Saturday, 15 December 2012

Blind Taste Test : The best supermarket Whiskys

Its approaching Christmas and that time of year when we all like to indulge in a bottle something special, with a fine malt whisky the weapon of choice for many. Here at The beer bunker we always endeavour to review the best that is readily available to all and help you navigate your way on a voyage of choice to pick out something suited to you. So in a rare break from beer we turn our eyes to Whisky.

Firstly a couple of caveats, I'm no whiskey expert, I have always liked a drop, but i am approaching this with a palette tuned to beer. Also the whisky's below are not a selection of the finest malts in world, but intentionally a selection of the best bottles your likely to find in your local supermarket. Hopefully both those things will mean the review is helpful for the average tippler.

Firstly if you want to try and place what style of whiskys you like this flavour crosshare from Waitrose is superb for just that.!/BeerBunkerEd/media/slideshow?

All of the below whiskys were tasted blind to remove any preconceptions, and alert the senses.

Tasting Notes :

Balvenie Signature 12yr - Very smooth, big vanilla, sweet honey taste, slightly floral on the finish  8/10
Jura  -  Sharp taste, not smooth, almost tangy, feels very alcoholic  4/10
Talisker 10yr - Big smokey nose, grips on the tongue, toffee and salt water. Big bold flavours, likely to divide....i love it! 8/10
Glenlivet 12yr - Light, hints of caramel, before a rather harsh and sharp   6/10
Aberlour 10yr - Smooth almost creamy, hints of coffee, almost creme caramel, full flavoured  9/10
Glenmorangie - Floral on the nose, almost like Cascade hop in beer, smooth and light  7/10
Chivas Regal - Smooth, light caramel, big kick in the finish  6/10
Jameson - Fruity nose, hits of apricot, smooth malt, no kick, vanilla in the finish. Surprisingly good! 7/10
Black Grouse - Smokey on the nose, charcoal, rather bland before a firey finish that seems to burn the mouth. 5/10
Glenlivet 15yr - Light, smooth almost to the point of being thin, firey finish.  6/10
Famous Grouse - Firey, burning, liquid fire, thin on flavour. yuck!      3/10

So a wide range of thoughts and tastings, and a few favorites torpedoed no doubt!

Gold Medal - Aberlour 10yr, Perfect after dinner supping.
Silver - Balvenie Signature 12yr
Bronze - Talisker 10yr, undoubtedly unique, some will love it, some will hate it!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Pale Ale Nelson Sauvignon (Vibrant Forest)

I picked this up in Fordingbridge's great little beer shop Barrel and Bottle, it's a rather exciting looking pale ale from a new brewery in the New Forest.

It pours with a fantastic head, perfect carbonation and minimal sediment. It's a beautiful clear golden in colour, bursting with aroma it's pure Nelson Sauvignon, gooseberrys and unmistakable white winey aroma. It reminds me of Punk Ipa without the rawness of dry hopping.

For a pale ale it opens with surprising malt depth, not over loaded with crystal or caramel flavours, but full of body magnifying the underlying pale malt. There is no stamp of bitterness either, just a smooth hop wash that fills the mouth with a creamy, mellow hop flavour and almost hints of white pepper. The lingering finish is one of perfect balance, glimpses of the malt sweetness still audible alongside the last eb of the hop bittering.

9/10 Simplicity is genius. This is simple and delicate in all the best possible ways. A great pale ale.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Citra (Oakham)

Proudly brewed since 2009 this beer showcases a rather unique American hop.

The nose is unmistakeably, well, Citra! It's fully of tropical fruits, grapefruit, rather like watered down Lilt, it's a bold aroma for a beer, one that hopheads love but one that can take more standard beer drinkers by surprise.

The open salvo of malt seems a bit thin and light at first but quickly unravels, revealing a slight edge of malt toastiness and a hidden depth sweetness to balance the hopping. The finish is perhaps surprisingly not actually very bitter, mellowly letting the hops shine through giving an almost textured rough dry finish.

8/10 A great simple beer, showcasing a fantastic hop.