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Bourbon and Spirits

A Holiday Season Wish List of Whiskies

A Holiday Season Wish List of Whiskies 1December 11th, 2017

For many whisky and whiskey lovers, the Holiday Season represents a time to celebrate the blessings of good friends and family by gifting and broaching special bottles of the water of life. With this thought in mind, I’d like to offer up a few spirituous suggestions. I’ve intentionally bypassed harder to procure, more esoteric and – yes – often far more expensive whiskies, and instead focused on selections that should be easier to find.

Here we go!

Ardbeg Uigeadail (54.2%ABV – Scotland) is now a well-established Islay classic. The almost assaultive, room-filling aroma offers an invigorating lead-in to a fabulously intense, layered and ultimately alluring flavour spectrum. This one provides ample proof that a no-age-statement whisky can still attain true excellence. For peat lovers.

Highland Park 18 Year Old (43%ABV – Scotland) has, over the years, garnered much praise for its breadth of stylistic nuances and consistency. This Orkney gem opens with a plethora of scents before caressing the palate with a sensuous textural quality. It’s well-nigh perfectly proportioned, and ‘has it all’.

Talisker 18 Year Old (45.8%ABV – Scotland) is distilled on the Isle of Skye. Its assertive yet composed aroma reflects those additional years of maturation during which the spirit rests prior to bottling. The tremendously rich and round mouth-feel appears disarmingly succulent at first. However, small shoreline fires continue to flicker amidst the sweeter malt notes from start to lengthy finish. Simply superlative.

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Whisky Profile: Gooderham & Worts Four Grain

Gooderham Worts Four Grain 1November 13th, 2017

The whisky

Gooderham & Worts Four Grain Canadian Whisky
Blend No. A.A1129
44.4% alcohol by volume

This ‘Four Grain’ bottling represents a relatively recent addition to the Gooderham & Worts lineup marketed by Corby Wine & Spirit Limited. It utilizes a mash-bill incorporating rye, wheat, barley and corn, and replaces a Small Batch release, which was available a decade or so ago.

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A Rich Pour 41: Springbank Distillery – An ‘All in the Family’ Story

A Rich Pour 41 1April 13th, 2017

Springbank Distillery is located near the southern tip of the Kintyre Peninsula, in the town of Campbeltown, Argyllshire. Its complex of buildings encompasses portions of five other local distilleries that have long since closed down – Argyll, Longrow, Riechlachan, Springside and Union. Springbank’s whisky is considered by many spirits aficionados to be one of the most complex and rewarding of all the Scotch malts.

The rocky finger of the Peninsula of Kintyre extends so far as to practically touch the shores of Northern Ireland. Tribes venturing forth from ancient Dalriada in Eire probably first set foot on Caledonia’s soil here, at the southwestern tip of Scotland. Christian missionaries soon followed this same path, hoping to spread both the Gospel’s promise of salvation and healing knowledge of spirits distillation. In which of these pursuits did they ultimately achieve greater success? The result is debatable. What is certain is that the inhabitants of Kintyre embraced alcohol with an almost religious fervour. In fact, documents relating to regional whisky production date back to the late 16th-Century.

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Bourbon Profile: Wild Turkey 101

Bourbon Profile Wild Turkey 101 1September 28th, 2017

The whiskey

Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon
50.5% alcohol by volume (101 Proof)

Among the numerous Bourbons currently on the market, Wild Turkey 101 represents an established, reasonably priced and widely available classic. It utilizes a traditional corn-rye-barley mash-bill that emphasizes the corn component, and contains whiskies aged for as long as six to eight years. The new oak barrels into which the fresh spirit is transferred are heavily charred.

Wild Turkey Distillery is located in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and is owned by Gruppo Campari. Master Distillers Jimmy (a legendary figure in the industry) and Eddie (Jimmy’s son) Russell oversee operations.

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A Rich Pour 39: Whiskies and Port Casks

A Rich Pour 39 1January 19th, 2017

In this edition of A Rich Pour, Cigar Weekly’s Managing Editor Doug Kuebler (jazznut) explores how whiskies interact with Port casks to create some very interesting, and oftentimes very tasty, results.

The bond between wood and whisky (or whiskey) stretches back in time and encompasses many regions of the globe. Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the United States of America – to name but a few countries – boast strong traditions in the ageing of the noble liquor in wooden containers. Wood provides a perfect medium for mellowing the rather aggressive spirit that condenses off a typical whisky still.

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Bourbon Profile: Stagg Jr

Stagg Jr 1September 14th, 2017

The whiskey

Stagg Jr Barrel Proof Bourbon
Batch 8 (released in 2017)
64.75% alcohol by volume (129.5 Proof)

Stagg Jr represents Buffalo Trace’s attempt to market a younger, less expensive and more readily available expression of the classic, limited edition George T. Stagg Bourbon. Stagg Jr has been released in relatively small batches since 2013, and has purportedly improved in quality since its introduction. Buffalo Trace utilizes a low-rye mash-bill for the production of Stagg Jr.

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A Rich Pour 38: Holiday Season Gift Suggestions for Whisky and Whiskey Lovers

A Rich Pour 38 1December 8th, 2016

That special festive time of the year is fast approaching. And we’re all familiar with the old adage, “It’s better to give than to receive.” But when it comes to bringing smiles to the faces of the whisky (and whiskey) lovers in one’s life, choosing gifts can present a real challenge. I’d like to step up to the plate and propose a few suggestions.

Whiskies

Everyone’s taste buds are different. There’s simply no way around this truth. So rather than take a ‘one bottle fits all’ approach, I’m recommending five flavourful whiskies, each one of which has something unique to offer.

Balblair 2003: Despite dating back to 1790, this northern Highland malt Scotch distillery has really only come into its own over the last few years. And the 2003 vintage, though youngish, still hits all the right sensory targets. Its honeyed sweetness is handily balanced by refreshing spring meadow and citrus notes, while an oak-driven spiciness surges forth on the finish. Even better, the spirit does not suffer the vagaries of chill filtration or artificial colouring prior to being bottled at a sage 46% alcohol by volume. Pure and perfect as it pours, this one will please a wide variety of palates.

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Bourbon Profile: Knob Creek 9 Year Old & 9 Year Old Single Barrel

Knob Creek 9YO 1September 4th, 2017

The whiskies

Knob Creek Bourbon
Aged 9 Years
50% alcohol by volume (100 Proof)

The Knob Creek line comprises one of four in the Jim Beam Small Batch collection of Bourbons, the others being Basil Hayden’s, Baker’s and Booker’s. The nine year old ‘standard’ release profiled here has recently been replaced by a no-age-statement version bottled at the same strength. (There are also rye-heavy and Smoked Maple interpretations of the Knob Creek style available.)

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A Rich Pour 37: Clynelish Distillery – A Story of Crofters, Clearances, Whisky and Wildcats

A Rich Pour 37 1November 14th, 2016

Clynelish Distillery is located in the northern Highlands of Scotland, a stone’s throw from the coastal village of Brora and the A9 highway. It is owned by the giant drinks firm Diageo.

The history of Clynelish is replete with stark contrasts – power and disenfranchisement, prosperity and poverty, and new versus old. In many ways, the distillery’s saga mirrors Scotland’s last two hundred years. Above all, it recounts the birth and evolution of a little-known but essential malt whisky site.

A person time-traveling back to early 19th-Century Sutherlandshire would encounter a land similar to many contemporary, autocratic Third World nations – a place where the welfare of commoners fell beneath the footsteps of the fortunate.

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Bourbon Profile: Bulleit 10 Year Old

Bulleit 10YO 1June 29th, 2017

The whiskey

Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey
Aged 10 Years
45.6% alcohol by volume (91.2 Proof)

Bulleit 10 Year Old comes in a retro-styled bottle. Perhaps this fact has something to do with the 'Frontier Whiskey' connotation on the label.

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A Rich Pour 35: Lovin’ Lagavulin

ARP 35 1October 10th, 2016

Lagavulin. If ever a name evoked a whisky’s character. Let’s face it. The English translation of the original Gaelic Lag a’mhuilinn, ‘hollow by the mill’, simply doesn’t do justice to the distillery or its spirit. But Lagavulin... That sounds like a breath of magic!

The Lagavulin Distillery occupies a picturesque site located in the prime distilling area on the southeastern coast of the Isle of Islay in Scotland, opposite the crumbling ruins of Dunyvaig Castle. It (along with the Caol Ila Distillery and a large industrial malting facility at Port Ellen, both also on Islay) is owned and operated by Diageo, the largest spirits producing firm in the world.

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