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  1. #1
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    Wednesday Tastings!

    Have gotten into the habit of having a Wednesday tasting with the staff at a small but enthusiastic store I frequent. Since the owner is into it everybody gets a chance to play along. And it gives me a chance to try a few new things with a group of folks who are fellow enthusiasts so that we can compare impressions.

    Wasn't sure where to put this so I ended up here. While bourbon commonly shows up at these mini events the tasting isn't always all bourbon or even all whiskey so I didn't want to put it in the tasting thread. But bourbon/whiskey tends to be a common theme.

    The first occasion this year was January 8 but just now getting organized enough to post.

    Wednesday tasting 8JAN14.JPG

    This one featured Jefferson Rye 21, Vintage Rye 21, Fuenteseca Extra Anejo tequila from K&L, Ron Navazos Palazzi, Dos Maderas 5+5 rum and of course I wanted to share a bit of the SB HHSS with the gang.

    Much as already been said about this exquisite HHSS bottle and it was the top pick of the day despite some interesting competition.

    Next were the Jefferson and Vintage Rye. The Vintage was newly opened while the Jefferson had been open for a few weeks. The Vintage was interesting battle between wood and spice but seemed a tad closed initially. It will definitely need to be revisited. The Jefferson was much lighter with a mix of fruit and spice and very little wood, especially in comparison to the Vintage. Not sure how they came to be so different but they definitiely are. A Canadian versus a Kentucky source perhaps?

    Ron Navazos Palazzi is a 5yo Caribbean rum that is then taken to Spain where it is finished in Oloroso sherry casks for 5 years. For me it was a solid second for the day. A delightful if pricey beverage. It was there primarily as a comparison to a new bottle to my collection, Dos Maderas 5+5 rum, received courtesy of the efforts of a fellow SBer. This is also a 5yo rum that is take to Spain where it is finished for 3 years in Oloroso sherry casks and then 2 additional years in PX sherry casks. While much less expensive than the Navazos it didn't have anywhere near the depth and showed a lot more plum/fig notes from the PX sherry. This kind of compounded the natural sweetness of the rum although it was not cloying and would make a very pleasant after dinner dessert drink if you want a bit more proof than a typical PX sherry. Also brings to ming the notion of blending a bit of rum and sherry on my own to see what might happen!

    And finally shared a bit of the Fuenteseca tequila with the group. Made a few comments about it here already. Every one liked it, probably especially because they didn't have to pay for it!

    Off ot a great start for 2014!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  2. #2
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    January 15 led us across the pond for a bit of whisky. I say a bit but this afternoon featured ten different bottles!

    Wednesday tasting 15JAN14.JPG

    Usually I bring most of the bottles to try but today included a couple of lovely contributions from the owner. First up was a 31 and a half year old Balvenie single cask! I would say that was quite the contribution!

    Balvenie 30 1.JPGBalvenie 30 2.JPGBalvenie 30 3.JPG

    Distilled and barreled in April 1966, this was one of 240 bottles that had "limited chill filtering" and was bottled at 45.5% ABV. We decided this needed to go first of course. Not much point in blowing out the palate and then trying it!

    Remarkably sweet with nice fruit and vanilla flavors, a deep oily mouthfeel and remarkably very little wood influence. As far as I know this was all done in a single refill bourbon barrel. A delightful experience to start the afternoon.

    A second contribution from the owner was an original Compass Box Spice Tree to be compared to the current bottling. While consensus was split I found the original to be spicier and more in your face, which I liked, while the newer version was more rounded and had a bit less spice. Not to say both weren't excellent. But if you like it a bit on the wild side the original was the way to go.

    We followed that with the Caol Ila Stitchell Reserve which I got thanks to a heads up from a fellow SBer and the kind delivery to me by another (Isn't this group a thing of beauty??? ). This was a NAS vatting of unpeated Caol Ila single malt at cask strength from refill American Oak, rejuvenated American Oak and ex-bodega European Oak casks intended to honor the retiring Master Distiller. A beautiful whisky with a hint of apples and citrus and that lovely hint of smoke in the background that must permeate the water and everything else in Islay. This was compared to the standard 12yo which as always has lots of peaty smoke and a hint of iodine that makes it one of my favorite readily available Islay malts. While I love the 12 it is a drink for when I am in a smokey frame of mind. The Stichell Reserve is just way to easy to drink. A bit spendy but a nice splurge to try the rare unpeated version of Caol Ila.

    Next it was on to the Talisker 10, Storm and Dark Storm. I must confess here I liked the 10 best of all. All the typical pepper, brine and wisps of smoke that make it so enjoyable. The Storm, while inoffensive, didn't really add anything noteworthy and wasn't that much smokier while the Dark Storm was perhaps the biggest disappointment of the afternoon. It seemed almost astringent. All were newly opened so perhaps time will help it. It is currently a travel retail only bottle and not one I will need to look for again.

    Last but by no means least were a NAS Longrow and a recently acquired CS Springbank 12. The Longrow was good although not all that peaty/smokey. But the Sprinbank may well have been the find of the day. A beautiful honeyed dram with rich fruit that really came to life with a splash of water. This one was enjoyed by all and goes to the top of my buy again list!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  3. #3
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    The Balvenie 30+ year looks like it would be amazing. I tend to love teh Balvenie.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Back at it this week and using it as an opportunity to spend a bit more time with the Jeff Ryes.

    Wednesday tastings JAN 22.JPG

    Brought a Canadian marked Jeff 10 along as well as the Top Pig amd the Dutch Millstone Rye for comparison. Also threw a recently acquired Flying Dutchman rum from Zuidam in the Netherlands, the same distillery that makes the Millstone rye.

    The Jeff 10 was its usual pleasant easy drinking self with plenty of spice that makes it a great bargain option. Having tried to get an idea of the general profile we moved on to the Jeff 21 and 25 rye. By themselves it did appear that there was a bit more wood than originally noted but still not much for the age. More importantly there was no sense at all that they shared a common heritage with the 10yo. But they do appear to be related to one another. There is something about the 21 that jsut doesn't quite measure up to the 25 with is rounder with more body for lack of a better word. Neither has just a ton of "slap you in the face" rye spice either but the 25 seems to be a little better integrated than the 21. the 21 seems to have a bit of a void in the midpalate and doesn't finish as strong as the 25. Everything being equal I prefer the 25 to the other two but it is not enough of a difference to make it worth the painful upcharge over this older Jeff 10. Not sure if the newer Jeff 10 on the shelf is still as good as the older bottles though.

    Of note the 25 is a slightly lower proof than the already lowish proof 21. I had not noticed that before. Gotta stretch it as far as you can I suppose.

    Next up we threw the Top Pig into the race and it basically beats the pants off any one of the Jeffersons if you disregard price. It runs roughly between the 21 and 25 but carries alot more flavor and spice and really blossoms with a bit of water with a nice touch of sweetness that thens gets buried in the long spicy finish. Not sure it is 5 times the Jeff rye though as a regular pour. It will remain on the occasional special pour shelf.

    The Millstone rye is simply a different profile altogether and somewhere between the Jeff 10 and AE Rum cask rye with a really pleasant sweet note that stays in harmony with the rye spice throughout. A really nice liitle oddity!

    Then for the complete change of pace we moved onto the Flying Dutchman 3yo dark rum. pleasant enough with a nice sweet molasses flavor without being overwhelming but not a regular sipper for me. This will likely spend most of its life in search of a nice tiki drink!
    Last edited by tanstaafl2; 01-23-2014 at 14:57.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  5. #5
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Very nice notes.

    Thank you!

  6. #6
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Thanks to Blizzard Mania 2014 the usual Wednesday tasting was a snow out. Unfortunately out of town next week so it will be two weeks before we can resume. On the plus side I am out of town to attend an Angels Envy tasting which was certainly fun last year.

    I did venture out on Thursday just in time for a taste of Bummer & Lazarus gin as well as to try samples from barrels of Dobel Tequila, an aged and filtered "premium joven" no doubt intended to try to capture the vodka drinker market.

    Five samples reportedly a blend of aged (reposado, anejo and extra anejo) tequila that is blended and then filtered to make it clear in appearance. The website describes use of Hungarian white oak for aging. But the samples supposedly were aged in American toasted oak (don't know if it was new or previously used barrels which seems more likely), french oak in 3 levels of toasting and a combination of toasted French and American oak. Not sure if this was a finish after the three aged tequilas were married together or if they all spent time in these barrels their entire life. Seems like a lot of barrels to keep track of.

    Anywho all were relatively light, a characterisitc I find of the filtering process, but one did manage to have some retained spice and liveliness and did a good job of bringing a bit of agave and maintaining flavor across the palate. It was the French Oak with the heaviest toasting. But overall I think I prefer my tequila, like my whiskey, unfiltered!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  7. #7
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    After having Blizzard Mania wipe out two Wednesday tastings and a third postponed due to a trip it was finally time to get back to Wednesday Tastings!

    This week had the added benefit of being put on by the new distributor for Corsair in Atlanta. He had 10 different bottles to try which was supplemented by two more that I brought along.

    But before that started there was time to sample a couple of whisky options. First was another taste of the Rosebank 1991 13yo CS. Once again a crowd-pleaser with its easy drinkability even at 118.6 pf although a drop or two water only served to open it even further. Confirmed that others noted the tasty hint of peat in the background and it wasn't just me!

    Then it was on to the new Companta. Apparently a NAS whisky but this one was very different from the Rosebank with nice plummy fruit tones, great mouthfeel and a long satisfying finish. One of those came home with me as a result.

    Wednesday tasting 18FEB14.JPG

    Then it was on to the Corsair collection. Not all of it was whiskey of course. It included Wry Moon, Ryemaggedon (lightly aged Wry Moon), Spiced Rum, Vanilla Bean vodka, Pumpkin Spice "Moonshine", Old Punk (aged pumpkin moonshine), Triple Smoke, Quinoa whiskey, Centennial hopped whiskey, Barrel Aged Gin, regular gin and the Red Absinthe.

    Corsair tasting 18FEB14.JPG

    It was tough duty but we managed to slog our way through all of the options! Favorites included the Ryemageddon, Triple Smoke, Quinoa, Centennial and a bit surprisingly the Old Punk.

    Next order of business was a nap...
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  8. #8
    Bourbonian Of The Year 2013 and Guru
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Quote Originally Posted by tanstaafl2 View Post
    After having Blizzard Mania wipe out two Wednesday tastings and a third postponed due to a trip it was finally time to get back to Wednesday Tastings!

    This week had the added benefit of being put on by the new distributor for Corsair in Atlanta. He had 10 different bottles to try which was supplemented by two more that I brought along.

    But before that started there was time to sample a couple of whisky options. First was another taste of the Rosebank 1991 13yo CS. Once again a crowd-pleaser with its easy drinkability even at 118.6 pf although a drop or two water only served to open it even further. Confirmed that others noted the tasty hint of peat in the background and it wasn't just me!

    Then it was on to the new Companta. Apparently a NAS whisky but this one was very different from the Rosebank with nice plummy fruit tones, great mouthfeel and a long satisfying finish. One of those came home with me as a result.

    Wednesday tasting 18FEB14.JPG

    Then it was on to the Corsair collection. Not all of it was whiskey of course. It included Wry Moon, Ryemaggedon (lightly aged Wry Moon), Spiced Rum, Vanilla Bean vodka, Pumpkin Spice "Moonshine", Old Punk (aged pumpkin moonshine), Triple Smoke, Quinoa whiskey, Centennial hopped whiskey, Barrel Aged Gin, regular gin and the Red Absinthe.

    Corsair tasting 18FEB14.JPG

    It was tough duty but we managed to slog our way through all of the options! Favorites included the Ryemageddon, Triple Smoke, Quinoa, Centennial and a bit surprisingly the Old Punk.

    Next order of business was a nap...
    More than a nap needed after that, Bruce!
    As a true rum aficionado, what were your impression of those?
    JOE

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  9. #9
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Quote Originally Posted by tanstaafl2 View Post
    After having Blizzard Mania wipe out two Wednesday tastings and a third postponed due to a trip it was finally time to get back to Wednesday Tastings!

    This week had the added benefit of being put on by the new distributor for Corsair in Atlanta. He had 10 different bottles to try which was supplemented by two more that I brought along.

    But before that started there was time to sample a couple of whisky options. First was another taste of the Rosebank 1991 13yo CS. Once again a crowd-pleaser with its easy drinkability even at 118.6 pf although a drop or two water only served to open it even further. Confirmed that others noted the tasty hint of peat in the background and it wasn't just me!

    Then it was on to the new Companta. Apparently a NAS whisky but this one was very different from the Rosebank with nice plummy fruit tones, great mouthfeel and a long satisfying finish. One of those came home with me as a result.

    Wednesday tasting 18FEB14.JPG

    Then it was on to the Corsair collection. Not all of it was whiskey of course. It included Wry Moon, Ryemaggedon (lightly aged Wry Moon), Spiced Rum, Vanilla Bean vodka, Pumpkin Spice "Moonshine", Old Punk (aged pumpkin moonshine), Triple Smoke, Quinoa whiskey, Centennial hopped whiskey, Barrel Aged Gin, regular gin and the Red Absinthe.

    Corsair tasting 18FEB14.JPG

    It was tough duty but we managed to slog our way through all of the options! Favorites included the Ryemageddon, Triple Smoke, Quinoa, Centennial and a bit surprisingly the Old Punk.

    Next order of business was a nap...
    I absolutely LOVE the Old Punk (and not a fan of flavored whiskey as a rule)! They said it was purely experimental with no plans to distribute, so I hope this is a sign they are reconsidering!!
    Gary
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  10. #10
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Quote Originally Posted by smokinjoe View Post
    More than a nap needed after that, Bruce!
    As a true rum aficionado, what were your impression of those?
    The only rum in the group was the spiced rum. It was much drier than most spiced rums which I think is a good thing and the spice was a bit more muted. Focus was on citrus and vanilla bean as is used in their vanilla vodka with less nutmag/cinnamon/allspice type flavors present and that was readily evident. Not really one to be drunk by itself but I felt it had potential as a cocktail mixer. I almost never drink rum and coke but I expect it could work there as well.

    The Vanilla Bean vodka was similar in that it was drier than a typical crappy bubblegum style flavored vodka and I thought it could work in a cocktail with the right combination of ingredients. But it would take someone more skilled at combining the right ingredients to make it work than I. I am better at drinking them than creating them!

    Like many craft distilleries this is all very young stuff, especially the whiskey, and it shows with everything. The Triple Smoke probably did the best to cover that up. And of course it tends to be at the typical "craft" price point with the gin/vodka/rum around $30 and the whiskey between $40 and $50. Definitely not high value QPR here! But definitely an interesting take on various things. Downside is I have visited twice, once last spring and then again a couple of weeks ago. No evidence of any plan to put anything aside in full sized casks for more extended aging. It looked much the same from one visit to the next. Almost all of it is in about 25-30 gallon barrels and aged typically for a period of months rather than years.

    Quote Originally Posted by darylld911 View Post
    I absolutely LOVE the Old Punk (and not a fan of flavored whiskey as a rule)! They said it was purely experimental with no plans to distribute, so I hope this is a sign they are reconsidering!!
    The Old Punk was kind of the surprise of the day. I had it at the Whisky tasting held in Atlanta back in November but had A LOT of different things that night and it didn't really register. But having a bit more time to sit with it (and the Pumpkin moonshine which was also good but not quite as good as the Old Punk) I found it much more enjoyable. I think it will be available in a limited amount for at least the near future.

    Did you want one Gary? Not sure if it will be available before Saturday but if so I am happy to bring one! No idea on cost yet but I would guess it could easily be mid 40's or more.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

 

 

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