Category Archives: Autumn

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel #922 pick for Warehouse Liquors in Chicago

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel for Warehouse LiquorsRegion – Kentucky  – Special pick by Gene at Warehouse Liquors – Single Barrel # 922 Rick House “N” – Floor 5-3-3, 55% ABV (multiply ABV x 2 to get “proof” – I really prefer the use of ABV, less multiplication, and more direct – come on America!!!).

Number of bottles ??  Cost: $55

I bought this bottle on the suggestion of Warehouse Liquors store proprietor, Gene.  If you’re ever in Chicago, Warehouse Liquors is a sight for sore whisk(e)y eyes. Like Binny’s, Kenwood, Antioch (and many others… the list could go on, really), Warehouse Liquors is a whisk(e)y destination that helps put Chicago on the map.  Beyond the store itself (300+ ‘Murrican whiskeys, and 650+ single malt whiskies, Scotch and otherwise), it is Gene himself that puts Warehouse liquors on the map. A fountain of knowledge, that one.

Ok, so, the whiskey…  I have never, ever, been a fan of the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrels.  Most people love these releases but it tends to not fit my flavor profile.  Each to their own, right?

However, Gene is one of those in the whisky industry that I trust.  His knowledge, his taste, etc… He’s been able to gauge my palate pretty well, and he’s done so in a fairly quick fashion. So, when he suggested I buy this RR SB that he picked, I said no (the first time).  Did I mention that I just don’t like RR SBs?

Then I came back to Chicago this week, and he pressed me again. Who am I to say no to someone a second time?  Sometimes you just gotta say…

So, against my better judgement based on the releases I prefer to stay aware from, but in favor of my judgement on Gene, his selections, and suggestions based on his knowledge of my palate, I pressed ahead and got a bottle.

My thoughts?  Funny you should ask…

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel for Warehouse LiquorsOn the nose — The first note is big, and it is buttered popcorn (and not a bowl of cherries, as I assume to be smacked with when it comes to the RR SBs).  

The nose is a little hot, which is to be expected (potentially) given the 55 ABV%.  After a couple minutes in the glass, the heat goes away (far away), and I detect cooked tangerine skins, citrus pith, crushed vanilla pods and soft oak.  

Surprisingly, given that this is a #4 char (which is a heavy char, by the way), I’m not smacked in the face with oak. This makes me happy as the grains are fully present here, as are bourbon soaked cherries (subtle note, and yum!).

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel for Warehouse LiquorsThere’s a cologne note here, too.  Elegant.  Not Axe, not old spice, something old worldy.  

Wow, now there’s a note of turkish delights, too (rose water, pistachio and powdered sugar). Call me happy so far!

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel for Warehouse LiquorsIn the Mouth — *Easy* entry, oily mouthfeel.  Slightly herbaceous but balanced by candied orange peel and stewed fruits.  

I can not stress this enough – the mouthfeel is fantastically unctuous.

Because this is not smacking you with oak, this whiskey demands that you focus on the grains.  So, let’s do that, shall we?  

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel for Warehouse LiquorsThere’s a corn sweetness here that makes me pine for autumn.  Subtle rye spice, hints of caraway.  Maraschino cherries (real homemade ones, not that jarred stuff you find everywhere).

Finish — Hints of citrus, spice and soft oak. Slightly tannic, and medium in length.

In sum — Either I’m starting to dig RR SBs or I’ve found two this year that I like (the other being from Gordon’s Fine Wines out of MA – review to follow shortly-ish).  

What I really enjoyed about this one was that it wasn’t all wood and cherries.  This is complex, and a fine pick that brings you out of your bourbon-comfort zone, and challenges you.  Not that bourbons aren’t challenging.  Rather, the oak tends to make flavors dense.  And with this one, it’s all about the grain with oak as a component instead of a dictator.  This one is a drinker and worth the $$ paid, no doot aboot it.

Thanks for pushing me, Gene.  You were right.  Great barrel selection!

Lost Spirits California Navy Style Rum – 68% of ABV Amazingness!


Lost Spirits Navy RumRegion – California – 68% ABV – $45

Rum has always been a go-to for me during Passover.  That or Tequila.  As much as I like those spirits I end up missed malt whisky for a solid 8 days of Passover.  During Passover observant Jews are not permitted to eat or drink anything that has been made with barley/wheat/rye, etc… Nothing grain based.

While enjoyable, the above mentioned spirits are simply not whisky and there is no spot-on alternative.  I think, however, I may have just found a spirit that is the next best thing for drinking during Passover.

Note: this is not a kosher for Passover certified spirit but it’s made from Baking Grade Molasses, Evaporated Sugar Cane Juice and Water.  Zero grain so, it’s good for me!

Lost Spirits Navy RumOn the noseIt all starts off with a sweet and damp pack of Winston cigarettes and burning medjool dates which has been tightly wrapped with a a few hundred horse mane hairs.  Does that make sense to you?  After a few sips of 68% ABV rum, it just may!

Lost Spirits Navy RumA New England brush fire on a late October day.  Heavy brown sugar with the scent of some of the nicest brown bread with rum raisins.  Molasses (of course) and a touch anise.  At 68%, it’s so easy to nose though it’s a tad dense yet, in a good way.

A couple more notes before I move to the palate portion of the tasting – toasted oak covered in apple sauce with heavy brown sugar and a touch of cinnamon.

On the mouth —  Pow! Blam! Bash! and a host of other 60’s Batman TV show fight scene words… This punches your tongue and wakes you up.Lost Spirits Navy Rum

Lost Spirits Navy RumYou’d think this were a sherried malt.  While not very oily there are loads of notes that include (though not limited to) figgy pudding, cola cubes, date pits, cherry skins and cigar wrapper (dark).

Bruised strawberries and a slight hint of wintergreen (really?!).  Prune and prune filled butter cookies.  Wow.  Yummy.

FinishMedium in length with some light brown sugar and more of that wintergreen.

In sum I’ve had my fair share of rums, most of which were 40-46% ABV.  I’ve had a decent amount of over-poof ones, too.  I’m fairly confident in saying that this is the best over-proof/cask strength rum I’ve had to date.  I could add water to this and I’m sure it’d be a bit of a water rat.  However, it’s so damn good at full cask strength so I’m going to remain a purist.

Well worth your time and attention, people!  Find a bottle.  Find it and love it.

Special thanks to BD for the ample review sample!!

Glenmorangie Companta – Private Edition release #5 – 46% ABV


GLENMORANGIE COMPANTAIf I had a million dollars for every time Glenmorangie came out with a Special Private Edition whisky, I’d be five million dollars richer! Also, I’d use a good chunk of that cash to purchase more of these Private Edition Glenmos (though they tend to be fairly priced between $79-$99 whenever they’re released so I’d still have a good chunk of change left over for, well, more whisky!).

This bottle will run you about $99, maybe a little more depending on who you buy from.

So yes, this is the 5th release of the Glenmorangie Special Private Edition whiskies and **spoiler alert** this one is my favorite from the bunch.

A little unnamable birdie told me that this whisky is made up of:

60% of the vatting = 1999 distillate aged in ex-bourbon casks until 2008 then finished 5 years in Clos de Tart casks. Total age = 14yrs

40% of vatting = 1995 distillate aged in ex-bourbon casks until 2005 then finished in fortified Rasteau casks for 8 years. Total age = 18yrs

So, while this is an NAS (no age statement) bottling, it’s not immature whisky by any stretch of the imagination!

Furthermore, this is bottled at a respectable 46% ABV and non-chill-filtered.  Kudos to Glenmorangie for sticking to these quality requirements.

Let’s give is a taste now…

Glenmorangie CompantaOn the noseSo far it smells like my Tuesday morning: massive presence of red wine gums and hazelnut coffee grounds. (Please don’t tell my wife I sneak some wine gums for breakfast or my tea-snob friends that I indulge in the occasional flavored coffee.)

Burgundy soaked peach halves are an obvious and welcome note but I did not expect the presence of Spanish olives, pimento and all (am I sensing manchego cheese too or just getting hungry?).

Glenmorangie CompantaDeep and dark chocolate with some fresh cut roses. Was Dr. Bill Lumsden thinking of a Valentine’s Day whisky when he created this one?  Hollow out those dark chocolates and fill them with raspberry jam.

Not sure if you’re getting it yet but, boy, this is a decedent dram!  At least on the nose it is.  Time to put it in my mouth. (Hey Hatton, keep it clean!  Pfft.)

Glenmorangie Companta

On the mouth —  Mouth-filling-ly dense, rich and oily.  Wow, this is a big whisky!  The heart is pure Glenmorangie but it’s layered so elegantly with flavors of citrus and clove, sugar cooked pecans, a touch of dark caramel and a dash of toasted and spicy oak.

The scents and flavors are very well integrated.

Glenmorangie CompantaLet’s sip again (no water needed here, folks!): That raspberry jam from the nose is still here and the oil on the tongue only helps.  Add some cranberry to that raspberry mix and perhaps a little more spice.

Loads of stewed red fruits and warming potpourri.

FinishMy one complaint: the finish is a bit on the short side however the final flavor is that of red wine soaked blood oranges and, boy, that’s a nice way to end the experience.  Well I suppose you can just take another sip, right?  Right.

In sum I know there were some people that went Ga-Ga over the last special release (Ealanta) but this is, in my honest opinion, a far superior whisky.  This is a whisky that is very sure of what it is supposed to be.

The story stays true from beginning to end and the experience on the whole was a whole lot of enjoyment and fun.  If you can get a bottle, get a bottle.  You will not be disappointed.  This is perfect as an evening or morning warmer-upper.

**Special thanks to DB for the sample and to Billy Lumsden for another fine creation.  Well done, sir!

Speed dating with… whisk(e)y! Episode 4: Chieftain’s 14yo Glenburgie 1998


Speyside region – 56.9% ABV – $120Chieftain's Glenburgie

Hey!  It’s been a while since I went on a whisk(e)y speed date!

I guess Kilchoman’s 3rd edition of 100% Islay took up a good chunk of my time.  You will be missed, baby.  But, onward and upward.

It wasn’t meant to be, you and me.  I have a date with this here Glenburgie.

The shadchanim told me they have cask strength Speysider with lots of promise and I just “need to meet her!”

Let’s see… are we meant to be?

GlenburgieOn the nose (Date # 1) –  Wow, what a mixture of scents hitting me from all around!  Let’s start off with a light toastiness that is verging on lightly peated with hints of almonds.

With a burst of pumpkin spices (cardamom, nutmeg and ginger), this is quite autumnal.  Add to this some boiled and baked apples with a dash or three of cinnamon, for good measure…  Who needs a sweater when you have this whisky?

GlenburgieWow, I just thought of a term I haven’t thought of since high school: sweater melons.  Jeez, young boys comes up with the silliest of terms…  Sorry ladies!  It’s the kind of term that makes you cringe a little, isn’t it?

There’s a lovely pungency that seems to be sherry cask driven.  Also, salted licorice.  So far, so yum.

Ah, sherry, what a lovey girl she be!

GlenburgieOn the mouth (Date # 2 This girl is intriguing and she has yet to tell me “hey buddy, my eyes are up here!”) – Big and spicy, verging on hot but I do not see a need to reach for water.  Quite salty with anise seed and damp licorice root.

Jalepeno pickled pineapple and a hint of clean pool water.  Great mouth feel (in case you were wondering).  Barbecued and stewed carrots.

Finish (Date # 3: The deciding factor) – Long and spicy with a gooseberry burst-type tartness.

In sum (The decision) –  I enjoy her spirit and over all, am overjoyed to have dated a fall-type whisky that wasn’t over-sherried or over oaked (read: totally full of herself).  We shall date again.  Now to find a theater that is showing The Goonies…

Special thanks to the folks at ImpEx for the sample!

Happy (J)New Year!! Sorry for the silence as of late…


More reviews and risky/whisky opinions to come in the new year – 5774 that is!

I hope my Jewish readers have a sweet new year.  I wish (for all my readers) that you have a wonderful chilly fall season filled with lots of friends, family and drams.  Rock on!

L’shanah Tovah!

L'shanah Tovah - Happy New Year
L’shanah Tovah – Happy New Year