Thanks to /u/throzen for sharing a sample of this bottle.
Omar means Amber in Gaelic. Nantou, though, is in Taiwan. And that’s where we begin. Nantou located it in an area suitable for whisky. In the 1980s they sent men to Scotland to learn whisky making.
So when discussing Taiwanese whisky, why does Nantou or Omar not always come up? Perhaps because Kavalan is more on the stage, has been out there more. Perhaps because we (living in the West) are only noticing it. Perhaps because they haven’t paid a perverted crazy person to write about it yet.
Granted, given some of my writing, perhaps I should avoid throwing stones in that particular direction.
I was lucky enough to try a single cask of Omar 4 2013 Cask Strength, a sherry cask offering. This is my first time, and for all I know a 4-year-old whisky from the distillery in Taiwan that I have never had the chance to try could be just more hype. There’s certainly enough hype bouncing around whisky these days.
So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: € 94
Wood Type: Sherry Cask
Distillation Date: 06.2013
Bottling Date: 03.2018
Cask Number: 21130120
Number of Bottles: 005/246
Colour: 7.5YR 7/10
Nose: Earth, toffee, strawberry, brine, glue, pineapple
Starts off earthy, obvious young sherry influence, and some tropical fruit. That’s all nice, though the earth could be more developed. And the elephant in the room? A salty, glue note that sticks out like poor hiring practices at a shitty company. Obvious and uncomfortable, though most will ignore it.
Taste: Caramel, brine, white chocolate, corn syrup, mango
Nice salt and caramel note that pairs well together. Enjoyed the tropical note continuing on. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say my sweet tooth was not sated by the white chocolate.
That said, even my sweet tooth has limits. The corn syrup, caramel, white chocolate, and mango… it’s a dental nightmare if it wasn’t all flavours in a whisky.
Finish: Cinnamon, honeycomb, oak, lemon, herbal, golden syrup
Spice, the balance of oak and sweet, and some herbal notes that remind me of a hot lemon drink when my throat is parched from speaking too much.
A normal occurrence, I assure you.
Still has some rough notes, though nice to sip on.
Conclusion: Good “on-the-way” dram, though some rough notes show up with water/time. I want to see where they go from here on this one. I want to see what an ex-Bourbon cask adds. I can assume the white chocolate and maybe the spice or red fruit comes from.
That all said, these are whiskies that I typically say “oh, you bought it to help the distillery, what do you expect” and then I tut like some gauche fool in a line at the supermarket.
Instead, I’m happy to say this was fun. I want to have more. And certainly will be leaning towards this over other Taiwan based distilleries.
World Whisky review #393, Taiwan review #12, Whisky Network review #1959