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imbibehour
01-01-2011, 07:45
I finally got around to trying this out.

I did a tasting of Tom's Foolery applejack against Laird's. It was a lot of fun and this is quite an interesting product.

I will admit I am not the biggest fan of "apples" actually, but I do like Applejack and the few cocktails you can make with it.

So here is my recent tasting and video review of Tom's Foolery. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvNmAbcwTnc

cowdery
01-01-2011, 12:19
It should be noted that the Laird's used in the comparison is blended applejack. It contains GNS. The Tom's is 100% applejack. Laird's does make a 100% applejack product but it's not as widely distributed as the blend.

Josh
01-01-2011, 12:44
Not really apples to apples, then.

callmeox
01-01-2011, 12:57
Not really apples to apples, then.


(groan)




padpadpadpadpad

squire
01-01-2011, 15:44
This sounds like something I would like to sample. Is there an age statement? I ask because I'm thinking of Calvados.

callmeox
01-01-2011, 16:03
This sounds like something I would like to sample. Is there an age statement? I ask because I'm thinking of Calvados.

No age statement, but this batch spent two years in wood. They want to get later batches up to 4+ years old for bottling. A variety of barrels are used, including former cognac and bourbon cooperage.

squire
01-01-2011, 17:12
Had a bottle of Calvados once, don't recall the age but it was a fully mature, highly polished spirit. Would really like to see something like that made domestically.

imbibehour
01-01-2011, 20:27
It should be noted that the Laird's used in the comparison is blended applejack. It contains GNS. The Tom's is 100% applejack. Laird's does make a 100% applejack product but it's not as widely distributed as the blend.

Thanks Chuck I will note that in the description of the video.

Josh
01-01-2011, 20:32
Thanks Chuck I will note that in the description of the video.

So...you didn't realize that ahead of time?

imbibehour
01-01-2011, 20:35
So...you didn't realize that ahead of time?

Didn't read the entire bottle before hand ;)

Just saw it now... never realized that before... 65% GNS so it says...

Josh
01-01-2011, 20:37
Didn't read the entire bottle before hand ;)

Just saw it now... never realized that before... 65% GNS so it says...

Well, let's chalk that one up to experience.:lol:

imbibehour
01-01-2011, 21:05
Well, let's chalk that one up to experience.:lol:

I was doing a lot in this video, and it's aimed at the applejack is applejack mindset. The second thing is there is a lot information I have to do and pack into making these videos, sometimes things fall through the cracks.

Here's the thing.

I didn't bother getting on the video and reading EVERYTHING on the Laird's bottle because... I am on a time limit and there are 15 minutes where I have to condense information, and it's a bottle... been there, seen it, done that... reading everything online takes time and can make the vid a bore. I went .. hey this is Laird's ok... next.. Tom's blah blah blah blah, etc... make in cocktail... edit.. etc...

I did read the Tom's because it was not a product people have probably heard of so I thought I should read everything it said on the bottle.

A similar thing happened in another tasting I did where I "wrote" the wrong distiller for 1792... stuff happens yes chalk it up to experience (I was able to edit that information luckily, and the error occurred because I spent a LOT of time editing and putting this together and got my notes mixed up).

Here on SB, people really care and its important to get it right, will I note this sure absolutely, cause I care also. If I didn't I wouldn't even be on this forum with other whiskey and spirit fans.

I try to walk a line between being strongly accurate and promoting the importance of product and good drink, but also not getting to heady and nerdy as well. It's a fine line, sometimes hard to balance to keep myself well happy.

The reality is the small amount of people who would even look at this video would probably not even know what GNS is... but I agree that is a big difference between the two products mentioned, so it is noted.

So that's how I look at it.

Ironicaly after having done the tasting I want to actually compare it to a bottle of Christian Drouin Calvados I have, and then perhaps a true 100% Laird's product as Chuck has mentioned.

Dang you guys are making me busy with ideas I can't keep up :cool:

Sometimes sarcasm doesn't come across the Internet so I don't take this as a slight or personal.

Thanks to all and cheers.

Josh
01-01-2011, 21:13
The way I look at it is that as a writer, I am educating people. If I don't think my audience knows what GNS is, for instance, then it's my job to tell them what it is. They may not need a dissertation on the subject, but they should know. If I can't give them a succinct description, then I shouldn't be in the game. But that's just my philosophy. YMMV, as they say.

squire
01-02-2011, 00:39
A bit more explanation is useful I think, for our non posting readers.

imbibehour
01-02-2011, 08:13
A bit more explanation is useful I think, for our non posting readers.

Yup and I added a note in the video there so people will see it when watching. It's at the 39 second mark.

callmeox
01-02-2011, 08:14
I wonder if the fact that it is a blend allows them to add coloring?

squire
01-02-2011, 11:30
Good question but it wouldn't matter to me if the addition is just cosmetic.

Martian
01-14-2011, 11:28
A couple of years ago I tried Laird's Old Apple Brandy 7 1/2 yr old. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't too sweet. My assumption was incorrect. I liked it. I'll probably buy another bottle for a change.

cowdery
01-14-2011, 16:23
Unfortunately, many people who want to try an American apple brandy go for the Laird's blended applejack, which contains neutral spirits and just isn't as good as a true apple brandy, but it's a lot cheaper. Because of the price point that's the product that is most readily available. True apple brandy tastes more like (grape) brandy than it does like apple juice or cider.

There are a few microdistillers besides Tom who are making applejack. It was, after all, America's first distilled spirit. I think it has a lot of potential. More people should try it.

Maybe it'll be the next big thing.

CorvallisCracker
01-15-2011, 11:47
I gotta put in a plug for Oregon's own, Clear Creek.

Their apple brandy comes in two age choices. The two-year-old (OR price $25.45) is very fresh, with pronounced apple aromas and flavors. It's great on the rocks, or combined with Martinelli sparkling apple cider. My wife also cooks with it.

The eight-year-old ($40.45) is serious stuff, and worthy competition for Calvados.

imbibehour
01-18-2011, 08:16
I gotta put in a plug for Oregon's own, Clear Creek.

Their apple brandy comes in two age choices. The two-year-old (OR price $25.45) is very fresh, with pronounced apple aromas and flavors. It's great on the rocks, or combined with Martinelli sparkling apple cider. My wife also cooks with it.

The eight-year-old ($40.45) is serious stuff, and worthy competition for Calvados.

I love Clear Creeks products. Had a great time there when I visited.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4X_-XmjFC2A

the problem with Laird's true Apple product there is good looking finding it. I've never seen it ANYwhere (http://www.lairdandcompany.com/index2.htm).

snowrs
03-09-2011, 16:39
I just tried Starlight's AppleJack, not too bad but nothing to rave over. Like Chuck said it did not have a very apple character but it was smooth, what really aggravated me mostly is they used a wine cork to seal the bottle and it is a pain to put back in and keep in my cabinet, I know whiner but hey it's a valid gripe.

cbus
06-14-2011, 17:16
I got myself a bottle of Tom's Foolery Applejack a little while ago and enjoyed it quite a bit. It didn't remind me much of calvados, which I have also had. I got a lot more apple in the nose of this spirit than in the actual taste, but maybe that was just me.

cbus
09-06-2011, 10:41
Apparently Tom's Foolery just released their second batch of AppleJack to the state warehouse. This time it looks to be sealed with gold wax instead of red, at least judging by the pictures. They are also going to start distilling bourbon soon, as they just upgraded or are in the process of upgrading their equipment.

Josh
09-06-2011, 11:22
Apparently Tom's Foolery just released their second batch of AppleJack to the state warehouse. This time it looks to be sealed with gold wax instead of red, at least judging by the pictures. They are also going to start distilling bourbon soon, as they just upgraded or are in the process of upgrading their equipment.

Are there blue wax and gold foil expressions in the works too?:lol:

cbus
09-06-2011, 15:03
Well, we all know it's what is inside the bottle that counts. On that note, the bourbon will be a "traditional" mash bill with rye as the "spice" grain.

cowdery
09-06-2011, 18:23
Although Tom and Lianne don't let grass grow under their feet, they aren't that close to barreling their first batch of bourbon.

They also plan to use local corn and mill it at the distillery. (Many other 'craft' distillers don't mill themselves.)

They didn't so much change the wax color as change the type of wax they were using for improved performance and it happens to be a different color. They're not planning to do a color key thing, although now the first release will be distinctive.

Here's a pic of the new batch before it went out.

DeanSheen
09-07-2011, 06:40
Nice pic Chuck.

Any word on how many bottles this run?

cowdery
09-07-2011, 14:44
No idea............

tmckenzie
09-08-2011, 01:43
I spoke with Tom last week and he is getting close. And when he is running I am going to see it. He is getting his ducks in a row the right way, and will be able to make a good product. Nice guy too. Chuck, wonder why so few mill their own grain. We just put in a new hammer mill and auger system. I can imagine buying ground grain is prohibitive cost wise.

cowdery
09-08-2011, 10:47
I'm not sure what the numbers are. I think what it amounts to is how committed are they to whiskey. If whiskey is only an occasional thing, then it might make more sense to use commercial grist.

On the other hand, Koval here in Chicago makes nothing but grain spirits, using a bunch of different grains, and they do not mill.

Everybody has different ideas about what they're doing and where their value-added is, different visions.

tmckenzie
09-09-2011, 17:53
Ground corn meal is about 50 cents a pound. Whole good clean corn is 16 cents. Delivered. It does not make sense to me.

Josh
09-10-2011, 08:17
Ground corn meal is about 50 cents a pound. Whole good clean corn is 16 cents. Delivered. It does not make sense to me.

How much does the mill go for?

tmckenzie
09-10-2011, 16:00
A small distillery can get a good mill for 1500 bucks.

tmckenzie
09-23-2011, 02:05
Talked with Tom this week and he is pretty close to firing the cooker up.

cowdery
10-11-2011, 08:41
They have run their first, small batch, with the assistance of David Beam, his three sons, and Dick Stoll. David, of course, is a former distiller at Jim Beam, as Dick was at Michter's. The Beams never ran the barrel-a-day equipment in Kentucky, so this was the first batch run through it since the last one Stoll ran at Michter's.

cbus
10-11-2011, 14:46
Saw the pictures up on their facebook page. Good news.

tmckenzie
10-12-2011, 04:12
I have not talked to Tom, but saw pictures. The mash looked like high rye, which I think Tom said he wanted. I am planning to get out there if I can ever get our distillery to run 16 hours a day by itself.

SmoothAmbler
10-12-2011, 06:30
I have not talked to Tom, but saw pictures. The mash looked like high rye, which I think Tom said he wanted. I am planning to get out there if I can ever get our distillery to run 16 hours a day by itself.

Yeah, good luck with that. LOL.

tmckenzie
10-12-2011, 16:51
Talked with him today. He has a few bugs to work out but is on the right track.

cbus
10-28-2011, 21:21
Brief article about what they are doing at this distillery: http://www.clevescene.com/cleveland/liquoring-up/Content?oid=2752034

cowdery
10-29-2011, 15:06
One thing the article doesn't mention is the person who made all of those introductions.

Leopold
11-29-2011, 10:18
That's a HUGE accomplishment, Mr. Cowdery. Thank you.

Should also silence those who are new to distilling who say that you aren't pulling for the small guys.

Congratulations to Tom! How great is that that he's resurrecting such a fine part of America's whiskey history? Makes me proud to be an American distiller.

Really, really cool.

cowdery
11-30-2011, 11:01
Tom sent me this picture a couple of days ago. That's him in back. The guy on the left is Dick Stoll, the last master distiller at Michter's and the only person who actually operated the one-barrel-a-day distillery when it was in Pennsylvania.

It looks like they're having fun.

Gillman
11-30-2011, 12:19
Fascinating. Someone should sit down with Dick Stoll, what a fund of knowledge he must have. I can't believe he started so young at Michter's (21 if my numbers are right). I wish the bourbon venture well at Tom's Foolery, its applejack is superb.

My questions to Stoll would be, what was the exact origin of the recipe for Michter's Original Sour Mash 6 years old? Was it always aged in new charred oak and if not, why not? Finally, could that exact taste be duplicated today?

Gary

tmckenzie
11-30-2011, 13:51
Dick comes up and visits with me about every 6 months. He is a treasure trove of knowledge. He is getting up there in years, but his mind is rock solid. Hell of a nice guy. You should hear some of the stories he tells about how things used to go on and how Everett Beam was such a character. He said he had to drive him home many nights. I do wish somebody would get down what he remembers on paper. I have suggested Malt Advocate interview him, but I do not know if they did.

tmckenzie
11-30-2011, 14:03
One of the interseting things he told me of Michters, and I have heard this of other places where Beams worked was that every fall when they got started, Everett would call Ky, and one of his brothers would send up a copper jug of yeast. They would keep this jug yeast alive until they shut down in the summer. When Everett died, they lost the connection to the Beam yeast and had to switch to using red star. Annother fact he said they made a lactic yeast starter. Holding rye and malt at 128 degrees long enough for it to sour or the ph would drop to 4.7 or so, then jack it up to 180 to kill the lactic bacteria then cool and add the yeast.

Leopold
11-30-2011, 15:45
Fascinating!

That's precisely (128 is a tad high in temp for lactobacillus) how German brewers create acid to acidify their mash in accordance with Purity and Tax Law standards... only difference is that they use first wort from a lauter tun (unhopped, obviously) rather than rye. That's providing organic acid in the mash, leading to some well know esters in the barrel.

In German Breweries it's called biological acidification, and of course, instead of providing a starter for yeast, they're simply acidifying the mash and/or kettle. We use the process to make the acid portion of our Sour Apple Liqueur.

Betcha a quarter that there were some German brewers bouncing around in American distilleries back in the day.

Gillman
11-30-2011, 17:10
Tom, PM when he next comes up, I'd love to come down to meet you both.

Gary

cowdery
11-30-2011, 17:19
The Beams are German, originally Boehm. Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, and Heaven Hill all use some version of the Beam family yeast. It may also be somewhere in the Four Roses repertoire, since most of the pre-Seagram's distillers at Four Roses were Beams. Maybe even Brown-Forman, since the founder of Early Times was a Beam.

Kentucky is still crawling with them. :)

Leopold
11-30-2011, 17:56
Given my last name and schooling, I obviously have a bit of an affinity for Germans. Love it. Sure like the notion of a family yeast.

Is McKenzie German, Tom? : )

DeanSheen
11-30-2011, 18:50
Tom, PM when he next comes up, I'd love to come down to meet you both.

Gary

Uhh oh, Gillman in NEOH!

If you come down Gary PM Scott and I. You have a place to stay here and it's only 30 min W of Tom's.

Gillman
11-30-2011, 19:15
Thanks Robert, I would love to do that, and finally see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame too. We can visit Tom together. All in good time I hope.

Gary

tmckenzie
12-01-2011, 02:25
Given my last name and schooling, I obviously have a bit of an affinity for Germans. Love it. Sure like the notion of a family yeast.

Is McKenzie German, Tom? : )

Mckenzie is about as Scottish as you can get. In fact there are as about as many Mckenzie's that started Scottish distilleries in the 1800's as Beams in Kentucky. I do have a bunch of Geman in me though. Eichner.