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Best of Awards: Blanton’s, Pappy Van Winkle 15 & Sazerac Straight Rye

buffalo trace Best of Awards: Blanton’s, Pappy Van Winkle 15 & Sazerac Straight RyeThe Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition

Buffalo Trace Does it Again: The Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition announced the winners from its recent 2011 competition held in late May and Buffalo Trace Distillery received 10 accolades for its whiskeys produced at its Frankfort, KY distillery.  The award-winning entries were selected out of 154 spirits from 47 producers.

Buffalo Trace Distillery’s top winners include:

·         Best of Category:  Single Barrel American Whiskey 10 Years or Less

o   Blanton’s Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

·         Best of Category:  Small Batch Bourbon 11 Years or Older

o   Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

·         Best of Category:  American Straight Rye

o   Sazerac Straight Kentucky Rye Whiskey

Buffalo Trace Distillery’s whiskeys also won numerous medals, including:

·         Gold Medal

o   Blanton’s

o   Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

o   Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

o   Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey

o   Eagle Rare Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

·         Silver Medal

o   Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

·         Bronze Medal

o   Buffalo Trace Distillery White Dog Mash #1

“I’m very proud of our team here that consistently produces whiskeys that win such esteemed awards as these,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley.

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 whiskey 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 whiskies.

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Elijah Craig 12 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

elijah craig 12 year Elijah Craig 12 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyThe Original Small Batch Bourbon

By Matt Goldstein

At 12 years old and 94 proof, Elijah Craig is bottled exclusively from a dumping of 70 barrels or less, all drawn from the middle to upper floors of the traditional metal clad rickhouses. It is the original Small Batch Bourbon, having been made available even before the term was invented. Elijah Craig recently won Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and was named winner in the Premium Bourbon category in Whisky Magazine ‘s bi-annual “Best of the Best” tasting competition.

Elijah Craig 12 Year Tasting Notes:

Sweet, malty, smooth, full bodied. This is solid bourbon for about $18 and there’s a reason it won a double gold medal San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

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George T. Stagg Bourbon Named Top Spirit in the World!

george t stagg buffalo trace sazerac eagle rare George T. Stagg Bourbon Named Top Spirit in the World!The Spirit Journal:  American Bourbon Beats Single Malt Scotch Whisky

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George T. Stagg, the iconic uncut, unfiltered bourbon released annually from Buffalo Trace Distillery, has been named the number one spirit in the world, knocking off the perennial favorite Highland Park 18 Scotch Whisky for the first time since 2005. The list, compiled annually by noted sprits reviewer F. Paul Pacult, was released in his June 2011 issue of The Spirit Journal. The George T. Stagg is also the first American Whiskey to ever be named number one in The Spirit Journal’s 13 years of tabulating.

Notes Pacult, “This version (2010) of the GT Stagg is the latest layer in an incredible body of work performed by Buffalo Trace Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley that deserves to be recognized as genuinely great.”

The George T. Stagg Bourbon Whiskey is part of the Antique Collection that is released each fall from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Long considered the frontrunner of the Collection, the Stagg has collected numerous awards over the years, including the 2011 Ultimate Spirits Competition Chairman’s Trophy Winner; 2011 Double Gold Winner, Best Bourbon, San Francisco World Spirits Competition; the 2010 American Whiskey of the Year from Jim Murray’s 2010 Whiskey Bible; 2009 Bourbon of the Year and Best Bourbon Aged 13-17 Years from Jim Murray’s 2009 Whiskey Bible; and the Best in Class in the 2009 New York Spirits Awards, among others.

“This is such an honor,” notes Harlen Wheatley, master distiller at Buffalo Trace Distillery. “To be the top spirit, not just the top whiskey, but top spirit, in the world, and then to find out it’s the first American Whiskey to hold that distinction is quite a privilege – especially coming from someone as well respected in the industry as Paul.”

Adds Pacult in his review, “This is more of a clarion call that American whiskey distillers run with the best of Scotland and Ireland and, in some cases, like GT Stagg, eclipse them.”

The 2011 version of the George T. Stagg will be released later this fall with the Antique Collection.  Suggested retail pricing of the Stagg is $69.99.

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 whiskies.

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The Macallan 15 Year Single Malt Highland Scotch Whisky

macallan 15 year single malt speyside scotch 179x300 The Macallan 15 Year Single Malt Highland Scotch WhiskyMacallan 15: History and Tasting Notes

By Matt Goldstein

Established in 1824, the Macallan distillery is Speyside in Easter Elchies, Craigellachie, in the Highlands.  The Macallan 15 Years Aged Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky is triple cask fine oak aged.  A two time double gold medalist at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, a gold medalist from the Chicago Beverage Institute, and overall critically acclaimed,  The Macallan 15 is matured in European Oak Sherry casks, American Oak Sherry Casks and American Oak Bourbon Casks.  This triple cask fine oak aging for 15 years gives this Speyside Single Malt a unique and exceptional flavor.  The Fine Oak series is made in 10 years, 15 years, 17 years and 18 years.  We’ve sampled both the 10 year and 15 years aged Oak Series and both are exceptional.

The Macallan 15 Year Single Malt Tasting Notes:

Medium to lightly smoky, smooth and sweet with hints of syrup, grain, malt, and bit of burn in the finish.   This is a complex and excellent single malt for those looking for something with medium to light peat.

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macallan fine oak single malt series The Macallan 15 Year Single Malt Highland Scotch Whisky

The Classifications of Scotch, by Macallan

In order to be classed as a ‘Scotch’ Whisky, the spirit, made from a mash of cereals, must have been matured in an oak cask in Scotland for a minimum of three years. It must also be bottled at a minimum strength of 40% alcohol by volume.

‘Blended’ Scotch Whisky is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery from a combination of malted barley and other cereals.

Blended ‘Malt’ Scotch Whisky is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery entirely from malted barley.

‘Single’ Malt Scotch Whisky is Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery entirely from malted barley.

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The Glenrothes Whisky Maker

glenrothes single malt scotch whisky The Glenrothes Whisky MakerThe World Cup of the Whisky World

The Glenrothes was founded in 1879 and their whisky is matured in a combination of Spanish and American oak casks.  The Glenrothes Select Reserve was voted Best in Class at the World Whiskies Awards 2008 and won two Double Golds at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2007.

The World Cup of the whisky world – also known as The Glenrothes Whisky Maker contest – reached its thrilling conclusion in June, with amateur whisky aficionados from Taiwan, England and the USA coming together in Speyside, Scotland, to tough it out in a series of challenges and tastings that would have tested the nerves of famed Scottish outlaw Rob Roy, let alone a malt expert.

Click Here to See Glenrothes Clip on Making Single Malt Scotch

The Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky, one of the world’s top single malts and the pre-eminent vintage-distilled single malt, launched its quest to bring together top whisky enthusiasts from around the world 12 months ago. Following entries in the thousands, from as far afield as Albania to Zimbabwe, four finalists from Taiwan, England (where two hailed from) and Ohio, USA, were selected to go head to head, and nose to nose, in the glens of Speyside, the home of The Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

glenrothes single malt scotch whisky glasses The Glenrothes Whisky MakerFinalists faced off in everything from gauging the purity of the water source at the distillery’s two springs to milling the malt to achieve the golden proportions of husk, grits and flour to making casks at the cooperage and rolling them into the warehouse. The contest culminated in a blind tasting, and individual blending and bottling, in the distillery’s fabled Inner Sanctum, where Eliott Edelstein, the American representative, remembers “sniffing and blending [our] way through three casks that had never been used for bottling before. We then took on the holy grail of taste-tests: every vintage whisky ever put out from The Glenrothes, from Vintage 1975 through to the new 1995; it was truly a religious moment.”

At the close of Whisky Maker, Ronnie Cox, The Glenrothes’ Global Brand Heritage Director and comedic star of the accompanying You Tube video reel on the contest, declared all the entrants winners, meaning this dual ended in more of a draw than an all out thrashing. “The Glenrothes is a whisky unrivalled in terms of heritage and uniqueness, from its distinctive vintage offering through to its commitment to unearthing the next generation of would-be master blenders, via programs such as Whisky Maker. Not only does something like Whisky Maker unite the passion felt globally by people for The Glenrothes, it ultimately invests in the quality of the dram in the bottle, to be enjoyed by enthusiasts of The Glenrothes for years to come.”

More Awards for Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whiskey:

The Glenrothes 1972 was awarded a Trophy at the 2005 International Spirits Challenge

The Glenrothes 1978 was voted Best Speyside Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards 2008

The Glenrothes 1975 won a Double Gold award at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2008

The Glenrothes 1991 won a Gold Medal at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2010

The Glenrothes 1994 won a Gold Medal at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2010

The Glenrothes Alba Reserve won a Double Gold at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2010

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The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve Single Malt Scotch

Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve2 267x300 The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve Single Malt ScotchA Single Malt Masterpiece

By Eric Duncan & Matt Goldstein

Matured for the majority of its life in bespoke Oloroso Matusalem sherry butts and bottled at 44% alcohol by volume, the body and character of this single malt is the perfect complement to a fine cigar. The sherry cask proportion is 70 percent and 30 percent American white oak. Crafted by Master Blender Richard Paterson, who is known to enjoy a few cigars on occasion, it’s all in the wood as Richard will tell you. Tasting Notes: The scent is sweet with hints of butter and maple syrup. With a sweet flavor and complex aftertaste, the Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve has a beautiful malty and grainy mouth feel. This single malt is sweet, but not too sweet. It’s simply perfectly balanced and one of the best single malts in the world.

With Dalmore’s signature flat top wash stills, cold water jacket spirit stills and bespoke oak cask maturation, the Dalmore Single Malt Scotch Whisky stakes its claim as one of the best of the Highland region.  Located on the northern shores of the Firth of Cromarty in the Highlands, the distillery is sited near Loch Morie and the coast of the Black Isle. According to Dalmore, being elevated at sea level is critically important to the maturation of their scotch. Many single malts gain much of their character from a salty ocean water air.

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The Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

knob creek single barrel reserve bourbon 213x300 The Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyThe First Ever Single Barrel by Knob Creek

By Matt Goldstein

Owned by Jim Beam and distilled and bottled by the Knob Creek Distillery, The Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is hand selected barrel by barrel and the first ever single barrel bourbon by Knob Creek.  This Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is naturally aged in new, charred American Oak barrels.  Bottled at barrel proof (120) in order to maintain the natural essence of the barrel, the Knob Creek is an immediate classic.  “Unlike other bourbons, which are blended together from multiple barrels to create a uniform taste, each barrel of Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve, once hand-selected, is cut with water and bottled individually in order to preserve its integrity and unique flavor profile. This process allows for variations in taste, color and aroma in each batch of bourbon.”  We love this bourbon!  The Knob Creek Reserve is a flat out masterpiece. 

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knob creek single barrel reserve 300x287 The Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyKnob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Tasting Notes:

The Single Barrel Reserve has a light but sweet and smoky scent.  With flavors of grains, malts, and an overall sweet flavor with notes of oak and wood, vanilla, chocolate and caramel, Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is exceptionally smooth for 120 bourbon whiskey.  With a slight bite and good warmth, the Single Barrel Reserve gets better with every sip.  We love the malts and grains here.  It’s a beautiful and classic bourbon flavor.   

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More from Jim Beam & Knob Creek: 

Knob Creek® Single Barrel Reserve is carefully hand selected, barrel-by-barrel, to bring you a robust, mature flavor. It’s full bodied with a smoky aroma and while filled with near barrel strength heat, it is extraordinarily smooth and nuanced. It has even more of the rich wood and vanilla notes that make Knob Creek the standout bourbon that it is.

knob creek single barrel reserve logo print The Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyKnob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is long, full and easy to sip whether you choose to enjoy it neat, on the rocks or cut with distilled water.

Knob Creek Introduces its First Ever Single Barrel:

Nearly two decades after Booker Noe, grandson of Jim Beam and sixth-generation distiller, first introduced Knob Creek®, the distillery unveils its first-ever single barrel bourbon, Knob Creek® Single Barrel Reserve. In keeping with Knob Creek’s philosophy that handcrafting superior quality bourbon is worth the effort, the new Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is naturally aged for a full 9 years and bottled at 120 proof (60% alcohol by volume).

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is carefully hand-selected, barrel-by-barrel, to be a unique expression of Knob Creek’s rich, mature flavor. Naturally aged in new, charred American Oak barrels, Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is bottled at near barrel proof to maintain its strong, rich flavors and aromas.

Knobb creek single barrel reserve jim beam promotion The Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey“We pay close attention to the barrels we select for Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve as we want to ensure that we’re bottling an extraordinary bourbon with a complex balance of aroma and taste,” said Fred Noe, seventh-generation Beam family distiller and son of Booker Noe. “I recommend enjoying this new bourbon neat, on the rocks or cut with a bit of water in order to best appreciate its depth and fullness of flavor.”

Incredibly smooth and nuanced, this new bourbon features even more of the rich wood and signature vanilla, caramel and smoky notes that bourbon lovers have come to expect from Knob Creek, the world’s number one selling Super-Premium bourbon.

“Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is the latest innovation in our bourbon portfolio,” said Rob Mason, U.S. director of Bourbons at Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. “We are especially thrilled to introduce our first single barrel bourbon offering, and to further strengthen our already-established credibility in the Super-Premium category.”

Initial reaction from bourbon experts to the new expression has been extremely positive. John Hansell, Publisher and Editor of Malt Advocate, wrote: “This is a stylish, big, broad-shouldered bourbon with a thick, sweet foundation…peppered with spice…and dried fruit.”

Kevin Gray, editor at CocktailEnthusiast.com notes: “Knob Creek drinkers, and bourbon fans in general, would do well to secure a bottle.”

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is available in limited quantities and retails for a suggested price of $39.99 for a 750ml bottle.

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The Woodford Reserve Lemonade Pomegranate Bourbon Martini

woodford reserve race day tini The Woodford Reserve Lemonade Pomegranate Bourbon MartiniThe Race Day Martini is perfect for Independence Day

This summertime cocktail we usually sip on while watching the races is the ultimate refreshing addition to your 4th of July entertaining.   The Woodford Reserve is a handcrafted 90.4 proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon.  With a great bourbon flavor, its subtlety is its genius.  It has great balance for a bourbon whiskey with a little complexity and rather smooth.

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1 1/2 oz. Woodford Reserve

1 oz. pomegranate juice

2 oz. lemonade

In a shaker filled with ice add ingredients. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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The Pickle Back Cocktail Shot: Jameson Irish Whiskey & Pickle Juice

jameson irish whiskey 177x300 The Pickle Back Cocktail Shot: Jameson Irish Whiskey & Pickle JuiceBy Matt Goldstein

Pickle juice seems to be trending in the world of cocktails, specifically whiskey shots.  When drinking a shot of Jameson, or an Irish whiskey, the pickle juice is used as a chaser.  This is not for whiskey lovers, but people who like doing shots without the burn.  Pickle juice serves as a perfect chaser with the saltiness of the juice completely masking any burn that might be there.  For myself and other whiskey lovers, we would preferably just drink the whiskey, but if you need or like chasers, whiskey shot drinkers are raving about it.

1 part Jameson

1 part pickle juice

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The Makers Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Makers Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 240x300 The Makers Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyBy Matt Goldstein, Forward by Shephard Ritzen

Maker’s Mark is owned by Fortune Brands, who also own Jim Beam.  The one most unique thing about Maker’s Mark is that it is not made with rye.  The creator, Bill Samuels Sr., was a sixth generation distiller, and in 1953, he abandoned his family’s 170 yr old recipe. He did not want to waste years fermenting different experimental grain formulas, so instead he decided to bake different breads with different grain proportions.  The best tasting bread recipe would be his new bourbon.  The winning combination was that of barley and red winter wheat. So by 1958, we had our first bottle of Maker’s Mark.

Admittedly, we were not expecting much from this bourbon but it performed very well.  For its price, about $22, it’s a very solid buy.  The Tasting Notes are as follows:  A light scent of grain, sweet apple spice scent and caramel.  With flavors of grain, malt and corn, sometimes sweet flavor, smooth, complex and crisp with a good long aftertaste.  This is a very solid bourbon and one we would drink again and again.  We actually like the regular Makers Mark brand more than the pricier Makers 46, which retails for about $35.   

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makers mark 250x300 The Makers Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyHow Makers Mark is made:

Maker’s Mark is one of the few brands to credit Mother Nature for such a unique bourbon taste. That’s because we use pure, iron-free limestone spring water exclusively. Not city, well or river water. Our source is a 10-acre limestone spring-fed lake at the distillery.

First, we use yellow corn and red winter wheat from specially selected small farm cooperatives, all of which are located within the limestone geology near the distillery. This wheat gives our whisky its soft, mellow taste. And we only use naturally malted barley, because it has no enzyme-enhancing gibberellic acid, of course. Whatever that means.

Our dated rollermill is the key to preparing our grain for cooking. While some distillers think this method is too slow and produces a lower yield, it’s just fine for us. The slow process does not scorch the grain like a hammermill can. What can we say? That’s just how we roll.

Any good distiller/baker can tell you that pressure cookers and high-quality soft winter wheat do not mix.
By using an open cooker and a slower process that involves a lot of hands-on attention, we extend the subtle grain flavors into our whisky.

Makers Mark logo The Makers Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyWe are among the few remaining bourbon distillers that propagate their own yeast for fermentation with cultures that we can trace back to the pre-Prohibition era. We also use the traditional sour mash method, similar to making sourdough bread, where we always leave over some culture from one batch to start another. Guess you could say our yeast roots run deep.

Our rare cypress fermentation tanks are historically irreplaceable. Some of the planks are more than 100 years old.

Cypress was chosen for fermentation before modern stainless steel was available because it didn’t contribute iron or taste to the final product. While we don’t believe that cypress affects the process in any way, we continue to use some of these fermenters to give our visitors a sense of how the process used to look. That, and we’ve never believed in a sweet metal aftertaste.

Maker’s Mark double-distills its whisky  — once in an all copper column still to produce what we call low wine and again in a copper pot still to produce high wine. This added step removes impurities and produces a more refined sipping whisky. Our low wine is distilled off at 120 proof, while our high wine is 130 proof.

We believe that this is the lowest distillation proof in the industry. We continue this more expensive practice because it preserves our mellow grain characteristics.

Most distillers choose not to rotate their barrels. Not us. We like ours to get out and move around. And by move around, we mean rotate. It ensures every barrel experiences the same aging process. And you know what they say: a moving barrel gathers no moss.

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