Compass Box The General

Compass Box The General

The General is unusual as far as how expressions are made at Compass Box. Usually, and as we’ve seen in previous Compass Box reviews here, John Glaser or his other whisky makers select single malts of different profiles and assemble them themselves. Here, Glaser bought casks of whiskies already blended at a young age and left to marry in those casks for a very long time. Two parcels were bought, one being 33 years old at the time of The General’s final blending, and one rumoured to be 40 years old. John Glaser describes the whisky as having an “antique character lovers of old whiskies will seek out”. So let see what we think of this Compass Box The General.

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Suntory Hibiki 21-year-old

Suntory Hibiki 17-year-old and Hibiki 21-year-old

In 1987, Suntory’s Master Blender Keizo Saji decided to develop a blended whisky to reflect the sophistication of Suntory’s techniques. Suntory says that their Chief Blender, Koichi Inatomi, sampled and tasted aged malt whiskies from one million casks at Suntory. Maybe not just to make Hibiki, as 1 million casks sampled would mean 91 samples a day for 30 years… Anyway, in the end, Saji and Inatomi found the flavour they wanted by blending thirty distinctive malt and grain whiskies from Suntory distilleries, Yamazaki and Hakushu for the malt, and Chita for the grain. The first Hibiki, Hibiki 17-year-old was released in 1989 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Suntory whisky. The 21-year-old would follow in 1994. Whatever the expression from the range, they are always presented in the brand’s trademark 24-faceted bottle representing the Japanese seasons. So let’s try those two initial expressions from the range, Suntory Hibiki 17 and 21-year-old.

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The Whisky Cellar Series 004 Tweet Tasting

The Whisky Cellar Series 004 Tweet Tasting

The Whisky Cellar is back with its fourth series of Private Cellars Selection bottlings, but not only. Keith Bonnington, The Whisky Cellar‘s founder and ex-Edrington employee, bought, a few months ago, from his former employer, the Brig O’Perth blend brand. One of his other projects, Scalasaig, also is not only an island whiskies blend, but also now a bottler, with, I imagine, single malts coming from all the distilleries making up the Scalasaig blend. So for this fourth Whisky Cellar Tweet Tasting, we’ll try the Brig O’Perth, a Tobermory bottled under the Scalasaig brand, and three single malts and one single grain part of the Whisky Cellar Private Cellars Selection Series 4. We enjoyed a lot Keith’s selection during the first three Tweet Tastings, so I think we can have high hopes for this Whisky Cellar Fourth Tweet Tasting.

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Dublin Liberties Distillery

Dublin Liberties Distillery Whiskey

Whilst the distillery is installed in a very old building, initially a mill constructed in the 1700s, in the heart of Dublin, it’s a very recent distillery that started production in 2019. The distillery is named after the Liberties district of Dublin, an historic district of this city. New distilleries have several choices when they start and until their whisk(e)y comes of age. They can produce unaged spirits like gin or vodka to have immediate income while the future whisky matures. They can also just wait the required three years, but that needs to have enough cash from the start as it means close to no income for the first few years, except maybe for the income from a visitor centre. And finally, they can source whisky from other distilleries, potentially blend it, mature it for an additional period, or finish it in a selection of casks, and sell it under their name with a markup. That’s the third choice Dublin Liberties Distillery did, and we’re now going to try four of their expressions, all sourced from undisclosed (as far as I know) Irish distilleries.

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Suntory Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2021

Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2021 review

Suntory’s first big announcement of 2021, back in January, was of two limited-edition variants on their two biggest brands: Yamazaki Limited Edition 2021 and Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2021. They were both released on May 25 and sold out almost immediately everywhere. There are allegedly 30,000 of each of these kicking around. They both had RRPs of ¥8800 (after tax, around €67 or $80), but now grace auction sites for 10x that. 

Our focus here is the Hibiki Blossom Harmony.

Coldorak’s Note: today we welcome a guest author, Mac aka Kanpai Planet, who does Youtube reviews of Japanese whiskies and other Japanese drinks on his Youtube channel. Yōkoso!

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Walsh Whiskey Tweet Tasting 2021

Walsh Whiskey Tweet Tasting 2021

We’re back for another Walsh Whiskey Tweet Tasting, yay! Last year’s one was a really good one, with drams going from good to reaaally good. So what did they have for us in store for this year? Let’s find out what they brought for this Walsh Whiskey Tweet Tasting 2021. And if you want to know more about Walsh Whiskey’s history, go read my article from last year, then come back here to have a few drams with me.

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The Quiet Man Whiskey Tweet Tasting

The Quiet Man Whiskey Tweet Tasting

I guess you’re getting quite used to reading about Tweet Tastings from me now, as I’ve covered quite a few of them in the last 6 months… or more. Today, we’re back to an Irish bottler/blender, as we can see quite a lot these days. I guess it’s a sign the Irish whiskey industry is flourishing, so that’s quite good news! Let’s introduce The Quiet Man, before reviewing the three drams we got to try this time.

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Old and new Nikka Taketsuru NAS and 21-years-old

Old and new Nikka Taketsuru

The Nikka Taketsuru range is a good example of the problem Japanese whisky is facing. And I mean the true Japanese whisky, the one distilled in Japan, not the “bottle whatever and slap some Japanese kanji” fake Japanese whisky crap. As you’ve read a thousand times, there is a shortage of old Japanese whisky stocks, that is here for a long time (you can’t accelerate years, even though, and especially with 2020, you’d sometimes want to). And the demand for Japanese whisky is so high that the current production is not even enough to cover the needs. Thus, Nikka announced last year expansions for its Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries to fight shortage. But since whisky takes time to mature, the shortage will probably stay at least until 2030… And earlier this year, they sadly announced the total discontinuation of the 17, 21 and 25-year-old Nikka Taketsuru, their pure malt blend of Yoichi and Miyagikyo juices, named after the founder of the Nikka group. I won’t go into the history of Nikka and Masataka Taketsuru as I’ve briefly covered that previously on the Yoichi blind tasting I organized with friends. They also announced they would renew their NAS edition of Taketsuru, and thus today we’re going to review the old and new Nikka Taketsuru NAS, as well as the discontinued Taketsuru 21-year-old.

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House of Hazelwood 18yo Review

House of Hazelwood 18yo Review

In 2011, William Grant & Sons released a first expression under the Hazelwood brand called Janet Sheet Roberts 110th Birthday Edition in 2011 (that’s a mouthful!), after William Grant’s granddaughter name. Mrs Roberts died in 2012 as the oldest woman in Scotland, aged 110 as the name of the first release suggested. Four years later in 2015, William Grant & Sons announced a new trio of whiskies under the House of Hazelwood brand, three blends aged 18, 21 and 25 years old, to be released first in the travel market early 2016 before general availability.

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Compass Box Spice Tree & Spice Tree Extravaganza Review

Compass Box Spice Tree & Spice Tree Extravaganza Review

The Spice Tree is a famous blend made by Compass Box. John Glaser, Compass Box Whisky Company‘s founder, is a man who spent many years in the wine trade. Younger, he wanted to become a wine merchant or a winemaker. After joining Diageo to work in the marketing department of Johnnie Walker, he learnt blending next to JW’s master blender Jim Beveridge. While at first he intended to slide over to Diageo’s wine department, things worked out differently and he fell in love with Scotch Whisky. Later, he decided to go back to his ambition: create. But this time, to create whisky, as he saw the idea of blending whisky as a creative art. So he decided to become not a winemaker, but a “whiskymaker”. And in 2000, he founded Compass Box Whisky.

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