Yes, Mountain. But Not “That” Mountain.

Yushan Sherry Cask Taiwanese Single Malt Whisky

Nantou Distillery

When the word “mountain” got placed in front of my eyes just a couple of minutes ago, two things popped into my brain pan.  The first Mountain:  Leslie West, Corky Laing and Felix Pappalardi quickly followed by an urge to turn my brain up to 11 to have my ears blast out:  “Never In My Life”, “Nantucket Sleigh Ride”, Theme For An Imaginary Western”, with the encore, of course, “Mississippi Queen.”

Thanks again Renaud, you’ve been a great audience.  We’ll be back in your head real soon.

The second Mountain is Mount Jade, in Taiwan, kissing the sky at just under 13,000 feet.  Actually, Mount Jade was one of the finalists for the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

See, Mount Jade is also known as Mount Yu.

Mount Yu is also known as Yushan.

And Yushan is the whisky we’re exploring today.

Ok, I’m sorry.  That was a long trek from the opening sentence to the point of this article; however, we’re here and that’s worth a sit down and a dram.  As the revered mountain, Yushan is also from Taiwan.  This expression is a sherry casked, single malt whisky with an abv of 46%.  Not a cask strength altitude but still enough above sea level to get noticed.

The first thing that comes through for me is how airy this whisky is on the nose.  While notes are there, it’s as if you were at the peak and the wind was swirling them around you.  The sherry influence is noticeable with raisins slash sultanas yet not in a dominating way.  There’s room for oranges and chocolate to breeze by to get your attention along with chocolate and malty (but not store-bought) biscuits.  There’s also a delicate floral note that comes by one in a while.  Not the just-walked-in-to-a florist kind – more like hint of a single rose.

On the tongue, there’s a sweetness and richness that thickly coats the tongue, along with cloves and spices.  Again, not in-your-face like the icy winds flapping the flag at 100 miles an hour at the top of the peak, more like a soft woosh that blows out a candle.

As Yushan goes to the back of the throat, the flavour leaves, not by taking a long trek back down, but by taking the elevator.  It’s a little fast.  Still though, there’s a little bit of polar fleece warmth at the back of the throat to remind you of the whisky journey you just had.

Yushan Single Malt is not a sherry bomb or a cask strength monster.  If your eventual goal to introduce your friends to such beasts, this may not be the best whisky tinder hook up.  However, if that’s the peak you want to bring them to, getting them acclimatized to that climb is a tasty way to get there.  And starting with Yushan Single Malt is a pretty good first step.

Enjoy both mountains with or without headphones.  Cheers.

Tasting Notes

Colour:  Chestnut sherry.

Nose:  Raisins, oranges, malt, chocolate, floral notes, and biscuits.

Taste:  Sweet, some baking spice and cloves, chocolate, raisins and vanilla.

Finish:  Medium.