Whiskey Wisdom from the Fill Station
Posted on June 02 2018
There's not much us Southerns love more than our BBQ and Whiskey. That's why I think the converted gas station to BBQ and Whiskey joint in the small Texas town of Lake Jackson is heaven. When I first found the Fill Station and sat down for a whiskey and a chopped beef sandwich I was blown away.
There are plenty of places with great BBQ or a great whiskey selection but rarely do you find a gem like this that has both. All this in a relaxing setting that feels part Ice House and part back yard patio. Brothers Kyle and Kent Devine both have their passion and its on full display. Kent handles the BBQ using family recipes while Kyle runs the whiskey business.
Not only do they stock plenty of rare and hard to find bottles of whiskey,bourbon and scotch, Kyle will give you the run down on each one. Also each week on their instagram @thefillstation(be sure to follow them) he will select a bottle to highlight and give you the run down on the distillers history or maybe some unique our obscure fact about the drink along with some tasting notes. This is where Whiskey Wisdom from the Fill Station comes from. So sit back, pour a dram and enjoy these Whiskey reviews.
So if you can't make it to Lake Jackson to grab some grub and a glass, join us here, where we will share their pictures along with their featured whiskeys and bourbons. Please note that all the photos are by Kent, and Kyle drops the Whiskey Wisdom.
Whiskey of the Week List
Little Book - Beam
Join us as we begin our Whiskey of the Week series with a very special new addition from the Beam Family. Don’t be fooled by the name, Little Book “The Easy” is an uncut, unfiltered beast of a blend weighing in at a whopping 128.2 proof. The first release by Freddie Noe, eighth generation distiller, son of Fred and grandson of the late Booker Noe, goes to show that American blended whiskey should never be tarnished by neutral spirits.
It’s composed of all straight whiskeys: 4 year old bourbon, 6 year old malt whiskey, 6 year old rye whiskey, and 13 year old corn whiskey. All together they make a beautiful symphony with a range of notes.
George T. Stagg
George T. Stagg built the most dominant American distillery of the 19th century, during a time known as the Gilded Age of Bourbon. For most bourbon geeks, Stagg is the pinnacle of all greatness, the unicorn, the Mecca. However, due to this rarity, many will never have the chance to experience Stagg in its full glory.
So the good folks at Buffalo Trace have given us closest to kin, call it an offspring of Stagg, aptly named Junior. But don’t be fooled, there is nothing small about this guy. Straight from the barrel, uncut and unfiltered, this robust bourbon whiskey ages for nearly a decade and boasts the bold character that is reminiscent of the man himself. Notes of brown sugar, black cherry, and clove are balanced by smoky, peppery rye spice. Come by this week and have a full pour at half price. At nearly 130 proof, open it up with a few drops of water, sit back and ponder the greatness of America.
While many whiskey drinkers are still unfamiliar with the wonders of Japan, Suntory is soon coming up on its 100 Year anniversary. Inspired by traditional Scotch, in 1923 Shinjiro Torii envisioned a Japanese approach by choosing a terrain and climate completely different from those of Scotland.
Hibiki is a blended whiskey containing a harmony of over 30 grain and malt whiskies from three distilleries aged up to 30 years in a variety of casks including Japanese oak and plum wine barrels. Together this blend offers aromas of rose, lychee, and sandalwood with flavors of honey, orange peel, and white chocolate.
Four Roses Bourbon has one of the most interesting histories of all the distilleries in the United States. Some might believe it reached it’s pinnacle as the top selling bourbon from the 1930s thru the 1950s, when Seagrams, the owner at that time, decided to transition the brand into a blended whiskey. During this time it was made mostly of neutral grain spirit and became known as “rotgut” whiskey. Unavailable for over forty years as a straight bourbon, the brand changed hands in 2002 and was reintroduced to the US.
Now composed of 10 distinct bourbons made using two mash bills and five proprietary yeast strains, artfully blended to revive the Bourbon of the past. Sweet aromas of honeyed apples are balanced with gentle baking spices. This week come enjoy a full pour at half price as we celebrate the comeback of a King.
Triple Smoke - Corsair
Corsair is the embodiment of craft distilling. With two distilleries, one in Bowling Green and the other in Nashville, Corsair pushes the envelope by offering a plethora of spirits using a variety of grains, smokes, spices and botanicals. We are excited to share this Whiskey of the Week rightfully titled Triple Smoke.
By smoking malted barley with three different fuels - cherry wood, peat, and beechwood - they create a whiskey of no comparison. Aged in new charred oak barrels, Triple Smoke offers the sweet woody notes of an American whiskey, the rich texture and smoke of a single malt, only further enhanced by notes of cherry and beech. This week we honor the little guys in their fight for creativity and passion.
Located in Franklin County, Kentucky, Buffalo Trace Distillery is a truly historical site with buildings dating back to 1792. While the distillery produces many styles of whiskey, including the famed George T. Stagg and Pappy Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace Straight Bourbon is the distillery's largest production and is blended in batches of 25 barrels.
Distilled mostly from corn grown in Kentucky with rye and malted barley, the bottles range from six to eight years. With sweet aromas of vanilla, honey and brown sugar Buffalo Trace is an everyday tipple.
Rock & Rye
The original American cure-all, Rock & Rye has been served in saloons and pharmacies since the 1800's. Its history can be traced back to the first American saloons, where barkeeps with lavish mustaches would pour a shot of rye whiskey and top it with a stick of rock candy. The candy would soften and sweeten the harshness of the the spirit, and with the addition of bitters, essentially become something not unlike the granddaddy of all cocktails: the Old Fashioned.
The effects of this concoction were so immediate and powerful that it migrated its way to the pharmacy where it was used to treat coughs, colds, sore throats, asthma, pneumonia, sniffles, chills, and disease of the throat, chest, and lungs. Celebrated in popular culture‚ rock and rye was mentioned by none other than Sheriff Pat Garrett as the libation of choice for his pals as they chased Billy The Kid across the rugged Western landscape.
Most recently, craft distillers are creating a resurgence of something historical and unique to America. Hochstadter's Slow & Low Rock & Rye is made with a base of rye whiskey infused with honey from Pennsylvania, navel oranges from Florida, aromatic bitters, and a pinch of rock candy. Enjoy it as an easy shot with friends, on the rocks, or with a dash of bitters to make a tasty old fashioned.
Balcones - Baby Blue
Balcones began with a couple of home brewers in 2008 in a tiny old welding shop under a bridge in Waco, Texas. With a beer background, a focus on the best ingredients, specially tailored yeast strains, handmade copper pot stills, customized barrels, and a unique Texas climate, Balcones has come to the forefront of this incredible craft distilling movement as a true catalyst.
Baby Blue represents the first Texas whiskey on the market since Prohibition and is distilled from roasted heirloom blue corn. After experimenting with a variety of maize, Balcones found that the rich, oily blue corn added a level of complexity while retaining the key flavors of American whiskey. Aged only a short time in a combination of toasted and used barrels, the whiskey touches on all the familiar woody notes while preserving the rich nutty, caramel corn overtones of the distillate. Bursting with aromas of bananas foster, vanilla, and sweet spiced butter, Baby Blue is a tasty treat for both novices and connoisseurs alike.
Willet Distillery - Family Estate Bottle Rye
With over two centuries of history in the whiskey biz and 80+ years of barreling their own whiskey, the Willett Family is no new kid on the block. Also know as Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, their lineup extends to Johnny Drum, Old Bardstown, Noah's Mill, and Rowan's Creek to name a few. After a short hiatus of about 20 years, the family is back in full production after re-opening the distillery in 2012. During that time they continued to bottle whiskey from the existing warehouses, as well as sourcing from Heaven Hill.
Our favorite spirit that Willett produces is the Family Estate Bottled Rye Whiskey first introduced in 2008. Although once sourced, as of 2015 the Family Estate Rye is now distilled at the original distillery in their copper pot still. This whiskey has come to epitomize what rye grain is. Aromas of chocolate, baking spices, cinnamon and spearmint are balanced by sweet undertones of vanilla, orange zest, and cherry pie. The palate offers the same balance with spicy and piney herbal mintiness followed by honey and cloves
Weller 12 Year & Weller Special Reserve
Although most whiskey drinkers are familiar with Weller Bourbon, not everyone is aware of the history. W.L. Weller & Sons originally operated as a liquor wholesaler which was sold in 1908 to Julian "Pappy" Van Winkle Sr., a longtime salesman for the company. Two years later they acquired A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery and began producing a number of bourbons including Cabin Still, Rebel Yell, Old Fitzgerald, and not to mention the most highly sought after whiskey in the world, Pappy Van Winkle.
What makes these bourbons so unique is that as opposed to using rye in their mashbill, rye is substituted for wheat, a softer, more mellow grain which lends more to the sweetness of the corn. Today both Weller and Pappy Van Winkle are produced at Buffalo Trace Distillery from the same exact mashbill, and essentially the only difference being barrel selection. This week we are offering a special treat with a double header Whiskey of the Week. Come by and try both Weller Special Reserve and Weller 12 Year side by side. Although the same whiskey at heart, it's fun to see what a few extra years in the barrel will do to a whiskey.
Whistle Pig - Old World Cask
From the former Master Distiller of Makers Mark, Dave Pickerell, comes an incredibly layered Rye whiskey. An homage to the Old World style of Scotch whiskies, this rye is aged in a variety of European wine casks to add to it's depth and complexity. Beginning as a 12 year old 95% rye whiskey distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana aged in new American Oak and later transferred to barrels that previously held Madeira, Sauternes, and Port Wine.
Old World is the first rye whiskey to ever be aged in Madeira casks, a fortified Portuguese wine with flavors of roasted nuts, stewed fruit, caramel, and toffee. Sauternes is a sweet white wine produced in Bordeaux with nutty notes of peach, apricot, and honey. Port, another fortified Portuguese wine, is similar to brandy, with rich, sweet and robust flavors of dark berries, plums, figs and more oxidative nutty aromas.
When all parts are combined the sum is a beautiful masterpiece with hints of dark chocolate, blackberries, baking spices and salty taffy. Join us this week for a full pour at half price. Oh yeah. And those meaty nuggets of goodness are our Wednesday Special... Pork Belly Burnt Ends. Getcha some.
Sazerac Rye Whiskey
Named after the Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans, the birthplace of America's first branded cocktail, Sazerac Rye Whiskey has been the key ingredient in the namesake cocktail since before 1900. With the strong French connection the cocktail was originally made using Cognac until the late 1800s when phylloxera virus wiped out most of the grapes and put a halt on the brandy supply.
The Coffee House, owned by Thomas H Handy, quickly switched gears and looked up river to their whiskey-making brethren and began substituting rye whiskey for the brandy. The barrels were stamped "Sazerac" to mark their destination and quickly assumed the name. Crafted from rye whiskey, a dash sugar, Peychaud's bitters and an absinthe rinse, the Sazerac cocktail has aromas of anise, ginger, and peppery allspice balanced by candied orange peel and vanilla.
Today it is produced at Buffalo Trace Distillery with a high corn mashbill lending it to be a softer, sweeter and more mellow rye whiskey.
Buffalo Trace Distillery - Eagle Rare 10 yr
Another special treat from our friends at Buffalo Trace Distillery, Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Single Barrel is crafted from Mash Bill #1, their low rye recipe, which is the same juice used to make Buffalo Trace, E.H. Taylor, and George T. Stagg. What is truly special about Eagle Rare is it remains one of the only whiskies regularly available with a true age statement.
While many other whiskies have been forced to remove age statements to meet the growing demand of bourbons, Buffalo Trace has continued to age Eagle Rare to perfection, selecting single barrels to bottle with a minimum of 10 Years resting in new charred American Oak barrels. We can only hope that these time honored traditions hold constant.
With sweet aromas of toffee, orange peel, and honey offset by hints of leather and oak, Eagle Rare is one of the most complex bourbons available on the market.
Beam - Baker’s 7 yr Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Not long after the American Revolution, Johannes (Jim) "Reginald" Beam emigrated from Germany to the US, eventually settling in Kentucky County. At this time, in effort to encourage westward expansion, the government began granting 60 acres "corn writs" to pioneers agreeing to move west and farm corn.
Taking past traditions and turning them into present, Beam began distilling excess grains from harvest into a sweeter than normal whiskey. Baker's Bourbon, a part of the Jim Beam Small Batch Collection, is named after Baker Beam, grandnephew of Jim Beam, cousin of Booker Noe, and former distiller at Beam's Clermont plant. Baker grew up working every job from night guard to grounds labor and ultimately distiller.
Proofed at 107 and aged for 7 years, it is another rare find that still holds an age statement. Staying consistent over decades by using a special strain of jug yeast that results in a velvety texture with big oaky notes of toasted nuts, cherries and vanilla. Cheers to another great!
Willet's Distillery - Rowan Creek Bourbon
Rowan's Creek Bourbon is another gem from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, the family behind Willett and many of our other favorites. The younger, more approachable brother to Noah's Mill, Rowan's is aged in new, charred American oak barrels for approximately 12 years then blended in small batches and proofed at 100.1% for a little extra strength that goes a long way.
Enjoy with an ice cube or a splash of water and take in the transformation as it opens up from sweet notes of caramel, toffee and burnt brown sugar to more herbaceous, spice driven aromas of mint, cinnamon, and peppery oak. Let her breath and she develops more floral and fruit undertones with hints of pears, baking spices, and vanilla. Bask in the American glory.
Louisville Distilling Company(Bacardi) - Angel's Envy
While some purists may knock Angel's Envy for tampering with what they consider a "true" Bourbon whiskey, but in reality Lincoln Henderson changed the game when he created his first and only independent project. A lifelong craftsman with a healthy respect for tradition, Lincoln also possessed a restless instinct for constant improvement. During his time as master distiller for Brown-Forman, Lincoln created a number of notable brands including Woodford Reserve and Gentleman Jack.
After retiring Lincoln had a desire to establish something new and unique with his son and began experimenting with finishing bourbons in port wine casks. Blended in small batches of 8 to 12 barrels and aged up to 6 years before finishing in ruby port casks for three to six months.
Sweet notes of vanilla, raisins, maple syrup and dark berries are balanced by bitter chocolate and toasted nuts all created by the unique aging process. Cheers to innovation and trying something new.
Buffalo Trace Distillery - Colonel E. Taylor Small Batch
A founding father of Bourbon whiskey,Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. was responsible for a revolution that began at the close of the Civil War when he purchased O.F.C. Distillery, the site which became Buffalo Trace nearly 100 years later. Throughout his career he started and owned seven different distilleries and is most recognized for his contribution to the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, a law that gave whiskey producers a tax break and a government certification of quality.
To be Bottled-in-Bond requires the bourbon to be made by one distiller at one distillery in one distilling season, aged a minimum of four years at a federally bonded warehouse and bottled at 100 proof. These whiskies cannot be touched without the supervision of a government official present on site! Hand-crafted and aged inside the same century old warehouses constructed by E.H. Taylor, Jr. himself, this bourbon has sweet notes of caramel corn, butterscotch and anise balanced by soft peppery spice and an undertone of earthy, fresh cut tobacco.
In the 1940's Old Taylor was marketed with the slogan, "Sign of a good host." The saying still stands true.
Diageo - Crown Royal Noble Collection
This Whiskey of the Week post is a little late due to the lack of information available on our newest addition to the bar. We have scoured the interwebs to all ends and not even a mention of the product on the Crown Royal Website! Regardless, we are excited to have scored a few bottles of this limited release from the Crown Royal Noble Collection.
Labeled as a 13 Year Old Bourbon Mash Canadian Whiskey, to our knowledge the only thing keeping this whiskey from being labeled as a bourbon, (besides TTB), is the fact that it is from Canada! Given blindly to an experienced whiskey drinker, most will always assume by sight, smell and taste that is undoubtedly a bourbon. From the sweet corn aromas, big oaky, buttery notes and bold rye spice, this whiskey has everything you can expect from a bourbon.
Get it while you can, knowing the TTB and the protection of the term bourbon, it is unlikely that this product will be labeled as a bourbon in the near future.
Heaven Hill Distilleries - Elijah Craig Barrel Proof 12 Year Old
The Heaven Hill Elijah Craig lineup ranges from the entry-level Small Batch to the 23 Year Old Bourbon. All begin with the same base distillate and the key is barrel selection, as each barrel is unique and ranges in it's time and influence on the whiskey. Over-aging can easily be achieved in a large warehouse and the opportune moment can be lost leaving whiskey makers with a chewy, over-oaked whiskey.
The Elijah Craig Barrel Proof 12 Year Old B517 is a perfect representation of Bourbon at it's fullest maturity. Named Whisky Advocate's #1 whiskey of 2017, they described it as "bourbon at its apex, so dangerously close to going over the crest of the hill, yet delivering a massive mouthful of incredibly robust flavors that drape leathery oak over a gooey caramel core, sprinkled with baking spice, while candied nuts and tobacco leaf notes appear on a drying finish dusted with cocoa."
Wild Turkey Distilling Company - Longbranch
Released to the market last month, one of the most recent additions to our bar and to the Wild Turkey portfolio is a collaboration between native Texan Matthew McConaughey and Master Distiller Eddie Russell. Inspired by McConaughey’s Texas and Kentucky roots, this rare small-batch Kentucky bourbon is refined with Texas Mesquite and oak charcoals – a unique method that deepens the flavor and complexity of the whiskey.
This launch marks the first time Wild Turkey has unveiled a product that bears a signature of someone other than the Master Distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell. The name is inspired by the friends that form the longest branches of our family trees. McConaughey said, “Longbranch, in its simplest form, is an extended hand, inviting a friend into your family. So the branch that was extended to me from the Russells was a long one, one that reached from Kentucky to Texas and back again. I offered the Mesquite from my great state to add to their legendary Kentucky whiskey and together we made Longbranch.” Beginning with an eight-year-old base which is unmistakably Wild Turkey, the bourbon shows classic aromas of vanilla, oak, sweet spices, and a hint of mesquite smoke. Flavors of caramel, honeyed pears, and hints of orange citrus round out the palate. The subtle, smoky finish is buttery smooth, with notes of gentle pepper and toasted oak, reminiscent of sweet mesquite barbecue.
Truly a great introductory bourbon with a lower proof and a touch of sweetness, Longbranch makes a great complement to the Wild Turkey lineup and can be enjoyed by all whiskey drinkers.
Barton 1792 Distillery - 1792 Bourbon
This past Friday morning, thousands of barrels of whiskey came crashing down at the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. While repairing a wall, something gave at Warehouse #30, originally built in the 1940s, and led to the collapse of more than 9,000 of the 20,000 barrels each holding 53 gallons of bourbon.
In honor of this loss, we have decided to make 1792 Bourbon our Whiskey of the Week. Established in 1879, Barton 1792 continues today as the oldest fully operating Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. Made with a high-rye mashbill, bold baking spices are complemented by sweet flavors of vanilla and caramel. Raise a glass to perseverance.
Heaven Hill Distillery - Evan Williams
Evan Williams started a distillery along the Ohio River in 1783 after emigrating from Wales, establishing the first commercial distillery in Kentucky and being one of the first distillers to use corn. Immediately following prohibition, a group of investors, including Joseph L. Beam, founded Heaven Hill Distillery in 1935, the current distiller of Evan Williams.
First released in 1983 and hand-selected by Parker Beam, the Single Barrel series are vintage dated with the date it first entered the barrel, along with the year it was bottled, and the serial number which references the barrel from which it came. Named Whiskey of the Year five consecutive years, it's almost like each vintage keeps getting better. Aged 7-8 years and bottled at 43%, each barrel will have it's unique characteristics, but overall display notes of tropical fruit, vanilla, caramel, and peanuts. Join us this week as we celebrate the birth of America and her Spirit!
Balcones - Texas Rye
Despite the fact that Bourbon is King right now, it has an older brother that's returning to the spotlight. Historically, rye whiskey was actually the first whiskey produced in the US before the whiskey tax was imposed, pushing settlers from the North East over the Appalachian Mountains into abundant corn fields, leading to the production of Bourbon.
If you are unfamiliar with rye, it's easy to compare bourbon (corn based) with cornbread and rye to the familiar, pungent spice of rye bread. There are a number of reasons that Bourbon took precedence, but one of the primary reasons is the difficulty it takes to distill rye grain. Ask any home brewer, and rye mash is a sticky, gummy mess. Add heat to that equation and you can easily end up with a mucked up still and a long cleaning sesh. This is why the majority of rye whiskeys are produced out of an Indiana distillery that sells to independent bottlers, who then slap a label on it and call it their own.
We are incredibly excited to share the newest release from the first Texas whiskey distillery, Balcones Distilling, out of Waco. Typically the more rye, the more muck, but that didn't stop these guys from going balls to the wall and making a rye whiskey with a 100% rye mash. Using predominantly Elbon Rye from NW Texas, accompanied by crystal, chocolate and roasted rye, the result is sweet aromas of cinnamon spiced chocolate cherries.
Truly a beautiful expression with flavors of creamy, buttery toffee, peppery spice and hints of coffee and peanut butter. Balcones head distiller, Jared Himstedt, said: “We are so proud to finally be releasing our first ever Texas Rye expression this year to celebrate our first decade as a Distillery.” Come celebrate Texas Craft Whiskey.
Lousiville Distilling(Bacardi) - Angel's Envy Rum Cask
One of my favorite Single Malt Scotches is @thebalvenie Caribbean Cask finish. The Scottish have mastered an incredible art of maturing their whiskies in secondhand barrels to produce some of the most complex and layered drams in the world. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE what new American oak does to a whiskey, but I still have a deep appreciation for the Scotch. Not everyone shares this mentality and believes double maturation of American whiskey in various barrels is sacrilegious.
Which brings us to the current Whiskey of the Week: Angel's Envy Rye. In the past we featured Angel's Envy Bourbon, finished in Port casks, and talked about how Lincoln Henderson revolutionized American Whiskey... the Rye takes it one step further.
Beginning with a base of raw, spicy, and earthy rye aged in new American oak and showing big notes of black pepper and clove, the whiskey is then matured 18 months in Caribbean Rum Casks. The rum casks mellow the rye spice while complementing it with sweeter notes of coffee, maple, pecan and baking spices. Honestly, a match made in heaven. The rye whiskey tends to be a little harder to find than the bourbon, but we got our hands on a few bottles and are excited to share it with all of you!
Beam - Basil Hayden's Two by Two
If you stare long enough at the rye field, I swear unicorns keep popping out. Coming off the very rare Angel's Envy Rye, we happened upon a handful of bottles from Basil Hayden's limited release Two By Two Rye. If you are not familiar with Beam's Small Batch Series, it includes Knob Creek, Booker's, Baker's, and Basil Hayden. Basil Hayden is a high rye bourbon, with almost twice the rye found in a normal bourbon giving it a nice pungent spice.
Drawing inspiration from this, Beam decided to double down and blend two ryes with two bourbons. A mix of 5 year rye, 7 year “high rye” rye, 13 year bourbon and 6 year bourbon in a ratio of 80% rye and 20% bourbon. Beam says they wanted to bring together whiskies from their large variety of aging stock and create a whole greater than than the sum of its parts, something “incredibly balanced that embodies the best that both types of whiskey have to offer the sweetness of bourbon and the spiciness of rye.” I love that even as one of the largest whiskey producers, with deep roots in tradition, Beam is still open to trying new things.
This has to be one of the most artfully blended whiskies we've tasted in a long time. Caramel, brown sugar and honey notes from the bourbon are beautifully complemented by the woody rye spice undertones of pepper and baking spices.
High West Distiller - Yippee Ki-Yay
Of all the rye whiskies we have offered as Whiskey of the Week, this is hands down the most rare. This is not a marketing ploy. I promise. If you read this post and still don't get it, maybe you never will. We took a shot in the dark last week and put this on our order list. Somehow, by the grace of God, it magically showed up. The first case to ever come into this county, and we got the whole shebang! It only makes sense to let everyone share this experience. High West is a blender of whiskies. While they distill a handful of their own spirits in Park City, Utah, most of their whiskies are sourced and blended to create something greater
. What's most important is the transparency that High West chooses to have. Where most merchant bottlers will purchase juice, bottle, slap a label and put something kitschy like "made in Texas" all to make a sale, High West prefers to arm consumers with information. Next time you grab a bottle of your favorite "Texas whiskey," turn it over and look for where it was distilled. You'll likely find "bottled at" or "produced at," but rarely the place where it was distilled and originated from. Flip over any bottle of High West and it tells an accurate account of the whiskies blended in each bottle, detailing their age, mashbill and sometimes source. This is a class act in a world full of smoke and mirrors.
This particular whiskey is a blend of three distinct Rye whiskies: 2 year old (95% Rye) from MGP, Indiana; 16 Year Old (53% Rye, 37% Corn) from Barton; and High West distillate of 80% Rye, 20% malted rye. Some of you know this blend as the High West Double Rye that normally sits on our shelf. You would not be wrong, however this girl put on her finest dress. By taking the Double Rye and introducing it into used French Oak Barrels which previously held California Syrah and vermouth, High West came up with something totally unique. With big notes of cinnamon, cedar wood, and a little spearmint, it definitely has a strong rye backbone. As it opens up, aromas of dark chocolate, cherry cobbler, and red berry jam nuances develop from the time spent in the old wine barrels.
This particular post has become quite lengthy, as excitement screams through my fingertips. For any of you that have made it this far and still are not salivating at the thought of this dram, it might not be for you. As far as the rest of ya... Yippee Ki-Yay ****** ******... Come getcha some.
Tullamore Dew - XO Caribbean Rum Cask
As our summertime starts to dwindle, we wanted to squeeze something fun in the mix and introduce Tullamore Dew XO Caribbean Rum Cask Finish. The latest release is inspired by the brand's new global campaign, The Beauty of the Blend.
Through experimenting with a variety of barrels, Tullamore Dew found their first release of the campaign, one that beautifully balances Irish heart and Caribbean soul. Beginning with the original triple distilled triple blend of pot still, malt and grain Irish whiskey, it is then finished in first-fill XO Carribean rum casks previously used to age Demerara rum. Demerara rum is made in Guyana, a sugar producing country since the 17th Century who originally supplied rum to the British Navy. Comparable in style to Jamaican rum, Demerara rum is characterized by a smoky, burnt sugar funk with underlying tones of over-ripened tropical fruits.
By aging Tullamore Dew in the Demerara casks, the whiskey becomes accented with all those beautiful aromas including vanilla, citrus, soft spice, rich caramel and sweet exotic fruits like bananas, dates, and raisins. In the words of great George Clinton, "We gotta have that funk."
Wild Turkey - 101
Wild Turkey in it’s natural habitat.
Nicknamed the "Buddha of Bourbon" and "The Master Distiller's Master Distiller," for more than 60 years Jimmy Russell has been the artist behind Wild Turkey, making him the longest-tenured active master distiller in the world. Their flagship brand, Wild Turkey 101, has been in production since 1941 when most bourbons were being bottled in bond (100 proof).
The story goes, in order set themselves apart, Wild Turkey began bottling at 101 proof. By using a high rye content and the deepest charred barrels, 101 explodes with flavor. On top of this, Wild Turkey is distilled at a lower proof in order to retain more flavor. This means it comes out of the barrel around 109 proof and essentially requires less dilution.
So while not "barrel proof" this is about as close as you can get. What's more is that Wild Turkey 101 still holds an age statement of 6-8 years. Although not heavily marketed or boasted on the front, flip the bottle over and you find a wealth of information. Notes of toasted oak, blue bell ice cream, and butterscotch are balanced by peppery cigar box aromas. Cheers to an American Standard. This one's for you.
Four Roses - Small Batch
By using 2 different mashbills and 5 yeast strains, Four Roses produces 10 bourbon recipes each with its own unique character, spiciness, and rich fruity flavors. Four of these recipes are married to create Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, including OBSK, OESK, OBSO, and OESO.
The first letter is always O and represents the production facility, Four Roses Distillery.
The second letter refers to one of the two mashbills: E (75% corn, 20% rye, 5% malted barley) or B (60% corn, 35% rye, 5% malted barley), the latter being the fuller-bodied, spicier mash of the two.
The third letter is always S and refers to the whiskey distillation, straight whiskey.
The final letter, and possibly the one that carries the most significance is the yeast strain, with each one offering subtle nuances to the respective bourbon: V (delicate fruit), K (slight spice), O (rich fruit), Q (floral essence), or F (herbal notes).
The Small Batch is blended in batches of roughly 250 barrel dumps, each barrel aged 6-8 years. By artfully blending these recipes, Four Roses Small Batch lends notes of mellow spice, rich fruit, and hints of sweet oak and caramel. If you love geekin out over whiskey and yeast strains, come and see us this week for a half price pour.
Beam - Old Grand Dad
Old Grand Dad was named after the distiller Basil Hayden who set himself apart by distilling his bourbon with a higher rye percentage. His art of distilling was passed on to his son and then, in turn, his grandson. It was his grandson that then honored Hayden by naming his famed whiskey "Old Grand Dad."
First bottled in 1882, OGD has a mashbill of 63/27/10 Corn/Rye/Barley, for a lighter, spicier flavor. During Prohibition, OGD was produced by a pharmaceutical company, and was one of the few distilled spirits permitted to be prescribed as medicine. It was at this time that Bottled-In-Bond was introduced, meaning that it had it was all distilled in a single distilling season, aged at least 4 years under government supervision, and bottled at 50%ABV.
Lastly, the bottle's label must also list the distillery and bottle location (if different). Maybe one day this transparency will carry over into other non-bonded whiskies, taking away all the smoke and mirrors that merchant bottlers hide behind. OGD is hands down one of the best value whiskies and sits in our well. Big notes of caramel, oak, spice, and vanilla.
Mitcher's Distillery - Small Batch
There is a lot of confusion in the industry on what classifies as "small batch." Problem is there are no clear criteria on what defines "small batch," leaving it up to the whiskey producer. This could translate to 5 barrels or 5,000. Michter's regulates this by batching in a holding tank sized to fit no more than twenty full barrels, leaving no room to "blend out" imperfections.
Additionally, Michter's takes the extra step of toasting their barrels before charring, helping to make the wood’s sugars more accessible. These sugars caramelize and concentrate to form the "red line" in the barrel stave cross-sections due to the heat, ultimately adding more flavor and color to the whiskey as it seeps through the char to the caramel red line.
To start the aging process, Michter's enters the barrel at 103 proof (as opposed to the industry norm of 125 proof). Historically regarded as the gold standard of Kentucky, the lower entry proof allows for the concentrated sugars in the toasted and charred wood to dissolve more readily into the distillate as it cycles in and out of the barrel. Michter's is nuanced, mellow and earthy with rich caramel and balanced vanilla, stone fruit notes, smoky depth, and an oaky finish.