This week was a bit more of a marathon than usual. As I noted elsewhere a special guest star arrived just in time for this weeks tasting. And then I had an invitation from a friend to a "BBQ lab" to try out the food he is considering using to start up a catering business. Beer was naturally going to be a part of the experience. Made for a long but enjoyable day.
Wednesday tastings 05NOV14 2.JPGWednesday tastings 05NOV14 1.JPGKaVaLan sherry cask.JPG
Talked a little bit about the superb KaVaLan sherry cask and the comparison to the Chieftain Mortlach here. As I noted both are highly enjoyable but in a SBS blind tasting I think I would still choose the Chieftain for that fantastic earthy character that adds some complexity to the fruit on the palate and finish.
From there we moved on to our regularly scheduled program. First up was a SBS of the old and new Whistlepig Boss Hog. My recollection proved to be correct and while the new 13yo is a sweet easy drinking whiskey it doesn't seem to have a lot of rye character. The older bottle, while also a bit sweet, is higher proof and has more of that rye earthy spiciness. The new WP remains an easy pass for me.
Next up was a comparison of the Nikka Coffey Grain whisky with its counterpart, the Nikka Coffey Malt. Surprisingly the Coffey Grain was the better bottle for me with a nice spicy component and more depth and mouthfeel. The Coffey Malt was a very light balanced whisky but just seemed a bit bland compared to the Grain. A bit of a surprise and disappointment.
Another bottle direct from overseas (although I have heard it is coming to the US) was the Bains grain whiskey from South Africa. Its a relatively young whisky although it is not too dominate with the grain flavor as there is a nice nutty flavor on the finish and sweetness in mid palate. Not bad at all.
Then it was on to a few Irish whiskey with yet another bottle fresh from overseas, the Teeling Single Grain, a corn based whiskey that is finished in California Cabernet casks. A nice lightly sweet whiskey with a slightly orange tint that had a bit of red fruit helping to balance out the sweetness and young grain flavor. It was compared to the regular Teeling Small Batch with a rum cask finish that is available in the US. Also very pleasant if not particularly complex. A nice sweetness but no real rum notes stuck out like with Angel's Envy. It was also compared to another Cooley whiskey, Greenore, that presumably is using the same base grain whiskey but with no wine cask finishing. Greenore 8 had less grain character on the nose suggesting that perhaps the Teeling was a bit younger. A light but pleasant and simple whiskey. The Greenore 15 showed its greater maturity with a denser mouthfeel and some sublte barrel notes helping to balance out the sweetness. This is a whiskey I find quite enjoyable.
We then capped off the afternoon festivities with a bit of the Cambus 21yo grain whiskey from Scotland. This one is as expected rich and dense with a lovely honey character. Not sure if this is again oil or more likely a barley dominated mashbill but what ever it is, it is quite good!
BBQ lab beer.jpg
Then after a brief break it was off to the BBQ lab to refuel before changing gears to beer. I brought along a couple of newer choices to include the Hibiscus Gose from Boulevard and a new beer now available in cans from one of the many new local breweries. In this case it was the plum saison from Orpheus called Atalanta. This one was nicely tart with some tasty plum overtones and I thought it well worth it. A low ABV beer that would be particularly pleasant on a warm day.
Second from the left is the pumpkin home brew of one of the hosts. While not everything is a hit they do a nice job and this one was pretty good. Others included the newish Terrapin imperial pumkin pie porter which is pretty good, the Ass Kisser Smoked Porter which was OK, Lips of Faith Cascara Quad which is not one of my favorites, Southern Tier Goat Boy which is a very nice Weizenbock that I rather enjoyed, a Prairie Bomb which lives up to its name but is too much coffee for me, the Hibiscus Gose which is light but refreshing and easy drinking and low ABV, The Fall Woodchuck cider and the Orpheus which for some reason quickly got the nickname of "vagina" beer. Can't figure out why...
Sheesh, makes me tired just thinking about all that! And there is still a big whiskey weekend to go! Friday night starts with a dinner at Southern Arts featuring nine whiskies from Glenmo and Ardbeg and cigars in addition to a six course dinner. And Saturday is already double booked!
There may be a few spaces left for the dinner still so anybody local who is interested feel free to PM me for the details (I have no affiliation with the event accept as an attendee).