Showing posts with label American whiskey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American whiskey. Show all posts

Monday, May 15, 2023

Head-to-Head Tasting and Reviews of BLACKENED Flagship and Cask Strength Whiskeys


These days, brands develop a schtick as they enter the Wonderful World of Whiskey. The goal is to make enough noise and garner the attention of whiskey drinkers in an already very crowded marketplace.


On August 30, 2018, Dave Pickerell was on tour in Wisconsin, discussing his newest project, BLACKENED. I was there to meet with him. Little did I know that just two short months later, Dave would pass away. But we had a chance to chat about BLACKENED and whiskey stuff in general. He was a fountain of information and one of the friendliest guys I’ve met.

BLACKENED is unlike any project Dave spearheaded before. Firstly, it was a collaboration of spirits and music, namely, the infamous band Metallica. Secondly, Dave blended straight Bourbon and American Rye whiskeys and finished the concoction in black Brandy barrels. The schtick part involved blasting heavy metal music at the barrels while they aged. Whose music? If you didn’t guess Metallica, you’re wrong.


BLACKENED’s theory is that the sound vibrations cause more significant interaction with the wood, thus imparting additional flavor to the whiskey inside. I’m not a scientist, nor do I play one on television. Yet, in my mind, it makes sense: Toss a pebble in a still pool of water; you can easily see the water ripple and interact with its boundary. BLACKENED has dubbed this sonic-enhancement process BLACK NOISETM.  


With Dave’s passing, the torch was passed to Rob Dietrich, who became BLACKENDED’s Master Distiller and Blender.


Today I’m exploring two of BLACKENED’s expressions: the flagship and a cask strength called Volume 01. The flagship I picked up at a random liquor store (I say random because I don’t recall where I purchased it). Volume 01 was generously provided to me by its producer, Sweet Amber Distilling Co., in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. I’ve opted to perform a side-by-side #DrinkCurious adventure and report their similarities and differences. For the record, I’ve poured both into Glencairn glasses and served them neat.


We’ll try the flagship whiskey first. It carries no age statement, no disclosure of a mashbill, and a 750ml package is sold at 45% ABV (90°) for around $49.00. I’ve seen it readily available at various liquor stores around the country.

Appearance: In my glass, the flagship expression was a brilliant golden liquid. The slim rim formed sticky droplets that soon became wide tears.


Nose: The first smell was powdered cinnamon, slowly followed by apples, honey, and mint. When I drew the air through my lips, I encountered stewed peaches. 


Palate: The mouthfeel was thin, and I first tasted vanilla, oak, and allspice. At the midpoint, I found cinnamon, maple syrup, and plums. The back featured flavors of rye spice, black pepper, and clove.


Finish: Long and peppery with oak tannins, the finish included flavors of cinnamon and rye spice. It was a building sensation, with a muted start that warmed almost exponentially. It didn’t get hot or present any burn. Instead, it just made itself known.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: BLACKENED’s flagship drinks like whiskey that is geared toward non-whiskey drinkers. On the surface, I know that isn’t very clear. However, it takes qualities that newcomers may find offputting and makes them more palatable. A 90° whiskey could be too “hot” for some. BLACKENED cools that with sweeter flavors. The same could be said of the wood notes.


Whiskey enthusiasts can partake in this pour and get enough out of it to keep things interesting. Metallica fans, naturally drawn to anything the band does, may find this a pleasant introduction to whiskey. It is priced right, and I believe it deserves a Bottle rating.


Now it is time for the cask strength expression. A 750ml sells for about $70.00. Volume 01 weighs a hefty 61.4% ABV (122.8°). It has been released to both USA and Canadian retailers.


Appearance: The liquid inside my glass was a bronzish color. A medium rim released quick, thicker tears.


Nose: A heavy aroma of maple syrup and molasses permeated my nostrils. Vanilla, Fig Newtons, and cinnamon were next. Inside my mouth, the air consisted of mocha.


Palate: While the flagship had a thin texture, the cask strength was far heavier and not just in warmth. It carried a creamy weightiness. I tasted oak, cinnamon, and walnuts. Midway through, I found oatmeal cookies, caramel, and cherries. The back suggested rye spice, black pepper, and a kiss of vanilla.


Finish: Strangely, I didn’t find the finish to be longer or more potent than the flagship expression. So much for preconceived notions! It was long-lasting but more level as well. Oak, cinnamon powder, oatmeal, and molasses remained.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Whereas the flagship would appeal to whiskey-curious folks, the cask strength version is more of an aficionado's playground. The flavors were bolder yet lacked the punch many 120°+ whiskeys might provide. It was a pleasant sipping experience on a cold, rainy day. There’s nothing extraordinary about the price, and this pour has quite a bit of value. Would I spend $70.00 on it? Yes. And because of that, my Bottle rating is more than fair. 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, April 5, 2023

Chicken Cock Double Oak Kentucky Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

If you hopped in a time machine and set it for 1856, you'd stumble on a brand new whiskey called Chicken Cock. Distilled in Paris, Kentucky, it had a rich history. Fast forward about 64 years, and you'd find Chicken Cock in speakeasies around the country during Prohibition, including the famous Cotton Club in Harlem.


“During the prohibition period, you could always buy good whiskey from somebody in the Cotton Club. They used to have what they called Chicken Cock. It was a bottle in a can, and the can was sealed. It cost something like ten to fourteen dollars a pint.” - Duke Ellington


Then, in the 1950s, the distillery in Paris burned down, and the brand vanished into history. That is until it was resurrected in 2011 by Matti Anttila while he was researching older distilleries, and he purchased the rights to the brand. His company, Grain & Barrel Spirits, entered into a collaborative distilling agreement with Bardstown Bourbon Company in 2017.


The 13-year-old boy in me adores the name. It is the holy grail of immature jokes.


“You can’t have great whiskey without great wood and this expression is the perfect marriage of age and wood. That’s why we aged our eight-year-old whiskey in American oak barrels twice. This process allows us to extract all the great flavor within the oak to create a robust and intriguing sipper that’s likely to not last long on the shelves.” – Matti Anttila


Today, I’m exploring Chicken Cock Double Oak Kentucky Whiskey. You’ll notice it isn’t a Rye or Bourbon, and that’s because it involves the use of used barrels. While the mashbill is undisclosed, the recipe would have qualified as Bourbon.


Double Oak carries an eight-year age statement. That comes from spending seven years resting in vintage cooperage before being transferred to new, white American oak barrels for another year. The finishing barrel was housed on the top floor of one of Bardstown Bourbon Company’s rickhouses.


A 46% ABV (90°) 750ml bottle costs about $99.99. It enjoys wide distribution across the United States.


Before I continue, I thank Grain & Barrel Spirits for providing me with a sample of this Kentucky whiskey in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious.


Appearance: I drank this whiskey neat from my trusty Glencairn glass. Inside, it was a dark, brassy amber. A medium rim formed slow, wide legs.


Nose: As I sniffed this whiskey, I smelled oak, berries, toffee, dark chocolate, and nuts. I tasted mocha when I inhaled the vapor into my mouth. The nosing was an enjoyable experience and had me wondering if the palate would keep up.


Palate: The texture was oily, but a solid punch hit my tongue. After the palate shock, the second sip opened things up. Charred oak, vanilla, and nutmeg were on the front. Flavors of cinnamon and rye spices joined mocha to create the middle. The back featured oak tannins, clove, and leather.


Finish: Very long and leaving my tongue a bit tingly, the finish consisted of dry oak tannins, clove, barrel char, cinnamon spice, nutmeg, and something slightly bitter that I couldn’t identify. I repeated the sipping process to figure it out but couldn’t.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: If you like extensive wood notes, then Chicken Cock is sure to please. I liked the spiciness, but the char seemed, for whatever reason, out of place. It is comparatively priced to Chicken Cock 8-year single barrel Bourbon that I reviewed in 2020.


I’ve had several double-oaked whiskeys, both American and not, and I mostly found them tasty and worthwhile. Chicken Cock Double Oak is off-beat, especially with that bitter note. Most of my interactions with Chicken Cock have found it to be decidedly different. That’s not bad, but you’ll want to try this one at a friend’s house or a good whiskey Bar before committing. 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, March 27, 2023

Virginia Distillery Co.'s Courage & Conviction Series and VHW Series Whisky Reviews & Tasting Notes


Virginia Distillery Company was founded in 2011 by Dr. George G. Moore. Born in Ireland, he emigrated to the United States and, after running several successful Irish- and US-based businesses, he established this brand in Lovingston, Virginia. Sadly, George passed away in May 2013 before he could see his dream come to fruition. The first whiskies were released in 2015.


His wife, Angela, became its Chairwoman, and his son, Gareth, was named CEO. Gareth’s wife, Maggie, is the Chief Experience Officer.


“‘Have the courage of your convictions’ was a saying George often repeated to friends and family. His credo became our core principle and the name of our newest American Single Malt whisky line, Courage & Conviction.” – Virginia Distillery Co.


Three weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a tasting panel hosted by Amanda Beckwith, the distillery’s Lead Blender. It was a chance to sample six of Virginia Distillery Co.’s expressions.


Today isn’t the first or second time I’ve encountered Virginia Distillery Co. In 2020, when I was reviewing for Bourbon & Banter, I had a chance to write about Prelude: Courage & Conviction and what was then called Virginia-Highland Whisky Port Cask. Interestingly, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) forced the name change, citing that consumers might mistake the Virginia whisky for being Scotch.


Virginia Distilling Co. sources only two-row barley for its distillate. Barrel entry is 125° for its whiskies; the smallest barrels used are 53 gallons.


I was sent all six whiskies when I participated in the tasting panel. I took detailed notes intending to compose a review for each. The results of that #DrinkCurious adventure follow.


The one commonality was each whisky was poured neat into a Glencairn glass. Now, the differences can be revealed. 



The first expression is Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whisky. This is the distillery’s flagship expression. It carries no age statement, but it is between five and six years, per Amanda. It is comprised of a distillate of malted barley, which was aged in former Bourbon barrels (50%), Cuvée casks (25%), and sherry butts (25%). A 750ml package is about $65.00 and bottled at 46% ABV (92°).


Appearance: The liquid was golden and produced a thick rim. Slow, wavy tears flowed from it.


Nose: The aroma was fruity with smells of green apple, apricot, and pineapple, which was joined by a dollop of vanilla. When I drew the air through my lips, I found butterscotch.


Palate: The mouthfeel had a silky texture. Pineapple, butterscotch, and vanilla formed the front, with apple, pear, and honey at the midway point. On the back, it tasted of rum-soaked fruitcake and oak.


Finish: A bit of oak remained, but butterscotch burst through like the Kool Aid™ Man, and it didn’t want to let go. As he ran away, the rum-soaked fruitcake closed the show for a long finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The flagship whisky made one heck of an introduction. Flavors melded and shifted beautifully, and even the proofing was correct. I fell in love with the finish. A winner for sure; it is well worth the investment and takes my Bottle rating.


The second expression is Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whisky – Bourbon Cask. It carries no age statement and is made of a distillate of malted barley aged in undeconstructed former Kentucky Bourbon barrels. A 750ml package costs about $75.00 and is bottled at 46% ABV (92°).


Appearance: This whisky appears as bright, liquid gold. A medium rim released a wavy curtain of tears.


Nose: A complicated aroma of green apple, floral, lemon citrus, cookies, and cedar teased my olfactory sense. Pulling the air through my lips enhanced the vanilla.


Palate: This whisky had a buttery mouthfeel. The front of my palate discovered vanilla, apple, and pear. The middle tasted banana, while the back featured charred oak, clove, and ginger beer.


Finish: Charred oak, black pepper, and clove were tamed by vanilla and banana flavors. In all, it was a long-lasting finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I found Bourbon Cask to be much different than the flagship expression. However, it was still good, just not great. As it commands a $10.00 premium over the flagship, I rate this a Bar.  



The third expression is Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whisky – Cuvée Cask. It carries no age statement; however, Amanda indicated it was at least five years. The distillate comes from malted barley, aged in cooperages that formerly held Spanish and Portuguese wines. Those barrels were deconstructed and underwent an STR (shaved, toasted, and re-charred) process.  A 750ml package costs about $75.00 and is bottled at 46% ABV (92°).


Appearance: Bronze in color, Cuvée Cask fabricated a massive rim and wide tears.


Nose: The nose was complex with smells of raspberry, pineapple, banana pudding, orange peel, vanilla bean, and baked goods. My mouth found the air to be heavy with vanilla.


Palate: Cuvée Cask’s texture was rich and thick. Thoughts of a dreamsicle crossed my mind as the liquid hit the front of my palate. The middle offered sweet tobacco leaf and leather; at the back, I tasted coffee, almond, and chocolate.


Finish: The medium-long finish left me with vanilla, leather, clove, and oak.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Considering how much I savored the flagship. Cuvée Cask blew it entirely out of the water. An audible “Wow” escaped my lips. Everything about this American Single Malt screamed luxury. It is worth $75.00, perhaps more. Obviously, this snagged my Bottle rating.



The fourth expression is Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whisky – Sherry Cask. It carries no age statement and is made of a distillate of malted barley, aged in Fino, Oloroso, and Pedro Ximénez sherry butts. A 750ml package costs about $75.00 and is bottled at 46% ABV (92°). The world-renowned and highly respected Nancy Fraley was involved in its blending.


Appearance: This whisky presented as a dull gold with a thick rim. Long, crooked legs worked their way back to the pool.


Nose: As I brought this glass to my nose, it was as if I entered an orchard with blueberry, strawberry, plum, and cherry.  The fruit was then drizzled with chocolate. As it worked through my lips, chocolate-covered raspberries were rather seductive.


Palate: A buttery mouthfeel led to plum, cherry, and stewed apricot on the front. The middle of my palate encountered raspberry, almond, and chocolate, while the back tasted of tobacco, oak, and white pepper.


Finish: The white pepper I just tasted turned black, accompanied by oak, raspberry, and chocolate. It was a medium duration.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The fruity notes were expected but far more complex than I had prepared for. I found the mild-to-sharp spice transition at the end fascinating. I usually love sherry-influenced whiskies, and Sherry Cask did not disappoint. I’d be thrilled to have this in my whisky library, so a Bottle rating is well-earned.

From here, we go to the fifth and sixth expressions. These are produced under the VHW Series banner. The difference from the Courage & Conviction series is that VHW uses Virginia Distilling’s distillate and a portion of Single Malt Scotch from the Highland region.

The fifth pour is VHW Cider Cask Finished Whisky. The 100% malted barley-aged whisky was finished in barrels sourced from Virginia cideries, notably Potter’s Craft Cider and Buskey Cider. The finishing cycle was between eight and 20 months. A 750ml package costs about $40.00 and is bottled at 46% ABV (92°). Nancy Fraley was involved in its creation.


Appearance: This whisky was the color of pale straw. A microthin rim had to be formed several times before I could even find it, as thick, wide tears fell immediately.


Nose: The aroma was raw honey, apple, vanilla, and raisin. Drawing it through my lips gave me the sensation of apple crisps.


Palate: A thin and airy consistency rolled through my mouth. The front of my palate tasted apple, citrus, and honey. The middle offered graham crackers and walnut. Flavors of cinnamon, dry oak, and leather pulled up the rear.


Finish: A brief finish featured honey, citrus, dry oak, clove, and cinnamon.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I’m a fan of hard ciders. Aside from a cocktail, it is the only other adult beverage I drink with any regularity. Cider Cask was meh. It wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t impressive. At $40.00, you may want to try this one first before committing to a bottle. That makes my rating a Bar.



Finally, we get to VHW Port Cask Finished Whisky. The 100% malted barley-aged whisky was then finished for a year in 70% of barrels sourced from Portuguese bodegas that held both tawny and ruby port wines and 30% Virginia port-style wine. A 750ml package costs about $40.00 and is bottled at 46% ABV (92°). This expression also involved Nancy Fraley. There is no age statement, but it is about seven years, per Amanda.


Today is the second time I’ve visited the Port Cask Finished Whisky. Spoiler alert: Three years ago, it earned my Bottle rating. Let’s see how it fared this time.


Appearance: This whisky presented as an orange amber as it formed a thin rim that collapsed into a wavy curtain.


Nose: Dark chocolate attempted to envelop strawberries, cherries, and plums. Those plums held onto the air as I pulled it into my mouth.


Palate: The mouthfeel was oily yet dry. I know that’s hard to fathom, but it is what I experienced. At the front, the whisky tasted of plum, raisin, and strawberry, while at mid-palate, tobacco and cocoa flavors dried things out. The back offered leather, coffee, and oak.


Finish: A long, dry, tingly finish left me with dark chocolate, saltines, French oak, and a kiss of smoke.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: After I tasted the Port Cask and took my notes, I reread my review from 2020 to see if I found the experience similar. There were a few differences here and there, but for the most part, my palate remained true. My conclusion is the same; it deserves every bit of that Bottle rating.


Final Thoughts: Between the six, I’d rate them in the following order:  Cuvée Cask, Port Cask, Flagship, Sherry Cask, Bourbon Cask, and Cider Cask. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

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


Whiskyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whisky as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Du Nord's Mixed Blood Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


In 2013, Chris Montana and his wife, Shanelle, formed a distillery in Minneapolis called Du Nord Craft Spirits. That’s not an overly exciting statement until you explore how they wound up there.


Chris grew up in Minneapolis and walked past the space that would later become his distillery on his way to and from high school. He was homeless, often sleeping on friends’ couches but not staying at any one location regularly. He had no inkling that being a business owner was a thing; he was trying to survive. It wasn’t until one friend’s parents convinced him to stay awhile, and “awhile” turned into Chris eventually being adopted by them.


After graduating high school, he had a stint at the University of Minnesota but dropped out and left for Washington, DC, to pursue a career in politics. He became a congressional aide. He then enrolled in college, this time at the University of the District of Columbia, and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. He went on to earn his law degree at Hamline University on a full-ride scholarship. From there, he became a lawyer in Minneapolis.


He needed a change because being a lawyer took up his time. It wasn’t the life he wanted. He had a homebrewing hobby and considered brewing as the next step in his career when he started researching distilling. This flipped a switch in his mind, and he started distilling shine in his garage. He and Shanelle rented that space he walked past all those years, and Du Nord Craft Spirits was born, and it became the first black-owned legal distillery in the country.


Distilling in Black communities is older than the United States, but when it came time to build the nation's commercial breweries and distilleries, Black people were specifically excluded. Du Nord is the first fully-operational Black-owned distillery to be federally licensed, but we follow a long tradition of distilling in the Black community. We’re working hard to diversify the industry, dedicating our time to organizations like The Step Up Foundation, so hopefully you will be seeing more Black-owned distilleries soon!”Du Nord Social Spirits


That’s not the end of the story. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd’s murder happened right there. It didn’t occur just in the same city but on the same block, and the entire nation went through an upheaval.


Chris and his team are big on diversity. That’s a significant part of the entire business. They formed the Du Nord Foundation, whose mission was to tackle racial and economic injustice issues in Minneapolis. And, because social issues were at the forefront, Du Nord Craft Spirits was rebranded as Du Nord Social Spirits.


Today I’m exploring Du Nord’s flagship whiskey: Mixed Blood Whiskey. There isn’t much information disclosed besides some of Du Nord’s high-rye Bourbon distillate blended with “whiskeys of other houses.” I love how Du Nord crafted a better term for sourcing! Mixed Blood Whiskey is bottled at 40% ABV (80°), carries no age statement, and you’ll pay about $40.00 for a 750ml package.


My curiosity is piqued. Yet, before proceeding further, I must thank Du Nord Social Spirits for providing me with a sample of Mixed Blood Whiskey in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and find out more.


Appearance: I sipped this whiskey neat from my Glencairn glass, which presented as dull and brassy. A thick rim kept collapsing under its weight, causing the whiskey inside to run back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose: The aroma smelled of freshly-sawn cedar, corn, caramel, cherry, and apple. As I inhaled through my lips, I tasted apples and white grapes.


Palate: A thick, creamy texture filled my mouth. The front of my palate pulled charred oak, rich caramel, and vanilla. Midway through, I encountered young oak and molasses. The back was spicy with black pepper, rye, and dry oak.


Finish: Dry oak carried through to the finish. It was joined by black pepper and cinnamon. Molasses struggled to push through the spice notes, but that was in vain. It was medium-short in duration.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The nose was intriguing; its fruitiness commanded my attention. The palate was unbalanced, with too much emphasis on wood. Caramel and molasses tried their best against it but lost that battle. I’m unsure if it is a matter of aging, proofing, or just a tweaking of the formula (nothing suggests even what types those “other house” whiskeys are) to level things out. In its current form, you should try Mixed Blood Whiskey at a Bar before committing to a purchase. 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, December 2, 2022

Broken Barrel Americana Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

Seth Benhaim, the CEO and founder of Infuse Spirits, got his start early when, at only 25 years old, he became the youngest distiller to win Best in Show and Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. He wowed them with an infused vodka he created in his California garage. From there, he shifted his attention to doing something different with whiskey.


Broken Barrel Whiskey grew from that idea. Seth takes matured whiskey and then dumps it into stainless steel tanks. From there, he adds broken barrel staves that he calls an Oak Bill to mingle with the whiskey and take on additional characteristics. Instead of Seth charging an arm and leg for this artwork, his whiskeys are generally affordable. That’s something many of us appreciate these days.


Americana is a straight American whiskey distilled by MGP (now Ross & Squibb) from a mash of 80% corn, 14% rye, and 6% malted barley. The Oak Bill consists of 40% charred American oak, 40% toasted American oak, and 20% American apple brandy casks. Americana carries no age statement, but since it is labeled straight, rested at least two years before Seth tinkered with it. It weighs in at 50% ABV (100°).


Distribution is spread across 33 states and is also available online. You can expect to pay around $35.00 for a 750ml bottle.


Before I #DrinkCurious, I must thank Broken Barrel Whiskey for providing me with this sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now let’s get to it!


Appearance: After I poured this whiskey into my Glencairn glass, I observed a bright golden liquid that created a thick rim. As I tilted my glass away, slow, sticky droplets eventually fell back into the pool.


Nose: Imagine, if you will, taking a stroll through an apple orchard, and you stumble upon a basket full of freshly-picked fruit. You bend down to lift the bounty and take in a deep breath. That’s most of the aroma, with a dash or two of vanilla and honey. When I drew the air into my mouth, the apple took on a cinnamon quality.


Palate:  I found the mouthfeel to be weighty yet oily. On the front, I tasted the apple, caramel, and vanilla. When it began to work its way down, cinnamon-spiced nuts transitioned to black pepper and French oak on the back.


Finish: The medium-to-long finish was big, bold, and spicy, consisting of French oak, black pepper, nutmeg, and apple.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Broken Barrel Americana 100 was designed to be different and achieved that goal. It is a total spice bomb, but that spice level depends entirely on how quickly you sip. If you keep the whiskey flowing, those spices lack time to build on your tongue, and you have an opportunity to find the other flavors. Whereas if you pause between as I usually do, that’s when the explosion happens, muting out everything else. And because of that, this earns my Bar rating.



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, October 17, 2022

Glenn's Creek Distilling Millville Malt Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

There’s a story behind this label. If you look closely at the sample bottle, it says “Old Uncle Gefilte Fish Secret Recipe.” I was joking around in a Facebook group. I don’t even recall the exact conversation, but I mentioned something about Old Uncle Gefilte Fish Whiskey when referring to something I must have just tasted that was godawful.


I’m Jewish. A staple of Jewish delicacy is gefilte fish. If you’ve never heard of it, here’s the description from (I selected them since they quote from me every so often):


“Gefilte fish (pronounced geh-filt) means "stuffed fish" in and was traditionally made by Eastern European Jews on special occasions by mincing various types of fish with vegetables and seasonings and stuffing the mixture back into the skin of the whole fish, which was roasted and enjoyed chilled with a side of beet. The dish is enjoyed in many different forms today — the traditional way, shaped into patties, and even from a jar — and, as noted by Chron, sparks fiery debate among steadfast gefilte fans and those who would rather eat literally anything besides ‘pescatarian's meatloaf’ or the ‘hot dog of the sea.’”


That’s actually a lovely way to talk about it. I’m in the “those who would rather eat literally anything besides” camp. I can’t even look at the stuff. It gives me the heebie-jeebies and dry heaves.


A distiller friend of mine, David Meier of Glenn’s Creek Distilling, sent me a sample of his whiskey and requested I let him know my thoughts. He told me I wouldn’t know what it was, but he’d label it “Old Uncle Gefilte Fish Secret Recipe.” I remember replying that I would do it, but he had me a bit scared.


Glenn’s Creek Distilling is housed in what was the Old Crow Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.  It had been abandoned for 30 some-odd years before David purchased it to open his distillery. He loved the building and all of its history.


“Old Uncle Gefilte Fish Secret Recipe” is really Millville Malt, a whiskey that was pot distilled from lightly peated barley. It is aged for 36 months and packaged at barrel strength, which in the case of Barrel #3, is 97°. The distillery has it listed for $72.64.


All joking aside, I want to #DrinkCurious and taste what this is all about. Thank you, David, for this opportunity, and despite our friendship, this is still a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: Millville Malt was poured neat into my Glencairn glass and appeared as a darker orange amber. A medium rim created long, wavy legs.


Nose: I smelled musty books and leather. There was some cinnamon and citrus as well. What there wasn’t was any hint of peat. My concern was growing, and I didn’t want to go any further. I reminded myself that not all good whiskeys have pleasant aromas and convinced myself to trudge on. Vanilla and old oak rolled across my tongue when I pulled the air past my lips.


Palate:  An oily mouthfeel brought pineapple, coconut, and lemon peel to the front of my palate. Caramel, cocoa, and roasted coffee formed the middle, while flavors of vanilla, dry oak, and a kiss of peat comprised the back.


Finish:  The caramel, cocoa, dry oak, and peat stuck around once the pineapple and cinnamon notes fell off. The finish was challenging because it came in waves. Just when I thought it crescendoed, another wave crashed through. I got about four minutes before things finally dissipated.  


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  While the nose was not my jam, the palate and finish more than made up for that. I had fun with the wonky shifts in flavors—the finish through me for a loop. Overall, I enjoyed sipping Millville Malt. David is obviously a talented distiller. Would I pay $73.00 for a bottle of Millville Malt? I'm not convinced. But this is one that I’d definitely want to try before committing, and it takes a Bar 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.