Tag Archives: America

Wild Turkey, Rare Breed, 112.8 Barrel Proof.

Reminisces of times past.

Trying to buy this lovely rich bourbon coming through JFK a while ago was a bit of an experience.

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Bold Turkey c/othewhiskeynut

You don’t get to carry your own purchases to the plane.

It’s ferried to the gate on little trollies.

When boarding begins – an amusing form of bingo starts.

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It’s a numbers game. c/othewhiskeynut

‘Pink 71 – White 24’ is shouted out by staff as harried passengers queue to collect their duty free.

Husbands deserted wifes waiting for perfume.

Wifes deserted husbands waiting for whiskey.

This pantomine slowed up the boarding process & several passengers got irate.

I just smiled – Wild Turkey Barrel Proof is worth waiting for.

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Captured Turkey c/othewhiskeynut

It ended my American travels on an entertaining footnote.

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Kavanagh Irish Whiskey, Single Malt, 40%

My final bottle of Irish Whiskey – from my American market only trio – is Kavanagh Irish Whiskey.

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Kavanagh Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

They release a range of attractively labelled whiskeys. Namely a Blend, a Single Malt, a Single Grain and a 16 Year Old Single Malt – all at 40% ABV – or 80 Proof in America.

This NAS (non age statement) Single Malt made it back to Ireland for me to sample.

The distillery of origin is not stated and Kavanagh seem to be a store brand for Total Wine & More – from where it was purchased.

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Kavanagh’s back! c/othewhiskeynut

The nose was soft & fruity – almost orchard like – with hints of honey.

The palate started off suitably smooth – yet gradually built up with warming vanilla & caramel leaving a welcome soft tingling spice on the finish.

A very easy & approachable single malt. Relatively simple with no great complexity or depth – but for the price point it delivers an enjoyable experience.

I’d happily go on to sample the other Kavanagh Whiskeys based on my findings.

Sláinte

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Natterjack Irish Whiskey, 40%, Blend

I first started hearing about Natterjack Whiskey about 2 years ago.

Such are the lead in times to get a brand to market – let alone building a distillery in Kilmacthomas, County Waterford.

Keen to try out this newcomer to Irish Whiskey – but conscious I’d break the bank buying every bottle – a bar was found.

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P Mac’s in Dublin c/othewhiskeynut

P Mac’s in Dublin’s city centre suited my needs perfectly.

A tempting stock of whiskey had me wavering – but a short window of opportunity between 2 appointments meant I only had time to kiss the toad!

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Have you #kissedthetoad yet? c/othewhiskeynut

I’ve enjoyed the marketing behind this brand.

It’s fresh, it’s novel and it’s exciting.

The Natterjack toad motif on the bottle is also eye catching – but what of the liquid inside?

A distinctively ‘sweet & sour’ mix on the nose.

It’s a note new to Irish Whiskey – but one I’ve encountered before – mainly on young corn whiskeys from America. That is whiskey containing at least 80% corn in the mash bill – according to US rules.

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The bold back. c/othewhiskeynut

As Natterjack is an Irish Whiskey – US rules don’t apply – and it would be called a blend here.

It’s an easy going smooth whiskey on tasting. The ‘sweet & sour’ is less prominent – but still there – before a softly growing spiciness dries out the silky barley.

The peppery spice attractively lingers on the palate at the finish.

It’s definitely a new flavour profile for Irish Whiskey.

Natterjack is bold, innovative & enticing.

Despite not fully setting my tastebuds alight – I wholeheartedly welcome this exciting new entrant into the growing market.

I look forward to the future development of this brand – along with the distillery in Kilmacthomas – and wish the Natterjack success!

Sláinte

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Rye For 4th of July

Rye is seen as a quintessentially American style of whiskey often associated with pre-prohibition days. But like a lot of things in America – I’d argue it’s an immigrant from the old country.

There is a long tradition of growing rye in Northern European countries. This grain has found it’s way into many breads, beers, cereals and of course – whiskey.

The current growing demand for rye in whiskey terms has precipitated countries not normally associated with rye whiskey to begin to explore the market.

My small selection of 4 ryes – well a loose interpretation of that style – reflects this.

I’ll let The Presidents of the United States of America have their say first.

Peaches. A colloquial term used to describe a close & good friend.

Rye whiskey is definitely a close friend of mine!

That rich, warm dry spiciness with a long finish is  what I’m looking for & elevates rye to being a peach among whiskey styles in my book.

Real peaches come in a can – as the song goes – but rye comes in a bottle. Let me introduce you to my 4 bottles.

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PrizeFight c/othewhiskeynut

Ireland; PrizeFight Whiskey, 43% NAS, blend

Produced by West Cork Distillers for a 3rd party – this whiskey is a blend of Irish single malts & grain whiskey aged in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in ex-rye casks from Tamworth Distilling, NH.

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Brothership Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Ireland/America; Brothership Whiskey, 45%, 10yo, blend.

A blend of 10 year old Irish single malt & 10 year old American rye this is truly a trans-atlantic whiskey. A collaboration of Connacht Whiskey Co & New Liberty Distillery PA.

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Sunken Still Rye c/othewhiskeynut

Belgium; Sunken Still Rye, 45% 4yo.

Yes that’s right – a Belgian Rye Whiskey produced with predominately Belgian rye grain in ex-bourbon barrels for 4 years by the Filliers Distillery.

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FEW Rye c/othewhiskeynut

USA; FEW Rye, 46.5%, NAS.

An American rye whiskey made with predominately american rye grain in charred virgin oak barrels by the FEW Distillery, Evanstown, Chicago.

Colour

I like to see a variation in the colour of the whiskeys I drink. It foretells of the different smells, flavours & overall drinking experiences to be enjoyed.

FEW came out the darkest – reflecting the use of charred virgin oak casks. There was a jump down then to the paler duo of PrizeFight  & Brothership with Sunken Still  coming in with an almost pale yellowy hue.

 

Nose

Brothership kicks off with a soft barley sweetness before developing muted rye spice. PrizeFight comes across with a more fresher, clearer nose & an equally enjoyable spice. Sunken Still has a wonderfully aromatic floral bouquet whilst FEW delivers a classic peppery rye punch.

Taste

The soft smooth delivery of Brothership quickly develops into a lovely rich dry spice. PrizeFight has a cleaner palate with a slightly less intense rye spice.

Meanwhile the Sunken Still’s fragrant bouquet flows through into a wonderful cornucopia of taste on the tongue with a rich dry spice that is simply divine. Beautiful.

The FEW doesn’t disappoint either. To start there is that caramel/vanilla bourbon like feel followed by an almost classic rich peppery spice that tingles & teases as it drys the palate.

Finish

PrizeFight’s lovely spice fades slowly, only marginally beaten by the warmer, drier spice of  Brothership. FEW lasts the longest whilst Sunken Still manages that dry floral spice right to the end.

Overall

What stands out to me is that whilst having no rye grain in the original mix – the rich dry spicy notes of a decent rye whiskey still come through in the PrizeFight whiskey simply by it’s time in the ex-rye casks. It may lack the overall dry mouthfeel of a true rye – but it certainly makes a worthy addition to the rye cannon.

Brothership benefits by the addition of a real rye whiskey in the mix which heightens the rich dry rye spiciness on both the taste & finish which is not initially apparent on the sweet barely nose.

The FEW could almost set the benchmark of what a good rye whiskey should be. A straight forward crisp peppery spice with a marvelously long dry finish. Superb.

Sunken Still adds something extra to that dry spice by giving it a floral display of flavours.

Scores

For taking rye whiskey the extra mile – Sunken Still from Belgium comes out tops in this taste-off.

FEW from America comes in a close second

The Irish-American hybrid that is Brothership follows closely behind – leaving Ireland’s PrizeFight bringing up the rear.

I would commend PrizeFight for being able to hold it’s own among such worthy competition in that they all contain rye in their original mix.

It just goes to prove the powerful influence the maturation in wood has to the overall taste.

You pays yer money – and you takes yer choices!

Sláinte.

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Whiskey Festivals

Real whiskey geeks across the world are already booking their holidays & planning trips to coincide with an array of whiskey events that take place throughout the year globally.

I’ve been to a few of these events – and thoroughly recommend them.

Why?

A room full of whiskey for you to sample. Often staffed by the people that make it. Whiskies you’ve never even heard of or can’t afford to buy.

A room full of fellow whiskey enthusiasts. Chat, compare, contrast. Conversation is easy with like-minded folks.

A room full of tasty food pairings & bottled water. It’s bad form to get too drunk so keep well fed & hydrated.

And a room full of whiskey knowledge, whiskey talks & whiskey tales that would take a lifetime to amass on your own steam.

Need any more reasons?

Below is a short itinerary of shows around the world I’ve either been to – or would like to attend.

Looking forward to bumping into you at one of them!

January

Well it’s a bit late now – but Burns Night on 25th January is an annual celebration of the Scottish Poet accompanied with whiskey & haggis! There are many local events held throughout the world. Check press for details.

The National Whiskey Festival is a new show held in Glasgow on 28th January.

February

Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair kicks off Dublin’s events. Although mainly craft beer – there are a smattering of distilleries showing. The main item this year will be the imminent opening of The Pearse Lyons Distillery in the Liberties. By the way – Pearse Lyons is a Dublin born business man who happens to be the founder & president of Alltech.

March

With low-cost airlines making a trip across to the UK affordable – I’m tempted by Whisky Birmingham. It’s only a stones throw away but from previous knowledge the range of whisky on offer is often different from that available in Ireland. That’s what I’m hoping for anyway – as well as an opportunity to see how a whisky club manages to put on a big show!

April

Whisky Live bills itself as ‘The Worlds Premier Whisky Tasting Show’ and is a global event taking place in prestigious venues across the globe throughout the year.

Whisky Live London takes place on 31st March to 1st April.

May

The Whisky Live roadshow continues it’s global reach down under in Sydney on 5th to 6th May and Canberra on 26th to 27th May. I managed to catch the Melbourne show last year.

June

Bloom is all about gardening – but there was a fabulous beer & whiskey tent last year!

Whiskey In Summer is a new event to Dublin on 30th June. I’ve teamed up with them to secure 3 Whiskey & Food tickets for only 13 euro each. Contact me if you would like to join myself & others in attending this new show.

July

If you want fabulous whisky in a fabulous setting – Whisky Live Hobart is the place to be! Award winning whiskies & stunning scenery.

August

The 21st International Berlin Beer Festival sounds like a fun event – and it’s free!

September

The Irish Craft Beer Festival has some whiskey stalls too. A wonderful array of craft beer & whiskey for all tastes. Great craic! 7th to 9th September.

Or if it’s bourbon yer after – Kentucky Bourbon Festival – 11th to 17th September.

October

The Yorkshire Whisky Festival is one of many organised by The Whisky Lounge across the UK & looks good. October 21st.

November

Whiskey Live Dublin is the highlight of the Irish whiskey calendar!  25th November

WhiskeyFest New York. Celebrate 20 years of whiskey festivals in the Big Apple November 16th. Other events throughout USA held too.

December

Well – we are far to busy enjoying our own whiskey festival at home to bother going out anywhere!

There are loads of other shows around the world.

Drop me a line with your own favourite.

Sláinte.

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Many thanks to allevents.in for the header photo.

 

Stewart’s Cream Of The Barley, 40%

Something was clearly amiss when the bartender replied;

‘We don’t have that one.’

Even after I’d spotted the distinctly garish – even kitsch – labelled bottle on a shelve of whiskeys.

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Stewart’s whisky top c/othewhiskeynut

A little game of,

‘Left a bit, right a bit, down one, BINGO!’

ensued to retrieve said bottle – whereupon the same bartender proceeded to shovel loads of ice into a tall glass.

The ice was duly discarded – after I asked for my whisky neat – and a shot promptly poured in.

‘Oh dear’, I thought, before common sense prevailed and the drink was decanted into a more suitable – if not ideal – tumbler.

Forget ‘A Horse With No Name’  – this was the pub with no name!

It transpires the pub formerly known as ‘Whiskey Fair‘ – and which I’d chosen as a suitable watering hole to meet a friend whilst in Dun Laoghaire for the day – had recently changed hands. We even had trouble finding it as although the old name had been removed from the front facade – no new title proudly embellished the now empty display.

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The pub with no name c/oWhiskey Fair

With Irish Whiskey experiencing growing sales figures – I did ponder the managements decision to forgo the whiskey snug as the previous owners had obviously attempted to make a go of it. The premises were in a state of transition to something else – something not including a whiskey bar. Clearly I’d timed my visit during this change and been served by staff who obviously had no real knowledge or appreciation of the remaining whiskey stocks still evident behind the bar.

So what about Stewart’s Cream Of The Barley?

Well it’s an old standard Scottish blend dating from the 1830’s & currently owned by Pernod Ricard after their buyout of Allied Domecq back in 2005.

A rich golden brown colour smacks of added caramel – common in entry level blends.

The nose was sweet with a hint of malt.

The rich velvety malt on taste surprised me – although it soon diminished with an overly sweet overture & a short finish.

Very pleasant, very smooth, very aptly named & actually quite a decent blend for an afternoon chat.

I may not have got the pub I wanted.

But I did get a new whisky to try out!

Sláinte.

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