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Baker’s Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

knob creek basil haydens bakers bookers small batch bourbon Baker’s Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyA Small Batch Whiskey by Jim beam

By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight

Named after Baker Beam, grand nephew of the legendary Jim Beam, Baker’s Bourbon is aged seven years and hand bottled at 107 proof.  Embracing over six generations of distilling experience, Baker’s Bourbon utilizes a special strain of jug yeast that has been in the family for over 60 years.  Aged in new American Oak barrels, Baker’s was awarded a gold medal from Wine Enthusiast and a double gold medalist at the San Francisco Spirit Awards.

Baker’s Bourbon Tasting Notes:

With scents of grain and corn and a good sweet complex aftertaste, having notes of sweet coffee, toffee, caramel, Baker’s is a light and flavorful small batch bourbon.  A bit thin, but very solid, the Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon fits in very nicely with the Small Batch Collection from Jim Beam; Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s, Booker’s and Baker’s.  This is an excellent bourbon.  Small Batch Bourbons are made in limited quantities, and aged 6-9 years in newly charred American Oak barrels.

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The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more…

powers 12 year special reserve irish whiskey1111 The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...St. Patty’s Day Special: The Best Irish Whiskeys

By Matt Goldstein and Sommelier Tom Pittakas

In honor of this St. Patty’s Day, the Whiskey Goldmine has compiled our list of the best whiskeys from Ireland.  From sipping neat, on the rocks or in a shot, we give you a magnum opus of whiskey classics.  The following whiskeys are an absolute must try! 

 

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powers 12 year special reserve irish whiskey1122 The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...1. Powers Special Reserve 12 Years Aged Irish Whiskey

Powers Special Reserve 12 years aged is crafted from the finest Irish Barley and water, triple distilled and matured in American Oak casks.  Powers 12 doesn’t need to any ice; this whiskey should be sipped neat.  Scoring 91 points from Malt Advocate Magazine, Powers 12 is a complex and flawless whiskey. The regular Powers Gold Label is the best selling whiskey in Ireland.  Yes, it crushes Jameson in sales actually.

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2. Redbreast 12 Year Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Redbreast 12 Year is perhaps the smoothest Irish whiskey in the world.  With a scotch like complexity and slight sweetness, Redbreast has a perfect whiskey flavor with a flawless bite.  Redbreast 12 Year is the only aged pure pot still whiskey in the world and is matured in sherry and bourbon casks.  

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Tullamore dew 12year bottle The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...3.  Tullamore Dew 12 Year Old Special Reserve

Founded in Tullamore, Offaly County in the heart of Ireland in 1822, this “legendary” Irish Whiskey is famous for it’s copper pot still blend.  Triple distilled and aged in American Oak and Spanish Olorosso Sherry Casks, Tullamore Dew 12 is a sweet and complex Irish Whiskey with notes of malt, nuts and oak.  “Give everyman his Dew!”    

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4.  Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve

The Jameson 18 is a Blended Irish Whiskey is handpicked by the Master Distiller.  Aged in American Oak Bourbon Casks and Olorosso Sherry Casks, the Jameson 18 Year Old is a classic! 

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tyrconnel single malt irish whiskey 300x189 The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...5.  Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Aged in Madeira casks and scoring a 98 by the beverage tastings institute, the Tyrconnell is a bit pricey but also critically acclaimed.  Tyrconnel 10 Year has pioneered the single malt revolution in Irish Whiskey.  It’s an absolute must try. 

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6.  Knappogue 12 Years Aged Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Distilled in copper pots with malted barley and aged in oak casks, Knappogue 12 is made with pure Irish spring water which creates a very light, smooth and easy drinking style.  Well rounded with medium intensity and a clean finish, Knappogue is a uniquely light but complex whiskey that still retains character. 

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bushmills single malt 16 year old irish whiskey The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...7.  Bushmills 16 Year Old Irish Whiskey

Bushmills 16 Year Old is triple cask matured in a combination of seasoned American Oak Bourbon Casks and Sherry Olorosso Casks, and finished for a few months in Port Wine Casks.  The triple cask maturation gives this whiskey one of the best finishes in the world. 

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8.  Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Scoring a 93 by the Beverage Tasting Institute and a 90 by Wine Enthusiast, this little known but critically acclaimed single malt Irish whiskey is very well rounded and one of the most underrated Irish Whiskeys ever made.

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Jameson 12 year old special reserve irish whiskey 1111 The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...9.  Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve  

The Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve Blended Irish Whiskey is a triple distilled, pot still and sherry cask blend.  The 12 year took the gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2007 & 2009.  The Jameson 12 is very smooth and dry with a great scent and taste of malts; with notes of oak, wood and spice.  The Jameson 12 is a full bodied Irish whiskey, with a slight sweet, rich and full finish.

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1o.  Tullemore Dew Blended Irish Whiskey

Tullamore Dew is the 2nd best selling Irish Whiskey in the world and is also growing the fastest.  Tullamore Dew has won 22 gold medals in the last 10 years and is simply one of the best whiskey shots in the world.   

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11.  Green Spot

 

Powers Whiskey The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...12.  Powers Gold Label

Powers Gold Label is the best selling whiskey in Ireland.  Yes, it crushes Jameson in sales actually.

 

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13.  Bushmills 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey

14.  Michael Collins Single Malt Irish Whiskey

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Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Rare Rye Whiskey Selection

woodford reserve masters collection rare rye whiskey Woodford Reserve Masters Collection Rare Rye Whiskey SelectionNew Cask Rye and Aged Cask Rye Both Available

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.

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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.

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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.

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The EFFEN Vodka Spiced Pumpkin Cocktail

EFFEN Vodka Spiced Pumpkin Cocktail 194x300 The EFFEN Vodka Spiced Pumpkin CocktailBy David Nepove – National President, U.S. Bartender’s Guild

For the Fall Holidays, pumpkin cocktails are the perfect way to enjoy the falling leaves and carved pumpkins.  Actually, if you’re girlfriend asks you to carve pumpkins with her, you might need a cocktail to make it through this experience with some of your manhood still intact. Try the Effen Vodka Spiced Pumpkin Cocktail.  Effen Vodka is made from premium wheat from Northern Holland, pure spring water, is distilled more than any other vodka and five times filtered.  Effen is a very good vodka in a straight martini or in cocktails.

 

1½ parts EFFEN® Vodka

2 parts Pumpkin Mix (see recipe below)

¾ parts Pasteurized Egg White

 

Method: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker over ice and shake thoroughly.  Strain and pour into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with floating cream with grated vanilla and nutmeg.

 

Pumpkin Mix

8 parts Canned Pumpkin

8 parts Freshly Pressed Apple Juice

4 tablespoons of Pumpkin Spice

8 parts Spiced Syrup (recipe below)

 

Method: Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and mix together.

 

Spiced Syrup

8 parts Water

8 parts White Sugar

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

4 Whole Cloves

1 Star Anise

1/8 tsp Ground Allspice or 5 Whole Allspice Pods

 

Method:

Combine all ingredients, except sugar, in stove-top pan and bring to a boil.  Turn

off heat, add sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.  Strain all particles and

refrigerate.  Spiced Syrup will last up to two weeks.

 

About David Nepove – National President, U.S. Bartender’s Guild

David Nepove brings 23 years of spirits experience and a wealth of industry knowledge to the bar.  He currently serves as National President of the U.S. Bartender’s Guild (USBG), the largest network of professional bartenders setting the standard for the profession throughout the country, as well as the Director of Mixology for Southern wine and Spirits of California.  Additionally, he is one of the founders of the USBG’s renowned San Francisco chapter.

David grew up in the restaurant business, which fuels his enthusiasm for simple cocktails that inspire both experienced and novice bartenders.  His passion is helping bars craft cocktails with a purpose.  Through subtle, fresh solutions his meaningfully designed drinks enhance the entire cocktail experience.

 

EFFEN® Vodka, 100% neutral spirits distilled from wheat grain, 40% alc./vol. (80 proof) and Black Cherry, Dutch Raspberry and Cucumber Flavored Vodkas, 37.5% alc./vol. (75 proof)

© 2011 EFFEN Import Company, Deerfield, IL

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The Politics of Boardwalk Empire: Prohibition and the War on Drugs

agent nelson van alden The Politics of Boardwalk Empire: Prohibition and the War on DrugsBy Tim Rodgers

In one of the final scenes of Boardwalk Empire’s “21” we see Agent Nelson Van Alden having a quaint dinner with his wife Rose.  There is an awkward moment when the maitre d asks the couple if they want any spirits with their dinner with a kind of a wink-wink and a nod.  Without Prohibition, it is unimaginable to think that you couldn’t enjoy a nice glass of wine with your dinner and you would be breaking the law by doing so.

Rose Van Alden is shocked at the proposition, but Nelson reassures her that this is OK, that they are in Atlantic City or sin city if you will, and this is typical if not acceptable. There is a brief moment when the viewers perceive that Agent Van Alden has succumbed to the overwhelming societal norms of alcohol consumption in Atlantic City, and has given into a sort of nullification of not enforcing the Volstead act especially in a moment with his wife sitting down having a romantic dinner.

The Restaurant is crowded, there are people all around enjoying spirits, and Agent Nelson witnesses a bus boy carting a crate of champagne into the storage room.  In any other place in the world other than Prohibition Era United States, this would be common place.  But the viewers are instantly snapped back into reality when Agent Nelson sucker punches the maitre d and has the establishment raided.

That “typical” or “normal” moment we experience everyday in life was turned upside down by the Volstead act.  The government raided what any normal person today would consider legitimate activity.  Furthermore, this disconnect we witness with the Federal Task Force and the citizens of Atlantic City is strengthened by the notion that the majority of the people aren’t complying with it, they don’t agree with it, nor support Prohibition.

Let’s say that Agent Nelson really decided to purchase a bottle of Champagne for him and his wife that he hasn’t seen in quite some time.  The viewers would not have been that surprised.  In fact, it seemed kind of normal and kind of where the moment was taking us in that scene.  This situation is not what Prohibition intended, a married couple of responsible adults enjoying a fine beverage in an appropriate moment and setting.  Rather, it was supposed to prevent the alcohol dependent abusive father beating his wife and kids, or the coal miner in West Virginia drinking a quart of beer to steady his hands for another day of life threatening work.

Smash cut to the “X” Township police officer finding a roach in a college student’s ash tray.  The officer weighs in his mind whether or not to enforce the letter of the law versus the paperwork, time spent, and bigger and better fish to fry.  He lets the kid off with a warning instead.  I’m sure this scenario happens 1000 of times every day.  But the question is, can we draw this comparison to Prohibition & the “War on Drugs?”

We can make a pretty good case that there some similarities to Prohibition and the legalization drugs. One of the strongest cases is that notion that the mere outlawing of them creates an underground market which spawns criminal enterprise.  Secondly, there is a notion that the criminal justice system is being overwhelmed with “petty” drug offenses, and is diverting our resources from other more serious and violent crimes.

Of course I’m not the first to talk about the de-criminalization of drugs nor do I support legalizing them.  In fact I understand that taking drugs is a pretty big deal.  So here are some contrasts that are important to note.  First, alcoholic beverages are and were ingrained in our society from a traditional standpoint and the consumption of beer and wine have strong cultural and religious historical implications.  That’s why it seemed so odd or rather so “normal” that a maitre d offered his patrons a cocktail with their meal.

If the maitre d offered Agent Nelson and his wife a joint or some peyote it would have seemed out of place.  There is no typical custom for that behavior, it seems and still is out of place in our society for the most part.  (I know the guy reading his “High Times” magazine in Amsterdam disagrees)

Therefore, I don’t think the answer is to decriminalize drugs simply based on the societal norm and tradition aspect.  One of the main reasons that Prohibition didn’t work in the first place was because the majority of people didn’t support nor adhere to the Volstead act.

I think the majority of people today understand the dangers and implication of narcotics and inherently support the current laws that criminalize drugs.

So what is the answer?  I don’t have one, but what I do know is that the show “Boardwalk Empire” is a brilliant show by merely being set in Prohibition Era United States.  Its great execution provokes very interesting and salient discussions about our own society today.  Whiskey Goldmine will keep bringing you interesting aspects and angles about the show.  I’m going to get me some Canadian Club and sit back.  See you next week!

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The Downfall of Al Capone

Boardwalk Empire Fact or Fiction: Nucky Thompson, Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Al Capone

 Boardwalk Empire Profile: Nucky Thompson Timeline

Boardwalk Empire Profile: Arnold Rothstein Timeline

Top 10 Gangsters of Prohibition:  Boardwalk Empire Edition

Boardwalk Empire: The Downfall of Nucky Thomspon

 

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The Ty Ku Junmai Ginjo Sake

ty ku sake The Ty Ku Junmai Ginjo SakeA Japanese Sake “Rapidly becoming the most popular Sake in the United States”

By Matt Goldstein

TY KU Sake Black is rapidly becoming the most popular sake in the U.S..  TY KU Sake Black is specially craft brewed in Nara, Japan, home of the world’s first sake brewery dating back to 680 A.D.  Junmai Ginjo sake utilizes 45% milled sake rice and represents the only top 6% of all sake in the world.  Recipient of the prestigious 5 Star Diamond Award, Gold Medal at the San Francisco Wine Competition and Platinum Medal (Best in Show) at the World Beverage Competition, we fall right in line with these judges.  This is an excellent Sake and a must for all Sake lovers.

ty ku sake range The Ty Ku Junmai Ginjo SakeTy Ku Junmai Gingo Tasting Notes:

Having a moderate sour flavor with a good bite and good medium crisp finish with a sour tart kick.  This Sake is more crisp when chilled and is also light and smooth.  A bit sweet and sometimes syrupy mouthfeel, we love this Sake!   

Ty Ku Junmai Gingo Sake uses the following all natural ingredients:  

RICE – Specialty Yamada Nishiki & Akebono rice. 45% of rice grain milled away for purity.

WATER – Pristine iron-free natural spring water from the mountains of Japan.

YEAST – Famed #9 yeast strain brings forth delightful fragrance and aroma.

KOJI – Handmade koji rounds out the full-body and flavor.

 

Sake vs. Wine

As opposed to wine, sake is generally 100% free of sulfites, tannins, gluten and has a much lower acidity. Sake may also have up to 400 flavor components while wine typically has no more than 200. As a result, sake pairs well with a wider variety of food. Enjoy premium sake like a white wine, slightly chilled in your favorite white wine glass.

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Ichiko Seirin Sochu: A Japanese Soju

ichiko sochu japanese soju 249x300 Ichiko Seirin Sochu: A Japanese SojuIchiko: Japan’s Best Selling Sochu Spirit

By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight

Soju is one of the best selling spirits in the world and the Korean Soju Jinro is actually the top selling spirit in the world.  Ichiko Seirin Sochu is Japan’s take on the furiously popular Korean spirit.  Much like vodka in scent and taste, Soju and Sochu actually have about 50% of the alcohol content of vodka, meaning it has much more drinkability.  Distilled from carefully selected barley and pure spring water, Ichiko Seirin Sochu is filtered through bamboo charcoal and made from the most choice barley and malt.  When compared to Jinro Soju, this is not even a contest.  The Ichiko Seirin Sochu is in a class of its own having much more bite, complexity, flavor and depth.  We highly recommend the Ichiko Seirin Sochu.

Ichiko Seirin Sochu Tasting Notes:

With a lemon cookie scent, good bite and sweet flavor, Ichiko Seiring is lightly grainy and complex.  We love it!

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The Belvedere Intense Unfiltered 80 Diamond Rye Vodka

belvedere intense unfiltered 80 vodka 1 The Belvedere Intense Unfiltered 80 Diamond Rye VodkaA Natural and Authentic Antique Polish Vodka Recipe

By Matt Goldstein and BJ Smith

Vodka has been made in Poland for more than 600 years and Belvedere Intense Unfiltered is an attempt to create the natural antique Polish vodka flavor.  Combining local source 100% “single estate” Dankowskie diamond rye baker’s grain with pristine artisan water from Belvedere wells, the Intense Unfiltered 80 Vodka is distilled four times.  Although we were expecting this vodka to be strong and have a big kick, it was actually smooth and flavorful.  As always, we taste vodka with the in an out martini style with 2 olives.

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belvedere intense unfiltered 80 vodka 11 The Belvedere Intense Unfiltered 80 Diamond Rye VodkaBelvedere Intense Unfiltered 80 Tasting Notes:

Having a heavy rye and grain flavor, smooth a light kick, the Belvedere Unfiltered Intense 80 compliments the olives and vermouth well.  Lightly oily, good and flavorful this vodka is smooth more than intense.  While we were hoping for more of a kick and bite from an intense vodka, this is still a beautiful beverage.  If you’re looking for something smooth but still flavorful, this could be the vodka for you.

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Johnnie Walker 18 Year Gold Label Blended Scotch Whisky

johnnie walker gold label 300x79 Johnnie Walker 18 Year Gold Label Blended Scotch WhiskyMay the Road Rise to Meet You…

By Matt Goldstein

Every once in a while, for a special occasion, it’s nice to break out the good stuff.  This weekend just happened to be one of those occasions.  As a groomsman in our dear friends’ Jimmy and Shana’s wedding, I thought it was a good idea to pick something nice for the guys for a little pre-wedding get together.  We were considering both Jameson 18 year and Johnnie Walker Gold Label.  Since my man Jimmy has been more of scotch man lately, the Gold Label was our choice.  This was the perfect choice!  Johnnie Walker 18 Year Gold Label Blended Scotch Whisky is an absolute masterpiece.  There is no question about it.  The bottle was basically gone less than an hour after we opened it, but it was worth every dollar.  Special occasions demand special whiskies.  Everybody seemed to want more and more, even the ladies.  There is no need to put this whisky on ice; the Gold Label is more than perfect when served neat.

johnnie walker gold label1 Johnnie Walker 18 Year Gold Label Blended Scotch WhiskyJohnnie Walker Gold Label is a rich blend of rare whiskies each aged for a minimum of 18 years.  Buried in the Kildonan Hills in the Northern Highlands, the Clynelish Distillery draws its water from a unique source.  Gold Deposits are released into the water from the local granite rock, hence, Johnnie Walker Gold Label.

The Johnnie Walker 18 Year Gold Label Tasting Notes: 

Lightly smoky, grainy, thin but complex.  Exceptionally smooth.  Slightly sweet, with hints of malt, grain and oak.  WE LOVE THIS WHISKEY!

Johnnie Walker Gold Label was blended to celebrate the first 100 years of the House of Walker in 1920. A well-kept secret, it’s only been available outside the company since the 1990s. It has a distinctly smooth, sweet and luxurious character, with a stylish elegance and refined quality.  Gold Label is crafted using whiskies such as Clynelish for a honeyed flavor and creamy teure yet still retaining the signature Johnnie Walker smokiness.

With its rich gold color and old-gold glints, it reveals a full, round, deep nose. There are notes of soft raisins and toffee, fresh malt and light cream – Gold Label is as enticing as it is sensuous.  Its palate is rich and broad with full malt flavors and honeyed spices with almonds and marzipan, which leads to a distinctive creaminess.

Cardhu provides strong yet smooth malt and oak flavors. Extra-mature grain whiskies deliver some of the lingering sweetness, while Clynelish™ from the northern Highlands is responsible for the unusual aromatic creaminess. The finish is multidimensional and satisfyingly long.

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The Glenfiddich 18 Year Ancient Reserve Single Malt Scotch

glenfiddich 18 year single malt scotch The Glenfiddich 18 Year Ancient Reserve Single Malt Scotch

A Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

By Matt Goldstein

Over 120 years later, Glenfiddich is one of the few single malt distilleries to remain entirely family owned and our whisky has become the world’s most awarded single malt*, a true reflection of the passion, integrity and innovative spirit that have been passed down through the generations.  The Glenfiddich 18 Year Ancient Age Reserve Highland Single Malt is produced in small, individually numbered batches, Glenfiddich 18 Year Old combines the Spanish Oloroso wood traditional American casks.  After being married in wooden tuns for at least three months, each batch is unique and is of an exceptional quality.

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Tasting Notes: The Glenfiddich 18 Year Ancient Reserve Single Malt

Scent of honey, syrup, flavor of honey.  Full bodied, full flavored, with a slightly bitter taste and notes of wood, and oak.  When opened up the single malt is sweeter, crisper with a complex finish.  It’s a full bodied finish and full textured finish also with a softer scent when opened.  This is an excellent single malt scotch and must be opened up with a few drops of water to fully appreciate the complexity and excellence.

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glenfiddich logo The Glenfiddich 18 Year Ancient Reserve Single Malt ScotchThe Making of Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky

MALTING & FERMENTATION

At The Glenfiddich Distillery we use the finest malt from specialist maltsters, produced to our own specification. Ripe barley is steeped in water for two days, which triggers germination. The barley is then left to germinate for four to five days, which starts the conversion of natural starch into sugar. The resulting ‘green malt’ is dried over fire, and delivered to the Distillery as malted barley.

INSIDE THE MASH HOUSE

Two of Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky’s essential ingredients – malted barley and soft clear water – are brought together in the mash house. The malted barley is ground into ‘grist’ – a coarse flour that is mixed with heated pure Robbie Dhu spring water from the nearby Conval Hills and then poured into giant ‘mash tuns’. Here a slowly rotating set of mash knives lift and sift the mash to ensure good sugar drainage. In the mash tuns, the natural bubbling chemistry and clouds of steam rise, filling the air with a pleasantly pungent aroma. The hot water completes the conversion of starch to sugar, which dissolves into the water, producing a sweet liquid called ‘wort’, some six hours later. The wort is drained, cooled and made ready for fermentation. The ‘draff’ – the left over barley from the process – is sold to farmers and fed to their cattle.

FERMENTATION IN THE WASHBACKS

Yeast is added to the wort as it is pumped from the cooler into the traditional wooden fermentation vessels, the ‘washbacks’. Our handmade washbacks are made of Douglas fir rather than the stainless steel that many other distilleries use. This traditional method of production is kept so as to not alter the flavour of the whisky. These washbacks are a towering 17 feet high (5 metres), and are filled to within 3 feet (1m) from the top. As fermentation raises the temperature from around 19°C to about 33°C, the resulting carbon dioxide gas creates a massive, hot frothing head to the wort that foams up the remaining 3 feet (1m) to the top of the washback and has to be kept down with mechanical beaters.

After around 64 hours of fermentation, the furious bubbling subsides, leaving a brown liquid of 8-9% ABV, similar to a strong beer – the ‘wash’.

ALCHEMY AND DOUBLE DISTILLATION IN THE STILL HOUSE

The heart of the distillation process lies in the still house, where the wash is distilled in copper pot stills that exactly match the shape and size of the original stills bought over a century ago by William Grant. Every bump and dent is reproduced – we’re not taking any chances with our unique flavour.

The stills continue to be heated by ‘direct firing’ (applying a naked flame directly under the base). The wash in the stills is gradually heated until the alcohol turns to vapour. The vapour rises through the narrowing neck of the still and is guided downwards and through a water-cooled condenser. This condenses the vapour into an intermediate liquid, known as ‘low wines’. The low wines, containing about 21% alcohol, are heated in remarkably small ‘spirit stills’, smaller versions of the wash still.

The vaporised alcohol is drawn off and condensed as before, and then trickles down into the imposing, gleaming brass and glass ‘spirit safe’, where the flow of spirit can be controlled. This liquid is now legally a bonded, taxable spirit, so it is kept under lock and key. The stillman runs the delicate operation of monitoring this distillation – any mistake can ruin the whisky’s flavour. Only the fine middle cut, or ‘heart’ of the distillation is retained for maturation. The stillman catches it at the flick of a tap – a new batch of Glenfiddich is born.

COOPERING & MATURATION

HAMMER AND TONGS – INSIDE THE COOPERAGE

The new spirit is reduced to around 63% alcohol with natural spring water from our Robbie Dhu springs and then filled into hand-built oak casks, prepared and maintained at the Distillery’s own cooperage. All casks filled at The Glenfiddich Distillery are first checked by one of our qualified coopers, a practice unique to the making of Glenfiddich whiskies.

The coopers, who apprentice for approximately five years (as much as a doctor!), work with incredible speed and agility to assemble, repair or reconstruct around 25 casks each every day. We use only the very best casks made from the very best wood, such as sherry butts from Spain and bourbon barrels from America that have had only one filling of sherry or bourbon whisky.

By using these ‘second-hand’, high quality casks, we achieve a high quality spirit. Mellowed by previous use, the oak helps mature the Scotch whisky, allowing it to breathe, soften, assume subtle flavours and absorb a pale golden colour. Sometimes we char the inside of the cask with a blast of fire to open the grain of the wood, allowing the Scotch whisky to interact more easily with it.

We know that the quality of our barrels is vital, as this is where the magic happens. Even when pressure-testing our sherry barrels, we use sherry instead of water so that their integrity is not compromised.

MATURATION – WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS

Our distillery is the only single malt whisky still using wooden marrying tuns (2,000 litre plus vats). We also marry our whiskies for an unusually long period of time…

These wooden casks are then stored on-site in our traditional warehouses, and the spirit is left to mature. The atmospherically dark, damp interior of the warehouse and the temperature, humidity and climate of this environment provide optimum conditions for maturing the best quality Scotch whiskies. It is here that the Glenfiddich spirit acquires its distinctive, well-balanced character.

As a cask ages and develops, it breathes in the pure Highland air through the porous oak. Consequently, alcohol compounds evaporate off the whisky, through the wood, back into the air – roughly 2% from each cask per year. It is estimated that throughout Scotland, approximately 16 million litres of Scotch whisky is lost this way each year. This lost spirit is known as “the Angels’ Share”.

MARRYING & BOTTLING

The perfect match – marrying the whisky

As no two distillations ever taste exactly the same, before bottling we perform one further practice not used by many distilleries today: marrying. To maintain a consistent quality of flavour, aroma and palate, we combine or “marry” various casks, post-maturation, in a marrying tun – a large oak barrel which holds approximately 30 casks of whisky.

Glenfiddich is the only single malt which is still made using these oak Marrying Tuns. Our whiskies are married for up to nine months so that the different elements become unified into the special and distinctive taste of Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky. It is a dying art in the whisky world but for the maker’s of Glenfiddich the time spent marrying is important because it ensures all the flavours of the whisky are in harmony and makes the product even more unique.

Glenfiddich comes of age – the bottling hall

When the spirit has matured to perfection, the casks are emptied and the whisky is ‘cut’ with pure Robbie Dhu spring water. This reduces the alcohol by volume once more to around 40% ABV.

Nearly all of the Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky range is then bottled on site at The Glenfiddich Distillery, other than 12 Year Old (which is made bottle ready, ensuring all quality-control parameters are kept on site). Glenfiddich is the only Highland single malt distilled, matured and even bottled at its own distillery, using a single source of spring water throughout the process.

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