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Tasting Spirits: Why Water is essential...

 
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


Joined: 11 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:59 am    Post subject: Tasting Spirits: Why Water is essential... Reply with quote

A lesson learned this evening...


I've been under the weather, and thought a dram of a fine whisky (not some of the drivel I've had of late) was in order, this time Compass Box "The Spice Tree" by John Glaser. Glaser is an artist, and designed this blend to be a combination of sweet and spice. In addition to choosing the blend, he decided to a part of the blend in virgin French Oak!

As a result the blend is quite noticeably spicy (and yes sweet) but a few reviewers felt the virgin French oak might have been a bit much. Most others loved it, and I did too but only on those occasions where I was willing to deal with a slight challenge.


And so it was this night...

And because I was sick, it was a bit too challenging. Rather than pour it back (yes, I do that at times), I thought, let's do as Ralfy ALWAYS does, and touch it up with a half or teaspoon of filtered water.

What a difference!

Of an instant, the spices seemed less, and the sweet and vanillans more accessible and the dram became more full, rounded, and interesting than I've ever experienced (and the bottle is already half empty).

The Spice Tree went from a challenging dram that I liked a lot and on occasions, to a hugely enjoyable and notably more complex, balanced and totally enjoyable experienc.

Lesson learned; all drams should be tasted as is, but then - always - opened up by the judicious addition of water (start with drops if you must). And this applies to all proofs, including 40%.
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dawsonh
Greaser


Joined: 10 Nov 2014
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed your post. I have a bottle of The Spice Tree in the cellar and look forward to sampling it. John Glaser is quite the mad scientist and often non-traditional in his approach. However his heart/taste is in a good place and he seems to do things in the "right" way… quality casks, no caramel coloring, no chill filtering. His videos are geeky; but fascinating.

FYI, Ralfy's latest video of a "difficult" single malt is another good example of how water is necessary to fully enjoy a dram. He has a "moment" when he hit the "bliss point."
http://www.whiskyreviews.blogspot.com/2015/09/whisky-review-554-mortlach-24yo-565vol.html

Dawson

P.S. If you are looking for full flavored Speysider at a reasonable price I would recommend the Benromach 10 ($55 at TW). It was Ralfy's malt of the year, 2014. We cracked into it this past month and have fully enjoyed it!
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schlimmerdurst
Cabin Boy


Joined: 23 Aug 2015
Posts: 24
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dawsonh wrote:
John Glaser is quite the mad scientist and often non-traditional in his approach. However his heart/taste is in a good place and he seems to do things in the "right" way…


Ah, but the Scottish Whisky Association thinks otherwise... too much information on his products! The one good thing about the SWA's attempt to stop complete and utter sincerity and transparency in spirit labelling is the backlash they got for it... the Streisand effect, so to speak.
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