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Bourbon and Spirits

Holiday Season the Scotch Way

Holiday Season the Scotch Way 1As the Holiday Season nears, Scotch lovers are faced with something of a challenge – how to offer their guests with more sensitive palates quality malt Scotch whiskies that won’t offend, but that will also satisfy the demands of more experienced imbibers who might be gathered.

Yes… There are people who appreciate a good malt but just can’t get their taste buds around drams of Lagavulin or Laphroaig!

Fortunately, when it comes to meeting this challenge, there’s true ‘gold’ to be had. Let me guide you to a small number of distilleries, provide you with a few (hopefully) interesting facts about them, and profile some of their whiskies. These Scotches are sure to please. And, with one exception, they won't bust the bank.

Time to read on, and taste!

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A Rich Pour 31: Heavy Hitters

Monday November 2, 2015

A Rich Pour 31.1Join Cigar Weekly Managing Editor Doug Kuebler (jazznut) as he showcases a personal selection of high-proof malt whiskies from seven renowned distilleries in Scotland.

This time around, I’m passing right by the mass of many excellent standard-strength malt Scotch whiskies available in the marketplace, and heading directly for a few exceptional, straight-from-the-cask (or as close to it as makes no difference) ‘beasties’.

It’s perhaps not surprising that six of the malts profiled here emanate from the Isle of Islay, which is not exactly known for holding back when it comes to the intense style of its whiskies. Add one more from the Isle of Skye and another from the Highlands, and we’re ready to dive into eight truly exciting drams.

Be forewarned, however. While these Scotches will fill every corner of your palate and bring considerable warmth in the process, some may also lighten your finances a tad. But never mind that. Bite the bullet and sip the nectar!

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A Rich Pour 27: Oban – An Ancient Place

ARP 27.1Join Cigar Weekly Managing Editor Doug Kuebler (jazznut) as he profiles one of Scotland’s quaintest malt whisky sites – the Oban Distillery.

Monday January 19, 2015

Oban (which is Gaelic for “little bay of caves”) is an attractive western Scotland community boasting a degree of frenzied activity, and a number of places of interest, that belie its relatively modest population. The town, known as the Gateway to the Isles, also plays a prominent role as a ferry terminus owing to its central coastal location and naturally sheltered bay.

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A Rich Pour 30: The Irish Are Coming!

ARP 30.1Cigar Weekly Managing Editor Doug Kuebler (jazznut) takes a look at the re-emergence of Irish whiskies in the world spirits marketplace.

June 8, 2015

There was a time, during the 20th Century, when it seemed as if Ireland’s whiskey was ‘down for the ten count’. The Irish spirit’s major competitor, the Scotch whisky industry, had not only better managed to weather two World Wars, American Prohibition, distillery closures and brutal rationalization. It had also been bold enough to purchase and then shut down (through the huge Distillers Company Limited) a number of Irish grain distilling sites. Gone were the ‘glory days’ of the 1800s, when Irish whiskey had maintained a reputation for high quality and large-scale production.

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Nostalgia - Gramps' Bar

I was born on Long Island, but my family moved to the Syracuse area in 1977 when I was seven years old. Because most of our relatives still lived on Long Island, my family would make several return trips a year, and we always stayed at Grams' and Gramps' house.

Bar-1Grams and Gramps, my father's parents, owned a small Cape Cod that was worth way more than it should have been. Although the house was small, everything was always kept in immaculate condition - especially the landscaping.

There wasn’t a lot for us kids to do there, except to watch movies on Gramps' new Beta machine, which was followed by a VHS player. Gramps loved movies, a trait that certainly rubbed off on me.

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A Rich Pour 29: Getting into Whisky (or Whiskey)

ARP 29.1Cigar Weekly Managing Editor Doug Kuebler (jazznut) opens the ‘whisky door’ for those new to the delights of this wonderful spirit.

May 4, 2015

The road to and through whisky (or whiskey, which is how most Irish and American distillers prefer to spell the word) is a voyage of discovery. For many, the journey never ends. Still, that first encounter with the ‘water of life’ can easily turn into an intimidating one – especially if prior experiences with alcoholic beverages have been limited to shooters, coolers and cocktails. As the late Michael Jackson, perhaps the preeminent beer and whisky writer of his time, once stated, “Some spirits are timorous, others feel the need for disguise, but whisky is bold and proud… It is not suitable for people who are afraid of their own shadow.” If you’re about to hit the whisky road, let me help you make that initial encounter the first of many pleasurable ones.

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Holiday Spirit Whiskies

Holiday Spirits 1Monday December 8, 2014

Whiskies provide tasty treats at any time of the year. But when the Holiday Season arrives, the temptation is always there to sample some of the ‘really good stuff’. And while such libations can cost an arm and a leg, they don’t necessarily have to. Here’s a personal selection of delectable whiskies, most of them fairly widely available, ranging from the admittedly expensive to the – thankfully – more affordable. The selection covers a broad range of styles. Of course, you’re not restricted to enjoying these whiskies only during the Holiday Season!

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From The CW Vault – Bourbon & Canadian Whisky Come of Age

CW Vault - ARP 16 Revised 1A Rich Pour 16: Measuring Up – Bourbon & Canadian Whisky Come of Age

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This article was originally published January 26, 2009 in the Cigar Weekly Magazine. It has been revised and updated.

One of the positive legacies of the period from Prohibition to the present day has to be the fascination of Americans and Canadians with each other’s whiskies. Canadian Club and Crown Royal owe much of their success to an incredibly receptive drinking clientele in the United States, its desires rooted in an era of efficacious smuggling channels and speakeasies. And although the Canadian market for Bourbon may not match its more southerly counterpart, countless measures of the American spirit have still been served in homes and watering holes from Vancouver to Saint John’s to White Horse, never mind occasionally incorporated into domestic liquors. The cachet of a beverage made elsewhere seems destined to please eager palates and blenders alike.

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A Rich Pour 26: Water & Whisky – An Uneasy Alliance

ARP 26.1Is it worthwhile to add water to your whisky? Join Cigar Weekly Managing Editor Doug Kuebler (jazznut) as he delves into the pros and cons of whisky dilution.

Monday October 27, 2014

Water and whisky can make for difficult partners – never mind the fact that the word whisky derives from the Scottish Gaelic uisge beatha, meaning ‘water of life’.

You’d think the two would be inseparable. After all, how many times are the virtues of a distillery’s water supply extolled by enterprising marketing agents? Be it Loch Luminous, Bright’s Burn or Waydown’s Well, some whisky industry spokesperson is sure to exclaim, “Ah yes, there’s a magical quality to our water.” Who knows? The distillery probably even hired a man with a divining rod to search out the source. All of this hyperbole hails from the B.S. (before sales) era, of course.

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A Rich Pour 28: Something To Mull Over – Discovering Tobermory Distillery

Tobermory 1Join Cigar Weekly Managing Editor Doug Kuebler (jazznut) as he recounts highlights of a visit to the Isle of Mull in Scotland, and profiles the island’s sole malt whisky site, Tobermory Distillery.

March 16, 2015

The Isle of Mull lies off the western coast of the Scottish mainland, midway between its fellow Inner Hebridean islands of Jura and Islay to the south, and Skye to the north.

Although a commercial seaplane service provides direct flights from Glasgow to Mull, most visitors and locals avail themselves of the ferries operated by Caledonian MacBrayne.

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A Rich Pour 25: Tumblers & Tasting Glasses

So many whiskies… So many types of glasses… Is there a secret to matching one with the other to best effect? Join Cigar Weekly Managing Editor Doug Kuebler (jazznut) as he investigates how a glass can influence appreciation of the whisky poured into it.

ARP 25 - Intro

Monday September 29, 2014

When I was a youngster, many of the adults I knew drank hard liquor simply because that was the sociable thing to do. Those who were into whisky (or whiskey – I’ll stick to the term ‘whisky’ for the sake of simplicity) tended to pour generously, adding ice, soda water or whatever else struck their fancy – probably to mellow out that ‘hard’ aspect. ‘Neat’ was a concept still in its infancy, and cut-crystal highball and rocks glasses were de rigueur.

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