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Direct ImportJAPAN$159.99 Bottle
Launched in March 2015, this is yet another NAS addition to Suntory's sought after "Hibiki" series. More exclusive than the standard Harmony bottling, it is the first Hibiki created for the global duty free market. A blend of more than ten malt and grain whiskies which are aged in five different types of casks from the Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries, Suntory chief blender Shinji Fukuyo was involved in its creation, while production is overseen by the third generation master blender and great-grandson of Suntory founder, Shingo Torii. Beautifully presented in the brand's trademark 24-faceted bottle representing the Japanese seasons. Tasting note: Bright brass colour shows impeccable purity. Initial pass finds subdued, resinous, woody aromas. Remains frustratingly shy over five to six minutes. Extended air contact finally amplifies the bouquet beyond mediocre, releasing attractive fragrances of dusty cocoa, dates, oak shavings, cinnamon and pepper. Light entry. Medium bodied mid palate expands the flavour range with dried fruits, hazelnut, light cocoa and peppery warmth. Finish finds wood spice and wood shavings followed by a subtle vanilla and honey undercurrent carrying the aftertaste. Improves over time, ending up richer and more robust than most Japanese blends at its level. 43% Alc./Vol.
- ABV 43%
- ABV 47%
This is the Gin that had world famous U.S. wine critic, Robert Parker, spellbound [see his review below]. Much to his consternation it was almost impossible to obtain a bottle in the States. The only way to get it in Australia is to source it yourself. So we did!Monkey 47 is definitely on a short list of hard to find but worth-the- wait gins. Produced in the Black Forest in Germany from no less than 47 botanicals (mostly from the region). Unusual ingredients include include blackberry leaves, sloes, honeysuckle, pine shoots, cranberries and lingonberries. Following distillation and maceration, the gin is stored for 100 days in earthenware 'casks'. We've just imported a tiny quantity. Beautifully packaged in an old world apothecary bottle. 47% Alc./Vol.
Tasting note: [Batch 16 tasted] Crystal clear / slightly viscous. Fabulous aromatics with juniper and lemon sherbet in the opening phase; aeration accents pine needle, potpourri and pepper. Intense but beautifully poised with pine needle, peppery juniper, dried herb and grapefruit flavours unfolding in a slow release surge. Possibly better all round balance in this latest effort? Concludes fresh, pure and super long. First rate. 47% Alc./Vol.First tasted 2011... Clear with a silvery, glycerous appearance. The initial perfumed burst is of sweet berry / juniper and assorted fresh citrus peel; further aeration releases pine needle, lavender and clove-like scents. Distinctive and somewhat unconventional, some tasters found the aromatics a little cologne like. On the palate, this begins soft and glycerous, gradually building intensity, climaxing in an explosion of peppers; Mid palate is off dry and oily with juniper, lavender, pine needle and spice flavours persisting into the long, very dry after taste. Bracing stuff! 94 points 47% Alc./vol.
Other reviews…. Clear. Bold aromas of pine blossoms, exotic peppercorns, candied lemon and orange peels, sage, and sweet bbq rub with a supple, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a zesty lavender candy, pepper, powdered sugar, and tangerine sorbet finish. An excellent and unique combination of vibrant citrus, floral, and herbal dimensions. Will be outstanding in cocktails."...something I am trying to track down for my personal use, an absolutely extraordinary perfumed, intense, silky gin called Monkey 47, which is made in Germany's Black Forest. Packaged in a small 500 mls bottle, it is not that expensive (approximately $100), but it was a remarkable gin. In Europe it is apparently available at top liquor shops, so if you can find it, it is an astonishing gin."
International Review of Spirits Award: Gold Medal
RATING: 93 points (Exceptional) - www.tastings.com
Robert Parker - Wine Advocate #206 April 2013
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95 95Direct Import ReducedSpeyside, Highlands, SCOTLAND
Reduced from $150.00
- ABV 60%
Cask strength whiskies have not always been available to the general public. In fact, the very idea was incidental, and only materialised in 1968 when a fourth generation member of the Grant family bottled a single cask straight from the warehouse, and sent the bottles to family and friends as Christmas gifts. George S. Grant created a simple, hand written label for the bottles noting only the name of the distillery and the strength of the whisky (which happened to be 105 British Proof.) By the end of January the recipients requested further bottles. George obliged, and since then, Glenfarclas 105 has gone onto become one of the most highly sought after expressions in the Glenfarclas range.
The increasing popularity of cask strength single malts comes as no surprise. They provide an opportunity to taste whisky in its purest and most natural form without visiting a distillery, and conversely, to dilute to your preferred strength rather than the bottler's. Typically, they have minimal or zero filtration which tends to retain more flavour and texture. One has to take the good with the bad. Extreme alcohol can be prickly, and can even anaesthetise the mouth resulting in a less pleasurable experience. A high tax/alcohol ratio also means such spirits can be excessively pricey. If there was a holy grail of malt, then for many it would be the discovery of affordable cask strength whisky that's also achieved balance - to the degree that you can enjoy it undiluted. This is one. There are 'softer' cask strength releases on the market, but rarely in this style and very, very rarely at this price/volume ratio.
Tasting note: Beautiful polished brass / amber gold. Opening pass detects toffee apple, polished leather and juicy, grapey malt. Second pass finds marzipan and toasted oats followed by crunchie bar and intense vanilla. The aromatic range is matched on the palate, delivering a concentrated, medium dry, peppery attack with a delicious interplay between sugar, tannin and spice. Bracing yet balanced. Finishes with flashes of dates, creme-caramel and crunchie bar before drying with oatmeal biscuit, toffee apple and dappled explosions of sweet spice. Those who religiously follow Aberlour's Abunadh will discover similar thrills here. Tremendous whisky. 60% Alc./Vol.
Other reviews... long, luxurious, with a pulsing vanilla grape mix and a build up of spices; light oils intensify and elongate. I doubt if any restorative on the planet works quite as well as this one does. Or if any sherry cask whisky is so clean and full of the joys of Jerez. A classic malt which has upped a gear or two and has become exactly what it is: a whisky of pure brilliance. 95.5 points
- Jim Murrays Whisky Bible 2014
...This Scotch is named for the proof (105) of a bottle that Chairman John Grant’s father, George S. Grant, bottled in 1968 as a Christmas gift for family and friends. Nut-colored, it has a markedly bold toffee aroma and lots of flavor and drama. Hazelnut, espresso and cocoa flavors linger, with hints of allspice and drying oak tannins. Though it needs more than a splash of water to arrive at a nuanced sippability, don’t hold that against this almost Bourbon-like beauty. Rating: 95 points
Direct Import ReducedSpeyside, Highlands, SCOTLAND
Reduced from $150.00
- ABV 46%
Famous as one of Speyside’s most masculine whiskies and one of Scotland's most richly Sherry-influenced expressions, Glenfarclas 15 is matured in 60% x-Sherry casks, with the remainder x-Bourbon, but with a difference. The latter barrels are shaved back in order to minimise their flavour input, putting the focus almost completely on the Sherry. Bottled at 46%, the result is a whisky that just about anyone could love. Jim Murray describes this as one of Scotland’s most sublime malts with a rating of 95 points, amongst the highest he awards (see his review below).
Note: Our rating for this whisky was from a sample bottle that had been opened for some time. We would anticipate a fresh bottle to be even better.
Other reviews... Nose: 23 - Such is the intensity if the fruit and sugar-rich barley, there is an element of medium ester Jamaican pot still rum to this, a feeling intensified by an orangey-oak influence that seems greater than 15 years. The top shelf sherry, though, is of a classical type rarely found these days, though common 30 years ago; Taste: 24 - Succulent and stupendous. barley sugar shows first, then a sherry input that borders on intense but dissapates as the spicy oak digs in; Finish: 24 - long, chewy, a tad oily and fades with a wonderful coffee- vanilla combination and a late surge of something bourbony; Balance: 24 - Eureka!!! The 15yo back to how i can remember it in the past. Some of you may have been scared away by some less than impressive recent bottlings. its safe to come back because now it has been returned to its position as one of Scotlands most sublime malts. The quality of the sherry is astonishing; its interaction with the barley is a wonderous joy. Go find and get...46% - - Jim Murrays Whisky Bible
Elgin, SCOTLAND$69.99 Bottle
Crowned ‘World’s Best Whisky Liqueur’ at the World Whisky Awards 2012.Made from Gordon & MacPhail's award winning ancient recipe, using herbs and Benromach Speyside single malt Whisky, Atholl Brose has always been considered one the very best in its genre. Now it's official. David Urquhart, Joint Managing Director of Gordon & MacPhail, commented, “The World Whiskies Awards are one of the most high-profile and highly-regarded in the industry, so to have been presented with the title of ‘World’s Best Whisky Liqueur’ really is a fantastic achievement, particularly when you consider that we were judged by a panel of senior industry representatives from around the world.”
- ABV 35%
The legend behind Atholl Brose stems back to 1475, when the Earl of Atholl foiled a rebellion against the King by the Lord of the Isles, Iain MacDonald, by filling the well he drew water from with honey, oatmeal and whisky. The mixture was so enticing that MacDonald, rather than flee his pursuers, stayed to enjoy the concoction, giving the Earl time to catch him. To this day, the exact recipe that he found so beguiling remains unknown, but Gordon & MacPhail certainly bring its essence to life in this captivating liqueur.
Tasting note: Brilliant deep gold appearance. The perfumed bouquet yields fresh picked herbs including sweet oregano, thyme and rosemary over a ripe melon, honey base. Aeration brings out the whisky, which is appropriate. Is there a hint of peat here too? A light, silky entry builds to an initially off-dry burst of honey and sweet herbs (clove, liquorice) accompanied by a crescendo of gentle spices adding depth. Mid palate is semi sweet. Concludes perfectly balanced, clean, fresh, and delicately peppermint-like with hints of clove and barley sugar tailing off into the lengthy aftertaste. Superb! 35% Alc./Vol.
New South Wales, AUSTRALIA$49.99 Bottle
Tasting note: Deep sienna brown with gold ochre edges. Intense and lifted bouquet offers hints of mocha with an emphasis on the fruity- dark chocolate aspect. Creamy entry leads into a concentrated, well defined, dark chocolate / fruit’n’nut chocolate profile. Finish is judiciously balanced with latent chocolate bitterness against the early sugars. Ends rich, very pure and true to style with the sugars reigned in. 24.5% Alc./Vol. Other reviews... 2014 International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) Bronze.
- ABV 24.5%
Based on a mid-19th-century French formula and made only in micro-batches by Swiss distiller, Oliver Matter for Tempus Fugit. The recipe employs French violets, traditionally hand-harvested in the sunny and historic Côte d'Azur along the Mediterranean Sea. Tasting note: Eye catching translucent crimson-pink with pale pink edges. First whiffs detect a gorgeous floral perfume that's ultra pure, fresh, true to style and plain seductive, losing no intensity or focus in later inhalations. Entry is soft, cream-textured; develops to a medium bodied, silky profile with the flower aspect brilliantly defined over the liqueur base. Finish is semi-sweet, momentarily confected. Ends artfully balanced with the subtle floral characteristics delicately lingering. A clinic on how to make a flower infused liqueur. 22% Alc./Vol.
- ABV 22%
- ABV 40%
Made with Orange and Cognac, Grand Marnier is a society favourite and one of the world's best known curacaos. Aged in the cellars of Chateau de Bourg in Cognac and blended with oranges from the French West Indies, this rich amber liqueur is an international bar standard.
Tasting notes: The brilliant deep polished brass colour is impressive in the glass. Superb purity in the opening sniffs featuring lifted mandarin / mixed peel freshness over heavier scents of orange cake and vanilla. A light satiny entry builds to a semi-sweet concentrate of citrus peel and mandarin with a lively spirit backbone, concluding fresh, mildly tart and vibrant with the honeyed citrus flavours persisting. Expertly balanced. Classic. 40% Alc./Vol.Other reviews... The aroma is a sweet/sour, tangerine/Mandarin orange perfume that never stops enchanting. At the palate entry the orange zest’s acidity mingles gracefully with the Cognac’s alcohol, making for delicious drinking. Satiny finish.
Rating: 90-95 - www.wineenthusiast.com
Seasoned Casanovas also recommend Grand Marnier for a “Royal Romance”:In shaker; one-fourth each of Passionfruit juice and Grand Marnier,
half gin, shake well and serve.
Or try the popular B52:1/3 Grand Marnier
1/3 Coffee liqueur
1/3 Irish cream liqueur
Pour delicately on a bar spoon the coffee liqueur, the Irish Cream then the GRAND MARNIER liqueur into a shooter glass. Serve without mixing.
Classic Cocktail: The Charleston1 shot of Cherry Brandy Liqueur (e.g. Cherry Heering)
1 shot of Grand Marnier
top up with lemonade and ice
Method: Pour the cherry brandy and the orange liqueur into a highball. Stir well, then fill a highball glass with ice cubes and pour the cocktail directly over them . There is no need to use a strainer in this instance. Top up with the chilled lemonade to taste, then serve.
Recipe: Pheasant Curacao
2 pheasants (about 1kg (2lb) each)
1 tablespoon butter salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup chicken stock rind and juice
juice 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon red-currant jelly
1/4cup Grand Marnier Triple Sec Liqueur
Preparation: Peel oranges thinly using a vegetable peeler. Wipe pheasants with a damp cloth then truss. Place pheasants in baking pan; rub all over with butter, sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Bake in moderate over 180'C (350'F). Baste every 15 minutes until cooked and golden brown (approximately 1 hour -1 hour 15min). Cut thinly peeled orange rind into thin strips. Remove pheasants from baking pan and keep warm' Drain excess fat from pan, add chicken stock, orange and lemon juice, red currant jelly. Stir until boiling (may be thickened with a little arrowroot or cornflour). Add Liqueur.
To Serve: Arrange pheasants on heated platter, decorate with strips of orange rind. Pour over sauce or serve separately. Decorate platter with orange slices, parsley and serve with small deep fried or baked potatoes. Serves 4.
Direct ImportIsle of Jura, SCOTLAND$79.99 Bottle
Lying just to the East of Islay, off Scotland's west coast, Jura is one of Scotland's most spectacular but least known islands. The Isle covers 36,692 hectares and rises to a height of 785m. The name Jura has several meanings : “two brothers Dih and Rah”, “island of yew trees”, and “island of red deer”. However, with a human population of under 200 and about 5000 red deer, (the deer out number the people by around twenty five to one), expert opinion tends towards the latter.
- ABV 40%
The Jura whisky is produced from water from Loch A'Bhaile Mhargaidh (Market Loch) and ground malted barley. The water is not peaty as the loch is high in the hills. The wash is distilled twice in pot stills. High necks on the stills give a light spirit. The whisky gains a little weight and richness by being matured in a mixture of American oak and Sherry casks.
The 10 year old Isle of Jura is a medium-bodied malt with the character and texture of a west Highland whisky - accessible with a hint of spice and fruitiness. Unlike some of its heavier Islay cousins, Isle of Jura is only lightly peated.
Tasting note: Nose: Oily, lightly piney, earthy, salty, dry. Palate: Sweetish, soft, malty, oily, slowly developing a slight island dryness and saltiness. Finish: A little malty sweetness and some saltiness. Comment: A lovely aperitif. 40% Alc./Vol.
Rating: 7.5/10 - Michael Jackson, www.whiskymag.com
94 93Direct ImportSpeyside, Highlands, SCOTLAND$125.00 Bottle
Glenfiddich has captured the hearts of whisky fans everywhere who don't want intense, overproof, or polarising expressions - possibly why we’ve never been too swayed by the house style as it's too homogenous and predictable. The 12, 15, 18 and 21-year olds generally rate well, but middle age continues to be this distillery's sweet spot (15 especially), unless you have thousands to blow on the decades old luxury lines. The Distillery Edition breaks the mould (or at least cracks it). Maturation is standard in American and European oak. The departure here is zero chill filtration and an ABV close enough to call cask strength. Familiar characteristics remain, only they're amplified, so if you’re used to 'Fiddich's sedate, easy-drinking house style, this may bruise your tongue a little. But by the third or fourth taste, you’ll be begging for more (a few drops of water is transformative). Released in 2012 to capitalize on the burgeoning duty free market, glowing reviews, 51%, and a very generous, one litre format make for seriously good single malt buying by any measure. If you have a Glenfiddich stigma, now is a good reason to drop it and enjoy what is just really, really good Scotch. Tasting note: Brilliant amber / perfect clarity. Vapoury alcohol yields to strawberry sponge cake, custard tart, almond flan. 2-3 minutes exposure draws out beeswax, peppered pears. A drop of water removes the alcoholic whiff and sweetens the nose. Full bodied, black pepper-laced attack; builds with flavours of vanilla, oatmeal and subdued orchard fruitiness. Creamier at the finish; flashes of bittersweet oak threaten the balance, but the tangy, juicy malt doesn't let up. What started off as slightly astringent gets better with every taste... integrated and deceptively complex - perhaps only as this distillery can be. Dried fruits and a thread of sooty peat to close? Almost compromised by the length. Adding several drops of water enhances the orchard fruit characteristics and extends the finish making for an undeniably delicious dram. Glenfiddich as you may never experience it again. 51% Alc./Vol.
- ABV 51%
Other reviews... Had this exceptional whisky been able to maintain pace through to the finish, this would have been a single malt of the year contender - at least. 93.5 points - Jim Murrays Whisky Bible 2017First tasted June 2012 from a 20ml sample... Bright gold appearance. Rich, soft aromatics...a superb creamy, juicy malt crescendo with great balance for a cask strength whisky. Like several other of Glenfiddich’s limited releases, this teases with some sublime moments but doesn't quite follow through. 51% Alc./Vol. 91 points
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