Sunday Tipple with Maker’s Mark

With our new shipment of Maker’s Mark coming in, I thought why not enjoy some this weekend. Well, I unsurprisingly decided to go with the Maker’s Cask Strength! So happy I did too! The best you’re gonna get without drinking straight from the barrel!

Maker’s Mark was one of the first to develop a premium image around their bourbon, and has held themselves to high standards to this day! Maker’s main focus is producing the highest quality bourbon they can, and they have a steadfast reputation for their craft. They do that by having such a small selection of whiskies in their repertoire. The other thing that sets them apart is the use of red wheat instead of rye in the mash bill. Rye is easily the most commonly used second grain in the mash, Maker’s is one of the few companies that wanted to go a different route. Instead of the spicy bite of the rye, wheat brings on a sweeter and more smooth sip.

It was never in the cards in the beginning to create a Cask Strength version of Maker’s. After years of inquiries and one evening trying it out of the barrel, they thought, why not! The winners of that decision, us bourbon drinkers! We get another tasty treat to have on our shelves.

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is not for the drinker looking for a mild sipping bourbon, although I would encourage all to try it! This bottling is a bold, revved up offering of Maker’s. Everything you have already loved from the standard bottle, but just turned up a few notches! The vanilla and caramel flavours are much more pronounced. Robust orchard fruit notes with an undercurrent of cinnamon providing that wonderful spice bite. The finish is much longer than that of the standard release and you don’t get the roughness you’d expect from a cask strength.

This is well worth a try if you are looking for a bourbon with a bit more power! And when the world opens back up, a visit to their distillery in Kentucky should be on your list, go hand dip your own bottle!

New Westland Bottlings to Look Forward to.

If you have not yet explored any of Westland Distillery’s range of bottlings, you should really do so! If you are interested, I would start with the Sherry Wood release! Wonderful maple syrup flavours and oaky sweetness from the four different casks used in the creation of it!

Westland Distillery, based in Seattle, focuses all their effort on producing high quality American single malt whiskies. They highlight the use of local components in the crafting of their whiskey, like Pacific Northwest oak and peat from a local bog. They are proud of their local contributions to the whiskey world, but also want to honour the more traditional single malt world. I’d say they are doing a very good job at both!

We believe that the world of whiskey is not flat and that it is time to step beyond what we have inherited. We find ourselves at the edge of a new frontier, but the edge is not the end of what we know, it is just the beginning of what we have yet to explore.

The new Outpost Range is going to feature three different bottlings that will explore different trails to the possibilities that American Single malts can achieve. As they put it, the frontier of whiskey is vast! The new collection will be made up of Garryana (previously released on it’s own), Colere, and Solum. Garryana, named after the Pacific Northwest’s native oak, will represent a new oak species in the world of whiskey. Colere is crafted to highlight the barley impact on flavour, exploring new and forgotten varietals of Pacific Northwest barley. Solum is for all those peat heads out there, they will charting their own path through the use of local peat and exploring what new flavours can be unearthed.

The whole range looks exciting to me, and exploring the unknown in whiskey is something that could bring about some truly tasty treats! As they come closer to availability, we will definitely keep you up to date. The Garryana Edition 5 will be the first to be released, followed by Colere, then Solum. If you are interested in checking out the 2019 release of Garryana, before it was added into the outpost lineup, you can check that out here.

Sometimes You Want Something Different.

This weekend I didn’t go for a rum, a whisky, or a gin! Went for some coffee liqueur! And it was delicious! Granted liqueurs are not for everyone, but if you can enjoy them and you like coffee, this is for you! Mr. Black Cold Brew Liqueur!

I am a huge coffee fan, so trying this was a no brainer for me. Handmade just north of Sydney, Australia in a coffee roastery and distillery. Sounds like a great combination to me! From everything I’ve seen from them, they are true coffee lovers that want to bring you a real product, and not just something gimmicky. It really does come through in the bottle! They source out top quality beans from the best growing regions in the world, the step it up a notch and hand it off to a premier Australian distiller to do his thing. They have succeeded in bringing the coffee drinking world and spirits world together beautifully…and not just in the “Irish coffee” kinda way.

As they say, this is unapologetically coffee! It’s not just slight coffee flavour, this is for those that like coffee through an I.V.! Top Arabica coffee is blended together with high quality Australian wheat vodka, which brings you a wonderfully bold liqueur. Not very sweet at all, but has some nice dark chocolate and caramel notes playing well with the fresh cold brew.

This is well worth a try for anyone that loves their coffee and is up for something different! Making coffee that much more “adult”!

Grab a bottle here and send the some love on social media.

Sunday Afternoon with Hernö Gin

Always a good day when I get to sit down and do nothing but enjoy a G&T with a superb gin! Today‘s gin is the absolutely delicious Swedish Hernö Gin. Known amongst gin lovers, but not widely spread. It’s a shame because it is fantastically refreshing. I try to introduce as many people as I can to them.

This is a highly awarded gin from the High Coast of Sweden, and the first dedicated gin distillery in the country. Definitely a distillery I would love to visit one day, the pictures just look so serene. Built in the middle of nowhere in a converted 1800’s farm to hold their hand hammered copper stills. Also, the more I read about them the more it shows their welcoming nature and sense of community. That’s fantastic. Their passion shines through not only in their final product, but also in they way they do business.

The soil there is fantastic there to produce the natural ingredients used in the crafting of this gin. The gin by itself is such an easy drinking liquid that you really don’t need any additions. Anything added would just be something special. The core Hernö Dry Gin is an incredibly smooth London dry. Not too oily, incredibly fresh with slight vanilla and a nice bite of the coriander. Like a fresh and tasty garden in a glass.

No surprise it was the most awarded gin at the Gin Masters 2013.

Try out this cocktail suggestion from Hernö.

Dance like a butterfly

A light kiss with a taste of honey under the mistletoe. Ethereal. Like freshly fallen snow. Soft. Volatile. Seductive. Can you feel the butterflies?

Ingredients

50 ml Hernö Gin
20 ml honey water
20 ml fresh lemon juice
Vanilla foam
Salt

Preparation

Shake gin, honey water and fresh lemon juice. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with vanilla foam and a pinch of salt.

Honey water

Dissolve two parts honey in one part warm water.

Vanilla foam

3 dl sugar
3 dl water
1 vanilla pod
1 leaf of gelatine

Cook sugar and water. Mix in gelantine and add the vanilla pod. Rest for an hour. Strain and pour into a soda siphon.

A little Van Winkle for Saturday

Not quite the Pappy, but still very enjoyable! Makes for a Saturday evening wind down that much more pleasant. Been a long week, so looking through our open bottles is always something I don’t take for granted. One of the great things working in this industry, is having something interesting to try.

The Van Winkle name is usually the name that starts to make bourbon lovers salivate hand over their credit cards. Usually some of the most sought after whiskies in the world of bourbon.  While it may be touted as some of “the best” out there, we all know that the best is down to the individual. The history that the name carries, along with the alusiveness of the line-up, creates a sense of wonder around them. Don’t get me wrong though, all the ones I have had have been absolutely delicious, but there are plenty more attainable bottles out there if these aren’t within reach.

Like I said before, it’s not quite pappy, but pretty close. Same family and same release schedule. Old Rip Van Winkle 10 is bottled close to barrel proof with a touch of their Kentucky Limestone well water added to the mix. This is a very enjoyable offering from the Buffalo Trace Distillery and a great accompaniment for a summer BBQ. Not overly complex, just really easy to sip. Wonderful waves of fruit, lingerings of charred oak, candied peaches, and bit of that biting spice riding the back end!

At the time of writing this, we may have a coule left, so head over to the site to check! Or pop us an email and we’ll be sure to let yo know.

Enjoy your weekend and pour yourself a dram of something nice!

A Delicious High-End Blend

Most of the time when we decide to spend a good amount of money on a single bottle of whisky, a lot of people will go for a bottle of single malt. Not always, but quite a lot. Sometimes really nice quality blends can be overlooked. That’s why I thought this Friday was a good day to try one I haven’t yet had. Happily we had an open bottle of Collectivum XXVIII!

Collectivum XXVIII was part of Diageo’s Special Release series for 2017. That definitely caused a little unnecessary fuss from some closed minded people because they included a blend into the line-up for the first time. Once certain people could get over their fussiness, they realised it most definitely could hold it’s own amongst the rest of the single malt line-up.

This is kind of the blend to end all blends! This natural cask strength bottling is a blend of ALL 28 operational single malt distilleries that Diageo owns! Like the Avengers all these malts came together to form some super blend. The first one of it’s kind!

Those distilleries are: Auchroisk, Benrinnes, Blair Athol, Caol Ila, Cardhu, Clynelish, Cragganmore, Dailuaine, Dalwhinnie, Dufftown, Glendullan, Glen Elgin, Glenkinchie, Glenlossie, Glen Ord, Glen Spey, Inchgower, Knockando, Lagavulin, Linkwood, Mannochmore, Mortlach, Oban, Roseisle, Royal Lochnagar, Strathmill, Talisker and Teaninich.

At 57.3% this tasty treat has a wonderful kick to it! This is a very silky and balanced blend that shuffles through tastes as you sip, especially if add periodic drops of water. The slight acidity tantalises the tongue in a good way with wonderful lemon and citrus flavours. Nice notes of dark chocolate covered alomonds and an undertone of oak.

They did a good job of putting this blend together and I believe most people would be highly delighted with a bottle of this. It is definitely one of those special bottlings that do not come around often! If you don’t want to spend the money on a bottle, try and find a nice bar that has one…when it’s safe to do so!

If you want a bottle for yourself, we have some here.

A Sunday Tipple With Another Smooth Ambler

Decided I wanted to break into anther bottle of Smooth Ambler, but this time their Contradiction release. I enjoyed their Old Scout bottling, so thought this Sunday evening was a perfect time to a crack open another new bourbon to me! The perks of working in the industry, you always have access to interesting bottles.

Whereas the Old Scout bourbon was fully sourced whiskey from elsewhere, Contradiction is a marriage of sourced whiskey and their very own distilled spirit. The portion that is their own is a sweet wheated bourbon distilled right there in West Virginia. The two are blended together and then recasked into the original barrels for the remaining months. It’s quite unique to four different grains in the final product, and is awesome that Smooth Ambler steps outside the box to take chances. I always enjoy when companies step outside of the norm in spirit making. Tradition is great, but pushing the boundaries into new territory makes for a more interesting product.

I am really enjoying the punch of sweetness coming from the wheat in their homegrown bourbon. Those sweet flavours mix nicely with the more matured rye spice from the sourced bourbon. When playing with these four different grains things could definitely go sideways and not play well together, that doesn’t happen here! They thankfully work in harmony. Tasty notes of dark chocolate covered cherries, cinnamon, honey, and light oak.

Grab a bottle here if you have not already tried some Contradiction!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Currently Sipping WhistlePig 10

I’ve been on a WhistlePig kick this week. So I thought I’d share this Friday’s tipple. Today we are enjoying the wonderful WhistlePig 10 year. As a big fan of the Farmstock bottlings, it’s been a while since I have sat down to enjoy this 10.

I have said before that we are very fond of the products that the Vermont distillery crafts. A wonderfully unique farm distillery that are doing a great job at elevating Rye whiskey to more fun and interesting levels. They started off their whiskey making adventures by importing all their rye from Canada, and in 2015 they started the adventures of distilling their own liquid.

The 10 year old is using 100% of the Canadian rye, that WhistlePig said they “rescued the stock from misuse as a blending whiskey.” After bringing in the liquid into Vermont it is aged in new American oak and then hand bottled. Using 100% rye is pretty rare these days, so it makes it that much more special. Maybe in 2025/2026 we’ll get 100% WhistlePig distilled spirit, until then I am happy to keep enjoying this.

This is a tasty full-flavoured rye whiskey. Fragrant whiffs of peppermint, charred oak, and fresh grown herbs. Big mouthful of butterscotch, cinnamon, sweet vanilla, and a tongue coating of the rye spiciness.

Try a bottle here if you are in the market for a rye! It’s no wonder it’s as highly awarded as it is.

Currently Sipping Smooth Ambler Old Scout

A Friday evening is always a good time for an unfamiliar bourbon. This evening is the Smooth Ambler Old Scout. A Tasty bourbon from the West Virginia Distillery.

Even though Smooth Ambler create a variety of spirits from scratch at the distillery, the Old Scout line is not that. The Old Scout bottlings are sourced whiskey, hence the name, the source whiskey was carefully scouted out. Some purists might moan about it not all being made in house, but they can keep that moaning to themselves! Smooth Ambler is one of those distilleries that does it right, and finds some terrific liquid. The Appalachian community spirit that the distillery is built around is just another ingredient that adds to a wonderful product. The community around them are really at the heart of this company, so producing a liquid that can make their small community shine world wide, is fantastic. I am a fan of a lot of liquids that come from distilleries all over the world, but I will always gravitate more frequently to distilleries like Smooth Ambler where when you hear them talk about their spirits, you know they truly care about what they put out!

Now they have a few different versions of Old Scout, but in front of me I have the 99 proof Straight Bourbon. The current mash bill of this one is 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley. Aged around 5 years, with a high rye content, you are getting a very bold bourbon. They have done an exceptional job at sourcing this liquid. Oodles of butterscotch sweets, very warming with that rye spiciness, cloves, along with some wonderful earthy herbs.

Grab a bottle here if you are unfamiliar with Smooth Ambler as I was.

Currently Drinking Some Hampden Estate

Been waiting a while to get some hands on this bottle of Hampden Great House Distillery Edition. A perfect addition to any rum shelf in time for Summer. Here’s a quick little rundown of our experience with it.

Definitely no stranger to the Hampden Estate rums and always happy when there is an open bottle around for enjoyment. This release is fantastic for the seasoned Hampden drinker or someone who has no experience with them at all. That is because this release was created for the sole purpose of showcasing everything that is amazing about Hampden Estates rums!

This is not like a lot of their other single cask bottlings out there, the Great House Edition is expertly blended by the distillery’s Master Distiller. I also love seeing that they are putting out more of their own labeled rums instead of sending out mass amounts of their liquid to other companies. Like a lot of Jamaican rums, this expression is a high ester (natural compounds created during the fermentation process) rum, which adds to the amazing range of flavours in this rum!

A blend of two molasses based rums and local spring water, the rum bottled at a boisterous 59% ABV. A full funk rum for sure! Everything you love from Hampden Estate. Initially they only had limited amount of 1200 bottles being sold at the distillery and supplied to special events. Luckily for us it made its way here!

You are looking at wonderful array of tangy tropical fruit flavours, with grilled pineapples, tasty puckering lemon, thick molasses, and nice smoked chocolate in there.

Grab a bottled for yourself HERE!