7 July 2016

29/06/2016 Drams at Nihon

Impressive selection, at this San Francisco venue. They are famous for their Japanese whiskies and food. JS and I are not here for that, though: their Scotch selection is equally ambitious.

Enough to drink

They offer three options: a "taste" served in a nosing glass (3/4 oz pour, roughly 2cl, which is a normal dram in Europe), a "pour" (1.5 oz, roughly 4cl, a European double), or a bottle. One can indeed purchase a full bottle, which they then keep on the premises for one to have every time one visits. The top end bottles are only available by the bottle at outrageous prices (read: ten times the market price). It seems even in the USA, one is not immune to the trophy bottle effect.


We decide not to buy the Karuizawa 1981 for 12500 USD, not the Glenugie for 3950 USD. Pity, as the latter should be pretty good.

Convalmore 22yo 1984/2007 (52.2%, GMP Cask Strength, Refill Sherry Hogshead, C#1538): nose: a superb combination of citrus (lemon and lime) and earthy tones (burnt sienna earth, dry clay, then more humid, mossy soil). Complex alright. Mouth: an explosion of lime, sharp and precise, yet below that, more mellow notes emerge slowly, velvety. Kumquat, pomelo, lemongrass also shows up, Kafir lime leaves and roasted cereals. JS detects okra in the mix. Finish: smoke!?!? Yes! All the notes from the palate are still there (citrus, citrus-y spices, earth), and they are cloaked in a veil of delicate smoke. I love this. Glad I have a bottle and cannot wait to try it with the usual suspects. 9/10

Ireland 13yo 2002/2015 (52.2%, Creative Whisky Company The Exclusive Malts 10th Anniversary Special Edition, Refill Hogshead, C#20021, 336b): nose: in no particular order, almond milk, lime water, coconut-and-banana yogurt, tamarind paste. Mouth: fresh and lively, filled with acidic lime, and sweet lashes of coconut-and-banana yogurt. The ABV is well integrated, yet noticeable. Finish: cereals in almond milk, topped with a few drops of lime juice. The finish is super long in a mellow way. Wow. Ireland rules, at the moment, don't it? 8/10

We joke that the next two should also be 52.2% ABV and make it a theme for the night.

Glen Keith 19yo 1996/2015 (50.1%, Creative Whisky Company The Exclusive Malts 10th Anniversary Special Edition, Refill Hogshead, C#8115, 248b): despite asking for a single, I get a double. It is smoothly taken care of: I keep the double and am only charged for the single. Appreciated. Nose: butter, rancid avocado, cold grease. This is horrible. Glenrothes bad. Some shy fruit emerges behindthe badly-integrated alcohol. Rotting blood orange, unripe watermelon. With water, cured bacon, hot grease and fried fruit start talking. It is slightly better. Mouth: better than the nose. Peppery watermelon juice, augmented with blood orange juice. The butter has all but disappeared, leaving a creamy texture. With water, citrus is more pronounced and more acidic. The unripe-watermelon taste remains. Finish: in line with the palate at first (juices), it quickly joins up with the nose and its rancid grease notes. Water does not change it much... hang on! There is now a dodgy note of wet burnt wood, not appealing at all. This is acceptable because of the decent palate, but the awful nose, mediocre finish and poorly-integrated alcohol drag it down. I reckon it was a mistake to bottle this. 5/10

Caperdonich 20yo 1992/2012 (54.9%, DT Rarest of the Rare, C#46219, 243b): nose: walking through a red pine forest as the rain starts, then lighting a fire to grill some meat. Crushed pine cones, rosemary, oregano, sage. Mouth: creamy and gently fruity (tangerine, nectarine), it rolls on the tongue with a good dose of spices (ginger, mace, lovage seeds). Finish: astonishingly, cereals speak the loudest, here. The spices and herbs soon join in on the fun, without ever dominating the toasted cereals. This is OK; no point looking for the brilliantest Caperdonich, though. 7/10

There are more drams to try, but we have to leave. We promise to come back in the next couple of days. Unfortunately, we will never make it.

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