The Whisky Tasting Club The Whisky Tasting Club

Premium World Pack

Five hard to find and fantastic world whiskies.

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If you had asked anyone in the 1970s whether they had drunk Australian or English wine (not least a good one), they would probably have laughed in your face. As far as many people were concerned, proper wine was made in France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Italy and maybe Portugal. End of story.

Except it’s not the end of the story, as the shelves in any good wine shop today will attest. However, ask most people whether they prefer Dutch or English whisky, and you’ll probably get a similar reaction. As far as they are concerned, proper whisky is made in Scotland, Ireland, the United States and perhaps Canada. End of story.

Except it’s not the end of the story, and why would it be? Whisky (or ‘whiskey’ in the US or Ireland) is made from grain, yeast and water and matured in oak casks - hardly the most difficult ingredients to come by. So why hasn’t whisky been produced outside of its traditional heartlands? Well the fact is, it has. The Czech Republic, for example, has been distilling since 1877, Japan since 1924 and Spain since 1962, although little would have been seen outside of their own borders until relatively recently. However, once a Japanese whisky had been voted the world’s best single malt by Whisky Magazine, people realized that Scotland, Ireland and the US didn’t have a monopoly on great whisky.

Since the 1990s, there has been a veritable explosion in world production with every continent except Antarctica making its own whiskies. The Whisky Tasting Club has been incredibly lucky to have sampled a variety of stunning whiskies from around the world and has selected five very different examples of world whiskies from three continents for you to try. In fact, the original “World Beaters” pack is our most popular pack, so we have returned with another, comprising whiskies from Japan, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Australia and the United States.

In fact, although we say so ourselves this new pack is probably one of the best packs we’ve released, with the promise of yet more to come. The problem with world whisky is getting hold of it, although this is certainly less of a problem than it was because the world is slowly waking up to its quality and, consequently, the demand for it is rising. The quality of the Japanese Yamazaki we have long known about. The Doublewood (New Zealand) comes from the dwindling stocks of the now defunct Willowbank distillery in Dunedin and shows that red wine finishes can work. The Millstone (The Netherlands) is fast becoming recognised as one of the best distilleries in Europe. Sullivan’s Cove (Tasmania) is, after an uncertain start, gaining a reputation as a producer of award-winning, high quality single malts from an island hailed as the Australian Islay because of its sheer concentration of distilleries. Finally, the Texan Balcones is another excellent whisky from the innovative and award-winning Chip Tate, this True Blue expression being created from roasted Atole, a Hopi blue corn meal. Balcones are going through a difficult period at present so enjoy it while it lasts.

Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve

Where Hakushu (Suntory’s other Japanese distillery) could be considered as Japan’s equivalent to a Highland malt, Yamazaki might be considered its equivalent to a Speyside malt. Founded in 1921, Yamazaki was Japan’s first whisky distillery and it makes a huge range of whiskies (up to 125, according to some sources) to enable it to create huge variations in flavours in its expressions.

In addition to its standard 10 year old, 12 year old and 18 year old expressions, this unaged Distiller’s Reserve is an affordable and relatively new offering in the UK market. One of the constituent malts in this expression is one matured in Mizunara (Japanese oak), giving it an aromatic and spicy element you’ll not find outside Japan.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Creamy. Tropical fruits. Oak. Ripe grape. Strawberry. Cherry.
Palate: Slightly rum-like. Spicy. Aromatic and slightly sappy. Oak. Buttercream. Green apples. Blackcurrant crumble.

Retails for around £40-50

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New Zealand Whisky Co. Doublewood 10 year old

In the 1800s, immigrants from Scotland arrived in New Zealand and brought their whisky knowhow with them. However, the New Zealand whisky industry has enjoyed mixed fortunes since. The New Zealand Whisky Company purchased 80000 litres of whisky from the now defunct Willowbank distillery in Dunedin (gaelic for Edinburgh). This expression was matured for 6 years in American oak before being finished for a further 4 years in a New Zealand red wine barrels.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Soft and slightly sharp with plum skins and a bowlful of ripe red fruits. Almost a port-like influence with an additional sprinkling of black pepper.
Palate: Soft and jammy to start with a little green apple for good measure, becoming a little spicy at first and then incredibly juicy, dribbling with fruit. Quite drying at the finish. Good red wine finishes are rare but this works superbly.

Retails for around £80-100

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Millstone 10 Year Old American Oak

The Zuidam distillery has been producing spirits for over 35 years with over 600 product lines, so, unlike other distilleries, they can(financially) afford to wait until the whisky is properly ready before releasing it. The Millstone name comes from the fact that the malted barley is produced at local windmills, where the mill stone crushes it in a way which produces grist without heat, which apparently makes for an unscorched and
better product. Before whisky, they produced (and still do produce) genevers and an impressive array of fruit liqueurs, and in addition to a superb rye whisky, a range of
single malt malts including heavily-sherried, peated, French oa
k and American oak expressions such as this one.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Rounded and fruity. A hint of lime and moist fruit cake.
Palate: Soft and mildly herbal. Sherry, fruit, vanilla and coconut. Lightly oaked. Overall, extremely pleasant a nicely balanced.

Retails for around £60-70

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Sullivan's Cove Double Cask

Although it got off to a generally ropey start, Australia is
producing some of the most improved single malt in the world, and none more so than on Tasmania where an amazing seven distilleries operate. You’ll rarely see much Aussie single malt in the UK, so this is a rare opportunity to
try something very different. Whereas early bottlings from
the Tasmania Distillery ("distilled with conviction" the bottle
says) were poor, recent bottlings have been excellent. This Double Cask is a mixture of malt matured in French and American oak casks, the youngest of which is 12 years old

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Melon, lychees in syrup, yellow fruits and oak. Menthol and a little earthy.
Palate: A honeydew melon, vanilla and fruit introduction with a hint of dark chocolate. The oak slightly more prominent than on the nose. A peppery and coconut finish.

Retails for around £80-90

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Balcones True Blue 100% proof

The Balcones Distillery in Waco, Texas, is owned and operated by Chip Tate, an innovative distiller who has set about creating premium, small batch spirits which break new ground and yet pay homage to America's whiskey tradition. Amazingly, he built the distillery by hand in an old welding shop under a bridge, including the stills, the condensers and the rest of the equipment required. Chip is on a mission to form a unique niche for Texas whisky. In just five years he has come up with a range of seven interesting, innovative and delicious whiskies. Balcones was the Wizards of Whisky distillery of the year, and you will see why when you taste this expression. True Blue is a unique corn whisky made from roasted Atole, a Hopi blue corn meal.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Butterscotch and mint toffee. Amazingly reminiscent of a lightly-peated Aberlour. Initially faint smoke, building to burnt dried fruit. Lightly-curried.
Palate: Without water - Industrial smoke, developing into more mint toffee and stinging spice. Burnt fruit cake a nd port. Church incense. Water brings out a brackish quality.

Retails for around £70-80

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