We are often asked to explain the differences between bourbon and whisky. To get straight to the point bourbon IS whisky, or whiskey, as the Americans and Irish like to spell it. Whisky is a generic term, it can be produced anywhere provided certain rules are adhered to, which can vary from country to country. Bourbon is a category of whisky made only in the USA. Scotch whisky may only be produced and matured in Scotland. To make it a little easier to understand we’ve produced this infographic – Bourbon vs Scotch single malt – read on…
One of the most requested categories at Wild about Whisky is Japanese whisky. Unfortunately, due mainly to supply and demand, as well South Africa’s stringent and antiquated laws governing whisky imports, we don’t get to see enough Japanese whisky on our shelves. I don’t see this improving in the very near future, so the best we can manage is to source a few from various channels for tasting in the bar. It’s not easy to please everybody, and while most punters are really happy just to have the opportunity to taste something new, there are those that question the point of being able to taste something that’s not readily available. For the former group we’re happy to announce the arrival of some new additions to our Japanese portfolio, as well as some great Four Roses bourbons and George Dickel Tennessee Sourmash Whiskey and Rye.Japanese whisky Super Nikka Revival Limited Edition 43%
Another winner from the Nikka distillery stable, this combines sherry matured Yoichi and other Nikka malts. A pot-pourri of dried herbs, citrus and spices on the nose leads a syrupy, oaky palate.Nikka Black 8 40%
An 8 year old version of Nikka’s excellent Black malt, this complex blended malt exhibits citrus notes, with hints of exotic spice. The palate kicks off with dark berries leading into cocoa and toffee.Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky 45%
The two Coffey or column stills at Nikka’s Miyagikyo distillery were brought in from Scotland in 1963, and produce a heavier flavour, with more depth, than newer stills. Nikka Coffey Grain is an essential component of Nikka’s house blends. A single grain whisky, distilled mainly from corn in a Coffey still, offering vanilla and fruity notes, with corn contributing to the sweetness.Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky 45%
Coffey stills are almost exclusively used to distill grain whisky, so this column-distilled malt from Nikka is pretty unique. Rich, fruity and flavoursome – well worth a dram.Bourbons and American whiskey Four Roses bourbon 40%
Many times nominated as Whisky Magazine’s American distiller of the year, the craftsmen at Four Roses believe their four distinct styles of yeast are what separates Four Roses from the rest. And who can argue? Honey and spice come to the fore in this smooth, 40% ABV bourbon, with hints of orchard fruits.Four Roses Single Barrel 50%
This multi-award winner is loaded with flavour – fruity, spicy, caramel, vanilla, with hints of cocoa and maple syrup.George Dickel No.12 45% (Tennessee Sourmash Whiskey)
The George Dickel distillery is situated in scenic little valley near Tullahoma, Tennessee, around 30 minutes drive north of Lynchburg’s Jack Daniel’s distillery. While the production process is very similar to Jack Daniel’s, including the Lincoln County process, this is small scale distilling in comparison. Nothing happens quickly here, and the folks at George Dickel are very proud of their whiskey – and it’s easy to see why. The gold medal winning No. 12 is a mix of 84% corn, 8% rye and 8% malted barley, with notes of buttery corn, leather and tobacco.George Dickel Rye 45% (Straight Rye Whiskey)
95% rye and 5% malted barley make this a true rye whiskey, then mellowing in charcoal gives it smoothness. Rye whiskey is what made American whiskey cocktails famous, which then all but disappeared from the market after bourbon gained favour. Straight rye is seeing a revival, bringing with it some of those old cocktail favourites.
On the evening of April the 30th, Steve, Eve and I took part in a live Skype tasting with Mickey Heads, Ardbeg’s distillery manager. Of the three whiskies on show, it was the pre release of Auriverdes, the new 2014 Ardbeg Feis Ile bottling, that so excited us , as we had just received a bottle…
This is my take on it….
Ardbeg Auriverdes Single Malt 49.9%Richly sweet ‘n peat, honey ‘n seaweed, another classic Ardbeg appears on the nose, briny, salty toffee, tarry ropes, creosote in the depths, so complex and alluring. Seductively opens with toasted marshmallows and smoked gammon.The palate is astonishingly viscous, creamy, buttery, thickly sweet, honey drizzled onto hot dark salted toast, Fisherman’s Friend lozenge, toffee and tarry.Water opens the dram with iced coffee, richening and sweetening the warm golden honey pot, offering on the finish, hints of Earl Grey tea. Another masterpiece! 95