Lindores Abbey Cask Sampling

First public world tasting.

The 23 last March, we had the amazing chance to be the first public tasting of the Lindores Abbey Distillery. It does not tell you anything about this distillery? Well, that's normal, since their products are not yet on the market. Their future whiskey is still aging.

The Londores Abbey Distillery has a heavy burden on his head. It is located at the place that can be called "the birthplace of Scottish whiskey". Indeed, according to the earliest written evidence, the Exchequer Roll from 1494 indicates that permission is given to Brother John Cor, a monk of Lindores Abbey, 8 bolls of malt that will be used to produce aqua Vitae for King James IV. This malt will produce about 1500 bottles ... enough to liven up the parties of the bourgeoisie and royalty. This text is recognized as the oldest written proof of whiskey production in Scotland.

The Lindores abbey (Church by the water) was founded by the Tironesian monks who came from Kelso in the Borders in 1191. They themselves were French Benedictine monks of the order of Tiron. The site, erected on the Tay River Estuary, has hosted many famous people including Edward 1er Kings of England, John Balliot, David II, James III and IV. Even William Wallace (Braveheart) found refuge there with 300 from his fellows following the Battle of Black Earnside. The abaye was unfortunately demolished in the 16eme century during the religious reform led by the infamous John Knox which you can still visit the house on High Street near the Royal Miles in Edinburgh. At that moment, the Abaye clock was even bought by the Edinburgh City Council.

These Tironesian monks were skilled carpenters, brewers, masons, sculptors, painters and even gardeners ... and obviously skilled distillers.

523 years later, alcohol is flowing back into stills at the Abaye Lindores site. Source water is used near the distillery, Fife County barley, Tuns manufactured by Forsyth de Rothes, Dufftown Joseph Brown fermentation tanks, and three Forsyth pot stills. 18 types of casks are currently used for maturation, some experimental, others more conventional; ex-bourbon, port, sherry, ex-peated, ex-wine cask, etc. The plans of the distillery are to resume the cultivation of barley on the site surrounding the distillery and to create a '' terroir '' whiskey.
Also found during excavation on the site is what is believed to be the oldest distillation site in Scotland. You may remember seeing the article, otherwise here is the link:
https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/latest-news/21836/lindores-abbey-dig-unearths-historic-first/

The monthly production is currently about 104 drums. The first bottling to come (about 1200 bottles) will only be sold to people who have subscribed to the Lindores Abbey Preservation Society. This first bottling would normally consist of 65% ex-bourbon cask, 25% STR (see details below) and 10% sherry cask.

Maturation will take place on the site of the distillery and 25% of the warehouses will be heated to accelerate the ripening process. In partnership with Heriott-Watt University, distillery people have also recreated a type of yeast from the 15th century that will be used for the creation of a single limited edition of single malt.

During the tasting session, distillery manager Gary Haggart gave us the privilege of sharing 6 expressions including 5 in cask strength cask sample version and a bottle of Aqua Vitae currently on sale. Indeed, Lindores has instead bet on the Aqua Vitae rather than the Gin to help get through the first financially difficult years for any new distillery.

To produce whiskey on the oldest known site of whiskey making in Scotland, the people of Lindores are certainly not cold!

Quebec Whiskey Magazine 2018

André:


2018 ... Dear 2018 year.
A pivotal year for the Club's 10eme anniversary, the first ever in Quebec. There are almost 20 years, when we began the discovery of the world of this tasty spirit, we were not legend in the middle, especially in Quebec. The catalog of our favorite state monopoly was not as well stocked as it is today.

Ten years later, we created a "monster" that must be fed daily because you want more. What served us as a database and compilation of personal tasting notes is now an (independent) reference in the field. Thank you, dear readers. Thank you also to all the people in the industry who believed in us. I will ignore them because one, there are too many and two, the people involved will recognize.

3500 whiskeys later, I am surprised to always be pleasantly surprised by tasty discoveries. On the other hand, just like the layers of society, there is a break at the whiskey level; low-end whiskeys, an intermediate area that is increasingly deserted in terms of publications and expensive high-end, which continues to be more and more upscale. The trend is emerging even on the side of American whiskeys with bourbons without mention of age 150 $ the bottle ... The demand is so strong that it gives rise to bewildering aberrations. We are far from the 2000 years where we had to push the marketing machine to sell its products. Now everything can be sold, no matter the price, more reason for you dear consumer to have good references before buying. Our website Quebecwhisky.com finds even more its vocation.

Fascinating also to see the wave on which surfs a phenomenal amount of new followers (and sometimes improvised preachers specialist whiskey), this same wave that we had the chance to see hatching here about 10 years on the south side of our porous border. On the production side, there are always visionary and persistent entrepreneurs who want to produce niche liquors and Quebec terroir, all while having to hit the endless labyrinths of Quebec legislation. Hat guys (girls).

This year's whiskey level has been one of the best years ever. I had the chance to evaluate editions of exceptions which, even if they do not sit at the top of the charts of the best whiskeys 2018, are at the top of my tasting experiences. I think of McClelland whiskey distilled in 1878, Glen Grant 1966, Linkwood 1956, a dozen legendary Port Ellen, Ardbeg 21 and 23 years, Lagavulin 37 years, and so on. Even though many of these whiskeys are not accessible for most common mortals (like me, because I do not have the budget to pay for these bottles), it becomes easier to evaluate them because being detached of the concept of price or rarity because often they are samples that I had via contacts. There is worse as a hobby, will you say to me ... Passion may not be in the same form as it was when I first started, but an inner fire always animates me when I talk about this. iconic drink.

To conclude, I would like to thank people who are dear to me and who participate, sometimes involuntarily, in this madness of which I am enamored; my wife who lets me spend precious time with her when I evaluate or give training, just like my children who witness my passion, passionate friends just like me with whom I share this passion and many samples, the members of the club board who take on their shoulders great responsibilities and carry with us the torch of this beautiful club that became QuebecWhisky. Finally, my friend Patrick, for the whole work!

Remember that the ultimate pleasure lies in the discovery and general experience you will derive from your tastings.
Create sharing opportunities, and contaminate your friends with your passion, whiskey is a contagious religion.

Good discoveries friends.
Andre

Best Single Malt ... a fertile year with 7 traffic jams rated 95%
Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 47 years 1966
Gordon & Macphail Linkwood 60 years old 1956
Port Ellen 25 years 1978 4th Release and 24 years 2nd Release
Bunnahabhain Monk Mhor Brandy
Brora 35 years 13th release
Ardbeg committee 2006 Uigeadail

Blended Whiskey
Collectivum XXVIII Edition 2017

American whiskey
Knob Creek 25th Anniversary, special mention at Old Grand Dad 114 proof at 25 $ us

Canadian Whisky
Lot 40 Cask Strength 11 years et Two Brewers Yukon Release 07

Irish Whisky
Teeling 24 years Sauternes Batch 08 / 2016


Patrick


2018 was a memorable year because it was the 10th anniversary of Quebec Whiskey, the first whiskey tasting club in Quebec. 10 years ago, in 2008, we almost looked like aliens with the idea of ​​starting a whiskey tasting club! Me first, I had a hard time imagining why someone would like to join us! Today, all the big cities of Quebec (and even some less populous ones, such as New Richmond and its 3706 inhabitants!) Have their Club. And what about our virtual presence? At first, note website only served to keep our whiskey ratings for our personal use. Today, we have nearly 600,000 visitors per year, our Facebook page is followed by more than 6500 people. In fact, there are so many web pages and Facebook on whiskey in Quebec that I do not have time to follow half of it.

For the record, it all started about 5 years ago ... A passion shared by three friends (André, David and I) who quickly went around what our state monopoly had to supply as bottles and as information. To remedy the situation, we started to train for the SAQ (!) And most importantly, we traveled. We quickly discovered an abundance of festivals and whiskey clubs: There were everywhere, except in Quebec! In particular, the Festival of New Brunswick in Fredericton impressed us particularly. We quickly decided to recreate such a festival in Quebec City ... But where to start? We asked for advice, especially from Marc Laverdière, ambassador for Highland Park and Macallan, and Frank Scott, president of the Fredericton Whiskey Festival and Club. They recommended us, before attempting to launch a festival, to create a whiskey club: We would have potential participants, see volunteers for our event!

Those who know us know, however, that we have a great tendency to do everything to our head by ignoring most of the advice. In short, yes for a club whiskey (it seemed easier to organize a festival!), But no question of a group of "old petty" as we had seen elsewhere. We wanted a dynamic, democratic, not-for-profit club, in fact, rather an association of tripeux, whiskey geeks. I still remember the first activity of the Club where several people were definitely expecting something else: Moreover, at the end of our first year of operation, I predicted that the number of members of the 2ème year would be lower than that of the first! Today, we have a waiting list to join the Club which counts several hundreds of people ... We must believe that we have just aimed finally!

In short, after 10 years, we have organized hundreds of various activities. Through these, the Club welcomed guests from around the world representing more than 50 Distilleries, including Jim McEwan, Bruichladdich Master Distiller, Anthony Wills, founder of Kilchoman, John K Hall, founder of Forty Creek , Angela D'Orazio, Mackmyra Master Blender and many others. We have become a source of inspiration (and envy!) For all other clubs in Canada!

Unfortunately, only the SAQ still ignores us ostensibly (the organization ignores us, but not their employees "on the ground", for most people of great competence and a great passion for their work, that I greet well low ), and the Quebec liquor laws that are still backward, having undergone only a few cosmetic changes in the last years - The whole law dates from more than 100 years ago and has not as a reason to be that to protect "stuck" at the RACJ and the headquarters of the SAQ. And, to my astonishment, many whiskey lovers seem to be very comfortable with this situation. It seems natural to them to obtain a RACJ government permit for a family reunion, it seems natural that the government, via the SAQ, decide what they can drink - I like the image of the layers of baby: Given the importance of these for the health of our babies, why are they not sold by a state monopoly, who could ensure the quality of the product, and collect the 15% GST / QST? Or again, food in general? The cars ? If you start to think it looks like a communist regime, well, the SAQ, that's it.

As for the industry in general, I could almost repeat word for word what I wrote last year: There is more and more diversity, but in terms of volumes, Scotch still dominates and always. Where I noticed a little change, it is at the level of the appearance of new mention of age to replace the famous "NAS" (No Age Statement). The best example is Macallan, who is starting to replace his strippers range (Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby ...) with his new 12 Double Cask and Triple Cask. I think this is a first sign that the price of "mid-range" bottles is finally starting to peak. The opposite is true of the price of "high-end" bottles that will continue to increase as long as there is someone willing to pay!

Finally, what are the whiskeys that marked me last year? Some are new, others not, but it was the first time I could taste it!

Best whiskey all categories:
Douglas Laing Glenrothes 25 years old Sherry Cask (always available at the SAQ!)

Best single malt Scotch (apart from the 2 winners "all categories"):
Ex aequo :
Lagavulin Distillers Edition 2001-2017
Kilchoman 10 years Single Cask Release for 10th anniversary of Quebec Whiskey
Ardbeg 23 years Twenty Something

Blended Scotch:
Collectivum XXVIII (always available at the SAQ!)

American Whiskey:
Triple Eight Distillery - The Notch 12 years old (Look no, the SAQ is convinced that nobody likes American whiskey)

Canadian Whiskey:
Lot 40 Cask Strength 11 years (always available at the SAQ!)

Other countries :
Ex aequo :
Teeling 24 years - Batch 08 / 2016
Midleton Dair Ghaelach - Virgin Irish Oak Collection - Bluebell Forest (always available at the SAQ!)
Well, the majority of these whiskeys may seem unachievable, but I have tasted most either through the activities of the Club (4 on 9), or through the activities and tasting booth at the SAQ Signature (3 on 9, the SAQ Signature team in Quebec is doing an incredible job!)

With that, I wish you a great year 2019 filled with discoveries!

Patrick

Quebec Whiskey Magazine 2017

André:
I have the festive spirit at the end of the year so I'm going to go on a positive note rather than critical I'm sulking the dark side of the force, as in journalism, the year 2017 was really a year of shit and puerile in negative events and not always shining for the human species.

The year 2018 will miss the 10eme anniversary of Scotch whiskey Club of Quebec and QuebecWhisky. When around 2002, I began my exploration of the world of whiskeys with my 2 time companions (endless world it goes without saying it's like a Star Trek spirits this case, we never stop pushing the limits), we never imagined the magnitude that it would take and that this contagion would join so many trippeux from everywhere in Quebec (and in Europe).

From modest beginnings but incalculable dreams, we are surrounded and supported by thousands of followers and enthusiasts of all kinds. I remember the first month that we welcomed 100 visitors for the first time on the website, we told ourselves at that moment that it was still amazing to have (as much ... lol) curious and it was pushed to continue by thinking that there were probably more people also animated by this (contagious) passion for whiskey.

The monster has grown and grown ... nearly 3000 ratings, more than half a million visitors a year, more Facebook followers and 5000 still full of projects in mind ... while remaining completely independent beyond. Not so bad for people in Quebec, often shunned by the industry because of our populist and unusual approach. Ignoring criticism, sometimes from you, readers, sometimes distributors, agencies or the SAQ when we demolish a mediocre product, the journey continues on a sometimes hazardous terrain.

By analyzing the results of 2017, I can certify that the general quality of products is at the rendezvous. Some of the marks awarded this year are among the highest ever published on the site. I never forget the chance I have of (...) having to savor, dissect and analyze such rare products, I never forget how far we have come since our beginnings when I have the chance to have a drama. 'a bottle to 10,000 or 25,000 $.
I remain humble because I know that this success, I do not wear it alone on my shoulders, but that we all carry it at arm's length with you dear readers ... It sounds almost like a union discourse my business so let's go to the review of best whiskeys of the year 2017, before it degenerates ...

Patrick:
2017 was my 15e year of passion for whiskey, which 13 to share with you, first via the Celtic Festival and the SAQ, then via Quebec Whiskey - which will also celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2018.

My friend André was the one who introduced me to this tasty world 15 years ago and still today, it is often him who finds me the best samples that are: Of my 10 favorite whiskeys in 2017, half are Finds to Andrew!

As for my thoughts on the world of whiskey at the beginning of the year 2018 ... Overall, the quality is improving. Apart from the "work in progress" micro-distilleries, I give more and more rarely notes under the bar 80%, and more and more often beyond 90%. And what about the choice! If there is 15 years I could hope to taste one day ALL whiskeys on the market, it would be a task today virtually impossible, unless I agree to leave my health, both physical that mental! However, this immeasurable choice has the impact that marketing teams must redouble their imagination to find commendable qualifications for average whiskeys and this, often for products of "transition", that is to say by the time old stocks are rebuilding (ex, Laphroaig Lore replacing the 18 years!).

Finally, it is still that the domination of Scotch seems always assured in the short term and this, despite all the new distilleries that grow around the world: Americans look more originality than quality, the Japanese have the quality but not quantity, Canadians seem sleepy (except for Wiser's) and Irish people are still looking for ... There are some originals such as Kavalan or Amrut, but these are anecdotes rather than a real wave of background. Finally, we'll see in a few years!

Martin:
Last year I talked about all the great people who left us in 2016 and I told you to prepare for the same thing in 2017 ... Well I was wrong. If 2016 was the year everyone died, 2017 was the year everyone got out of the penis.

So much so that to pluck the word "penis", I can as well plogging that although I do not have 15 whiskey experience years behind the tie like my two friends above, this month my whiskey blog celebrates its 5 years casually, and it is just as much pleasure to be an accomplice of beautiful surprises for the 10 years of Quebec Whiskey.

On the industry side, we can only notice that the trend is continuing in many ways. The mentions of age disappear while the stocks do not hold the blow with the demand, forcing each company to leave a "founder reserve", a "master distiller choice" or another name of the kind which does not want in the bottom nothing to say ...

I try to tell myself that we also see some positive, especially that the selection in SAQ is far from what it was years ago, but we must not forget that others have not stopped either . On the other hand, it would be bad faith for me to say that our neighboring provinces have a selection very different from ours. The average Quebecois is beginning to take an interest in fine spirits, the "microbrewery" movement being a beautiful gateway. Mea culpa for my indictments of years spent on this subject.

Except one thing: Show Canadian Whiskey Some Love. I would have to make a macaroon. As for Canadian whiskey, it's hard on Calvary. Especially after a year like Wiser's gave us. Is it a remnant of misplaced separatism or what? We are lucky to have the most versatile whiskey style in the world and to have whiskey makers with doctorates, and in Quebec we are too proud to sell anything other than whiskey at 25 $, COME ON!

Wow, I re-read again and I feel like I'm still cheating on everything ... Bof, we're having a drink and we're forgetting 2017!

Happy and delicious 2018 year!

Slàinte!


Single Malt Scotch Whiskey of the Year

André: Ex aequo : Lagavulin 25 years 200th birthday and Glenmorangie Pride 1974
If the price is not particularly pledge of the quality of the liquid in the bottle, well this year my favorite whiskeys (rated 96%) enthroned at the top of the charts. Two nuggets that very few people can unfortunately afford (2500 $ for the Laga and 10,000 $ for the Glenmo). These two whiskeys, completely opposite on the chessboard of the palette of flavors, offer a symphony of flavors, textures and unusual aromas. If it fits into your budget, it's 2 '' no brainer ''.

Patrick: Ardbeg 1815
I hate to have chosen such a rare and expensive whiskey as "whiskey of the year", but it is well deserved. At a more reasonable price, the last three versions of Lagavulin Distiller's Edition have earned 94, 95 or 96% ratings, so there's something for everyone!

Martin: SMWS 3.245 Bowmore 17 years
I can understand that all the distilleries keep their good stock to dilute in their special editions which we hide the recipes to sell us a price of crazy, and I can also understand that they start slapping the sale to the independent bottlers. Take advantage of the genius behind the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society's single casks if you can, because either they are called to one day disappear, or they slowly become overpriced, or even worse both!

Specials however for Glenlivet and his Cipher, and Glenfiddich for his experimental collection (XX and IPA), both to try to push the limits of whiskey as we know it.


Blended Scotch Whiskey of the Year

André: Secret Spirit Shetland Reel Whiskey
A distillery founded in 2013 in the Shetlands ... hey ... That proves that the quality is definitely based on the know-how and not only on 200 years of history. 75 $ pure happiness, if you can find it ...

Patrick: Passport Blended Scotch
An excellent blend, especially available in Latino markets (Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Portugal and ... Poland!), And at an unbeatable price (about 30 $ CAN). A beautiful memory of travel!

Martin: Ballantine's 30 years
It is certain that with a blend of 30 years it is difficult to be in the field. The price can cons bite us in the ass.


Irish Whiskey of the Year

André: 12yo Redbreast Cask 01 / 2016 Batch Strength
If all the Irish whiskeys were of this quality and at this price, the Scottish skirts would have something to pee under their cold. Big quality, affordable too. I only had one sample and I'm desperate for a bottle.

Patrick: 12yo Redbreast Cask 01 / 2016 Batch Strength
If you want to understand the new "buzz" on Irish whiskey type "pot still", a few drops of this nectar will enlighten you!

Martin: Fuck all
Incredible but true. My lips have not touched a single Irish whiskey this year! Yes, but we did not do a Pot Still tasting? Yes but like a thick I did not have time to make my tasting notes. Note for the future: diversify my sessions.


Canadian Whiskey of the Year

André: Wiser's year
Wiser's 35 years, Dissertation, Last Barrel, Union 52, these 4 whiskeys got the overall rating of 93%. The 2017 Year of Canadian Whiskeys is Livermore, the year of Wiser's. If the Whiskey Hall of Fame exists, Livermore has just won his place for him and his family until the end of time. Liquid engineering these Livermore creations. With a name like that (Liver = liver), his destiny was all drawn ...

Patrick: Wiser's, for all of his work
Wiser's 35 years, Dissertation, Last Barrel, Union 52, but also the Lot No.40 cask strength and the Pike Creek 21 years, what an exceptional year! Don Livermore, the genius behind these creations, lies to everyone who says the Canadian whiskey industry is asleep (me first, haha!)

Martin: The Wiser's experience
At the risk of repeating what my colleagues have said, an 35 whiskey aged less than $ 200, a master blender both doctor and mad scientist, a visit to their brand new beautiful visitor's center, the Northern Border Collection and Ray-Ban, Wiser's, Lot 40, Pike Creek, Gooderham & Worts, Canadian whiskey is far from dead. Except in SAQ.


American Whiskey of the Year

André: Buffalo Trace Antique William Weller Collection LaRue
67.7% alcohol and 100% satisfaction, an experience in itself, but a spate of flavors and alcohol that some fans will have trouble managing. Too bad the madness surrounding this annual production tarnishes the pleasure of wanting to find a bottle.

Patrick: Equality: Blood Oath (Pact No.3 2017) and The Notch 12 years (Batch No.2)
These 2 whiskeys simply left me speechless and with notes of 95%, have passed very close to the title of "whiskey of the year". Available only south of the border, you will have a better chance of finding them in Massachusetts or New Hampshire. Good hunt!

Martin: Buffalo Trace Antique Collection William LaRue Weller
Another not found rarity that only shines in the same spheres as Pappy Van Winkle and Co., reminding us of beautiful memories.


World Whiskey of the Year

André: SMWS 119.14 Yamazaki 11 years old
When my chummy Graham and Johanne poured me into a drink - after warning me to prepare for a whole experience - and I first glanced at it to lose myself in this ruby ​​color almost unreal, then wet my lips, the first thing I said to myself is '' holy shit ... how can I find a crate of that? ... '' Good if you're already browsing the web, good luck. This bottle was definitely for whiskey's posterity. As they say: liquid story. Orgasm guaranteed with each sip.

Patrick: Sweden, 2.0
Box and Hven, two Swedish micro-distilleries, reminded me brilliantly that there was not only Mackmyra in Sweden! Their new whiskeys are just excellent and I can not wait for the SAQ to discover their existence!

Martin: Kavalan Cask Strength Vinho Barrel
I must complain that we have not been spoiled internationally this year. The bubble Amrut and Paul John is deflating quietly, and we swear that the SAQ wants to give us a bad impression of Japanese whiskeys. I then turn on a whiskey that came out about 2 years ago but I have tasted this year. A superb malt that is worth looking for if you are abroad. A superb malt that confirms Asia's position as a leading player.


Laphroaig - Layers of Laphroaig Select Deconstructed

An analysis of the deconstruction session of Laphroaig Select, offered at the distillery. The session consists of 6 samples: Laphraoig Select in addition to 5 samples representing the components at creation of the Laphroaig Select.

First, having to analyze and dissect one of the worst editions of Laphroaig, already it starts badly ... Apart from the idea of ​​finding what went wrong, let's say that the session started with a strike even before the first launch at marble. To give you an idea, the tasting notes of Laphroaig Select can be found here:https://www.quebecwhisky.com/laphroaig-select/

Note that although the alcohol level was not indicated on the samples, it is very likely that they were all 40% but we did not want to confirm on the spot.

Definitely the worst tasting I've had at the Laphroaig distillery so far ... Marketing is not subtle for two cents to make us swallow that this whiskey is the fruit of ingenious creation and impeccable quality. I left before the end of the workshop and it was the first time that it happened to me. What a disappointment from one of my favorite distilleries.

Sample #1: Virgin American Oak Cask
The nose is very smooth and round, unctuous and plump, a lot of vanilla and honey, domesticated peat, well balanced. The mouth is full of citrus fruits and oranges, diluted and flat texture, together offers very little homogeneity and we feel the dilution to its maximum. It gives me more the impression of a flavored water than a whiskey. The maritime accents are present with the touch of sea salt and the stale and almost anonymous phenolic peat, a tear of eucalyptus drowning in an ocean of vanilla and honey. Final fast and ephemeral.

Sample #2: Ex-Bourbon American Oak Cask
Feeling of bourbon, sweet and creamy but also spicy; toffee, caramel, oranges, apricot. The nose is still a little franker than the one in the Virgin Oak. The palate is textured and the flavors more intense; more salt, more peat and more citrus. Finish offering a little more persistence in the mouth and flavors with more latitude and durability.

Sample #3: Ex-Bourbon Quarter Cask
The mouth is more tapered although the flavors are washed out and dull; citrus, oranges, a little lemony even, with good accents of pepper and spices. The contribution of the Quarter Cask is well felt, a lot of vanilla too and a touch of appreciable dry wood.

Sample #4: Oloroso Sherry European Oak Cask
Beautiful nose round and fruity, whole and generous; dried fruit, wild berries, fruit cake, cinnamon and many other spices especially in the final. The combination of maritime and saline accents brings a whole new dimension to the presentation. Orange marmalade and salted caramel. Lack a little punch with shy alcohol but it is undeniable that there is something interesting in this sample.

Sample #5: Pedro-Ximerez European Sherry Cask
Very sweet and greedy fruits, more balanced too, perhaps more just as flavors. Jam of oranges, honey and salted caramel, peat in the mouth, strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrant, black cherries accompanied by a final or picot sea salt on the tip of the tongue and a pronounced peat smoke.

Quebec Whiskey Magazine 2016

André:
It's been more than 15 years that I gravitate around the whiskey industry and this year I had a shove in the face. The industry is sick. You're going to tell me '' Girard, it's the fifties who has tapped you coconut or what? ''. Let me explain my point of view ...

Do you find it normal for Whiskey Magazine to award Distillery of the Year to a distillery (High West) that does not even produce whiskey? That the price of a double price bottle between 2 deliveries to the SAQ (Balvenie 12 years and 15 years, Bookers) on the simple basis of the request, not on a quality upgrade, additional aging, or whatever. We consider that a production of 30,000 bottles can be called '' limited edition '', that the name '' Craft Distillery '' is so fashionable ...

Do not be fooled this way, let's dig a little deeper. Constellation Brands buys so much pub in the magazines, so do not be surprised that High West wins the palm in the publications. So many people drink indubitably from magazines and hyper-subsidized websites by distributors, agencies and distilleries that we should not be surprised that some consumers do not base their whiskey purchases on biased sources. It's no surprise that prices go up so insidiously, because if a whiskey sells 200 $ instead of 100 $, marketing people are not cellars, so make 100 $ more if they sell the same.

Buy a whiskey at 400 $ and adorn it with words '' limited edition of 30,000 bottles '' ??? At this point, all versions of Bookers and all single barrel on the market deserve this name ...

Life in general is so expensive that many people have turned to consumer goods and they can share with friends. All the movement '' buy, local, drink local '' is well in fashion. Have you noticed how beer is made hip? As beer is not far from whiskey, many new hobbyists will join the ranks of whiskey lovers and label the bottles with a word like '' craft distillery '' is so an easy hook in the current market. Is there anyone who can define the meaning of the word '' craft distillery ''? This name is not patented from what I know. It's really boiled for cats.

You may find it a cheap plug the following, but where I want to bring you is that the website Quebecwhisky.com now receives more than half a million visits a year. Our site is completely independent; no connection with the SAQ, distributor, agency, distillery. Nobody pays us for our evaluations, our only income is the passion and the comments of the readers. Nobody pays our bottles, no sponsorship, INDEPENDENCE ...

I thank you dear readers and trippers of whiskey for your support and your support. I especially thank you for trusting us and being one of your sources of information, whether for your purchases, your recommendations or simply for the pleasure of sharing information and having an independent opinion.

Patrick:
Mea culpa. Yes, it's my fault. My fault if you pay a lot more for your whiskeys today, and not always for better quality, like Macallan with its 1824 range. It's my fault that some whiskeys are not sold with those who drink them, but those who collect them, like the "Ice" of Highland Park. My fault if the good quality / price ratio, such as the Balvenie 12 years, no longer exist. The "No Age Statement" too expensive, such as Laphroaig Lore? My fault too!

Yes, you can blame me, put my head at a price, use my photo as a training target. But before embarking on actions that could still have legal consequences for you, I would like to plead some extenuating circumstances.

I therefore allow myself to credit myself to the diversity of whiskeys such as the world has never known: Think of the various traffic jams (Dark Origins of Highland Park, Laphroaig Cairdeas, etc.), the explosion of the number of micro -distilleries (more than 900 in the United States, soon a dozen in Quebec!), the multitude of new distilleries in Scotland, Ireland and Japan, yes, it's thanks to me all that. It is also thanks to me that it is increasingly easy to find information on products whose manufacturing process was still surrounded by mystery and magic a few years ago.

I can already hear some of you saying, "Er, Patrick, you're not pushing hard here? ". My answer is no, on the contrary! But I must admit that I had accomplices. Thousands of accomplices in fact, scattered all over the planet.

But let me take you fifteen years back, you will understand: At the time, with my two companions David and Andrew, we discovered the fabulous world of whiskeys. Literature told us that barrel aging was a form of ancient magic, bourbon was a potion appreciated by the trolls of Mordor, Japanese whiskey seemed to be part of another quantum dimension but we could hope to taste all the single scotchs malts in a few years. And that's where the trouble started. Without knowing it, thousands of people from all over the world have started the same quest at the same time. Like us, not believing the explanations from producers who were almost science fiction or Cold War spying novel, we began to ask more and more questions ... And to share the answers via books and especially, being of our time, via the web.

It was not long that we found these people who shared the same curiosity as us. Tasting and information-sharing associations such as Québec Whiskey (with its Club, its web page and its Facebook page) have multiplied around the world. It's easy to imagine the following: The sale of "ordinary" products has stagnated (like Canadian whiskeys), or even decreased (in the case of blended scotches), while that of more special products, such as single malt scotches , exploded.

In short, concerning the increase in prices or the multiplication of the No Age Statement, one must not believe the simplistic explanation of the growth of demand in Asia creating a stock-out. With some exceptions ready, it's bullshit. No, the real reason for all this is simply that we are thousands of people from all over the world to be willing to pay the asking price for these bottles, quite simply. In short, if you want to see the price of your favorite dram return to the level of 10 years ago, the answer is simple: Stop drinking, and convince as many people to do the same. You do not think you can do it? So make reservations, because the prices have not finished rising! And for us, common mortals with a medium income, we will gradually fall back on NAS, then bourbons, blends ... We will keep the single malts for Christmas!

My colleague André tells you that the industry is sick? Based on the previous lines, I would rather say that I am the patient. And you! But are we really sick? Considering all the new choices we have, and the fact that it's becoming easier to get information about these, I'd rather say we've never been so healthy! In short, for the utterly altruistic purpose of maintaining your good health, it will be my pleasure in 2017 to continue my exploration of the fabulous world of whiskeys, and to attract you as often as possible off the beaten track! My goal will be to introduce you to your favorite future drama and who knows, if there are enough of us to join the movement, maybe the cost of these single malts that we love too much will eventually return to an affordable level ?

On this, good and happy year 2017!

Martin:
Well, we turn the page on 2016. I usually always have a point of view on things that is a little bit different from my two friends Pat and André, and this year is no exception.

We complain that small batch are no longer small batch. That the limited edition are no longer limited edition. That NAS whiskeys are overvalued. That craft distilleries are not really craft distilleries. That our good old single malt costs more than ever. In short, the 2016 year in whiskey was a bit of a treat.

People shit a little 2016 in all areas, there is no exception. In the metal world apart from two exits (Amon Amarth - Jomsviking et Twilight Force - Heroes of Mighty Magic) we also had a bit of a crappy year. The world in general is bending and putting on the back of Joffrey Baratheon 2016's Cultural Hecatomb, I'm talking about Kilmister, Bowie, Prince, Frey, Emerson, Walsh, Cohen, Lake, Michael, Princess Leia, and a tread.

And bin do you the idea, in any case it's not over. In 2017 we should not be surprised to lose (and I do not wish) McCartney, Dylan, Jagger, Richards (him due), Ozzy and even Iggy Pop. Times are changing and we're just noticing these things a bit more because of the increasingly insidious side of social media. It's the same.

It's the same with whiskey. The issue of stocks, consumer demand, greed of giants and perfidy of marketing, the current tangent will continue in 2017. So do like Pat and store your favorite because a price drop is not on our doorstep! Certainly, the proliferation of tasting clubs and savvy hobbyists makes it possible to continue exploring on a more normal budget, as 2016 has not just been pocket. Whiskey Drinkers Unite!

Wow, I read again and I realize that I am negative in simonac ... Bof, take another dram and we will soon forget all that!

Happy and tasty 2017 year!

Slàinte!


Distillery of the Year

André: AnCnoc / Knockdhu
Rascan, Flauther, Rutter, 22 & 24 years, the stellar 12 years at 75 $ .. a whole range of aromas in a single distillery, what more ...

Patrick: Kings County Distillery
Creativity and quality go hand in hand with everything this distillery produces. Visit Brooklyn, where New York is reinventing itself, and visit Kings County Distillery, where whiskey does the same!

Martin: Glenlivet
If we had this category last year, I would have given it to Glenlivet as well. A nice approach to the NAS problem. A solid entry, without flusher the classics with mention of age, plus one or two single expensive but delicious casks a year, we are not about to dislodge.


Single Malt Scotch Whiskey of the Year

André: Mortlach 75 years 1939
An ounce in a lifetime whiskey, I cried while sipping whiskey, it's the experience of a lifetime to have the chance to savor a whiskey such as this one.

Patrick: Ardbeg Dark Cove
Like what we can do something good with No Age Statement.

Martin: SMWS 29.144 Laphroaig 22 years
With most of the big players taking the lead and serving us average NAS at crazy prices, single casks are a safe bet to fall back on. For the time being. The SMWS is not that accessible (logistically and financially at least) but its traffic jams smash the barracks for sure.


Blended Scotch Whiskey of the Year

André: Lady Luck Compass Box
All the wisdom and know-how of blending in one bottle. Tasty.

Patrick: Storm Blended Malt Scotch Whiskey
Yes, it's not just single malts in life. And although most blends are a terrible way to ruin our budget, some blends do not have to blush comparison with single malts, on the contrary.

Martin: Compass Box the Lost Blend
All the wisdom and know-how of blending into another bottle than André chose.


Canadian Whiskey of the Year

André: Canadian Rockies 35 years
The oldest Canadian whiskey ever on the market, directly from the cask, bottled with more than 78% alcohol. Damn…

Patrick: Royal Royal Hand Selected Barrel by Davin de Kergommeaux
It's been years since I said it, Diageo has an amazing stock of Canadian whiskey, but Crown Royal being one of the best seller in the world, it seems to kill their motivation to make any effort whatsoever.

Martin: Royal Royal Hand Selected Barrel by Davin de Kergommeaux
Single Cask, Single Cask, Single Cask. Handpicked by the Canadian whiskey reference Davin de Kergommeaux. Like what Crown Royal does sometimes bomb too.


American Whiskey of the Year

André: Batch Bookers C04-J-19
The perfect bourbon, in every way, closed case.

Patrick: Kings County Rye
Long live the creative micro-distilleries! Ex aequo : Booker's Batch # C04-J-19as good as a bourbon can be!

Martin: George T. Stagg 2012
A whiskey from 2012? Posted on the site in 2014? Yes bin me I tasted in January 2016, and he put me on the ass. Surely there are bottles still in circulation in some cradle convenience stores in the United States. The hunt is on!


World Whiskey of the Year

André: Creative Whiskey Co Irish Whiskey 13 Years Cask Strength
The revival of Irish whiskey? It's nagging to see so many boring Irish whiskeys on the market when you come across a whiskey like that.

Patrick: Mars The Revival 2011 Kogamatake
The future of Japanese whiskey. Stay tuned!

Martin: Creative Whiskey Co Irish Whiskey 13 Years Cask Strength
A sublime Irish strength cask. But again an independent bottler wins the palm on a slew of official traffic jams. A very nice testimony about everything we tell you since the beginning of this article.


Quebec Whiskey Magazine 2015

André:
What I remember from 2015; the exponential explosion of prices of single malts versus a quality that does not always follow the rising price curve and a market that is always trying to keep pace with demand by switching to the No Age Statement.

My turn, around November, the release in Canada of Laphroaig 15 years to 185 $ ... with - let's face it - a questionable result. The insidious price increase over the past decade is difficult to understand. While digging in my whiskey room, I happen to come across bottles bought a decade ago that still have the price tag and when I compare to current market prices, I must admit that I happen to be stunned . This same Laphroaig 15 years (of much higher quality) that I had paid 75 $ which I had the good idea to buy 2 bottles ...

My shovel: The imbroglio around the last two issues of Compass Box who was accused of "unveiling" the recipes of their latest album ... What? Cum on !!! It is blamed to tell buyers what they will drink in their last purchase? Seriously, enough to leave a doubt about what makes your favorite whiskey, especially at the dawn of the tsunami "No Age Statement" ... It's as if we were afraid to say "we sell you shit but we want not tell you "... to say the least ... doubtful. Leave the choice yes, impose it, maybe not, but forbid?

Encompassed in the limits imposed by the SWA, the distilleries could at least be diligent and original in the names given to the latest editions: Chairmans Reserve, Distillers Selection, Founders Choice or Reserve ... Seriously?!?! Whiskey NAS General Public: The best choice of the distiller or the president or the distillery manager? You kidding ??!?! Just like the Limited Edition appellation, which has a wide back and is a very elastic concept for some distilleries. When the batch at 18,000 bottles, let us go with the Limited edition ...
The trend of the market is more and more cocooning and sedentary pleasures (say). People are fond of local produce, local food, wine and beer. The jump to whiskey is therefore almost natural for many consumers who have learned to respect the strong alcohols whatever they are. But how to attract a new audience in their twenties to spend a $ 100-150 on a bottle of single malts, in addition to facing such an aggressive demand on the market?

Hence the craze for local products, bourbons and whiskeys micro-distilleries that are very affordable. (with some exceptions such as Van Winkle for example). You have to know how to skate a lot to find a solution to this problem and the Scottish distilleries have found their salvation in whiskeys without mention of age.

This is also where the whiskey club finds its value. For a reasonable price, people can taste more than 100 whiskeys a year and decide to invest their 100-150 $ on a bull-eye whiskey, a sure-shot without having to regret it.

I raise my hat at Aberlour distilleries, with stellar Abunadh which I believe remain one of the best deal on the market (if you move to the US, several states sell it about 60 $ ... imagine ...) and Glenlivet who with his Founders Reserve has revived this distillery almost on the artificial respirator. In addition, the Nadurra Sherry CS and the 2 single cask are in my opinion the best presented by the distillery for ages and are far superior to the 18, 21 and even the 25 years of age of the same distillery.
Ardbeg, who went under the radar of the NAS controversy and who passed us whiskeys without mentions of age since well before Macallan, but who now asks about 170 $ for a whiskey without mention of age plays on a very dangerous limit .
Unfortunately, the 200eme Anniversary editions of the Ardbeg and Laphroaig distilleries are almost a bad omen of the Scotch whiskey universe and offer us little reason to let go crazy and celebrate ...

My biggest disappointment, Auchentoshan ... whenever I have a sample that I have to evaluate, I almost postpone the delay. The Valinch series, the American Oak ... ouch ... We almost have to wonder why there are practically no more distilleries in Speyside with such editions. Otherwise, the distilleries are to adapt to the new laws of the market. Some are doing well, others with more difficulty.

On the personal side, I've had the chance to savor some of the rarest whiskeys since I gravitated into the world of whiskey; Glenmorangie 1963, Glen Grant 50, Highland Park 1968 and 78, some grain whiskeys from the 60 years, a tasting of 5 editions of the Dallas Dhu Distillery from the 70 and 80 years ... in addition to meeting passionate people who work in the craft. Whiskey is interesting, but people who design it often offer "something extra" to your alcohol discovery experience. There's worse as a hobby you tell me ...

Here is my personal record of my discoveries 2015 whiskeys. But no matter what happens this year, if you ask me, "What's your best whiskey for life? », I will answer you either« the one that I have in the hand or the neighbor that I will taste »!

You have to open up to discoveries, dare producer countries often relieved (India, Sweden, Australia, Taiwan, etc.), types of different whiskeys (rye, bourbons, blends)! You probably miss out on some nice surprises if you do not think outside the box. What's nice about the world of whiskey is that you always find something new or better, it's like an alcoholic Star Trek movie ... Dare young Padawans!

Patrick:
2015 was marked by the continuity of the trends observed in recent years, for better and for worse. Globally, sales of Scotch are falling both in terms of volume and value, which is not surprising given the proliferation of micro-distilleries in the United States and Europe, and especially the growing reputation American whiskeys, (Bourbons in particular).

If we take our analysis a little further, we can see that it is the Scottish blends that are mostly losing momentum, while the single malt category is still growing. The Quebec market is a good example, with SAQ Signature recording sales growth of more than 250% for its various whiskeys.

In short, those who hope for a lull in prices of their favorite scotch will be disappointed. My advice: Turn to Canadian bourbons and whiskeys while there's still time! The only problem with this advice is the pathetic choice offered in this regard by our state monopoly! The most obvious example is the negligence demonstrated by the "Spirits VP" of the SAQ: Without even tasting it, it refused to offer its captive clientele the first "rye" Quebec under the pretext that people do not like rye, at the same time that Whisky Magazine and Whiskey Advocate published reports showing the phenomenal growth of this category.

In short, I repeat myself, but what is the state doing in retail? The beer is already sold in grocery stores and convenience stores, which does not prevent the government from levying its taxes, but allows for still competitive prices and above all, an incredible variety of products!

I must, however, recognize one thing: Yes, the executives of the SAQ seem to think only to preserve their privileges, but the level of competence whiskey employees on the floor is everywhere growing, and generally more than respectable. Bravo!

Some loose items:

Unfortunately, Japanese whiskeys are now almost impossible to find. Everywhere, the "no age statement" replace whiskeys once adulated and I have no hope of seeing the situation improve in the coming years.

Fortunately, American and Canadian whiskey producers are offering us more and more exciting products, all at a reasonable cost. Also, the global explosion of the micro-distilleries phenomenon assures us that there will always be more new whiskeys with new flavors! What more?

The SAQ: When will a Charbonneau commission review the operation of the SAQ? My discussions with various stakeholders in the Quebec liquor market regarding the opacity of the SAQ product acquisition process lead me to the following conclusion: Or the people in charge are showing incredible negligence, or they are corrupt.

In conclusion:

In 2016, the Scotch Whiskey Club of Quebec, as well as its quebecwhisky.com portal, will allow you to navigate through the incredible diversity of the world of whiskeys. At a reasonable cost, you can enjoy Scotches that are not at a reasonable cost and especially expand your horizons by discovering new whiskeys from around the world!

See you again and share a good drama together! Slainthe!

Martin:
Some points marked me in 2015. It's hard to ignore the controversial crowning of the world's best whiskey last November, according to expert Jim Murray, the Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye property. To have tasted it myself, purely based on the value of the said whiskey I must at first disagree. You can see it for yourself by comparing our reviews on quebecwhisky.com with the dram you will have in front of you, the product will soon appear in SAQ at friend price. Honest evaluation? Possibility of brown envelope under the table? Your turn to judge.

But one thing is certain, if there is a positive point in all this, it is that it may well point to a well deserved spotlight on Canadian whiskeys, too often forgotten or relegated to the rank of second-rate whiskeys. Many pearls can be easily discovered if one knows the existence, I think especially Forty Creek and Highwood Distillers of this world.

On another matter, I will follow my colleagues and address the topic of No Age Statement. Although the industry is faced with this need that may be seen by some as a trend, not all distilleries face the challenge in the same way.

I will not name some producers who saw in this crisis only an opportunity to inflate exorbitant prices for traffic jams that simply do not break the house.

I must, however, highlight Glenlivet's successful efforts to tackle the problem with the intelligence, candor and transparency that few of their competitors have had. Hat at the Founder's Reserve that nicely fills the base of the pyramid by offering an honest NAS single malt at a price that is just as good. They had prepared the ground a few months before with their Guardians' Chapter and the introduction of their excellent range of single casks. All beautiful new products that easily eclipse the rest of the traffic jams to mention of age, except perhaps the solid 15 French Oak, in addition to inject a good dose of adrenaline to a distillery which began to stagnate since one end of time with several of his Scottish counterparts. Bravo Glenlivet!

As for my choices for the year, I realize with a little hindsight that I was a bit severe with 2015, but hey.

On this medals and gentlemen, a happy new year 2016, and above all, Sláinte Mhath!


Best 2015 Whiskey

André: Bowmore Springtide

Patrick: Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie

Martin: Bowmore Springtide


Best Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

André: Bowmore Springtide

Patrick: Bowmore 15 years Laimrig 4e Edition

Martin: Bowmore Springtide


Best Blended Scotch Whiskey

André: Compass Box The Lost Blend

Patrick: Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie

Martin: Douglas Laing Scallywag


Best Canadian Whiskey

André: Still Waters Stalk & Barrel Rye Cask #17

Patrick: Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whiskey

Martin: Canadian Club Chairman's Select 100% Rye


Best American Whiskey

André: High West "A Midwinter Night's Dram"

Patrick: Blade and Bow 22 years

Martin: Buffalo Trace Experimental Rye 12 Collection


Best Whiskey of the World (other countries)

André: Teeling Silver 21 years 1991 Sauternes Finish

Patrick: Nikka Taketsuru 17 years old

Martin: Amrut Single Cask - Sherry Cask SAQ


Best value for money in SAQ

Patrick: Forty Creek Barrel Select

Martin: Forty Creek Barrel Select


Best "Should have won a prize"

Patrick: Orphan Barrel Barterhouse 20 years old

Martin: Glenlivet Founder's Reserve


Quebec Whiskey Magazine 2014

André:
Year of consolidation, year of upheaval, year of changes announced or not.

In Canada, I retain the sale of Forty Creek to the Italian group Campari. The story of John Hall is growing (on a smaller scale) as we have seen for many Scottish distilleries ... Never having been limited to the whiskey commonly distributed on the market, the inventiveness and audacity of John Hall have finally paid (almost $ 186 $ ...) but Hall is still at the helm of the Forty Creek ship! I also greet loudly the tide of new micro-distilleries that are spreading everywhere (except in Quebec - for now ... Subversive distillers?), An exhaustive list of which can be found You can consult it by clicking here.. No one is a prophet in his country but it is up to us to spread the good news of the excellent Canadian whiskeys!

On the American side, I deplore the fact that the regulation of whiskey does not allow us to know exactly where the liquid comes from in certain bottles. The Lock Stock and Whistle Pig of this world are good whiskeys but come from Canada and that's still hard to know. Even if this same problem is also reflected in Canada in a different way (many Canadian whiskeys are mixtures of several distilleries) the avalanche of new releases on the USA side is unduly beneficial to some distributors posing as distillers and this wrong ... for the industry. Special mention to the Tate-Balcones saga; money and passion sometimes do very bad things. History to follow ...

World-wide, what discoveries ... English Whiskey Co, wavy Japanese whiskeys, Kavalan, the revival of Irish whiskeys (teeling) ... Unfortunately, many people only preach by Scottish single malts, how sad.

Has the whiskey bubble on the Scottish side reached its peak?
If not, it's not long before his industry hits a wall. With exorbitant prices, many amateurs are shouting at flying - with reason - especially since we take the opportunity to pass on more and more frequently NAS expressions (no age statement) and this without the price (and often the quality ) does not follow. Macallan's "move" was decried loud and clear, while Ardbeg and Laphroaig were already making the pass for some time. But the Scottish industry is now in a very bad position, having made hot its experience and its history more than 200 years while the newcomers (Mackmyra, Balcones) arrived on the market with less than a decade behind the tie and were praised by the critics. An Ardbeg Supernova without mention of age at 300 $, a Laphroaig Select without mention of age at about the same price as the 10 years ... Cum on! But with mega-Beam-Suntory style transactions this year, it is not long before most of the industry is the hand of a few "majors" and we are "scrambled" financially by buying a bottle.

I had the chance to taste some of my best whiskeys for life this year, the Kavalan Solist Sherry, the Teeling 26 years, Ardbeg Supernova (ironically even after writing what is above) but obviously, these will not end up in SAQ. Anyway, just travel to understand that it is better to source elsewhere than in Quebec ... Happy New Year 2015!

Patrick:
The first thing to note about my selection of the best 2015 whiskeys is that the sweetest lot gets 45% alcohol. I am aware that there is an audience for "light" whiskeys (as well as light beers), but this audience is already well served by established brands, I do not understand the industry to have yet launched this year hundreds of new products diluted to 40% and for the most part tasteless. At least, most of these whiskeys are confined to a world of Dutyfrees ...

I must also highlight the excellent work of the new Beam Suntory company that has won half of the "prizes" of my best whiskeys through new products from Bowmore, Cutty Sark and Knob Creek. To mention, these three products have alcohol levels of 50% and more: despite the size of this multinational, it is not the accountants who control the water tap! Beam Suntory accountants also do not seem to control marketing positioning (with the exception of Macallan), as two of these products are selling at 50 $ or less at the SAQ, making them real bargains!

In short, 2014 was a great year, considering the many interesting new features: We live an extraordinary time! Obviously, the excessive appetite for profits of certain brands (Dalmore, etc.) as well as that of our state monopoly spoil the landscape a little. Still, for the first, it is easy to find products offering better quality / price and for the second, it is to make the most of our trips outside the Belle Province.

2015 looks promising, with the first bill 395 in Quebec (An Act to amend the Act respecting the Société des alcools du Québec and the Liquor License Act) which should put a few ounces of common sense in our legislation on alcohol dating back to the 1920 years. Well, in fact, it would be time to throw everything in the trash and start from scratch (in the first place, abolish the monopoly of the SAQ and the RACJ), but it is a good step in the right direction . Elsewhere in the world, smarter legislation will allow the emergence of new distilleries and new spirits that I can not wait to discover!

With that, I wish you all, and your loved ones, a Happy New Year 2015!

Martin:
Well, we are at this time of the year. The time of reflections on what has just happened. I'm likely to have less verve and eloquence than my colleagues above, but ...

What to say about 2014? Of my best choices of the year, only one is currently in SAQand that's good because its category implicitly requires it. In my opinion, this will be an eternal request, and we will have a lot to say about many aspects of our sympathetic state monopoly, but the choice and variety of spirits (among others) will always be its worst fault. Just put your nose out of the province to be convinced. Although that does not speak only of that, I invite you to stuff yourself this apology... short but appropriate.

I could also speak, this time around the world of whiskeys, the fashion of NAS, or No Age Statement (Without Statement of Age). But force is to admit that it is more simply a fashion. Since the dawn of time, the age indicated on the bottle of whiskey was a guarantee of its quality, its rarity, and many other things. Nowadays we are seeing more and more NAS traffic jams, especially from the Scottish market, which indicates that the distilleries' reserves are falling quite a bit more than they had expected. Some will succeed in passing the pill, others not. One thing is for sure, the entire whiskey industry is setting sail in this direction and if you do not like it, you will not have much more choice than to stop drinking whiskey.

But what I remember mainly from 2014 is that it did not stop us from having a damn year full of novelties and fun ... Thank you all!

Sláinte and Happy New Year 2015!


Best 2014 Whiskey

André: Teeling Whiskey 26 Vintage Reserve 1987

Patrick: Nikka Coffey Malt

Martin: Pappy Van Winkle 15 Family Reserve


Best Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

André: Cadenhead Caperdonich 35 years 1977

Patrick: Bowmore 10 The Devil's Casks Batch 1

Martin: Highland Park 15 years old Loki


Best Blended Scotch Whiskey

André: Compass Box Peat Monster 10th Anniversary

Patrick: Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition

Martin: Compass Flaming Heart Box 4th Edition 2012


Best Canadian Whiskey

André: Highwood Distillers Ninety 20 years old

Patrick: Still Waters Stalk & Barrel Single Malt Whiskey Cask #11

Martin: Forty Creek Evolution 2014


Best American Whiskey

André: Pappy Van Winkle 20 Family Reserve

Patrick: Palm Ridge Reserve - Batch 32

Martin: Pappy Van Winkle 15 Family Reserve


Best Whiskey of the World (other countries)

André: Teeling Whiskey 26 Vintage Reserve 1987

Patrick: Nikka Coffey Malt

Martin: Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask Strength


Best value for money in SAQ

André: Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition

Patrick: Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition

Martin: Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition


Best "Should have won a prize"

André: Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask Strength

Patrick: Knob Creek Rye

Martin: Ardbeg Supernova 2014


Quebec Whiskey Magazine 2013

Introduction

André:
Weird year that 2013, the two solitudes of whiskey being separated more than ever. On the one hand, the major with their staggering prices, Dalmore editions at 10000 $ coin, Diageo releases at 500 $ for 10 years of age. On the one hand, distilleries playing the card of know-how based on centuries of production, on the other, micro distilleries and new producers of countries sometimes unsuspected, delivering us small pearls very affordable by bringing us back to essential, that is to say, the contents of the bottle. Although my whiskey of the year is a bottle over $ 600, I have often been thrown off by more than affordable whiskeys, often without mention of age (Aberlour Abunadh, Mackmyra) and I could also find comfort in classics rediscovered (Balvenie, Laphroaig). The same wave on the American side is sweeping the big V where every time I have the chance to cross the border, I find myself in front of a display of new producers who appeared on the market, with however a variation on the prices , American whiskeys have always been relatively affordable. We play here a different map, we test the limits of the regulations of the industry, we explore the world of cereals (Koval Millet), we enjoy the latitude of the industry. On the Canadian side, the SAQ preserves us from discovering tasty editions available elsewhere in Canada (Forty Creek) and avoids encouraging "local" trade by avoiding proposing the discovery of new pioneers (Stillwater) or old backpackers unknown here (Alberta Premium). I was fortunate to discover some of the best releases that could convert the most obtuse single malt lovers to Canadian whiskeys (Highwood Distillers - LB Distillers - Mastersons - Whistle Pig) obviously unavailable here. To highlight, the coming arrival of newcomers we had the chance to taste the samples "work in progress", the Stillwater rye, the divine Shelter Point, the singular Pemberton. With Highwood Distillers Calgary Stampede 25 years at 60 $ the bottle, an Alberta Premium 30 years at 49 $ ... the market for Canadian whiskeys just begs whiskey lovers. Can we blame Scottish protectionism? Never before has the Scotch whiskey industry been so close to such drastic questioning, torn between implosive demand, the growing problem of inventory management and barrels (affecting the quality of barrels), the tremendous explosion of prices. Can we also blame the consumer for trying to find alternatives to this exponential rise in the price of single malts?

RV:
More than ever, the globalization of whiskeys: American artisanal distilleries continue to materialize everywhere, but the same thing on the Canadian side, Europe and Asia. On the side of Scotland, we still seem very cautious, (perhaps stripped of a layer of imagination by the SWA regulations) but we still have right to standard editions (Glen Garioch) very interesting. And as globalization does not bring only good things, again this year we were treated to marketing whiskeys; after all, why would the financiers of the distilleries stop making fake doubtful rare whiskeys when they sell so well, even if the care seems to be more on the container than the contents (what will they do when there are no gods left? in Valhalla?). And difficult to justify the total increase of a range despite the pseudo-reasons for selecting barrels kings of distilled self-sufficiency (a clue: their new whiskeys are neither beautiful jewels nor precious metals). So you have to know how to appreciate the great classics (after more than 1500 other whiskeys, Lagavulin remains my favorite) and the sure values ​​(Bunnahabhain 12 years having been my favorite "little bottle easy").

Patrick:
Let's go for the "plus" and "minus" 2013 ... The "plus": Craftsmen who create us beautiful original whiskeys to the four corners of the planet. First and foremost, the brave entrepreneurs who launch micro-distilleries around the world: their experiences make us discover the unsuspected wealth of our favorite alcohol. Then, the employees of centuries-old distilleries who continually raise the bar of quality: the mediocre whiskeys become more and more rare to our greatest pleasure. The "minuses": The industry, both the producer and the "Quebec distributor". The industry, to sell us at a shameful price bottles that, although they are of very good quality, cost to produce a fraction of the price they are sold. Capitalism as we like to hate it. Then, the SAQ, the state monopoly of the 1920 years ... That still exists today simply because of the lack of courage of the government that does not dare to face the powerful lobbies representing all those who enrich themselves at the expense of the Quebec people which pays too much for a too limited choice. Socialism as we like to hate it. Also, I can not ignore the new trend of "no age statement". I agree with the principle that it is not necessary to wait for 10 years or more to enjoy quality whiskey. However, this new way of doing things will mean that we will end up paying abusive prices for drinking good whiskeys, which were previously sold at a reasonable price given their young age.


Deception of the year

André:
Pittyvaich 20 years
Being scammed in this way, there are people who go to jail for less than that. Also worth noting, the infamous Bastille 1789 but at a reasonable price.

RV:
Pittyvaich 20 years
A triple disappointment: after years reading the disastrous evaluations of Jackson and Murray about the liquid flowing from this distillery, finally I was able to taste one. True, he is not good; difficult to find positive and beyond taste, the exorbitant price is that a whiskey to taste fortuitously. But what is more disappointing is that it is not so bad (very bad, but not extremely). When a whiskey does not even succeed in totally disappointing, we reserve it for blends ... or the closing of its distillery.

Patrick:
Pittyvaich 20 years
Maybe not the worst, but definitely the worst value I have ever seen. How can one dare sell a product so infective at such a high price? The distillery may be closed, it was precisely because it failed to produce a quality product. To sell the contents of the few remaining futs at such a price shows that Diageo takes his customers for idiots. And these seem to prove him right since the bottles still end up flowing ...


Best buy / SAQ price

André:
Glen Garioch 1995
If you do not have it in hand yet, this is the must have of 2013. Noted more than 90% by the site's 3 evaluators. A quality of execution dreamed not several for a derisory price.

RV:
Shell Super unleaded
The best whiskey you can buy in Quebec? We go to Shell to refuel and we flee to New Hampshire or New York to buy bottles at half the price. Or bottles unavailable in Quebec because the producer is too small to attack the rules and voracity of SAQ leaders. And do not forget to refuel before returning: with the money saved on gasoline taxes, you can pay a little bourbon nice, all of course bought directly and simply the convenience store gas station.

Patrick:
The rums of the "Plantation" series
A great variety of flavors, frequent news, consistent quality, and a reasonable price. At the whiskey level, however, I did not find anything that met these four conditions.


Best whiskey by the way (whiskeys from around the world)

André:
Michel Couvreur Candid
Little known discovery of many amateurs, sometimes because of the price of some traffic jams, we will have discovered this year of beautiful traffic jams of Michel Couvreur, who has managed to push the use of sherry casks to its paroxysm. Too bad this year, we have also lost this outstanding character of the whiskey community. I raise a glass to your health M Roofer. It is certainly a beautiful heritage that you left us ...

RV:
Michel Couvreur Candid
After Blossoming Auld Sherried last year, the late Michel Couvreur released a young and surprising edition; still its aging in sherry, but this time with a distillate that seems to come straight from Islay, probably from Bowmore. A price may be justifiable for 140 $ for a whiskey that seems to not even make the ten years, but a taste that made me my big pennies of Seraphim. Maybe it would be worth buying a few bottles? Dali's paintings did not sell very dearly immediately after his death.

Patrick:
Michel Couvreur Candid
I hope that the competition on this front worries our Scottish friends a bit. My choice for this category was pleasantly difficult given the quality and choice that is constantly growing. Finally, still is that my choice of the year was born in Scotland, but was raised masterfully in France by the team of the late Michel Couvreur.


Best Canadian whiskey

André:
Highwood 25Y Calgary Stampede (6,000 bottles limited edition)
My initial choice was the Whistle Pig 10yo but due to the ambiguity created by the origin of the said nectar distributed in the USA ... Superb creation this Highwood 25ans, with its notes of pastries and bread, its silky and creamy texture and its derisory price of 52 $ ... for an 25 years of age. My highest score at the CWA 2012 / 2013 Blind.

RV:
Stillwater Stalk and Barrel #3
Difficult not to flinch for a distillery that was almost born, but when left and right I see other critics incense their creation, I feel that my commitment to their liquid is justified. In addition, like whiskeys at Forty Creek, their new whiskeys are definitely out of the "good ole canadian rye" stereotype. A bottle (in my opinion a little retrograde design side) to discover, cask strength version or even the normal edition.

Patrick:
Forty Creek Heart of Gold Reserve - 2013 Special Release
You do not know what I'm talking about? This is normal, it is available in 9 Canadian provinces ... In short, "coast-to-coast", except in Quebec. Finally, it is that this rye whiskey is another success of our friend John K Hall. I would love to see him continue to experiment with other types of whiskey ... When will the single malt or the "Canadian bourbon"?


Best American whiskey

André:
George T Stagg 2013 Edition
After waiting 12 years before putting a bottle, I thought it was worth the wait to have a baggage that will have allowed me to appreciate the quality. An American bomb delivered at a rate of alcohol bursting more than 70%.

RV:
Balcones Brimstone
After a few years of experimentation certainly out of the ordinary, Balcones breathes me with his Brimstone. Like MB Roland's Black Dog, Chip Tate tackles smoke in a very original way, and what's found in Brimstone is not an imitation of Islay but a symphony of smoke in a completely different register, more metal than vegetable. Originality, surprise, strength.

Patrick:
Balcones Baby Blue
Original, suave, radiant and "fun". Not only the best American, but a finalist for the best whiskey of the year.


Best 2013 Whiskey

André:
Bowmore 1985-2012 26 Years - Limited Edition
No doubt, Islay ... The haunting peat strokes your nose from the start and the fruit of the sherry cask - coated with dark chocolate - will quickly reach out to the maritime notes to start this long slow pig. The salty spray will applaud the meeting of these elements together with an incredible balance. The texture in the mouth is creamy and silky, the alcohol spies in a corner discreetly, other couples will join the dance; oranges and chocolate, red berries and sherry, salt and peat, honey and toffee mixture also heated. The final is in development, the alcohol will take a little vigor, the salt will gain importance before the return of red fruits and maraschino cherries. The perfect balance of all the elements ... Simply unforgettable.

RV:
Finger Lakes Peated Experiment
Smoke was in the limelight this year, I guess: Even more than Brimstone, the whiskey that I loved most this year was without a doubt the experience that the Finger Lakes artisanal distillery is currently making with peat. A tour de force in addition because the grain or peat is all American and not imported from Europe. But what makes it even more strength and the strength of the wood that expresses so well through all this peat. The bottle I expect the most arrival tablet in the future years.

Patrick:
Bowmore 1985-2012 26 years limited edition
My distillery worship has earned its place in my heart by offering us this sublime nectar. In the category "whiskey to live for". Also, special mention to Macallan for their 1955: given the scarcity of the product, I found it a little unfair to nominate.

Quebec Whiskey Magazine 2012

Introduction

André:
Year of "false steps" and dubious tests? Jostled by the growing appearance of many microdistilleries around the world, the Scottish market is trying to renew itself. These are not subject to the same laws and do not have to follow a historical ideology (sometimes untouchable) old distilleries, have the free field to test. After many successful efforts, sometimes dubious Bruichladdich, the distillery would have found its niche. Personally, I find that it is not yet well defined and what will happen with the after McEwan? And Laphroaig who tries to reinvent his classic by trying the refining in PX (fail) and the doubtful Ardbeg Galileo Marsala Cask or one hopes to continue the good results of refining of Glenmorangie by applying them to Ardbeg (fail #2). The Scottish industry needs to reinvent itself, it becomes a priority.

RV:
After hundreds of whiskeys and 10 years of experience, 2012 has been a homecoming. Many of those who have impressed me most have been the standard editions or new versions (batches) of old classics. While the market is still changing, there are still some editions where marketing exceeds the taste (including the series of very ordinary HP Saint-Magnus, Thor and other dubious deities) or where a dealer had to buy a barrel 1 $ because tinged with sulphide (Old Malt Cask and his infective Mortlach 21YO). However, I still had many surprises, both new (King's County Bourbon) and old (Glenglassaugh Revival), even resellers with the glittering Linkwood Côte Rôtie, perhaps the best whiskey bottled by a third company of my life.

Patrick:
All in all, 2012 was a great year for consumers of whiskeys from around the world and from Quebec. At the level of choice, the number of micro-distilleries explodes, as well as the number of traffic jams that are generally interesting from our favorite distilleries (unlike André, I love Ardbeg Galileo!). Even our favorite state monopoly, the SAQ, offered us this year more novelties than ever (well, we are still far from being able to say that the choice is interesting, but there is still a slight improvement). We could complain that prices follow a rising curve motivated by the greed of shareholders and governments ... But the laws of the market indicate that we are unfortunately always ready to release a few dollars more for our favorite bottles. In short, my conclusion is that as long as it regularly opens new distilleries, we can consider that everything is fine (apart from our personal budget).


Deception of the year

André:
The container more than the content
This last year will have seen beautiful marketing delivering sometimes very ordinary products, especially for the asking price. Highland Park Thor, especially disappointed me at the biggest point and my expectations were great it must be said, Highland Park being my favorite distillery. A bit the same for the new Bruichladdich 10 The Laddie Ten, touted by many on the net but that will leave me on my hunger. Love whiskey is also a pleasure for the eyes and the presentation but in the end, it's what's in my glass versus what's left in my wallet who will be the last judge and this year have been of those where I have often had little for the price paid.

RV:
Glenfiddich, in general and in particular
After the 102 proof, I was expecting something from Glenfiddich, something that when I see one of their bottles, I can see something other than a single malt for bars that do not know about it. in whiskey. However, the Age of Discovery proves to me how much this distillery does in the anodyne, the malt bored to its most anonymous form. Okay, the packaging is very retro chic, but a better marketing and a bill easily 100 $ too expensive will never excuse a whiskey not really better than their special reserve (all the same to 47 $ in SAQ, price that despite all taxes start to be too expensive for a single malt that is not as good as some ordinary blends).

Patrick:
Take me for a con
The distilleries that persist in coming out of novelties at the minimum alcohol level provided for by law, ie 40%. Consumers are becoming better educated on the criteria that make a whiskey a quality product, I feel like I'm taken for an idiot when I see Glenfiddich release a product such as the "Age of Discovery" at 40% alcohol. We focused on the packaging (which I like), we produced a whiskey that seems excellent, but we let the accountant manage the closing of the water tap. Result: a whiskey that tastes the water. I can not ignore another example of distillery that takes us for cons: Dalmore! The quality of their whiskeys has taken a monumental landing, but I must admit that their bottles are among the most beautiful! In short, beautiful products for rich cons.


Worst Whiskey

André:
Thor Boyo
This same peat not pleasant whiksy Armorik, earthy and organic rot, some scattered flowers, peaches, apricot, and quite round sugar. No one to shit in the mouth, one seeks the texture ... and the aromas. Looks more like a wine than a whiskey. A little spicy in the mouth. Final non-existent or almost, light plant and vanilla ... and always this rotten peat very organic.

RV:
Thor Boyo
Local and farm products? Long live the countryside. Not serious, not pretentious (enough to write on the label "who will drink it will shit")? Excellent ... except that it still takes quality, something we do not find at all in this "whiskey" that pushes the audacity with a price of around one hundred dollars. Quite expensive as a joke, as expensive as an annoying Macallan but at least not repulsive, this is a damned French who should have stayed in his country. For more details and mischief, consult the review of Thor Boyo.

Patrick:
Thor Boyo
The problem when the demand for a product such as whiskey explodes, is that to meet this growing demand, several entrepreneurs improvise whiskey producers and we prepare a little anything and have no shame to sell the whole thing. at a staggering price. Only positive point: with such a name, we should not complain, we had been warned!


Other spirits of the year

RV:
Gelas Single Cask Double Matured
Yes, a very subtle attempt to copy the market for single malts: the name, the bottle ... and unfortunately the price too. However, the concept is supported by a very high quality Armagnac, superior to many cognacs at more than double the price. For lovers of sweet whiskey, whiskey or simply any well-crafted spirit, this Armagnac proves that quality and terroir are not exclusive to Islay.

Patrick:
Tequila 1800 Anejo, closely followed by Botanist, Bruichladdich gin
It's hard to decide on just one bottle given the range of choice ... My favorite spirit was the Tequila 1800 Anejo, but I have to say that my favorite is definitely Botanist, the gin of the Bruichladdich distillery. . I am happy to see the Scots putting their expertise to work on other spirits.


Best whiskey vatted / bended / grain

André:
Compass Box The Last Vatted Malt
Wow ... Nose punches up and up. Beautiful sweet Islay peat, lemon, fruit. An evolutive nose and all in contrasts. In the mouth, it is complete and generous; lots of fruit and a mix of sherry, honey, chocolate, smoke, salt and flavors found in bourbons. Oily final; an ode to Islay whiskeys; salt, peat and smoke. Wonderfully delicious.

RV:
Clan Denny North British
A year a little lean in terms of blends and single grains, even if there are still excellent discoveries to be made in the single grain range, not to mention the pleasure when you cross one through less interesting bottles of blends more or less cheap. For example, this North British, at a price still interesting for a whiskey 30 years, demonstrates the depth that this type of whiskey (not enough exploited for my taste) is capable. If only Diageo could market those who drag in their warehouses Valleyfield ...

Patrick:
MacKinlay's blended malt
A beautiful story, a beautiful packaging and especially an excellent whiskey. This whiskey is supposed to be a replica of a whiskey abandoned by an Antarctic expedition in the early twentieth century. Is the reproduction accurate? We do not care! The whiskey is excellent, offers complexity and exceptional refinement, so what more? Definitely my favorite of the year!


Best whiskey by the way (whiskeys from around the world)

André:
Mackmyra Single Reserve cask # TA-808: 45
Ruby fruit nose. Wow, it's rich as a nose, very elegant, sexy. Syrupy red berries, cherries, cherry blossom, rustic country fruit and jam. Languorous, silky, very impressive texture. Explosion of fruit in their syrup, pastille with cherries. May look like a cognac cask whiskey without the drying side. That's good ....... After three drinks I'm always amazed by the complexity and the coating effect of this whiskey. A whole whiskey right up to its endless finale in heady fruit maelstrom. A Smörgåsbord of fruits. As Jonathan Luks, Mackmyra's representative, said, "Age does not matter, it's all about taste". This is it! Bravo!

RV:
Michel Couvreur Blossoming Auld Sherried
Good products from Japan (including the peaty Hakushu Heavily Peated), the Irish once again do not seem to want to offer good products, but after my worst whiskey of the year ever I would have thought that my best whiskey in the world was manufactured in Scotland but raised in France. And what an education! In the temper of the best Aberlour Abunad'h, sherry is mastered and grows the malt on a marvelously unknown ground. Education unfortunately has a price (287 $ in this case) but for a single malt over 20 years, the wait was worth it too. See Blossoming Auld Sherried's review to get your mouth watering.

Patrick:
Mackmyra Single Reserve cask # TA-808: 45
Original and exceptional! Mackmyra is one of the few distilleries I am looking for maximum traffic jams.


Best Canadian whiskey

André:
Canadian Rockies 21 years (Taiwan exclusive)
Thanx to the Canadian Whiskey Awards and Davin de Kergommaux. This rare traffic jam simply knocked me down. An exercise on cereals and the sweetness of honey. On par with Forty Creek Bourbon pulled the session da "Whiskey deconstructed" with John K Hall. The Canadian whiskey industry is in good health and thanks to John K Hall for his great contribution. Just the SAQ pulls the paw to enter the rest of these products in Quebec. No one is a prophet in his country ...

RV
Forty Creek Rye Cask
It's not always the best drinks that go on the shelves and the activities of the Whiskey Club of Quebec (long live presumptuous autopromotion!) To discover an elixir of the caliber of Forty Creek Rye Cask, as manufactured by John K. Hall before being blended. Another of my 2012 discoveries, rye is surely the most temperamental grain; in this declination it is sweet, not too sour or spicy, well balanced and well marked at the same time. As divine to 40%, I wonder what could have happened to my whiskey choice of the year if this rye cask had been additionally bottled cask strength.

Patrick:
Forty Creek Copper Pot Still
Canadian whiskeys are starting to get more and more interesting, thanks in large part to distilleries like Forty Creek. And when it gives us a great novelty less than 30 $ (obviously, not available on the tablets of our state monopoly, the SAQ), it's kind of a kick in the c ... at the whole of the whiskey industry! Yes, it is possible to create a product "regular", excellent and cheap. Congratulations and thank you!


Best American whiskey

André:
Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project Batch 61
It had to be done and BT did it ... an experiment leading to 191 different bottles. Different types of warehouse, wood cutting, recipe ... an exercise that is good to appreciate when you can find the said bottles, not given elsewhere (50 $ the 375ml). This batch, a wheat whiskey is superb, so sweet, so well balanced. Not too far however traditional bourbons with its journey of red fruits and plenty of sugar. A whiskey so comforting that I savored 375ml in one evening - all alone - in front of a good fire.

RV:
Parker's Heritage Cognac Finish
Certainly, I still could taste very good outlets microdistilleries but it is a very risky bottle for a rather traditional megadistillery (Heaven Hill) that I retained as my best American whiskey. One or two special editions a year with real rarity, a marketing that I like almost as much as the liquid in the bottle. Originating from a barrel finish of French spirits, Parker's Cognac Finish Heritage has retained control while leaving a great place to grape cognac and its share of wheat that is his recipe.

Patrick:
Willett Pot Still Reserve
A little a winner by default ... This is a good bourbon, but it goes without saying that the major American distilleries have not impressed me for a long time. Their products are monotonous, and their only attraction is often their price. I would have hoped that the proliferation of micro-distilleries in Uncle Sam's country would have motivated them to do something different, but no. Bad.


Best Scotch Whiskey

André:
Laphroaig Cairdeas 30 years old
After 12 years of tasting and close to 1500 tasted whiskeys, it may be a little harder to impress. This Laphraoig 30 years made me hesitate too with the Lagavulin 21 years old but at about the same price (over 1000 $ and 5 years older at Lagavulin for 1000 $ more than the regular 16 years edition ... you kidding ?! ) This Cairdeas Limited Edition put me in all my states. The paroxism for a whiskey lover, this nectar is the caliber of the Holy Grail, hard to find but what a pleasure to savor. Thanks to Marie-Lou and PL for bringing me the sample directly from the distillery.

RV:
Aberlour A'bunadh batch 40
The good old A'bunadh, nothing tastes better in the year? Yes and no. First, it is the GOOD old A'bunadh, once again in a different version from those of the last years. A bit like the Glenrothes 1995 last year, it is a difficult calculation for a distillery to release a whiskey that must be part of a guideline but must also stand out to please fans. This time with apple and fruit accents, always with a challenging alcohol level, the Aberlour A'bunadh batch 40 is a simple, warm and delicious bottle.

Patrick:
Lagavulin 21 years
It is not really a novelty 2012, but given the difficulty that I had to get my hands on (thank you Mireille), I allow myself to present it here. My favorite whiskey aged 5 years older? It could only be excellent! The novelties of this distillery are too rare, but hey, with this new edition, it has the "prestige" of offering 2 3 whiskeys from my top personal 3 all categories!


Best 2012 Whiskey

André:
Balvenie TUN 1401 Batch #3 US Release
Difficult to be disappointed with Balvenie, not always surprised by cons, but very rarely disappointed. Balvenie follows its guideline, well drawn with traffic jams in traffic jams. It eclipses her sister Glenfiddich (by marriage) and continues to be the underrated distillery. The session dedicated exclusively to Balvenie given to the club in the spring renewed my love with this distillery and its superb achievements; the 30 years, divine, the 15 years and its single cask, the 21 in sherry cask, the affordable Double Wood, the rum finish and this stunning TUN 1401 which will have astonished more than one ...

RV:
Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project Batch 61
A cheeky concept: take out over a hundred different recipes (different grain proportions, different barrel planks, different barrel drying, etc.) and see what happens. In this 61e project, it is a wheat recipe that caught my attention, especially when later I could taste exactly the same recipe except the wheat content that gave way to rye. Although unfortunately I only tasted two recipes on the tens and tens available (maybe not so unfortunate for my liver eventually), the 61 edition is not only the best recipe, not only the best American whiskey but the best whiskey I've ever tasted in 2012. Beyond the very interesting experience, the taste of this Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project #61 is proof of everything. And long live the bourbon.

Patrick:
It depends!
According to the "points", definitely the Lagavulin 21! At heart, MacKinlay's reigns supreme. At the value for money, I would have appreciated that the Forty Creek Pot Still has a little more competition. Finally, to paraphrase RV, the best whiskey is the one I have not tasted yet! Happy New Year 2013! Strong

Seduction and Whiskey

Is your spouse jealous of your passion for your collection of whiskey bottles? Here's how to spend an unforgettable evening with your two loves at the same time! We will (re) discover whiskeys that you can enjoy with the beloved, whether you are a guy who wants to share his first passion with his girlfriend, or a girl who wants to interfere between his boyfriend and his rivals! !

In fact, to help the neophyte of your heart to tame whiskey, the trick is often to present it well and to marry it with a candy. As a first example, we will use a way to taste the whiskey that I always refused: the frozen drink! Start by leaving a bottle of Johnny Walker Gold 18 years in the freezer all night long, then serve it in a glass that will have spent the night with the bottle ... (while to be in the thematic love) Then go get a good not too strong chocolate such as Michel Cluizel, 1er raw planting, chocolate milk 50% cocoa.

So now you have everything in hand to carry out the experiment: Take the chocolate in the mouth and let it melt quietly. Then, when it is well wrapped your palate and your throat, drink your whiskey by emptying your glass in one dash (I never drank my whiskey as well either!). The sensation should be surprising for you and pleasant for your friend that you initiate.

Here are some tasting notes about this whiskey to impress your muse with your gustatory talents:

Johnnie Walker Gold 18 years old

40% alc./vol.
Nose: Malt and light cream. Taste: Malt, creamy, hint of grapes, caramel and honey. Finale: Fresh malt, light cream, multidimensional. Iced: Chocolate and whiskey go very well, leaving us with a refreshing taste that combines caramel, honey and a hint of grapes. Comment: I am impressed by the result: it is pleasant to taste and it goes down well! What is lost in the complexity of the flavors because of the temperature of the whiskey is recovered thanks to the chocolate and the very refreshing sensation!

Let us continue our experiments, without losing sight of the fact that we are obviously doing all this while thinking only of the happiness of our love. Let's head to Speyside, the region of Scotland that is whiskey what Bordeaux is to wine. The single malts of this region are famous for their elegance: we often find heather floral notes, honey and sometimes a nice discreet peaty shade.

Now that the lady of your heart has realized that it is possible not to hate whiskey, show him the single malt the same way you like them, or almost! Here again, start with a good milk chocolate (always 50% cocoa - yes, we usually recommend stronger chocolates in cocoa to single malt lovers, but this is not our target audience today! ). Let it melt in your mouth. Then, bring to your lips a glass of Macallan Sherry Oak 12 years old.

The usual technique of tasting single malts applies more than ever: look, smell and take a small sip that you keep in the mouth while your saliva soaked in chocolate wraps the whiskey. Here are some tasting notes to guide you:

Macallan Sherry Oak 12 years old

40% alc./vol.
Nose: Vanilla with a hint of ginger, dried fruit, sherry sugar and wood smoke. Taste: Creamy, dry fruits and generous sherry, nuanced with spices and smoky notes. Finale: Creamy butterscotch and dried fruits, spices and smoky notes that blend beautifully with chocolate. Final comment: Whiskey full of subtleties, rich and intense, which will please the serious amateur as much as the beginner who will taste it with a good chocolate. She will actually feel like eating hot chocolate, which should help inspire a more chilled end of the evening!

If you want to impress your charming company with your culture, you can explain to him that Macallan brings an almost unhealthy care to his whiskeys! Indeed, they are even owners of forests in Europe and the United States where grow oaks used to make barrels used for sherry or bourbon. These barrels are then sent to Scotland, where they serve to ripen the Macallan.

Just with such a measure, Macallan identifies himself as a leading manufacturer. But that's not all: They also use a good proportion of barley "Golden Promise", because according to them, it gives better results to taste and this, despite it is more expensive to produce. And this is far from enough for them: They also use the smallest heating core in the world is only 16%. That is to say that 84% of the product of distillation can not go directly into a bottle bearing the name "Macallan" ...

Finally, a last experience that will conquer the heart the coldest. In fact, here we cheat a little because it is not really a whiskey, but rather a whiskey-based liquor, with an alcohol level comparable to that of port, 25%. This is a nice surprise from one of Speyside's best distilleries, which has deliciously balanced its single malt with maple syrup and pecan nuts: the Macallan Amber.

Macallan Amber single malt scotch whiskey liqueur

25% alc./vol.
Nose: Roasted pecans and maple. Taste: Maple, pecans. Caramel, a little spice. Sugar. Malt just supports the whole thing. Finish: Long and sweet, sweet ... First maple, then pecans. Comment: A great way to end your dinner face to face to move on!

These three experiences will allow you, I hope, to spend a pleasant evening bringing together around you your main passions. Obviously, it is highly recommended to add to these suggestions candles, delicate music, a good fire and some rose petals!

Good night!

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