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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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Worlds Best Single Malts: The Macallan Cask Strength 10 Years Aged Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The Macallan Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Worlds Best Single Malts: The Macallan Cask Strength 10 Years Aged Single Malt Scotch WhiskyMacallan: A Speyside, Highland Single Malt Scotch

By Matt Goldstein

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.

Macallan Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch 1 Worlds Best Single Malts: The Macallan Cask Strength 10 Years Aged Single Malt Scotch WhiskyThe 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.

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The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Range: Doublewood 12 year, Rumwood 14 year, Single Barrel 15 year, Islay Cask 17 year, Portwood 21 year & 30 year

balvenie single malt scotch range 300x190 The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Range: Doublewood 12 year, Rumwood 14 year, Single Barrel 15 year, Islay Cask 17 year, Portwood 21 year & 30 yearThe Balvenie Road Show: Traveling with the Best Range in Scotch

By Tim Rodgers & Matt Goldstein

When called to give the readers of Whiskey Goldmine the vital information that they seek, I answer that calling.  Putting family, children, and obligations aside, I make the necessary sacrifice to go to The Palm Restaurant on Broad Street to attend The Balvenie Single Malt range private tasting.  After fueling up with the Filet Mignon, Prawns, and Crab washed down with a Hendricks Gin Martini and a Stoli Martini (slightly dirty and light on the vermouth of course) we were ready to taste some Scotch.  Was it too much to ask for WhiskeyGoldmine CEO Matt Goldstein to put on a tie for the occasion?  Yes it was.  Yes it was.  After a nice meet and greet, cocktail hour, and some food, it was time to get down to business.

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Balvenie Doublewood 237x300 The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Range: Doublewood 12 year, Rumwood 14 year, Single Barrel 15 year, Islay Cask 17 year, Portwood 21 year & 30 yearThe Balvenie Doublewood Aged 12 years

This is the perfect Scotch for the novice scotch drinker or for those that haven’t quite found an appreciation for scotch.  It has a nice vanilla aroma with a subtle sweetness in the finish.  If you like whiskey but haven’t made that leap to scotch, this might be your brand.  Furthermore, as far as complexity and value for your dollar, there might be a scotch that gives you the bang for your buck on the market today.

The Balvenie DoubleWood is a 12 year old single malt which gains its distinctive character from being matured in two woods.  Over the period of maturation, the whisky is transferred from a traditional oak cask to a first fill European oak sherry cask.  Each stage lends different qualities to the resulting single malt.   The traditional casks soften and add character, while the sherry wood brings depth and fullness of flavor.

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balvenie 15 year old single malt scotch whisky 225x300 The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Range: Doublewood 12 year, Rumwood 14 year, Single Barrel 15 year, Islay Cask 17 year, Portwood 21 year & 30 yearThe Balvenie Single Barrel, Aged 15 Years

The Balvenie Single Barrel is a 15 year old single malt which is drawn from a single traditional oak whiskey cask of a single distillation.  Each cask is subtly different, as The Balvenie Malt Master selects only those casks which have the essential characteristics of The Balvenie Single Barrel. particularly honey, vanilla and oaky notes.  Each bottling forms a limited edition of no more than 350 hand-numbered bottles – so each bottle is unique and unrepeatable.

There was definitely a nice delicate balance of sweet notes that complimented the oak notes.  Spot on.  The Balvenie 15 year Single Malt Scotch won the first ever double blind taste in the history of Whiskey Goldmine.  Balvenie beat out Oban 14, Laphroiag 18, Macallan 10, Highland Park 12, The Glenlivet 12, and the Glenmorangie Lasanta 12.  The Balvenie 15 year is simply one of the best single malts on the market today.

 

The Balvenie Morgan Car Matt Goldstein Whiskey Goldmine 300x225 The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Range: Doublewood 12 year, Rumwood 14 year, Single Barrel 15 year, Islay Cask 17 year, Portwood 21 year & 30 yearThe Balvenie PortWood, Aged 21 Years

You can really taste the complexity in the Portwood.  The aging process really adds layers upon layers of interesting notes in this Balvenie.   To create The Balvenie PortWood Aged 21 Years, a marriage of rare Balvenie is transferred to port casks, which have held fine port wines.   The Balvenie Malt Master samples this whisky regularly to ensure that just the right amount of character is created by the port casks.  Again, here is another excellent and unique Single Malt by Balvenie.  In the picture on the left is Matt Goldstein, CEO and publisher of Whiskey Goldmine, sitting in the Balvenie Roadshow Morgan car just minutes before he tore it up Broad St in downtown Philly and smashed it into 4 parked cars and a couple of pedestrians.  Oops!  We would like to apologize to Balvenie for destroying their beautiful car and for the ensuing law suit.  Thanks for the scotch though…

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balvenie single malt scotch barrells 300x264 The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Range: Doublewood 12 year, Rumwood 14 year, Single Barrel 15 year, Islay Cask 17 year, Portwood 21 year & 30 yearThe Balvenie Thirty, Aged 30 Years

The Balvenie Thirty is a rare and especially fine single malt for which David Stewart selects only exceptional casks that were laid down over thirty years ago.  By marrying The Balvenie slowly aged in traditional oak whiskey casks with that aged in European oak sherry casks, David creates a rich, mellow Scotch whisky with unusual depth and complexity.  ‘Thirty’ is bottled at 47.3% abv to capture all the signature characteristics of The Balvenie.  We had the unique pleasure of sampling this little nugget for free.  (with free refills) *wink.  Flat out one of the best single malts we’ve ever had.  There is no doubt that the extended aging process ads a priceless complexity and depth.  The Balvenie 30 year is a masterpiece in single malt scotch.

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The Balvenie RumWood, Aged 14 Years

A limited edition bottling in 2006, The Balvenie RumWood spent its final 18 months of maturation in 14 casks which had previous held rum from Guyana and Venezuela.   The Balvenie RumWood was non chill filtered and was bottled at a strength of 47.1% abv.

They actually use wood from the United States and import the rum from the Carribean, while all of the actual aging is done in Scotland.  What do they do with the rum after they age the barrells you ask? …they sell it back into the market.  (Where can I get some of that?)  Hey Balvenie, when is the rum tasting?  You have my email so just let a brother know.

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balvenie 17 year peated cask single malt The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Range: Doublewood 12 year, Rumwood 14 year, Single Barrel 15 year, Islay Cask 17 year, Portwood 21 year & 30 yearThe Balvenie Islay Cask, Aged 17 Years

One of our favorites, this was perhaps the most interesting of all the scotches.  Smoky, but not peated, this single malt is briefly aged in casks formerly aging peated scotch.  The smokiness from the cask creates one of the most unique single malts in the world.  For many scotch drinkers, the smoky charcoal flavors in numerous brands of Scotch can be overbearing.  When tasting the IslayCask, you get sweet honey notes, but the smoke finish in the aftertaste that is not overbearing but rather exceptionally complimentary.  It really is something and an absolute must try for all scotch drinkers, novice and pro alike.

In the making of The Balvenie IslayCask, David Stewart selected Balvenie single malt which had matured in traditional oak casks for at least 17 years and transferred it into 94 casks which had previously held Islay single malt.  After six months he felt the casks had imparted the desired delicate amount of peaty notes, typical of Islay.

The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Range:

The Balvenie range is the most diverse in single malt scotch.  Not only is it diverse, but it is simply the best.  Each cask type and maturation and whisky are carefully selected to create a different single malt experience for each scotch in the range.  From the Doublewood, Rumwood, Single Barrel, Islay Cask and Portwood, each has a style, flavor, mouthfeel and finish that can be appreciated by any scotch connoisseur can appreciate, be it a single malt fan or a blended Scotch whisky enthusiast.  Don’t believe us?  Try it for yourself.

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The Top 10 Best Oktoberfest Beers: Spaten, Hacker Pschorr, Paulaner, Ayinger Oktoberfests and more…

spaten oktoberfest beer The Top 10 Best Oktoberfest Beers: Spaten, Hacker Pschorr, Paulaner, Ayinger Oktoberfests and more…Oktoberfest Beers: A 200 Year German Brewing Tradition

By Team Goldmine

The German Tradition of Oktoberfest started in Munich Germany in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of the Crown Prince of Bavaria.  An Oktoberfest beer, or Marzen style lager is brewed in March and stored cold through the spring and summer, and finally tapped in October.  Compared to a regular German style lager, the Oktoberfest bier is brewed with more malts and higher alcohol content in order to survive the long spring/summer storage.  One of our favorite styles, the Oktoberfest Marzen Lager is usually darker, full bodied, with more flavor than a traditional lager.  Below is a list of the Top 10 Oktoberfest beers of 2011!

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spaten munich lager bier The Top 10 Best Oktoberfest Beers: Spaten, Hacker Pschorr, Paulaner, Ayinger Oktoberfests and more…1.  Spaten Oktoberfest Marzen- -Germany.  5.9% ABV

Crisp, well balanced, excellent head, natural amber color, balance is subtle in rich malts & bitters.  Crisp pleasant finish.  Our 2011 Oktoberfest Champion!

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2.  Hacker Pschorr Original Oktoberfest—Germany.  5.80% ABV

Golden Brown color, great wheat aroma, smooth but crisp, excellent mouthfeel interesting malt tones, tastes of malts and notes of honey.  Finish is slightly flat.

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paulaner oktoberfest The Top 10 Best Oktoberfest Beers: Spaten, Hacker Pschorr, Paulaner, Ayinger Oktoberfests and more…3.  Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen—Germany.  6.00% ABV

Pours a rich copper color, perfect carbonation settles to rich head.  Bitter, malty, complex and dry. Achieves perfect balance of maltiness & bitterness.

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4.  Slyfox Oktoberfest Lager—Pennsylvania.  5.80% ABV

Great for being out of a can!  Settles to a cloudy light orange/amber color with a rich head that sticks to glass.  Out of the American Oktoberfest brews, this is the quintessential German Oktoberfest style.

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ayinger 300x216 The Top 10 Best Oktoberfest Beers: Spaten, Hacker Pschorr, Paulaner, Ayinger Oktoberfests and more…5.  Ayinger Oktoberfest Marzen—Germany.  5.80% ABV

Malty, Crisp, Dry with Light Hops.  Hints of Coffee and very well balanced.  Our 2010 Oktoberfest champion.

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6.  Stoudts Oktoberfest—Pennsylvania.  5.00% ABV

Pours a dark copper cloudy cover with light head and toffee malt notes.  Sweet, citrusy and malty.  More noticeable hoppiness than others, smooth finish & balance.

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great lakes brewing The Top 10 Best Oktoberfest Beers: Spaten, Hacker Pschorr, Paulaner, Ayinger Oktoberfests and more…7.  Great Lakes Oktoberfest –Ohio.  6.5% ABV

Made with Harrington 2 Row Malts and Hallertau U.S. German style Hops, here is another flat out stud from Great Lakes.  This brewery has the lock on lagers.

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8.  Hofbrau Oktoberfestbier—Germany.  6.30% ABV

Robust, crisp, sweet and dry.  Made with ale yeasts and ours an unusually light golden color.  Frothy head, light on the malt characteristics, but the wheat bitter balance is nice.

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flying dog dogtoberfest The Top 10 Best Oktoberfest Beers: Spaten, Hacker Pschorr, Paulaner, Ayinger Oktoberfests and more…9.  Flying Dog Dogtoberfest Marzen—Maryland 5.30% ABV

Made with German Perle and Hallertau Malts, and brewed with 100% German ingredients.  A medium and solid crisp lager.

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10.  Flying Fish Oktoberfish—New Jersey  5.50% ABV

Pours an orange to light copper with thin carbonation.  Malty, crips, with a sour aftertaste.  Flavor dissapates rather quickly.  Hints of coffee in the malts.  Finishes crisp.

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11.  Victory Festbier—Pennsylvania.  5.60% ABV

12.  Becks Oktoberfest—Germany.  5.00% ABV

13.  Sam Adams Oktoberfest—Massachusetts.  5.30% ABV

14.  Saranac Oktoberfest—New York.  5.40% ABV

15.  Brooklyn Oktoberfest–New York.  5.50% ABV.

Oktoberfest officially begins on September 18 and goes through the first weekend of October.  This year the traditional German brewers did what they due best, taking 4 of the top 5 spots in our 2011 rankings.  Our esteemed panel consisted of 5 judges, one being a craft beer sommelier.  Please note: these rankings are based upon the beers available in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area.  We searched 7-8 locations and tasted every Oktoberfest beer available.

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The Top 10 Breweries in the World: Founders, Bell’s, Ballast Point, Stone, Port/Lost Abbey

 

The Top 25 Beers in a Can: Oscar Blues, Sly Fox, Maui Brewing, Young’s Double Chocolate, Caldera, 21st Amendment

 

Pennsylvania Crushes Germany in the Top 10 Pilsners: Pilzilla, Prima Pils, Stoudt’s Pils, Pikeland Pils, Troegs Sunshine Pils

 

The Best Beer under $20 a Case: Yuengling Lager, Bitburger, Leinenkugels, Shiner Bock, Lionshead and more…

 

The Top 25 Stouts: Founders KBS, Breakfast Stout, Bell’s Kalamazoo, Rogue Shakespear Oatmeal, Goose Island Black Cat Bourbon, Deschutes the Abyss

 

The Top 10 Oktoberfest Beers: Ayinger, Beck’s, Hacker Pschorr, Flying Fish, Hofbrau, Stoudt’s, Lefthand, Magic Hat, Spaten

 

The Top Ten Belgian White Ales from a Taste Test: Blanche de Bruxelles, Hoegaarden, Ommengangs Witte, Victory Wirlwind, St. Brnardis Blanche, Allagash White, Blue Moon and more…

 

The Top 10 Mexican Beers: Bohemia, Negra Modela, Dos Equis, Corona, Carta Blanca, Tecate, Sol and more…

 

Top 50 Pound for Pound Beer List: Chimay, Dogfish Head, Sierra Nevada, Bells’, Victory, Founders, Hacker-Pschorr, Weyerbacher and more…

 

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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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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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Featured Beer of the Week: Victory Headwaters Pale Ale

victory headwater pale ale Featured Beer of the Week: Victory Headwaters Pale AleBy Tim Rodgers

Pale Ale happens to be my preferred style of beer, so I was excited to try Pennsylvania’s own Victory Brewing Company’s Headwaters Pale Ale.  The claim to fame here is the purity of the water utilized to brew this beer.  It pours a glorious orange/copper cloudy glow into a pint glass.  It settled to barely an inch of head that was a bit on the weak side, that did not really stick to the sides of the glass well.

The initial aroma hits you with a more of sweet flowery hoppy aroma, but you can initially taste the malts of mocha/toffee notes.  It follows with a dry spicy hoppy finish that falls somewhat flat in a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Overall, this beer hits all of the characteristics of a classic American Pale Ale to perfection.  Although, the malt & hop combination may not be my favorite as compared to others, it may hit the sweet spot for you!

Enjoy one ASAP.   5.1% ABV

Cheers!

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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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Iron Age Celtic Brewing: 2500 Year Old Beer Making Discovered in France!

iron aged beer making barley malts Iron Age Celtic Brewing: 2500 Year Old Beer Making Discovered in France!Celtics Preferred Beer Over Wine, as Opposed to the Greeks & Romans

By Matt Goldstein

In what has been described as one of the oldest beer making operations in Europe, a 2500 year old brewery was discovered in an archeological dig in the Provence region of Southeastern France.  An area settled by Celtics at the time, sprouted carbonized barley was discovered in what is most likely a residential house.  “Based on the barley remains, its location and the equipment, the researchers believe the home’s inhabitants soaked the grain in vessels, spread it out during germination on a flat area of the paved floor, dried the grain in the oven to stop germination, and used grindstones to pulverize the malted barley.  Hearths and containers were then probably used for fermentation and storage.”  Although residential, the size of the operation suggests that this was a communal beer making facility.  Historically, the Celtics always had an appreciation for beer, as opposed to the Romans and Greeks who preferred wine.  The Celtics produced beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages.  Through Whiskey Goldmine’s own investigation into the subject matter, we’ve concluded that Celtic Pride is awesome, and beer, even more awesome.    

Source: Discovery News

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The Top 10 Beers from Philly Beer Week 2011: Ballast Point, Dogfishhead, Nebraska Brewing, Russian River, Fegley’s Brew Works and more…

ballast point victory at sea imperial porter 232x300 The Top 10 Beers from Philly Beer Week 2011: Ballast Point, Dogfishhead, Nebraska Brewing, Russian River, Fegleys Brew Works and more…The Best Craft Beer from the Best Craft Beer City

By Pat Smith, Matt Goldstein & Sommelier Tom Pittakas

For Philly Beer Week, our staff hit eight events and about 30 different bars overall in celebration of craft beer in one of the best beer cities in the world, Philadelphia.  From IPA’s to imperial Stouts, dopplebocks and fruit beers, Philly Beer Week had a profusion of many styles by the best breweries in the world.  Below is our top 10 beers of the 2011 Philly Beer Week.  Pick up a few these beautiful brews and let us know your thoughts.           

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1. Ballast Point Victory at Sea Barrel Aged Espresso Vanilla Imperial Porter:

An American Porter with 10.0% ABV, the Ballast Point Victory at Sea is a deep dark beer with notes of mocha, chocolate, vanilla and complex full bodied smooth porter.  This is simply one of the best porters in the world and Ballast Point continues to prove it’s one of the best breweries in the world.  This is an absolute must for dark beer lovers.  Served at the Khyber Pass Pub.

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hitachino espresso stout 142x300 The Top 10 Beers from Philly Beer Week 2011: Ballast Point, Dogfishhead, Nebraska Brewing, Russian River, Fegleys Brew Works and more…2. Hitachino Espresso Imperial Stout

From the Kiuchi Brewery in Japan, the Hitachino Espresso Stout stands at 7.50% ABV with great malts and crisp finish.  It’s rare finding a stout this flavorful and crisp at the same time.  Dark black in color with dark head, the Hitachino is a classic imperial stout and proves that the Japanese can brew a hell of a beer.  Served at the Side Car Bar. 

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3. Dogfish Head Festina Peche BerlinerWeisse

The Festina Peche is fermented with peaches that hints of a sour beer.  Not made like traditional sour beers, this fruit beer is crafted with very ripe peaches to get it’s sour flavor.  Very crisp and refreshing, the Dogfish Head Festina Peche is the perfect summer beer.  Not too sour without many hops at all, the Festina Peche is about 4.5% ABV.  Purchased at Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting. 

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fegleys hopsolutely triple ipa poster1 252x300 The Top 10 Beers from Philly Beer Week 2011: Ballast Point, Dogfishhead, Nebraska Brewing, Russian River, Fegleys Brew Works and more…4. Fegley’s Hopsulutely Triple IPA

The Fegley’s Brewery is getting a lot of buzz in the Philadelphia area and proving to be one of the best brewers in the city area.  Considering this is one of the best craft beer cities in the U.S., Fegley’s is of course creating some great crafts.  The Hopsolutely Triple IPA is made with Cascade, CTZ, Summit, Amarillo and Chinook hops, then dry hopped with Chinook and Amarillo.  At 100 IBU’s, this triple IPA is still balanced enough to challenge the best IPA’s in the country.  We challenge you to try it out.  Allentown and Bethlehem are making a real name for themselves and deservedly so.  11.0% ABV.  Purchased at Whole Foods in Plymouth meeting. 

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5. Nebraska Samarican Brown Ale

At 5.3% ABV, this American Brown Ale is slightly sweet, slightly malty, crisp and well balanced.  Overall one of the best brown ales you will find.  The Nebraska Brewing “cornhusker juice” was in major demand throughout Philly Beer week, especially the oak aged Black Betty Imperial Stout.  Colorado isn’t the only Midwest state making excellent craft beer.  Served at the Sidecar Bar.        

Pliney the elder 1 300x300 The Top 10 Beers from Philly Beer Week 2011: Ballast Point, Dogfishhead, Nebraska Brewing, Russian River, Fegleys Brew Works and more…6.  Russian River’s Pliney the Elder

8.0% ABV.  American Double IPA.  Purchased in a growler from the Hulmeville Inn.

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7. Port Ole Viscosity Whiskey Barrel Aged

12% ABV by Port Brewing.  Served at the Resurrection Ale House. 

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8. Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel

5.0% ABV Ayinger Brewing from Germany.  Served at Eulogy Belgian Tavern.

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Ballast Point logo The Top 10 Beers from Philly Beer Week 2011: Ballast Point, Dogfishhead, Nebraska Brewing, Russian River, Fegleys Brew Works and more…9. Ballast Point Navigator Dopplebock

8.9% ABV barrel aged by Ballast Point.  Served at the Khyber Pass Pub. 

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10. Yards CB4 Belgian IPA

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11. Ballast Point Sculpin on Cask

Check out this review of the Sculpin on Cask by Billy’s Beer Blog.

12. Nebraska Black Betty Russian Imperial Stout

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