Tag Archives: Single Malt

Cooper’s Cask Coffee – Whiskey Coffee

Well this is a first for me that’s for sure, a coffee review. I was contacted by Cooper’s Cask Coffee via this blog informing me of their Whiskey Barrel Aged coffee and asked if I would be interested in conducting a review. Since I love whisky (believe it or not) and I am a fan of good quality coffee, I jumped at the chance, this should be a very interesting combination.

Producer: Cooper’s Cask Coffee
Roast Level: Medium
Batch: #2
Roasted: 2015-07-17
Bean Origin: Unknown
Website: http://www.cooperscaskcoffee.com/

The Beans

The beans are sourced as fresh, green, unroasted coffee beans which ‘exhibit the subtle flavours and aromas that will match and compliment the whiskey barrel ageing’. There is no mention as to what country the beans are sourced from unfortunately, that would be nice to know. The guys at Cooper’s Cask Coffee have been testing various roasting levels and ageing time to get what they feel is the ideal balance of coffee and whiskey from the single malt whiskey barrels.

The beans themselves have a lovely aroma, the whiskey presence is obvious but not overpowering. There is a slight sweetness there, some notes of dark chocolate and I also get a hint of cigar tobacco too. I can pickup on some fruit also but I can’t put my finger on what it is, the guys at Cooper’s Cask Coffee say papaya.

When ground you get all of the same qualities, just slightly enhanced, the whiskey aroma does come out a little more at this point.

Brewing Equipment

I recently broke my Bodum cafetiere which was rather annoying as I had this coffee on it’s way for me to review. As I was about to purchase another I remembered a colleague of mine saying that he uses a Aerobie AeroPress coffee maker and he has said that it was a wonderful bit of kit, so I decided to give one of those ago instead. I have made a couple of brews with it since it has arrived and can confirm, it is a wonderful bit of kit.

Water was heated to 80 degrees as suggested by the folks at Aerobie.

Americano

I decided to start with an Americano, or Black Coffee as I would usually call it. This is firstly because it is how I usually drink my coffee but also because I think trying it as an Espresso is best saved until after due to the intensity of the flavour.

On the nose it has a lovely sweetness from the whiskey which is again clearly there but not overpowering. The fruitiness also carries over very well, and I now think I know what I am getting, strawberry flavoured chocolates, subtle though. There is still another fruit there but I can’t place it yet.

Onto the palate and the whiskey is really well balanced, it is again present but not overpowering, which I imagine could have been an easy balance to get wrong. There is an initial sweetness from the whiskey and fruit quality, I still get a little of the strawberry chocolate. It is lovely and smooth with just a slight woody dryness at the very end. This is a very fruity coffee but light, refreshing, summer fruits for me making it an easy drinking and refreshing summer evening coffee.

Espresso

As an espresso I find the base coffee aroma is far more prominent than as an Americano, you still get that whiskey presence but not as much, not what I expected to be honest. The fruitiness is still there, though I hardly get the strawberries now, still get the dark chocolate though. It has a slightly dryer aroma to it, more of the cigar tobacco than as an Americano and a slight smoky quality.

The palate is definitely dryer with intense dark chocolate and tobacco. The fruit flavour is still there but the sweetness is not, though the whiskey flavour picks up at the end to lighten it a little. The finish is long and dry with a slight bitterness which is not present on the initial palate. It turns in to more of a cold winter evening coffee as an Espresso for me.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed doing this review, I have never just sat and concentrated on a coffee like this before. What I liked about the Cooper’s Cask Coffee is that it is both a summer and a winter coffee depending on how you have it. Either way it is an evening coffee though in my eyes, it is one that you want to sit down and really enjoy after work.

I was impressed with the balance that they have managed with this, the coffee is smooth, not too bitter and the whiskey is not overpowering.

On a side note, I also tried the coffee made with my spare cafetiere, it’s not a great one though, and I have to say that I did prefer the results of the AeroPress. Although the cafetiere produces a quality brew, the AeroPress gets the same level of flavour out in a much shorter time, resulting in a smoother, less bitter coffee.

The Forgotten Blend…My Blend

I was going through my whisky collection last night and found a bottle of  Auchentoshan Three Wood which got me all excited because I didn’t know I had any. Then I though ‘that’s strange, I’m sure we polished that off months ago on one of our whisky club meets’. Then I remembered, it is not Auchentoshan Three Wood in the bottle (I was a little disappointed at this point), it was in fact my very own Blend that I started back in January 2014.

I had a quick look through my blog and found my original post detailing it’s contents, at this point it had the following in it:

  1. Cardhu 12 year old
  2. Clynelish 14 year old
  3. Dalmore 12 Year Old
  4. Edradour 10 year old
  5. Edradour 13 year old Natural Cask Strength
  6. Jura Superstition
  7. Jura Diurachs’ Own
  8. Mackmyra The 1st Edition
  9. St George’s Chapter 11
  10. Talisker Storm
  11. Tomintoul 12 Year Old Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish

That’s not a bad blend, 11 single malts from 9 distilleries and 3 countries. Since I have quite a few new additions to my collection since this was started it though, I thought it time to top the bottle up so I grabbed the following and added to the blend:

  1. Talisker 10 Year Old
  2. Talisker 57° North
  3. Talisker 6 Year Old from the Douglas Laing Provenance collection
  4. Hyde 10 Year Old Irish whiskey
  5. Old Pulteney 12 Year Old
  6. Paul John Brilliance
  7. Glenlivet The French Oak Reserve 15 Year Old

At this point I was quite happy with what my blend consisted of, 18 different single malts from 13 different distilleries and from 5 countries, so I was about to leave it there, but then I thought ‘actually I could make this an exceptional blend’ (potentially at least).

I thought in order to make this an exceptional blend I need to add some exceptional malts, so I went rummaging through my whisky collection again and dug out the following in an attempt to make this blend something even more special:

  1. Bowmore Darkest 15 Year Old
  2. Bowmore 15 Year Old from the Douglas Laing Old Particular collection
  3. Caol Ila 18 Year Old from the Hunter Laing The Old Malt Cask collection
  4. Clynelish 17 Year Old from The Creative Whisky Co Ltd
  5. GlenDronach 15 Year Old
  6. Glenallachie Cask Strength Edition 15 Year Old
  7. Glenburgie 26 Year Old
  8. Highland Park 18 Year Old
  9. Lagavulin The Distillers Edition 1995 Double Matured 16 Year Old
  10. Macallan Fine Oak 18 Year Old
  11. Mortlach 20 Year Old from the Hunter Laing The Old Malt Cask collection
  12. Old Pulteney Cask Strength 1993 13 Year Old from Gordon & MacPhail

Now I have a full bottle of a blend consisting of 30 different single malts from 22 distilleries and 5 countries. I will leave this a little while all in the same bottle before tasting, I don’t actually know if it will make a difference, if anyone knows then I would be interested to find out.

I have done a previous tasting and review of the original blend back in February 2014 and I am so looking forward to doing another now, a post will be sure to follow.

Hammer Head 23 Year Old

Distillery: Prádlo
Name: Hammer Head 1989
Region: Czech Republic
Age: 23
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 40.7%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £46 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Ripe orchard fruits, oak, slightly metallic, citrus
Taste: Oak, oily, slight sweetness, light
Finish: Dry, oaky, smooth, spicy, light, menthol
Rating: 6/10

A Czech single malt whisky for around £45, a 23 year old one at that, how could I not buy a bottle, I was too intrigued.

So I believe the story goes something like: back in 1989 in what was then Czechoslovakia, the Prádlo Distillery was tasked with producing a whisky to prove they could do what ever the capitalists could. After the fall of the Berlin Wall however, things changed around the distillery and the whisky just got forgotten about, until 2010 that is when they seemed to find it again and began bottling it.

So is it any good? Well it is made from 100% Czech barley and aged in Czech oak barrels so I certainly do not  expect it to be like any other whisky I have tried. The nose is very oaky but also sweet, the kind of sweetness you get with ripe orchard fruits. There is also a slight metallic note to it at first but this fades away into a more citrus note with a bit of time. There is something else there too, a slight nuttiness maybe.

Onto the palate and that oak follows with abundance,  a slight oily texture also but very light and fresh. I was expecting more of the fruit sweetness to be there but it is quite subtle and almost disappears given time. The finish is again very oaky with a slight dryness and a lovely bit of spice, quite light and smooth at the same time with some menthol qualities coming through once left a while.

Overall it is a pleasant whisky but I feel that the oakiness is the predominant flavour throughout, without giving enough room for other flavours. I mean I like oaky and it is a nice oakiness that is slightly different from what I am used too, I assume the Czech oak has it’s own unique flavours, it’s just that for a 23 year old I was hoping for a little more complexity. But for £45 what can you expect I suppose.

Balcones True Blue

Distillery: Balcones
Name: True Blue
Region: Texas
Age: NAS
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 50%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £5.32 (for 3cl)
Nose: Rich, spicy, slight sweetness, bourbon
Taste: Rich, spicy, fiery (abv), dry
Finish: Long, rich, spicy
Rating: 8/10

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Balcones so have been looking forward to trying a couple. I can honestly say I am not disappointed. Another unusual one to be honest; it has the deep, rich complexity on the nose, a level that you might expect from a sherry cask single malt, although it is matured in virgin oak, with a sweetness and I get a bourbon aroma coming through towards the end.

On the palate it does not disappoint either, a mass of flavour hits you instantly, with a great spiciness and some real alcohol burn around the mouth, which strangely stays in the mouth, it does not work it’s way down too much. It actually reminds me of Adnams Triple Grain, just Americanised you could say, more boisterous; maybe it’s an age thing, the Triple Grain is quite young but then the True Blue is only slightly older I believe, either way there is a similarity for me. It is still that mix of a complex single malt with the bourbon finish, a perfect bourbon maybe?

The finish is strong, very strong, and very long, it’s awesome. The spiciness continues here also, with just a touch of dryness that works really well. I tried it with water also due to the abv and it unsurprisingly handles it very well. The nose is softened but still has all that spice, the extra sweetness (above the bourbon sweetness) is gone though. On the palate it is still intense, and awesome. The burn is lessened but was still there a touch and the finish was still long and powerful.

Overall I will just say that this is a superb dram and Balcones must be very proud. It has most definitely lived up to it’s reputation. I would like to thank @WhiskyDiscovery for the sample, it was much appreciated.

My Own Blend

Inspired by the success of the Master of Malt Brown Drink which always appears to be popular, and the fact that I like trying new and different things, I thought I would take a leaf out of their book and try it myself. I have a collection of around 30 whiskies at the moment so figured I would take a few of these, mainly my drinking whiskies rather than savouring ones, and add a single measure of each to a spare bottle I had knocking around.

I thought I would keep adding to it until the bottle is full, sampling along the way of course, and see what interesting concoction comes from it. I’m not expecting it to be particularly good if I’m honest, but it should be interesting to pull out at a party.

So far I have a blend of the following single malts:

  1. Cardhu 12 year old
  2. Clynelish 14 year old
  3. Dalmore 12 Year Old
  4. Edradour 10 year old
  5. Edradour 13 year old Natural Cask Strength
  6. Jura Superstition
  7. Jura Diurachs’ Own
  8. Mackmyra The 1st Edition
  9. St George’s Chapter 11
  10. Talisker Storm
  11. Tomintoul 12 Year Old Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish

I have yet to try it but I will be sure to give a review soon when I do.