Appleton Estates’ Joy Spence is, rightly, regarded as one of the world’s most accomplished Master Blenders. Her “Joy” expression is, in a word, magnificent. An incredible nose of old, polished wood, walnut, spice, treacle, clove, orange chocolate emerge, underscored by a distinct - though in no way unpleasant - shot of acetate. Complex, spicy, earthy, and warm, with flavours of toffee, caramel, buttered nuts, and marmalade go on and on (and on) as the flavours glide away. At $400 per bottle, you certainly (hopefully) will not mix it. It may seem expensive for a rum, but forget any preconceived notions of what rum should be. This is as complex, ethereal, and engaging as many whiskies and high-end brandies that are even more expensive.
Baijiu (white spirit) is China’s national drink — and Moutai is the ruler of the country’s massive sea of baijiu. Limited quantities have made it into Canada and, as proof of its coveted status, in a single week, sales of Moutai accounted for 24% of all of the LCBO’s online sales. The “Flying Fairy” literally flew out of the warehouse… at $300 per 500 ml bottle. So popular is the Moutai brand that the distillery itself is experiencing shortages. It’s hard to find Moutai even in the town of Moutai. Baijiu is typically classified by its aromatic profile, and though the Deputy General Director of the company told me that Moutai fit the “strong” aroma profile, most generally concede that it falls into the “sauce” category. Indeed, on first nosing, there’s a definite whiff of soy, along with some estery, fruity, cocoa notes — and a distinct mushroom funk. On the palate, its 53% ABV is a bit jolting and gum-drying, but flavours of toasted nut, cocoa, soy and grilled mushroom manage to come through. The finish is long and persistent. Very unique and certainly an acquired taste, which, given its scarcity, is probably best not acquired.
For almost a decade, Highland distiller Glenmorangie has crafted limited quantities of whiskies destined as Private Editions. These single malts typically employ unique wood combinations as part of the aging regime. For the 9th edition, Dr. Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks, sourced first-fill American rye casks back in the 1990s, and transported them from Kentucky to Scotland to be filled with the distillery’s world-famous whisky. On the nose, Spìos (meaning “spice” in Gaelic and pronounced spee-oss) brims with spicy rye notes, buttressed by suggestions of cinnamon, clove, black cherry, cocoa and some floral, minty notes. On the palate it is lively, crisp and spicy, with flavours of toffee, cinnamon, clove and vanilla, but still with the characteristic marmalade and caramel nuances that make it distinctly Glenmorangie. The finish is persistent and fruity/spicy. A very unique dram, indeed.
Complex and refined nose presents fine fruity, spicy and toasted oak aromas together with an intriguing whiff of ginger. Big, generously flavoured and creamy in the mouth, showing lightly fruity, nutty and even buttery character, finishing with a touch of fiery spirit and lingering elegant, oaky dryness.
Spirity aromatics unfold notes of orange/tangerine and lemon citrus, with dry oak and a whiff of burnt caramel. Orangey flavours open up on the palate with powerful spirity heat and a splash of Seville orange marmalade, closing with a long, fruity and dry charred oak finish.
Elegantly scented nose reveals floral, spicy and caramel notes with a subtle pencil box overtone. Very rounded and smooth on the palate, showing citrusy dried fruit, caramel and sweet spicy notes. Dries out on the very long oaky and nutty finish.