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The Royal Canadian Small Batch Canadian Whiskey

royal canadian small batch whiskey The Royal Canadian Small Batch Canadian WhiskeyA Canadian Whiskey by the Sazerac Company

By Matt Goldstein

The Royal Canadian Small Batch Canadian Whiskey is one of five Canadian Whiskeys made by the Sazerac Company.  Made in very small batches under the eye of the Master Blender, each barrel is hand bottled and described as “Sweet and smoky like a Memphis BBQ. The initial sip is velvety smooth with huge flavors.  The Royal Canadian Small Batch tasting notes:  The whiskey is thin, grainy, slightly tart and smooth. A mellow mouth feel and malty grainy long aftertaste with a light hint of malt.  This is a solid Canadian whiskey.

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Gentleman Jack: Rare Tennessee Whiskey by Jack Daniels

gentleman jack logo 2 225x300 Gentleman Jack: Rare Tennessee Whiskey by Jack DanielsA Classic Jack Daniels Recipe Twice Mellowed

By Matt Goldstein

Seven generations after Jack Daniels first started mellowing whiskey; his recipes have been kept to standard.  The Gentleman Jack is a twice mellowed Jack Daniels recipe, drop by drop through charcoaled sugar maple.  “Charcoal mellowing is what makes Jack Daniel’s what it is – a Tennessee Whiskey and not a bourbon.  Doing it twice is what makes Gentleman Jack what it is –unlike any whiskey in the world.”  Each new barrel selected to age Gentleman Jack is charred and caramelized and the whiskey is aged to the sip, not the year.  Although technically not a Bourbon because it’s from Tennessee, Gentleman Jack is made with a heavy corn mash like any Bourbon from Kentucky.    

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Gentleman Jack Tasting Notes:

The scent is of rich grain, corn and slightly sweet.  Brownish gold in color, the flavor is full bodied, sweet and slightly tart and thin on the finish.  Smooth and flavorful with good warmth, this is an all around great whiskey.  Very drinkable but with complex flavors of oak and honey and slightly dry, Gentleman Jack is a must for any serious whiskey drinker.  Although it’s not a Bourbon, this whiskey can stand next to any Bourbon. 

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Iced Tea Cocktail Recipes: Cruzan Rum, Canadian Club Whiskey

Black Cherry Tea 233x300 Iced Tea Cocktail Recipes: Cruzan Rum, Canadian Club WhiskeyHere are some new summery Tea cocktail recipes from Cruzan Rum & Canadian Club Whiskey.  Made by master mixologist, Bobby Gleason, whether you’re throwing a BBQ or heading to the beach, Canadian Club & Cruzan Rum can help add a classic kick to some great iced teas.  With June being National Iced Tea Month and June 10th being National Iced Tea Day, these cocktails are perfect for opening the summer.  

Black Cherry Tea Cocktail

1 part Canadian Club Classic 12

1 part Cruzan Black Cherry Rum

3-4 parts prepared ice tea (such as Nestea or Arizona)

Lemon wedge for garnish

Directions: Build cocktail over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge on the rim.       

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canadian club logo 300x163 Iced Tea Cocktail Recipes: Cruzan Rum, Canadian Club WhiskeyPeach Tea Cocktail

1 part Canadian Club Classic 12

1 part DeKuyper Peachtree

3-4 parts prepared ice tea (such as Nestea or Arizona)

Lemon wedge for garnish

Directions: Build cocktail over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge on the rim.

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Mango Tea Cocktail

1 part Canadian Club Classic 12

1 part Cruzan Mango Rum

3-4 parts prepared ice tea (such as Nestea or Arizona)

Directions: Build cocktail over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge on the rim.

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The Official Sazerac Cocktail

sazerac cocktail 253x300 The Official Sazerac CocktailSazerac Cocktail Recipe

How the Sazerac Cocktail Came to Be In 1838, Antoine Amedie Peychaud, owner of a New Orleans apothecary, treated his friends to brandy toddies of his own recipe, including his “Peychaud’s Bitters,” made from a secret family recipe. The toddies were made using a double-ended egg cup as a measuring cup or jigger, then known as a “coquetier” (pronounced “ko-k-tay”), from which the word “cocktail” was derived.

Thus, the world’s first cocktail was born! By 1850, the Sazerac Cocktail, made with Sazerac French brandy and Peychaud’s Bitters, was immensely popular, and became the first “branded” cocktail. In 1873, the recipe for the Sazerac Cocktail was altered to replace the French brandy with American Rye whiskey, and a dash of absinthe was added. In 1933, the Sazerac Cocktail was bottled and marketed by the Sazerac Company of New Orleans.

That same year, “Herbsaint,” a pastis, was made according to a French recipe; “Herbsaint” was so named for the New Orleans term for wormwood – “Herb Sainte.” In 1940, the Official Sazerac Cocktail recipe was modified to use Herbsaint as the absinthe. Finally, in 2000, the Official Sazerac Cocktail recipe was modified to use Sazerac Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey.

The Official Sazerac Cocktail

 
1 cube sugar1½ ounces (35ml) Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon¼ ounce Herbsaint3 dashes Peychaud’s BittersLemon peel
  • Pack an Old-Fashioned glass with ice
  • In a second Old-Fashioned glass place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud’s Bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube
  • Add the Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon to the second glass containing the Peychaud’s Bitters and sugar
  • Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint
  • Empty the whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel



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The Bulleit Rye Whiskey, A Review

Bulleit Rye Logo 300x222 The Bulleit Rye Whiskey, A ReviewFrom the Makers of the Classic Bulleit Bourbon, a Rye Whiskey Aged in Charred Oak Barrels

By Matt Goldstein

Bulleit Bourbon has now introduced a Rye Whiskey in honor of a 150 year family recipe.  As the Bulleit Bourbon already has one of the highest Rye contents for a Bourbon, a pure Rye Whiskey is a natural progression.  Bourbons are required to be made up of a majority of corn mash but Bulleit Rye will be a 95% Rye and 5% malted barley. 

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Bulleit Rye Tasting Notes:

The scent is sweet with grains and corn.  The Bulleit Rye is full flavored, slightly sweet and syrupy. It’s a beautiful thick mouth feel with a sweet aftertaste with good warmth and full bodied.  This is a god damn good whiskey.  We absolutely recommend it. 

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The recipe for Bulleit Rye is as follows:  Similar to the craftsmanship behind the original Bulleit Bourbon recipe created by Tom’s great-great grandfather Augustus Bulleit, it was of great importance that Bulleit Rye replicates the same high quality taste of its Bulleit Bourbon counterpart.  The utmost care and precision is taken to produce Bulleit Rye, from selecting the highest quality rye grains, to sourcing our water from an ancient glacier aquifer that maintains a consistent temperature of 56 degrees.  The liquid is then fully aged and matured in new charred oak barrels for a minimum of 4 years.

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The Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

buffalo trace kentucky straight bourbon whiskey bottles The Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyBuffalo Trace: The Best Bourbon in Class

By Matt Goldstein and the Sharkey’s

Buffalo Trace is one of the biggest and best bourbon distillers on the market.  Owned by the Sazerac Company, Buffalo Trace distills many critically acclaimed bourbons, whiskeys, and spirits.  The oldest continually operating distillery in America, Buffalo Trace has won “distillery of the year” 7 times.  Winning a double gold medal in 2009 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys is simply one of the best in class.  At about $20, it will be very difficult to find a better bourbon for the price.  The Buffalo Trace distillery cannot be touched when it comes to making quality premium whiskeys at an excellent price; evidenced by their celebrated Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Elmer T. Lee Kentucky Straight Bourbon and 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon.  All of these bourbons are better than most other bourbons and whiskeys at their price range.

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The Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Tasting Notes         

Tasting Notes:  The scent is a light grain and a bit strong.  The taste is malty, balanced and a touch sweet.  With notes of grain, corn and a bit dry and malty, the Buffalo Trace is smooth, hint bitter, with a flavorful finish.  This is a very complex bourbon for $20.  We are right there with Wine Enthusiast when they say this bourbon is “highly recommended.”  We would recomend Buffalo Trace over Makers Marks and Jack Daniels (technically not a bourbon.)Read below about the process on making this great bourbon.  .

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Buffalo Trace LOGO pic The Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyThe Grain

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is expertly crafted in the time-honored tradition unique to bourbon. Buffalo Trace begins with the finest Kentucky and Indiana corn, selected rye, and superior malted barley. Together, these grains represent our unique mash bill–a trade secret known only by those craftsmen responsible for producing this highest-quality whiskey.

Upon delivery the grains undergo a general visual inspection for any obvious abnormalities. Bushel weight is then checked to ensure the grain demonstrates the proper baseline characteristics. Finally, a sample of the grain is tested in the distillery laboratory to determine if it meets Buffalo Trace’s rigid standards for moisture levels and chemical balance.

buffalo trace the buffalo The Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyThe Milling

To prepare the newly received grains for the mashing process, they must first be carefully milled to exactly the right specifications. Grains at Buffalo Trace are milled with a hammer mill using a screen that only allows particles of milled grain as large as 10/64 of an inch in diameter through. In our experience, we have found that this size screen, called a #10, lets more of the true grain through to be part of the mash without compromising the integrity of the mash itself. The next larger screen would allow whole kernels of rye and barley through, and the next smaller screen would create too fine a grain, causing the mash to become too thick.

The Mash

Mashing water–fresh and rich with minerals from its natural filtration through Kentucky limestone–is heated in a steam-generated pressure cooker. Once the water reaches the proper temperature, the corn is cooked under pressure until it is ready for rye to be added. After the addition of the rye, a malted barley slurry is added to the mixture, which allows its activated enzymes to turn the starch from the cooked grains into a soluble sugar. The new mixture is, at this point, a sweet mash.

Fermentation

This part of the process takes place in our 12 fermenters – with each fermenter holding 89,962 gallons; they are the largest in the industry. After the mash has cooled, yeast is added with a small amount of the previously fermented and distilled mash, also known as sour mash. The sugar present in the mash feeds the yeast to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide. The uniquely rich nutrients of the pure Kentucky limestone water used in this process also enrich the yeast. Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey undergoes a natural fermentation lasting anywhere from three to five days.

The Distillation Process

The fermented mixture, or beer, complete with solids, enters the top of the beer still and descends through plates, similar to those in a coffee percolator. Steam, pumped in from the bottom of the still, encounters the falling beer, creating an alcohol-rich vapor. The vapor is then recondensed and passed through a second still, known as a doubler, to create a crystal clear liquid that, by law, can be no more than 160 proof, or 80% alcohol by volume. For Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, however, the final liquid is removed from the doubler at a significantly lower proof in order to preserve more of the flavor and characteristics of the grains. This liquid, which is commonly referred to as raw spirit or “white dog,” is then entered into newly charred, virgin white oak barrels. Consistent with our desire to optimize flavor and characteristics of the grains, we enter the white dog into the barrels at 125 proof.

The Barrels

Before Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is placed into barrels, the barrels themselves undergo a rigid inspection. Barrels to be used for Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey must be made of naturally aged, “center ring” wood from trees typically 70 to 80 years old. This center ring falls between the outer ring, called sapwood, and the core of the tree. Our standards for wood selection are more expensive, but they make for a finer whiskey. Also, the grain of the wood is inspected for coarseness. Very fine wood grain results in immature whiskey that is weak and less flavorful. Grain that is too coarse leads to an excessive wood taste. Barrels also are reviewed for broken or cracked staves and open joints. As a result of these criteria, Buffalo Trace Distillery has the highest rejection rate of barrels in the industry.

The Aging

While every step of the production process is important, Buffalo Trace Distillery believes the aging process is the greatest factor in producing truly outstanding whiskey. The Distillery’s best whiskey comes from aging in Warehouses C, I and K, and only on selected floors. For instance, the fourth and fifth floors of Warehouse C and the fourth through sixth floors of Warehouses I and K produce the distillery’s finest whiskey. These floors represent the middle floors in each of the warehouses and have the greatest temperature changes in the course of a year–the key to reaching full maturity and producing a balanced whiskey. Warehouses C, I and K also are rick warehouses constructed from large wood beams and surrounded by a brick shell. Each of the warehouses has an earthen floor, which best allows nature to do its part in the aging process and produce truly outstanding whiskey. Additionally, steam pumped throughout the warehouses during the extreme cold of winter compensates for the dramatic drops in temperature and gives the whiskey additional cycles in and out of the wood.

The Selection

Only the best bourbon produced by the distillery is bottled as Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Approximately 30-35 barrels of aged whiskey are selected from the middle floors of Warehouses C, I and K. Samples from these barrels are reviewed by the distillery’s tasting panel. If any one taster rejects a sample, the barrel it represents will not be used for Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Only the barrels of approved bourbon samples (usually no more than 25-30 barrels) will be married and bottled as Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

The Filtration

Whiskey from selected barrels is married and passed through a chill filtration process, lowering the temperature of the bourbon to below 30″F (-1ºC). This process ensures that more of the color and flavor naturally present in the bourbon is maintained than does filtering through activated charcoal. The bourbon is then reduced to 90 proof, its bottling proof (45% ABV), using water that has undergone reverse osmosis filtration. Buffalo Trace Distillery was the first distillery to use this process, which is regarded as a benchmark within the industry for producing the highest quality bourbon. Reverse osmosis water begins as pure Kentucky limestone water that is placed in a tank containing a double-sided filter. This filter is cycled through the water, removing all the minerals and producing the purest form of water obtainable.

No other colors or flavors are added to the final product, a claim only bourbon, among all whiskeys, can make. Buffalo Trace’s proprietary bottles are then carefully filled, corked and sealed by hand, and then packed for limited distribution.

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A New Jack Daniels Bottle

new jack daniels bottle pic A New Jack Daniels BottleSame Classic Jack Daniels Recipe

Mr. Jack put his whiskey in a square bottle so it would stand out, and we want to make sure that it continues to do so. For that reason, we’ve squared the bottle a bit and given the label a cleaner look.  Please be assured that while the bottle has been updated a bit to reflect the quality of the Tennessee Whiskey within, the whiskey itself remains unchanged. We still craft each and every bottle of Jack Daniel’s here in Lynchburg using the recipe Mr. Jack came up with back in 1866. We use water from the Jack Daniel’s Cave Spring, and mellow our whiskey drop by drop through 10 feet of hard sugar maple charcoal to give it the distinctive smooth character you’ve come to love, and we still mature our whiskey to taste in new, charred, white oak barrels.

We believe that by better reflecting the quality and craftsmanship of the whiskey within, our bottle honors Mr. Jack’s mandate that “Every day we make it we’ll make it the best we can.” And, we think Mr. Jack would be proud to see the way we’ve continued to revere the whiskey he created with such care.

We hope you agree and that you’ll share our excitement. Most of our friends will start seeing our refined bottles in early summer.

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The Cragganmore 12 Years Single Speyside Malt Scotch Whisky

cragganmore 12 year single malt scotch 225x300 The Cragganmore 12 Years Single Speyside Malt Scotch Whisky“Classic Malt” Disappoints: Smooth but No Flavor, Finnish or Complexity

By Matt Goldstein & Eric Duncan

Cragganmore 12 Years Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky is considered one of the “Classic Malts” of Scotland.  Cragganmore is named for the hill behind the distillery that supplies the water for the making of the Scotch.  Cragganmore was Established in 1869 by John Smith who was manager at Macallan & Glenlivet, and lease holder at Glenfarcas.  Very experienced in the world of single malt scotch, John Smith decided to start his own distillery, Cragganmore.  The six “Classic Malts” of Scotland are as follows:  Dalwhinnie from the Highlands, Talisker from the Isle of Skye, Cragganmore from Speyside, Oban from West Highland, Lagavulin from Islay, and Glenkinchie from the Lowlands. 

Cragganmore 12 Year Tasting Notes:

The scent is complex, sweat and peaty.  The drink is smooth, and thin with a light peat.  The Cragganmore is very drinkable but lacks flavor, complexity and finish.  There’s no oak or wood flavor and there is just something missing here.  Smooth isn’t always good.  However, we did crush the bottle in about 2 hours so it can’t be that bad.   

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The Elmer T. Lee Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Elmer T Lee kentucky straight bourbon whiskey 169x300 The Elmer T. Lee Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyOne of the World’s Best Single Barrel Sour Mash Bourbons

By Matt Goldstein & Jimmy James

A 90 proof “Rye Recipe” style bourbon, the Elmer T.  Lee is one of the world’s best single barrel bourbon whiskeys.  A two time gold medalist at the San Francisco World Spirits competition and rated 91 by Wine Enthusiast, Elmer T. Lee is produced and distilled at Buffalo Trace in Frankfort Kentucky.  There is no specific age for the Elmer T. Lee although all Kentucky Straight Bourbons must be aged at least two years in new charred white Oak barrels.  The Elmer T. Lee bourbon is bottled only when master distiller emeritus, the 91 year old Elmer T. Lee decides that it’s time.  After all these years, Elmer T. Lee is still a master at his craft.  This is flat out one of the best bourbons in the world, and for the price, around $25 to $30, maybe the best buy on the bourbon market. 

Tasting Notes:  Perhaps the best part of the Elmer T. Lee Kentucky Straight Bourbon is the balance and style.  Made with a “Rye Recipe,” the Elmer T. Lee focuses more on the rye and grains than the sweetness of the corn mash.  The rye style Bourbon makes a subtle, complex yet easy drinking style.  The flavor is not overly sweet like some other Bourbon’s with a heavy corn mash, the Elmer T. Lee style is simply one of the best.  Spicy with hints of cinnamon and honey, the Elmer T. Lee is rounded out by beautiful malts and grains.  Perfectly balanced and flavorful, this Bourbon comes with our highest recommendation for any whiskey.           

elmer t lee portrait master distiller 188x300 The Elmer T. Lee Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

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Johnnie Walker Black 12 Year & Dewars 12 Year Blended Scotch Whisky

johnnie walker black label 260x300 Johnnie Walker Black 12 Year & Dewars 12 Year Blended Scotch WhiskyJohnnie Walker Black is the #1 Selling Premium Blended Scotch Whisky in the World!

By Matt Goldstein

Johnnie Walker Black Label dates back to 1790 but officially became the Black Label in 1909.  One hundred years later, Johnnie Walker Black is the #1 selling premium blended scotch whiskey in the world.  Although there is no whiskey inside the blend that is younger than 12 years, Johnnie Walker claims that each bottle is at least 20 years in the making, from the selection of the oak for cask aging to drawing from Scotch whiskies all over Scotland, drawing from West coast malts to East coast scotch. 

Tasting Notes of Johnnie Walker Black:  The scent is a light peat; the flavor is a smooth, medium to heavy peat.  There is a full flavor malt aftertaste, slightly dry and thin with medium warmth.  Johnny Walker Black is a classic and complex blended scotch whisky and sets the standard for any smoky style blend.  Give us a glass of neat Johnnie Walker anytime and we’re a happy happy whisky drinker. 

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dewars 12 year scotch whisky 225x300 Johnnie Walker Black 12 Year & Dewars 12 Year Blended Scotch WhiskyDewar’s 12 Year Blended Scotch Whiskey

The Dewar’s 12 Year is “double aged” and finished in a vintage Oak cask, and up to 40 different whiskies go into each blend.  Founded by John Dewar and dating back to 1846, Dewar’s blended Scotch whisky is available in White Label, 12 Year, 18 Year and Signature blends. 

Dewar’s 12 Year Tasting Notes:  Lightly smoky, thin flavor, medium warmth, complex and a thin flavor, smooth and a bit sweet.  This is a good quality blended scotch whiskey. 

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