We helped organize and run a launch party at Three Penny Taproom for the new Straight Bourbon from Smuggler's Notch Distillery last night, and we have to say it was a blast. We were offering tastings, full pours, and we created a simple but delicious cocktail featuring the whiskey that was selling like bourbon-flavored hotcakes. Everybody had a great time, the bourbon was delicious, and we got great feedback all around - the cocktail recipe is below.
We've had the Canada-via-Vermont rye whiskey called Whistlepig on our to-do list for months, but this review from the guys over at Gear Patrol has definitely stepped up our interest a notch. The price tag - similar to a high-end bottle of scotch - was part of the reason for our dragging our feet, but it looks like we're going to have to get ourselves a bottle of it for Christmas. Thanks, us!
This 100-proof treat is meant to be savored. Aging for 10 years in oak mellows the rye's pepperiness and also imparts a healthy dose of vanilla reminiscent of bourbon; however, the noticeable absence of corn radically changes Whistlepig's tasting notes.
Read the full write up from Gear Patrol, and if you're anything like us, find out where you can get it (apparently six states at the moment) on the Whistlepig website.
For some people, the idea of "white whiskey" just brings up connotations of unaged white lightning made in a car radiator. In reality it's just whiskey that is often unaged or only lightly aged, so doesn't have that deep brown color we often associate with bourbons, etc. We hadn't heard of the new white whiskey from Jim Beam, "Jacob's Ghost," until recently but we stumbled across this review of the stuff on Drink Spirits:
Jim Beam Jacob's Ghost (80 proof / 40%, $21.99) is pale gold in color. It might be more aptly named "off-white whiskey" but the color is so faint, when you get it in a glass (especially with ice), it looks white. The nose of Jacob's Ghost makes it clear that it has spent time in a barrel, with light oak tones combined with sweet corn, vanilla, light cereal grains, and a slight briny note. The nose has a slight spicy quality to it which may be from the young rye and barley in the mash, as well as its time in oak.
When you read the full review one thing they note is that a 1-year-aged white whiskey has a higher price point than Jim Beam's white label, which is aged for at least four years. Beam has been dabbling with trying to get non-whiskey drinkers interested in whiskey for a couple years now with their flavored offerings - our guess is they're now courting the vodka market, but we've been wrong before.
Remember Supersize Me, the documentary where Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald's for 30 days? It's OK if you don't, but either way you should watch this video from comedy troupe The Whitest Kids You Know where he tries the same experiment with Jameson's. It's like the ultimate Physical Challenge - and the best line by far - "That coat check girl has a name!"
When we receive whiskey around the Liquor Snob offices it's always a cause for celebration. We love whiskey and we love whiskey drinks. The folks from Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey sent us a bottle this week and the promise of a whiskey you could simply drink and make cocktails was delivered upon. This whisky is meticulously handcrafted using the finest hand-selected grain and barley and the whiskey has a smooth, sweet taste with a malty finish.
Now Kilbeggan isn't expensive whiskey at $20 bucks a bottle, but it's also not cheap-tasting. We tried it both alone over ice and also made several drinks including our favorite Punt e mes Manhattan. Everything we had we enjoyed.
The time - the mid-1940s. The place - somewhere in Canada. The action - commercial prognostication. The folks over at Technologizer found a cool old set of Seagram's ads where they attempted to predict the future of technology, with some interesting results.
Among their predictions include some hits (cell phones, video conferencing and sports bars) and some misses (coin-operated fax machines, package delivery via bomber plane). Check out the full list at Technologizer and if you're anything like us, stop to think about what today's Madison Avenue Nostradamuses are saying about our future.
For those of you who haven't heard of whiskey stones, they're basically rocks you can keep in your freezer and toss into your drinks to chill them without watering them down. Might seem a bit weird, but we've seen people do a lot stranger stuff with booze.
If you don't like the idea of dropping the igneous in your drink, perhaps a stone shot glass will serve you better? Just toss it in the freezer for four hours before you plan to drink and voila...and as a point of interest these are made right here in Vermont, not too far from Liquor Snob headquarters.
They Say: "There is no other whiskey out that you can really taste the beer that it's made from. The spice from the hops and the barley flavors are very well balanced with just the right amount of oak."
We Say: It tastes so good when it touches our lips! This is like a "hop schnapps" all grown up into a full-blown whiskey, and our minds are reeling over the adventurousness of the flavor of whiskey and hops. Let's put it this way - if scotch was typically flavored with hops instead of peat, we'd move to Scotland.
The look of the bottle is classy all the way, with that gold-embossed black label, and the nose is excellent - did we mention whiskey and hops? It also smells like hops and whiskey. One of our interns called this the "mullet" of whiskeys - bourbon up front, hops in the rear - but that doesn't really capture the refined tastes you'll get of hops, berries, top-shelf bourbon, pepper and a touch of oak. This is excellent stuff, and if you mix it with cola we will come find you.
The Verdict: Punch your grandmother if that's what it takes to be able to taste this stuff. Seriously. If she loves you she'll be cool with it when you explain why.
Charbay Doubled & Twisted Light Whiskey
White Dog Whiskey made from bottle-ready IPA
99 Proof (49.5% ABV)
Price: ~$60 per liter, if you can still get your hands on this limited run Charbay.com
They Say: "The result of using a great IPA is all the hop flavors and two row malty flavors distilled over into the final spirit. The hops give the D&T a fruity, floral, very green spicy character, unlike any other whiskey out there."
We Say: When you're right, you're right, and these Charbay folks are right on, both with their description of Doubled & Twisted and the fact they even made it. What kind of geniuses decide they're going to take a bunch of bottle-ready IPA and distill the hell out of it? To us, it's a discovery so big it's like they invented the wheel, harnessed fire and discovered the lost city of gold, all at once.
The nose was all IPA and the black pepper rawness of an unaged whiskey, without burning our nose hairs. When we tasted it the hops in the IPA came through loud and clear, moreso than we would've expected even, and it has a nice, long hoppy finish we really enjoyed. On the recommendation of Rick from CocktailGoGo we mixed one of our 50ML sample bottles into a Manhattan, and we will never look at the drink the same way again. To paraphrase a certain beer drinking movie, we wished we could freeze it into ice blocks and skate on it, and melt it in the spring time and drink it.
The Verdict: As an unaged product made from high-end ingredients, Doubled & Twisted is the Tarzan of whiskeys - an excellent pedigree, but a bit lacking in table manners. As long as you know you're in for a moonshiney experience, we can see craft beer enthusiasts and whiskey lovers alike going gaga over D&T - assuming, of course, you can get your hands on it.
Well, we've finally dug out of the Northeast's Snowmageddon 2011, and lo and behold, what did we find but some bottles of whiskey from Charbay. That bodes well for our weekend, because one is a variety we've been salivating over for a couple weeks now, and the other is one we're newly in love with.
The first is their Doubled & Twisted, a white whiskey made from bottle-ready IPA that we waxed poetic about when we read DrinkHacker's review. There's not much of it left, and we will cherish our two 50ML bottles until the last drop, when we crack them open and lick the insides.
The second is their hop-flavored whiskey, which we haven't tasted yet while we wait for the interns gather, but which smells divine. Like the D&T is distilled from IPA, this stuff is distilled from Pilsner - 20,000 gallons of it to be exact.
We don't think you'll have to wait too long to get the review on this one, unless we decide we need more so badly we just get in the car and head for California. It's a possibility if we can find someone to drive.
Yes, you read correctly - you can now buy whisky in a can. You can stuff your jet packs and flying cars - this is the brave new world we have been looking for. Now you can sit back and sip 12 ounces of the finest Panamanian whisky, sold as nature intended - in a can. Take that, doubters. Unless this is a joke - in that case we knew it the whole time.
There's a trend in the liquor industry right now toward making white whiskey (known to some as moonshine) in controlled, not going to make you go blind conditions. We've tried a few and they're often delicious - like the unaged, rough around the edges younger siblings of our favorite whiskeys. It makes sense for the liquor companies (less aging time means quicker to market and less overhead) and it makes sense for bartenders and drinkers who are on the lookout for new flavors.
Charbay takes the concept of a white whiskey and goes a step further. In simple terms, whiskey is a beer that has been distilled to make it more potent, and they have upped the ante for other producers by using high-end IPA (India Pale Ale) as the base for their Doubled & Twisted. An IPA-inspired beer? Sign us right the hell up. But what does it taste like? Here's what DrinkHacker had to say:
As white whiskey goes, it's pretty good. The IPA's hops come across quite clearly, which tempers the funk that is wholly unavoidable with unaged whiskeys and lends the whiskey more herbal and grain character than you'd think. It's still edgy and rough -- you can't get away from it with white dog -- but I do like what Karakasevic has done here. Now what would happen if he put this stuff in barrel for a few years....
Learn more and try to get your hands on one of the 1200 bottles that were made at Charbay.com.
Our local package delivery man (that sounds a bit dirty) was kind enough to drop off another gurgling box at the Liquor Snob offices today, and once we tore it open we saw it was a bottle of Revel Stoke spiced whisky. As you can tell by the missing "e" in whiskey, Revel Stoke is Canadian. As you can tell by the image above, it's spiced with ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom and coriander.
We've gotten into a bad habit lately of sitting on reviews, so we're doing an early New Year's resolution to review bottles as soon as they come in. So, with no further ado, our thoughts on Revel Stoke.
When we think of Phillips Distilling we usually think of the Phillips Union line of flavored whiskeys, and they're also the folks who bring Feckin' Irish Whiskey to us folks stateside. We were also just notified about another brand of theirs we hadn't previously heard of - Revel Stoke Spiced Canadian Whisky.
We hear it's been out since the turn of the century (that's 2000 for you youngsters) but we've never had an opportunity to try it since it was a smaller release. Turns out, that's all about to change:
Since 30 percent of all rum volume is "spiced," Phillips Distilling Company thought that the same could be applied to whisky. Revel Stoke is a spiced whisky at 90 proof. This is a higher proof than competitors Jack Daniels or Crown Royal, but is smoother, more palatable and easier to drink.
Revel Stoke was inspired by the age-old tradition of rugged Canadian outdoorsmen who customized their whisky with vanilla and unique spices. Revel Stoke is a remarkably smooth yet formidable spirit. Enjoy this Canadian Original straight, on the rocks, with cola (Stoke and Coke) or with ginger (Stoke and Ginger).
Don't worry - we'll do our best to get a bottle for review.