1. Whiskey Deconstructed // Step Two
As we’ve noted before - we’re fans of whiskey and the wealth of knowledge surrounding it. In part one of the Whiskey Deconstructed series, we took a dive into The Mash.
In Part Two, we take a deeper look at the process of distillation and the various particulars that make it work, ever-focused on that finished product that we all know and love.
(click the image for full-res version)
 
Bottles ReferencedPot Distilled:// Bushmills 10 Year Old// Corsair Triple Smoke// The Macallan 12// Powers John’s Lane Release
Combination Distilled:// Maker’s Mark// Tullamore D.E.W.// Hibiki 12// Alberta Premium Dark Horse
Column Distilled:// Nikka Coffey Grain// Haig Club Single Grain// Greenore Single Grain// Compass Box Hedonism
Thirsty for more? - head over to Distiller (or download for Android/iOS) to get a personalized recommendation for the perfect bottle. Start your collection, add your own ratings, create your wishlist, and connect with friends in their whiskey discovery today. 
As always - Cheers, to your health.

    Whiskey Deconstructed // Step Two

    As we’ve noted before - we’re fans of whiskey and the wealth of knowledge surrounding it. In part one of the Whiskey Deconstructed series, we took a dive into The Mash.

    In Part Two, we take a deeper look at the process of distillation and the various particulars that make it work, ever-focused on that finished product that we all know and love.

    (click the image for full-res version)

    image

    Bottles Referenced
    Pot Distilled:
    // Bushmills 10 Year Old
    // Corsair Triple Smoke
    // The Macallan 12
    // Powers John’s Lane Release

    Combination Distilled:
    // Maker’s Mark
    // Tullamore D.E.W.
    // Hibiki 12
    // Alberta Premium Dark Horse

    Column Distilled:
    // Nikka Coffey Grain
    // Haig Club Single Grain
    // Greenore Single Grain
    // Compass Box Hedonism

    Thirsty for more? - head over to Distiller (or download for Android/iOS) to get a personalized recommendation for the perfect bottle. Start your collection, add your own ratings, create your wishlist, and connect with friends in their whiskey discovery today.

    As always - Cheers, to your health.

  2. The Long Haul // Cardinal’s Building
It’s been a little while since we’ve had the chance to catch up with the folks at Cardinal Spirits as they continue their work towards completing their brand new distillery. In part 3 of ‘The Long Haul’, the construction is coming along nicely, ever-nearing completion, with a video tour of the new facility.
"We had delays, and we’re over budget." said every building owner, ever. I’ve learned that delays and budget overruns are pretty much the rule rather than the exception for construction projects. Luckily, we planned for them, and are still pretty much on schedule for starting initial production in October.
We’ve learned a lot during the process of designing and building our distillery - it seems like we learn about a new concept every day, only to quickly move on to the next. It reminds me a little of the Matrix, where they can just learn to fly a helicopter by downloading the knowledge, and can fly away in a matter of seconds. 
Going into this thing, we didn’t know anything about the glamorous and sensual world of municipal waste water treatment. So we read books, worked with environmental engineers, hired water analysis firms, and met with lots of city officials. Eventually we came up with a good strategy for treating our stillage. So, now we know how to do that. Will we ever use that knowledge again? Maybe, if we build another production facility someday. But as soon as that hurdle was crossed, we had to learn about HVAC system design, then we had to learn about state and municipal health codes for beverage service… it’s never-ending. And it’s a hell of a lot of fun if you love solving problems.
Everyday we are making steady progress on the building. It’s exciting to see our new home coming together. There are a lot of pieces in motion and it’s a slow process, but we are at the stage where you can start to see how everything will look when it comes together. Soon we’ll have doors and windows instead of holes in our walls, and soon after we’ll have a working distillery that we can be proud of.

    The Long Haul // Cardinal’s Building

    It’s been a little while since we’ve had the chance to catch up with the folks at Cardinal Spirits as they continue their work towards completing their brand new distillery. In part 3 of ‘The Long Haul’, the construction is coming along nicely, ever-nearing completion, with a video tour of the new facility.

    "We had delays, and we’re over budget." said every building owner, ever. I’ve learned that delays and budget overruns are pretty much the rule rather than the exception for construction projects. Luckily, we planned for them, and are still pretty much on schedule for starting initial production in October.

    We’ve learned a lot during the process of designing and building our distillery - it seems like we learn about a new concept every day, only to quickly move on to the next. It reminds me a little of the Matrix, where they can just learn to fly a helicopter by downloading the knowledge, and can fly away in a matter of seconds. 

    Going into this thing, we didn’t know anything about the glamorous and sensual world of municipal waste water treatment. So we read books, worked with environmental engineers, hired water analysis firms, and met with lots of city officials. Eventually we came up with a good strategy for treating our stillage. So, now we know how to do that. Will we ever use that knowledge again? Maybe, if we build another production facility someday. But as soon as that hurdle was crossed, we had to learn about HVAC system design, then we had to learn about state and municipal health codes for beverage service… it’s never-ending. And it’s a hell of a lot of fun if you love solving problems.

    Everyday we are making steady progress on the building. It’s exciting to see our new home coming together. There are a lot of pieces in motion and it’s a slow process, but we are at the stage where you can start to see how everything will look when it comes together. Soon we’ll have doors and windows instead of holes in our walls, and soon after we’ll have a working distillery that we can be proud of.

  3. FIVE QUESTIONS // ADAM TURLA OF MURDER BY DEATH
While the band’s name may spark notions of death metal and violence, Murder By Death (named for the 1976 comedy of the same name by Neil Simon, starring Peter Sellers) falls more closely to a style combined of americana and gothic, black comedy and film references. Formed in college in the early 00’s, the band has grown and adapted over time, and took their previous success to kickstarter, where they were one of the most successful music projects ever on the platform. With deep roots in the midwest, and a long term appreciation for whiskey, we asked Adam (vocals, guitars) five questions -
1. As directly mentioned in many of the band’s songs, whiskey is occasionally a prevailing theme - Is there an intrinsic quality to whiskey that you find draws you to it? Or is it simply that you’re a fan?

I remember 1999, my freshman year at college, when an older, wiser friend said to me “You should drink whiskey.” I had tried everything, but hadn’t really given straight whiskey a shot. I knew right away that bourbon was the drink for me. It’s also regional, the band is from Bloomington, IN but I now live in Louisville, KY. I think there’s a pleasure in having pride in your local drink, and bourbon is certainly being celebrated lately.

2. You’ve managed to travel quite extensively as a band - has there been a favorite spot where you always know you’ll find what you like, venue, bar, or otherwise?

There are cities that I always love to go back to, Denver, San Francisco, Savannah- places where the shows are great and the food and drink are top notch. It’s funny tho, sometimes the places that you don’t expect much out of turn to have great refuges. For example, there’s a great tapas bar in Omaha. That’s the best part of touring in the last decade- a lot of cities have become much more entertaining. Des Moines, IA has two great venues, and it used to be rough for shows. Kansas City has become a really cool town in the last ten years. I am constantly surprised at the growth of shows and quality restaurants in the south and midwest.

3. On the same theme of travel - where would you say was the most interesting?

Belfast was pretty wild. When we went in 2004, it was a tense place with a delicate touch to try and keep arguments concerning religion at bay. We had to cover up our tattoos at a bar we went for dinner because they don’t want political tattoos to start fights there. I also love going to Alaska, and our week of shows in The Virgin Islands was amazing.

4. The MBD Whiskey Crew - your semi-unofficial fandom certainly likes to show you their love - what are some of the things fans have done to get the band’s attention?

We have been given a lot of homemade moonshine. That’s pretty serious. Also the kickstarter we did had people who bought a trip with us to Cedar Point. So that’s cool.

5. Your top five bottles?

Here’s just a few (in no order) I like a lot:Pappy Van WinkleWilletMichters RyeBulleit (great mainstream price point and easy to find)And of course, the traditional Louisville cheap but good drink, Old Forester

For more information on MBD, make sure to check out their site and follow them on twitter. And, for all things whiskey, head over to Distiller or download the app for iOS or Android, and as always, Cheers!

    FIVE QUESTIONS // ADAM TURLA OF MURDER BY DEATH

    While the band’s name may spark notions of death metal and violence, Murder By Death (named for the 1976 comedy of the same name by Neil Simon, starring Peter Sellers) falls more closely to a style combined of americana and gothic, black comedy and film references. Formed in college in the early 00’s, the band has grown and adapted over time, and took their previous success to kickstarter, where they were one of the most successful music projects ever on the platform. With deep roots in the midwest, and a long term appreciation for whiskey, we asked Adam (vocals, guitars) five questions -

    1. As directly mentioned in many of the band’s songs, whiskey is occasionally a prevailing theme - Is there an intrinsic quality to whiskey that you find draws you to it? Or is it simply that you’re a fan?

    I remember 1999, my freshman year at college, when an older, wiser friend said to me “You should drink whiskey.” I had tried everything, but hadn’t really given straight whiskey a shot. I knew right away that bourbon was the drink for me. It’s also regional, the band is from Bloomington, IN but I now live in Louisville, KY. I think there’s a pleasure in having pride in your local drink, and bourbon is certainly being celebrated lately.

    2. You’ve managed to travel quite extensively as a band - has there been a favorite spot where you always know you’ll find what you like, venue, bar, or otherwise?

    There are cities that I always love to go back to, Denver, San Francisco, Savannah- places where the shows are great and the food and drink are top notch. It’s funny tho, sometimes the places that you don’t expect much out of turn to have great refuges. For example, there’s a great tapas bar in Omaha. That’s the best part of touring in the last decade- a lot of cities have become much more entertaining. Des Moines, IA has two great venues, and it used to be rough for shows. Kansas City has become a really cool town in the last ten years. I am constantly surprised at the growth of shows and quality restaurants in the south and midwest.

    3. On the same theme of travel - where would you say was the most interesting?

    Belfast was pretty wild. When we went in 2004, it was a tense place with a delicate touch to try and keep arguments concerning religion at bay. We had to cover up our tattoos at a bar we went for dinner because they don’t want political tattoos to start fights there. I also love going to Alaska, and our week of shows in The Virgin Islands was amazing.

    4. The MBD Whiskey Crew - your semi-unofficial fandom certainly likes to show you their love - what are some of the things fans have done to get the band’s attention?

    We have been given a lot of homemade moonshine. That’s pretty serious. Also the kickstarter we did had people who bought a trip with us to Cedar Point. So that’s cool.

    5. Your top five bottles?

    Here’s just a few (in no order) I like a lot:
    Pappy Van Winkle
    Willet
    Michters Rye
    Bulleit
    (great mainstream price point and easy to find)
    And of course, the traditional Louisville cheap but good drink, Old Forester

    For more information on MBD, make sure to check out their site and follow them on twitter. And, for all things whiskey, head over to Distiller or download the app for iOS or Android, and as always, Cheers!

  4. Independent Bottlings And You // A Primer
Today on The Mash Bill, our own Amanda Schuster gives us an introduction to the practice of Independent Bottling - a long-standing business within the malt world, and one worth an exploration, should the chance present itself.
Have you ever come across a bottle of whisky with a label that says something like, “Highland Park 1980,” but it isn’t the label you’re used to seeing, and the price tag is hundreds less than what Highland Park from that year would normally cost? If you didn’t know better, you’d think you were being ripped off. That’s the high end booze equivalent of buying a fake Gucci bag off a Chinatown sidewalk, right? 
Well, you might be getting hosed, of course. But more often than not, these are legit. And a great bargain at that.
Welcome to the world of independent cask bottles. 
These are companies who buy casks of whisky, usually Scotch, directly from distilleries and do their own thing with it. Depending on what’s in the cask (how mature it already was when purchased, for instance), they might bottle and release it as is. But more commonly, they tend to age them for longer in their own warehouses, typically in ex-bourbon barrels. Sometimes they give them additional time in special casks such as ex-Sherry, Port, wine, rum or even alternative whisk(e)y finishes. These whiskies can be offered at a fraction of what a distillery edition would be, since the overhead costs are eliminated. They’re only dealing with the whisky, the barrels and the packaging. 
This can be a new and exciting way to taste your favorite whisky, but it’s also an opportunity to try something more rare. We might remember the 1980s as a fun-filled decade flush with big shoulder pads, tinkly pop music, flashy cars and personal excess, but it was a wretched time for Scotch, and a dismaying number of distilleries were closed for good by 1984 for economic reasons. Many of these indie bottlers have gotten access to casks from long shuttered distilleries. For instance indies like Hart Brothers, Signatory, Mackillop’s Choice and Gordon & McPhail have released whisky from Port Ellen, an Islay distillery which tragically closed in 1983 but has a huge following among aficionados. Other “ghost” distillery releases to look out for are Brora, Caperdonich, Little Mill, Imperial, Glenury, Inverleven, Dallas Dhu and Glenugie, among lots of others. Given the cask finishes and frequently long naps in the barrel, what you’re tasting is not necessarily what the distiller/blender of these whiskies would have intended, but having a dram is a fun way to take your taste buds on a trip back in time. Do keep in mind that the label will tell you when the whisky was bottled (if it doesn’t, chances are this is indeed a rip off.) As all you whisky nerds should know by now, a whisky is only as old as its age when bottled. 
Solid independents such as Samaroli, Master of Malt (and their offshoot That Boutique-y Whisky Company) and Single Cask Nation put spotlights on single malts that are more commonly found in well known blends, such as Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal and Ballantine’s. Tasting these malts on their own, you really have to wonder why more people don’t freak out over things like Glenburgie, Glen Elgin or Dailuiane. Since these are the less sought out whiskies in the range, they tend to be among the best bargains in an independent’s portfolio. 
The added cask finishes lend a really interesting touch to the whiskies. (You haven’t lived till you’ve tasted Glen Scotia with Port finish or Caol Ila with just a touch of Pedro Ximinez sherry.) At times these additional naps can be a bit much. Personally, I tend to shy away from Scotch that has been heavily sherried (you can tell by the color,) but some people love that. Especially if they aren’t as keen on smoky whiskies, these finishes can have a taming effect they can make peace with. It’s fun to taste a few and find out what floats your bàta. 
Let’s circle back to the big boys. Glenlivet and Bowmore from the 1970s? Macallan, Highland Park, Bunnahabhain and Glenrothes from the 80s? Tomintoul from the 1960s? And it costs less than $300 a pop? Come on, that can’t be right. Depending on who bottled it, not only is it right, but you don’t want to be wrong for not trying it. The good news is that many retailers who work with these purveyors tend to have a sample bottle open for customers with serious interest in purchasing the whisky if you ask nicely. If you find yourself in Scotland, Cadenhead’s on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh is a retail shop that only sells indies under its own label, and they have almost every single one open to sample before committing to a purchase. Many whisk(e)y bars with large selections will offer these by the glass to try as well, sometimes as part of flights. And of course, independents can be found at booths with samples at the big whisky shows such as Whisky Live and Whiskyfest if you happen to score a ticket. 
The one thing to consider is most of these whiskies are limited editions that were only bottled from a single barrel. If you find one that intrigues you, this may be your only opportunity to score some. Many diehard enthusiasts will buy two bottles - one to drink and one to save. Ah, isn’t that the life?
Cheers!

    Independent Bottlings And You // A Primer

    Today on The Mash Bill, our own Amanda Schuster gives us an introduction to the practice of Independent Bottling - a long-standing business within the malt world, and one worth an exploration, should the chance present itself.

    Have you ever come across a bottle of whisky with a label that says something like, “Highland Park 1980,” but it isn’t the label you’re used to seeing, and the price tag is hundreds less than what Highland Park from that year would normally cost? If you didn’t know better, you’d think you were being ripped off. That’s the high end booze equivalent of buying a fake Gucci bag off a Chinatown sidewalk, right?

    Well, you might be getting hosed, of course. But more often than not, these are legit. And a great bargain at that.

    Welcome to the world of independent cask bottles.

    These are companies who buy casks of whisky, usually Scotch, directly from distilleries and do their own thing with it. Depending on what’s in the cask (how mature it already was when purchased, for instance), they might bottle and release it as is. But more commonly, they tend to age them for longer in their own warehouses, typically in ex-bourbon barrels. Sometimes they give them additional time in special casks such as ex-Sherry, Port, wine, rum or even alternative whisk(e)y finishes. These whiskies can be offered at a fraction of what a distillery edition would be, since the overhead costs are eliminated. They’re only dealing with the whisky, the barrels and the packaging.

    This can be a new and exciting way to taste your favorite whisky, but it’s also an opportunity to try something more rare. We might remember the 1980s as a fun-filled decade flush with big shoulder pads, tinkly pop music, flashy cars and personal excess, but it was a wretched time for Scotch, and a dismaying number of distilleries were closed for good by 1984 for economic reasons. Many of these indie bottlers have gotten access to casks from long shuttered distilleries. For instance indies like Hart Brothers, Signatory, Mackillop’s Choice and Gordon & McPhail have released whisky from Port Ellen, an Islay distillery which tragically closed in 1983 but has a huge following among aficionados. Other “ghost” distillery releases to look out for are Brora, Caperdonich, Little Mill, Imperial, Glenury, Inverleven, Dallas Dhu and Glenugie, among lots of others. Given the cask finishes and frequently long naps in the barrel, what you’re tasting is not necessarily what the distiller/blender of these whiskies would have intended, but having a dram is a fun way to take your taste buds on a trip back in time. Do keep in mind that the label will tell you when the whisky was bottled (if it doesn’t, chances are this is indeed a rip off.) As all you whisky nerds should know by now, a whisky is only as old as its age when bottled.

    Solid independents such as Samaroli, Master of Malt (and their offshoot That Boutique-y Whisky Company) and Single Cask Nation put spotlights on single malts that are more commonly found in well known blends, such as Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal and Ballantine’s. Tasting these malts on their own, you really have to wonder why more people don’t freak out over things like Glenburgie, Glen Elgin or Dailuiane. Since these are the less sought out whiskies in the range, they tend to be among the best bargains in an independent’s portfolio.

    The added cask finishes lend a really interesting touch to the whiskies. (You haven’t lived till you’ve tasted Glen Scotia with Port finish or Caol Ila with just a touch of Pedro Ximinez sherry.) At times these additional naps can be a bit much. Personally, I tend to shy away from Scotch that has been heavily sherried (you can tell by the color,) but some people love that. Especially if they aren’t as keen on smoky whiskies, these finishes can have a taming effect they can make peace with. It’s fun to taste a few and find out what floats your bàta.

    Let’s circle back to the big boys. Glenlivet and Bowmore from the 1970s? Macallan, Highland Park, Bunnahabhain and Glenrothes from the 80s? Tomintoul from the 1960s? And it costs less than $300 a pop? Come on, that can’t be right. Depending on who bottled it, not only is it right, but you don’t want to be wrong for not trying it. The good news is that many retailers who work with these purveyors tend to have a sample bottle open for customers with serious interest in purchasing the whisky if you ask nicely. If you find yourself in Scotland, Cadenhead’s on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh is a retail shop that only sells indies under its own label, and they have almost every single one open to sample before committing to a purchase. Many whisk(e)y bars with large selections will offer these by the glass to try as well, sometimes as part of flights. And of course, independents can be found at booths with samples at the big whisky shows such as Whisky Live and Whiskyfest if you happen to score a ticket.

    The one thing to consider is most of these whiskies are limited editions that were only bottled from a single barrel. If you find one that intrigues you, this may be your only opportunity to score some. Many diehard enthusiasts will buy two bottles - one to drink and one to save. Ah, isn’t that the life?

    Cheers!

  5. Welcome to the Distiller Community!
We’ve been hinting for a few weeks at new features that we’ve been diligently working on here at Distiller, and today’s the day that we can finally tell you all about them!
We’re proud to announce the new Distiller Community - a suite of new features we’ve introduced that will help you connect with your fellow whiskey lovers from all around the world. Share your opinions, comment, like, and follow what’s going on from your new “Feed” located on your profile, or directly from every single whiskey page in Distiller.
Want to show off your collection and notes to the world? Just share your Distiller URL. People can follow you directly from your profile, or they can search for you from within Distiller.
Now then, what’s new, you ask?
• NOTES Tab on Bottle Pages: On the notes tab, you can read notes from other Distiller community members. • Liking and Commenting: You can now like and comment on what other users are saying about any whiskey in Distiller. • Following: You can now follow other users, see their Top Shelf, Collection, Wishlist, and read their reviews. • Activity Feed: You now have an activity feed on your profile showing everything the people you follow have been up to in Distiller! • People Search: You can search for fellow whiskey lovers by toggling between “Whiskeys” and “People” on the search page, and can follow them directly from the search results, or click to see a user’s profile. • You can set notes you have written to “private” if you’d like to keep them to yourself, or keep them public to share with everyone.
And there you have it! If you haven’t already yet, head to Distiller, or download it now for iOS or Android, create your profile, and start discovering a whole new world of whiskey, at your fingertips.
As they say, whiskey is even better with friends, so here’s to new ones. Cheers!

    Welcome to the Distiller Community!


    We’ve been hinting for a few weeks at new features that we’ve been diligently working on here at Distiller, and today’s the day that we can finally tell you all about them!

    We’re proud to announce the new Distiller Community - a suite of new features we’ve introduced that will help you connect with your fellow whiskey lovers from all around the world. Share your opinions, comment, like, and follow what’s going on from your new “Feed” located on your profile, or directly from every single whiskey page in Distiller.

    Want to show off your collection and notes to the world? Just share your Distiller URL. People can follow you directly from your profile, or they can search for you from within Distiller.

    Now then, what’s new, you ask?

    • NOTES Tab on Bottle Pages: On the notes tab, you can read notes from other Distiller community members.
    • Liking and Commenting: You can now like and comment on what other users are saying about any whiskey in Distiller. 
    • Following: You can now follow other users, see their Top Shelf, Collection, Wishlist, and read their reviews. 
    • Activity Feed: You now have an activity feed on your profile showing everything the people you follow have been up to in Distiller! 
    • People Search: You can search for fellow whiskey lovers by toggling between “Whiskeys” and “People” on the search page, and can follow them directly from the search results, or click to see a user’s profile. 
    • You can set notes you have written to “private” if you’d like to keep them to yourself, or keep them public to share with everyone.

    And there you have it! If you haven’t already yet, head to Distiller, or download it now for iOS or Android, create your profile, and start discovering a whole new world of whiskey, at your fingertips.

    As they say, whiskey is even better with friends, so here’s to new ones. Cheers!

  6. #TBT to #TOTC // Distiller’s Tales of The Cocktail Recap
Distiller’s own Stephanie Moreno spent last week at Tales of The Cocktail, and provides us a whiskey-focused glimpse at what went down at #TOTC.

I’ve spent the past week at a cocktail convention and would like to share a bit about what I’ve tasted and learned.  First off, Tales of the Cocktail is a cocktail festival held in New Orleans that brings spirits professionals, bartenders, and enthusiasts from around the world to discuss, showcase, and educate what is happening in the spirits and bartending communities.  Cocktails, obviously, are sampled and examined, but highlighting the spirits themselves which are the building blocks of a great cocktail was my focus.  Of course, this meant I sought out all things whisk(e)y.
Seminars that fell under the whisky umbrella were :
“A Barrel Love Affair”.  This was an in depth discussion of the interaction of wood and spirits, and why we use oak in the first place.  The panel included Brad Boswell, President and 4th generation cooper of the Independent Stave Co.; Jose “Pepe” Hermosillo, founding partner of Casa Noble tequila; Simon Brooking, Master Ambassador for Ardmore and Laphroaig single malt whiskies; and Chip Tate, founder and distiller of Balcones Distilling Co.  We also had the opportunity to taste new make, barrel proof Laphroaig and new make Balcones single malt and compare them with their aged bottlings.  The seminar was incredibly informative and we all got to geek out on the beauty of the barrel and how much we owe to it for the flavor of our favorite types of spirits.
In “Worm Tub Tales: Deep Diving Into Malt”, Dave Broom, whisky writer and educator, led a discussion involving single malt distilleries that still utilize the worm tub (wooden vessels that contain a coiled copper tube filled with cold water used to condense alcohol vapor into back into liquid form).  We tasted prototype whiskies that will never see the market from Macduff, Craigellachie, Royal Brackla, and Aultmore.  What a treat!
“The Blind Truth About Aging Whisky” was a seminar in which we tasted whiskies blind while discussing wood aging, particularly with regards to rejuvenated barrels. Again on the panel was Dave Broom; Ewan Morgan, whisky educator for Diageo; Dr. Nicolas Morgan, Head of Whisky Outreach for Diageo; and Gregor Cattanach, National Master of Whisky for DIageo North America.  A flavor graph (hey, we know something about that!) was used to place the whiskies on a grid depending on how delicate, smoky, rich, and light the whiskies were and then marked how fruity, herbal, spicy they were.  Whiskies sampled included Haig Club Single Grain Whisky, Caol Ila Moch Single Malt, Dufftown 4 Year Single Malt, Talisker 57 North, and Cardhu Sherry Butt 30 Year Single Malt.
There were many Tasting Rooms where I had the chance to taste a host of new products.  Some of highlights include:
Girvan, a single grain whiskey that is finally being bottled by William Grant & Sons instead of just being used for their blended whiskies.  There are three products:  Patent Still No 4 Apps, Patent Still 25 year, and a Patent Still 30 year. All should be hitting the US market in September of this year.
Westland Distillery in Seattle have released some single barrel bottlings.  I got to taste 4 different casks, two peated and two unpeated.  Some use different yeast strains, some play with different wine barrel finishes, the proof varies, and char levels vary.  All are unique and wonderful; a trip to their distillery is the best way to get to try and buy as quantities are very limited.  The estimated retail price ranges from $70-75.
I also tried a couple of blended malt whiskies from Berry Bros & Rudd called Blue Hanger - their 7th and 10th Limited Releases.  The moniker comes from a gentleman named William Hanger, the 3rd Lord Coleraine.  He was an esteemed customer of Berry Bros. & Rudd during the late 18th century and was well-known for the remarkable blue clothes he wore. Thus, he was referred to as “Blue Hanger”.
Crown Royal has released a new product celebrating the 75th anniversary of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s inaugural visit to Canada.  The bottling, Crown Royal Monarch, will retail for around $50 and is quite a value. The makeup of the whisky is similar to the signature Crown Royal Deluxe bottling, but has a higher percentage of rye.  
Heaven Hill is about to release the latest Parker’s Heritage bottling; this time they are focusing on wheat, with  Parker’s Wheat Whiskey - a 13 year old whiskey. Think of this as the older, bolder brother of the Bernheim Wheat Whiskey.  It uses the oldest stock of Bernheim available and is bottled at 67.5% abv.  This will retail for around $90.
I also had a chance to hit many of the local bars, but one that was a standout was Barrel Proof NOLA, located in the Lower Garden District.  Amanda, one of our fellow tasting table experts, and I kicked back one afternoon and geeked out on the selection and curation of their whisk(e)y list. Tullibardine Aged Oak, Black Maple Hill Rye, Old Grand Dad 80 proof, and Old Charter 8 Year were some of what we sampled.  Reviews will, of course, be forthcoming.  

In her own words - “Attending a cocktail convention in New Orleans in the middle of summer is a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.”

    #TBT to #TOTC // Distiller’s Tales of The Cocktail Recap

    Distiller’s own Stephanie Moreno spent last week at Tales of The Cocktail, and provides us a whiskey-focused glimpse at what went down at #TOTC.

    I’ve spent the past week at a cocktail convention and would like to share a bit about what I’ve tasted and learned.  First off, Tales of the Cocktail is a cocktail festival held in New Orleans that brings spirits professionals, bartenders, and enthusiasts from around the world to discuss, showcase, and educate what is happening in the spirits and bartending communities.  Cocktails, obviously, are sampled and examined, but highlighting the spirits themselves which are the building blocks of a great cocktail was my focus.  Of course, this meant I sought out all things whisk(e)y.

    Seminars that fell under the whisky umbrella were :

    “A Barrel Love Affair”.  This was an in depth discussion of the interaction of wood and spirits, and why we use oak in the first place.  The panel included Brad Boswell, President and 4th generation cooper of the Independent Stave Co.; Jose “Pepe” Hermosillo, founding partner of Casa Noble tequila; Simon Brooking, Master Ambassador for Ardmore and Laphroaig single malt whiskies; and Chip Tate, founder and distiller of Balcones Distilling Co.  We also had the opportunity to taste new make, barrel proof Laphroaig and new make Balcones single malt and compare them with their aged bottlings.  The seminar was incredibly informative and we all got to geek out on the beauty of the barrel and how much we owe to it for the flavor of our favorite types of spirits.

    In “Worm Tub Tales: Deep Diving Into Malt”, Dave Broom, whisky writer and educator, led a discussion involving single malt distilleries that still utilize the worm tub (wooden vessels that contain a coiled copper tube filled with cold water used to condense alcohol vapor into back into liquid form).  We tasted prototype whiskies that will never see the market from Macduff, Craigellachie, Royal Brackla, and Aultmore.  What a treat!

    “The Blind Truth About Aging Whisky” was a seminar in which we tasted whiskies blind while discussing wood aging, particularly with regards to rejuvenated barrels. Again on the panel was Dave Broom; Ewan Morgan, whisky educator for Diageo; Dr. Nicolas Morgan, Head of Whisky Outreach for Diageo; and Gregor Cattanach, National Master of Whisky for DIageo North America.  A flavor graph (hey, we know something about that!) was used to place the whiskies on a grid depending on how delicate, smoky, rich, and light the whiskies were and then marked how fruity, herbal, spicy they were.  Whiskies sampled included Haig Club Single Grain Whisky, Caol Ila Moch Single Malt, Dufftown 4 Year Single Malt, Talisker 57 North, and Cardhu Sherry Butt 30 Year Single Malt.

    There were many Tasting Rooms where I had the chance to taste a host of new products.  Some of highlights include:

    Girvan, a single grain whiskey that is finally being bottled by William Grant & Sons instead of just being used for their blended whiskies.  There are three products:  Patent Still No 4 Apps, Patent Still 25 year, and a Patent Still 30 year. All should be hitting the US market in September of this year.

    Westland Distillery in Seattle have released some single barrel bottlings.  I got to taste 4 different casks, two peated and two unpeated.  Some use different yeast strains, some play with different wine barrel finishes, the proof varies, and char levels vary.  All are unique and wonderful; a trip to their distillery is the best way to get to try and buy as quantities are very limited.  The estimated retail price ranges from $70-75.

    I also tried a couple of blended malt whiskies from Berry Bros & Rudd called Blue Hanger - their 7th and 10th Limited Releases.  The moniker comes from a gentleman named William Hanger, the 3rd Lord Coleraine.  He was an esteemed customer of Berry Bros. & Rudd during the late 18th century and was well-known for the remarkable blue clothes he wore. Thus, he was referred to as “Blue Hanger”.

    Crown Royal has released a new product celebrating the 75th anniversary of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s inaugural visit to Canada.  The bottling, Crown Royal Monarch, will retail for around $50 and is quite a value. The makeup of the whisky is similar to the signature Crown Royal Deluxe bottling, but has a higher percentage of rye.  

    Heaven Hill is about to release the latest Parker’s Heritage bottling; this time they are focusing on wheat, with  Parker’s Wheat Whiskey - a 13 year old whiskey. Think of this as the older, bolder brother of the Bernheim Wheat Whiskey.  It uses the oldest stock of Bernheim available and is bottled at 67.5% abv.  This will retail for around $90.

    I also had a chance to hit many of the local bars, but one that was a standout was Barrel Proof NOLA, located in the Lower Garden District.  Amanda, one of our fellow tasting table experts, and I kicked back one afternoon and geeked out on the selection and curation of their whisk(e)y list. Tullibardine Aged Oak, Black Maple Hill Rye, Old Grand Dad 80 proof, and Old Charter 8 Year were some of what we sampled.  Reviews will, of course, be forthcoming.  

    In her own words - “Attending a cocktail convention in New Orleans in the middle of summer is a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.”

  7. Whiskey Deconstructed // Step One
It should come as no surprise to hear us admit that we love whiskey. We’re fascinated by the history of it, the staggering levels of skill and care that go into making every drop, and by the seemingly endless different ways it can be made. With that in mind we took it upon ourselves to create a helpful visual guide to explain just how whiskey comes to life. We’re very excited to present Part One of this series, “The Mash,” where we take a look at the grains that go into making the delicious whiskeys we all know and love.
(click the image for full-res version)

Bottles Referenced Corn: // George Dickel #12 Tennessee Whisky// Elijah Craig 12 Bourbon// Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon
Rye:// Rittenhouse Rye// Sazerac Straight Rye// Angel’s Envy Rye
Wheat:// W.L. Weller 12 Bourbon// Rebel Reserve Bourbon// Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Malted:// Bushmill’s 10 Year// Glenfiddich 18 Year// The Macallan 12 Year
Malted + Unmalted:// Redbreast 12 Year// Powers Signature Release// Green Spot
Malted + Peated:// Laphroaig 10 Year// Ardbeg 10 Year// Highland Park 12 Year
Thirsty for more? - head over to Distiller (or download for Android/iOS) to get a personalized recommendation for the perfect bottle. Start your collection, add your own ratings, and create your wishlist today. As always - Cheers, to your health.

    Whiskey Deconstructed // Step One

    It should come as no surprise to hear us admit that we love whiskey. We’re fascinated by the history of it, the staggering levels of skill and care that go into making every drop, and by the seemingly endless different ways it can be made.

    With that in mind we took it upon ourselves to create a helpful visual guide to explain just how whiskey comes to life. We’re very excited to present Part One of this series, “The Mash,” where we take a look at the grains that go into making the delicious whiskeys we all know and love.

    (click the image for full-res version)

    Whiskey Deconstructed // Step One: The Mash

    Bottles Referenced
    Corn:
    // George Dickel #12 Tennessee Whisky
    // Elijah Craig 12 Bourbon
    // Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon

    Rye:
    // Rittenhouse Rye
    // Sazerac Straight Rye
    // Angel’s Envy Rye

    Wheat:
    // W.L. Weller 12 Bourbon

    // Rebel Reserve Bourbon
    // Maker’s Mark Bourbon

    Malted:
    // Bushmill’s 10 Year

    // Glenfiddich 18 Year
    // The Macallan 12 Year

    Malted + Unmalted:
    // Redbreast 12 Year
    // Powers Signature Release
    // Green Spot

    Malted + Peated:
    // Laphroaig 10 Year
    // Ardbeg 10 Year
    // Highland Park 12 Year

    Thirsty for more? - head over to Distiller (or download for Android/iOS) to get a personalized recommendation for the perfect bottle. Start your collection, add your own ratings, and create your wishlist today. As always - Cheers, to your health.