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.
56.6%, 70 cl, 2008, Oloroso Sherry Cask
When Laphroaig is paired with sherry casks, it is often to outstanding effect. This 1981 vintage is a great example, revealing peaty, marine and medicinal (camphor) aromas that mix harmoniously with the notes of chocolate, caramel and orange imparted by the cask. A beautiful rancio highlights the Laphroaig’s sprightly age. The palate is thick and intense, carrying on perfectly from the nose with an abundance of spices such as cinnamon and clove. Having tasted this whisky on several occasions, I know it occasionally takes on exotic tones that bring to mind other great sherry cask Laphroaigs like the 1974.
49.2%, 70 cl, 2004, Bourbon Hogshead #2781
This Ardbeg has all the finesse one expects from an old Islay whisky. The peat is well-integrated and remains present without ever being overpowering. With it come the beautiful citrus notes (candied lemon, grapefruit) Ardbegs distilled in the 1970s are so well-known for. Herbs are also revealed, with luscious notes of lemongrass and eucalyptus. As a whole, the whisky boasts incredible balance that gives it undeniable stature.
57.5%, 70 cl, First fill Sherry Butt No. 3T70070, For La Maison du Whisky
The undisputed quality of Yamazaki sherry cask bottlings means they never fail to arouse emotion. So imagine how we feel about this 1993 vintage bottled exclusively for La Maison du Whisky in the Private Cask range. And, even more poignantly, this was also Suntory’s last bottling for LMDW. I remember the day we selected it like it was yesterday. We had the choice of three samples aged in bourbon casks and three aged in sherry casks. They were all incredible, but everyone agreed we should pick this one because of its huge presence that matched perfectly with the animal chosen for the label! Its dense colour presages its dense nose, which is concentrated and balsamic, evoking notes of candied blood orange, musk and carob. Cannon powder appears alongside root ginger, followed by raisin, dried prune and liquorice (catechu). Gargantuan and yet elegant, fennel notes even manage to beat a path through this density, followed by Sichuan pepper, cedar wood and dried lavender. The palate bears out the nose with a cascade of flavours dominated first by coffee-flavoured chocolate, orange and cocoa bean, then moving into balsamic and medicinal notes (eucalyptus and liquorice). As I said: huge... like an elephant!
50.5%, 70 cl, 2020
The first bottlings of Chichibu that arrived in Europe were not technically whisky and were simply “newborns” that had been aged for just three to 16 months. I still remember how surprised I was by this just five-month-old spirit and its nonetheless impressive maturity! Like many, I couldn’t wait to try the first whisky from the distillery, a true Mozart of its art, because if the newborn was already that good, its older brother could only be better. In 2011, when Chichibu The First finally arrived at Whisky Live Paris, it met all the expectations of those that had loved the malt right from the start (myself included). And with it came a question that required even more patience: what was the 10 year old going to be like (an age that for many symbolizes a whisky’s maturity)? As we waited impatiently, Ichiro Akuto gifted us many bottlings to tide us over until 2020 when this First Ten was released—in a bottling that once again met all our expectations.
The nose is round and delicate, moving between acacia honey, roasted apple dusted with cocoa, notes of sap and aloe vera. Initially floral, once allowed to breathe it becomes more spicy and fruity in a seemingly infinite palette of aromas. The palate is rich and spicy, this time adding tarragon to the honey. Rich and generous, it recalls a candied papaya and star fruit sponge cake, finishing on praline vanilla and herbaceous notes.