The View from the Golden Promise is a chance to see the bottles under the hammer at finespirits.auction in a new light. To give you this fresh perspective, we’ve called on two experts from the Golden Promise Whisky Bar.
This high-flying Pays d’Auge Calvados—Roger Groult’s oldest—is characterized by notes of tarte tatin, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) and an elegant, well-integrated wood. The apple notes have been sculpted by the passing of time, losing their freshness and becoming softer, richer and more beautiful.
As always with old Chartreuse, we can’t say for certain what this bottle will taste like, but we have tasted others with similar characteristics. And we very much recommend the fresh, medicinal and spicy notes of this renowned queen of liqueurs. Time has given it a harmony and finesse not found in younger Chartreuse, which are both livelier and sweeter.
It’s been just over six years since Nikka replaced its range of single malts from its two distilleries with just one bottling with no age statement for both Yoichi and Miyagikyo. It’s no secret that Japan’s major groups have faced a major crisis when it comes to its stocks of old whisky and it will be a few more years before we see any bottlings with age statements on the shelves again. So it’s always a pleasure to see examples from this range, which was discontinued in 2015, like this Miyagikyo 10 Year Old, which combines finesse and character. The nose reveals a cascade of very ripe yellow fruits (peach, Mirabelle plum, nectarine) and citrus fruits (lemon, kumquat), followed by spices and praline chocolate. The palate is much fuller and spicier than implied by the nose and becomes rich, revealing a fruit tart with grated lemon zest, followed by Paris-Brest cake. The finish brings a subtle note of peat. A well-rounded whisky indeed!
62.4%, 70cl, 2009
Kawasaki’s history is probably one of the most opaque of all distilleries. We know it opened in 1947 and that it began at that time to produce a “whisky”, although this was most likely an ersatz far from the exacting standards of Scottish whisky. But we do not know what was actually in the “malt whisky” it began producing in 1958. Things became a little clearer when the distillery’s owner Sanraku Ocean (which also happens to own the Karuizawa distillery) decided to install a Coffey still imported from Scotland in order to produce a grain whisky (maize in this case) designed to be blended with the Karuizawa malt for 100% house blends. We don’t know when exactly the distillery closed, but it was probably when whisky fell out of fashion in Japan, in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Nor do we know what happened to the distillery’s Coffey still. It is only thanks to Ichiro Akuto (Chichibu), who was able to lay his hands on the distillery’s last remaining casks, that we have access to these very rare bottlings of Kawasaki single grain (barely ten exist). This 1981 bottled by the French independent bottler La Part des Anges is a stunning example.
The nose is both round and lively. Oak, spices, vanilla, sap and pine resin appear one after the other. A hint of alcohol then gives way to creamy caramel and cocoa powder. More subtle notes of juniper, bergamot essential oil and grated nutmeg add a final touch of finesse. The palate is lively, revealing oak, spices (green pepper, chilli) and bark. It then becomes increasingly rich (vanilla, demi-crème coffee), ending on beautiful herbaceous notes. 28 years of age but with all the vigour of youth!