Malt, Grain & Cane

016: Staoisha 2013, 56.9%, 9YO, Jamaican Rum Cask Finish


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Title: Whooper Swans, Lake Kussharo, Hokkaido (2023)
Photographer: Russel Wong

Staoisha 2013, 56.9%, 9 Years Old, Jamaican Rum Cask Finish


Jamaican Rum Cask Finish, Cask#550077
One of 210 bottles

ABV - 56.9%, 70cL

Russel Wong is one of the most prolific fashion and
portrait photographers in Singapore and Asia. Russel
enjoys the acclaim of being the first Singaporean to
break into the notoriously difficult Hollywood movie
and the recording industry.

As a continuation of his exploration of Japanese culture
& landscapes, in this KyoMurasaki series, Russel
showcases a curated selection of beautiful, yet, fleeting
moments, across Japan.

The whisky was aged in a bourbon cask, transferred to a fresh Jamaican Clarendon 2010 Rum cask on 13 July 2022, and bottled after 11 months of further maturation.

The bottle comes with a commemorative lucky charm inspired by the Japanese omamori

A Japan-Singapore-Indonesia Creative Alliance (J.S.I.C.A) bottling

Bar Parkmore (Osaka), Rum&Whisky Kyoto - Famous Whisky bars in Japan
& Rudder Ltd (Japanese importing Company)

D.Bespoke (Japanese Cocktail Bar in Bukit Pasoh, Singapore)
Malt, Grain & Cane (Singapore based Independent bottler)
88Bamboo (Spirits-focused Social Media Company, Singapore)
Swan Song Bar ( Whisky Bar in Boat Quay, Singapore)

Miles Whisky Bar ( Jakarta, Indonesia )

Tasting Notes by

Colour: Yellow gold.

Nose: Lively, punchy and sweet. The initial hit is a bright tropical note, notably of pineapples and green mangoes, along with vanilla, oak, and a prominent ashiness. All of which interplays beautifully with rooty herbal undertones that remind me of traditional Chinese medicine. A very slight ripe banana creaminess note comes into play, potentially an influence from the Jamaican rum cask. Continued nosing unveils some light fruit notes: grapefruit, citrus zest, and rinds. The entire nosing experience is underlined by a gradually growing warmth and spiciness, almost like chili, compounded by the unmistakable ashy scent of a barbecue by the beach.

Palate: Creamy, citrusy and smoky all at once. The texture is slightly oily, spirit coating the tongue, while the opening is characterised by a bright sweetness akin to filtered pineapple juice. At the same time there's a zesty pepperiness, like a lick of a freshly squeezed lemon. Very quickly, ash and soot make their assertive presence felt. The flavours develop into smoked citrus and pork ribs burnt ends, along with a warmth constantly felt at the back of the throat. It’s also a bit salty, reminding me of sliced prosciutto.

Finish: Warm and long. As the robust flavours begin to recede, there's an emerging dryness, evoking chalky minerals and hints of wet gravel. Fading notes of BBQ charred meats and dry oak, supported by the tannins of overnight black tea. Some fruitiness remains, in a sweet, ashy guise.

88Bamboo's Thoughts

Rating: ⚡️ A lively and well-rounded Islay malt.

This Staoisha is very lively, but for its age, a very well-rounded Islay malt. If I had to compare it to a classic Islay malt, it would be a cask strength Caol Ila. While smoky, it's more of a sooty, bonfire type, married with a bright fruitiness.

The spirit is very cohesive, seamlessly blending bonfire smoke with bright citrus and pineapple undertones, along with the bitterness of Chinese medicine. Much like its sister cask Staoisha, this one is balanced between the sweetness of orchard fruits, a mineral saltiness, and that ever-present ashiness. It is labelled "heavily peated" but it definitely isn’t overpowering like some, such as Port Charlotte. The spirit does have a certain bite, a zinginess often found in younger cask strength Islays, but it aligns perfectly with the sweet and citric backdrop.