Friday, January 21, 2022

Lonerider Spirits Nutcracker Pecan Flavored Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

 


Flavored whiskeys are polarizing. You have the purists who won’t even consider one, believing that everything flavored is just Fireball, and you have others who will only drink flavored whiskeys. I fall nicely in the middle. I’ve had some lousy ones, and I’ve had some that I found impressive.

 

When the folks at Lonerider Spirits reached out to me about its Pecan Flavored Whiskey, I decided I was up for the challenge of tasting a newcomer to the pecan-flavored whiskey field. I’ve reviewed a handful of those and can discern which ones are worthwhile and which are, well, not.

 

Lonerider Spirits started as a North Carolina brewery, with Sumit Vohra and Chris Mielke at the helm. The partners then decided to go a step further and entered the spirits game. The distillery side was established in 2018.

 

“Over a dram of small-batch whiskey in their favorite saloon, they pondered how a craft brewery could expand into the Wild West of the spirits market.

They came to the conclusion you needed to be tough, go against the grain, and use whatever you had at your disposal to get unique liquor into people’s hands to savor. Most of all – you needed to be an outlaw.

That’s what Lonerider Spirits does – we make spirits by outlaws for outlaws.” – Lonerider Spirits

 

Lonerider has a few finished Bourbons, ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails, and liqueurs beyond the Pecan Flavored Whiskey.

 

The Pecan Flavored Whiskey carries no age statement or information about the actual distiller. We do know it wasn’t Lonerider, as the label says “Produced and Bottled by” on it. And, because of that, we don’t know what type of cooperage was used. That’s not the end of the world, especially since this isn’t a high-end whiskey. You’ll find this one on store shelves right around $17.95 for a 375ml package.

 

Before I get started on my tasting notes, I’d like to thank the team at Lonerider Spirits for providing me a sample of its Pecan Flavored Whiskey in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. It is time to #DrinkCurious and get down to brass tacks.

 

Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn Glass, Nut Cracker offered an attractive blonde-amber color. A slight swirl created a thick rim and slow, fat tears.

 

Nose: An enticing aroma filled the room, made of pecan praline, thick caramel, vanilla custard, and honey graham crackers. When I pulled that into my mouth, the pecan came into its own.

 

Palate:  For only 80°, I was taken aback by how creamy and full-bodied this whiskey was. I tasted a huge dollop of vanilla cream on the front, then cinnamon and pecan. The middle featured pumpkin, nutmeg, and caramel, while the back had toasted oak, allspice, clove, and black pepper.

 

Finish:  Medium-to-long in duration, the finish gave flavors of caramel, Cool Whip, toasted nuts, clove, rye spice, and black pepper.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Several companies are making pecan-flavored whiskey, but few hit the legal requirements of whiskey. Most of the flavored whiskeys I encounter are below 80°. Lonerider’s Nut Cracker does the full Monty with its version. With its attention-getting flavor, creamy mouthfeel, and welcoming nose, it is easy to understand that Lonerider wasn’t playing any games when it made this whiskey. If there ever was one, it is a true dessert drink, and I’m happy to slap a Bottle rating on it. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Glendalough Pot Still Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


Glendalough, which means “The Glen of Two Lakes,” is named after a scenic area in County Wicklow at the base of the Wicklow Mountains. Wicklow is considered “the garden of Ireland” and is located just south of Dublin. Back in the 6th century, a monk named Saint Kevin founded a monastery in the area, and some believe that his monastery was one of the pioneers of distilling spirits.

 

The Glendalough Distillery sources its water from those mountain springs. Established in 2011, friends Barry Gallagher and Brian Fagan quit their big-city careers and followed their dreams to distill.  They started with poitin, which is a precursor to whiskey. In keeping with Irish law, it is made in a small copper pot from cereals, grain, whey, sugar beet, molasses, or potatoes. From there, the distillery moved to whiskey and gin. Mark Anthony Brands purchased the distillery in 2019.

 

“The idea behind Glendalough Distillery is to make innovative spirits while staying true to the tradition and heritage of our ancestors.” – Glendalough Distillery

 

Today I’m sipping on Glenalough’s Pot Still Irish Whiskey. It begins with an unusual 2:1 ratio of unmalted barley to malted that’s been triple-distilled and non-chill filtered. It matured three years in former Bourbon barrels, then spent up to a year resting in Irish oak casks.

 

Here’s where things get a bit more exciting. A virgin Irish oak cask is very rare. The wood is harvested from 140+-year-old trees surrounding the distillery, then sent off to Spain to be coopered. If you have a bottle of this whiskey, the label will tell you the very tree the barrel came from!

 

Bottled at 43% ABV (86°), a 750ml package can be acquired for around $54.99. I was provided a sample by Glendalough in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review, and I thank them for the opportunity. Now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.

 

Appearance: Glendalough appeared brassy and formed a medium rim on my trusty Glencairn glass. There was a combination of thick, fast legs and sticky, tiny droplets left behind when it released.

 

Nose:  A relatively strong aroma of malted barley greeted my nostrils. Hidden beneath were nectarine, grass, apple, vanilla, and toasted oak. As I drew the air past my lips, malt continued. I have to admit I was curious why the malt notes were so strong when only a third of the barley was malted.

 

Palate:  The mouthfeel was creamy with a medium body. On the front, I tasted coconut, apple, and caramel. The middle offered dried dark fruit, muddled orange, and malt. The back was oak, ginger, clove, and pine (not to be confused with juniper).

 

Finish:  Ginger, clove, and oak tannins remained, along with barley and coconut. I have no idea what portion of that (aside from the oak) belongs to the virgin Irish barrels. Medium in duration, it strangely left a buzz on my hard palate. Remember, this is only 43% ABV; it shouldn’t do that.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I’ve been sampling some off-profile Irish whiskeys for the last year or so. Glendalough Pot Still falls into that category. I appreciate the bonus of the virgin Irish oak and the opportunity to taste something aged in it. The whole 2:1 ratio of unmalted to malted barley works, although to be fair, there shouldn’t be a significant difference in taste between the two. However, the dominance of the malt on both the nose and palate was unexpected. I believe this Irish whiskey is enjoyable and reasonably priced, and as such, it takes my Bottle rating. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Cedar Ridge Double Barrel Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery is a grain-to-glass craft distillery located in Swisher, Iowa. Founded in 2005 by Jeff Quint, Cedar Ridge is the first Iowa-licensed distillery since Prohibition. He came from a long line of farmers, and he began his operation to realize that it was time for Iowa to earn its way onto the Bourbon distilling map.

 

"Fine craftsmanship is a true reflection of Iowa’s mentality of doing the best with what nature gives them. No temperature control aging, minimal waste, and that Midwest resourcefulness put production first, favoring quality over quantity." - Cedar Ridge Distillery

 

Double Barrel Bourbon was distilled from Cedar Ridge’s standard 74% Iowa-grown corn, 14% malted rye, and 12% two-row malted barley recipe. While it carries no age statement, the regular Bourbon is aged three years. Once fully matured, it is then dumped and poured into a new, charred oak barrel for an undisclosed time. It is a limited-release Bourbon available in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota, and you can expect to pay about $49.99 for a 750ml package.  Cedar Ridge plans to make this an annual limited release.

 

I want to thank Cedar Ridge for providing a sample of Double Barrel Bourbon in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. And now, I’ll #DrinkCurious to see how Cedar Ridge did with this whiskey.

 

Appearance:  I drank this neat in my Glencairn glass. It presented as rich caramel color. I gave my glass a gentle swirl, and it formed a thinner rim with fast, medium-thick tears that fell back to the pool.

 

Nose: The first aroma that hit was root beer, which was interesting. I also found clove, oak, vanilla, and berries. When I took the air into my mouth, I discovered more root beer.

 

Palate: The mouthfeel was warm and oily. I tasted caramel, corn, and vanilla cream on the front of my tongue. The middle featured cola, raw almonds, and nutmeg. On the back, I picked up butterscotch, clove, and smoke.

 

Finish: The duration ran between medium and long and consisted of charred oak (lots of charred oak), black pepper, clove, butterscotch, and root beer.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This pour was unusual and kept my attention as I tried to figure out what was happening in my mouth. The first sip was oak-heavy, but subsequent ones toned down. The root beer was fascinating because it is an uncommon note. It is a limited-edition, higher-proofed craft Bourbon and provides a ton of bang for the buck. I enjoyed Double Barrel Bourbon immensely and believe you will, too. A Bottle rating all the way. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Friday, January 14, 2022

Barrell Craft Spirits Gray Label Seagrass Review & Tasting Notes


Barrell Craft Spirits has recently released some high-end and premiere whiskeys that go well beyond its portfolio most of us find familiar. There exists a Gray Label series and a Gold Label series. The Gold series is a step above the Gray, and the Gray is above the standard releases.

 

In 2021, I named Barrell Seagrass the winner of my Best Blended Whiskey Award.

 

“This is probably the most unusual whiskey I’ve tried. It was sweet. It was spicy. It was earthy. The challenge became both exciting and a little frustrating. But, as I experienced the frustration, I caught myself smiling because the mystifying quality just worked for whatever reason.”  

 

As such, you can imagine my excitement as I came across a 16-year age stated Gray Label Seagrass. At the same time, I found myself concerned. Would Gray Label be like the original? Would it be a completely different whiskey? Would Barrell take away some of the magic I found in Seagrass?

 

Gray Label Seagrass starts with 16-year 100% Canadian Rye barrels. The distiller is undisclosed. The original Seagrass was a blend of Canadian and MGP-sourced Rye whiskeys. So, this is already a bit different.



Those barrels were divided into two groups. A portion of the first was finished in apricot brandy casks. A selection from the second group was transferred to Martinique Rhum barrels. Then, a blend of the first and second groups was finished in Malmsey Madeira barrels. From there, all were blended into a single batch. Barrell indicates that Gray Label Seagrass is aged in Canada and the United States and bottled at a cask strength of 130.82°.

 

A project like this isn’t going to come cheap. The suggested retail for Gray Label Seagrass is $249.99 for a 750ml package.

 

Before I get started on my review, I want to thank Barrell Craft Spirits for providing me a sample and the opportunity in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now it is time to #DrinkCurious and taste how this pans out.

 

Appearance:  Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Gray Label Seagrass was the color of gold bullion. It even looked thick like melted gold. When I gave it a gentle swirl, a thin rim led to slow, sticky tears.

 

Nose:  As I let my glass rest on my bar, I could smell a mix of spices filling the air. Once I brought it near my face, things became more apparent. Well, kind-of-sort-of. The first thing I identified was cinnamon. Then I found allspice and nutmeg. Then there was a smidge of tobacco leaf. The aroma then changed to sweet with caramel and fresh grass. That transformed to earthy with mushroom and ripe olive, which gave off a puff of brine. When I drew the air through my lips, I picked out what I could swear was buttered cornbread.

 

Palate:  The unusualness of Seagrass continued with an airy and oily texture. I know that doesn’t sound like a plausible combination, but that’s what it was. The apricot brandy slammed into the front of my palate. It fell off in the middle, allowing notes of soft rye, fried plantain chips, shelled sunflower kernels, and cherry cola. A complicated back featured oak, citrus, green grape, plum, and smoke.

 

Finish:  The smoke and oak flavors continued into the finish and stuck around long enough to be the final notes. Before everything dropped off, the cherry cola, plum, and apricot made an encore presentation and slowly faded.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Let’s get a few things out of the way. I’ve been on a mission to find an enjoyable Canadian whisky for a few years and have come up empty. Gray Label Seagrass was unlike any whiskey I’ve had, Canadian or otherwise, and frankly, it wasn’t even reminiscent of the original Seagrass, except for being just off-the-wall different.

 

It is uncommon for me to consider paying $250.00 for a whiskey – any whiskey. It happens, but the whiskey has to be incredible. Gray Label Seagrass is so unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced; and because of that, I could picture myself saving up for a Bottle. If that’s too much for your budget, you’ll want to find a good whiskey bar and buy yourself a pour or two. You’ll not regret it.



On a final note, I’m not counting this as a “win” for Canadian whisky because this is a one-off. I’m still on that quest. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


 Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Claddagh Imported Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

 



One of the things I appreciate about any whiskey brand is its transparency. One thing that frustrates me is when a brand offers more marketing terminology than facts. There’s a difference between holding information close to one’s vest and obfuscation.  

 

For example, the term single oak cask would imply to a layperson that it is a single barrel whiskey. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. A single oak cask simply means that the final stage of the aging process was conducted in a single oak cask, and that last process could have been anywhere from a few moments to several years. The majority of aging could have been from multiple barrels of multiple types of whiskeys for an indeterminate time. It is like the term small batch; it carries no legal definition and, as such, is essentially meaningless.

 

Claddagh Imported Irish Whiskey falls under that single oak cask category. It comes from The Last 3 Feet Company, LLC. Much information is left to conjecture. Here’s what we know: It is non-chill filtered, a blended Irish whiskey that carries no age statement, and 46% ABV (92°). We can discern that while it has no age statement, it must, by Irish law, be at least three years old. The suggested retail price is $34.99. I did manage to pick up my 750ml for half the price at a Black Friday sale in Chicagoland.

 

“It is a traditional Irish ring which represents love, loyalty, and friendship. The hands in the ring design represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty. The design and customs associated with it originated in the Irish fishing village of Claddagh, located just outside the old city walls of Galway, now part of Galway City. The ring, as currently known, was first produced in the 17th century. Claddagh Irish Whiskey celebrates these lovely sentiments.” – The Last Three Feet Company

 

What don’t we know? The distiller, the contents of the blend, or what type of cooperage was used (aside from “oak”). A casual Internet search doesn’t even tell much of its parent company aside from launching this whiskey in 2016.

 

We need to know if Claddagh Imported Irish Whiskey is any good, and the way we do that is to #DrinkCurious. I’ll get to that right now.

 

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Claddagh had a beautiful deep, orange amber color to it. There’s no mention of e150a, so it is difficult to determine if this is naturally colored or not. It created a medium-thick rim that yielded heavy tears that ran back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

 

Nose:  Sweet and fruity, aromas of caramel, vanilla, raw honey, and orange blossom tantalized my olfactory sense. When I pulled the air into my mouth, pure vanilla ran across my tongue.

 

Palate:  The mouthfeel was thick, creamy, and full-bodied. I tasted vanilla and caramel-coated apple on the front. As it slipped to the middle, honey was joined by lemon zest and bold grapefruit. The back brought an encore of vanilla which was accompanied by oak and clove.

 

Finish:  For what seemed to be many minutes, the finish was spicy with oak and white pepper and sweet with vanilla and apple. I also experienced a chalky quality.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I’m generally a fan of Irish whiskey, and Claddagh holds my opinion intact. This was certainly different from many Irish whiskeys I’ve had with its spiciness, but in other ways, it fits very well with the sweet and fruity aspects. It would be nice to know who did the actual distilling. While there is only a handful of working distilleries in Ireland, I can’t nail it down. I also wish there was less marketing lingo and more transparency, but that doesn’t affect my rating at the end of the day. This was proofed right and appropriately aged, and even at total retail price, I’d repurchase this one in a heartbeat. A Bottle rating for sure. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 

 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Cedar Ridge Bottled-in-Bond Rye Review & Tasting Notes


I’m no stranger to Bottle-in-Bond whiskeys. After all, it is my favorite genre of American whiskey. Bonded whiskey is fantastic because it carries certain guarantees that others don’t. The whole Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 came about because unsavory people did unpleasant things with whiskey before selling it to the public. Sometimes turpentine was added. Sometimes tobacco spit. Sometimes, who knows what. People were getting sick and dying because of the impurities in the whiskey. The result was a consumer protection law enacted by Congress.

 

The law requires several things. First and foremost, it must be 100% a product of the United States. A single distiller must distill it at a single distillery during one distillation season (January to June or July to December). It must age a minimum of four years in a federally-bonded warehouse, must be bottled at precisely 100°, and must state on the label who distilled it. Any deviations preclude the whiskey from being bonded.

 

I’m also no stranger to Cedar Ridge Distillery out of Swisher, Iowa. I’ve reviewed a handful of its whiskeys, sometimes carrying its own label, sometimes that of an independent bottler. The distillery has earned an overall good reputation with me, and as such, when they send me something new to try, I’m eager to get to it.
 

Distilled from a mash of 85% rye, 12% corn, and 3% malted barley, Cedar Ridge Bottled-in-Bond Rye carries no age statement and is bottled at an unsurprising 100°. The distillery states it is a seasonal release and intends to be ready every November.   Distribution is limited to Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri. You can expect to spend about $50.00 for a  750ml package.

 

Before I get to my tasting notes, I’d like to take a moment and thank Cedar Ridge for providing me a sample of this whiskey in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and see how it fares.

 

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this bonded Rye presented as reddish-amber. It formed a medium rim and slow, thick legs.

 

Nose: The first aroma to hit my nose was soft cedar. It was joined by cherry cola, bubble gum, vanilla, and floral rye. When I took the air into my mouth, that cherry cola intensified.

 

Palate:  I discovered a soft, airy mouthfeel. Flavors of toasted oak, salted caramel, and vanilla began the journey. In tow were bubble gum and cherry cola. The back featured cinnamon, caramel, and tobacco leaf.

 

Finish:  Things were on the dry side with cinnamon powder, pink peppercorn, tobacco leaf, toasted oak, and sassafras. It had a medium-length duration.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Your average craft whiskey runs about $50.00. I found this one tasted above average. The finish was atypical, especially that sassafras note, and the whole thing left a smile on my face. That’s worth a Bottle rating to me. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Dry January: What's the Point?

 


I’ll start with the usual disclaimer:  I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on television.

 

My family history is one of male alcoholism.  I’m aware of at least four generations on my maternal side.  It is why I waited until my 30’s to start experimenting with alcohol. I never drank in high school; I drank once in college, didn’t like it, although the friends who gave me a drink were horrible about how they did it. It was Bacardi 151; they poured a water glass full and told me I had to chug it so it wouldn’t burn. It burned anyway. I remember standing up, muttering something about not feeling so good; I took three steps and then woke up the following day with magic marker things scribbled all over my body.

 

The first time I got hammered of my own free will was on my honeymoon in Jamaica. We stayed at a Sandals resort, the drinks were free, and I discovered frozen mudslides. I went night-night in an auditorium where they were running a silent auction. I woke up a wee bit later, and much to the horror of my brand new bride, screamed, “A DOLLAR!” Humiliated (but apparently, not enough to have the marriage annulled), she escorted me out and back to our cabana.

 

I’ve not found myself drunk all that often since. When that does happen, I’m usually at a massive tasting event, I’m drinking water between sips, but the sheer volume of what I’m sipping/spitting is enough for my body to absorb the alcohol. I’m also sure to have a designated driver (Mrs. Whiskeyfellow, who I still embarrass but just not as much as on our honeymoon) because I like having a driver’s license and not being responsible for anyone’s death.

 

I do drink almost daily. That drinking is limited to one pour of whiskey, which takes about an hour or so to finish, especially if I’m putting together a review. And, unless it approaches Hazmat territory, it doesn’t even give me a buzz.

 

I’m not an alcoholic, and I’m not in denial.  So, what’s the point of my blathering as if I am?

 

There exists a thing called Dry January.  Dry January is when some folks start feeling guilty about their recent alcohol intake over the holidays and want to do “good” for their bodies by abstaining from alcohol for the month. I have nothing negative to say about people who participate in Dry January challenges; people should do what is best for themselves.

 

I won’t get into liver enzymes; I’ll leave that to gastroenterologist Dr. Michael Apsteinwho wrote about this in 2016. In a nutshell, he suggests that if you’re a heavy drinker, taking a month off won’t do a darned thing to fix your liver. If you’ve damaged your liver from drinking to excess, maybe you should think about not drinking for 31 years instead of only 31 days.

 

If you think you may have a drinking problem, then a Dry January (or any month for that matter) is an excellent opportunity to test the theory. If you can’t make it through a month without a pour of whatever, then you should seek help.

 

There are some fantastic resources out there for you if you need them:  The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and Al-Anon, all of which have long histories and success stories (Al-Anon helps loved ones of those addicted).  There are likely other local resources for you.

 

I want to say one final thing. If you’re like me, and a Dry January isn’t something you need, don’t shame others for doing it. Let them go about what makes them happy. They have their reasons for doing it, and at the end of the day, we should support those who do.

 


I lied. I have something else. If you want to do the Dry January thing but still want to “drink,” or are going out with friends and want to have a cocktail, you may want to check out products like Ritual Zero Proof. I reviewed its whiskey alternative almost two years ago, but they also have faux Gin, Rum, and Tequila options.  By the way, this is great for designated drivers, too.

 

Cheers!



Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


Friday, January 7, 2022

2 Gingers Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


Irish whiskey is a special category of whiskey. It used to be the most popular in the world until Prohibition in the United States nearly destroyed it. It is smooth (a word that some people hate), soft, and fruity. And, for the most part, they’re affordable, especially compared to their Scottish counterparts.

 

One of the things that make Irish whiskey so smooth is that they are typically triple-distilled. It doesn’t have to be; it is just the standard. As such, when Irish whiskey is twice-distilled, that’s unusual and is owed attention.  Such is the case with 2 Gingers.

 

2 Gingers began as the dream child of Kieran Folliard. Folliard owned a few Irish pubs and created some famous cocktails using Jameson Irish Whiskey. At some point in 2011, he started sourcing barrels from the Kilbeggan-Cooley distillery. He named his brand after his red-headed mother and aunt. Folliard did so well that he garnered the attention of Beam-Suntory, who, just one year later, purchased the brand from Folliard.

 

2 Gingers is an Irish Blended Whiskey, which means it marries two or more types of Irish whiskey. With 2 Gingers, single malt and single grain distillates are involved. It is aged four years in former Bourbon casks, although there’s no indication if that’s first-fill or refill or a variety. It is then packaged at 40% ABV (80°), and you can find a 750ml bottle for just over $20.00, and it is a cinch to find.  For the record, I found and purchased a 50ml taster at a liquor store in Minneapolis.

 

That price point is also attractive.  A $20.00 Irish whiskey still becomes a candidate for my #RespectTheBottomShelf award. Will 2 Gingers earn one? The only way to tell is to #DrinkCurious.

 

Before I do that, I would be remiss not to mention that 2 Gingers is designed to be a mixer. If you’re familiar with my reviews, you’ll know that I won’t buy whiskey as a cocktail base; I expect any whiskey to stand on its own, or at the very most, with a few drops of water. I’ve had several “mixer” whiskeys that were delightful sipped neat.

 

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, 2 Gingers showed as the color of golden straw. It formed a thick rim that created sticky, slow legs.

 

Nose:  I found the aroma to include malt, lemon zest, green apple, apricot, and toasted oak. When I took the air into my mouth, a strong banana presence appeared.

 

Palate:  The mouthfeel offered a medium body. Things began with honey, apple, and malted barley on the front, ginger root, vanilla and lemon peel on the middle, pepper, dry oak, and milk chocolate on the back.

 

Finish:  The finish was weird and not in the good/unusual way that I crave. Instead, it started as banana cream, then got spicy with pepper and dry oak, culminating in something slightly bitter. I was cool until that bitter part.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  2 Gingers is nothing special and certainly not a means to #RespectTheBottomShelf. I realize that this whiskey is designed to be a mixer, but I’ve had others marketed for mixing that taste just fine neat. This was not one of them. I’m not sure where to even provide suggestions.  Is it proofed too low? Perhaps. Is it lacking time in wood?  Probably not, considering how dry the wood notes are. Does it need to be triple rather than twice-distilled? Probably. 2 Gingers may be dirt cheap, but it is also taking a Bust rating from me. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Glenmorangie A Tale of Winter Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes

 


On the Glenmorangie campus, there exists a building called The Lighthouse. It is where Dr. Bill Lumsden hangs out, dreaming up new concoctions which eventually lead to something hitting store shelves. The Lighthouse is the experimental sector of the distillery. It is made of glass walls and overlooks the world outside.

 

If you’re unfamiliar with Glenmorangie, it is located in Scotland’s Highland region. Unofficially founded in 1703, it began as a brewery on the Tarlogie Spring. In 1843, two former gin stills were installed, and it changed from a brewery to a distillery named, aptly, Glenmorangie. The distillery shuttered between 1931 and 1936, then resurrected until 1941, when it closed again until 1944. In 1977, it added two more stills, then doubled in 1990 and again in 2002, bringing the total to an even dozen. Glenmorangie claims ownership of having the tallest stills in Scotland.

 

Last year, the distillery offered a limited edition single malt called A Tale of Cake.  This year, the limited edition release is called A Tale of Winter.

 

“Snowed in at home, our Director of Whisky Creation, Dr. Bill, began dreaming of this whisky. His goal was to capture the snug and magical feeling of sitting in front of the fireplace as snow blankets the world outside. In pursuit of rich, radiant taste and wintery aromas. He finished the 13-year old single malt in Marsala wine casks from Sicily.” - Glenmorangie

 

This single malt weighs in at 46% ABV (92°) after spending 13 years in first-fill Bourbon barrels before being dumped and transferred to former Marsala wine casks. You can expect to pay about $100.00 for a 750ml package, and that’s also what I paid at a local Wisconsin bottle shop.

 

How did Dr. Bill do? The only way to know for sure is to #DrinkCurious, so let’s get to it!

 

Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this whisky presented as a distinctive copper. A medium rim vanished instantly and gave way to a falling ruffled curtain.

 

Nose:  Very fruity; the nose began with aromas of apricot, raisin, plum, orange peel, and green grape. There was also vanilla and nutmeg. When I drew the vapor into my mouth, I could swear I took a bite of a Dreamsicle.

 

Palate:  The texture was oily and full-bodied. On the front, I tasted orange, honey, and thick fudge. The middle formed almost a transition with plum, dark cherry, and butterscotch. Then, it was spicy with ginger, cinnamon, clove, and oak on the back.

 

Finish:  Clove, ginger, oak, and rum-soaked fruitcake formed a soft finish that slowly built warmth, very much like that fruitcake. The buildup was slow until it hit its crescendo and then fell apart.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I can easily place myself in Dr. Bill’s shoes. A Tale of Winter is something you’ll want to enjoy in front of a warm fire, snuggled in a blanket, maybe even with a dog on your lap, while you’re watching a gentle snowfall. The sweetness of the Marsala wine shone through and made everything seem Christmassy. I can also see how some people will love this, and others won’t find it overly appealing. For me, I’m in the former category. I’d sip on this all day, given a chance. A Tale of Winter takes my Bottle rating, and I’m thrilled to have it in my whiskey library. Cheers!



My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Bourbon & Banter: Don't let FOMO get you scammed!

 


You clicked on an ad. There were several, many including old and rare whiskeys, and yeah, that price was perfect! FOMO hit... were you scammed?

In my latest Bourbon & Banter article, I'll guide you through the steps to check out websites offering you amazing deals with super-fast shipping.


Cheers!