Category Archives: Whiskies

Angel’s Envy Kentucky Bourbon – the OU Kosher certified version!

Kentucky Bourbon finished in OU Kosher certified Port casks from the Kedem Winery – $48

Well, after what was a fine celebration of Rosh Hashanah 5773 (for you gentle Gentile readers out there, Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year and according to how the rabbis count the years, it’s year 5773), I decided to take a look at what I should review and I personally thought that the OU (Orthodox Union) certified version of Angel’s Envy would be a good candidate.  Truthfully, I reviewed this a a short time ago but am just now posting my thoughts to you, the whisk(e)y hungry public.

As I write this, I decided to revisit this whiskey and am so happy that i did!  It truly is a fine one and one that is quite different from what you might come to know as a bourbon. The port cask finishing makes for such a difference!

This version of Angel’s Envy is different from the Angel’s Evny I previously reviewed, the initial launch of the product.  What’s different?  Well, the good folks from Angel’s Envy decided to use OU certified port casks to finish this version.  Also, being that this whiskey is from different stock/different casks, one should expect it to taste a slightly different anyway.

Let’s have a taste, shall we?

On the nose — Intensely sweet.  It actually almost noses like some 1st fill/fresh bourbon casks of single malt Scotch whiskies I’ve had (thinking Arran or Aberlour here – both distilleries seems to use some very active casks, at least in my experience).

Loads of butterscotch combined with a rock candy sweetness.

Sweet pepper relish.

Some wood spice and pencil shavings as well as unsalted corn nuts (this was a difficult one to pull out based on the sweetness of this whisky).

This is whacky, just whacky whiskey.  (Whacky good, that is!)

On the mouth — Much softer and shy than expected (given the somewhat aggressive and flamboyant qualities on the nose).

Still quite sweet with a focus on creamed corn topped with Rainier cherries.

Now some of the more bourbon-standard notes kick in. (nutmeg, vanilla, pencil shavings, etc…).

A soft cereal influence here, too.  All the flavors are playing quite nicely together.

Finish — A medium butterscotched finish.

In sum —  The nose showed amazing promise mainly as, for a bourbon, it revealed true character and individuality in the bourbon category.

While still interesting and highly enjoyable to taste, I wonder if a slightly higher ABV would have given it the kick I was expecting/hoping for; it ended up being a bit more shy and soft than expected.

While I do prefer the initial launch of Angel’s Envy, I enjoyed this greatly and find it just amazing that a bourbon bottler that cares enough to pay attention to the kosher keepers out there that they made a special bottling just for them.  Kudos and thank you!!

Special thanks to WH for the ample sample!

Loch Chaim Aberlour 16yo Single Cask

Speyside region – 43%ABV – $65

It’s been a while since I’ve done a kosher certified whisky and being that the one year anniversary of the Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society blog is getting ever nearer (it’s tomorrow, by the way), I thought it was about time I review another whisky that’s targeted toward the Jewish consumer.

The Loch Chaim line of single cask whiskies has so far proven itself to be a line that’s good for Jew and Gentile alike.

So, what make this kosher?  Well, put simply, whisky is kosher by nature as long at it’s matured in anything other than an ex-sherry/wine/port/madeira cask.  All whiskies in the Loch Chaim line are matured in barrels which previously held bourbon.  Bourbon, by US law, needs to be matured in new charred oak barrels; therefore, there is no sherry/wine/port/madeira influence on the whisky whatsoever.

If you want to know more about the ins-and-outs of why a whisky can be considered kosher or not kosher – you can read this great article by Alan L.

Click here to see all of the Loch Chaim whiskies I’ve reviewed

On the nose Scented candle shop filled with Christmas wreaths and holly berry scented candles.

Yeah right, like you see a lot of Jewish Latke scented candles at those shops…

A bag of assorted Halloween candies (or Purim candies I suppose).

Soy sauce and some potted house flowers (big begonias).

On the mouth Very similar to the nose and a thick mouth feel to boot!

Beyond what’s listed in the Nose section is an interesting note of fresh vidallia onion.

White pepper and a bit of bay leaf (like a nice autumn stew).

Increasingly peppery.

Hints of black licorice.

Finish Ends on a big red peppery note, perhaps a little bit of 9-volt bite.

In sum Fresh and light like an early summer’s day however very much an Autumn malt.  I liked this.  I think Aberlour shines with their sherried product but take the name Aberlour out of the picture and this is a solid dram.

Catoctin Creek – Mosby’s Spirit & Roundstone Rye – organic & kosher (not for Passover)!

What’s that?  Oh, you haven’t heard of Catoctin Creek?  Wait, are you serious??

Actually, I believe it.  And I wouldn’t expect many to have heard about these folks.  Well, things are going to change, my friends!  Catoctin Creek is surely the new kid on the block (please, no Donnie Wahlberg jokes, people).  They started in 2009 and are the first distillery to open in their county since Prohibition.  The brain child of Scott & Becky Harris, I think these folks have something quite good on their hands.  And this something is only going to grow!

For my tree-huggers out there, all of Catoctin Creek’s products are certified organic.  And for my Jews in the audience, their products are kosher certified (Star K).  Oh, and for my booze lovers on the other side of the computer or smartphone screen, their whiskies are really good and… award winning!

Sadly, as it stands now, Catoctin Creek spirits are currently only available in California, Virginia, Maryland & Washington DC.  In speaking with Scott Harris, however, he told me that they are currently working on wider distribution.

Update – Schneider’s of Capitol Hill will ship Catoctin Creek nationwide (USA).

Rather than put it all on the post here, to learn more about Catoctin Creek, click here.

Now, let me learn you on these whiskies.  First, I’ll review their “Mosby’s Spirit” which is unmatured rye spirit, straight off the still then diluted to 40% ABV.  The second is their “Roundstone Rye” which is their “Mosby’s Spirit” aged in new oak barrels for an unspecified amount of time.  Both are 100% rye with no other grain influence.

Mosby’s Spirit – Virginia, USA – Awarded a bronze medal by the American Distilling Institute – 40%ABV – 750ml – $39

On the nose No doubt about – if the label on the bottle didn’t tell me, or the crystal clear color of this rye didn’t clue me in, this is white dog, new make spirit, what ever you want to call it – it’s straight off the still rye!

Slight citrus notes.  If I didn’t know better, I might confuse the scent of this for a silver tequila.

Hints of gooseberries.

Very sweet nose.  Very clean as well.

Rye bread (duh!).

On the mouth Thinnish mouth feel.

I enjoy the flavor much more than the nose.  Very drinkable.

A slight saltiness to this.

Here’s a strange note for you: fresh cement.

Light & clean white wine.

Some unripened peach tones in there.

Tinned oranges.  Actually a tin of many fruits (including that one single solitary cherry they throw in for you).

Finish Medium in length with some of the rye from the nose and an interesting cranberry flavor that popped up.

In sum I went into reviewing this whisky with the thought that it’s nothing more than a rye for mixing purposes.  Nosing the stuff and I still felt this way.  Tasting it changed my mind.  I would be happy to sip on this stuff, especially in the summertime but I’d equally be happy to make a nice Manhattan with it.  Think I’ll pour a wee bit more…  Nah, have to review the Roundstone Rye now…

Roundstone Rye – Virginia, USA – 40%ABV – 750ml – $39

On the noseIt’s interesting what one year in an oak cask will do.

Upfront with the vanilla and a few hits of coconut.

Wet oak.

Rounded out with soft caramel apple

Peachy peach.

On the mouthBig and rich in flavor and a nice mouth feel.

Cinnamon sticks.

Grilled apple slices.

Still a good deal of new make-i-ness in there but, I’m a fan of young spirit so no complaints here and after only a small amount of time in a cask, I would not expect anything else.

Unripened peach (just like with the white dog).

FinishMedium in length with some great notes of caramel and rye.

In sumA very approachable rye, especially for those just getting into them.  It might benefit from a slightly higher ABV (maybe 46%) but still, a solid whisky (and yes, Catoctin Creek spells it “whisky” without the “E”.

Many thanks to Scott Harris for the generous samples!

Loch Chaim Macallan 18yr Single Cask

Speyside region – 43%ABV – $96 – $127

As you may or may not know, I am part of a whisky blogging group called The Whisky Round Table.  We’re a group of 12 whisky bloggers who bring up a new topic every month to discuss.  Each month one of us fearless knights (of the Whisky Round Table) comes up with a question and we all have to answer it on that questioner’s blog.  You can follow our twitter feed here: @whiskyknights

Why do bring this up?  Well, Ruben of recently brought up a great question about Independent bottlers (you can find it here as well as our answers to his question) and Loch Chaim, as I am finding, is one of these great indy bottlers we all discuss.

This next expression is a great example of a well chosen cask by an indy and another reason why independent bottlers should not and can not be ignored.

Color This is an 18 year old whisky?

I don’t normally rate color but this so light, like a Sauvignon Blanc.

Obviously, there’s no sherry influence here but even with a bourbon cask I would have expected more color.

On the nose Again, this is an 18 year old whisky?

Very aggressive nose filled with a boat load of spice and vanilla.

Some toasted coconut notes.

Lemon essence water.


Chamomile tea.

On the mouth Nice entry; slight viscosity.

More chamomile tea with an extra teaspoon of sugar.

Perhaps some green apple and star fruit.

Finish Tea and coffee.  A bit fizzy.

In sum Do not go into this thinking you’re going to experience your typical (read: sherried) Macallan.  This is as near the antithesis of a standard bottle of Macallan you can find.  However, this is not a bad thing.  Oh, I found this whisky to be very light and refreshing!  I could wake up with this stuff, it’s most invigorating.  Very much a springtime whisky.

Loch Chaim Linkwood 17yr Single Cask

Speyside region – 46%ABV – $73 – $92

Here we go again, delving a bit further into the not so wide world of kosher certified Scotch whiskies.

“What would make a whisky not kosher?” you ask.  To make a long story short, whisky matured in a non-kosher wine or sherry cask, to some Jews, renders said whisky non-kosher.  To some Jews, myself included, this is not a relevant statement.

To make a short story long, read this well written piece by Alan L that I’ve been meaning to post for some time now…part 1 and part 2.

You know, I don’t think I’ve met a Linkwood I didn’t like.  So, what about one with no sherry influence?  Let’s see…

On the nose Oak and oats.

A bit of a vanilla bomb here.

Fizzy white wine.

Sweet and low.

For 43% ABV, this is a bit stingy in the nose!

Dollar store, no-named powdered sugar candies…

Like Smartees with less of a fruity influence, more sugar than anything.

On the mouth Here we go.

Great mouth feel, coating my tongue with Hostess apple pie goo.

Honey and breakfast cereals (muesli).

Toasty almonds (slight, more of a bitting marzipan note here actually).

Flaky sugar coating (again, from that Hostess pie)

Finish Short to medium yet nice and warming.

In sum Yup, it’s true, I haven’t met a Linkwood I haven’t liked and this one is no exception.  A nice whisky for Jew and Gentile alike.  Perfect for a chilly night in lieu of a sherried whisky.