located there. The shop where I went is called House of Single Malts and it is definitely worth a visit. After arriving at the shop I was greeted by the owners Ivan and Manuela who were really nice hosts. They introduced me to the other guests (we were only 10) and explained the plan for the evening because it wasn’t going  to be your everyday kind of tasting, we were about to attend a bottle killing session (or as it is also called a heelslayer session) and the whole tasting was designed to be a game.

Before explaining the rules of the game we were served a first whisky and I immediately knew that the long train ride was more than worth it. The first whisky we were served was the stunning Laddie 22 from the Bruichladdich Distillery. I got really excited because this whisky has sadly been discontinued and I haven’t had the chance to taste it yet. It was a fantastic start to the evening and I will give a more in depth review of this in another article. Meanwhile Ivan and Manuela explained us the rules to the game. There were around 50 near empty bottles that were lined up in 12 rows. In front of every row was a card which was Jack, Queen, King or Ace. Every card represented a certain kind of whisky. The bottles behind the Jacks were the least desirable most of them being Swiss whiskies. The bottles behind the Queens were some good whiskies like for example a Glendronach 18 port Finish or a Tobermory 19 by Cadenhead’s. The bottles behind the Kings were mostly peaty whiskies and the bottles behind the Aces were some true Jackpot whiskies, most of them being rather old and rare. There was another deck of cards which would be passed around the guests. Someone had to draw a card and the whisky would be the counterpart of the card he drew.
The person who was 7 places away from the one who drew the card had then to roll a dice and the resulting number determined how many people would get a dram of the whisky. The first person who didn’t get that whisky would then draw the next card. There were also two wildcards which allowed choosing a whisky of your liking. The game was so much fun and the people were really nice. After a while we didn’t only taste our own whiskies but we shared them.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

3 New Japanese Whisky Discoveries

A few days ago I was working at a tasting event at one of the bigger wine and spirit shops in Zurich . To put it clear right away I was responsible for the less glamorous tasks like checking coats, clear the glasses etc.
When I was looking for a whisky related part time job last summer I applied at most whisky shops in Zurich and that wine and spirits store was one of them. They couldn't offer me a job however they told me that I could work at events that they organise once a month. At those events people pay a certain amount to enter and afterwards they can taste out of up to 50 different wines or spirits depending on the topic. 
Although my task isn't too glamorous I genuinely enjoy working there because I met some great people and  I can use the few bucks that I earn to buy whisky. Also I sometimes get the chance to get a little taste of some of the presented beverages.  That was exactly the case when I recently worked at a tasting with the topic "Japan". The beverages that were offered on this evening were Sake, Japanese beer and Japanese whisky.

In this article I want to present you the three whiskies that I was lucky enough to taste. It was quite busy and noisy so I didn't get the chance to take tasting notes. However I still want to tell you a little bit about the 3 drams.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Exams Over! Let The Dramming Begin!

Dear Malt Mates

Sorry that it was so quiet on this blog recently. I had to write exams and didn't have much time to enjoy whisky or write about it. Now that I'm finally through expect me to be more active from now on. I got some whisky lined up and I want to share my thoughts with you and I have already some events in mind which I'm intending to attend.
In the near future I also want to start a series of articles called "How I Got Hooked" in which I want to present the story of fellow whisky freaks and how they got into enjoying the water of life. I hope the different stories can show people that when it comes to whisky and starting to enjoy it there is not a certain blueprint. Some people try one certain dram and immediately fall in love just like it happened to me. Other people may not have such a moment but develop their love for whisky over a longer time. This series should encourage people to try whisky even if there can be some setbacks sometimes.
If you have an interesting story how you got hooked to whisky and you want to share it with fellow readers of this blog you can contact me anytime by writing an e-mail here.

Now please excuse me as I have a lot of whisky waiting to be reviewed, a lot of articles waiting to being written and also some tastings to be attended.

Slàinte everyone


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Whisky Rev-U 1 Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Years Old

Hi Malt Mates Today I post my very first official whisky review. 
The whisky that I’m going to taste is the Balvenie DoubleWood which is aged for 12 years. Before I get started I want to write a couple of words about the distillery. Balvenie is a Speyside distillery that is located just outside Dufftown. It was founded in 1892 by William J. Grant who is also the founder of the Glenfiddich Distillery. The two distilleries are actually located on the same site and are still owned by William Grant & Son. You can check out their website here
The whisky is bottled at the legal minimum of 40% ABV and is most likely coloured and chillfiltered. As the name tells us it is matured in two different kinds of casks.

Monday, 4 January 2016

My Whisky Adventure So Far

Dear malt mates
I hope you have all had a good start into the New Year. In the last two weeks I had plenty to celebrate. First I finished my bachelor thesis and handed it in. 3 Days later was my 22nd birthday and the day after we celebrated Christmas Eve and a week later New Year’s Eve. As you may already have expected this was a whisky loaded few days for me. I hope you have all had some nice drinks over this time and that there maybe were a few interesting bottles under the tree for Christmas.
As had to go to the library again today to study for my exams it got really boring so I thought it was about time to write a new blogpost. Being the egocentric prick that I am I couldn’t think of a better topic to write about than myself. Therefore I will tell you my whisky adventure so far.
As you may already know I started to drink whisky shortly after my 18th birthday. I’ve already stated in the last post that first me and my mates only drank some cheap blends on Ice to look though rather than because we genuinely enjoyed it. After my first taste of a Glenfiddich 12 years old I got more into it and after the first few sips of a Lagavulin 16 years old I got very serious about all things whisky.

I enjoyed the rest of the Lagavulin that me and my friends had left in the weeks after but I didn’t really know a lot about Scotch or whisky in general and I started to read a lot about the topic. I read blogs and watched video tastings and the more I got to know whisky the more I got curious.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

A New Blog Is Born

Hello Dear Malt Mates

My name is Julian and I'm a 22 year old history student from Zurich, Switzerland. First of all I would like to explain the name of this blog. The name Julian is in German pronounced as Yulian and my nickname is Ju (speak Yu) or - as my girlfriend started writing it - U, hence the name Whisky-U.

I started drinking whisky at the age of 18. Back then me and my friends just drank Ballantines on the rocks when we were at bars to look tough.