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Tasting Notes for numen

(396 notes on 358 wines)

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Spirits
2/11/2015 - numen Likes this wine:
92 points
Nose: A rich bouquet of honey, light golden grapes, rich Sauternes (on the spicy side of the heavily botrytis) and some summer flowers. Then there is a spicy petrol base that works here. I've never had something like this in a cognac before, and it's not like petrol notes from some choice Islays, either. It's a curious nose. Dense. Some crystallized tropical fruit. Maybe it will open up even more with a few drops of water. (water) More of the tropical fruit and flower notes, and honey. Perhaps some star fruit. What a peculiar cognac! Really lovely liquid now that it's opened up even more.

Palate: Fascinating. Rich and silky. The initial burst of flavor is surprisingly sans fruit. There's a bold and magnificent petrol quality with the grassiness, and the alcohol is spicy. Big and hot, but still approachable for those brave of heart (and they will be rewarded for the journey.) The second wave bears more fruit, a touch of white peach flesh, golden grapes, light blue flowers, and little puffs of vanilla. (with water) Wow, for as much as water brought out fruit on the nose, the petrol and the grass are bolder along with sour fruit flowers and a quick hit of fruit. An enjoyable and serious brew.

Finish: The finish is fairly balanced and nothing overly sweet, thanks to the atypical notes. This is a quality spirit. I really struggled nosing and getting everything out of it for a long time. I kept slowly consuming the bottle, letting it sit at half-fill for a month or two just to see whether that would help it open up; it was incredibly tightly wound. I was ready to give up on it, realizing the great quality but frustrated by the challenge of it opening up. On a whim, I switched from my usual glencairn, which I use as my standard tasting glass for the sake of convenience, to a riedel xo cognac glass (a tulip shape with a narrower chimney) and everything just opened right up. This is one of those cases where certain glassware can make a huge difference. It was very good before, but now it's fully excellent. A-
Spirits
1/26/2015 - numen Likes this wine:
91 points
Nose: The first nosing is citrusy and on the juice of freshly squeezed agave - as this is tequila, a very good start! A light and fine agave syrup as well, with some pepper, cardamom, and perhaps even a little fennel. With time, it turns decadent, never losing its graceful refinement. The agave mellows and the sweet notes become richer with the most dream-inducing caramel and an almost coconut-like quality. With a bit of effort, there are also hints of ash, tobacco, and oak. A real gem.

Palate: Perhaps just a touch watery on entry, though the flavors are crisp. Not as sweet as one might have feared from the nose. The sweet coconut is the first to the front, but it quickly yields its space to the oak. Elegant and the oaky bitterness provides structure. Thuja intertwined with creme de menthe. It's really lovely, though I'd be lying if I were to say that I didn't wish that there were more 'there.'

Finish: Clean and crisp. Everything is in step. Delicious and balanced. All the notes are excellent. My only gripe is that the palate could use more heft. Still, a lovely endeavor, and a unique blend of 'younger' extra anejo and older stock. It keeps its youthful citrusy agave roots, but also brings some rich caramel and oak into the mix. Top stuff.
Spirits
1/25/2015 - numen Likes this wine:
91 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Very bright. Oranges, golden raisins boiled down, plums, and then a few fresh floral notes. Gentle vanilla. Clementines and light caramel/molasses. Melon and loads of tropical fruits. With time, the oak comes out subtly along with a sour floral note. Decadent stuff.

Palate: Really great depth. The entry is light fruit nibs and a fried flower petal or two. There is a rich caramel base to this sauce, real buttery, not in the sense of additives. Gentle rancio. Everything is in step and there's enough 'there' there. Maybe even some cocoa in the depth. Fruit nibs and just more of everything.

Finish: Yep, this is excellent. Clean, just well-set on sweet, fruit, dry, and oak. This is still extremely fresh for 50 years, even for cognac, even as it shows its age gracefully. Would that I aged so well! And with that note of my own mortality, I'm going to give this spirit an A-
Spirits
1/25/2015 - numen Likes this wine:
88 points
sample from a friend, 27 years old for K&L

Nose: Oh, here's a classic nose. Grape jam, figs, pruneau, compote, all in a simmering pot with cinnamon, oak spice, and light molasses. Freshly shaved graphite, and with more time the oak tannins produce hints of orange zest and slightly sour lemon.

Palate: Hm, a little inscrutable at first. Dense, though the alcohol is just a toe out of step. Blackberries, pruneau, and bitter dried fig rind. Pinch of pepper. It's somewhat astringent and drying, while also yielding a dose of rancio.

Finish: Medium length on dry graphite, grapes, and plum. More dryness. It's all there and fairly well measured. The initial burst of alcohol and dryness sets it back even while providing good structure. A very typical and very well made armagnac. Deduct a few points if you're sensitive to heavily astringent oak.
Spirits
1/25/2015 - numen wrote:
87 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Soft plums, grapes, and blackberries. We're on that sort of blue/purple fruit train. A decent amount of spice in cinnamon, clove, and brown sugar. A spoonful of sweet baking spices. Some oak as well. Basic and thyme, more prune and dried fig skin. Toasted blueberry jam. Perhaps even a few coconut shavings. Four-berry pie filling

Palate: Much more lively. The oak is far more prominent, some dryness and bitterness, and lots more spice. Still some fruit and those sweet baking spices, even chocolate. The alcohol comes off as brandy soaked berries baked into a warm glaze. Lemon and light citric fruit (from the oak?) Rum chocolate cake too.

Finish: Really nice spice, fruit, and oak playing together. The contrast between the nose and palate is stark, but it works well and adds some fun flair to the endeavor. A very solid choice.
Spirits
1/25/2015 - numen Likes this wine:
90 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Bright and fruity, classic eau profile. Delicately sweet and a racy, acidic edge. Grape skins and crisp chardonnay. It's like being outside on a warm day in a sunny, fresh field with flowers proferring a soft perfume. Pear, rose-water, golden grapes. Delightful. The essence of strawberries. Blossoms with time.

Palate: Silky with just a small buttery note. Many of the same notes with just a bit more of a spicy bite. Candied ginger and vanillin mixed with the usual eau funk, if you know what I mean.

Finish: Sweet lemon sorbet from Sorrento. Soft and mellow. Floral again and very clean. True to its roots, it's Gewurztraminer eau, and very well made, and an excellent pour, digestif, and apertif... or companion to any morning drink
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Spirits
1/25/2015 - numen wrote:
85 points
sample from a friend

Nose: We're off to a good start. Golden raisins and bright jam, kumquats, and mashed yellow berries. Vanilla, sometimes verging on marshmallows, flits to and from the foreground. Notes of rosemary and a pinch of salt. Candied pineapple and grapefruit. Takes a turn toward the sweeter with time.

Palate: The alcohol is bold on entry, a little fiery, too. Waiting to emerge, the fruit and bitter pith, and grapes linger. Many of the usual twig-dry-and-dry seasoning (rosemary) characteristics. Sweet vanilla remains steady in the background.

Finish: Waxy and a fine sweetness among the bitterness. It's really charming. To pick a few nits, as we are wont to do, the alcohol is a bit much at points and the bitterness and especially the sweet vanilla (marshmallow) are rather loud, but it's clearly well-made.
Spirits
1/25/2015 - numen wrote:
85 points
sample from a friend-

Nose: Fairly rich and buttery at first. Bitter-sweet caramel soaked in rum. Sweet and candied on Bailey's with a dash of orange oils. Hint of raisin jam. Perhaps even lightly burned honey. In the back are some echoes of the malty base. Great stuff so far. (with water) Just a drop or three, easy does it! More fine, sweet, and beautiful coffee. Fine sandalwood, and aged sweet cigar wrappers. Less rich, but no less lovely.

Palate: Lighter mouthfeel than I'd anticipated; I nearly expected to find a thick caramel coming from the glass. Less sweet as well and oak is in the middle of it. Coffee with chocolate flakes and a raspberry blended into the field. (with water) More coffee and milk chocolate, perhaps even some rum-balls. Surprisingly very light feel.

Finish: A return of sweet water playing into fine dark chocolate, a drop of coffee, and a fond welcome from mixed red berries. A pleasant transition. A very charming dram, with all the makings of a pour complex and enjoyable, factors that only cast the light mouthfeel into greater and more frustrating relief. If this were more substantial, it'd be excellent, so I'd give it a steady mark
Spirits
1/25/2015 - numen Likes this wine:
87 points
sample from a friend-

Nose: Ah, refreshing. The peat is obvious and intertwined with rich, lightly salted seaweed. Lemon juice in a general sherry profile. Traces of tobacco. With time, tart cherries and salted strawberries. Milk chocolate. I'm definitely digging it. (with water) A few drops brings out a softer, sweeter peat. The fruits hangs together with malted chocolate.

Palate: Even peatier here, smouldering ashes roasting a spit pig seasoned with a sprig of fresh thyme. Chocolate and stale ginger. The sherry influence emerges into the peat nicely. (with water) Sweeter on entry, though, also tannic dry. Spicier ginger and more unsweetened (?) milk chocolate. Yes, sometimes even my own notes and impressions baffle me.

Finish: I probably should have some sense of what this is. It's just a rich, well-composed, and easily enjoyable pour. It's got a lot of what I like.
Spirits
1/25/2015 - numen Likes this wine:
90 points
sample from a friend-

Nose: Do you like old sherry? I sure do. Plum jam and teak wood touched up with a fine lacquer varnish. Deep coffee, red currants, seedless strawberries (just go with it). Maduro cigars with oily wrappers. Whiffs of sweet malt underneath. (with water) Swims well enough to take a few gold medals. BIG. Coffee, sweet maduro, rich dark chocolate. Roasted cherries and spiced cakes. Yes!

Palate: Oh my. Classic dark and unsweetened. It makes me think of a chalky sauvignon blanc in the base. Leather and dry nuts. Old leather furniture. More of the same notes from the nose as well. (with water) Sweeter on entry and it takes a a turn flat, only before emerging into a sweet old coffee, residual bacon grease, and dry varnish. Delicious walnuts to boot.

Finish: Merges to a fine point, and even more smoke. Big throughout and very old, severe sherry, and just enough twinkle and sweetness to keep it moving along. A real treat.
Spirits
1/25/2015 - numen Likes this wine:
91 points
This was from a relatively quickly consumed 1/2 bottle

Nose: This moves all over the place. A soft woody bourbon quality mixed with tobacco, tar, metholated grape juice, and a drop of anise. Rich fruit, this could be a Spanish brandy or port, lighter and less sweet. Ashy with grape jam, plum puree, brown baking spices, brown packed sugar, and vanilla extract. Maybe even rum soaked apple wedges. There's a funky, musty note in there as well.

Palate: On entry, it is very 'Scotchy.' No, this couldn't be a Highland Park, but the there's a maltiness to it. No complaints on that. Of course, it's not a malt, and it's not even from the right continent. Turns eventually to that genre of heavily port-finished bourbons, but less charred barrel. More tobacco ash and less sweet. Spiced sherry, coffee, and fresh fruity sharpness and fun. Acidic grapes and just lovely fruit in the back. That damned musty funk comes out more as well.

Finish: More ash and fruit overlaying a whisky (Scotch malt) that seems rather a combo of a malt and delicate bourbon. The musty note, almost cabbage, was more pronounced when I opened the bottle, but it dissipated and disappeared (from the bottle, not a specific early pour) with more aeration. I never figured out whether I liked it, but it was a distraction while it was there. Atypical on the whole. I really enjoyed and loved this one, especially with some time in an open bottle. Doesn't fit neatly into any tasting category. Ok, drumroll...

Even when there was a funky note, I drank a lot of it, at times trying to ignore the note, other times trying to really focus on the note and figure out what it was and whether I liked it or not. It's like when you burn your mouth from hot tea or chocolate and keep pressing your tongue against the burn to check on it. After a few weeks after opening the bottle, the note was gone and it turned into a rich, decadent, and easily enjoyable experience with no drawbacks/odd note/distraction to me. (91/2)
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Spirits
1/25/2015 - numen Likes this wine:
88 points
gift sample from a friend

Nose: Candied and floral, like a bag of sugar, waxed flower petal nibs. Iris, lavender, and violets. A drop of lemon oil amid orange blossom honey. Faint hint of oak, very soft. Spun sugar. Well, you get the idea. (with water) Bright and more pronounced malt. Still honeyed and floral. Really a lovely and magnificent nose.

Palate: Sweet, honey, floral, and flower wax. Spicy ginger and more forward oak. Rather sticky oil as well. Bitter mango, melon rind. Orange pith. Bitter tropical fruit (and lots of wax). (with water) The wax and ginger are drawn out more and the fruit fades. Less oily and sticky, but we're in the same territory here.

Finish: A short-medium finish. Fairly straightforward on the whole, no surprise punches or flavors. It's richer and more flavorful, especially on the palate, neat. Water draws out the sweet malt on the nose. On the whole, this was special neat, and very good with water - and I really enjoyed the nose neat, but it didn't do the palate as many favors.
Spirits
1/25/2015 - numen wrote:
83 points
sample from a friend

This may be my first Ledaig, and I am going into this one with very little backstory for the bottle. No expectations, no ideas. What fun!

Nose: That's a powerful nose and it needs a few minutes to blow off and calm down. Now a peaty side emerges with seaweed, lapsang souchong, salty roasted meat. Vinuous sherry with some notes of caramel, oxidized nuts, chocolate malt, some citric fruit, strawberries and rhubarb, and more red fruit with time. (with water) Oh, more marmalade, chocolate, and generally more refined. Salted watermelon rind. Just a bit flatter peat and seaweed.

Palate: Big and brash. Also a little disjointed at first. The peat is rather ashier, and a chunk of soot. Lots of malted chocolate, some weak coffee (from the oak). Stale ginger. More bbq notes in the depth. Not as much fruit here as I found on the nose. (with water) More drying, and a few more grapes and dark berries in the back.

Finish: The chocolate malt really sticks in the corners of the mouth, and the peat lingers for a while on something like metholated seaweed. The smoke from a slow roast. This was good, though rather disjointed on palate entry. If the alcohol integrated a bit and the sherry married up a little more, this could turn into something really great. As it was, it was a lot of nice parts, with a few faults, but not always working together.
Spirits
7/12/2014 - numen wrote:
88 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Chalky vanilla malt atop a gentle peat, really rather coastal on pebbles. Some of the lemon and freshly shaved ginger. Lightly acrid gasoline at the pump, cold pressed nut and olive oil. Gentle sweetness, almost residual. (with water) Ah, this'll do nicely, thank you very much. Far more going on here. More coastal, ash, sea spray, tarry, and gasoline. Less clearly lemon, but a more keen fruitiness in the back.

Palate: Thick and almost inscrutable at first beyond the initial turn to vanilla, smoke, wax, coastal pebbles, and just a spoonful of salt. Rather hot as well. Maybe a few drops of water will open it up. (with water) Yup, this is the stuff. Classic profile on lemon, pepper, salt, and all the right coastal notes with a hint of peat. Really fine stuff here. Trace walnut and macadamia oil.

Finish: Yes, more mellow to the vanilla and typical waxy malt and fruit. Some residual bitter walnut and pecan. This one needs water and does very well with it, so it's rather whisky-concentrate. Very good and classic style, so let's reward it, shall we?
Spirits
7/12/2014 - numen Likes this wine:
91 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Lovely stuff. Green apple, tart, cinnamon, sweet ginger, sandalwood, soft spice wood, and burning incense stick. Waxy apple juice and extremely rich, honeyed caramel. A smattering of tart and bright red berries. There's a slightly off note in the apple, but it's a tiny blip in a sea of deliciousness. (with water) Oh yes, this is really even bigger: more spice, more incense, more soft wood, creamy dessert vanilla sauce. A little less fruit and sharp apples, displaying real finesse and precision.

Palate: Cinnamon apple pie. Caramel and cinnamon (soft and just enough to notice) on crust and vanilla creme. A dessert malt, and even a little rubber tyre. Ash and rather graphite. Leaf and a mossy verdant forest. The oak is really just a delight. How often can we say that? I'm really digging it. (with water) More bitter and a touch oaky/waxy, even a funky sour apple note. Really more of the same.

Finish: The same funky green apple pie note, some spice, and soft wood. The sour funk is more prominent. Neat, this is excellent, and the nose is even better with water. The funk was just a bit loud, but as part of a grand whole.
Spirits
7/12/2014 - numen Likes this wine:
92 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Ah yes, this is the stuff. Rich, typical Karuizawa. Plums, dates, dense millionare bread, cherries (bitter and sour), and varnished leather belt. Molasses and pressed orange zest, figs marinading in aged cognac. Some ginger. The sherry here is just a light touch of smoke and cocoa. Turkish coffee grounds leftover. Fabulously decadent, deep, and still precise. Spanish brandy essence and darjeeling tea leaves. (with water) Water heightens the relief, drawing the leather, coffee, and cocoa out further. The fruit gives way to more spice and vanilla creme. Still full of dates, dry fig skins, and stale (nice) dry apple skins.

Palate: Lighter and silkier on the palate than I'd have anticipated. More old and bitter red and purple fruit jam and dates, quickly turning to leather coated with coffee and baking cocoa flecks. Lightly bitter and oak caramel. Cherry, skin of ginger root. Vanilla and cola, too. (with water) Nice and rather bitter coffee with some sweetened dark chocolate. Water dissipates it, with a drop of sea-sugar to the front. Spicy ginger, thin molasses with water honey.

Finish: Especially with water, this really lasts on leather, coffee, old furniture, and varnished leather, a hint of salt, and thin caramel molasses. Just a dollop of fruit. Really a great Karuizawa, fairly typical of the age and vintage. The nose, especially neat, is the best. Maybe could use a bit more oomph on the palate.
Spirits
7/12/2014 - numen wrote:
88 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Ah, vibrant and very lively. An acoustic guitar solo (these things happen, right?) at a show on the coast. Baseline of the coastal salt, pebbles, stony sand, and seaweedy peat. A full dose of fruit, leading with mango near the flesh, tangerine, soft orange, and clementines. You see where this is going. Very tropical. Teaspoon of coconut oil and even cumin with vanilla. (with water) Turns more sharply to oranges and lemon, sawdust, and sandalwood. Perhaps even a touch of cake frosting. Very nice, even if only a touch simple now.

Palate: More on oil, flinty vanilla, medium and gentle peat. Far more linear here than on the nose. Almost a funky oak note, too. It's an interesting combo of sweet, sour, and bitter. (with water) Oil, salt, loads of fine cigar ash, some petrol, and a light coastal element, and the sour note has vanished.

Finish: More on vanilla and a light mix of the other notes. Sadly straightforward here. A really lovely dram, but not as rich or complex as I'd have hoped. It was better neat, and still fabulously approachable. Lovely fruit on the nose, and pleasant on the palate.
Spirits
7/12/2014 - numen Likes this wine:
92 points
sample from a friend

I remember really adoring this a year or two ago when I sampled it from a friend's bottle. Let's see how it we're viewing it now.

Nose: Very curious and far darker than my recollections. Smoky and heavy pig in soy sauce over a bonfire, coated in very heavily salted sea-weed. There are also a few distinct rubber notes. Perhaps even some salted wine, but I'm missing the Petrus. Let's give it another 30 minutes to see how it fares. Very faintly some red berries, extremely soft, but it's there. (with water) Ah, far more flowery agave, roses, red-fruit red-flower petals. Gallons of tequila, aged of course and buttery, and sweet malt as the base. It's still got the same heavy peat, but in its own sweet style.

Palate: A touch hot, and a clean malt, and then the pug roast. Tyre and sea-weed emerge, slowly smouldering, and then amid it all is a layer of winey raspberries and strawberry fruit jam. I get, too, that oily funk from agave. Goes with the roast. I wonder how water is going to play with this. (with water) The wine comes out a bit thin at the forefront, and some of the tannins are present, and turn somewhat to coffee. Then it yields to many of the same baseline notes.

Finish: I like this a lot, but it's not nearly as magical as I held in memory from that splendid session so long ago. Loads of peat, massive, yet gentle and sweet. Very faintly of Petrus, still in the red fruit, roses, and petals, lasts for ages. I hope that you like Lapsang Souchong as much as I do. I'm split on this, but it's still excellent. My initial rating of this a few years ago was in A territory, but this time it's closer to a B+. I'm just going to give it this score to split the difference.
Spirits
7/4/2014 - numen Likes this wine:
91 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Ah, refreshing and rich. Mentholated honey. Sweet, and also strongly (and strangely?) herbal. Mint, sage, and thyme. Whiffs of vanilla and caster sugar, then a wave of light tropical fruits. Papaya, guava, and everything nice. Calming oak comes through, very gracefully aged, it would seem. Sweet wood. Sweet lemon zest (just a little), and chamomile tea blend. Lovely and rich. (with water) This baby is a swimmer! A few drops and it's like Michael Phelps. Everything is bigger, more vivid, more aromatic, and more more.

Palate: Thick, sweet, and rich. Then there is plenty of oak, extremely well balanced. Ginger, acacia honey, bags of lemon zest (sweet), and pith. In the very depths, the sherried character emerges, strawberries, rhubard, raspberries, and jammy lingonberries. Maybe even a vodka based fruit filling. (with water) Water pulls out more of the oak and bitter, waxy pith. Still, rather excellent, and a hint of mirabelles, all things I love. Hooray for excellent whisky!

Finish: Thin honey, sticky and waxy fruit oils and zest. Pith and bitter oak. Even then, there's still the herbal quality. An excellent dram, and a hair better on the nose with water.
Spirits
7/4/2014 - numen wrote:
89 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Fragrant on yellow crystallized fruit nibs. Tropical fruits on the lines of boozy pineapple sans acidity. Slight ash note and an empty, dry seasoned humidor. It's the cedar. Pith, wax, and a changing balance of subtle notes -- all ripe and just overripe melons and soft stone fruit (peaches, nectarines) and cantaloupe. Charming. (with water) Slightly more waxy, and just a pinch of salt, and an almost coastal element with a teaspoon of fine ash. Lightly alcoholic mango nectar and ambrosia. It's tough to pull the nose out of this one.

Palate: Rich, but clean and precise. Lots more of the fruits. Mango, pineapple, papaya, cantaloupe, and peaches. All in one note and slightly separate, if you take my meaning. The oak provides some structure, it's just a very lush treat. (with water) Dilutes some of the fruit and a bit thinner, but we're in the same ballpark.

Finish: Water actually helps extend the fruit notes on the finish. Just a trace amount of wax and a film of heavy cream residue. Same fruits, tropical and pink/orange stone fruit. Hits the spot for a summer day. Light, sweet, fruity, and perfect in the breeze.
Spirits
7/4/2014 - numen wrote:
88 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Light sherry. Generally on light, sweet malt. Crystallized lemon candy chews. Pith and waxy fruit. Delicate and subtle pre-ripe peach. I almost get the sense that there's phantom smoke. Spun sugar and honey. Very much a dessert malt. I hope that it doesn't melt my teeth! (with water) Water brings out more honey and the same sweet fruit and malt profile. There's also the addition of some mild and sweet summer flowers, and honeysuckle.

Palate: Surprisingly silky. Sweet malt, delicious lemondrop candy, and then some oak in the form of bitter lemon zest and flesh. Very sweet on sugar, but you don't have to worry about a sense of artificial sweeteneer. (with water) Swims really well, just makes everything bigger and just that much more accessible, if not a touch sweeter (!), like the sugary drizzle on gulab jamun

Finish: Much more of the same. This was rather a straightforward malt, very well executed and balanced. And even easier to enjoy.
Spirits
6/29/2014 - numen wrote:
88 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Some of that sweet spice and fine aged wood that so reminds us of incense. Graphite and pencil shavings. The sherry influence is clear, balanced and not overwhelming the characteristics of the malt. Cherries, strawberry liqueur, just the tiniest drop of pressed coffee and candy chocolate. Oxygen draws out some red apples and cedar/teak in a mossy forest. A sour eau-de-vie channel opens among the fruit. There's something to this. (with water) Yes, it leaps from the glass now. The incense stick and spice box are a more complete layer. Plums, blackberries, strawberries, and jammy cherries.

Palate: Rich and chewy with sour fruit. Cherries, honey, salt, and a slightly ashy quality. The oak comes out a bit, turning bitter strawberries into graphite, cedar (dry and seasoned), and bitter apple. A tad bitter for my liking at the midpalate and just after. Lots of softly flavored woods with only a few grains of generic brown sweet spice. Maybe this will open up with water. (with water) Oh yes, the fruit is much nicer here, even if it's less chewy. The spice and incense are sticky, but the bitterness remains, and it seems rather less complex.

Finish: Generally more sour, especially with water, and lots of the same fruit and spices. More graphite and sour cherries and cranberries at the end, even if not the strongest or most distinct. This has its moments, and there were bits that I really loved, but it never quite gets where I had hoped it was going!
Spirits
6/29/2014 - numen Likes this wine:
90 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Faint, not the most pungent here. All the same, there is beautiful integration. Pear, quiet apple and lemon, graphite. Oil (putty, I like this). Ginger. Stones and something almost coastal, but not fully. Sandalwood in the far rear, with just the slightest of spice and salt. (with water) Amps up the aromas. Moving here to caster sugar, sweet spice, soft and sweet wood. Candied walnuts and even a sweet smoke.

Palate: Yes, silky. The oak is so perfectly integrated. It shows up, and it's always in check and extremely balanced. Honey and honeyed. Graphite, light ash, and then some rancio. A little more sour fruit. (with water) A little more candied here as well, more rancio and walnuts, and delicious. Rather linear. Swims well, loses just a hair.

Finish: Some residual sweetness along with the graphite, lemon, and smoke - all subtle and dessert-like. This is really lovely and graceful, just a bit more subdued and linear than I'd have expected. Still, extremely well made, extremely enjoyable, and excellent.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Spirits
6/29/2014 - numen Likes this wine:
92 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Hm, generally a similar quality to the 10 year old Genshu new cask that I just tried. Apples and vanilla. Clearly more age here, and there's some of the old glue note from the oak. A soy and smoky whisper, not fully a note, a few layers back. Oak and a rich, fruity forest. Pineapple, mango, papaya, and other assorted tropical fruits. Very slightly disjointed and curious; it just works here. (with water and a lot of time) The apple remains, more subdued, and the spice box and incense develops and matures. Almost like sticking your nose right up near the flame of a burning incense stick.

Palate: Sharp. A little fizzy. Easy to forget that this is 60% until you dive too deep. Care is needed! Sandalwood, spice, and incense. No, no trend here. Cinnamon. Generally less fruity than the nose. A pinch of salt as it calms down. Slightly more acidic than the 10 year, but it provides a structure here. Let's see how it does with a few drops of water. I don't want to dilute it too much. (with water and time) More of the same, except light peat and smoke emerge more, precise and delicate, hiding some of the wood and spice, and in rather top form.

Finish: Still all the same as before. It really is like being right near a burning incense stick made by a master of a lost art from a world removed. The aromas just grow and expand from the empty glass; I don't even want to wash it. Just an utterly outstanding nose.
Spirits
6/29/2014 - numen Likes this wine:
91 points
sample from a friend

Nose: Immediately on rich apple, vanilla, caramel. Light malt in the recess. Sweet cinnamon and other baking spices. In the deep background in orange zest and pith. There is even a kiss of sandalwood, dry and aromatic, almost incense. Something of baked pie crust with salt, butter, and cheese(!) for good measure. (with water) Far more obviously sweet on caster sugar. The incense, spice, wood, and spicebox (sweet) quality quality comes more to the forefront. Fab stuff.

Palate: Big, malty, and excellent. Sap-like and oily. Ah, these are always fun, aren't they? More of the spices, bags of it, with sweet cinnamon, incense, fine woods - not at all tannic. There is a fruit and jammy quality, date paste with a crushed fig mixed in. A hair of orange zest as well. Hint of salt and smoke (maybe just the bitterness from the pith). Ginger. Just packed with flavor. Let's try it with water and see how it swims. (with water) Hm, H20 undoes some of the balance and draws out the ginger root, though the aromas do become a smidge more distinct.

Finish: A gentle, soft, and delightful spice box. Orange emerges, perhaps from the oak, as does an almost funky note, which comes on strong, and still all class. The nose is delightful, and the mouth is excellent in drops, even if it doesn't swim quite as well. Delicious. All the spice and cinnamon almost reminds me of the very best of ryes.
Spirits
6/29/2014 - numen wrote:
87 points
from a sample from a friend

Nose: Crystallized sugar sweet malt and rich soft, yellow fruit. Lemon, peaches, and glazed apricots. Orange zest and fruit-wax. Sweet young calvados/green apple. With time, the apples become far more prominent and dominant. Eventually, a faint smoke and verdant trees in a damp forest emerge.

Palate: Pleasant and easy enough. Maybe even too easy. Rather silky and on heavy cream. No real oomph. Honey, apple slices, vanilla, lemon, waxy sweet lemons. Soft and sweet ginger, a little salt. Fairly simple and linear. This strikes me more as a dessert malt or calming digestif.

Finish: Clear and precise. Smattering of yellow citric tropical fruit, not always distinct, malt, zest, and even more residual cream film. Very enjoyable and clearly very well made, if only wanting for just a bit more 'there' there really.
Spirits
6/26/2014 - numen wrote:
88 points
sample from a friend. 60% ABV

Nose: Light and delicate. It almost has something of a malty recent Springbank with a touch of waxy lemon from Clynelish, too. Obviously on very good footing. Sweet clean malt, a hint of smoke and the pith of sweet lemon. A few grains of salt, too. Orange and a few daffodils, and other muted flowers. (with water) Really opens up the strength of the aromas. Smoke plays so well with the sweet malt and pith. Really lovely here. Sour flowers.

Palate: Oily and rich on entry. The midpalate is full of leathery ash. Smouldering cigar ash (bitter), residual malty sweetness. A very faint coastal quality. (with water) The ash is a little more mellow -- still big -- and it lets the other elements play a more significant role to demonstrate balance.

Finish: Lemony ash, salt, sweet and softly bitter pith. Really all the same. It's impressive how the stuff goes from so graceful to such a powerful ash monster. Delicious, and swims extremely well.
Spirits
6/26/2014 - numen wrote:
87 points
Sample from a friend.

Nose: Light peat, clean and refreshing. There's some smoke and salty nori. Faintly sweet malt and lemon, both fresh and candied. Oil, almost verging on putty, and I do like it! Some ginger and white pepper, and touching on wet pebbles and oysters. (with water) Slightly flatter, and if less sharp for it, then all the more accessible. The lovely malty character is a bit more evident.

Palate: Thick, oily, and rich. Very chewy. Heavy ash, almost with a suggestion of bitter oak, but it's the peat fully emerging, and bold. Salt, ginger, chili, and less coastal. The fruit and secondary elements from the nose are more obscured here. (with water) A touch sweeter here, though still on familiar ground.

Finish: Ash, ginger, lemon, salt, and less malt. The putty makes a return. Really pleasant finish. The peat on the palate was a bit surprising compared to the nose, but it was just as intense and focused. Really clearly a high quality malt in it.
Spirits
6/26/2014 - numen Likes this wine:
90 points
Nose: Now this is a sherry bomb that really lets itself go. Lots of bitter coffee overlaying prunes, drizzled with little nibs of fig. More espresso. Chocolate liqueur with a maraschino cherry. Decadent and heavily sherried, showing a surprising amount of the heavy and dark elements at what I think is fairly young.

Palate: Initially sweet sherry, almost on a dark and lightly bitter Spanish brandy. Juicy. The darker elements provide excellent balance. Strawberries and thick, drying (still plump) cherries. Then it's all to the browns. More chocolate liqueur laced with ground espresso bitters. A kiss of oak and very dark (99%) cocoa.

Finish: A really fine mix of the fruit, sweet, bitter, and dark flavors. Truly a classic and unabashed sherry profile, more on the lines of an old glory than a young babe, but it's got youthful spirit. Extremely graceful, yet bitter and less sweet than a number of its coevals. Excellent.
Spirits
6/9/2014 - numen Likes this wine:
86 points
Nose: Rich and fudgy malt, obviously sherried, chocolate, and then dashes of sweet red fruit behind it. Kirsch at first with damp forest floor. Fairly typical baseline Karuizawa. Faint notes of rubber/sulphur, but hardly 'off' or wrong. Strawberry eau-de-vie (and sweet) emerges as the main fruit, and some touches of polished leather. Really delicious and engaging.

Palate: Malty and oaked. Bitter oak. It's almost on cedar, though also out of balance and without direction. As the bitterness subsides, it regains its form, but it was just a bit of a mash-up on initial tasting. Verdant forest floor, red fruit in the depths. More coffee than chocolate, probably from the wood. Ginger, too, with some chili. Almost some rancio from an old cognac. Almost.

Finish: Slightly mentholated, still on most all the same notes. Generally very good territory. The sulphur is slightly more distinct here, but it provides echoes of ham and soy sauce. Delicious. I really enjoyed the Asama 46%, and we're in the same ballpark. This has a more powerful nose, but the palate is less elegant and more obviously sulphured.
Spirits
1/6/2014 - numen Likes this wine:
91 points
Nose: We're in the same realm as the aptly named Lot no. 69 'l'Erotique'. Leading on vanilla, white peaches, and apricots. It's in good company for cognac. Alcohol is rather fiesty here; nasal hairs, prepare to be singed. The dry and dusty notes from the '69' are here more on chocolate, cocoa, and sweetened tobacco wrappers rather than caster sugar. A few grains of sea salt as well, drawing out the luscious fruit. Papaya and soft tropical fruit. Waxy honey and some melon for good measure. Walnuts and a drop of almond oil. (with water) Softens the alcohol, and highlights the dry sugar and crystallized fruit nibs.

Palate: Honeyed, somewhat grapey, and intensely on golden raisins. Considering the age, this is extremely youthful. Fairly rich and unctuous, and a good grip, akin to a fine armagnac. Cocoa, graphite, and moderate rancio. The more tropical fruits are obscured a bit. Sweet, candied ginger, sandalwood, pepper, and a light layer of that dry caster sugar. Obvious vanilla, too, extracted, but not saccharine. Dry, sweet shredded tobacco wrapper soaked in a young (12-18 year) cognac [ed: "d'uh"]. (with water) Flattens out everything. Some of the grip is gone, while it does bring out more of the rancio.

Finish: More of the same with the intensely raisiny quality. Honey and less of the darker notes, but still excellent, and very well balanced. Clearly of the house style, and very reminiscent of the other bottles from the estate of the same approximate age, just a slight kiss more of rancio. I liked it a hair more than the 69, and it's nice to have a big cognac, especially at this age and proof. I was just slightly underwhelmed by the depth of flavors and, perhaps, the lack of secondary (non-fruit) aromas and flavors for something of this age. It really seemed more like something half its age, though excellent all the same. An 'A-' for me, around 91-92.
Spirits
1/3/2014 - numen Likes this wine:
94 points
From a purchased sample:

Nose: Rich, golden, and decadent. Dense and complex. Most obviously sticky sweet (heavy molasses, honey, and oily toffee), without being over the top. The sherry influence gives off subtle tobacco and echoes of fruit. The peat emerges and recedes. At times it's like kippers and the most perfect sardines (canned and freshly smoked). Very slight sulfur, though, admittedly, I'm not sensitive to it. I don't want to put down my glass. Everything evolves and changes. The balance, density, and quality is superb. Leather, cocoa, menthol (Vick's vapo-rub), ginger, lingonberries (tart 'red'), and camphor. Pinch of high quality salt with honey and ham. (with water) Far more mossy and sea-weed. The fruit and toffee notes fade. Still golden.

Palate: Thick liqueur on the palate. Immediately on honey, ginger, salt, leather, and caramel with some coffee and sticky pudding. The peat comes out, inevitably, like flames from smouldering embers. Really about the same as the nose, perhaps more gentle than I'd have expected, but no wall-flower this. Fabulous. (with water) Swims well. Peat is more prominent, and the thick, chewiness dissipates. More ashy, but the honeyed and salty notes still persist in the background.

Finish: What's left to say? The notes probably will remind people of the 16 or Distillers Edition, and for good cause. That's all in here, though the age and sherry maturation gives it much more heft, depth, and richness. The quality is top notch. Water, for me, undid some of what made it special, but it's a clear winner. My notes left me all over the place, so I'll pick a 'safe' score for it - depending on mood or my perspective on taking it with water, this could go up or down 1-2 points.
Spirits
12/21/2013 - numen Likes this wine:
92 points
Nose: Oh yes, this has the grace and elegance of an old wonder. Strong and clear sherry influence. Dry and rich cocoa, with a layer of espresso below. Rich and opulent leather furniture. Essence of smoke puffs and a cedar drawer of aged maduro cigars. Honey with flowers and heather. Very gentle red fruit (berries) hiding in the nooks. Top class.

Palate: Yes, the proof plays out here, a bit less impressive, even as the sherry is rich, with wax and smoke. This is a dessert malt. Excellent espresso, Lindt chocolate, and gentle smokiness. Burned sugar, toffee, and supple old leather and varnish. Ron Burgundy's mohagany-leather filled study. Thin honey. Lacking a bit of strength, and a little weak, and the fruit is way, way, way past the nose-bleed section in the back.

Finish: Silky, even as the flavors are rich, sweet, dark, and delicious. An excellent blend. If this were closer to cask strength, it might have been exceptional, but, even as is, it's dangerously drinkable and memorable.
Spirits
12/21/2013 - numen wrote:
87 points
Nose: Rich honey, and very cereal and grainy. All great stuff. Some vanilla and cake frosting. Sweet lemon custard with a slight edge to it. A few drops of anise. Essence of summer flowers with a side of wild strawberries. (with water) Lots more sugary sweetness and buttery sweet cake frosting. Vanilla. Just a few echoes of the flowers and wax. Honey and almost sweet, 'yellow' thick bourbon.

Palate: Thick and honeyed. No trend here. Rather rich and decadent. It's a very direct number. Sweet grainy cereal. More vanilla, floral wax, and the oak emerges at the mid-palate. It provides a quick check and some tartness before receding. Less fruit, some anise, cardamom, and graphite. (with water) Oak is diminished, while still providing a lemon zest and less sweet edge. Obvious honey, grainy toast.

Finish: All the same satisfying notes, direct and to the point. Still very well balanced and hits the mark when you want something like this. Great stuff.
Spirits
11/23/2013 - numen Likes this wine:
93 points
Nose: Nuts, pounds of pecans, and varnished old leather straps fill out the first layer. Then tehre are a few notes of purple sherry - figs, dates, plums, a dash of salt, and familiar territory. Rather some of the Highland Park characteristics shining through: sweet heather mixed with some dense cherry liqueur and syrup, and, oh yes, coffee! A little digestif with a drop of sherry, and flakes of shaved, dried chocolate on the side. (with water) More clearly varnished and sweet. Purple and flowery candy shop. Almost cut jelly beans and cotton candy. A little coffee, though it's all far less distinct for any actual note.

Palate: Immediately this is thickly honeyed and with a sticky oil quality. Smoked. Gently. Hooray for HP! Very much on leather and varnish, turning quickly to much bigger espresso. Drier here, and back to candied pralines and pecans (more the latter), with just a hint of chocolate covered figs, grapes, and prune (also all chocolate covered). (with water) Honey and heather! Light smoke and topped off with creamy sherry, toasted cherry, and more purple. Thinner, and it still all turns to coffee, varnish, and a dry edge to the fruit.

Finish: Heavily and richly sherried, and the typical HP notes manage to show themselves. Actual off-sweet sherry with marginal fruit notes, leather, and coffee persist. Oak is just perfect, influencing and driving the flavors without being prominent.
Spirits
11/19/2013 - numen Likes this wine:
91 points
gift sample from a friend
nose: Rather an interesting mix at first. A few whiffs of highly extracted vanilla (alcohol is present, but not distracting), and a dry and dusty cake frosting. Just behind that is an assortment of fruit. Very yellow on the whole. Golden grapes, mango, beeswax, honey, melon (cantaloupe - not strictly 'yellow'). Heavy peaches and apricots, almonds, and some very dry, shredded tea leaves. Luscious, and just sharp enough to stay honest. (with water) Swims well, and the water brings together some of the notes, and yields some extracted as well as crystallized fruit nibs.

palate: Dusty caster sugar, and then far more floral with the same golden grapes and honey. Hint of oak and rancio, maybe even some ginger and white pepper. Eventually turns to some lower/earthier tones. Cocoa, graphite, and some rinds as well. The nib of a burned out cigar (colombard?). As big and friendly as it is, still very elegant. (with water) More rancio, and a little more acid. Generally the same here.

finish: This one lasts, and plays the game well. More verve than the usual 40% watery tarts, and the alcohol is extremely well integrated. Fresher than I might have expected with more youthful fruits and flowers, it's still all class and struts with a casual and knowing elegance. I'm curious to know how old this one is, even as I do know that it's excellent.
Spirits
11/10/2013 - numen Likes this wine:
92 points
gift sample

Nose: Takes a few minutes to open up. Comes out just a bit like a Spanish brandy, and then a heavy demerara shows up behind it. Rubber, dark sherry, and lightly oxidized sherry. Burned sugar. Almost creamy and vanilla-y. The rum elements are full, rich, and delicious -- veering back to the licorice, raisin skin, menthol, and olives.

Palate: The entry, for a brief moment, is more on the brandy, and then quickly turns to the rum. The same classic demerara, not the heavily sweetened, but those massive wonders that are hard to find in the US. Licorice, salt, clean olive oil, chocolate/cocoa, creamy sherry. Brown sugar.

Finish: The best of both worlds. The demerara gets a great boost from the sherry - highly complementary. Everything from the palate just swirls together. Really fantastic stuff. Excellent Sherrum.
Spirits
11/10/2013 - numen Likes this wine:
93 points
gift sample

Nose: Rich and dark. Beautiful as it gains steam, with some elegantly aged sherry. Old leather furniture, polish, and expensive lacquer. Light chocolate and coffee drizzled across toasted maraschino cherries. Chocolate covered fig and date bits. Coffee grinds covering 'purple' - fruit, perhaps. Tip top.

Palate: Oh snap. Bigger and better than the nose. Chocolate, coffee liqueur, and gorgeous espresso cream. A clean, old sherry. Exquisite antique leather. Cherries. Burned sherry. Clean feeling. Very classically structured on the elegant side.

Finish: Water brings out more: fruit and everything else. Gorgeous through and through. 'nuff said.
Spirits
11/10/2013 - numen wrote:
82 points
gift sample, 17 year old, Folle Blanche, K&L Exclusive, 50.45%

Nose: Rich and syrupy, vanilla, some vaguely floral notes, almond, and the alcohol is rather forward with a few distinct notes from it. Peach and apricot, and then some oak in greater strength with time. Pepper and creamy vanilla, brown sugar/maple syrup. Sweet flower wax. It has some of the usual Folle Blanche characteristics, it's just more dense and syrupy here.

Palate: Thick and syrupy. Are we noticing a trend? Almost fizzy. Hm, that's usually a sign about the oak. Oak is bitter and forward on entry. As it subsides, honey, peach, stewed fruits, vanilla, and gallons of softly sweet floral wax. The oak persists.

Finish: More of the same. The fruit and floral notes are really good, but the oak is just too loud for my liking. Not a fully typical Folle Blanche, with more 'brown' and 'syrup/stew' than the light, high pitch notes. The fruit and flowers, though, are typical. I wonder what the estate does with its oak, and how their F.B. would do with a little less time in barrel.
Spirits
11/10/2013 - numen wrote:
87 points
gift sample, 47.8%

Nose: Broadly rich and syrupy fruit, molasses/brown sugar, spicy oak. Soft cinnamon, candied ginger, and cardamom with anise playing in tandem with vanilla and caramel. It's in a medium-intensity prune, grape, and fig compote. Oak turns a little tannic with orange zest. Hints of cocoa and teak in a forest. A little tough at turns, but in very good territory.

Palate: The entry is a mixture of the caramelly stewed fruit, spicy and tannic oak, and baking spices, soft and sweet. The oak is more bitter here, but it works if you don't mind some of it here - and what else would you expect in a 30 year spirit? Prune, quince, botrytis give the fruit a go. Ginger, cocoa, and pepper close it out.

Finish: Nice and lengthy finish. The same fruits from the palate, syrupy and stone fruit. The whole take a spin on the earthy side (graphite). Fairly typical ugni blanc armagnac of this age, with good oak and balance. Great stuff, and a nice entry for those curious about the spirit.
Spirits
11/10/2013 - numen wrote:
82 points
from a purchased sample

Nose; Rather malty and on traces of peat and more subtle hints of sherry. Lots of white wine. Lightly chalky chardonnay. The sherry is so faint that, as Ferris Buehler would say, if you blink, it'll probably pass you by. Vaguely red fruit (strawberries?) emerge with time. Ginger, salt, fresh oak, and vines in a forest. As the fruit emerges, the peat/smoke subsides. (with water) Water flattens this out a little, leaving it much more in the simply malty sweet and generic fruity, light Lowland stuff.

Palate: Bigger and more dynamic. Honey and sweet cereal and malt, giving way to the peatiness and inchoate sulfur notes (never rises to gunpowder, or even blast-caps). Oak comes out a bit flat and bitter at the mid-palate. It nearly goes sour. Flower, watermelon, underripe canteloupe, and a few red notes along with the vinuous white wines. (with water) Calms out the bitterness, and highlights more the cereal sweetness and white wine with ginger. Just a shadow of the other qualities.

Finish: Very much the continuation of the rest of it. At first, without the fruit, I was reminded of a watered down Port Ellen, and then it seemed more a hybrid of Imperial and Bladnoch. Very nice and pleasant enough, but nothing special or noteworthy.
Spirits
11/5/2013 - numen Likes this wine:
91 points
Nose: Syrupy and tightly wound cherries latrices. Brown sugar soup. Soy sauce, smoked Chinese pork ribs (light sulfur?) Moss, earthy mushrooms and old, nourished forest. A little closed, too. With time, oaky rancio, smoke, inscrutable wall of dark fruit, lots of chocolate. Nuts, marzipan, almond extract. Spun sugar and sugar cane almost fermenting. Menthol, too. A bit lighter as it goes on. (with water) Cinnamon, ginger, and soft malty sherry. Honeyed spun sugar comes out. Brown sugar, salty/savory elements become more diffuse. Dry oak with some tannic orange note.

Palate: Warm, but really rich and chewy. Ham, soy sauce, cherries, soft strawberries and sherry notes, hoisin sauce. Oranges, leather, brown sugar, armagnacy wood. Heavy coffee, ginger. Dry, for one. (with water) Water calms it down, yet it's still thick and very oily. Loses some fruit, rather more on richly sweet maltiness, and more of that saucy Chinese/Japanese salt and deluxe soy and oyster sauce.

Finish: A graceful finish of the slightly sweet savory. And maybe just a hint of weak coffee. Palate feels almost clean after a while. This is a very elegant dram, though the finish is short and the fruit is on the edge. More robust with air in the bottle, and really shows off the kind of awesome luxury ham and soy that Karuizawa sometimes does. This is one that must not be rushed, and get better with time and age. I go back and forth on this, it left me wanting and hoping for more, but there's no denying its excellence. Let's call it at A-
Spirits
11/5/2013 - numen wrote:
78 points
Abraham Bowman Gingerbread Beer Finished Bourbon, 45% (4-21-06/8-14-13)

Nose: Thin honey and general light bourbon quality, though there's a bit of acetone and clear alcohol notes at first. With a lot of time, those notes blow off, and malty beer, and lots of spice emerge. Cinnamon, nutmeg (oodles), ginger. Think Christmas candy and baked goods from the 19th century. A well-timed released, no doubt! Vanilla, coconut, and rye (grain and spice). Maybe some maple, too.

Palate: Light on entry, and a little malty bitter. Coming back to it, it's more like stepping into Oktoberfest at fair full of microbrewers, and steins of spicy beer and whiskey liqueur. The bourbon quality is rather light, loads of spice, still nutmeg and cinnamon. A very hoppy, bitter beer, too.

Finish: I'm liking this more after having it a few times, and giving it lots of time to breath. I'm not sure whether the whiskey is too lost in the finish, but it's interesting, and I wonder how this do in an egg-nog. Very interesting, though also rather flawed and comes up a bit short on the body.
Spirits
11/5/2013 - numen wrote:
88 points
Essay 10-RW-ARM-3-L, 51.2%

Nose: Always interesting, and remains distinct. Funky, with some buttery quality akin to fine aged agave. Ripe and funky fruit, grain, too, banana and apricot. Rye spice - off-sweetly malty -- and light honey and oak. Lots of fresh barley (or at least what I imagine it'd smell like) with the usual rye notes emerging, but only just, and in the background. The oak and grain is unique in this dram.

Palate: Honey, rye spice, sweet oak (not bitter, just dry) , rye bread, and then lots more funky barley. Sweet, off-sweet, spicy, a little sour, and a lot funky. Hm, no trends here. Perhaps even reminiscent of the funky and buttery rich quality in the background of kirschwasser or another fruit eau-de-vie from a fruit distilled with the stone still in the mix.

Finish: This is really a different number, and I can see how it wouldn't be for everybody. Fortunately, it is for me. A great change of pace number, and great in its own right if you go for this sort of thing. Fascinating to see how the same ingredients can produce such a broadly different profile with various differences in preparation. Flavorful and fun, a melange of qualities and characteristics. Hard to pin-point it, so let's be conservative around (B+)
Spirits
11/5/2013 - numen wrote:
87 points
batch 13C19, 46%

Nose: Smells fresh, on honey, rye grain, fir needles crushed, mint, then an assortment of some baking spices with cinnamon and dill/salt. Unabashedly rye. Toast and spun sugar. A little sweet and built to be enjoyable. New and unworn leather belt from Hermes. More rye spice and something off-sweet and spicy - a ginger chew?

Palate: Very silky on entry, and it hits the spot for drinkability. Quaffability, that's a bit more respectable. There's some oily quality to it, leaving it a touch bigger than its 46%. Honey, rye, spearmint, and then dry rye with oak, showing flashes of its age, and never out of step of heavy. Almost a bowling bumper keeping the ball going down the lane and right ahead toward the pins. Really well blended and delicious.

Finish: Some of the same honey, mint, and rye grain quality, with the oak playing a slightly larger role. Generally the finish seems a bit short. This is just a great and fun rye whiskey, and very well done. Not complex, but it hits the mark for entertainment, and it's a hit if you're looking for a rye and don't mind a few sprigs of crushed mint in the glass.
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Spirits
10/5/2013 - numen wrote:
85 points
from a purchased sample

Nose: Delicately sweet and malty with trace wax, lemon zest, salt, and coastal stones. Perfumy vanilla with flecks of sharp ginger and pepper. We're on pretty solid ground so far with a Clynelish. More resinous with time. Rather winey, too, somewhere between a buttery Chardonnay, a Zinfandel, and an 'off' Sauternes from a third-growth in a decent vintage. How's that for precise? The damp stone quality becomes more prominent with air as well. (with water) Flattens the general profile, but brings the sweet lemon, wax, ginger, and funky maltiness into greater relief.

Palate: Obviously sweet and oily, kept in check with wax, salt, lemon, canned pineapple, ginger, and white pepper. Wax is rather more resinous here even. Vanilla wax. Green pod cardamom and honey sap residue at the tail end. (with water) More ashy and almost vegetal and sylvan. Bitter oak has its moments here through the wax. A thin film of ageing flax oil. Still has touches of salt, and the stones have gotten a little bitter.

Finish: Wax, minerality, coastal spray, salt, ginger, and vanilla. It has a few rough edges, but also rather fun, too. The ash was a pleasant surprise. The palate just didn't fully come together (it's not disjointed) in a way that kept it from being great. Of course, who doesn't like Clynelish?
Spirits
10/5/2013 - numen wrote:
87 points
from a purchased sample

Nose: Nearly inscrutable at first nosing. All the aromas are bound up rather tightly. Honey, wax, salt, and sweet green peppers with sugar snap peas. This could have been called 'Sweets and Peas.' Salt, mineral/stone, and more coastal characteristics. Antiseptic. Salty vanilla in the back row. All rather excellent so far. Vanilla wafts up more with time as well. Let's see what water does for this. (with water) Really does the trick. More sweet barley. Everything becomes sharper. Something of green apples and grapefruit, too.

Palate: Refined on entry, and then throws a right hook on the midpalate. More simple and direct than the nose. Sweet barley and honey, more of the same green vegetables, some ash, wax, salt, and pebbles. Typical stuff. Maybe some ginger and lime, but I'm just guessing. (with water) Much more linear here, too, with wax, salt, honey, malt, and sweet barley. Light ash and peat.

Finish: Very nice. Ginger, green pepper, wax, malty honey. Other than the vegetables, very classic Clynelish. Generally, I'm not a fan of those specific vegetables in my whisky, but they're delicious here. Swims very well for the nose, but doesn't do much for the palate. I thought that this was very good.
Spirits
10/4/2013 - numen Likes this wine:
91 points
sample from a friend (S-W distillate)

Nose: Light and elegant. It suggests its age with a hint of varnish, and then quickly yields to richer elements. Honey, caramel, gentle spice, and soft cinnamon. The crust of creme brulee. Buttery rich vanilla (and salted butter). Residue of anise or menthol. What strikes me here is the balance of the aromas, and even more that they're all high quality components.

Palate: Toffee mixed with syrup. Some varnish follows for the oak. Buttery butterscotch with a few grains of sea salt. Sweet maple. Salted caramel. Almost a puff of smoke. The same vanilla quality in milky-buttery goodness. Not the widest profile; it just hits these points very well. With more time, some of the deeper and richer notes fade and the varnish becomes more prominent.

Finish: More on the salted caramel, maple, light spice, butter, and oak/varnish in varying levels of emphasis as it continues to evolve. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the hullaballoo about Pappy, but then, at other times, you get an older pour like this and you can see why it was such a fan favorite, current craze aside. I love salted caramel/toffee, though I'm never quite as keen these varnishy notes. Thankfully, even when it's present, it's not dominant. In all, an excellent dram. I did like it with a bit less air (and varnish), yet taking it all into account, A- (91.5)
Spirits
10/4/2013 - numen wrote:
85 points
from a purchased sample (Barrel 3416)

Nose: Butterscotch, toffee, and a healthy dose of oak. Honey, and then some of the rye comes out in grain and spearmint. Cloves as well. Brown sugar and just a little vanilla, suggesting spicy cinnamon cookies. Ginger, anise, and more mint. Just a touch of cherry and apple. The tannic oak firms up a bit with time as well.

Palate: An oddly, though refreshing, sweet and sour entry. Vanilla creme flan and buttermilk. Some honey and silken syrup. It turns quickly to soft clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. At the end, it passes more into sweet rye and fresh mint, though this is not minty, just distinct. Fairly strong oak presence, but seems relatively well balanced.

Finish: The mint, some rye grain, and the same syrupy quality. The oak is there, just less present. An older, gentle bourbon. I like this, and they've done a nice job keeping this aged number in check. It could use more oomph. It's great that a bourbon this old isn't over-oaked, but I still expect more complexity or character from something like this. This seems more like the sort of thing that you could find at a younger age and for much less money.
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