From September 26th to October 9th, the whisky-loving Wills brothers will embark on a tour down the East Cost of the US spreading the word of Kilchoman, Islay’s Farm independent Distillery. James and Peter Wills, sons of Kilchoman Founder Anthony Wills will travel from Boston to Washington DC in their custom Land Rover making stops along the way to share a few drams and a story or two of Kilchoman, Islay and growing up in a distillery.
A special edition cask strength, 58.9% ABV, US Tour bottling of the distilleries flagship expression Machir Bay has been created especially for the tour. Just 840 bottles of the special edition will be available exclusively from stops made on their journey.
Recently awarded Best No Age Statement Single Malt Scotch at the International Wine & Spirits Competition and Best Peated Scotch Whisky at the International Whisky Competition, Kilchoman has quickly established itself in the whisky world. Tasting during the tour will feature all the latest Kilchoman releases as well as one or two surprises.
Check here for more information on Kilchoman. We’ll keep you posted about the Kilchoman tour and other ImpexBev brands on Facebook and Twitter.
Westland’s new Garryana single malt is a deep dive into the exploration of a new type of oak that few have used before. That oak is conveniently named after the whisky at hand (or is that vice versa? I think it’s vice versa. I’m sure of it. Yup, vice versa).
All single malt producing countries have access to oak casks for maturing their whisk(e)y. The good bulk of those oak casks comes from right here in the US of A. The oak used to make said casks is called American White Oak.
(There’s a fancy schmancy Latin name for it, too, but I’m not that fancy schmancy so I’ll just stick with “American White Oak.” Plus, I failed Latin in my senior year of high school – Mrs. Whatsherface had it out for me. I didn’t want to fish for Carpe in that Diem pond, I told her!)
European Oak casks are quite common, too. You’ll find those are more widely used in whiskies that were matured using sherry casks (though there’s a lot of sherry matured in American White Oak, too).
Now, Japan is lucky. They have their very own Mizunara Oak which is quite loverly but who the heck can afford Japanese whiskies these days, not to mention Japanese whiskies matured in Mizunara Oak which is VERY leaky.
The French have their oak, too. That’s called French Oak. How convenient. That oak offers up nice, spicy flavors to whiskies.
Because we’re America, and apparently the winningest (or so we like to say over and over and over again) we’ve got another type of oak that grows specifically in the Pacific Northwest that is suitable for maturing whisk(e)y.
This oak is called Garry Oak, or, Garryana.
Having visited the Westland distillery a few times, and having once been in their warehouse, I had the luxury of tasting some single cask Garry Oak matured Westland. It was intense, for sure, but damn unique and quite delicious. Westland has now been maturing single malt in a good number of Garryana casks and this release is the result.
Given the intense flavor profile of Garryana matured single malt, it makes sense that the use of this component makes up 21% of the over all mixture. The malt used in the Garryana casks, btw, is Washington Pale Malt. The rest is:
26% Peated Malt (New Charred American White Oak)
10% Washington Pale Malt (used American White Oak)
43% Five Malt blend (New Charred American White Oak)
If you want to learn more about this wonderful single malt whiskey and the process of Garryana discovery, be sure to check out this Podcast:
Also, if you have a few minutes, be sure to watch this video (it’s beautifully shot, cool, informative, and fun):
Finally, without any further ado, my review of this new whisky from Westland Distillery. ***Spoiler Alert — it’s fantstic through and through***
On the nose — Chocolate, to be sure, but I expect that note given Westland’s use of Chocolate malt in their Five Malt mashbill.
Deep sweet notes of burnt sun dried tomatoes, crushed raisin with sugar and balsamic, sticky smoke, and herb rubs – like cleaning the BBQ sauce off your grill at the start of Grilling season.
Back to the more chocolatey notes, hints of mocha or cappuccino with a side of red velvet cake. Newly opened tin of oil paint tubes.
Also a swirl of melting and toasted, yet milky caramel.
In the mouth — We’ll begin with the smoke but that’s immediately followed up with German brown bread and a side of carrot cake, cream cheese frosting and all.
Sweet meets ashy meets savory meets sweet again. The mouthfeel is oily verging on succulent – it’s big.
On to the spices of ginger, nutmeg, and clove. I want to say smoked paprika but I wont. Forget I typed that, forget you read it. No, put it back in there. Smoked paprika.
White pepper, too.
As we near the finish, that German brown bread makes it self be known again. This time with a raisiny fervor!
Finish — Long with a sweet yet smoky – like BBQ sauce with an umami-esque goodness.
In sum — This is one of the finest single malts I’ve had this year, hands down. Top 5 for sure. This is not only ticking all of the boxes as far as what I long for in a single malt, this has created new boxes I never even thought to look for.
**Special thanks to the good folks at Westland Distillery for the sample!!
Region – Four different ‘Murrican locations – ABV 40%
My life, for the past 12 years, has brought me to Chicago for various and sundry reasons. Mostly, it was my previous life in the world of Industrial Storage Supplies and the sales thereof. Yessir/ma’am, sexy, sexy stuff, that; Industrial Storage Supplies. Don’t hate it until you’ve hated it. The people were great though. Nay, amazing. But… it’s Industrial Storage Supplies. Industrial. Storage. Supplies.
As of late, my reasons for visiting the Windy Appleare those more related to whisky. Be it the education and sales of Arran/Kilchoman/Tamdhu and some of my favorite independent lines and/or Whisky Jewbilee and/or Single Cask Nation. My visits to Chicago will continue on for some time and for that I am happy.
This most recent trip to Chicago (which has now been many weeks ago, damn my being too busy to write these days!) had me bumping into my friend (or should I say “mate,” but not in the “mate for life” sense of the word. My friend is an “Aussie.” But not in the shampoo sense of the word — an actual, honest to goodness man from Australia.) Jonathan Bray. Some of you may know him from his fantastic “singlemalting.com” blog.
This most recent bump into Jonathan gave us the good and cheap excuse to try our hand at blogging together. The result will be two different whiskies reviewed on two different blogs for the total of four posts (two from me, two from Jonathan).
Today’s post covers a fun collaboration between four major craft whiskey producers: FEW Spirits, Journeyman, Corsair & Mississippi Distillery. This is their “Rye” collaboration (four 30 gallon casks from each of them blended together for a 40% ABV trip into rye craftism).
The following is my take on the result (you can read Jonathan’s review of the whiskey HERE):
On the nose — Perhaps one of the more odd notes I’ve detected in a whisky: imitation watermelon bubblegum verging on jolly rancher.
Yup, you read correctly.
Breath deeply and some more chocolaty notes come to the fore. I could fool myself into thinking I smell some malted rye in here but I can not say for certain. If so, the presence is slight (which I am thankful for as it’s only adding to the nose).
Banana milk shakes and circus peanuts. Seems to be more spirit & yeast driven rather than cask driven.
In the mouth — There’s the rye spice you’d expect though it’s *immediately* offset by notes of circus peanuts and Fortune bubble gum – cheap penny candy store candies that bring me back to 1985.
Mouthfeel is lightly oiled and the heat is spot on.
Somewhat unidimensional with the candied notes but I like this dimension. It’s quite tasty and perhaps a little *too* easy.
On the nose — Quite crisp, almost piercing on the nose, all without being hot.
Fresh off the press, and wet, copper pennies. Peach – hard but not underripe. Some nice wood effect that tricks you into thinking there’s a bit of peat in here.
After a few minutes the nose really softens to ripe peach, banana and strawberry taffy, candied orange peels and a Mai Tai on a beach in Honolulu.
After another few minutes I detect this wonderful sour sugared candies note (think Sour Patch Kids), vanilla and a hint of shaved coconut.
In the mouth — Boat loads of chewy and citrusy candies.
Also, fresh fruits such as honey dew melon, Santa Claus melon, and nectarine. Cover these in Wagamama chili oil and you’ve got something here!
Vanilla fondant, more chili oil, cooked butter with brown sugar over vanilla ice cream. Great mouthfeel here, folks. Just great.
Finish — Nice long finish with a handfuls of of melon Hi-Chews and sweet cream.
In sum — Surely not a whisky for all occasions but one to go for when you’re looking to celebrate and indulge yourself. It’s both dangerously easy to drink and gives you a lot in your glass to dissect. I’ve always been pro-Glenmorangie and this does not change my position, it only strengthens it.
Well done, Billy Lumsden!
Many thanks to DAMB for the sample!
Special thanks to IA for the joke!
Region – Distilled in Indiana, matured and extra matured in Utah – ABV – 46%
High West and her various sourced ryes were the first ryes I got into when I started getting serious about American spirits.
Back then, High West had some 16 & 21yo ryes which were all over store shelves and at pretty decent prices. A bit later on I discovered their Rendezvous Rye (which is a staple here at Chez Hatton), and then even further on I found a truly ballsy one: Double Rye!
David Perkins of High West is quite open about sourcing whiskey and blending it in house. In today’s day and age where stories of “grandpa’s famous recipe has been discovered” are built around sourced hooch, it’s good to know there are people like David Perkins who will not use smoke and mirrors. Rather, he ensures High West is transparent and focuses on the blending techniques and extra maturation processes to make his whiskeys stand out amongst the rest.
Today we’ve got a distillery only bottling called “Yippee Ki-Yay” in glass. The details (taken from highwest.com) are as follows:
• TTB designation: A Blend of Straight Whiskies • Proof: Bottled at 46 %ABV • Ratio of component whiskeys: top secret! • Not chill filtered •Marriage of two straight rye whiskies •The 2-year-old •95% rye •5% barley malt mashbill (LDI now MGP) •The older rye has a “barely legal” rye mashbill of: •53% rye •37% corn (Barton Distillery) •Barrel type: Oak barrel that previously held Vermouth Barrel (Vya, Madera, CA), Oak barrel that previously held Qupé Syrah (Qupé Santa maria, CA)
The extra maturation in Vermouth and Qupé Syrah casks is unique and sounds amazing to me.
Color — Somewhere between Rainwater Madeira and a 10+ yr Madeira
On the nose — The backbone is pure LDI/MGP Rye. Think pine cones and pickles.
Surrounding this are layers of cinnamon buns, strawberry sauce, melted butter on spelt bread toast, hints of dry vermouth and dill infused apple cider vinegar (if there were such a thing), dark chocolate, licorice all-sorts. Very herbaceous as well.
This is both very rye-like and very un-rye-like at the same time. A bit of a conundrum, if you will.
In the mouth — Massive spice and dark fruits such as prunes, blackberries, black maraschino cherries, and fresh red plums. Salted, chocolate covered caramels.
All this is sitting on a foundation of pickling spices (mustard seed, caraway, dill weed). The mouthfeel is lush and satisfying.
Finish — A long, vermouthy finish with hints of cracked black pepper.
In sum — This is like a port that used rye whiskey for fortification rather than brandy. This is the ultimate dessert dram. Not a rye for everyone as it’s a departure from the category, but if you have an open mind, you will LOVE this.