Monday, April 24, 2017

Tasting: Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey 101
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Distillery: Wild Turkey Distillery
Age: NAS, but at least six years old.
Proof/ABV: 101/50,5%.
Mash bill: 75C/13R/12B.
Average Swedish price: 399SEK/45USD.
Release: Ongoing

Points: 87/100

Light amber.

Toasted oak at first, and something sweet–like burnt caramel. Then comes a little bit of grain and ripe banana.

A little tannic when entering, then that nice toasted oak again. Raisins and butterscotch, ripe banana says hello again in the finish, along with a little bit of dark chocolate. A perfect heat follows the notes throughout, but never taking over.

Medium viscosity. Perfect heat in the mouthfeel as well, and maybe just a little bit of freshness.

Wild Turkey has been a brand since the early 1940s, and there’s been a Wild Turkey Distillery since the early 1970s. Today the brand is owned by the Campari Group, and the Wild Turkey product line is produced and bottled in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Their master distiller Jimmy Russell earned his title in the 1960s and holds it to this day.

The Wild Turkey 101, named after its proof, is the brands main expression and somewhat of an American workhorse as I understand it. One thing I love about bourbon is the craftsmanship and quality often found in the regular easy-to-find expressions. Wild Turkey 101 isn’t just something to use as a baseline to show how great the limited editions are. It is fantastically well made, well balanced and fair priced, even here in Sweden. Of course it’s a lot more expensive than in the States, but all bourbon is.

My main note as I was tasting this was as accurate as it was unintentionally sexy: “perfect balance of body and heat”. I could just as well be reviewing young Mickey Rourke.

Photo & Review By: Erik Hasselgärde

The Adventures Of Whisky Pete - Part #33

One of my favorite watering holes has been running a special Buffalo Trace Bourbon... Pete loves Bourbon!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tasting: Maltbarn. Caol Ila 13 yrs.

Maltbarn. NO. 58
Caol Ila – 13 yrs

Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
Non Chill-Filtered/No added colouring

Distillery: Caol Ila
Bottler: Maltbarn
Region: Islay
Age: 13 Years Old
Proof/ABV: 55,5%
Distilled: 2003
Dk price: $129USD/900Dkk.  
Release: Limited 175 bottles release
Cask: Sherry

Points: 89/100

Caol Ila has been in production almost constantly since it was built by Hector Henderson in 1846. Caol Ila lies quite isolated directly on the shore of the Sound of Islay, in the northeast corner of the island, where Caol Ila (Gaelic for Sound of Islay) also takes its name from. Caol Ila has only experienced two nonproducing periods, in 1930 – 37 and again during parts of WW2, because of wartime restrictions on the supply of barley to distillers.

In 1972 the entire distiller was torn down, only the warehouses remained, and a new larger distillery was built in the same original architectural style, and the stills was extended from two to six, to meet increased demand from the blenders.
Roughly around 90 - 95% of Caol Ila’s whisky goes into blends such as Black Bottle and Johnnie Walker.

Caol Ila is owned by Diageo who luckily decided to start releasing officially Caol Ila bottling somewhere around 2006, until then it was only producing whisky for blends.

Caol Ila’s current core range consists of a 12, 18, 25 years old single malts, now and then some Distillery Editions also sees the light of day.

Oh how I love that unmistaken Caol Ila nose: Medicinal, iodine and tar. Fresh salty sea water and sweet bonfire smoke. Heaven on earth

Sweet and oily. Incredible complex and full bodied. Big bold smoky notes that you almost can chew on. Caramel mingles with white pepper, and old black cherry.   

Medium long finish that fills your mouth with cigar smoke and English licorice.

Overall impression:
Well executed Maltbarn. Perfect balanced, and the Sherry cask works wonders with the Islay smoke.  

Review By: Hasse Berg

Photo by: (All rights reserved)

Son of Winston Churchill has kindly been granted permission to use the photo in this review.      

The Adventures Of Whisky Pete - Part #32

Yin & Yang. 
Different worlds altogether. 
Islay... Sherry... Crazy different!


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tasting: Highland Park 12

Highland Park 12 year
Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Natural Color

Distillery: Highland Park
Age: 12 years
Region: Island (Orkney)
ABV: 43%
US Price: $45
Release: Ongoing
Cask: Ex-sherry casks

Points: 89/100

Highland Park is one of not many distilleries that still malt some of their own barley. About 20% is malted using their own malting floors while the rest is sourced unpeated barley.  Half of their own malted barley is peated using the peat on Orkney. This unique, heathery peat gives their expressions a very subtle and floral peat flavor that you can't get anywhere else and the Highland Park 12 year is the perfect dram to experience this.

The Highland Park 12 year sits near the top of my list of 12 year old scotches. It has the combination of both sweet and smoky flavors that I love and a complexity you can't find in most 12 year old whiskies, all at a reasonable price. It's a 12 year that can easily stand up against some older whiskies. This is not a whisky to be missed and a must have in any collection.

Sweet, hazelnuts, candied fruit, honey, charred wood. Light heather notes.

Druid fruits, cocoa, sweet/floral peat, grilled pineapple and orange, green tea.

Medium length finish. A lot of citrus and fruit.  Spent campfire smoke.  Slightly bitter.

Photo & Review By: Cody Diefenderfer


Highland Park reviews on Son Of Winston Churchill:


The Adventures Of Whisky Pete - Part #31

Not just cocktails, they do whisky too! Rosewater is my new home. Now, if only they'd let Whisky Pete Crash behind the bar or something...

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tasting: Maltbarn. Glen Garioch 21 yrs.

Maltbarn. NO. 38
Glen Garioch – 21 yrs

Single Malt Scotch Whisky – From a single cask
Non Chill-Filtered/No added colouring

Distillery: Glen Garioch
Bottler: Maltbarn
Region: Highland
Age: 21 Years Old
Proof/ABV: 52,5%
Distilled: 1993
Dk price: $135USD/950Dkk.  
Release: Limited 142 bottles release
Cask: Bourbon

Points: 79/100

Glen Garioch is one of the few remaining distilleries left from the 18 century. Built in 1797 by Thomas Simpson, and located in Aberdeenshire in the Scotch whisky region Highland.

During its long life, Glen Garioch have had more than a handful of owners, and have been closed quite a few times, last in 1963. Shortly after Stanley P. Morrison Ltd. went in and bought Glen Garioch, they spend the next couple of years updating and rebuilding the old place. The stills was extended from two to three, a visitor center was build, and floor malting was now being used in the process, to produce Glen Garioch new peated malt whisky. In 1982 Glen Garioch was the first distillery in Scotland to convert its
stills to gas firing.

Is wasn’t until Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd. bought the distillery, that Glen Garioch started releasing a officially bottling, before that time, the malt whisky had only been used in blends such as Bell’s, VAT 69 and Grant's..

Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd. was purchased by Japanese Suntory in 1984 who completely change the face of Glen Garioch, by discontinue their entire portfolio, and replace it with a 12 years old standard expression, the NAS expression 1797 Founders Reserve, and two vintages a 1978 and a 1990.

I was told that Glen Garioch stopped using its own floor malting in 1994. Unlike the (relatively mildly peated) whiskies that were produced until that point, the whiskies that were distilled in later years has been unpeated, so let’s see if we can detect some peat in this one, shall we?  

Very fruity sweet with plums, cherries and hints of pears, honey and dark chocolate 

The palate quickly turns into the finish, only leaving room for a splash of lime.

Medium long finish dominated by green tea. 

Overall impression:
It never ceases to amazes me, how treacherous the nose on a whisky can be, whispering false expectations in your ear of great things to come, and when you finally take that first sip, it all just seems a bit plain. Don’t get me wrong, Maltbarn’s Glen Garioch is a very straight forward enjoyable whisky, but I really like the actual taste to play the leading character, not the nose. 

Just like the good old Monty Python chaps use to say “Now for something completely different” At first I wasn’t too keen on Maltbarn’s label design, but the more I look at their label catalog on their website, the more I love them. I really wish they would sell them as reprint, they would look mighty fine in my whisky bunker!

Review By: Hasse Berg

Photo by: (All rights reserved)

Son of Winston Churchill has kindly been granted permission to use the photo in this review.  

The Advetures Of Whisky Pete - Part #30

Whisky Pete got his hand on a botle his size!


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Tasting: Evan Williams White Label

Yesterday our blog went all haywire and decided to act out on its own, creating a false review on the Limited edition Evan Haskill bottle. We are truly sorry for any inconvenience this malfunction has caused. We have now solved the problem, and have taken the necessary precautions to prevent such unfortunate incident from happening again in the future.

Below are the original scheduled Evan Williams White label BIB review.  


Evan Williams. White Label
Bottled In Bound.
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Distillery: Heaven Hill
(Distilled in Louisville KY and bottled in Bardstown KY)
Age: NAS, but at least four years.
Proof/ABV: 100Proof/50%.
Mash bill: 75C/13R/12B
Average Swedish price: 429SEK/48USD.
Release: Ongoing. (Although no longer available in Sweden).

Points: 81/100

Color: Amber.

Vanilla, grain, burnt sugar and dried fruit. Maybe a hint of smoke, like dried leaves burning.

Alcohol burn at first, then revealing corn and a hint of Arak, or maybe Arabica coffee. After that a little bitterness, then finishing on a very strong grain note. A bit underwhelming taste-wise, and could use a few more notes to stand up to the warmth of the proof.

Mouth feel:
A bit creamy, a little bit tannic with a comforting long warm linger.

Evan Williams is said to be Kentucky’s first distiller, making spirits since 1783. A claim now highly doubted and as disproven as it probably ever will be. Recently shifted, the claim - made, among other places, on a historical marker just outside the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience location – is that Williams founded the first commercial distillery in Kentucky.

Truth or lie, the Evan Williams brand is the second largest selling brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey in the U.S, after Jim Beam. This review is of the bottled in bond-version of the standard black label Evan Williams bourbon.

“Bottled in bond” is a label given to American spirits if they meet the following demands, regulated since 1897, now in the Standards of Identity, a part of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act: it’s the product must be of one distillation season (January to June or July to December) and one distiller at one distillery. It then has to be aged for at least four years in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision. After that it must be bottled at 100 proof/50% ABV. The bottle label must then identify the distillery where it was distilled and, if different, where it was bottled.

Bottled in bond is supposed to be a marker of authenticity and transparency, but in the case of Evan Williams becomes a statement undermined by sharing label space with what probably are false claims. Unfortunate, because the bourbon in the bottle stands firmly on it’s own.

Bourbon marketing is filled with great stories, most of them debunked but still loudly proclaimed. Taken to heart by marketing departments, it’s sometimes advised to never let the truth get in the way of a great story. Maybe they should put that on a historical marker in Kentucky.

Photo & Review By: Erik Hasselgärde