dinsdag 10 november 2015

Famous Zagatti whisky collection arrives in the Netherlands

Most famous whisky collection in the world arrives in the Netherlands
Zagatti-collection holding over 3,000 ultra rares bottles in Dutch hands for the next ten years

It has been a while, but today the Zagatti collection, the most famous whisky collection in the world has arrived in the Dutch town of Sassenheim, not far from Amsterdam. Scotch Whisky International, the company of CEO Michel Kappen, specialized in whisky investment has added the last bottle to the collection today. A stunning total of 3.103 very rare bottles made the trip from Italy to the Netherlands.

“It's almost impossible to describe this collection”, Kappen says. “Compare it to a series of Rembrandt paintings you purchase all together. One bottle is even more rare than the other. We managed to beat countries like China and Japan, where people were also very interested to take over the collection.” 

The collection will stay complete for ten years
The collection is the life work of the now 81 year old Italian Valantino Zagatti, who was never able to really see the bottles himself. During the Second World World a landmine destroyed his eyesight. Zagatti was eleven years old back then. This never stopped him from collecting (malt) whisky and he is very keen to share his passion and work with the rest of the world. His books "The Best Collection of Malt - Volume I & II" are the only books in the world handling about single malt whisky. 
Michel Kappen: “It was a very emotional moment for Zagatti to see his collection leave the house. Ronald Zwartepoorte, chief editor of Whisky Passion magazine and fluent in Italian, helped to pave the path.
Thie actual moment of signing the contract, with all the people involved is caught on film in the documentary "Netherlands, country of whisky" that moviemaker Gwen Jansen made in 2014.

"We have insured him that the collection will stay intact for at least ten years to come. It will be on display for the public in a special museum due to open in 2016 in Sassenheim."

For many years people (especially whisky collectors) all over the world have been speculating about the value of the Zagatti collection. But due to the sheer rarety of many of the bottles (only one worldwide) no one can be sure. “This collection is so unique that we could not give an estimate to the value” Kappen concludes.

This is the video we made of the event in Sassenheim on November 11th 2015.
For us whisky geeks and freaks it is wonderful to have this collection in our own small country. You will see bottles you have never seen before, so old and so rare. What about Parkmore? There are four bottles in the collection. Looking forward to the opening of the museum in 2016. Whiskytips will be there.

Copryright press release ANP in opdracht
Translated and added by Whiskytips
©Whiskytips 2015

l to r: Michel Kappen, mrs and mr Zagatti, Ronald Zwartepoorte (picture courtesy of Ronald Zwartepoorte)

zaterdag 11 juli 2015

Tasting Balblair 2003

With Van Halen's Ain't Talking 'Bout Love screaming out of our speakers we are carefully unpacking a blue box of Balblair 2003. 
Balblair lies in the northern Highlands of Scotland, not far from Glenmorangie.
It was founded in 1790 and is still in production today.
They seem to be working under the radar, but lately more and more people  have discovered the almost crafty whisky that is coming from this distillery. Balblair even featured in the much acclaimed 2012 film "The Angels' Share".

Unlike other distilleries Balblair insists on printing the vintage year on the label, as well as the bottling year. This alone is a good reason to buy Balblair, since more and more whisky producers are marketing NAS whiskies. NAh...
Other than that the distinctive bottle with the big stopper and nice box do help a lot as well to the overall liking.
But in the end it's the nose and taste that counts, doesn't it?
So we tried the 2003 vintage, bottled in 2014 which means it is 10 or 11 years old. Alcohol is at 46%, it is natural colour and non chill-filtered (more cheers from the people in the back). It is the 1st release.

Our experience:

Color: White wine
Nose: coconut, banana bread, citrus lemonade, vanilla, papaya, peach
Taste: hint of oak that emerges from the sweetness, vanilla icecream,  someone just sparked a firestone? Grassy, breakfast cereal, honey
Finish: peppery, slightly bitter and dry; salty aftertaste

This is a a perfect pre dinner dram, with lots of southern fruits mixing with the more "standard" American oak flavours, like vanilla and coco. An honest, well made whisky. We can only urge you to buy one, then study the bottle and admire the box, while sipping from your glass.

  • Malt Whisky Yearbook 2015 -Ingvar Ronde

©Whiskytips 2015

donderdag 4 juni 2015

Tasting Koval Single Barrel Whiskey made of Millet

Koval is a young American distillery, founded in 2008 in Chicago.

We can cite a lot more interesting stuff from their website, but why don't you just have a look yourself?
Most important is they produce more than just whiskey, they are not afraid to experiment and most importantly, try to produce organic spirits with local producers. We like that from a whiskey perspective, but also from an economic perspective. Interesting drinks, more jobs. If you want to argue, there's a comment section at the bottom, but we recommend you read Beyond Outrage, by Robert B. Reich first.

So, a good thing is Koval is available in Europe; a company called Haromex has the common sense to import this stuff.

Koval Millet came in a 50 ml bottle, which makes you calculate how much you actually pay for a normal 0,7 litre bottle.  Let's say it's affordable. We tasted a bottle from cask no. 671 and made of 100% millet, bottled at 40%. 
Millet in The Netherlands is used amongst other things for making porridge. Wonder how we grow so tall and get so old folks? Its millet and kale.
Furthermore, it doesn't contain any gluten, so for those who are gluten intolerant: here's your drink. The grains are small and so is the yield, that's probably the reason why big distilleries would never use it. So cheerz to Koval for this alone.

Now, what did they make of it (according to our humble opinion)?

Color: gold
Nose: Plum as in Slivovitz, cloves, sour-sweet, wood notes (cedar?), English cask ale, wet tobacco, balsamic
Taste: oily, (charred)wood again, baked bread, stewed apple, blueberry cake, muscat
Finish: a rather short kick with a vegetable/herbal note to it
With ice (hello, it's American whiskey):  Oh yeah, it becomes a bit cloudy. That shows how brave they are. Wow, more sweetness on the back of your tongue, more sweet apple, this must also be great for making cocktails.

Final conclusion: you should try this. It's different, it's great for a warm summer's day, throw in some ice, put on your Sade Love Deluxe album and simply enjoy.

©Whiskytips 2015

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maandag 18 mei 2015

Tasting Aberfeldy 12 YO new edition

After we reviewed the Aultmore 12 YO and the Craigellachie 13 YO, produced by the same company (not distillery..) John Dewar and Sons, it is now time to taste the renewed Aberfeldy 12 YO, number three in the Last Great Malt Series.

The packaging is modernized, which is sort of funny, since it refers a lot more than the old packaging to the history of the distillery. In fact, there's so much on the label, that you need at least one dram to read it all. Smart, very smart guys.
It also says "Limited bottling" on the label, we're not quite sure what that means. Maybe part of the general whisky vocabulary, with words like "select reserve", "special blend", "deluxe" etc.?
This was batch nr 2905 anyway.

Another little secret on the label on the label states that E150 was used for coloring. Not in English by the way, but in German ("Mit Farbstoff"). The German law requires this and cheers to that.
It is bottled at 40%.
Along with this 12 YO, a 18 YO has been introduced for Travel Retail, as well as a new 21 YO in a deluxe outfit, all very affordable. 
We paid € 32 for our bottle.

Our experience

Color: Amber+/tawny
Nose: Nutmeg, white grapes, baked apple, creme brulee, honey. More sweetness pops up, when you let the glass rest for a while.
Taste: Milk chocolate (or is it Nutella? Well it sure has hazelnuts), sweet, a wiff of leather, charred oak, malty
Finish: round, sweetness keeps on, becomes dry and then a wee salty liquorice kicks in in combination with some bitterness.

It's a pleasant, easy going dram and for that price certainly worth to try, especially when your taste preference lies in the nutty corner of the spectrum. Now that sounds a bit weird, but you know what we're getting at. Glad that the people of John Dewar/Bacardi are putting much effort in this product, together with the other Last Great Malt releases. As soon as we get our hands on the other expressions, you'll find the notes on Whiskytips.

©Whiskytips 2015
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donderdag 29 januari 2015

Tasting Craigellachie 13 YO

With Iron Maiden's Alexander The Great as number one in the playlist we are tasting Craigellachie 13 yo.
The Craigellachie 13 YO is a new bottling by John Dewar & Sons and introduced at the same time as the Aultmore 12 YO and a revamped Aberfeldy 12 YO as part of the Last great Malts. Glen Deveron and Royal Brackla will follow.

Craiggelachie is one of the 15 distilleries in Scotland that still use (traditional) wormtubs. To be honest, we couldn't tell you what difference it makes to the spirt or end result for that matter, but according to the information on the tube it gives the whisky "a distinctive and meaty character".
More importantly the label states this whisky is non-chill-filtered. No word about colouring, but maybe whisky friends in Germany of Denmark can comment on that. In these countries adding caramel must legally be displayed on the label.
Another plus is the bottling strength at 46%.
Together with the 13 yo a 17 YO and 23 YO Craigellachie will be released and even a 31 so we were told.
First impression is good, great bottle (with embossed distillery name in the top front), great tube design.
Every bottle is individually numbered.

Our experience:

Color: Deep gold
Nose: Lemoncake, sweet grapes, pineapple, vanilla
Taste: Honey, firm, the burned oak is there. As there is toasted bread. Anis, green tea and almond.
Finish: Oily, a sweet-sour bitterness, cocobutter

A liquid cupcake this is. We were already happy with the Aultmore, but this is even more to our liking. A thick Speysider, sweet, oily character. One to savour before dinner or two after.
Hurray for the chaps at John Dewar's for releasing this expression as a single malt. And at a decent price as well. We will look out for the other expressions and have a wee taste.



Malt Whisky Yearbook 2015- Ingvar Ronde

©Whiskytips 2015

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zondag 7 december 2014

Tasting Aultmore 12 yo new edition

With Jeff Wayne's Forever Autumn breezing through the speakers, we are inspecting the recently purchased bottle of Aultmore 12 YO.

It looks like an old drugstore bottle with glass embossing letters. We are already thinking of good re-use for this bottle instead of throwing it away in the recycle bin. The bottle has a nice branded cap and every bottle is individually numbered.

The Aultmore is released by John Dewar & Sons in a series called Last Great Malts of Scotland. Next to Aultmore a 13 YO Craigellachie and 12 YO Aberfeldy are brought to market. Royal Brackla and Deveron will follow.
Aultmore was released as an official 12 yo single malt bottling by the (previous) owners before, but the current owners are planning some more expressions next to the new 12 YO.
Allthough most product of Aultmore is tankered away to Glasgow to matures and used in blends, the new packaging show John Dewar are really serious about marketing this malt. Understandable, since Aultmore is considered a Top Class malt by blenders.
This Aultmore is bottled at 46%, has natural colour and no chill-filtering. Hurray from all us whisky-geeks!
Off to savouring a wee dram. This is what we found:
Colour: yellow gold
Nose: pineapple, vanilla, cheesed butter, citrus, sweet
Taste: grassy as promised, barley notes, sugar, spicy, zesty, some marzipan and then vermouth comes to mind
Finish: again sweet, medium long, dry

Conclusion: Very happy with this effort of John Dewar's. Great to see another natural coloured whisky on the shelves. A real spicy Speysider this one. Together with the nice packaging and the decent price (we paid 41 euros) we'd quote our friend Paul: "Cannie go wrong with dat!".

Whiskypedia -Charles Maclean
Malt Whisky Yearbook - Ingvar Ronde

©Whiskytips 2014

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dinsdag 11 november 2014

Launch of the 8th whisky for the City of Zwolle, Ben Nevis 15 YO

The city of Zwolle lies in the east of the Netherlands at 52°31′N 6°6′E. It has the reputation of being a "gourmet" city and houses several good restaurants, food places and bars.

Eric Bartels of Slijterij Bartels ("slijterij" is the Dutch word for liquor store or drink shop that is licensed to sell alcoholic beverages over 15% alcohol. Supermarkets in the Netherlands are not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages over 15%) took the initiative to bottle a cask of malt whisky for the City of Zwolle in cooperation with Dutch whisky writer Hans Offringa. One of the first bottlings, a Macallan, now has an estimated value of € 200. Other bottlings were Auchentoshan, Aberlour and Highland Park (fantastic dram).

On November 9th 2014 the latest edition was launched in Brasserie Jansen, numer 8 in line, a 15 YO Ben Nevis of 1998 vintage, single cask with an outturn of just 279 bottles, chosen by Hans Offringa. It has matured in a sherry butt, nr 1238. Label design was done by ms Laurien Stam, who also designed the other labels. Reason to introduce this expression in Brasserie was the fact that the facade of the Brasserie Jansen building is on the label.

Bottle no. 1 was presented to ms Elles Hetebrij, of a neighbouring pub, who recently won an important industry prize.

The video impression we made has English subtitles for your convenience.

Single cask bottelingen of Ben Nevis are not common.

Ben Nevis is a distillery located near the highest peak in the UL. It is owned by the Japanese company Nikka .Ben Nevis has a capacity of 1.5 million liters alcohol per annum.

Of course we had a wee sniff'n'taste. A very nice whisky indeed. If you want a bottle either for drinking or collecting (or both..) get in touch with Eric Bartels, because the bottles tend to sell out soon. price should be around € 65.

Here are our notes:

Colour: herbal tea, almost green (it's a non chill filtered Scotch, hurray!)

Nose: definately an autumn dram, apple pie, stewed plum, malt, coconut oil, hazelnut

Taste: creamy, oily/waxy, sweet (cane sugar), dark chocolate

Finish: medium long, pleasant, sweet

Sources: Whiskypedia, revised edition - Charles MacLean



©Whiskytips 2014

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