Rittenhouse Bottled In Bond Rye Whiskey Review

Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond
100 proof aged rye whiskey
Typical Price: About $15 - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits

Rittenhouse Bottled In Bond Rye WhiskeyInitial Thoughts: Rye was one of the first whiskey types to be distilled in the United States, and it was originally distilled mainly in the Northeast. After a few glasses of Rittenhouse we thought it was hysterical to think about Boston Puritans getting plastered on the stuff, and maybe going out and dumping a bunch of tea into the harbor or something.

In fact, rye whiskey does have a bit of a tumultuous history...it was the inspiration for the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. The stuff remained popular all the way up until Prohibition, which is when Americans started mixing cocktails to take some of the bite out of their drink. By the time Prohibition ended, most people had sort of lost their taste for the stronger flavor of Rye and gotten used to booze with lighter or sweeter flavors, hence it becoming a bit of an alternative whiskey.

And it's a sad thing, but we keep hearing more about rye and we think it could be on the rebound. Based on what we tasted in Rittenhouse, it definitely should be. We've been Bourbon types for as long as we can remember and when we opened our bottle of Rittenhouse and gave it a sniff, the first thing we thought of was how reminiscent it was. The nose was rich and had a scent of brown sugar, and while we remember smelling rye in our earlier years and wincing, this had none of the overpowering alcoholic tang we used to associate with rye.

In the glass, we liked it even better (of course). The flavor was complex, with overtones of black strap molasses and the sweetness of caramel, and we even thought we could taste, for lack of a better term, a taste of rum and burnt sugar on the back end. All in all, very nice. Find our cocktail recipe suggestions and finishing thoughts after the jump.

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November 30, 2005

Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey Review

Georgia Moon
Vital Stats: 100 proof corn whiskey
Typical Price: Less than $15 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Slogan: Less than 30 days old

Whiskey In The JarInitial Thoughts: We made some bold claims about whiskey alternatives this week, but we're not afraid to come right out and say that for a brief moment, we were afraid we weren't tough enough to drink Georgia Moon whiskey. "Bottled" in a Mason jar, this stuff is supposed to be reminiscent of moonshine (AKA corn likker, AKA white lightning, AKA white dog, AKA liver varnish), and it does a good job. Other snobs who expect their whiskey to be aged might have turned up their nose upon seeing the "less than 30 days old label" - we were excited to try some fresh whiskey.

Georgia Moon is clear, and upon twisting off the cap we were hit with the potent tang of sour liquor, followed by the smell of sweet corn. We took our first belts directly out of the Mason jar, as nature intended, and found that the taste was a bit sour too, especially in comparison with the sweetness of bourbon and other American whiskeys. It wasn't unpleasant, however, and we found ourselves swishing it around in our mouths and marveling at the straightforward and simple taste once we got used to it. For a crew used to searching for complexity in our booze, the simplicity of Georgia Moon was, well, intoxicating. That and the fiery 100 proof trail it blazed down our gullets, of course.

Cocktail Recipes: We actually didn't mix any recipes with Georgia Moon. We just joked about putting on some overalls, slugged it out of the jar and reminisced about that old Bugs Bunny cartoon with the feuding hillbillies. When we searched the InterWeb to find drink recipes, we couldn't find any, but we did learn that the episode we were thinking of was called Hillbilly Hare.

Finishing Thoughts: Corn whiskey isn't something we'd normally think of when browsing in the liquor store, but it's definitely a unique drink. We're glad we tried it, and while it might not go into our regular rotation, for the price it's worth it to have the jar around as a conversation piece alone. We recommend Georgia Moon for late nights when your still is broken, romantic evenings with your shotgun bride and those not-so-rare evenings when you feel like drinking out of a wide-mouthed jar.

Georgia Moon is part of the corn whiskey family distributed by Heaven Hill - the other labels include Mellow Corn, Dixie Dew and J.W. Corn. Learn more about Heaven Hill's "Other Whiskeys" at their website.

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November 29, 2005

Whiskey Alternatives: Corn, Rye and Wheat

Whiskey PourA lot of the time when you hear about whiskey, people are talking about Bourbon or Scotch. There are obviously other popular types, including Canadian and Irish, but these major four types aren't your only options if you're looking for a full whiskey experience. We're huge bourbon fans here at Liquor Snob, but we've rounded up some bottles of corn, rye and wheat whiskey, and we'll be doing reviews soon.

According to the definition we found here, bourbon whiskey is "a distinctive product of the United States made from a fermented mash containing at least 51 percent corn, distilled at no more than 160 proof, aged at no more than 125 proof for at least two years in new charred oak barrels, and bottled at no less than 80 proof." Phew. We didn't know all that...we like it because it's sweet and brown.

Here's the rundown on how the other types differ from bourbon so you'll know what to expect:

Corn Whiskey: A forerunner of bourbon, corn whiskey is usually strong and sour with none of bourbon's sweetness. In fact, this stuff is pretty much a heartbeat away from the White Lightning moonshine you might taste from a backcountry still. Corn whiskey must contain at least 80% corn in the mash; the rest can be made of malted barley or rye. Corn whiskey does not have to be aged like the other varieties, and usually boasts a high alcohol content. Even though it's not as sophisticated as its cousins, any connoisseur should consider corn part of the whiskey education. The brand we will be reviewing is called Georgia Moon. [Update: Read the Georgia Moon review.]

Rye Whiskey: If corn whiskey is the Neanderthal ancestor of debonair modern bourbon, rye is the missing link in the evolutionary scale...Cro Magnon whiskey if you will. Straight rye whiskey must be made from a mash of at least 51% rye, and must be fermented in new charred oak barrels. Offering a sweeter flavor but still sporting a mule kick, rye is often an acquired taste, but one that is well worth acquiring. Our review bottle is Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond 100 proof. [Update: Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond Review.]

Wheat Whiskey: The wheat whiskey we'll be reviewing is called Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey. It's hailed as the only wheat whiskey made since the repeal of Prohibition, and it's made with 51% wheat, plus corn and barley. Otherwise it's crafted to the exact same standards as bourbon, though it's rumored to offer less sweetness when you sip. This is the only alternative whiskey we have yet to try, and we'll get the review up as soon as we can. [Update: Bernheim Wheat Whiskey Review.]

All three of our alternative whiskeys are distributed by Heaven Hill Distilleries. To learn more about these and other whiskeys, go to the Other Whiskeys page.

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November 22, 2005

Make Thanksgiving Wild Turkey Day

Wild Turkey Day!Aaah, Thanksgiving - the beginning of the holiday season. A time to be with the people you love and give thanks for everything you have. Like long airport lines, snarled highway traffic, relatives you only see once a year...for good reason. And don't forget those long, awkward silences when you tell people you've been spending all your time writing about liquor on the Internet. Oh, wait. Maybe that's just us.

But no matter what reason you have to drink this Thanksgiving, at least there's no question what should be in your glass. That's right, the only bourbon we know of with a holiday named after it...Wild Turkey. We recommend the 101 proof stuff to help you through the stickier situations, but use your own judgment.

Liquor Snob Wild Turkey Tips for Thanksgiving

  • Take a few nips before you get to the table. You'd be surprised how many places you can find in your parents' house to sneak a drink. Hell, your mom's been doing it for years.

  • Wild Turkey is a gentleman's drink. Don't forget to share with grandma. Alternately, you can share with any "available" friends your siblings may have brought home for the holiday (21 and older only, please). In a pinch, attractive cousins at least twice-removed are acceptable - they're called "kissing cousins" for a reason.

  • Bring your bottle to the table. There's no reason to interrupt your Turkey consumption while people are stuffing themselves with bird. If your family doesn't approve, put it in a gravy boat and tell everyone it's vegetarian dipping sauce...it'll be all yours.

  • Swish the bourbon in your mouth during and between bites. This is a way to try to rehydrate the dry, overcooked turkey, if necessary. It will most likely be necessary.

  • Don't forget dessert! The Wild Turkey website says the taste of their bourbon "...is an American classic with caramel and vanilla and notes of honey and oranges. The finish is very long, rich and full-bodied, powerful, yet soothing." If Wild Turkey's not a perfect after-Thanksgiving-dinner drink, we don't know what is.

  • Try to pass out right after dinner. This works well with the 101 proof variety. If you play your cards right, you'll be off in tryptophan and bourbon-induced slumber behind a potted plant well before your uncles start unbuttoning their pants to make room for seconds.

For more tips on how to enjoy Wild Turkey, go to WildTurkeyBourbon.com.

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November 5, 2005

Fighting Cock Bourbon Whiskey

Fighting Cock BourbonHot Cock Toddy. Cock-a-Rita. Cock & Cola. They might sound like titles of movies you wouldn't want to watch with your parents, but in fact they're cocktail recipes for Fighting Cock bourbon. We are absolutely engorged with jokes we'd like to make right now, but we'll work hard on keeping them to ourselves.

Beyond the absolutely amazing name, from what we can tell the whiskey is good stuff too. It's a six-year-old Kentucky bourbon that clocks in at a hefty 103 proof, with rye substituted for the wheat normally in bourbon, to add that extra kick. We're looking forward to giving it a try. We'll let you know as soon as we tangle with the Cock, and then we'll probably end up going to confession.

Also, on top of the drink recipes we listed above, the site includes some excellent looking food recipes for cooking with bourbon. We're huge fans of cooking with booze, and there are a few recipes we'd really like to try. In a perfect world, every meal would automatically feature bourbon barbecue sauce and finish up with Kentucky bourbon pie, but we don't live in a perfect world, so you'll have to get yourself a bottle of Fighting Cock and put on your apron.

To learn more, go to the Fighting Cock site.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

October 21, 2005

Whiskey River Take My Mind

Old Whiskey RiverWillie Nelson has a tradition of opening his shows with his song Whiskey River, and he's been doing it a long time. That leads us to believe he knows a little something about the subject of whiskey, so we're very interested in Old Whiskey River, a bourbon he helped to develop. We're not sure exactly what (or who) he's trying to forget in the song, but but we know we're going to do our best to remember to pick up a bottle next time we're at the liquor store.

Old Whiskey River has been around for a few years in a 750ml bottle, and a new 1.75L bottle will be available soon to make sure your whiskey river don't run dry. We also did some poking around, and if you pick up the Old Whiskey River gift pack you can also get a CD of Willie's music. Bourbon and outlaw country music - two great tastes that taste great together. We know that's a gift pack we'd be fired up to find it in our stocking on Christmas morning. Or underneath our pillow if we lost a tooth, for that matter.

Learn more at the Old Whiskey River site.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 16, 2005

Michael Collins Whiskey On Its Way

Get ready for Michael Collins whiskey, an irish whiskey created by the Cooley Distillery, Ireland's last remaining independent distillery.

Michael Collins DVDRemember Sidney Frank, the liquor pimp we told you about a few weeks ago? He is the man responsible for importing our favorite nectar Jagermeister into the US, and we just got wind that he will soon be adding a new liquor to his portfolio. The newest booze? Michael Collins Whiskey, a tribute to the life of the Irish patriot, and the announcement coincides with Collins' birthday, October 16, 1890.

According to a British newspaper, Mr. Frank's decision to launch the whiskey was inspired by the movie about Collins' life.

Sidney Frank, the company’s founder, saw the movie and then read Tim Pat Coogan’s 1990 book, Michael Collins: A Biography. Coogan has been retained as an adviser for the launch. The company has trademarked the name. Einsidler said a percentage of sales would be paid to Collins’ descendents, to be given to a charity of their choice.
Read the full article at the Times Online. Plus, learn more about Michael Collins, and check out the Cooley whiskey site for more information on this Irish distillery.

Or, if you don't feel like reading, buy the movieat Amazon.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 11, 2005

Monkey Shoulder Whisky

Monkey Shoulder WhiskyTrying to get into the world of scotch, but scared off by the drink's hoity-toity image? Enter Monkey Shoulder, a blend of three scotch whiskys bottled in a small batch of bourbon casks. They're calling it a "triple-malt," and this drink seems specifically designed to be entry-level. We're not sure how widely available it will be, nor can we find American prices, but they had us at "Monkey Shoulder." Learn more at MonkeyShoulder.com.

Plus, if you want to bone up on scotch so you can do your kilt-wearing friends and family proud, take a look at the Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt Scotch.

We found Monkey Shoulder via Luxist

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September 21, 2005

Three Words: Scotch Whisky School

Scotch Tasting at Whisky SchoolWe were never very interested in school, but we've finally figured out the reason why - boring classes, girls wouldn't talk to us and there was no scotch there. Whisky School, on the other, seems much more our speed. Caring teachers, applied chemistry, snazzy green coats, the works, all in a real, working distillery.

Plus, you get to learn about scotch. And smell scotch. And drink scotch. And bring home a bottle of the scotch you made. We don't see a down side. Well, except for the fact that we'd have to find our way to Scotland somehow, but we'd manage.

Read more from the Whisky School website below.

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September 16, 2005

Scotch Whisky for...the Inexperienced

Single Malt Scotch GuideWe were going to call this one "Scotch for Dummies," but we didn't want to insult our readers since so many people are intimidated by the beverage. If you're one of those people, we know your pain - the first few times we tried the stuff we felt like we were sucking on a piece of peat moss soaked in lighter fluid. For us it was an acqured taste, but there are a lot of fierce Scotch drinkers out there who are as dedicated and choosy about their whisky as your typical wine snob is about the grape.

Scotch snob wannabes no longer have to go it alone. We found out that Kevin Erskine is attempting to change the image of the fire water, and make it more accessible for folks who want to expand the boundaries of their alcoholic enjoyment. Mr. Erskine's book, The Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt Scotch, is aimed at the novice drinker, and as he says on his site, "It could be the perfect gift for someone in your life who has not yet discovered the joys of the finest adult beverage in the world! (And who knows, even the savvy Scotch drinker may learn something.)" We found the book at Amazon for less than ten bucks, which we think is a steal for the wealth of information it includes.

Buy your copy of The Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt Scotchat Amazon.

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