Winner of our Double Blind Single Malt Scotch Taste Test
By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight
Earlier this year, in our first double blind single malt scotch trials, the Balvenie Single Barrel 15 Years aged crushed the competition across the board and it wasn’t even close. Facing off against the likes of Macallan, Glenmorangie, Oban, Highand Park, and more, the Balvenie unquestionably stood apart. Since then, we’ve tasted this scotch again and again and it simply keeps performing like a champion. Aged in a single cask of no more than 350 bottles for a minimum of 15 years, the Balvenie Malt Master selects only the casks which have the essential characteristics of the Balvenie Single Barrel style. With a complete malty scent, the Balvenie 15 Year is sweet, with hints of vanilla, cream, citrus, fruits, honey, and oaky notes. The Balvenie 15 is rich, complex, sweet and full bodied. Smooth, silky and buttery, this single malt is simply one of the best in the world. Each cask of the Balvenie imparts slightly different flavor as our new limited edition bottle from the Balvenie Road Show is slightly different than the one which stole the show at our taste test. Surprisingly in fact, we believe it to be even better. From the moment that the traditional oak cask is filled it remains undisturbed and every year, the Malt Master hand selects each barrel that meets the required maturity. With supreme confidence, the Balvenie Single Barrel 15 Year Single Malt Scotch comes with our highest recommendation. This single Malt must be considered top 3 for any single malt scotch bottled at under $100.
Over the past five years Glenmorangie has won a remarkable total of 18 ‘Gold Best in Class’ medals at the International Wines and Spirit Competition (IWSC) – the most internationally-recognized wine and spirits awards body. This is more than any other single malt Scotch whisky, making Glenmorangie the ‘best awarded’ of any single malt.
Since its foundation in 1969 the IWSC has rewarded excellence in the world of wines and spirits, and November 16 was no exception. In the presence of 500 aficionados from across the globe at London’s historic Guildhall, Glenmorangie received yet another honor —the IWSC Best Distiller award. The title is a well-deserved addition to Glenmorangie’s collection of distinguished accolades.
Dr. Bill Lumsden, Head of Distilling & Whisky Creation at Glenmorangie, said: “It’s great to receive validation from theIWSC of our ‘unnecessarily well made’ whiskies. We have the tallest stills in Scotland giving us a smoother, purer spirit; we only use our casks twice for maximum flavor – whereas other companies use theirs up to six or seven times; and we are pioneers of extra maturation. Glenmorangie was the first whisky company to practice the art of extra maturing whisky in ex-wine casks and we are still the leading experts in this today.”
Brian Cox, Vice President of Glenmorangie in the U.S., said: “We are both honored and flattered to receive the IWSC Best Distiller award — a prestigious recognition that we do not take lightly. It’s truly the distillery and the people who create Glenmorangie that sets our whisky apart from the competition. I raise a glass of our whisky not only in celebration, but as a testament to all that Glenmorangie has collectively accomplished.”
The Glenmorangie distillery was founded in 1843 in the Highlands of Scotland and is renowned as a pioneer in its field for uniting tradition with innovation. Glenmorangie is distilled in the tallest malt whisky stills, expertly matured in the finest oak casks, and perfected by the 16 Men of Tain. It has been Scotland’s favorite single malt for over 50 years and is famous worldwide for producing the most complex and perfectly balanced Single Malts in the world.
About The Glenmorangie Company
The Company is one of the most renowned and innovative distillers of Scotch whisky brands worldwide and is part of Moet Hennessy, the wine and spirits division of Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). Headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, the company produces two main single malt brands – Glenmorangie Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky and Ardbeg Single Islay Malt Whisky.
About The International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC)
The International Wine and Spirit Competition was founded in 1969 and is the premier competition of its kind in the world. Its aim is to promote the quality and excellence of the world’s best wines, spirits and liqueurs. The IWSC Awards mark out of a possible 100, with Gold medals going to whiskies within the top ten percentile. Gold Best in Class is bestowed upon the top whisky within the top ten percentile. Silver medals are given to spirits ranging within 80 – 89.9 and bronze medals are appointed to products between 75 – 79.9 marks.
The Glenmorangie Company advocates responsible drinking and suggests that drinkers savor Glenmorangie whiskies in moderation and in line with recommended daily guidelines for alcohol consumption.
This Highland Malt is Perhaps a Bit Overpriced and Pedestrian
By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight
After recently being named Distiller of the year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, we tasted the Glenmorangie 18 Years aged Single Malt and we can understand the enthusiasm behind this great distillery. On the other hand, we also tasted the Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or at Philadelphia’s Union Trust Streakhouse. First, the Union Trust overcharged for about $22 per glass. Maybe the bartender made a mistake considering the Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon was only $15. Any who, not to hold that against Glenmorangie, but the Nectar D’Or seemed to under perform. Perhaps a bit pedestrian, and perhaps a bit overpriced, the Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or was solid, but nothing special. Non chill filtered, the Nectar D’Or is aged in French Oak which is rare for a single malt scotch. We respect and appreciate Glenmorangie’s willingness to be different but we’re not sure if they created anything special here by branching out. The Casks are hand selected wine barriques from Sauternes, a famous and ancient sweet wine growing region of France and the whisky is casked for a minium of 10 years.
The Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or is thin with an average scent. Having good flavor but thin overall and thin on the finish, this is a solid single malt scotch, but nothing great when compared in its class. The Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or won a few silver medals in 2008 and 2009.
When the Whiskey Goldmine releases our Top 10 Single Malt Scotch list in the next few weeks, the Macallan Cask Strength is destined for the top 5. This single malt is a flat out masterpiece. The Macallan Cask Strength is aged for a minimum of 10 years in Spanish Oak casks, handcrafted and seasoned by Sherry in Jerez. The Macallan cask strength is bottled straight from the barrel without chill filtration or adding any water, as opposed to what is normally done in almost all scotches, not to mention all whiskeys. The genius of this whisky is just that, it’s just the single malt Scotch whisky in its natural state making the statement in your glass. One could search their entire lives looking for a 10 years aged single malt with this much complexity and undoubtedly come up short.
The color is a deep red, almost a mahogany. The flavor and mouth feel are a complex and sweet syrup, with beautiful notes of wood. With hints of vanilla, fruits, spices and oak, the flavor, mouth feel, and finish is just on another level than other premium single malts. Almost like a pancake meeting maple syrup for the first time, no other premium single malt is this rich and complex.
Perhaps the craziest attribute of the Macallan Cask Strength is just that, its strength. There is no water added and the whisky is bottled straight from the barrel, 58.5% ABV, 117 proof. Yet, with the strong character of the cask strength is still an exceptionally smooth and beautiful whisky. Compared to other premium single malts, the Balvenie 15 year Single Barrel is 47,8%, the Talisker 10 year is 45.8%, Highland Park 12 year is 43%, and the Oban 14 year is 43%. That would mean that the Macallan Cask Strength has almost a 35% higher ABV than Highland Park and Oban.
This Macallan Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch comes with our highest recommendation. This is perhaps the most exception single malt we’ve ever tasted and in its price range and maturation, one will find it extremely difficult to match.
What better way to enjoy the fall and the holidays with a beautiful bourbon cocktail to warm you up. Try a Basil Hayden’s Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Cocktail with a little bit of milk stout, some cherry liqueur, and bitters. And if you don’t have all the ingredients, a Basil Hayden’s straight or on the rocks is pretty damn good too. Bourbon is as Bourbon does.
2 Parts Basil Hayden’s Bourbon®
¾ parts Heering® Cherry Liquor
1 dash Fee Brothers® Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters
2 parts Milk Stout Beer
1. Combine Basil Hayden’s, cherry liquor and bitters in a mixing glass.
2. Add ice and shake.
3. Roll in the milk stout beer.
4. Strain into an old fashioned glass with ice.
5. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and cherry on top.
#PassTheCrown: Whiskey Goldmine Readers with Chance to Win Prizes
By Matt Goldstein
Whiskey Goldmine will be competing with 25 other blogs in the #PassTheCrown holiday contest sponsored by Crown Royal Canadian Whisky. Yup, there’s no “E” in Canadian Whisky, however there is lots of prizes for the holidays, like Ipads, bottles of whiskey, Omaha Steaks and parties. And if our fans help us participate, they will get to see a piece of the prizes. Whatever we win, one lucky fan will win. The blogs we are competing with are already receiving their gifts every day. They can either accept the gift, or #PassTheCrown. Our turn will be on December 9th, and we will receive the gift at 9 am. Being that December 9th is my birthday, I’m feeling lucky. The reader or fan that helps us participate the most and crush the other blogs in the #PassTheCrown contest will be rewarded with holiday cheer and bling. We’re gonna take the prizes they want, and send those other inferior blogs, prizes that we think are beneath us.
FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY – Apparently there are more spirits at Buffalo Trace Distillery than those aging in the warehouses, at least according to the investigators from a popular ghost hunting show that airs on the SyFy network. Buffalo Trace Distillery was investigated by television’s number one paranormal reality series, “Ghost Hunters®” and the episode will air on Wednesday, Nov. 16th at 9:00 p.m. EST on the SyFy network.
The show’s two lead investigators, Jason and Grant, said Buffalo Trace was one of the few sites they had been to where all of the investigators on the team had a paranormal experience. The show’s producers came to Buffalo Trace asking to film there, due to viewer demand. It is the first time the TV show had ever filmed at a distillery.
Although the Ghost Hunters® findings are confidential until the show airs, it did prove to be a “touching” experience for Jason and Grant.
Now visitors can have their own experience as Buffalo Trace Distillery kicks off its Ghost Tours on Thursday, Nov. 17th at 7 p.m. The tours will run Thursday-Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. each evening, starting Nov. 17th and running indefinitely. (No tours Thanksgiving evening, Nov. 24th, Dec. 1st, or Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.) Admission to the tours is complimentary, but guests do need a reservation, which they can make at 1-800-654-8471 or email email@example.com. Children are permitted, but those under 18 do need to be accompanied by an adult. The tours will conclude with a tasting.
The Ghost Tours will last approximately an hour, and follow the path as seen on “Ghost Hunters®,” including some rarely-toured areas of the Distillery. “We’re really excited to be able to offer this new tour to complement our other three tour offerings,” said Elizabeth Hurst, visitor center manager for Buffalo Trace Distillery. “In addition to our Trace Tour, Hard Hat Tour, and Post Prohibition Tour, we now have a Ghost Tour that will undoubtedly appeal to a whole different audience. We’re hoping it will really increase visitation to this region in Kentucky.”
About Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace Distillery is a family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The distillery’s rich distilling tradition dates back to 1787 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee. Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won seven distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Malt Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. It was named Whisky Magazine 2010 World Icons of Whisky “Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year.” Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 200 awards for its wide range of premium whiskeys.
New Orleans, LA – Since launching in April 2010, Caribou Crossing, the world’s first single barrel Canadian whisky, has been turning heads. The whisky has received a 93 rating from John Hansell at The Whisky Advocate; was named “2010 Canadian Whisky of the Year,” won a double gold medal at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition; a gold medal and “90” rating meaning “exceptional” from Tastings.com (Beverage Testing Institute); a gold medal and “90” rating meaning “excellent, highly recommended” at the 2010 Ultimate Spirits Challenge; a silver medal and best in class at the 2010 International Wine and Spirits Competition; and a bronze medal at the 2010 Los Angeles
International Wine and Spirits Competition.
Packaged in a rich, royal blue bag nestled inside an elegant gift box, Caribou Crossing makes the ideal holiday present for anyone desiring the uniqueness of a single barrel Canadian whisky coupled with a rich, smooth flavor that has whisky aficionados everywhere giving it high marks.
The barrels used for Caribou Crossing were hand-selected by Sazerac’s Master Blender Drew Mayville. He selected the most mature and flavor-rich samples available and oversaw the bottling of each individual barrel. Each bottle of Caribou Crossing has its own subtle uniqueness. Whisky buffs can expect to taste radiantly-hued nectar with a nod to the tantalizing silky texture provided by the barrel. The rye grain cuts through the wood flavors making its spicy presence known without risking the creamy vanilla custard smoothness. The finish is oak with an orangey tang.
Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky is available at retail for $49.99 for a 750ml bottle.
About The Sazerac Company
Sazerac is based in New Orleans, Louisiana and is one of New Orleans’ oldest family owned, privately held companies. The company has operations in New Orleans, Louisiana; Frankfort, Bardstown, Louisville and Owensboro, Kentucky; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Carson, California; Baltimore, Maryland; and Montreal, Canada.
With the recent resurgence of Bourbon, America’s signature whiskey, Rye whiskey has also experienced a major resurgence. This year’s sixth release of the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection begins arriving in stores this week. It includes dual 375ml bottles – one that has been matured in a new charred cask and one matured in an aged cask. Both are from a 100% rye recipe but the difference in the final product is the manner of maturation.
Tasting Notes for Woodford Reserve New Cask Rye
Color: Golden brown.
Aroma: Cinnamon and delicate mint spice sweetened with a balance of oak aromatics, tobacco leaf, honey vanilla, caramel and ripe apple fruit.
Taste: A creamy balance of new cask sweetness with spiced apple and rich berry fruitiness.
Finish: Smooth with rich fruit and warming spice hints.
Tasting Notes for Woodford Reserve Aged Cask Rye
Color: Light straw.
Aroma: Grassy rye grain with hints or citrus, vanilla and spice.
Taste: Distinct soft fresh rye and malt grain dusted with vanilla and sweet oak character.
Finish: Fresh and clean with caramelized green apple crispiness and a hint of rye.
Because of the price tag, about $250, very few get a chance to taste the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky. But when confronted with the opportunity, it’s an absolute must! The Johnnie Walker Blue Label is hand crafted in single barrel batches and is a blend of 9 whiskies. The Johnnie Walker Master Blender hand selects the premium whiskies used for the blend, and draws from the largest whisky reserves in the world, dating back 200 years.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Tasting Notes:
The scent is a medium to solid scent of peat smoke. The whisky is very light and smooth with flavors of grain. Having a peat mouth feel with notes of sweet honey, this is a complex and excellent whiskey. The mouth feel was also thick and creamy, and we consider it to be incomparable. The Blue Label is perhaps the best mouth feel of any whisky in the world. A flat out stud! The Johnnie Walker Blue Label is simply one of the best whisky’s you will ever try.
From Johnnie Walker!
Johnnie Walker Blue Label is the epitome of blending. Created to reflect the style of whiskies in the early 19th century, it’s created using some of our rarest casks from the Johnnie Walker stocks, the largest in the world.
The casks are hand-selected and set aside for their exceptional quality, character and flavor. The character of Blue Label is truly unique; it is complex, powerful, incredibly smooth and retains the Johnnie Walker signature smokiness.
King George V from Blue Label was created to celebrate the Royal Warrant given to the Walker family in 1934 to mark their exceptional quality. This blend includes Port Ellen™, a highly prized malt whose distillery no longer exists.
The John Walker is the most recent addition, created as a tribute to our founder. Hand-crafted in single barrel batches of only 330 bottles, it’s an exceptionally rare blend of 9 whiskies, including those from Glen Albyn™ and Cambus™ distilleries. It’s presented in a unique, individually numbered Baccarat crystal decanter – hand blown, polished and engraved by one of only three Master Craftsmen in the world.