“Mystery Spirit”

Mystery Spirit
The run of reviews of peated whiskies will pause for one day as I post a blind review of this “Mystery Spirit”. This is a sample of unknown origin sent to both Michael Kravitz of Diving for Pearls and to me by the famous Romanian actor, Florin. As the name indicates, it may not even be whisky. Michael and I are publishing our notes on it simultaneously (I’ll post the link to his review once I have it). Once our notes are up Florin will tell us what it is/was. Hopefully, it’s not his urine. (Actually, I think Michael sent Florin his notes yesterday and found out what it is–as our reviews are being published simultaneously I won’t know what it is till after this goes up).

[And here is the link to Michael’s notes.]

“Mystery Spirit”

Nose: Starts out with some varnish/acetone and then maple syrup and caramel. Quite sweet but there’s a sharpness below the sweetness. After a few minutes fruitier notes emerge: banana, maybe a little apple; some honey too. The sweetness gets quite bubblegummy and is too cloying for my taste. With more time there’s some citrus. Not much change with water at first but then an interesting resinous note appears.

Palate: Somewhat flat mouthfeel and not much happening at first flavour-wise either. A vaguely woody, indistinct sweetness. Okay, let’s take another sip. No, not much more on the second sip either, but the sweetness is now vaguely chemical as well. Gets more watery as it goes. Speaking of which, let’s see if water makes this more interesting. Well, that resinous note from the nose shows up on the palate too with water.

Finish: Medium. That vaguely woody, indistinct sweetness continues along with a menthol coolness. On the second sip the wood gets more insistent and it’s just uninterestingly bitter. As on the nose and palate with water but the stuff I didn’t like neat is still here.

Comments: I have no idea what this is but I don’t really like it. I’d guess it’s some sort of a vatting or maybe some very young whisky from some sort of esoteric origin, or the former that includes the latter. The nose is expressive but the palate and finish are very flat, which suggests a low abv (close to 40%?). Now I await the revelation that this is really something I’ve previously given 90+ points to. Ah, the vertiginous pleasures of absolutely blind tastings! If I make an ass of myself with this please remember that I did much better with this one.

Rating: 74 points.

Thanks (?) to Florin for the sample.

5 thoughts on ““Mystery Spirit”

  1. Well, I just took a look at Michael’s review which contains the reveal, and I’m relieved to say that it is nothing I’ve had before, and not even a category of spirit I’ve had before: it’s an apple brandy, Laird’s 7 1/2 yo apple brandy to be exact. My comments give away that I assumed it would be a whisky even if I didn’t say so in my introduction; I think I should have trusted myself and read my own notes to know that it wasn’t. Still, I don’ think I did too badly.

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  2. I think you did quite well, Mao – you even called an apple note! It is esoteric indeed. And at 40% ABV (unfortunately). This was a tricky one – and I liked it more than you did. The samples came from the second half of the bottle so some freshness may have been lost to oxidation – however, it did not have a chance to stay open too long, it was done within 3 weeks – that’s how much I liked it. Here are my notes. Thanks for playing!

    Delicious and intriguing, with vanilla and fresh fruits. Hard to tell it’s apple brandy, nothing like Calvados – perhaps due to new oak casks? No details as to how it’s been aged. Need to find out more! The finish is a little short. On the sweet side, but pleasantly so. 3.5*.

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  3. Even tasting blind you can have preconceptions and they can make you fool yourself. Even though you labeled it “Mystery Spirit” I was expecting it to be whisky. So as I was nosing/tasting it I tried to figure out what kind of whisky it might be–something very young, I was pretty sure but I couldn’t figure out what kind of wood; if I’d truly had no preconceptions at this point I might have considered that rather than being a young whisky of esoteric origin it was probably a young spirit of some other kind aged in new’ish wood.

    And it’s possible that if I drank this without expecting it to be a whisky I would enjoy its own qualities more and not think of it as failed whisky.

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