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  • AWFE: Why some people hate whisky

    A Whisky For Everyone (FB)

    This marks the first of our new series AWFE: A Whisky For Everyone.  We are determined to find the perfect dram for everyone - a Whisky 101 for the first time scotch drinker to the whisky connoisseur. So, in this series, we will be looking at weird hangups about whisky and introducing a few of our favorite bottles.

    To start off, we have complied a list of reasons why people hate whisky. We asked the infinity that is Google and came up with the following:

    Google it and you'll find many scotch fans ragging these people in the forums about calling them when their balls descend and other crazy stuff. Yeah we know, the fans can get a little intense but that's because we are passionate and usually drunk :)

    Well, if you have tried whisky and feel like it tastes of petrol, give it another shot with a decent dram instead of the club-tastic Johnnie Black/Red, Makers Mark, or any other drink for the pre-game. For a start, the Deanston 12, Glenmorangie The Original and Glenfiddich 12 are some of our all-time favourites.

    If you still find the taste too strong, maybe start off with a whisky highball cocktail. This is popular especially in Japan.

    • Add large ice cubes.
    • Pour in 1 portion of whisky.
    • Stir to get an even temperature throughout the drink.
    • Add in an even portion of club soda/sparkling water.
    • Serve!

    Cheers! 

  • A Stand on No Age Statements Whiskies [UPDATED]

    November 4, 2014 News, Whisky Wisdom

    [UPDATE] On a NAS award-winning whisky

    The Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask just won the Whisky of the Year 2015 in the Jim Murray Whisky Bible. A NAS released in 2013,  it is described as “near incredible genius”, awarded 97.5 marks out of 100 for “nose of exquisite boldness” and finish of “light, teasing spice”.

    What is a No Age Statement (NAS)?

    A pretty controversial issue in the whisky world, the No Age Statement simply means that it consists of a blend of whiskies of all ages. The minimum age for a whisky to be classified as a whisky is 3 years old so a NAS whisky could contain a blend of whiskies from 3 YO onwards.

    Why do distilleries create a NAS whisky? 

    Well, it gives them more flexibility in dealing with gaps in production. So, if you have a 12 YO standard bottling in the market, and the 12 YO casks can't quite produce the flavour that you are looking for, you're kind of stuck.

    So, in developing the NAS, distillers have more space for innovation and can utilise a greater variety of their stock to develop a distinctive taste.

    Why the controversy then?

    Part of the romance of whisky is knowing that the golden liquid in your hand has been sitting in a cellar for 12, 18, 21 years old. So, selling young whiskies will deplete the stock of the whiskies that we have come to know and love, creating a void in that segment. For now, it seems like a good way to meet the short term demand for whiskies all over the world.

    The current NAS whiskies in the market, especially the Japanese ones, are actually pretty good. The worry then is the temptation to play around with the formula (since the distillers have carte blanche to do whatever they want), so the quality of whisky declines. Regardless, we think that the distillers have a brand to protect and the quality would not deviate too far from their standards.

    Then how? 

    We think the NAS whiskies are a good introduction to each whisky brand, especially since they have free reign to develop a distinctive taste. It becomes a calling card of sorts.

    For example if you have not tried a Japanese whisky, the Yamazaki Distillers Reserve would be a good introduction to the Yamazaki range.

    With more whisky drinkers (in all forms - neat, ice, highball etc), the spectrum of fanaticism will grow. The trend will then grow from single malt to single cask. This opens up the market to everyone who wants to set up more brands of whisky as they can choose casks, bottle it themselves and then brand it under their own brand. For us whisky warriors, that would be the ultimate dream :)

    So, take all the criticism with a pinch of salt, taste it for yourself and decide if the NAS is for you!

    Cheers

  • Japanese Whisky Series: Yamazaki 18 Video

    In the final post for our Japanese Whisky Series, we have created a quick video on the Yamazaki 18 - our all-time favorite among the Bootleggers.

    Check out the flavor profile here: http://bootlegbrew.com.sg/yamazaki-18...

    The rest of the Japanese Whisky Series:
    Introduction: http://bootlegbrew.com.sg/blog/ultima...
    A review of the major Japanese whisky brands: http://bootlegbrew.com.sg/blog/best-j...
    The Next Generation of Japanese Whisky http://bootlegbrew.com.sg/blog/jap-wh...

    The Yamazaki 18-year-old was awarded the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2005, 2008-2013, the “Best Other Whisky” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2011 & 2012, the IWSC Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2006 & 2011, and the ISC Trophy at the International Spirits Challenge 2012. It has a rating of 89 in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2012.

    Cheers!

  • Japanese Whisky Series: The Next Generation of Yamazaki Whiskies

    Yamazaki reserve - whisky series

    The Yamazaki Distillers Reserve was introduced in Spring 2014 to showcase the Yamazaki's range of young talent, supported by their more veteran whiskies.

    In developing the Yamazaki Distillers Reserve, the Yamazaki distillers proved that age is not the sole parameter in determining quality, delivering a truly exceptional Japanese ‘No Age Statement’ whisky without taboo.

    Taste Profile

    It is smooth, and easy-to-drink, with sweet strawberry notes, consisting of whiskies aged 8 to 20 years old.  It has Yamazaki sherry cask malt whiskies (aged approximately 20 years) to add complexity and create dried fruit notes in addition to Japanese oak (Mizunara) malt whiskies. This was used to harmonize the contrasting flavours, providing an innovative round-body and depth, characteristic of The Yamazaki.

    Enjoy it neat, on the rocks or as a Highball for the ultimate Japanese whisky experience.

    Feedback

    From The More The Munchier: 

    The complex layering of sweet, spicy, bitter and citrus flavours. The smooth texture and lack of burn. The oaky and sugary finish. Don't let the no-age-statement and low price deceive you about its quality. This is an excellent whisky by any measure and can easily be compared to much pricier whiskies.

    From Caskstrength:

    Nose: A lightness hits first, with subtle vanilla and lemon zest, leading into fresh strawberries, a little milk chocolate and some golden syrup. There is also an emerging spicy/incense note, which develops with the addition of water.

    Palate: The fruit becomes more intense, with fresh fleshy white peaches, a hint of raspberry, a dryer oaky note, vanilla essence and a twist of lemon zest.  It is vibrant and youthful, but still full of fabulous character.

    Finish: Sweeter fruity notes linger, with an overall tannic background.

    Overall: A superb start. This encompasses all the hallmarks of the 12 year old Yamazaki, but leads it into a new fresher styling.

    Bootleggers View

    We think the Yamazaki Distillers Reserve offers good value in light of the ever increasing price of Japanese whiskies in the market. For those who have tried the Yamazaki 12 and are not quite ready to shell out the big bucks for the Yamazaki 18 (which btw is awesome), the Yamazaki Distillers Reserve is a good lateral expansion while staying within the Yamazaki range.

    In all honestly, we love them all. That's why we carry the full range in our portfolio. No other brand in the last 5 years have captivated our hearts as the Yamazaki range and so more Yamazaki is great!

    In the meantime, enjoy the tour of the Yamazaki Distillery in the video below.

    Cheers!

  • The 4 Most Common Myths About Whisky - No. 3 will Blow Your Mind

    September 24, 2014 A Whisky For Everyone, Whisky Wisdom

    MYTH V TRUTH

    During our whisky tasting sessions, people always tell us "Oh, I like A over B, but that's not what the rule of thumb is". So, here, we address the 4 most common whisky myths that we heard.

    1. Whisky should ALWAYS be drunk neat

    Nonsense. The golden rule is that there are no rules – it is a hugely versatile and refreshing drink, to be enjoyed on its own or mixed in a variety of ways.

    In fact, many people enjoy it in a highball - mixed with a fizzy drink with ice on top. This works especially well for Japanese whiskies due to its exceptional balance.

    2. Whisky is a MAN'S DRINK

    Not necessarily. Until the 1970s whisky was the fiery, powerful preserve of the alpha male. You only need to trawl through the outdated and embarrassingly sexist whisky advertisements depicting masculine pursuits and scantily clad women to realise just how far the spirit has come since then. Today, gender is no longer a boundary to discovering whisky, especially in emerging markets like China and Russia, where whisky is becoming hugely popular with female drinkers.

    3. Blended whisky is ALWAYS INFERIOR to single malt whisky

    Not necessarily. Blended whiskies are one of the most important and artisanal elements of the entire whisky business. Sure, there are cheaper, lower-budget blends (think of the blends behind your 7-Eleven counter at Clarke Quay). However, the large majority of reputable blended whiskies (think of Hibiki 17Black Bull, or Black Bottle) are based on recipes dating back to the 19th century/early 20th century. They draw upon a palate of different-aged single malt and grain whiskies. As a result, the whisky blender’s role is one of the most respected jobs in the entire industry.

    4. Older and more expensive is DEFINITELY BETTER

    One part of the myth is correct: older usually means more expensive. But when it comes to age as an indicator of quality, you’re on a different playing field altogether.

    In recent years, some dazzlingly good (and youthful) whiskies have set the market on fire (think of Yamazaki's Distiller's Reserve). The Deanston 12 YO has also just won a whole ton of awards. Also, the Deanston 12YO and BenRiach 12 YO were featured on Business Insider's 29 best bottles of scotch in the world.

    Fundamentally, it really depends on your personal preferences for whisky styles. So, it really depends.

     


    Related Posts

  • Japanese Whisky Series: Is Yamazaki the best?

    Yamazaki 18 -whisky series

    With the influx of all sorts of Japanese whisky in the market, how do you decide which is the best choice that combines both taste and value for money?

    We take a look at the 4 major brands of Jap whiskies in the market, look for their distinctive characteristics and hopefully make your decision much easier!


    Yamazaki

    Dipping your toes into the whole Jap whisky trend

    Easily the most well known of all the Japanese whisky brands, and rightly so, Yamazaki holds the distinction of being the very first distillery in Japan. With a US$10million expansion in 2013 based on sales forecasting for the next 20 years, it is safe to say that Yamazaki will be front and centre for the Jap Whisky wave.

    Common descriptions for the Yamazaki range are "delicate and elegant", "smooth and light", and the "perfect gateway scotch".

    New Stills at Yamazaki Distillery ( nonjatta.com)

    The typical expressions that can be found are the Yamazaki 12 and the Yamazaki 18.

    Yamazaki 12 - Sweet vanilla and fruity notes derived from white oak casks are accented with fine aromas of spirits aged in sherry and Japanese oak casks. (tasting note source)

    Color  Amber
    Aroma  Flower/fruit: peach, ripe persimmon, orange marmalade
    Grain: butter, custard cream
    Cask: toffee, coconut, vanilla, incense, and cloves
    Taste  Full-bodied sweetness and rich flavor
    Finish  Sweet vanilla, oaky with a pleasant lingering aftertaste
    Type  Medium body

    For an alternate review on the Yamazaki 12, check out Jason's Scotch Reviews.

    The Yamazaki 12 is likely to appear to those used to the lighter taste of Glenmorangie 10 or the Deanston 12. It goes well on its own, on the rocks or even in a highball cocktail.

    Read our Yamazaki 12 tasting note here! 

    Yamazaki 18 - Characteristic sweetness of dried fruits and aromatic chocolate that comes from sherry casks intermingled with a profoundly mature flavor that comes from aging the spirits over a long time in Japanese oak casks (tasting note source).

    Color  Red amber
    Aroma  Flower/fruit: raisin, strawberry jam, apricot, dried persimmon
    Grain: toast
    Cask: bitter chocolate, coffee, baked pudding
    Taste  Sweet & sour, slightly bitter, deep and spicy
    Finish  Ripe fruit, sweet & sour, with a long-lasting aftertaste
    Type  Full body

    For an alternative review of the Yamazaki 18, check out nyloveswhisky.

    With its sherry base, the Yamazaki 18 is likely to appe

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