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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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    Something is brewing at Manhattan Bar! What’s that?

    Our members got first-hand information on what’s brewing at Manhattan Bar last Wednesday. WhiskyGeeks is partnering both Whisky Butler and Manhattan Bar to bring about new whisky flavours and new barrel-aged cocktails. After last week’s introduction, we are back this week with a short update.

    Sazerac Rye Whisky

    To recap what happened last week, Manhattan Bar has placed the Sazerac Rye whisky into a barrel as an experiment of creating new whisky flavours. We tasted the original and a version of it after 6 days last week. Now, we are tasting it after 13 days.

    The whisky after 13 days

    In comparison to the original and the previous 6 days version, the 13 days version is much easier to drink. The sweetness of burnt maple syrup and caramel reduce significantly on the nose, and the acetone is almost gone. The whisky is now milder to drink, and the strong flavours on the palate are beginning to disperse, bringing caramel cola and hints of strawberries. It becomes refreshing instead of overwhelmingly sweet. The finish becomes even shorter than before. Sweet cola frizz, slightly minty but also tannic, astringent and slightly numbing on the tongue, similar to the feeling of eating GP-prescribed lozenges.

    Conclusion

    The barrel has imparted different flavours and characteristics to the whisky while taking away some of the whisky’s strong flavours. Overall, the experiment is going well as we see improvements in the whisky’s overall profile. In 13 days, the whisky is already milder in taste and an easier drink as compared to the original.

    What’s brewing at Manhatten Bar? Find out here!

    We have been telling everyone that something is brewing at Manhatten Bar for a few days now and we are sure many of you are curious about our experiment! Well, let us reveal what’s brewing today!

    Whisky Butler embarked on an exciting journey with Manhatten Bar recently to find out how the profile of whisky changes when matured whisky is put back into a cask for an enhanced finish. WhiskyGeeks goes along for the ride as we know that something amazing is going to come out of this experiment!

    We discovered that there are 2 different experiments as of now. First, there is the Sazerac whisky, an American Rye whisky that is perfect for making the first American Cocktail – Sazerac Cocktail! Instead of making a cocktail, Manhatten Bar put this in a cask that held port wine for a week! Next, we have an interesting combination of Highwest OMG Pure Rye Whisky, DOM Benedictine and Mancino Rosso Vermouth that was married in a cask. As it is not pure whisky, the Manhatten Bar has named it La Louisiane cocktail.

    How did they go? Let’s find out!

    Sazerac Rye Whisky

    Before we go into details about the whisky, let us share a little more about the cask.

    The Cask

    The cask is a fresh American oak that was soaked with a 10-year-old port wine for a week to allow the port wine to penetrate and soak the wood properly. Next, the Sazerac rye whisky is poured into the cask and will sit inside for 4 weeks. The cask has a volume of 13.3 litres and is specially made for Manhatten Bar in a small cooperage located in Minnesota, USA.

    The whisky after 6 days

    WhiskyGeeks get to try the whisky after it was in the cask for 6 days. In comparison to the original rye whisky, we discovered subtle changes! The rye whisky was sweet in nature with some acetone on the nose. It has an oily mouthfeel, maple syrup/caramel palate and is slightly spicy. After 6 days, the nose became sweeter, with sherry influence that converts into caramel and takes on a slight wood spice. The palate is more pronounced with the changes. Sherry influence is strong and reduces the original spice to nothing. It becomes herbaceous and slightly grassy instead.

    What to Expect

    The whisky will stay in the cask for 4 weeks and after that, it will be bottled for Whisky Butler. We will update our members every week on the progress and how the whisky has changed. The whole idea behind this experiment is to find out how a new cask finish can affect a whisky that has already been bottled. This should give everyone some idea of what they can do with their own whisky!

    La Louisiane Cocktail

    What about this amazing cocktail? Let’s explore!

    The Cask

    The cask is a fresh American oak cask of 13.3 litres, charred to #3. That means that the cask can give the liquid put into it a great amount of sweetness in layman terms. It is also made from the same cooperage in Minnesota, USA. This cask is not infused with any liquid before the cocktail is poured into it.

    The cocktail right after mixing

    The cocktail is amazing. The nose is full of cane sugar and sweet vermouth, and the palate reflects the same. It almost tasted like a whisky sour, but the different spirits are not yet fully married. The different characteristics of the 3 alcohols came out individually and are not blended with one another. The sweetness can be overwhelming for some as both the rye whisky and the Mancino Rosso Vermouth are sweet.

    The cocktail after 3 weeks and 6 days

    At this stage, the cocktail takes on deep sherry notes that blends extremely well with the strong cane sugar on the nose. Nonetheless, the sweet vermouth is still evident. The palate is amazing though. The 3 alcohols have blended well together and now the cane sugar mixed beautifully with the vermouth on the tongue. There is no spice at all and the finish is short and refreshing. The overall cocktail is also less sweet.

    The cocktail after 4 weeks and a day

    Ahh…the perfect balance of the cocktail finally surfaced. The nose boasts of a balanced sweetness between sherry and cane sugar. It creates a sweet nose that is not overwhelming anymore. The palate does not change much from the 3 weeks and 6 days version. The only difference is the vermouth giving out some sourish taste that makes the cocktail less sweet. It becomes more like a whisky sour but much more balanced in its flavours.

    The La Louisiane cocktail is a completed product but we feel it can be enhanced further with some bitters. We tried it and it tasted even better. We encourage our members to take a trip down to Manhatten Bar to try this cocktail with some bitters! It is amazing!

    What to expect in the next few weeks

    WhiskyGeeks will continue the coverage of this experiment in the next week and our focus will be on the Sazerac whisky’s progress. There may be other whiskies but we are kept in the dark as well. We love the suspense and the surprise! We may try to arrange for a tasting session at Manhatten Bar further down the road. Let us speak with Whisky Butler and Manhatten Bar and see what we can do to arrange a session for our members. Stay tuned for more!

     

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