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The First Taiwanese Peated Whisky is Born

Following the remarkable sales of Nantou Winery’s Omar Black Queen Wine Barrel Finish, Nantou has launched another megahit of Taiwan’s first peated whisky in June. It has again surged up a scrambling wave of sales. The fifteen barrels of whisky in the first launch came up to 3000 bottles, each sold as single cask bottle. The whisky was emptying shelves as soon as an hour since launch.

 

Nantou’s peated whisky is sourced from peated malt imported from Scotland, and matured in Bourbon casks. Instead of using peated casks to instill the peaty flavor into the whisky, peated malt is directly used by Nantou. Although both methods serve the purpose of infusing the smoky aroma in whisky, they are fundamentally different in nature.

 

For the peated cask method, the spirit is usually transferred from its original Bourbon cask to a peated cask to finish the maturation process. The time of finishing varies from three months to two or three years, depending on distilleries. Yet this method is deemed to produce a lighter peaty flavor, so it is more of an enhancement to the existing flavor in the spirit. Nonetheless, the smoky effect changes as the maturation period lengthens.

 

On the other hand, using peated malt reduces the time of maturation as the spirit does not need any rotation of cask. The peaty flavor from this method would appear stronger and robust in the whisky. In spite of that, there are still certain drawbacks as the smoky flavor may be quite overwhelming. The delicate flavor given by the Bourbon cask and other subtle aromas can be masked, especially in the cases of younger peated whiskies. The peaty smell left on the facilities may also contaminate other unpeated whiskies.

 

After some discussions of peated whiskies, where does Nantou’s new whisky stand? The peated malt used in the new product is of 35 ppm, so the peaty flavor can be easily felt on the nose and palate, giving overt smoky and ashy characters. The obvious difference as compared to Islay whisky would be the absence of the natural seaside salty flavor. If there’s a hint of saltiness in Nantou’s whisky, it would be hard to distinct them from a blind tasting.

 

In a nutshell, Nantou’s new product undoubtedly showcased the uniqueness of peated whiskies. Although the peaty flavor may be too overwhelming on the attack, the flavors may keep evolving after some time. The mouthfeel may turn softer after a while, but only time can tell whether it is true. 

臺灣首款泥煤瘋

 

南投酒廠暨黑后葡萄酒桶熱銷後,於六月份推出最新力作臺灣首款泥煤麥芽威士忌再次創造搶購熱潮,首發共裝15桶威士忌,合計總共裝瓶約 3000瓶左右,以單一桶原酒方式裝瓶銷售,上市便於短短數小時內銷售一空。

 

此次的南投泥煤款威士忌則是採用蘇格蘭進口的泥煤麥芽來製做蒸餾,最後再以波本桶來進行熟陳,而並非使用泥煤風味桶過桶的方式來生產泥煤款威士忌,當然使用泥煤燻製的麥芽與使用泥煤桶來過桶都能賦予威士忌有泥煤的風味沒有錯,但基本上的本質與骨幹是不一樣的。

 

如果是採用泥煤桶的過桶方式來增添威士忌的風味,通常都是將還在熟陳的波本桶原酒換桶至泥煤桶再熟陳,而換桶後的再熟陳時間長短依各家酒廠而有所不同,通常都是換桶後再繼續熟陳三個月到二年或三年之間的時間不等,但過桶這樣的方式通常會讓人覺得泥炭的風味會較單薄,可以說是較為偏向點綴的效果,當然,如果換桶再熟陳的時間越久,影響效果就會隨時間而不斷的改變。

 

而如果是採用泥煤燻製的麥芽來製做時,則不需要再耗費時間另外換桶去熟陳,通常泥炭的風味表現也會比用換桶的方式來的更為明顯與紮實,雖然如此,但也是有一些缺點存在,因為泥煤的味道較重,尤其是較為年輕的泥煤酒款來說,很容易掩蓋了波本桶的風味以及壓抑其他一些細節的香氣表現外,使用泥煤麥芽來生產製造威士忌時,這些生產設備與管線是相當容易殘留泥煤的味道而去影響到無泥煤威士忌的製造。

 

在簡易的介紹後,我們回過頭來看這一瓶首款泥煤麥芽威士忌,南投酒廠這一次推出的泥煤麥芽威士忌是採用濃度約35 ppm的泥煤麥芽,在聞香上與入口時都可以非常容易的就感受到泥煤的風味,整體上會有較多煙燻與灰燼的表現,而如果要與艾雷島的泥煤味相比的話,我想最大的差異就是南投酒廠的泥煤威士忌少了一股大自然那海洋風味的鹹感表現,如果南投酒廠的這一款泥煤威士忌也帶有一點鹹感的話,那盲飲時就會增加不少難度。

 

最後的總結來說,南投酒廠這一款泥煤麥芽威士忌確實把泥煤的風味特色展露無遺,雖然剛開瓶時會稍嫌口腔上的刺激感過於明顯,但關於這一部分,開瓶後都會有機會發生變化,也許過一陣子再開來喝時,口感上就會柔和許多,而這一部分的話,也就需要一點時間去觀察與等待了。