Showing posts with label whisky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label whisky. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

McConnell's Sherry Cask Finish Irish Whisky Review & Tasting Notes


There were a few important things that happened in 1776. The United States declared independence from England. Crown Prince Paul of Russia married. Father Francisco Palou founded San Francisco. James Cook began his third voyage. And, the McConnells of Belfast, Ireland, began distributing their whisky.

 

A distillery was built along the banks of the River Lagan. The distillery churned out distillate uninterrupted until April 20, 1909, when a fire destroyed half the distillery along with 500,000 gallons of whisky. The restoration took place, but then, in 1920, Prohibition came to the United States. Losing one of its biggest markets, 90% of Irish distilleries shuttered, including McConnell’s.

 

In 2020, McConnell’s was resurrected by Conecuh Brands. In partnership with Great Northern Distillery in Dundalk in County Louth, McConnell’s was ready to hit the market once again. In the meanwhile, McConnell’s is building its distillery on the ruins of the original.

 

Many might look at my spelling of whisky and wonder what happened to the e. After all, American and Irish brands typically use it. McConnell’s purposefully chose to differentiate itself by not including it. No law requires either spelling; it is viewed as a preference.

 

Today I’m exploring McConnell’s Sherry Cask Finish, a blended Irish whisky made from malt and grains. It was aged five years in former Bourbon barrels, then transferred to former Oloroso sherry casks for another nine months. It is packaged at 46% ABV (92°) in an attractive bottle that retails for about $42.99.

 

Before I get to the tasting notes, I am thankful to Conecuh Brands for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. And now, it is time to #DrinkCurious to figure this one out.

 

Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed a sunflower-gold liquid. It formed a thinner rim that yielded wide, fat legs.

 

Nose: As soon as I popped the cork, a fragrant aroma of plum, raisin, leather, and pastry flowed from the neck and into the glass. Heavy raisin dragged across my tongue when I pulled the vapor through my lips.

 

Palate: I was taken aback by how weighty the mouthfeel was. It had a syrupy consistency. On the front, I tasted dates, raisins, and apples. As it moved to the middle, I found dark chocolate, hazelnut, and shredded tobacco. Then, I encountered dry leather, clove, and oak tannins on the back.

 

Finish:  The short-to-medium finish was made of leather, chocolate, date, oak, and clove.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I was impressed with how complex this whiskey (sorry, whisky) was. While the finish wasn’t very long, it did encourage me to take additional sips (and, eventually, refill my glass). McConnell’s Sherry Cask Finish is a sherry bomb, so if that’s your jam, you’ll want to jump all over this Irish whisky. I’m thrilled to have it in my whisky library and proudly declare it has earned 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, October 31, 2022

Paul John Christmas Edition 2022 Indian Single Malt Whisky Review & Tasting Notes


Christmas Edition is Paul John Whisky’s annual year-end release. It also serves as a prelude to what the distillery has up its sleeve for the subsequent year. As you can imagine, some are better than others, with my favorite to date being the 2020 release.

 

But what, exactly, is Paul John? It is a product of John’s Distilleries, the maker of the world’s sixth-largest whisky brand: Original Choice Whisky. John’s Distilleries was founded in 1996 and is partly owned by Sazerac. Paul John is its Single Malt brand, one of the three major well-known Indian labels, along with Amrut and Rampur.

 

The distillery is located in Goa, India, in the western part of the nation. The average temperature in Goa is the high 80s to low 90s (Fahrenheit), which translates to a naturally-accelerated aging environment. It is suggested that there is a 3:1 ratio compared to Scottish or Irish counterparts.

 

Six-row Indian barley is utilized, which is said to have a higher protein and fiber content. It leads to an oilier whiskey than two-grain barley. Any peat that Paul John uses is sourced from Islay and the Highland regions of Scotland. Fermentation takes 40 hours or longer before the mash is distilled through its copper pot stills.

 

The 2022 release is familiar in many ways to the previous editions: it carries no age statement, is non-chill filtered, and weighs in at 46% ABV (92°). And what’s similarly different is the cooperages used. This year, the unpeated component aged in ex-Bourbon barrels and brandy casks, while the peated matured in Oloroso sherry butts. It has a suggested price of $79.99. While Christmas Edition is a limited-edition whisky, my experience with the previous releases is that it isn’t overly challenging to find, even for several months beyond Christmas.  

 

Before I get to the always exciting #DrinkCurious part of the review, I must thank Paul John for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.

 

Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass suggested a chestnut-colored whisky that created a thick rim and syrupy legs that fell back down to the pool.

 

Nose: Lovely smells of molasses, cinnamon, fig, apple, pear, nutmeg, almond, and oak encouraged me to sniff as I attempted to find every available note. It made my mouth water, and when I breathed in that vapor through my lips, I tasted warm brandy and fig.  

 

Palate: I encountered a full-bodied, oily texture, with flavors of dark chocolate, plum, and candied nuts greeting the front of my palate. Fig, orange zest and butterscotch tantalized my mid-palate, while soft, earthy peat, cinnamon, and oak formed the back.

 

Finish:  Medium in duration, the finish featured dark chocolate, pepper, plum, dry oak, and peat.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Christmas Edition 2022 is another grand-slam home run. The attractive color, the complex aroma, the sweet and savory palate, and the slightly spicy finish were magical, just like Christmastime. If I had to find a fault, it would be the length of the finish. I wish it were longer. I loved this whisky, and I believe you will, too. It has earned every bit of 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.

 


 

Friday, October 28, 2022

Are You Interested in a Whiskey Advent Calendar? Beware of Common Scams

 





I know this may seem early. However, it is about that time of year again. It is a time of hope, fear of missing out (FOMO), and excitement which, unfortunately, is what makes your friendly overseas scumbag scammer seriously salivate.

 

Last year, I wrote an article about online scams at Bourbon & Banter. I nearly forgot about it until I recently started seeing advertisements for whiskey Advent calendars from Cask Cartel. I want to be crystal clear here: Cask Cartel is absolutely legitimate. The scammers, however, republish photos of Cask Cartel’s pictures in an attempt to fool you.

 

If you don’t know what a whiskey Advent calendar is, it can be pretty awesome, especially if you want to #DrinkCurious and explore things you wouldn’t usually get a chance to try. They have sample (typically 50ml) bottles of various whiskeys for each day of Advent. They often are theme-based; you can have Scotches, rare whiskeys, Bourbons, world whiskies, etc. They’re also not inexpensive – you can easily spend a few hundred dollars on these Advent calendars.

 

History has shown us that, year after year, whiskey Advent calendars sell out quickly. Hence, the opportunity for scammers counting on your FOMO. I want to give you some pointers on recognizing when you’re about to be scammed.

 

Aside from the barrage of ads showing the same photos and wording by dozens of “different” retailers, you’ll find a plethora of “customer” comments talking about how fantastic the company was to work with, how they shipped quickly, yadda, yadda, yadda. You’ll also start to see many people tagged in those comments. Ignore them. Ignore them all.

 

I recommend enlarging the photo as much as you can. Chances are you’ll be able to pick out the name on the Advent calendar. In my example below, you’ll see Drinks By The Dram. That’s a legitimate company as well. However, the name of the “company” selling it is not Drinks By The Dram, and it has no history of selling Drinks By The Dram products.

 



Reputable companies are not selling hoards of Advent calendars to sketchy resellers. They don’t have to because they sell out of their stock yearly. Also, in the unlikely event that one of these off-brand “companies” purchased a pallet or so of these calendars, they aren’t going to sell it to you at a massive loss.

 

Use an incognito browsing window and visit some retailers by clicking on their ads. The next part of what I’m telling you is something you should do with every shopping website you’re unfamiliar with. The first place you want to visit is the Contact Us section, and the second is the About Us section.

 

You’ll see phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses in the Contact Us section. Anything with @outlook.com, @gmail.com, @msn.com, @yahoo.com, etc., should immediately raise a red flag for you. For example, in a wholly invented website http://iamscammingu.com, the email address should match the website you’re visiting. barb@iamscammingu.com is going to add credibility. barb@gmail.com should take it away (my apologies to whoever owns barb@gmail.com).

 

In the About Us section, you’ll see whatever the website owner wants you to learn about them. While the scammers may use friendly, welcoming words, English is not their native tongue. They butcher the language to an almost criminal level. You’ll also notice they’ve vomited the alphabet with nonsensical sentences. Sure, some legitimate overseas websites miss a word here or there, but for the most part, they make sense. Scammers go well beyond that.

 

While trying to wrap your head around the language used, check out some of their ads on their website. Here’s a prime example:

 


What, exactly, does that mean? Your guess is as good as mine. Look around for glaring errors. Scammers are cheap bastards. They won’t invest in tools to correctly translate what they’re trying to convey and won’t hire a copywriter to write their content. They’re spending only enough money to get the fake website published to fool you.

 

If you order from one of these scammers, will you receive anything? In some cases, yes. You may receive a whiskey Advent calendar, and when you open it, there’s junk inside, such as tiny ornaments or other penny trinkets. But they’ve shipped to you; they can provide a tracking number and show it was delivered, making your claim with your credit/debit card company more difficult.

 

Please, don’t let FOMO overpower your common sense. Watch for red flags. If something seems too good to be true, chances are it is. Buy from retailers who have a history of selling these Advent calendars. Sure, they charge three times the amount as the scammers, but you’ll get what you ordered.

 

Here are some legitimate retailers. Please note that I am not endorsing or recommending any of these companies; I’ve never purchased from them.

 

 

Enjoy gift-giving and your upcoming holiday season. Cheers!

 

 


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Copperworks Distilling Co. Kentucky & Florida Relief Charity Barrel Review & Tasting Notes

 


Throughout my existence, I’ve learned that being a good citizen is essential to having a fulfilling life. I’ve donated my time to emcee whiskey events; I created the #30DaysofBourbon Challenge and turned it into a fundraising effort, encouraging others to send thousands of dollars to people’s favorite charities. I donate whiskey bottles for various events (whiskey-related or not) in hopes they will do some good for someone in need. The local rescue where Mrs. Whiskeyfellow and I adopted Cinder is another recipient of my monies.

 

The point is I give time and money when I can. And when someone else is trying to help make the world a better place, I applaud it.

 

This past year has seen brutal weather events that displaced millions of people. Two areas, in particular, were walloped: Kentucky with its flooding and Florida with Hurricane Ian. There are so many that insurance won’t help, and having to wait months or longer for financial aid from the government is difficult.

 

Earlier this month, Copperworks Distilling Co. announced it would donate money from the proceeds of a special whiskey release. For each bottle of Kentucky Flood Relief or Hurricane Ian Relief sold, Copperworks will donate $40.00 to the respective charities:  Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund and the American Red Cross.

 

“Without question, our team agreed that another very important whiskey release was in order. Last December, following the devasting tornadoes in Western Kentucky, we created a special benefit release. Inspired by that relief effort and with the groundwork already laid, we began preparing a new American Single Malt Whiskey, proceeds from which would be donated to support flood relief efforts in Kentucky.”Jason Parker, Co-Owner and President



“As we were preparing to bottle and announce our flood benefit release, Hurricane Ian swept through Florida and several other Southern states. We decided immediately to extend the release to support both regions impacted by these natural disasters.”Jeff Kanof, Co-Owner and Vice President

 

These offerings contain the same American Single Malt whiskey; only the labels differ. The distillate was aged in two former Bourbon barrels and one new American oak cask. Of the ex-Bourbon barrels, one was filled with pale malt and matured for over 5-1/2 years; the other contained a rare single varietal barley called Alba. That one rested for 6-1/2 years. The new cask had pale malt and was aged 45 months, hence its age statement.

 

Once blended, this whiskey was bottled at 49% ABV (98°). The price of either is $89.99 plus shipping and can be obtained from the distillery or its online store.  

 

I’m going to do something a bit different here. I will not rate this whiskey due to the lack of a value assessment. I will, however, provide my tasting notes and let you know what I think. It will, as always, be my honest review, and before I #DrinkCurious to discover what sipping this whiskey is like, I thank Copperworks for providing me with a sample.

 

Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, this American Single Malt presented as dull copper. A thin rim discharged medium-weighted tears but also left tiny sticky droplets behind.

 

Nose: A fruity bouquet of peach, apple, pear, and citrus reached up and out of the glass. There was no evidence of wood, new or vintage that I could discern. Peaches and cream tangoed across my tongue when I pulled the air into my mouth.

 

Palate:  A thick, creamy mouthfeel coated everywhere. The theme honed in on fruits. Peach dominated the front of my palate. I had to wait for the middle before other flavors could be tasted. Almond butter, apple, and powdered cinnamon took center stage, while honey, graham cracker, and toasted oak formed the back.

 

Finish:  Hey, look! It’s a freight train! A finish of peach and apple pie filling just kept rolling. But it was joined by oak tannins and a touch of black pepper.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I said I would not rate this whiskey. I stand by that. But if you were to purchase a bottle (or more) of this charity American Single Malt, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Peach is not a note I actively seek out, yet I enjoyed the heck out of this pour.

 

Copperworks is a distillery I’ve found impressive, and the charity bottle only solidifies that opinion. 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, October 24, 2022

Sagamore Spirit Rye Collection Reviews and Tasting Notes


Maryland used to be a big deal in American distilling. Back in the day, before Indiana became the powerhouse of American Rye, there were Pennsylvania-style or Maryland-style ryes. The Pennsylvania version was spicier; Maryland was more mellow due to its higher corn content. 

 

"[I]n 1910 there were 44 distilleries operating in Maryland, 21 of which were in downtown Baltimore. It also led them to the discovery that prior to Prohibition Maryland was the third leading distiller of whiskey in the U.S. behind Kentucky and Pennsylvania, and at one point led the nation in rye whiskey production." - DistilleryTrail.com

 

Founded in 2013, Sagamore Spirit was the brainchild of Kevin Plank, the then-CEO of Under Armor, and Bill McDermott.  They enlisted MGP’s former Master Distiller, Larry Ebersold, to create a recipe of two rye mashbills he envisioned. As it turned out, those consisted of a familiar 95% rye/5% malted barley mash and a 52% rye, 43% corn, and 5% malted barley mash.  

 

Sagamore Spirit’s distilling team consisted of Max Hame and Christopher Schultz, working with Ryan Norwood, its director of quality. 

 

One of Sagamore Spirit’s goals is to bring back a resurgence of Maryland-style rye whiskey. A second part of the plan was to create a grain-to-glass distillery by building partnerships with local farmers and purchasing as much Maryland-grown rye as possible. It has been producing its distillate in a 20,000-square-foot facility and blending 20% of that with 80% sourced MGP rye.

 

Sagamore Spirit maintains a 120° entry proof; subsequent proofing is deliberate with everything it makes. It has been sourcing barrels made of Maryland-grown oak from Independent Stave Company (ISC).

 

Recently, I was invited by Whiskey Mavens to take part in a tasting with Ryan Norwood and Illinois Marketing Manager Jessica Deans. We tasted five whiskeys: The Signature, Double Oak, Cask Strength, Rum Cask Finish, and Sherry Cask Finish. I’ve taken that opportunity to review each one. All five begin with the Signature as its base whiskey, and I’ve sipped each one neat from a Glencairn glass. 

 

I thank Whiskey Mavens and Sagamore Spirit for providing me with these samples with no strings attached. Let’s #DrinkCurious and discover which is the best.

 

Signature




Sagamore Spirit’s flagship whiskey is bottled at 83° after resting for four to six years in new, heavy-charred oak. A 750ml package runs about $38.00.

 

Appearance: I observed a pale gold liquid that formed a medium rim. Slow, sticky tears fell down the side of my glass.

 

Nose: An aroma of nutmeg, vanilla, caramel, and mint escaped, and when I drew that air into my mouth, I tasted roasted almonds.

 

Palate:  Signature possessed a medium body, and at the front of my palate, I found flavors of orange peel, dark chocolate, and nutmeg. Midway through were caramel and honeycomb, while the back featured mint, clove, and oak.

 

Finish:  That mint, clove, and oak stuck around for a medium-to-long finish.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I was surprised this was only 83° because it drank higher. It was an enjoyable pour and something I’d be happy to have in my whiskey library, which equals a Bottle rating on my scale. It was the third-best of the five whiskeys I tasted that night.

 

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Double Oak

 


 

Sagamore Spirit took its Signature whiskey, then finished it for an additional 18 months in lightly-charred, medium-toasted oak barrels. The result is a 96.6° whiskey with a suggested price of $66.00 for a 750ml package.

 

Appearance: The bronze-colored liquid formed a thin rim. A wide curtain fell but left behind fat droplets that crawled back to the pool.

 

Nose: A lovely punch of caramel struck my nostrils, followed by brown sugar, honey, and toasted oak. The brown sugar carried through as I inhaled the vapor into my mouth.

 

Palate: Double Oak had an oily texture. The front of my palate came upon caramel, toasted coconut, and brown sugar, while the middle was nutty with hazelnut, pecan, and roasted almond. Cinnamon, clove, and oak were on the back.

 

Finish: The long finish was spicy with mint and cinnamon. Toasted oak trailed.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Double Oak was stunning, and I savored it from nose to finish. Of the five I tasted, it was my favorite. Obviously, this one takes my Bottle rating.

 

◊◊◊◊◊

 

Cask Strength



 

If Signature had not been proofed to 83°, Cask Strength would be that whiskey. It aged between four and seven years and weighs in at 112.2°. You can expect to pay about $72.00 for a 750ml bottle.

 

Appearance: The gold presented as more traditional than the Signature. A medium rim formed sticky droplets that clung to the side of my glass.

 

Nose: I found a bouquet of orange zest, caramel, nut, toasted oak, and cinnamon. I tasted vanilla when I opened my lips to draw the air in.

 

Palate: The mouthfeel was oily. On the front of my palate, I discerned mint and caramel, while dark chocolate and almond were in the middle. Oak and cinnamon spice was on the back.

 

Finish: The heat that remained challenged me to find flavors. It did reveal cinnamon-soaked toothpicks, ones that have aged perhaps as long as this whiskey. It was the only thing I could pick out, and it ran for a medium duration.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I drink cask-strength whiskey all the time. I felt something was lacking with this version of the Rye. Aside from being too hot, there were fewer flavors to discern than the Signature. I think there are better cask-strength Ryes available at this price that I’d rather drink, and when you take that final component, this hovers somewhere between a Bar and Bust. It was also my least favorite of the five.

 

◊◊◊◊◊

 

Rum Cask Finish



 

Sagamore Spirit has a Reserve Series that allows the distillers to get more creative. In the case of Rum Cask Finish, Jamaican and Columbian rum casks were acquired, although there was no disclosure as to whose rum was in these before the whiskey. Rum Cask Finish is bottled at 98°, and the suggested price was about $70.00.

 

Appearance: The deep amber had an inviting presence. A thin rim released slow tears.

 

Nose: Banana, coconut, brown sugar, vanilla, and oak teased my olfactory sense while caramel and mint rolled across my tongue as I breathed in the vapor.

 

Palate: A silky texture led to molasses, caramel, and nutmeg on the front. Chocolate, almond, and coconut formed the middle, bringing banana, black pepper, and oak on the back.

 

Finish: A long, building, and complex finish consisting of molasses, chocolate, almond, black pepper, and oak, and then, out of nowhere, I tasted coffee.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Sagamore Spirit Rum Cask Finish was my group runner-up. Aside from that unexpected ending, the combination of sweet and spicy was nearly perfect. The asking price won’t disappoint, and I’m happy to convey my Bottle rating for it.

 

◊◊◊◊◊

 

Sherry Cask Finish

 


 

The final of the five is another selection from the Reserve Series. This time, Sagamore Spirit took the Signature and finished it in hand-selected 132-gallon Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry butts for 18 months. This release commands a $79.00 price for a 750ml bottle and is just hitting store shelves.

 

Appearance: The Rye absorbed color from the PX cask and provided more of a deep orange amber. A medium-thin rim generated slow, sticky legs.

 

Nose: A fruity bouquet of raisin, fig, and plum married nuts and caramel. A taste of raisin rolled across my tongue when I breathed inward.

 

Palate: The mouthfeel was thin and oily, while I was introduced to rye spice, dark chocolate, and raisin flavors on the front of my palate. The middle offered mint, vanilla, and walnuts; then, I experienced cinnamon, almond, and oak on the back.

 

Finish: The medium-length finish had components of raisin, dark chocolate, nuts, and oak.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I lust over PX-sherry cask-finished whiskeys. Strangely, this Rye had to compete with the Signature for third place, and the only reason Signature trumped it was the price. I need to make it clear that Sherry Cask Finish is good. The top four were all tasty; some were just better than others. Sherry Cask Finish earns its Bottle rating from me regardless of where it is placed. 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, October 21, 2022

Fighting 69th Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes



“The storied ‘Irish Brigade’ regiment, one of the oldest and most honored military units in the history of the United States, is proud to present its first Irish whiskey to America.

 

Founded in 1849 as New York State Irish Militia, the 69th has fought as a US Army Infantry regiment in major engagements from the Civil War to modern day Iraq and Afghanistan. Its motto is, ‘Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.’”- Fighting 69th Whiskey

 

In researching the brand, I learned there were several famous members. One was Thomas Meager during the Civil War. He initially joined the army, served with the Confederacy, and then switched sides to fight for the Union. He became a brigadier general and successfully led the 69th Regiment to battle in Richmond, Virginia. General Robert E. Lee is the one who referred to it as “The Fighting 69th.”

 

Father Francis Patrick Duffy was the highest-decorated chaplain in US history and served with The Fighting 69th during World War I. He worked unarmed but encouraged fellow soldiers and assisted medics in attending to the wounded. Lt. Colonel “Wild Bill” Donovan was the only soldier to earn all four of the military’s highest awards: The Medal of Honor, The Distinguished Service Cross, The Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Security Medal.

 

On June 28, 1963, President John F. Kennedy presented one of the flags from the Fighting 69th to the people of Ireland during an address to the Irish Parliament.

 

It should come as no surprise that someone decided to honor the Fighting 69th with a namesake Irish whiskey. It is made from 100% barley, as a blend of both malted and unmalted grains. It uses three different mashbills, all of which are triple-distilled in handmade copper pot stills. Those whiskeys are then aged at least three years in ex-Bourbon barrels. Then, the whiskeys are transferred to various casks, including single- and double-char, Oloroso sherry, Rum, and Port wine, for an undisclosed finishing period.  

 

Fighting 69th doesn’t disclose the distiller and is made solely to be imported to the United States market. $1.00 of each bottle sold goes to support the Sixty-Ninth Regiment Historical Trust, Inc., and you can expect to pay around $40.00 for a 40% ABV (90°) 750ml package.

 

I want to thank The Espiritus Group for sending me a sample of Fighting 69th in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and explore if this whiskey lives up to its namesake.

 

Appearance: Poured neat into my Glencairn glass, this Irish whiskey presented as brilliant gold. A medium rim formed thicker tears that fell into the pool of liquid sunshine.

 

Nose: Pear, apple, and citrus peel greeted my olfactory sense. Beneath those were molasses, stone fruit, and oak. When I pulled the air through my lips, lemon and vanilla rolled across my tongue.

 

Palate: The mouthfeel was initially thin but became creamy as I continued to sip on it. Vanilla and lemon curd formed the front, while a honey-infused banana pudding flavor rested in the middle. The back of my palate picked up nutmeg, clove, and dry oak.

 

Finish: Medium-short in duration, the finish kept the nutmeg, dry oak, and banana pudding in my mouth.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I would have expected more flavor with all of the cooperage used. It may be that insufficient time was offered in the finishing barrels, and/or it is proofed too low for those flavors. I tried this whiskey a few times to see if anything had changed, and it didn’t.

 

Fighting 69th is an unremarkable Irish whiskey. If a friend poured me a glass, I’d drink it and be okay, but at the same time, if I didn’t come across another opportunity down the road to try it again, it wouldn’t be missed. It isn’t bad, just something that will get lost amongst other Irish whiskeys, and because of that, it earns my 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.

 

 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Copperworks Distilling Co. Release No. 042 American Single Malt Review & Tasting Notes



I love peated whiskeys. I know a segment of whiskey drinkers don’t enjoy it. Some have only tried it once or twice and were turned off by the flavor. They’ll describe it as burnt rubber, licking an ashtray, earthy dirt, medicinal, etc. What’s not realized, however, is that peat is a highly local phenomenon and varies greatly.

 

Peat is made from organic plant material brewing and compacted upon itself for millennia. Trace things back, and it makes sense that the local plant life impacts it and does the immediate environment. In a coastal environment, that may include a saline quality. In a marshy area, there may be a musty or earthy influence.

 

The peat is then harvested, usually in blocks. Those blocks are then used to end the malting process of the barley, and the way that is accomplished is to burn the peat to dry the barley.

 

The peatiness of a whiskey (or phenols) depends on several factors: the temperature of the burn, how much oxygen is available, the age of the peat being burned, and that’s only the burning of the peat. Other factors include how many phenols (measured in parts per million, or PPM) and how long the whiskey ages in the barrel.

 

The presence of peat in American whiskeys isn’t rare, but it is unusual. It can be present in any whiskey. I’ve had peated Bourbon. When peat is used, it is associated most with American Single Malts. But, even so, a peated American Single Malt is an exception, not a rule.

 

That brings us to today’s whiskey, Release No. 042 American Single Malt from Copperworks Distilling Co. It begins with 100% Copeland barley grown in Washington’s Skagit Valley, and the malting process utilizes peat from a lakebed on the Olympic Peninsula.

 

Release No. 042 is aged at least 63 months in six casks and bottled at 51% ABV (102°). A 750ml package has a suggested price of $76.49. There were only 1043 bottles produced.

 

I thank Copperworks for providing me with a sample of Release No. 042 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now is it time to #DrinkCurious and explore what this whiskey offers.

 

Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass showed me a deep and dark orange amber whiskey. The medium-thin rim led to wide, crooked tears.

 

Nose: Surprisingly, peaty qualities were not prominent. Instead, I found thick caramel, pineapple, orange citrus, and pear. A kiss of smoke only escaped the glass to tickle my olfactory sense. When I inhaled through my mouth, I found the smokiness slightly stronger.

 

Palate: The texture was creamy and weighty. There was light smoke, pineapple, fig, and date on the front of my tongue, while flavors of cinnamon, vanilla, and almond hit the middle. The back offered toasted oak, salted caramel, and Brazil nuts.

 

Finish: Things started softly and slowly ramped up. As it did, the oak became more pronounced and took on a deeply-charred quality. In addition, I tasted white pepper, Brazil nuts, old leather, and salted caramel before everything fell off a cliff.  

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Release No. 042 is one of those whiskeys where I don’t really care what it costs because it is a sipping experience that must be savored. There was nothing to dislike. The peat was so light that even folks who claim they don’t enjoy peat will discard that notion. I recommend this American Single Malt to Bourbon drinkers who aren’t sold on malts – Release No. 042 will change your mind. It earns every little bit of 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.