Whisky 2017 – 197-203 – The Society Bar, Tokyo

Great set of whiskies to finish my trip in Japan and hit 200. The staff at The Society Bar took good care of us. The Linkwood SMWS definitely one of the best this year.

198 – SMWS 3.268 (Bowmore) Lady beachcomber’s dram 1995 20 years
Yeasty, bread, sea salt, caramels, juicy stone fruit, sponge cake, liquorice, strawberry and apricot jam, cherries. Green leaves, chocolate, chilli, old lace, lavender, cakes, sea water, rocks in a fire, chocolate mousse, dashi.

199 – SMWS 96.9 (Glendronach) Icy – Chill 2007, 8 Years
Cream, peanut butter caramels, roses, peanut brittle, with water candied apples, grilled pineapples. Yoghurt, almonds, green vines, with water loads of cakey notes, vanilla, hints of rubber, clove and leather.

200 – SMWS 39.102 (Linkwood) Rum-soaked black cherries 23 years *
Crushed ants, woody, maraschino cherries. Such a gentle dram, buttery, cake, sweet fruit like glacé apricots, pencil shavings, honey, salt, butter, old butter and sherry. The finish is forever – apples, cloves, melted butter and crisps.

201 – Ichiro’s Malt Single Cask 706 2010, 4 Years – bottled for Modern Malt Whisky Market in Osaka
Weet-box with milk and honey, medicinal, caramel, lemon butter, pound cake, glacé orange peel. Grains, multigrain bread, salted butter, wicker chairs, burnt butter with walnuts.

202 – Blackadder Ichiro’s Malt Cask 2630 PX Cask June 2010 6 Years
Apples, chocolate cake, sarsaparilla, cloves, old butter, crushed ants, dried apricots. Cloves, cake mix, passionfruit vines, chocolate and herbs.

203 – Ichiro’s Malt The Peated 2015, Distilled 2011
Medicinal, malt, chocolate, caramel, cheesecake, metallic, stewed apricots. Charcoal, heather, leather, soot, fruit dipped in caramel, lantana, candles blown out on a birthday cake.

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Whisky 2017 – 193-197 – The Mash Tun, Tokyo

It is always a pleasure to visit The Mash Tun in Tokyo, owner Toru Suzuki is a true gentleman and wonderful ambassador for whisky. On this trip I arrived as they finished a Cadenhead tasting with General Manager, Mark Watt. Truly a special occasion to walk through the door on. I also met representatives from Shinanoya and Whisk-e. I was hanging out with the big dogs, accidentally.

193 – Benrinnes Bourbon Cask for the Mash Tun 13th Anniversary 17 Years “How can I live at the top of the mountain
Pancakes, vanilla, salted butter, sweet biscuits, cakes, stone fruit, galvanized fence. Apricots, vanilla, rubber, sulphur, salt, red apples, sponge cake, chestnuts.

194 – Cadenhead’s 175th Anniversary Caperdonich 39 Years
Rubber, shoe polish, chocolate, grilled nectarines. Toffee, raisins, butter, brown sugar, ice coffee, plum chutney, green figs, old butter. This thing is huge.

195 – Glenfarclas 32 Years Salon de Shimaji PenXShinanoya Cask 136 1981 bottled 2013
Buttered toast, chestnut purée, raisin, cloves, pickled onions (in a good way), coffee. Honey, butter, pain à raisin, salt, apricots.

196 – Ichiro’s malt “The Game” Madeira Hogshead Cask 1370, 10 Year Anniversary of Shinanoya *
Maple syrup, pancakes, loads of stone fruit, toasty, caramel, toffees, toffee apple, pineapple upside down cake. Rubber, raisins, sulphur, apricots, old butter, musk sticks, butter and maple syrup on crumpets.

197 – Benriach 1976 Sherry Cask/Bourbon Finish Cask 529, 37 years
Plastic, caramel, rose hips, green grass, columbines, salt, passion fruit vine. Butter herbs, butter, caramel, apricot jam, chocolate, stout, kiwi fruits, chocolate, LPG, beef fat, vanilla icecream, pineapple.

Whisky 2017 – 189-192 – Bar C Shell, Tokyo

I am lucky enough to be back in Tokyo. Tried out Bar C Shell in Shinjuku, near Yotsuya-Sanchome station. The owner Yu is very knowledgeable, super friendly and speaks excellent English (having lived in NYC). The bar is quite different to most Japanese whisky bars and much more casual. Yu has created a unique space for whisky drinkers in Tokyo. Drank some unique old bottlings but I had to throw in a Ben Nevis, because, well, it’s Ben Nevis. 

189 – The Milroy Sprinbank 30 50% 2002 Bottling
Rubber, caramel, peaches, dusty, hazelnuts, pumice stone. Spritz, lemon, hand cream, dried apricots, wonderful mouth feel, preserved lemons, Lavender, chocolate and soap.

190 – Friends of Oak Ben Nevis 1998, 15 Years
Honey, aspirin, hay, marzipan, sponge cake, toasted almonds. Roses, caramel, vanilla cake, strawberry jam, peaches, brown butter, honey, green grass.

191 – Cadenhead’s Glenturret Distilled 1965 bottled 1990
Bee wax, sarsaparilla, dried peaches, chicos, pencil shavings. Cream, pencil shavings, salt, rose petals, soap, wax.

192 – Glen Fraser 1956 for Strathnairn Whisky Ltd
Slight maple syrup, wax, bonox, wood glue, menthol. Pencils shavings, soap, pepper, clove, lemon zest, old raisins, wax, rubber, leather, old tobacco, peaches, shaving cream, dusty, perfume.

Whisky 2017 – 176-177 – The Gresham, Brisbane

Back in Brisbane again – back to The Gresham. 

176 – SMWS 4.226 (Highland Park) Smoked Plum Lemonade
Could smell it as it was poured, sour cherries, prunes, lemonade(!), caramelised meat – like a roast lamb, paprika, milk, mandarin pudding. Grassy, milk duds, coal, caramels, rubber, brown sugar, preserved lemons, honey comb, golden syrup.

177 – William Cadenhead 7 year old Islay whisky (undisclosed Kildaton Distillery) 57.1%
Really herby, olive brine, like a dirty martini, lpg, biscuits, sponge cake, chlorine. Short bread, orange zest, coal, burnt plastic, kelp, nori.

Whisky 2017 – 166-171 – The Gresham, Brisbane

Back in Brisbane for work and I took the opportunity to visit The Gresham again. Fun place, not up to the standard of Mebourne’s biggies but a solid selection. The Octomore 7.3 was excellent! 

166 – Signatory Glenturret 1987 Hogshead Cask 374 50.1%
Short bread, preserved lemons, leather, caramel, Marion’s fruit buns, jelly fruits. Herbaceous, peaches, apricots, butter, cream, salt, tobacco, menthol, hobnobs, milk chocolate.

167 – SMWS 46.32 Glenlossie “Summertime and the whisky is easy” 1992 22 years
Toffees, Madeira cake, kiwi fruit, pineapple daiquiri, malty, macadamias, soapy, bubbling bicarb. Disappointing and confused on the palate the butter hits after a strange bitter note, stone fruits, sulfur, shortbread, slight iced coffee.

168 – Glendronach 2003 PX Puncheon Cask 4034
Wood shavings, marshmallows, pineapple upsidedown cake, lemon butter, chicos, peanut brittle and ozone. Whipped cream, wood, leather, salt, roasted peanuts, rose petals, melted butter, hazelnuts, loads of Manzanilla, weak raspberry cordial, still young and fresh, slightly dusty and green almonds, chestnut cake.

169 – Glendronach Peated
Cream, apples, band aids, imperial leather soap. A really pleasant dram fruity (peaches and apples) and friendly, some oaky and buttery notes and a touch of flinty smoke. Pretty simple but easy drinking.

170 – Ardbeg Kelpie
Heather, leather, cream, caps, salt, pink pepper corns, honey, plastic toys, ham on rye, apple snow. Earthy and leafy, flint, coals in a cold fire, cream, Guinness – better on the nose.

171 – Bruichladdich Octomore 7.3
Caramel toffees, plasticine, Eaton mess, smoke, wood glue, fake Parmesan, milk chocolate, leafy. Quite dry and smokey, bacon and HP sauce sandwich, dried apple rings, sulfur, salt, cream, tea tannins, burning leather and bracken.

Whisky 2017 – 150-151 – Helvetica, Perth

Two special drams to finish my time in Perth. Normally, I am not a fan of red wine casks but wow! 

151 – Ichiro’s Malt ChichibuXHanyu Gasai for Isetan
Dusty apricots, carob, butter and spice cake, ozone, galvanized fence, hand cream, slight lemon zest. Hot malt, tobacco, leather, cream, slightly salt, old whisky, apricot bars, bitter herbs, boiled sweets, ice coffee.

152 – Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu first fill red wine for Isetan*
Massive nose, intense candle wax, buttered toast, boiling butterscotch, chocolate mouse, vintage soap. Manuka honey on buttered crumpets, aspirin, well structured tannins, bitter chocolate, brandy cream on warmed fruit cake, dried pears and peaches, raw cashews, toasted coconut.

Whisky 2017 – 149-150 – Helvetica, Perth

So, I’ve easily hit 150 this year. With all the work travel, I’ve somehow managed this. Helvetia is a nice little whisky bar in Perth with around 400 bottles. Some interesting Ichiro’s bottlings there too. Worth checking out if you are there. These two drams were excellent. I don’t know much about Bellwether except they are from WA and this was a monster at 70%.

149 – Bellwether Cask Strength Port Cask peated 30ppm, bottle 38/38
Leather, honey, tobacco, maple syrup, dates, green olives, scones out of the oven. Honey, butter, toast, dust and bones, tobacco.

150 – Kilchoman Caroni (Rum) Cask by LMDW 2011
Apple juice, dried apricots, leaf matter, heather, salted butter, rocks in an old fire, pound cake, roasted parsnips. Leather, salt, butter, apricot cake, fireplace, green herbs, honey, gun powder.