1. #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.”

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Floor By Floor // Buffalo Trace Experimental Series
The Buffalo Trace Distilleries are well known for a lineup that includes Buffalo Trace, E.H. Taylor, Blanton’s, Elmer T. Lee, and Eagle Rare bourbons; Sazerac rye and the coveted, act-fast-or-you’re thirsty Antique Series with George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, Eagle Rare 17 Year Old and Sazerac Rye 18. But they have also over the course of the past few years become known for their experimental series, such as the Single Oak Project, a release of different bourbons aged from barrels that are each made from only one small section of the oak tree.
The latest release in the Buffalo Trace Experimental Series is the Warehouse Floors Experiment. As stated in the press materials: “The Warehouse Floors Experiment was started in 2001, when Buffalo Trace’s Rye Mash Recipe #1 was put into barrels and then aged on floors one, five, and nine of Warehouse K. This brick warehouse has nine wooden floors in total and was chosen for this experiment due to the variety of tastes it provides during the aging process.”
So does the location of an aging barrel really have an effect on the flavor of a 90 proof, 12 year old bourbon, even if it’s from the same exact warehouse? We were fortunate to put hands on samples of all three to find out -
Floor #1: My first reaction to this is I don’t care where it comes from, this is a terrific bourbon! Extremely well balanced, with nutty caramel apple, touch of vanilla, toffee, toasted oats and just enough sweet, spicy heat (think Red Hots or Big Red gum) to finish it off. All the flavors take a while to ride off into the sunset from the palate too. Medium to heavy weight.
Floor #5: Whoa, way different. Not nearly as much of the midtones and richness present in the #1. The fruit flavors are all but missing, replaced with mere hints of that vanilla, has more of a leathery quality. Finish is hotter too, going peppery on the way out. Definitely lacking the same subtlety and balance. It’s all sweet then a whack of heat. Light to medium weight.
Floor #9: This one has noticeably less heat than #5, but still has that leathery taste. More of a sweet corn flavor, but a deeper bittersweetness than the other two, and saltier - almost like chocolate covered peanuts. Back to medium weight.
The tastes among the three definitely vary. In comparative terms, #1 is more like a LaRue Weller, #5 is more like Stagg or even Sazerac and #9 sways more towards Eagle Rare. The spice in each, of course, comes from the high rye content of the Mash, and it’s interesting to taste just how differently that plays out, getting hotter and more peppery as the barrel location rises. It would be very interesting to try this type of experiment again, but with a bourbon that has less rye in the mash bill, to get a better sense of how the other components differ. Over all, the inherent rye spice was a tad distracting when tasting them side by side (by side).
*This post is from the newest member of the Distiller Tasting Table, Amanda Schuster. Amanda also writes for The Alcohol Professor. Follow her on Twitter at @winenshine.

    Floor By Floor // Buffalo Trace Experimental Series

    The Buffalo Trace Distilleries are well known for a lineup that includes Buffalo Trace, E.H. Taylor, Blanton’s, Elmer T. Lee, and Eagle Rare bourbons; Sazerac rye and the coveted, act-fast-or-you’re thirsty Antique Series with George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, Eagle Rare 17 Year Old and Sazerac Rye 18. But they have also over the course of the past few years become known for their experimental series, such as the Single Oak Project, a release of different bourbons aged from barrels that are each made from only one small section of the oak tree.

    The latest release in the Buffalo Trace Experimental Series is the Warehouse Floors Experiment. As stated in the press materials: “The Warehouse Floors Experiment was started in 2001, when Buffalo Trace’s Rye Mash Recipe #1 was put into barrels and then aged on floors one, five, and nine of Warehouse K. This brick warehouse has nine wooden floors in total and was chosen for this experiment due to the variety of tastes it provides during the aging process.”

    So does the location of an aging barrel really have an effect on the flavor of a 90 proof, 12 year old bourbon, even if it’s from the same exact warehouse? We were fortunate to put hands on samples of all three to find out -

    Floor #1: My first reaction to this is I don’t care where it comes from, this is a terrific bourbon! Extremely well balanced, with nutty caramel apple, touch of vanilla, toffee, toasted oats and just enough sweet, spicy heat (think Red Hots or Big Red gum) to finish it off. All the flavors take a while to ride off into the sunset from the palate too. Medium to heavy weight.

    Floor #5: Whoa, way different. Not nearly as much of the midtones and richness present in the #1. The fruit flavors are all but missing, replaced with mere hints of that vanilla, has more of a leathery quality. Finish is hotter too, going peppery on the way out. Definitely lacking the same subtlety and balance. It’s all sweet then a whack of heat. Light to medium weight.

    Floor #9: This one has noticeably less heat than #5, but still has that leathery taste. More of a sweet corn flavor, but a deeper bittersweetness than the other two, and saltier - almost like chocolate covered peanuts. Back to medium weight.

    The tastes among the three definitely vary. In comparative terms, #1 is more like a LaRue Weller, #5 is more like Stagg or even Sazerac and #9 sways more towards Eagle Rare. The spice in each, of course, comes from the high rye content of the Mash, and it’s interesting to taste just how differently that plays out, getting hotter and more peppery as the barrel location rises. It would be very interesting to try this type of experiment again, but with a bourbon that has less rye in the mash bill, to get a better sense of how the other components differ. Over all, the inherent rye spice was a tad distracting when tasting them side by side (by side).

    *This post is from the newest member of the Distiller Tasting Table, Amanda Schuster. Amanda also writes for The Alcohol Professor. Follow her on Twitter at @winenshine.