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Whisky Review #89 – Geek Choc’s Experiment #2

The contents of the experiment with the coffee beans

Geek Choc strikes again! He had a random conversation with a friend the other day and decided to try an experiment with coffee beans. After thinking and looking through our selection of whiskies at home, he decided to go with the Glenlivet Founders Reserve as it is light and mellow. The aim of the experiment is to create a more complex flavour for the Founders Reserve using two different coffee beans from Starbucks.

The details of the experiment are as below:

Whisky Base: Glenlivet Founders Reserve 400ml split into 200ml for each coffee bean style

Coffee 1: 10g of Guatemala Casi Cielo (Starbucks Signature)
Information: This is a medium roasted coffee bean that originated from the lush Antigua Valley. The roaster’s aim is to make this coffee balanced, smooth and rich. The tasting note is “Bright with a smooth cocoa finish”.

Coffee 2: 10g of Ethiopia Guji Bilida Bukisa (Starbucks Reserve – Premium Beans)
Information: The Ethiopia beans are harvested in a hilly area and originate from 750 small farmers around the area. Bilida Bukisa is a coffee-washing station and handles coffee from the region to help small farmers to send their coffee beans to all parts of the world. The tasting note is “Notes of lavender, lemon and blackcurrants”.

The Experiment Process

We put 10g of each style of coffee beans into the glass bottles before pouring in 200ml of Glenlivet Founders Reserve. The bottles that we used have a 250ml capacity. The idea is to let the combination breathe within the glass bottle. We parafilm the bottle opening and screwed the cap back on.

Start date: 20 April 2018
Start time: 18:30 hours

Immediate Observation:

The colour of the whisky changed almost immediately, turning into bright amber. All the beans float at the top.

After three hours:

Observations after three hours at 21:30hrs

We noticed water mist on all sides of both bottles. The coffee beans expanded a little and some fell to the bottom of the bottle. Interesting to note that the beans did not all fall at the same time but are doing so almost one by one. We left the bottles and went to bed.

After 15.5 hours:

The next morning, I noticed water bubbles at the top of the liquid at about 10 am. When I shook the bottles gently, water bubbles are seen inside the liquid which held the Ethiopia beans. The Guatemala beans bottle only had water bubbles at the top of the liquid.

End of Experiment

The Experiment’s Result

We decanted the liquid and ended the experiment at the below date and time.

End date: 21 April 2018
End time: 15:10 hours

The liquid turned dark amber and the nose was full of coffee liqueur and flavours. Wow…intense flavours!

Tasting Notes:

To enable comparisons of the transformed liquid with the original tasting profile of the Founders Reserve, we included the producer’s tasting notes for your references.

Founders Reserve Official Tasting Notes:

Colour: Pale Gold
ABV: 40%
Nose: Delicate aromas of citrus fruits, notably sweet orange
Palate: Sweet, fruity notes of zesty oranges and pears, with a hint of candied toffee apples. Well-balanced and exceptionally smooth.
Finish: Long, creamy and smooth

Experiment A: Founders Reserve x Guatemala Casi Cielo Coffee Beans (Starbucks Signature)

Colour: Dark Amber
ABV: Unknown

Nose: Coffee liqueur, dark chocolates, and unidentified mellow spice. Hints of oranges and caramel.

Palate: Mellow spice, dark chocolates, hints of caramel and oranges at first. Then comes a little oakiness follows by coffee bitters.

Finish: Short to medium finish, with oak and coffee bitters. In the end, a short spur of orange sweetness comes and goes.

Body: Relatively balanced but a little bitter for our liking.

Experiment B: Founders Reserve x Ethiopia Guji Bilida Bukisa (Starbucks Reserve)

Colour: Dark Amber
ABV: Unknown

Nose: Dark chocolate, coffee, oranges and some surprising vanilla notes. Creamy, almost like an ice cream soda drink without the fizz.

Palate: Oily mouthfeel with orange zest, dark chocolate, vanilla cream and hints of sweet candy in the back of the mouth. It does taste a bit like a well-made kopi o kosong! Haha!

Finish: Short to medium finish, with coffee notes, orange zest and some vanilla notes.

Body: Balanced and much tastier than the other one. Maybe it is due to the premium quality of the coffee beans? Hahaha…

Conclusion:

It appears that the whisky has held on to its core characteristics even in the onslaughter of the coffee beans in the small glass bottle. The warm climate made the interaction intense and the whisky absorbed some flavours from the coffee beans. Notably, dark chocolate comes out at the top of the list, and the obvious coffee liqueur notes. What’s really intriguing is that the whisky retains that zesty orange flavour and its creaminess. With the dry coffee beans absorbing the liquid, one would expect the whisky to lose its creaminess.

We may have over-aged the liquid as it is slightly bitter to taste for the Guatemala beans. If we try this experiment again, we will conduct a comparison.

  1. 5g of beans in the same time frame
  2. 10g of beans in a much shorter time frame

The comparison will tell us if we have over-aged the liquid for this one!

 

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Whisky Review #87 – Geek Choc’s Blending Experiment #1

Macallan 12 YO x Kilchoman 2009 Vintage

Geek Choc loves to mix things up for fun, especially whisky! He was in the mood for some “mixology” yesterday (19 April), so he decided to mix a whisky that he likes (Macallan 12) with a whisky that he does not particularly like (Kilchoman 2009) and see what happened to the mixture. As I am not into such “mixology”, I stood aside to watch how the experiment went. Hehe!

Geek Choc’s Blending Experiment #1

These are the basis of the blending experiment.

  1. Macallan 12 Years Old – 10ml
  2. Kilchoman 2009 Vintage – 2.5ml
  3. Lots of swirling inside the Glencairn glass to introduce air into the blend

Results of the experiment:

Colour: We see an immediate change in colour after pouring the Kilchoman 2009 into the 10ml of Macallan 12 YO. The dark ruby colour of the Macallan turns pale, and the mixture becomes a dark gold colour immediately. The final colour after swirling remains as Dark Gold.

Nose: The characteristics of Kilchoman overpowers Macallan 12 YO in the first nose. We get slight peat with brine, pepper spice, hints of cherry and raisin sweetness. After airing for 5 to 10 minutes, the notes from Macallan 12 YO overthrew the ones from Kilchoman 2009 and emerged victoriously with muskiness, and the full sherry sweetness reappears!

After aeration of about 20 minutes, the mixture appears to settle, and interesting cereal notes surface, quite like Nestum in a tin, I must say!

Palate: The first sip reveals slight peppery spice with soft peat and seaside brine. Notes of sherry sweetness surface beautifully with the spice, peat and brine. It reduces the horrible chilli spice in Kilchoman and brings out the peat and brine in Kilchoman. The combination reminds us of BBQ bacon! Yummy! After 5 minutes, the peat disappears completely. Cherry liquorice and raisin sweetness replace the peat and turn the whisky slightly oaky. It appears that the Macallan 12 YO has once again exerted its power over Kilchoman 2009.

After aeration of 20 minutes, the sherry notes from Macallan 12 YO come to the forefront. Cereal notes quickly followed and finally, slight peat comes in the tail. The oak influence also increases. The peat reduces after aeration, which, we suppose, is a typical occurrence.

Finish: Long and quite dry. The peat lingers in the mouth before the sweetness of the sherried Macallan joins the fun. The finish ends with a nice oakiness that coats the mouth. The finish does not change with aeration.

Verdict/Balance: Wow! It is one hell of a dram! Simple but surprisingly balanced! We did not like the Kilchoman 2009 due to its extreme chilli spice, but the Macallan 12 YO brings out the peatiness of the Kilchoman and also reduces the spice drastically. At the same time, the primary flavours of the Macallan 12 YO remained more or less intact!

Score: 7/10

Comments:

Geek Choc: Haha! It was a fun experiment. I did not know how it would turn out but just wanted to try something with the Kilchoman 2009. Geek Flora suggested to mix it with something sherried, so I grabbed the only opened bottle of sherried whisky that sits on our shelf – the Macallan 12 YO. The experiment is a success I think. I will try more experiments in future!

Geek Flora: It was interesting to see how this turned out. We were toying with the idea, and then we decided just to do it! Haha! We will try more experiments soon! Stay tuned!

 

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Whisky is brewing at Manhattan Bar!

We are back with Edition 3 of What’s brewing at Manhattan Bar and we are sure that most of you are excited to know how the whisky has evolved. After sharing our updates for the past two weeks, we are now ready to share Version 3!

Sazerac Rye Whisky

Before we move on to the tasting notes and changes on version 3, let’s recap the previous posts. When the experiment first started, we tried the Sazerac rye whisky as it is and after it was aged in the barrel for six days and we compared the difference in their characteristics. Then last week, we updated the changes in the whisky after 13 days in the barrel. Today, we are bringing you version no. 3. How has the whisky change after 19 days?

The whisky after 19 days

After ageing the whisky in the barrel for almost three weeks now, the whisky has changed its characteristics again. The cane sugar, floral and herbaceous notes come back to the whisky. It is now richer and more elegant as compared to version 2 at 13 days. The palate is fuller in flavours, with cinnamon cough syrup with sherry. It almost tastes like a sherry rye whisky now. Spice tingle at the corner of the mouth to complement the sweet and herbaceous notes perfectly. The finish is also fairly long now with sweet cinnamon forming the aftertaste.

Conclusion

The main difference between version 3 and version 2 is the richer, more intense and elegant flavours found in the whisky. Now it tastes like whisky again with its slightly more complex profile and the reasonably long finish.