1. 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!

  2. #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.”

  3. 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.

  4. Table Talk // Brock Schulte
In our continuing efforts to bring you the best team possible to provide expert reviews as the Distiller Tasting Table, we’re proud to introduce you to one of the newest additions - Brock Schulte. As an independent restaurant and bar program consultant, Brock’s experience is welcomed to The Table. 
Distiller: How long have you been in the spirits industry?BS: I have been working in the industry anywhere from busboy or grill to server, trainer, bar manager and currently bartender and bar consultant for the past 8 years.
D: When did you really start to delve more specifically into whiskey?BS: Actually, I really only got into whiskey within the past 3 years. I was kind of a softie and could only handle clear spirits before then. Interestingly enough, cachaça and mezcal are great gateway spirits into Scotch and American style whiskey.
D: Is there an inherent trait that draws you to whisk(e)y?BS: More often than not it is the spiciness and burn in the back of the palate from good rye whiskies that I’m most drawn to. It is much like the way Pimm’s No. 1 in a Wimbledon or Pimm’s Cup tickles the back of your throat, except in whiskey it is amplified a 1000 times.
D: Any ‘dream’ bottles that you’d love to be able to taste some day?BS: Being on the right side of the bar, I have been particularly lucky to taste everything behind it. My motto is always “if I don’t know what it tastes like, I can’t sell it” so really most things have been within my grasp.
D: There’s been a boom in world malt productions, is there something new hitting the market that you’re particularly interested in?  BS: I’d love to see what the malts out of Japan will be like in the next 10 years. Comparing some 30 year Japanese malts to 30 year Scotch malts is very intriguing to me.
D: Current Favorite?BS: Probably my favorite thing I have ever tasted was Rittenhouse 25 year rye.  
D: Given that the costs of high end spirits can often be prohibitive, is there a more wallet-friendly bottle sitting at the top of your go-to list these days?BS: Four Roses Yellow Label, Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond and the 86 proof Old Grand Dad are some of my favorites all under $25.
D: Anything else you’d like to add for those of us who are just beginning the whiskey journey?BS: Just because it’s more expensive definitely doesn’t mean it’s better!!! 
Brock’s reviews are showing themselves all over Distiller - Thirsty for more? Head on over to Distiller, or download the app for iOS and Android today! Cheers, to your health.

    Table Talk // Brock Schulte

    In our continuing efforts to bring you the best team possible to provide expert reviews as the Distiller Tasting Table, we’re proud to introduce you to one of the newest additions - Brock Schulte. As an independent restaurant and bar program consultant, Brock’s experience is welcomed to The Table.

    Distiller: How long have you been in the spirits industry?
    BS: I have been working in the industry anywhere from busboy or grill to server, trainer, bar manager and currently bartender and bar consultant for the past 8 years.

    D: When did you really start to delve more specifically into whiskey?
    BS: Actually, I really only got into whiskey within the past 3 years. I was kind of a softie and could only handle clear spirits before then. Interestingly enough,
    cachaça and mezcal are great gateway spirits into Scotch and American style whiskey.

    D: Is there an inherent trait that draws you to whisk(e)y?
    BS: More often than not it is the spiciness and burn in the back of the palate from good rye whiskies that I’m most drawn to. It is much like the way Pimm’s No. 1 in a Wimbledon or Pimm’s Cup tickles the back of your throat, except in whiskey it is amplified a 1000 times.

    D: Any ‘dream’ bottles that you’d love to be able to taste some day?
    BS: Being on the right side of the bar, I have been particularly lucky to taste everything behind it. My motto is always “if I don’t know what it tastes like, I can’t sell it” so really most things have been within my grasp.

    D: There’s been a boom in world malt productions, is there something new hitting the market that you’re particularly interested in? 
    BS: I’d love to see what the malts out of Japan will be like in the next 10 years. Comparing some 30 year Japanese malts to 30 year Scotch malts is very intriguing to me.

    D: Current Favorite?
    BS: Probably my favorite thing I have ever tasted was Rittenhouse 25 year rye.
     

    D: Given that the costs of high end spirits can often be prohibitive, is there a more wallet-friendly bottle sitting at the top of your go-to list these days?
    BS: Four Roses Yellow Label, Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond and the 86 proof Old Grand Dad are some of my favorites all under $25.

    D: Anything else you’d like to add for those of us who are just beginning the whiskey journey?
    BS: Just because it’s more expensive definitely doesn’t mean it’s better!!!

    Brock’s reviews are showing themselves all over Distiller - Thirsty for more? Head on over to Distiller, or download the app for iOS and Android today! Cheers, to your health.

  5. Made in America // Top Ten Bourbons for The Fourth
Independence Day. Nothing says ‘Summer’ to those of us in the US quite like it. A weekend of family, friends, cookouts and celebration. And when it comes to spirits, there’s nothing as American (literally) as Bourbon. As such, here are Distiller’s Top Ten Wallet-Friendly Bourbons for The Fourth. Highly rated, easily procured, and perfect for celebrating and sharing with those around you. Hit the links for the full ratings and reviews from Your Whiskey Companion - Distiller.
1. Evan Williams Single Barrel2. Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 Year3. Elijah Craig 124. Baker’s Bourbon5. Russell’s Reserve 10 Year6. Four Roses Small Batch7. Wild Turkey Rare Breed8. Elmer T. Lee Bourbon9. Rowan’s Creek Bourbon10. Four Roses Single Barrel
And, if these aren’t enough for you - 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.

    Made in America // Top Ten Bourbons for The Fourth

    Independence Day. Nothing says ‘Summer’ to those of us in the US quite like it. A weekend of family, friends, cookouts and celebration. And when it comes to spirits, there’s nothing as American (literally) as Bourbon. As such, here are Distiller’s Top Ten Wallet-Friendly Bourbons for The Fourth. Highly rated, easily procured, and perfect for celebrating and sharing with those around you. Hit the links for the full ratings and reviews from Your Whiskey Companion - Distiller.

    1. Evan Williams Single Barrel
    2. Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 Year
    3. Elijah Craig 12
    4. Baker’s Bourbon
    5. Russell’s Reserve 10 Year
    6. Four Roses Small Batch
    7. Wild Turkey Rare Breed
    8. Elmer T. Lee Bourbon
    9. Rowan’s Creek Bourbon
    10. Four Roses Single Barrel

    And, if these aren’t enough for you - 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.

  6. O Canada // Top Ten Canadian Whiskey
In honour of Canada Day, we present to you Distiller's Top Ten Canadian Whiskies. A fine selection of high rye flavours and expert blends, Canada's offerings are naught to scoff at.
1. Crown Royal Reserve2. Crown Royal Cask No. 163. Alberta Premium Dark Horse4. Alberta Premium5. Crown Royal DeLuxe6. Forty Creek Barrel Select7. Tangle Ridge8. Pendleton’s 1910 12 Year Rye9. Crown Royal Black10. Canadian Club 1858

O Canada!Our home and native land!True patriot love in all thy sons command.With glowing hearts we see thee rise,The True North strong and free!From far and wide,O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.God keep our land glorious and free!O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

On the hunt for more Canadian colour? Head 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.

    O Canada // Top Ten Canadian Whiskey

    In honour of Canada Day, we present to you Distiller's Top Ten Canadian Whiskies. A fine selection of high rye flavours and expert blends, Canada's offerings are naught to scoff at.

    1. Crown Royal Reserve
    2. Crown Royal Cask No. 16
    3. Alberta Premium Dark Horse
    4. Alberta Premium
    5. Crown Royal DeLuxe
    6. Forty Creek Barrel Select
    7. Tangle Ridge
    8. Pendleton’s 1910 12 Year Rye
    9. Crown Royal Black
    10. Canadian Club 1858

    O Canada!
    Our home and native land!
    True patriot love in all thy sons command.
    With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
    The True North strong and free!
    From far and wide,
    O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
    God keep our land glorious and free!
    O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
    O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

    On the hunt for more Canadian colour? Head 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.

  7. TABLE TALK // AMANDA SCHUSTER
There have been some new additions to The Distiller Tasting Table, and we always want you to know the brains behind our reviews a little better. Today, we chat with Amanda Schuster; a former buyer for Astor Wines & Spirits in NYC, certified sommelier, writer, and editor of The Alcohol Professor, Amanda has an expansive palate, and we’re thankful to have her on board.
Distiller: How long have you been in the spirits industry?AS: 8 years
D: When did you really start to delve more specifically into whiskey?AS: When I became the Assistant Spirits Buyer at Astor Wines & Spirits in 2007.
D: Is there an inherent trait that draws you to whisk(e)y?AS: The inherent trait that draws me to whiskey is its unpredictability. So many factors affect its outcome - from water, grain source, mash bill, style, barrel, age - that no two whiskeys from different distillers, even if made the same way on purpose, are ever the same. There is one for every personality and mood. That’s why I can’t stand it when someone says that hate whiskey. No, you just hate the whiskey you tried already and haven’t found the right one.
D: Any ‘dream’ bottles that you’d love to be able to taste some day?AS: Anything bottled from the Prohibition era or before, especially a rye. Are we really making rye according what it used to taste like before it almost became extinct? Are current environmental factors affecting the flavor of our native spirits in ways they didn’t used to? Are the recipes truly faithful? I’m dying to know!
D: There’s been a boom in world malt productions, is there something new hitting the market that you’re particularly interested in?AS: the answer to that is that there is always something new to try! I can’t categorize it. I’m always excited to try new offerings from anywhere, well, as long as the distiller is taking the time and attention needed to roll it out.
D: Current Favorite?AS: "Sophie, which of your children will you choose?" Come on. I can’t. My favorite whiskey is almost always the one I haven’t tried yet that once I do, I want to stick with for the rest of the drinking session.
D: Given that the costs of high end spirits can often be prohibitive, is there a more wallet-friendly bottle sitting at the top of your go-to list these days?AS: Speyburn 10 Yr single malt, Elijah Craig 12 Year Bourbon, Fighting Cock 6 year old bourbon, Old Overholt rye, Glenrothes Select Reserve.
D: Anything else you’d like to add for those of us who are just beginning the whiskey journey?AS: My advice for anyone beginning their whiskey journey is to start in the middle, something not too smoky or sweet or overproof and really pay attention to what you like or don’t like about what your are tasting. Try it neat, then with a little water, then with ice. From there you can pinpoint what pleases your palate and find the bottles and ways of serving it that make sense for you to drink. Don’t ever start with something huge or something consumed on a dare. Maybe even try a whiskey cocktail first, just make sure you don’t drink prefab sour mix!
Amanda’s exclusive reviews can be found throughout Distiller, and run the gamut of the whiskey world. Head on over to Distiller, or download the app for iOS and Android today! Cheers, to your health.

    TABLE TALK // AMANDA SCHUSTER

    There have been some new additions to The Distiller Tasting Table, and we always want you to know the brains behind our reviews a little better. Today, we chat with Amanda Schuster; a former buyer for Astor Wines & Spirits in NYC, certified sommelier, writer, and editor of The Alcohol Professor, Amanda has an expansive palate, and we’re thankful to have her on board.

    Distiller: How long have you been in the spirits industry?
    AS: 8 years

    D: When did you really start to delve more specifically into whiskey?
    AS: When I became the Assistant Spirits Buyer at Astor Wines & Spirits in 2007.

    D: Is there an inherent trait that draws you to whisk(e)y?
    AS: The inherent trait that draws me to whiskey is its unpredictability. So many factors affect its outcome - from water, grain source, mash bill, style, barrel, age - that no two whiskeys from different distillers, even if made the same way on purpose, are ever the same. There is one for every personality and mood. That’s why I can’t stand it when someone says that hate whiskey. No, you just hate the whiskey you tried already and haven’t found the right one.

    D: Any ‘dream’ bottles that you’d love to be able to taste some day?
    AS: Anything bottled from the Prohibition era or before, especially a rye. Are we really making rye according what it used to taste like before it almost became extinct? Are current environmental factors affecting the flavor of our native spirits in ways they didn’t used to? Are the recipes truly faithful? I’m dying to know!

    D: There’s been a boom in world malt productions, is there something new hitting the market that you’re particularly interested in?
    AS: the answer to that is that there is always something new to try! I can’t categorize it. I’m always excited to try new offerings from anywhere, well, as long as the distiller is taking the time and attention needed to roll it out.

    D: Current Favorite?
    AS: "Sophie, which of your children will you choose?" Come on. I can’t. My favorite whiskey is almost always the one I haven’t tried yet that once I do, I want to stick with for the rest of the drinking session.

    D: Given that the costs of high end spirits can often be prohibitive, is there a more wallet-friendly bottle sitting at the top of your go-to list these days?
    AS: Speyburn 10 Yr single malt, Elijah Craig 12 Year Bourbon, Fighting Cock 6 year old bourbon, Old Overholt rye, Glenrothes Select Reserve.

    D: Anything else you’d like to add for those of us who are just beginning the whiskey journey?
    AS: My advice for anyone beginning their whiskey journey is to start in the middle, something not too smoky or sweet or overproof and really pay attention to what you like or don’t like about what your are tasting. Try it neat, then with a little water, then with ice. From there you can pinpoint what pleases your palate and find the bottles and ways of serving it that make sense for you to drink. Don’t ever start with something huge or something consumed on a dare. Maybe even try a whiskey cocktail first, just make sure you don’t drink prefab sour mix!

    Amanda’s exclusive reviews can be found throughout Distiller, and run the gamut of the whiskey world. Head on over to Distiller, or download the app for iOS and Android today! Cheers, to your health.