Showing posts with label sherry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sherry. Show all posts

Friday, March 12, 2021

The GlenDronach 18th Batch Cask Bottling Reviews & Tasting Notes

 


I've come to respect Dr. Rachel Barrie. She's the Master Blender of The GlenDronach, The BenRiach, and Glenglassaugh distilleries. I've been blessed with some amazing opportunities to taste selections from the first two - I've yet to try the latter. Regardless, Dr. Barrie has proven to me she knows what she is doing and doesn't fool around when it comes to whisky.


The GlenDronach is a distillery in Scottland's Highland region. Established in 1826, it is one of the oldest licensed distilleries. The distillery concentrates heavily on aging its whiskies in former sherry casks as well as craft casks.


The most recent release is their Cask Bottling Series, called The 18th Batch. The release is comprised of eighteen casks selected by Dr. Barrie for their unique character and representations of what the distillery has to offer. Four of those casks have been released in the United States:  2008 Cask #3017, aged 12 years, 2005 Cask #1928, aged 14 years, 1994 Cask #5287, aged 26 years, and 1993 Cask #7102, aged 27 years.


The GlenDronach Cask Bottling Batch 18 is a celebration of the distillery’s time-honored mastery and a showcase of the finest of what this richly-sherried Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has to offer.


This long-standing, much-loved release is a focal point to each year, demonstrating the exquisite character of our whiskies, through these exceptional casks which I have carefully hand-selected. Each cask individually explores the sophistication, powerful intricacy, and rich layers of Spanish sherry cask maturation found in every expression of The GlenDronach." - Dr. Barrie

The four are all naturally-colored and non-chill filtered. I've had a chance to try each, and am combining them into a single, four-part review. Before I get started, I'd like to thank The GlenDronach for providing the samples in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let's #DrinkCurious.



2008 Cask #3017





This single malt has been aged 12 years in a former Olorosso sherry cask, filled in the late summer to take advantage of the peak interaction of the newmake and sherry.  It is bottled at 59.8% ABV (119.6°). There was a yield of 628 bottles with a suggested retail price of $120.00.


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, 1994 presented as a golden amber color. It offered a thinner rim, but thick, slow legs that fell back to the pool. 


Nose:  Aromas of raisin, nutmeg, caramel, and nuts were easy to pick out. Beneath those were plum and dark chocolate. When I drew the vapor into my mouth, sherry notes were evident.


Palate:  Full-bodied and oily, I tasted thick honey, orange marmalade, and raisin on the front. At mid-palate, I discovered a blend of nutmeg and chocolate. On the back, the chocolate continued and was joined with fig and oak.


Finish:  Long, sweet, and dry, the finish consisted of mint, raisin, candied orange slices, fig, oak, and dry sherry.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  For about $120, we're scratching the ceiling of 12-year Scotch. But, not when you take into account the proof. Sherry notes abound, Cask #3017 does nothing to mask it and, in fact, shines a spotlight on it. Folks that crave sherry-bombs are going to drool. Folks who are new to Highland Scotch might as well.  I left happy, and this snags my Bottle rating.



2005 Cask #1928






Aged 14 years in a former Pedro Ximénex cask before being dumped and bottled, Dr. Barrie suggests the PX sherry influences both the light and dark aspects of the whisky. Packaged at 58% ABV (116°), there are 612 bottles available for about $150.00 each.


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this single-malt had the color of golden honey. It formed a medium-thick rim with sticky drops. Those eventually gave way to heavy, slow legs.


Nose:  As if there was a theme, honey was the first thing picked up by my nose. The smells of blackberry, cinnamon, raisin, dried cherry, ginger, and dark chocolate were unmistakable. When I inhaled through my lips, black cherry rolled across my tongue.


Palate:  Despite the only two-year difference between this and the 2008 cask, the mouthfeel was incredibly thick.  On the front, flavors of cherry, plum, and molasses hit hard. The middle was milder with raisin, honey, and mint. Then, on the back, blackberry danced with dark chocolate and vanilla cream.


Finish:  Long and dry, Cask #1928 featured oak, dark chocolate, mint, raisin, and cherry.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  PX sherry cask Scotch is generally easy to appreciate as it is big on the sweet fruits.  Cask #1928 goes a step beyond that with its finish, adding a whole new dimension to what's expected. I was shocked at how easy this was to sip despite its high ABV.  Dry did not equal burn. Priced fairly for its age and proof, I find no barricade for a Bottle recommendation.



1994 Cask #5287





This cask was a former Ruby Port pipe sourced from the Douro Valley region of Portugal. 1994 was a small distillation year for The GlenDronach, making this cask even more limited. Only 638 bottles are available at 51.3% ABV (102.6°), with a suggested retail of $415.00.


Appearance:  Presenting as the color of golden chestnut, the rim was broad with slow, plump legs that crawled back to the whisky. 


Nose:  The Port wine influence was indisputable. Plum and cherry jam blended with coffee, truffle, and molasses. Beneath those was butterscotch.  When I pulled the fumes across my palate, the earthy notes of truffle continued.


Palate:  I found the mouthfeel to be thick, jammy, and luxurious. On the front, I tasted cherry, raisin, and plum. The middle offered dark chocolate, caramel, and roasted walnuts. Then, on the back, flavors of coffee, truffles, and dry oak rounded things out.


Finish:  If you like freight-train finishes, this doesn't disappoint. Several minutes afterward, it kept chugging along. There were earthy truffles, smoky oak, deep, dark chocolate, and nuts.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  One of the cool things is when a whisky doesn't give you a chance to forget about it. The finish never ends. There's no getting distracted and struggling to recall what you've poured. Cask #5287 is like a Vulcan mind-meld. You're stuck with it. Thankfully, it is delicious. The palate wasn't overly complicated which, again, allowed me to relish this whisky. It scores a Bottle rating. 



1993 Cask #7102




Aged for a whopping 27 years in an Oloroso sherry cask, this single malt is the obvious oldest of the bunch. At 51.4% ABV (102.8°), there is a premium for the additional year - it will set you back about $600.00. There are only 633 bottles produced.


Appearance:  After forming a very heavy rim on my Glencairn glass, husky legs raced back to the whiskey.  The color was deep and dark, almost like maple syrup.


Nose:  There was so much that went on here. Molasses, chocolate-covered cherries, cinnamon, ginger, strawberry jam, orange marmalade, raisin, and spiced rum... have you ever had good fruitcake? That's what came to mind as I got lost in the aroma. I also encountered berry cobbler. When I breathed in through my mouth, orange marmalade and plum tangoed across the palate.


Palate:  The mouthfeel was full-bodied and weighty. Date, molasses, and honey mead hit the front. The middle ponied up dark chocolate, black cherry, and raisin. On the back, I tasted oak, dark chocolate, and honey.


Finish:  The finish simply would not quit. Dark chocolate, date, dry oak, black cherry, and spiced plum stuck around with smoke intermingling between each sensation. By smoke, I want to be clear this was not peat.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I'll be frank. There is absolutely nothing not to like about Cask #7102. Flavors were bold but didn't trample over one another. I fell in love with the mouthfeel, and, oh, that nose! This one's just a fantastic, beautiful whisky that I can't say enough good things about, earning it a Bottle recommendation.


Final Thoughts:  While all four were special, I believe the two stand-outs were the 2005 and 1993 casks. The two youngest casks I considered value against what I was tasting. But, once you start getting into the 26- and 27-year Scotches, the prices get steep, but remember, you're also paying for something that is rare. This helped me get past my usual value statement that I do with most others and it became less of a consideration.


None of these whiskies are peated, and none had that astringent (Band-Aid) quality that some folks find unappealing. Despite their higher proofs, they were all easy sippers and while I tried them with water to satisfy my curiosity, it wasn't necessary and my tasting notes are based on all-neat pours.


I'm not sure where you could go wrong with any of the four, but my order top to bottom would be 1993, 2005, 1994, then 2008.  Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Monday, February 15, 2021

M&H Elements Red Wine Cask Single Malt Whisky Review & Tasting Notes

 



Two months ago, if you had asked me, "What do you think about M&H Distillery?" I would have had no clue what you were talking about. I'd never heard of them. Whisky? From Israel? I didn't know that was even a thing. And, yet here I am, two months later, and I'm penning my third review of one of its whiskies.  This time it is the third entry in the M&H Elements series:  Red Wine Cask


For some background on both M&H and its Elements program, I'll direct you to my first review, Elements Peated.  All of the M&H expressions begin with the same base Single Malt Whisky. What happens beyond that is where the real magic happens. 

"Ex-red wine casks that were sourced from Israel's finest wineries were picked for this part of the Elements trilogy. The Mediterranean's climate, variety of soil types, hot sunny days and cool nights bring a spicy and unique flavor to Israeli wine - and in turn, our casks." - M&H Distillery

The wood used starts with 60% ex-Bourbon barrels, then 26% red wine casks, 10% STR (shaved, toasted, and re-charred), and 4% virgin oak. While it carries no age statement, the Elements series is aged a minimum of three years. You should expect to pay about $56.99 for a 750ml and is bottled at 46% ABV.


I'd like to thank M&H Distillery for providing me a sample of Elements Red Wine Cask in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. I'll #DrinkCurious and get to it.


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this single malt presented as dull gold in color. While it left a medium rim, the legs were fat and heavy while racing back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose:  Toasted coconut is not all that unusual of an aroma. But, it is rare to be a dominant smell. That was joined with cranberry, cherry, ripe plum, chocolate, and oak. When I drew the vapor into my mouth, vanilla and nutmeg danced across my tongue.


Palate:  I found the mouthfeel to be light yet coating. Flavors of red grape, vanilla cream, and toasted oak launched the experience. As it moved mid-palate, nutmeg and black cherry took over, which transitioned to black pepper, dry oak, and dark chocolate on the back.


Finish:  Black pepper and dry oak carried into the finish. Cherry, plum, and vanilla cream assisted. While only 46%, I found it interesting how tingly my hard palate became.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Single malts finished in wine casks is a thing now. Admittedly, I'm fairly new to it. For the most part, I've enjoyed what I've tried. Elements Red Wine Cask is no exception and is in the upper-echelon of what I've sampled from that niche. I was a bit shocked how any sweetness was subdued compared to the spices on the back and finish. When I consider the price, this one's a no-brainer Bottle rating. 


One final word - now that I've had all three of the Elements expressions, my favorite was Elements Peated. But, that shouldn't diminish the greatness of Red Wine Cask or Sherry Cask. You can't lose with any of the bunch. Cheers!







My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Friday, February 5, 2021

M&H Elements Sherry Cask Israeli Single Malt Review & Tasting Notes

 



Recently, I reviewed M&H Elements Peated Single Malt, and rated it as an easy Bottle purchase. Without rehashing too many details about M&H Distillery and its Elements program, it is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and ages its whiskies in rack houses at the Dead Sea.  Because of the climate, whisky matures faster than it would in, say, Scotland or Ireland. M&H does use a traditional Scottish method of making whisky.


Today I'm drinking Elements Sherry Cask, which starts with the same 100% malted barley, is non-chill-filtered, and naturally colored. The newmake contains a small amount of peated barley.


"To create this whisky, we traveled all the way to Jerez, Spain, to oversee Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry made especially for us. The casks, once filled with quality sherry and seasoned for one year in Jerez, were brought to the distillery to mature our New-Make spirit for a wonderful, complex whisky." - M&H Elements


The cooperage is made from 40% of the sherry casks described above, with 55% coming from first-fill Bourbon barrels, and the remaining 5% coming from STR (Shaving, Toasting, and Re-charring of wine casks). The casks are all certified Kosher, adding another touch of uniqueness. In fact, M&H is the first distillery to use Kosher-certified Sherry casks.


The whiskey is then proofed to 46% ABV (or 92°), and you can expect to pay about $70.00 for a 750ml bottle. It carries no age statement, but M&H usually allows at least three years for optimal maturing.


Before I get to my tasting notes and, ultimately my rating, I'd like to thank M&H for sending me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let's #DrinkCurious.


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Elements Sherry Cask presented as the color of raw honey. It left a heavy, thick rim that generated slow, fat legs that dropped to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose:  Aromas of malt, pear, nutmeg, vanilla, and oak were prevalent. I also found plum, citrus, and a smattering of peat.  When I brought the vapor into my mouth, I experienced apricot and raisin.


Palate:  The mouthfeel had a medium body and oily texture. On the front, I tasted brown sugar, salted caramel, and vanilla. As it moved to the middle, it consisted of a blast of dark chocolate, nutmeg, and pecan praline. Then, on the back, flavors of raw honey, apricot, raisin, oak, and almond rounded things out. 


Finish:  A long-lasting finish started with dark chocolate, baking spices, apricot, berry, honey, and light peat. 


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  As a rule, I enjoy single malts aged in sherry casks. I love the fruity flavors. Elements Sherry Cask didn't disappoint, and I found it delicious. For $70.00, I believe this is a heck of a great single malt, and I'm pleased to convey my Bottle rating for it.  Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Busker Triple Cask Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

 


Life can be full of surprises. Right now there is a resurgence in Irish distilling that goes beyond the big boys expanding their reach. What started a few years ago is now coming of age and ready for the market. One such example is Royal Oak Distillery, which is built on an 18th-century estate in County Carlow. Imported by Disaronno International, Royal Oak has both pot and column stills.


The distillery produces four versions of Irish whiskey: Single Grain, Single Malt, Single Pot Still, and a blend of the three.  Today I'm reviewing The Busker Triple Cask Triple Smooth which is the latter. A majority of the blend is made from the Single Malt and Single Pot Still expressions, with the remainder Single Grain. The Blend is matured in three different casks formerly holding Bourbon, Sherry, and Cantine Florio (1833) Sicilian Marsala. 


This is for the wanderers, the sharers of stories, the followers of dreams, living unabashedly. Meet The Busker, its roots now deep at Royal Oak Distillery, the home of Irish Whiskey Culture [...] But only in wandering far has it found its true place in the world here among the spirited, like you. - Royal Oak Distillery


There is no age statement on the label, but all that means it was at least three years, as that's what's required by Irish law. The Busker is 40% ABV and retails for $24.99.  It hit the market in September and while not common, it enjoys a wide distribution in the United States.


All that information is nice to know, but in the end, the only thing that really matters is how it tastes.  I purchased this whiskey at a local store, I've cracked it open, and I'm ready to #DrinkCurious and tell you all about it.


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, The Busker appears as an obvious gold color. It created a medium rim that generated thick, fast legs to drop back to the pool of liquid sunshine. When I suggest fast, they dropped as quickly as they formed.


Nose:  The fruitiness was unmistakable. I could smell it before it came anywhere near my face. Aromas of plum and raisin were easy to pick up, the banana and pear less so. When I inhaled through my open lips, it was a palpable flavor of vanilla.


Palate:  A thick, buttery mouthfeel coated everywhere, leaving nothing untouched. There was no ethanol to distract from what I would experience. On the front, I tasted a combination of vanilla and dark chocolate. As the liquid moved to my mid-palate, the only thing I discerned was malt. Then, on the back, it was an interesting marriage of cinnamon, raisin, and toasted oak.


Finish:  A long - very, very long, lasting finish of vanilla, white pepper, and toasted oak would not give up. There was absolutely nothing harsh about it.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This is a $25 Irish whiskey and it isn't overly complicated. In fact, it is the opposite. But, it leaves other similarly-priced competitors in the dust. The Busker is everything you've ever heard about Irish whiskey - smooth and simple. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed it, especially since this is an off-the-radar distillery. Cutting to the chase, this is about as easy of a Bottle rating as it gets. It is delicious, anyone can afford it, and I can't wait to see what else comes out of this distillery. Cheers! 


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

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

Monday, June 8, 2020

The GronDronach Revival 15-Year Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes




Back in 1823, the British Parliament passed the Excise Act, which was enacted to collect taxes on distillers. It involved not only providing a license to distill, but also to tax any distillery on a per-gallon basis. The purpose was to address smuggling in the Scottish Highlands. This smuggling was somewhat covert, but acceptable because wealthy landowners knew that distilling was the only way their tenants could pay rent and, well, they wanted their rent money. The Excise Act did what it was supposed to, and the Scotch distilling industry began to thrive.


In 1826, The GlenDronach Distillery was founded, and it was only the second such distillery granted a license.  Like many Scotch distilleries, it has changed hands several times and been shuttered, only to be reopened later. In the case of The GlenDronach, this Highlands distillery's hiatus was from 1996 to 2001 and reopened by Allied Distillers.  It has been owned by William Grant, Teacher's, Chivas Brothers, BenRiach, and now is owned by Brown-Forman


Today I'm reviewing The GlenDronach Revival 15-Year Single Malt. The term Revival is due to the fact the 15-year was discontinued for a few years before being resurrected.  Being a single malt, the mash is 100% malted barley from a single distillery. After distillation, it was placed in ex-Sherry casks, notably Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso from Andalucia. It is non-chill filtered and, shockingly, has no added caramel color. It is bottled at 46% ABV (92°) and suggested retail is about $84.00.


I'd like to thank Brown-Forman for providing me a sample of this Scotch in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. And, with that, let's #DrinkCurious.


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, The GlenDronanch appears as a very dark bronze. As I said above, I was shocked this was its natural color. It left a medium rim but generated fat, slow legs to drop back to the pool.


Nose:  This was very fragrant from the start. If you've heard the term sherry bomb before, you know what I'm about to describe. It started with dark cherries and candied fruit. That moved to nuts, chocolate, malt, and vanilla. When I inhaled through my lips, I was blown away by the raspberry that raced through my mouth.


Palate:  The mouthfeel was strangely thin. Perhaps it was just the color that prepared me for something thick and heavy. Plum, apricot, cherry, and honey started things off at the front. As it moved across my palate, midway I found cocoa and molasses.  Then, on the back, I tasted malt, almond, and an herbal quality. 


Finish:  Once it started, it never wanted to give up the ghost. It started with heavy, dark chocolate. That was joined by oak and black pepper. Before it finally ended, there was a faint suggestion of mint.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The GlenDronach 15 is an unpeated malt. That means if smoke and ash aren't in your wheelhouse, you don't have to worry. At the same time, if you don't appreciate an astringent (medicinal or band-aid) quality, that's not here, either. The nose and palate were wonderfully complex and I had a lot of fun trying to sort things out. The finish kept my interest sip to sip.


Not only is this a Scotch that can appeal to a wide swath of whiskey drinkers, but $84.00 this is what I would describe as at the higher end of mid-priced Scotch. Finally, I'm going to let you know that this may be the best Scotch I've had so far this year (and I've had a lot). My rating should be obvious - buy a Bottle.  Cheers! 



My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System:

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


Monday, February 10, 2020

McKenzie Straight Rye Whiskey Review



Today's review is of McKenzie Straight Rye Whiskey, distilled by Finger Lakes Distilling in New York.  This one was published at Bourbon & Banter and, due to professional courtesy and copyright laws, you'll have to click on the link to read it.  Cheers!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Starward Nova Australian Whisky Review & Tasting Notes

About a month ago, I had an opportunity to review Starward Distillery's Two-Fold Double-Grain Whisky.  Starward is an Australian distillery located in Melbourne and is part of the Diageo portfolio. When Starward was established in 2007, founder David Vitale suggested this is "what whisky can be" and set out with a vision to create a unique Australian whisky to offer the world with pride. 


Starward's Nova is a single-malt whisky that has been aged two years in Australian red wine barrels. Those Shiraz, Pinot and Cabernet barrels were not charred and were used exactly how they came from the winery. Nova is non-chill filtered, not artificially colored, is bottled at 41% ABV and can be found at about $54.99. That's affordable for a single malt anything in today's market.


I'd like to thank Starward for providing me with a sample of Nova for a no-holds-barred, honest review of their whisky. And now, let's get on with it, shall we?


In my Glencairn glass, Nova appears as a reddish copper.  It left a thin rim that generated medium-thick legs that slowly dropped back to the pool of liquid sunshine. 


Aromas of honey and malt were upfront, leading to an enticing start. Behind those was nuts and beneath that a fruitiness that is undoubtedly attributed to the wine casks. When I inhaled through my lips, it was a chocolate-sherry blend that I found quite interesting.


Nova's mouthfeel was thin yet creamy. On the front of my palate, it was all heavy, thick honey. Then, at mid-palate, the honey changed to red wine, and then, at the back, it was a combination of raspberry and sherry.


The finish was a short hint of black pepper, an astringent quality, and long-lasting honey. The astringent honey hung on and was very sweet.


Bottle, Bar or Bust:  I routinely suggest when sipping whisk(e)y that you never judge something on the first sip. You have to give your palate a chance to get over the "shock" of whatever is initially presented. Nova starts off very bland and muted but does get more flavorful as you continue to sip it. To me, Nova was akin to drinking sherry, but at the same time, it is not what I would describe as a "sherry bomb" that many Scotch fans would recognize. 


The best thing about Nova was the nosing experience. The problem is the tasting itself never became enjoyable. I returned to this one again, particularly since I enjoyed Two-Fold so much, hoping for a different result but ended at the same place. Nova winds up in the unfortunate position of a Bust on my scale. 


Cheers!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Minor Case Rye Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes



What's a Minor Case?  No, that's not the opposite of a Major Case!  Minor Case Beam was an actual person, part of the Beam family. His motto was Craft only the finest whiskey. Unfortunately, Minor Case Beam was put out of business thanks to that horrible American experiment called Prohibition. From everything I can gather, Minor Case's son Guy S. Beam distilled, then it skipped a generation until Paul and Steve Beam came around over at Limestone Branch


Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey is produced by Limestone Branch. This one is actually distilled by the folks at MGP. It utilizes a mash of 51% rye, 45% corn, and 4% barley. It is aged two years, then allowed to finish in ex-Sherry casks from Meier's Winery. Minor Case is non-chill filtered and bottled at 90°. Suggested retail is $50, which is about average for "craft" whiskey brands. 


The bottle is drop-dead gorgeous. The lettering is debossed, then painted white so it really jumps out at you. It has a very rich, premium look and feel. Packaging can be pretty or ugly, but all that matters to me is the whiskey inside. I'd like to thank Luxco for providing me a sample of Minor Case Straight Rye in exchange for a no-holds-barred, honest review. As such, it is time to #DrinkCurious.


In my Glencairn glass, the appearance was a light amber, and, in fact, looked young. It left a thin rim on my glass, which led to a heavy, wavy curtain that dropped back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Aromas of cinnamon spice and floral rye filled my nostrils. Underneath those were bright, fruity notes, most likely from the sherry, along with an interesting touch of butterscotch. When I inhaled through my mouth, I picked up additional floral notes.


The mouthfeel was thin, light and airy.  Immediately up front, I tasted a combination of raisins and brown sugar. At mid-palate, the sherry became evident, along with dark chocolate, most likely from the malted barley, but I was shocked how strong it was considering the very low barley content. On the back, it was a marriage of citrus and rye spiciness.


The finish was soft, chocolatey, with cherries and dry oak. It was delicate but long-lasting, and something that almost begged for another sip.


Bottle, Bar or Bust:  Thankfully, the youngish appearance was the worst thing about Minor Case Rye. There was a lot going on with this whiskey, it is interestingly complex and offers some surprises. I would have assumed heavier fruitiness due to the sherry finish but was pleasantly impressed by the heavier chocolate notes, especially in the finish. 



While the price for this two-year may shy you away, it is on par with other "craft" whiskeys you'll find on the shelf. Minor Case isn't another Me Too whiskey that could get lost in a sea of other similarly priced whiskeys. When you consider what Minor Case has to offer, I believe you'll agree this one earns a Bottle rating. Cheers!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

J. Rieger Kansas City Whiskey Review and Tasting Notes



In this day and age in whiskey, it isn't overly difficult to stumble upon new brands. But, sometimes that "new" brand isn't so new after all. In the case of J. Rieger & Company, the brand has been around since 1887. At its heydey, J. Rieger offered more than 100 different spirits from its distillery in Kansas City, Missouri and was the largest mail-order whiskey house in the country. Unfortunately, when Prohibition reared its ugly head, J. Rieger was not one of the few, lucky survivors. It wasn't until 2014, under the guidance of Dave Pickerell, when the distillery reopened and launched their Kansas City Whiskey.


Rieger's Kansas City Whiskey is an interesting marriage of American Straight Rye, Light Corn Whiskey and Straight Bourbon. Then, that concoction is further blended with Dry Sack Especial Oloroso 15-Year Sherry. Rieger's carries no age statement, is bottled at 92°, and has a suggested retail of $43.00.


I'd like to thank J. Rieger & Company for providing me a sample of their whiskey for a no-strings-attached, honest review. And now, time to get down to business and #DrinkCurious.


In my Glencairn glass, the whiskey appears as a dark amber. It left a very thin rim on the wall and thin, fast legs that dropped back to the pool.


As a matter of practice, I normally leave my glass alone for ten or so minutes. Even before beginning the nosing, aromas of sherry filled the room. While that was obviously predominant, it wasn't overly difficult to pick out oak, maple syrup, and vanilla. When I inhaled through my mouth, very thick vanilla rolled over my palate.


The mouthfeel was thicker than I expected, perhaps from the sherry itself. And, that sherry was up front along with candied fruits, almost like a rich fruitcake. Mid-palate was a mixture of sweet corn, maple syrup, and toasted oak. On the back, it changed radically to very dark chocolate and rye spice. I don't recall too many whiskeys that transform from very sweet to spicy the way Rieger's did.


A long, spicy finish from the Rye mixed with dry oak and mingled with the familiar sweetness from the sherry. 


Bottle, Bar or Bust:  Like a few other Pickerell projects (notably, Blackened), there is a lot going on with Rieger's and it is a challenge for the palate to nail down flavors. Considering the makeup of the blend, that's understandable. But, it also makes the whiskey interesting in a good way and I'm always game for something that isn't just another "me too" whiskey. When you further consider the relative affordability, Rieger's earns the Bottle rating and I'm happy to have it in my library. Cheers!