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  1. #61
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    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...

    Orpheus beer.JPG

    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).
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  2. #62
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Unfortunately a last minute postponement this week. Hope to get back to it next week!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  3. #63
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Sadly last week got postponed at the last minute and the upcoming holiday has sent this one down in flames as well. Hope to get back at it next week to kick off December with some Christmas cheer!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  4. #64
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    After an unintended break we were back in business this week to start the Christmas season off on the correct foot! unfortunately I left my notes behind so this will have to be done by my always unreliable and booze addled memory.

    First up was a SBS of the last three birthday bourbons (2012, 2013 and 2014).

    Wednesday tastings 03DEC14 1.JPG

    This was done blind with the assistance of a non participant. Of note the 2014 was an unopened bottle while the other two had been open for some time. Not sure what, if any, role that played but it was the 2014 that was the consensus pick. It had the best nose of the three which made me think it was the 2103. As I recall the 2013 was the driest finish. The 2014 had a nice spiciness and sweetness combined while the 2012 was a bit more one dimensional with caramel sweetness. I will have to consult my notes to confirm that though.

    Wednesday tastings 03DEC14 2.JPG

    Next it was a taste of the Jawbreaker I had acquired. Just enough left in the bottle for about three tastes. An excellent whiskey although I seem to recall it was supposed to have a lot of cinnamon character and I didn't get much of that. Better than any of the OFBB's.

    From their we moved on to the Corti Bros. "Exquisite Whiskey", a sourced bourbon finished in well used sweet wine casks. Truly hard to tell this was bourbon or even whiskey. Much more rum like character to me and very enjoyable.

    It was paired against the Belle Meade 9yo sherry finish. Much more bourbon in character but this too had a significant finish to it but more of the classic red fruit and raison-y sherry notes. But I find it to be quite good as well.

    Just for the heck of it we threw in the Ka Va Lan port finished Concert Master single malt as we transitioned over to the dark side. A very pleasant whiskey again with the red fruit flavors but a bit more subtle than the Belle Meade sherry finish. I found this one to be a bit less sweet and very easy to drink.

    Then on to the second SBS of the day with the new Compass Box Lost Blend versus an original CB Eleuthera. We should have done this one blind as well but did not. In addition the cork on the older bottle broke almost immediately. Oh well, we had a spare!

    All the participants had previously tried and liked the Lost Blend. But the quick consensus was that the Eleuthera was the more richer, mature tasting whiskey. To me the peat component was similar but the Lost Blend uses another malt from Allt-A-Bhainne distillery (that is reportedly nearly 20yo) to combine with the Clynelish, which almost certainly is used in a lower proportion than in the Eleuthera, to provide the highland component. Don't get me wrong, they were both good, but the Eleuthera was better. I think we might do this again blind next week just to see if we were overly influenced by the label!

    We finished with another taste of the new Taghta as one of our group had not tried it yet. As before, a bit briny with a bit of a musky character that gave it some depth and fullness.

    The poor old Michter's Toasted Oak will just have to wait for another day. Instead we finished with a couple of beers. First was the Jekyll "Off the Grid" Barleywine. A very tasty and respectable offering from a smallish local brewery. Then we followed up with a new arrival, the Terrapin French Toasted Wake and Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout. Interestingly and probably deliberately the cap smelled a bit like French Toast (or really more like maple syrup). That was about it for the French toast influence. There was perhaps another hint of maple in the bottle but this was mostly a big coffee stout straight from Jittery Joe's! I am not a big coffee person but this was certainly interesting.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  5. #65
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Thanks for posting Bruce. Always enjoyable.
    "Civilization begins with distillation."

    William Faulkner

  6. #66
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Yeah, thanks for the notes, Bruce. I enjoy this thread.

    Unfortunately I missed out on OFBB this year. I really liked the 2012 and the 2013. Glad to hear they are still putting out a high quality product with the 2014.
    Drank a lot of whiskey
    It gives me such a glow
    It makes me quite immobile
    But it lets my feelin' show

  7. #67
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegator View Post
    Yeah, thanks for the notes, Bruce. I enjoy this thread.

    Unfortunately I missed out on OFBB this year. I really liked the 2012 and the 2013. Glad to hear they are still putting out a high quality product with the 2014.
    I will be curious to let it sit a bit after being opened and see if it makes any difference. That was the biggest difference from the 2014 and the previous two. I didn't remember the 2014 being that much different when I tried it at the WoW event in Atlanta last month.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  8. #68
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Perhaps the final Wednesday Tasting of the year yesterday as it begins to get busier for the holidays. We did our best to make it interesting with several blind comparisons.

    Wednesday tastings 10DEC14.JPG

    First up was a blind SBS of the two batches of PHC Wheat thanks to a sample of the 126.8 provided by a fellow SBer (Haven't seen that batch in these parts). The findings were consistent among our group and also surprisingly similar to what SKU reported recently.

    Wednesday tastings 10DEC14 2.JPG

    While I don't really get any soapy bourbon notes on the nose (not really sure what that should taste like!) the 127 definitely is less sweet smelling and more oaky on the nose with maybe just a touch of acetone/varnish. On the palate it builds a nice caramel flavor by the mid palate with more oiliness than the 126. The oak bite returns as it moves towards the finish but stays in balance throughout. A very pleasant whisky indeed.

    The 126 smells sweeter and has a quick burst of caramel sweetness on the tip of the tongue. But this quickly dries out in the mid palate and turns a bit bitter and tangy at the start of the finish which lingers through the shorter finish. That bitterness stuck with me, kind of in the sub mandibular salivary gland area, well after the finish faded. While not bad it does not hold up to the 127. Had I never been able to try the 127 I would probably still like this but not as much. The bitter tangy note and lack of balance throw this one a bit off the mark.

    Next we did a blind SBS of the new 7yo Bernheim (newly opened) against an older NAS Bernheim that had been open for awhile. Both are 90 proof. The older one was surprisingly darker than the 7yo side by side. Even more surprising was that we all liked the old one much more than the new bottle. The new one seemed really bland and unassuming from the nose to the palate and through the relatively short finish. While no where near as interesting as either batch of the PHC Wheat the old bottle had a soft sweet nose with more caramel sweetness on the palate that carried into the finish. It just seemed more mature testing with more mouthfeel as well. Not a lot mind you but more than the 7yo. Neither had much in the way of an oaky balance that was present in the PHC version which is probably not all that surprising. Not sure what to make of this. Could the fact that the older bottle had been open for awhile even though it was still pretty full have made a difference? Only time will tell!

    Wednesday tastings 10DEC14 3.JPG

    Then we switched gears to malt with a little deja vu all over again to start with. First up was a repeat of the SBS with CB Eleuthera and the newer Lost Blend but this time done blind. Last week the Eleuthera had proved to be the favorite. While opening it the cork broke and while I capped it with a temporary plastic stopper and put in a new cork once I got back home I can't be sure just how well sealed it had been with the plastic stopper. In any case this week in the blind tasting the Lost Blend proved to be the favorite across the board. Both are good and the similarity between them is there but I have to wonder if the cork played a role this week. Or maybe it was all the Bernheim that came before it!

    We had to keep it a bit short this week (only nine different whiskies after all...) but we tried to finish with a bang!

    Wednesday tastings 10DEC14 4.JPG

    Next up were three of the Ka Va Lan Solist series at cask strength. I need to check the batch numbers on these but the Sherry Cask came from Binny's thanks to an assist from a fellow SBer while the other two were unearthed in Tennessee. No sign of them in Georgia yet that I know of. Of course I have them now so I am not looking as hard!

    First was the ex bourbon cask, followed by the Vinho Barrique (a selection of American red and white wine casks that were then retoasted) and finally the oloroso sherry cask. None of them are chill filtered nor do they have any coloring added.

    The ex bourbon cask was a really nicely balanced malt at 115.6 proof that was much like any well matured highland scotch might be with a decided bourbon character to it despite likely being only around 4 years old. Certainly likely to be the most approachable by the bourbon drinker. Plenty of vanilla and perhaps a touch of fruit sweetness from some unknown depth! The finish dries out a bit but remains long and pleasant with only a bit of grainy character overlying the flavor.

    The Vinho Barrique weighed in at 118.8 and brought much more red fruit flavors to bear but never seemed out of balance. The grain notes seem to be gone here making this one really pleasant and surprisingly mature tasting. A bit of spice slides in with the finish but its not at all unpleasant or unwelcome. I tended to favor this one a bit more than the ex bourbon cask. And I never got around to trying a bit of water as they are all remarkably easy to drink at proof.

    Last but not least was the Sherry finish again at 115.6 and it is a sherry sledgehammer. Despite that the light grain character still manages to work its way into the flavor although without really distracting much from the sherry tidal wave. Big and bold but perhaps a bit more of a one trick pony and lacking the subtle character of the Vinho Barrique for me.

    After those three bruisers it seemed reasonable to call it a day. Hopefully back at it again early next year!
    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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