I have tasted this whisky before, but also, I haven’t?
Split casks are common among independent bottlers, sometimes when two join forces to do a joint bottling, and at other times just to bottle a whisky for different markets. Distilleries rarely split a cask, but Zuidam (the distillery where Millstone is produced) did so with this Millstone 1996 19 Years Old for Taiwan, in a rather unusual way.
The whisky I’m tasting today was bottled in December 2015, and then shipped to Taiwan. The Oloroso butt was far from empty though, and ten months later Zuidam bottled the rest of the cask, an impressive 300 bottles, for the Dutch market. I’ve already tasted this final bottling, and was really taken by it. It is a quite distinctive and different whisky, pretty much etched into my sensory memory.
What I’m wondering is, how similar is this earlier bottling for the Taiwanese market? Ten months of extra maturation in a cask that has a lot more headspace? It should home effect, right?
Millstone 1996 19 Years Old (49,4%, OB for Taiwan)
Nose: Classic, mature sherry notes, with a good amount of fudge, cherry syrup, sweet orange juice and kumquats. Some sultanas and figs too, with the tiniest hint of leather. Give it a little more time, and it becomes more savory, with soy sauce taking more of a leading role. Overall though, this is rather a little fresher than the bottling for the Dutch market.
Taste: Creamy sherry with menthol and tobacco, as well as polished leather. Somewhat salty, with hints of pralines and milk chocolate, and some chalk too.
Finish: Drying, with a subtle pepperiness.
A glorious whisky from Zuidam once again. Although I definitely prefer the version for the Dutch market, which I feel has a little more personality.