Whisky in Berlin: Cafe Bar Madonna, Part 1/2

We walk out onto a dark Gorlitzer Strasse then through Gorlitzer Park. ‘Well-known across Berlin for its rough but unique Kreuzbergian charme, Görlitzer Park is the district’s central recreational area‘ [berlin.de]. Wikipedia tells the darker side.

Madonna bar inside.jpeg

We successfully negotiate the park, arriving at Cafe Bar Madonna early evening. This place closes at 6:30am! Smoking now appears the norm in bars & clubs in Berlin, and unfortunately Madonna seems particularly prone to nicotine congestion. 

In fact, the smoke issue would make the bar insufferable if it weren’t for the whisky [and rum]. Everything I asked for [chosen from a clear menu], was eventually found by keen & friendly staff who phoned the owner twice for advice on locating my request for a Tamdhu from my birth year. An hour later, the owner presented it personally. All whiskies were served in a tulip glass, along with water and a pipette. I felt at home!


Willowbank 21yo Ob./NZWC 40% [75cl] WB79.10[23]

Willowbank 21yo Ob.:NZWC 40% [75cl].jpeg

  • N: Everyone loves the straw-like barley/linseed oil nose. There’s also this nutty/coppery > sulphur-y vibe I remember from an 18yo Willowbank tried only weeks ago [Blog85].
  • T: With very little cask colour or content, it’s a soft one mouthfeel-wise and simply very pleasant overall.
  • F: This could just as well be an inactive-aged, soft-spirited column still rum. There’s a salivating dry softness later on, probably exacerbated in part by bottle fatigue.
  • C: Given I’m with [beer drinking] friends, this is a simple/neutral one, ideally suited for enjoying the moment & company of others with.

Scores 78 points


Glen Garioch 1991 22yo Jack Wiebers World of Orchids cask #7936 [204 bts] 53.2% WB86.54[15]

Glen Garioch 1991 22yo Jack Wiebers World of Orchids cask #7936 [204 bts] 53.2%.jpeg

  • N: Again, we are talking about a nutty/coppery > sulphury number, though this one’s a little off-kilter.
  • T: Possesses a distinct coppery/metallic note with spirity linseed oil overtones I’ve had before from a Speyside Distillery bottling [blog] – also a 22yo. With water it’s a touch richer but there’s little hope for this one. Probably a non-compromising astringent [Mannochmore-esque] malt when first opened.
  • F: Gone.
  • C: I thought this would give more, yet it just scrapes the score board. Very likely a faded bottle. Maybe my palate isn’t the best either.

[Provisionally scores 75 points]


Bunnahabhain 10yo [2018] DL Speakeasy [143 bts] 56.8% WB84[2]

Sal-mon rightly offers “This is the last place that would play Madonna”. The ‘Name sons or daughters who are more famous than famous parents’ game, dominates the convo.

Bunnahabhain 10yo [2018] DL Speakeasy [143 bts] 56.8%.jpeg

  • N: This is slightly less coppery/metallic than the previous two, though we’ve further activity around peanut oil, joined by some dry earth [Tango Charlie]. 
  • T: A fruitier dram by comparison, but we are still very much in the natural straw-like, plain & savoury bourbon-matured category.
  • F&C: It’s a fair malt, if somewhat uneventful.

Scores 80 points


Tonight’s not my night, but I have also chosen unwisely. I’ll be back tomorrow however with a far more desirable set.





Madonna bar front

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