Monday, February 12, 2018

Independent Bottlers Goes Americana - Part #4



That Boutique-y Whisky Co.

New York Distilling Co. - 2yrs Rye - Batch 1 

The New York Distilling Company, located in Brooklyn, was founded in 2011 by Tom Porter, known for his role as the co-founder of the Brooklyn Brewery and Allen Katz, director of the Spirits Education & Mixology for Southern Wine & Spirits of New York.

New York Distilling Co. opened its doors on December 5, 2011, exactly 73 years after the repeal of Prohibition.

New York Distilling Co. got its own public bar called The Shanty, where you can enjoy their various spirits, and get a closer look at the distillery production, through the installed windows, dividing the bar from the distillery. The New York Distilling Co. holds a farm distillers license, which means they source most of their ingredients within New York State. 

New York Distilling Co. currently produces three types of gins and their Ragtime straight rye whisky.

Click here to visit New York Distilling Company’s website

Previously in this series, I described That Boutique-y Whisky Company. Click here to read the article

That Boutique-y Whisky Company.
New York Distilling Company – Rye – Batch 1
Bottle 341 - 570

Distillery: New York Distilling Company
Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Region: America
Age: 2 Years
Proof/ABV: 53%
Release: June 2017. Limited 570 bottles release.
Dk price: $51USD/318dkk

Points: 74/100

About the label art: Taken directly from That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s website:

“What’s with the big apple? Go figure! (OK, so the first batch from the NYDC has been finished in an Apple Jack Cask)”.

If we take a look at the sparse information given to us by TBWC, they only state that it's a rye styled whisky, matured for two years, finished in an Apple Jack Cask. This really doesn't give us much to work with, but then again, it tells us more than enough. TBWC normally uses the legal definition; Single Malt Whisky when they bottle Scotch whisky, and since TBWC resigned from labelling this rye as a straight rye whiskey, I believe it’s fair to assume, that they couldn't live up to the legal definition. Maybe it’s due to the Apple Jack Cask finish. (A Straight Rye Whiskey has to age for at least two years in charred new oak containers, to be labelled straight rye whiskey. Furthermore, if it isn't a Straight Rye whiskey, the distillery is allowed to add additions of coloring, flavoring or blending materials of up 2.5 percent by volume of the finished product. Well, I’m not blaming either New York Distilling Co. or TBWC for doing so; I’m just saying that they could if wanting to. 

Cherry and dried mint right off the bat followed by milk chocolate and some moisty notes, that I can best describe like stepping into a greenhouse – on a hot summer day - that haven’t been used for ages.  

Almost no familiar rye burn at all, it actually starts out very fruity, but quickly develops into robust rye spices with notes of nutmeg and rosehips at the tail end, and then the dry heat finally steps into the picture and accompany you through the finish.        

Short to medium long finish. 

Overall impression:
A lot of these younger ryes hold up in court pretty darn well, and those youthful rye spices can really work their magic, but this rye doesn’t really provide the balance that I’m looking for in a whiskey. It’s a bit too tight, dry and sharp around the edges for my taste, and those moisty notes are a bit off-putting in my opinion. But kudos to TBWC for trying to pick a barrel of rye that doesn’t resemble the other ryes on the current market – if that was their intension? I appreciated it when people are trying to think outside the box, and are coming up with “new” ways of doing things.

Photo & Review By: Hasse Berg

The Adventures Of Whisky Pete - Part #77

Uh Oh... Whisky Pete is not happy about retailers hiking that price up early just to take advantage of the consumer.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Glenmorangie Spios Launch

On Tuesday, January 30, I was lucky enough to attend a launch event for Glenmorangie’s newest addition to their Private Edition series, Spios.  Spios is the ninth in the series and means “Spice” in Scots Gaelic.  Appropriately named since it is fully matured in American Ex-Rye casks.  Yes, you read that right, fully matured, not just finished like we have seen in a number of the previous private editions and possibly the first time a single malt scotch has ever been matured in a rye cask.

The event took place at The Battery in San Francisco in the room they call The Musto Bar.  I was there for Glenmorangie but it was difficult to resist not trying the Bunnahabhain 25 or Highland Park 30 sitting up on the bar, but I kept my composure.  It was an intimate setting with no more than 20 of us participating in the tasting, virtually hosted by Brendan McCarron and the man himself, Dr. Bill Lumsden.  There were also a few other cities in North America participating in the live tasting including Philadelphia, Miami, Calgary and Vancouver.  All of us eagerly waiting to try Spios.

But the waiting wasn’t so bad.  We had about an hour to enjoy ourselves at the bar with some Glenmorangie Old Fashioned’s, take some pictures and get to know everyone.  I spent a good part of that hour chatting with Cameron George (@eau_so_fancy on Instagram), a mixologist for Moët Hennessy.  An extremely nice guy who seemed almost relieved to be talking with someone who didn’t work in the industry as many there did.  He graciously admitted that he just moved down to San Francisco from Seattle a few days ago and was only in his second day working for Moët Hennessy, previously working at Canon, a famous bar in Seattle.

After a long discussion of whisky and sports (he is a Seahawks fan now living in San Francisco…good luck) we were told it was time for the tasting to begin.  In front of me were three different whiskies, two of which I was already familiar with, The Glenmorangie Original, Nectar D’or and Spios. Dr. Bill Lumsden and Brendan McCarron popped up on the screen and it was time to dive in.  They talked a bit about Glenmorangie and guided us through the tasting of the first two whiskies.  Now it was time for Spios!

On first nosing, this whisky had a lot more character, especially when contrasted to the previous two.  It really was, as the name suggests, a burst of spices with a hint of toffee sweetness.  Here are my official tasting notes I took during the event.

Glenmorangie. Spios. Private Edition No. 9
Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Distillery: Glenmorangie
Age: NAS
Region: Highland
ABV: 46%
US Price: $99
Release: Limited
Cask: American Ex-Rye Casks

Robust and spicy, herbal, mineral, toffee and sweet melon.

Malty sweetness, buttery and then loads of spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and pepper.

Bold finish, long.  Lingering heat and citrus.

Dr. Bill Lumsden said he gets Brazil Nut on the finish but I never had a Brazil Nut before so I couldn’t say.  Thankfully, I didn’t need to take Brendan’s advice and look for the nearest Brazil Nut retailer as they had some on the table to try.  Still not sure after that but I’ll take Dr. Lumsden’s word for it.

Overall, I did enjoy Spios.  It is still a very light whisky but is a lot more robust when compared to The Original and Nectar D’or.  I am guessing that’s why they decided to taste it along side these two since Lasanta and Quinta Ruban would have probably overpowered it.  When you end up trying it for the first time taste it next to something light like Glenmorangie Original if you can.  It certainly helped me get a lot more out of it.

After they walked us through a fantastic tasting they went around to each location on the stream and let people ask questions.  One question asked was how old is Spios? Dr. Lumsden didn’t say exactly how old it was but he did say he was really bad at math and it helped that this was Private Edition number 9.  So from that statement we can assume that it is around 9 years old. 

Another person asked where they sourced the rye casks from.  Again, Dr. Lumsden couldn’t really say but he explained that it wasn’t so much about where the casks were from but more about the type of casks he was looking for.  He told us that the casks used for Spios held rye for 6 years and had a mash bill of at least 95% rye and then explained a bit about why he couldn’t tell us where they were from.  He concluded his answer with, “How’s that for dodging a question?”

Lastly, they gave us a little sneak peak for what’s coming next year.  Dr. Bill Lumsden said that without a doubt, next years release will be Private Edition Number 10!  Yeah….thanks Bill.

After the tasting, lunch and dessert were served.  The event was all about the whisky but it’s hard to go wrong with chicken in a bacon cream sauce, just sayin’.  I also spent time talking to Virginia Miller (@theperfectspot on The Gram), a spirits writer for a number of publications.  We had an amazing conversation talking about great whiskies and the industry.  Go give her a follow, she really knows her stuff!

Eventually, after some good food and great whisky it came to an end.  Attending an event like this was a first time for me and I had a blast meeting people who share this love of whisky and networking with those who work in the industry.  Hopefully I get invited to more events like this in the future.  A coupe things I learned: 1) People liked the name of our blog.  2)  People were asking for a business card even though I’m just an influencer on Instagram and contribute to a whisky blog.  So Hasse, about that…

Written by: Cody Diefenderfer

The Adventures Of Whisky Pete - Part #76

Whisky Pete and Henry McKenna!

Completely interesting and my very first time. 

Don't know how I missed this for so long? 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Independent Bottlers Goes Americana - Part #3


That Boutique-y Whisky Co.

F.E.W. Spirits - 2yrs Bourbon - Batch 2

About F.E.W. Spirits

Paul Hletko, the founder and head distiller of F.E.W. Spirits knew right from the start that his product line would always remain small. When asked "How many kinds of spirits do you make?" he could honestly reply "We only make a few."

F.E.W. Spirits were founded in 2011, in Evanston, Illinois, who can claim the dubious title of being the birthplace of the American prohibition era, because it was here that Francis Elizabeth Willard (notice the initials) championed the temperance movement with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. F.E.W. Spirits became the first distillery in Illinois after prohibition.

F.E.W. Spirits are distilled and bottled entirely in-house, so they produce everything from grain to glass. F.E.W. Spirits are running two copper pot stills. One custom built German hybrid still, used to produce their whiskey, as well as to strip low wines for gin production. Their second still is also custom built, used entirely for gin production, to ensure that their whiskey and gin flavor doesn’t mix.

F.E.W. Spirits produce a single malt whisky, a bourbon and a rye whiskey, and three different styled gin’s, named American, Barrel and Breakfast Gin.

Click here to visit F.E.W.’s Website

Previously in this series I have described That Boutique-y Whisky Company. Click here to read the article

That Boutique-y Whisky Company.
F.E.W. Bourbon - Batch 2

Distillery: F.E.W. Spirits
Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Region: America
Age: 2 Years
Proof/ABV: 51,8%
Release: September 2016. Limited 275 bottles release.
Dk price: $79USD/495dkk

Points: 87,5/100

About the label art: Taken directly from That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s website:

Where better to get our feet wet with bottling American spirits than with one of America’s finest craft distilleries, FEW Spirits in Evanston, Illinois. Evanston is not only home to FEW, it’s also the home of Prohibition as it was here that Frances Elizabeth Willard championed the temperance movement. Hence why the label of our bottling of FEW bourbon features Maverick Drinks’ Michael Vachon heralding the repeal of Prohibition, and FEW founder Paul Hletko getting down to business in the background.

Deep layers of smoke upfront, followed by sweet caramel, black pepper, and buttery salty popcorn and cherry. Deep, dark and intense. I really enjoy it.   

Vanilla ice cream with toffee, honey, and the smoky note coming through once again.

Medium spicy oaky finish.

Overall impression:

That Boutique-y Whisky Company chose to bottle their selected F.E.W. barrel at a higher ABV that F.E.W.’s original bourbon offering. (F.E.W. bottles their bourbon at 46,5%) In my opinion, a very smart move, to keep those amazing dark and intense flavors in play instead of watering them down.     
I’m really impressed by how far Paul Hletko have reached with this two years old bourbon, and I can honestly say, that this bottling is far superior to much older bourbons, that I have had over the years. Sure, it isn’t as thick and oily as I would prefer it to be, but apart from that, it’s right on the money.      

Photo & Review By: Hasse Berg