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The Bottomless Pit


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Hello, that is one in all our (nearly) every day tastings. Santé!



September 5, 2021



A phrase of warning
Let me please remind you that my humble assessments of any spirits are accomplished from the standpoint of a malt whisky fanatic who, what’s extra, is aboslutely not an knowledgeable in rum, brandy, tequila, vodka, gin or another spirits. Thanks – and peace!


The Bottomless Pit
(Or the barrel of the Danaids)

In each home the place individuals who wish to journey dwell, unusual drinks, liqueurs and spirits from obscure nations are inclined to accumulate after any holidays, whereas there’s nothing you possibly can do in opposition to that. Besides drink them, or sink them. We’ll attempt them then, after which sink them, until we come upon a gem, which can effectively occur from time to time, wherein case we’ll drink them. See? Please don’t count on any form of logic, not even French logic… (which could be very overrated, actually)… Please notice that we cannot do that inside a single day…

Wackes 2019 'Printemps' (43%, OB, Gin , France, 200 bottles)

Wackes 2019 ‘Printemps’ (43%, OB, Gin , France, 200 bottles) Three stars
That is small-batch Alsatian gin. My son-in-law, who owns and runs a stunning bar in Strasbourg known as ‘La Brasserie Parisienne’, offered me with this bottle some time again. I instructed him everybody on this planet was making gin lately; he replied that this was the most effective we had in Alsace. Defeated, I proceed…  Color: white. Nostril: bursts with recent citrus, zests, juniper, and this little soapiness that I am all the time discovering in any gins, even in Outer-Mongolian ones. It’s totally recent. Mouth: cologne, cleaning soap, juniper, lemon zests, lavender… I am positive it is excellent, however I might additionally imagine that this shouldn’t be drunk at room temperature. Which is exactly what I am doing simply now, foolish me. What I like is that this tiny saltiness that seems on the tip of your tongue and in your lips. End: brief, extra on juniper. Feedback: I will drink the stays on ice. I am positive it is excellent, however I don’t rating gin. BTW, Wackes, in Alsatian, means rascal. Or, as the good of us at Douglas Laing would say, scallywag.

Let’s fly (effectively, drive) to Burgundy…

SAB'S 'Le Gin' (46%, OB, France, 2021)

SAB’S ‘Le Gin’ (46%, OB, France, 2021) Four stars
Some loopy vapour-distilled gin made in Beaune out of Burgundian juniper plus varied herbs, fortified with chardonnay and pinot noir eaux-de-vie. Are we prepared?  Are you positive? It is to be remembered that generally, they slightly use vapour distillation to make fragrance, that is the primary time I am attempting such a drink – until I am not having a great grasp of the entire idea, I will should enquire. Color: white. Nostril: maintain on, one thing’s occurring. It’s totally uncommon, citrusy for positive, slightly earthy, completely not soapy (as a whisky lover, I have a tendency to seek out most gins soapy), with clear notes of positive. Bear in mind, positive is distilled wine, cognac is a positive, for instance. Citrons too, watermelons, maybe a wee contact of myrtle, wild carrots, fennel, linseed oil… Mouth: we’re approaching positive territories certainly. I as soon as distilled some spent lees of riesling and got here up with one thing a tad related, besides that it was dirtier. Lees make spirits ‘soiled’ however some individuals like that. Anyway, that is extra an eau-de-vie than ‘gin’ to me, which is nice information. I am discovering touches of celeriac eau-de-vie, cider apples, maybe elderberries and sorb, even holly, a contact of wormwood/absinth maybe… In reality, I do like this. End: slightly lengthy, going in the direction of herbs, mint, liquorice, recent turmeric… Feedback: merely greater than gin.

Since we have been speaking about positive…

SAB's 'La Fine' (46%, OB, France, 2019)

SAB’S ‘La Wonderful’ (46%, OB, France, 2019) Five stars
They’ve vapour-distilled lees of pinot noir and chardonnay and aged all of it for five years in small Burgundian oak casks, then completed it in cognac. Color: gold. Nostril: there’s this dirtiness I used to be speaking about, however Springbank is soiled too, capice? In any other case some toasted oak, praline, humus, contact of caraway and ginger, tobacco (untipped Camels circa 1975), dried sultanas, chocolate, ginger cookies and gingerbread… I am reminded of some new American malts, and maybe of some rice whiskies from Okinawa. That is what we’ll name travelling afar due to a wee spirit. Mouth: it isn’t a ‘positive’ as we, effectively, as I knew it, however these raisiny notes that are inclined to saturate your palate illico presto are very good. We’re on a type of small Sicilian islands the place they make heavy candy wines, resembling Pantelleria… The oak they’ve used works effectively and would have added a well-behaved spiciness, round cinnamon and ginseng. End: lengthy, spicier, extra natural, simply pretty. Feedback: I will say it, it is the primary time I am attempting – knowingly – some vapour-distilled spirits. To date, so good. I would wholeheartedly suggest this child, must you be capable of discover it.

So a positive is distilled wine, whereas a marc is distilled (spent) grapes. Marcs are often grassier and harder. I are inclined to choose marcs, particularly those they make in Bourgogne/Burgundy, whether or not they’re destemmed (rounder, simpler fashion) or not (even harder and extra natural). Let’s do that one…

SAB's 2013 'Le Marc' (46%, OB, France, 1200 bottles)

SAB’S 2013 ‘Le Marc’ (46%, OB, France, 1200 bottles) Five stars
Pure marc de pinot noir, vapour-distilled and aged for 4 years in small French oak casks. This must be extra, say typical. Color: Sauternes. Nostril: marc, it is marc, conventional marc, we love marc. Stems, grapes, pips, contact of menthol, pine wooden, grass, juniper, cedarwood, raisins… Actually pretty, if extra pine-y than different marcs I might attempt (I’ve lived in Burgundy for a couple of years, so…) Mouth: prime notch grassy marc. All marcs must be grassy. As soon as once more, some menthol, cinnamon, raisins, gingerbread, speculoos, beer (actually, some thick trappiste), even notes of espresso… End: lengthy, lovely, extra on liquorice. Feedback: I’ve tried many marcs over time, and have made fairly a couple of myself (with buddies) so I can inform you that that is fairly good and doubtless the most effective you possibly can make out of pinot noir. So long as we’re not speaking gewurz…

I actually imagine that was the primary time I’ve tried vapour-distilled spirits and I am questioning whether or not you possibly can vapour-distil whisky too. To be mentioned, within the meantime, let’s attempt…

Marc de Bourgogne 1969 (46%, Jean Michelot, Pommard, +/-1985)

Marc de Bourgogne 1969 (46%, Jean Michelot, Pommard, +/-1985) Five stars
These previous marcs could possibly be superb. What’s extra, Jean Michelot (RIP) was one of many kings of Pommard. Color: gentle gold. Nostril: an explosion of grapy aromas, that is marc-de-la-muerte that kills and charms. Effectively it charms earlier than it kills. Superb earthy grapes, raisins, sappy touches, camphor, ueberripe pears, chlorophyll, maraschino (pinot noir I suppose)… And actually bathtub-loads of assorted raisins. Mouth: I am introduced again to my years in Dijon. Totally superb marc, gritty because it ought to, and but rounded and figgy, loaded with raisins and different dried fruits, particularly dates. Implausible post-prandial drink, to sip after lièvre à la royale or coq au chambertin. Bon appétit my buddies. End: not that lengthy however fabulously raisiny, with touches of tar within the aftertaste. Feedback: superlative marc. Some imagine cognac and armagnac are kings of French spirits. Effectively, on this very case, I am not completely positive I agree…
(we do not rating right here however that may be 92+ for positive)
PS we have had a 1959 by Michelot in 2012, it was simply as sensible (WF 92).

Extra marc from Pommard, do the individuals ask!

Marc de Bourgogne 'Vieille Réserve' (43%, Domaine Parent, Pommard, +/-2010)

Marc de Bourgogne ‘Vieille Réserve’ (43%, Domaine Mother or father, Pommard, +/-2010) Five stars
Mentioned to be round 40 years previous. Color: gold. Nostril: holy featherless Napoleonic hat! That is a lot tighter, narrower, additionally extra elegant maybe, extra on peelings, greens, stems, leaves, natural teas… Certain it’s grapy – in any case that is marc – however it’s wandering in the direction of maltdom for those who nostril it deeply. Slightly spectacular, if just a little austere and fewer ‘instantly horny’ than the Michelot. Though, wait, some chic raisins are popping out now… Wow. You already know raisins could be a little stuffy and even vulgar in any spirit’s nostril, however in these marcs they’re supremely elegant. Mouth: oh-my-god. Would you please name the Anti-Marcoporn Brigade? Elegant marc, not a lot so as to add? Corinthians, sultanas, Smyrnaeans… The perfect raisins within the recognized world. Extraordinary palate, with even wee touches of salt and bouillons, as in an previous… err, Brora. Candy Jesus! End: medium, tight and but filled with raisins and soups. Candy ham. Feedback: fantabulous spirit. I do not know when the monks began to distil in Burgundy, however I doubt that may have been after the brandy and whisky makers, within the far West. At some point, we’ll enquire. We’ll should ask Hugh Johnson…
(as soon as once more no factors, however 92+, and simply).

Aren’t we caught in Burgundy? Okay, maybe a wee positive after which we’ll transfer on…

Fine de Bourgogne 2007/2016 'Fine Fleur' (40%, Domaine Pierre Naigeon, Gevrey-Chambertin)

Wonderful de Bourgogne 2007/2016 ‘Wonderful Fleur’ (40%, Domaine Pierre Naigeon, Gevrey-Chambertin) Four stars and a half
Bear in mind, a positive is a distilled wine, a marc is distilled grapes. Color: gold. Nostril: oh we’re a lot, a lot nearer to malt, with extra vanilla, truffles, pastries, nougat, semolina, a couple of metallic touches, earth, roasted nuts, a couple of burnt herbs (hay?) and even just a little bread. Grass too. Slightly intriguing, let’s examine…  Mouth: blam. Extra whisky made out of wine, actually, with vanilla, gentle toasted oak, cornflakes and popcorn, a contact of maple syrup, some fudge, triple-sec, panettone… Which makes me assume we’ll attempt to discover some grappa. Or not, we’ll see. End: medium, grassier than the marcs, maltier as effectively. Or let’s put it like this: it is just a little nearer to malt than to brandies, slightly surprisingly. Feedback: not as rapid and unquestionable as the 2 marcs from Pommard, however it’s nonetheless a mighty spirit.
(87/88, I might say, however we do not rating these, can we?)  

Again to gin. No, no worry, by no means…

Mistigma (49.5%, OB, Gin, France, 2020)

Mistigma (49.5%, OB, Gin, France, 2020) Three stars and a half
That is single cask gin aged for a couple of months in Sauternes wooden. And why not? Color: pale white wine. Nostril: oh boy, that is the freshest, cleanest, most elegant limoncello I’ve ever nosed. Then we might have kumquats, citrons, yuzu, finger lime, and doubtless just a little coriander and lemongrass. Yellow peaches too, that is perhaps the Sauternes wooden. What’s positive is that it is not completely a juniper-led gin, and that any soapiness or cologneness (I do know) has been saved at bay. Mouth: extra traditional gin, it is simply that you just needn’t add any lemon and lime juices, they’re already there. I like this slightly so much, however the palate’s by no means near the  very advanced nostril. Requires a couple of ice cubes, I might say… End: medium, very citrusy. Every kind of lemons. Feedback: nosing gin, that is new to me! Most likely in my prime twenty, however then once more, I do know extra about quantum physics and Goldbach’s conjecture than about gin. Which says so much…

Mango Spirit 4 yo 2016/2020 (49.3%, The Whisky Agency)

Mango Spirit 4 yo 2016/2020 (49.3%, The Whisky Company) Three stars
I can’t discover something about this loopy factor that the excessively participating of us at The Whisky Company have mailed me a couple of months in the past. Effectively our time is valuable, so we will simply proceed, understanding that I’ve tried to distil mangos myself previously, in our wee 100l copper nonetheless, and that it has been the catastrophe of disasters. Tropical fruits are super-hard to distil, until you are proud of any finish outcome that is slightly akin to… fragrance. Color: white wine. Nostril: maintain on, success! I suppose this was a maceration, am I not proper? So well-behaved mangos, herbs, apples, papayas, a wee buttery facet, nectarines, carrots… This works and goes to indicate that the most effective is the enemy of the great. I went for full fermentation, whereas maceration was clearly the best way. Mouth: I’ve to say it is extremely a lot on carrots and purple kuri squash, and that mangos have turn into just a little… indeterminable. That is the factor with these fruits, it is all a matter of instable molecules. Liquid carrot cake. End: similar. Feedback: mangos on the nostril, pumpkin gazpacho on the palate. Good enjoyable for positive.

What’s even crazier is pineapple, however our expensive German buddies aren’t petrified of something…

Pineapple Spirit 4 yo 2016/2020 (51.7%, The Whisky Agency)

Pineapple Spirit 4 yo 2016/2020 (51.7%, The Whisky Company) Two stars and a half
Good luck! Color: pale white wine. Nostril: that is the factor while you distil pineapples, you don’t get pineapple aromas. Consider me, I’ve tried that too. What I am getting right here is slightly one thing not too removed from cachaça, maybe. A bit of vanilla, and there, maybe traces of pineapple yoghurt. It’s completely not an disagreeable eau-de-vie, however the pineapples will not be loud and clear. Except it was a distinct form of pineapple, a lot shier than all of the sorts we all know of. Mouth: maybe just a little extra pineappleness (!) and maybe not. Might have been bananas too, for instance; not all molecules undergo a nonetheless easily. End: just a little sugary. Feedback: it’s a positive spirit and ice cubes could make the fruits stand out just a little extra, however it is a tasting session and sorry, we don’t do ice.

Liqueur d'Ananas (25%, Ava Tahiti, +/-2000)

Liqueur d’Ananas (25%, Ava Tahiti, +/-2000) Two stars
That is completely different, it’s a liqueur made by a department of Alsatian distillers Miclo (who’re making a really potable whisky too) in Tahiti. Anyway, a liqueur is one thing completely different, you want impartial alcohol, sugar, and if doable, recent fruits. Color: nearly white. Nostril: straightforward, recent, fruity, light, not that unique, and as soon as once more slightly on bananas. Bananas and pineapples are utterly completely different fruits (no kiddin’, Sherlock) however while you rework them, allow them to ferment/macerate and even distil them, they might converge. Effectively, that is what I skilled myself. Mouth: just a little too candy for me, that is pure syrup. Maybe a tad cloying, with out a lot pineappleness, however I do know it takes ice extraordinarily effectively. End: candy. Feedback: forgot to say, ananas means pineapple in French.

The place can we go from that candy liquid?… I say let’s haven’t any borders!

RumJava 'Signature' (35%, OB, coffee blended rum, +/-2018)

RumJava ‘Signature’ (35%, OB, espresso blended rum, +/-2018)
They make this in America, in response to the label. We mentioned no worry! That is ‘artisan crafted’, you perceive… Color: straw. Nostril: no, and I imply a deep and resounding no. I like, cherish, adore and have fun espresso every single day that God makes, however that is all on stale dregs and that overheated workplace espresso they have been having in each episode of Kojak. Mouth: they need to jail the mad soul that had this concept. Kahlúa and Tia Maria are ten instances higher, and everyone knows they’re fairly nasty drinks. What’s specifically dreadful is that this mushroomy facet that is completely misplaced right here. End: medium. Feedback: make your individual. Take Nescafé, Bacardi, add tons of sugar, stir, and voilà.
SGP: 720

Let’s push our luck a final time… (however we’ll do many extra loopy classes like this one throughout this summer time, because it seems to be like we have gathered hectolitres of wacky alcoholic drinks over the latest months and years…)

Hapsburg (72.5%, OB, absinth, +/-2020)

Hapsburg (72.5%, OB, absinth, +/-2020)
Absinth! There’s actual wormwood inside this one, apparently, however it’s a little unclear whether or not this stems from Bulgaria or from the Czech Republic. Want me luck (whisky to buddies, cash to Greenpeace, the remaining to my spouse and the youngsters). Color: fluorescent aquamarine. Even the good of us at Bruichladdich can be jealous. Nostril: yeah, redistilled Ricard. We’ve got blue pastis in France as effectively, however it’s slightly for absent-minded partygoers. Some caraway too, for positive. With water: what? It does not get cloudy in any respect, stays clear, and simply raises extra doubts. Why does not it get milky like Ricard? Mouth (neat): what would not we do for our widespread trigger! Toothpaste at cask power, actually. Exhausting to swallow, I suppose it is meant to be drunk with just a little Evian? We’ll attempt that, we’ve got Evian on the desk… (apart from our devoted Vittel). With water: do we are saying Colgate? Now for those who carry it right down to +/-30% vol. and survive the huge portions of aniseed-like flavours, you possibly can certainly use this as… toothpaste. End: extraordinarily lengthy, and that is the principle drawback right here. All you may ingest throughout the subsequent three hours is MacDo, Domino’s or KFC. Or phaal curry. Or a variety of milk, by the best way would you’ve got the variety of the Poison Management Centre? Feedback: painful drink. You owe me.

Adios, I am about to launch

(Merci Agnès, Aurélien, Pierre-Louis)









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