Category Archives: Need To Bundle Up

High West’s Yippee Ki-Yay (motherf#cker), batch no. 1


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.

High West Yippee Ki-Yay Batch 1Today we’ve got a distillery only bottling called “Yippee Ki-Yay” in glass.  The details (taken from 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.

High West Yippee Ki-Yay Batch 1Surrounding 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.

High West Yippee Ki-Yay Batch 1In 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.

I know I did. It’s gorgeous stuff.

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!

English Whisky Company comes to the US!


English-Whisky-Company-1I could start off this post by exclaiming: “The British are coming! The British are coming!”

Or worse (and this would be really bad), I could wax on about the British Invasion and make references to Herman’s Hermits dramlaxing with ‘Enry the Eighth or The Kinks rocking out with The Village Dram Preservation Society or The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Dram…

Heck, if I wanted to I could post this Monty Python bit about Kamikaze Scotsman… if I wanted to:

However, I’m not going to do any of that.  Wouldn’t even consider it!

There is a lot to cover in this post so I am going straight to the two whisky reviews.

Both whiskies are bottled at 46% ABV and non-chill filtered and can be found for around $69/bottle here in the USA.

Note that these bottlings are USA specific and have a slightly different make-up as compared to the UK or EU versions.  These whiskies have both been matured in both new oak and ex-bourbon casks.  The new wood cask usage is specific to the US market.

English Whisky Company “Classic” non-peated – 46% ABV

On the nose –  A slightly pungent start on the nose however it’s balanced quite nicely with hints of pear drops and a slight spicy/spiced edge.

English-Whisky-Company-2Damp dish towels are in here but it’s also bit like a banana split with, well, bananas, vanilla bean ice cream, the smell of nitrous from the whipped cream dispensing bottle and slight, distant notes of salted almond.  A vegetal quality as well that reminds me of milk thistle.

On the mouthAb-fab mouthfeel.  Attention whisky producers – this is the oily mouthfeel you want to target for your bottlings.  For realz.

English-Whisky-Company-3The spicy element really comes through.  It’s a most welcome element that creates a nice frame for the fine and malty backbone.  Some light fruits in here as well as hints of wild flowers.  This is a really delicate and soft whisky.

Finish – A nice long and drying finish.

In sum – This whisky is nice, delicate and understated.  However, there’s a spicy edge to it that is so very interesting….  Oddly enough, I see myself bundling up by a fire and drinking this one.  So, I’d say this is a fine winter-time dram.

English Whisky Company Peated – 46% ABV

English-Whisky-Company-4On the nose –  Soft peat and again, floral, like I got with on the “Classic” version.  An absolute joy that is somewhat reminiscent of the Octomore Comus when I nose it.  Salty and oh, so biscuity on the nose.  Anise seed or black licorice and touches of plums.

After a few minutes, the spice really shines through.

English-Whisky-Company-5On the mouth – A nice mouthfeel but not as oily as the sample of the “Classic” I have.  Very malty and salty with a good deal of smoke at the back of the tongue.  Salty, spicy, subtle fruits and more flowers for you.

Amazing that behind all of the spice, salt and malt that the delicate character of the spirit shines through.

Finish – Soft, drying and hints of chocolate and chicory (unexpected).

In sum – If I had my choice, as nice as the peated is, the “Classic” is so well done that I’d reach for that.  Actually, I’d reach for it anytime now that I think about it (and have a sip of it again).  Dare I say, the “Classic” is an everyday dram?  Yes, yes it is.  Yum!

Special thanks to RS and Purple Valley Imports for the official samples!

Lost Spirits “Leviathan I” American heavily peated single malt whiskey.


California – 53%ABV – $55 (solid pricing for single cask, cask strength whiskey!)

Today I’ll be sharing some details on a new American whiskey called “Leviathan I” and the distillery that produces it; Lost Spirits Distillery.  If you’ve not heard of Lost Spirits before, don’t feel bad.  Most folks have not heard of them.  They waited quietly and patiently for their whiskey to mature before they made any large public announcements about their distillery and whiskeys.

Before we start with the whiskey, let’s start with the bottle and the fact that it’s got a wine cork rather than a whisk(e)y bottle cork with the plastic top (see right).  If you’re like me, you save your whisk(e)y bottle corks – you may need one after opening this bottle.

Now, onto the distillery owners.

Bryan and Joanne, owners of Lost Spirits in Monterey County California, came back to their native Cali-roots after a good stint with another distillery they owned; that one in Spain where they made Obsello Absinthe and Port of Barcelona Gin.

Not only did Bryan and Joanne up and move back to California to open a whiskey distillery, these good folks built their still entirely by hand.  Two people, four hands, one giant still with a big dragon head attached:

Yeah, that’s right.  A dragon head.   And what’s more is that the still is located outside… not confined in any building. I’ve not seen anything like this before and I doubt you have either.  Located outside and with a dragon head, it’s like this whiskey is distilled atop the Misty Mountains (where the spirits go now).  Brilliant: 

Now let’s talk about the actual whiskey itself.  This is peated American single malt.  Bryan and Joanne have sourced Canadian peat to peat their California barley to 110ppm.  Then they mature the whiskey exclusively in late harvest “Botrytised Cabernet” casks.  This type of Cabernet, as Bryan taught me, is basically a somewhat Sauternes-like wine.  If you frequent my blog then you know I’ve got a “thing” for Sauternes matured whiskies…

What’s more is every single release of theirs will be release as a single cask, cask strength bottling.  (*Swoon*)  It’s as if they had whisk(e)y geeks like me in mind when the designed this stuff!

Kudos to Bryan and Joanne for doing something so unique in the world of American whiskey!  It just goes to show that craft distilling in the US is growing; not only in the number of US craft distillers but also in the styles of whiskey and the way they produce it.

Now, to taste the Leviathan:

On the nose Lost Spirits?  More like wild, crazy, wacky spirits.

I would have have never pegged this for malt whiskey.  I’d perhaps more assume this were a Mezcal. (In fact, it’s quite like the Tobala Del Maguey Mezcal I reviewed last year.)  Smoky yet not smoked (if that makes sense), phenolic/carbolic.

Screeching tires on sticky black tarmac.

Wine influence is quite noticeable after a few minutes.  Pungent and sweet red wine reduction and then hints of red wine vinegar.

The sweetness then dissipates to reveal charred swamp ash and an intense bitterness that evolves into what I’d swear is the scent of Manchego cheese.

Like I said, this is wild stuff.

On the mouth Massive mouthfeel, sweet grape jam flavor to start but this is followed by tropical fruits such as mango and papaya.

Some malty quality comes through but this is still quite Mezcal-like.

Speaking of malty, I’m reminded here of a smoked porter flavor.  I love smoked porters.

I can taste the burning swamp ash.

Very salty/briny if you take the time to notice – a fine quality.

Finish Like a smoked madeira or some red grape desert wine.  The finish goes on and on.

In sum  Read the label – 110ppm (phenols rated in parts per million) peated malt whiskey.  Now forget what the labels says.  Do not go into this thinking you’re going to taste an Islay like whisky.

Like any and all spirits, you should go into a dram of this with the mind wide open.  If you do you’ll find that it’s a well crafted whiskey.  It’s not an every day whiskey, for sure, but it’s sort of “yum” in a glass if you ask me.

I’d suggest drinking this when you have time outside (fishing or hiking) or after a moment of completion – maybe once you’ve climbed to the top of that mountain.

Really enjoyable whiskey!

Special thanks to Bryan and Joanne for the sample!

Glen Moray – 8yo Chenin Blanc, Distillery Only, Single Cask bottled at 60.7% ABV

Image shown is not of the actual bottle itself but shows you what the Glen Moray distillery bottlings look like.

Speyside region – 60.7%ABV – £60 (distillery only)

Many people in the states have not heard of Glen Moray or if they have, they only know of their 12yo whisky (a solid, solid whisky if you ask me).

Most people in the UK think of Glen Moray as the supermarket single malt.  A bargain malt, if you will.

My initial experience with Glen Moray was quite different…

It started with a chance purchase of a single cask expression.  While at the time I had not known much about the distillery, I was attracted to this single cask of Glen Moray as the whisky had spent its full 13 years of life in a new charred oak cask.  Sort of like a Scottish bourbon, I thought.

Yes, obviously, nothing like a bourbon being that the distillate is 100% malted barley but perhaps a bit like an American whiskey in that the maturation took place inside a new charred oak cask (a very un-Scotch whisky thing to do, mind you).  The cask choice intrigued me so I had to buy a bottle.

In four words: I fell in love.

After this my friend David B treated me to their standard 12yo and even at lower 40% ABV — I am usually an anti-40% ABV elitist-whisky-geek prick but often find myself enjoying the strength.  A difficult position to be in… perhaps I’m a mystery broken into a jigsaw puzzle, wrapped in a conundrum, hidden in a Chinese box, a riddle — I found it to be robust, well balanced and had an amazing mouthfeel.  Thanks again David, I am a convert.

Since then I have had my good share of Glen Moray whiskies.

During my last trip to Scotland I had the good chance to visit their amazing distillery which had, perhaps, one of the most beautiful distillery welcome centers (Iain, you’ve done a bang up job!) I had ever seen.

While at their distillery shop I had the chance to taste the following whisky: Glen Moray Chenin Blanc Distillery Only Single Cask bottled at 60.7% ABV.

At only 260 bottles and being a distillery only bottle… this stuff is like hens teeth!

On the nose Earthy, pungent & sweet.  This is big and bold – a powerful smelling 8yo whisky.

Fresh cut (green) tubers come to mind as I sniff this whisky as do white cherries but, and perhaps more so, white raisins make quite an impression.

(I’m fairly positive that the preceding sentence was grammatically incorrect in some way.  Please forgive me.)

Golden birch, cinnamon sweetened fruit biscuits and the distinct smell of a burning cotton t-shirt.

On the mouth Well, if I thought the nose was big and bold, it’s a veritable pussy cat compared to the attack of this whisky upon first sip.  Massive stuff!

It let’s you know that it’s 60.7% ABV.  It’s not hot, just *incredibly* forceful.

More (dark) birch beer, quite spicy and drying with touches of over cinnamoned french toast, maple sugar candies and honey reduction.

It’s almost like drinking hi-octane Chenin Blanc except that the malt content is quite obvious (yet so is the cask effect).

Finish Very sweet and filled with boozy peaches.  Long too.  Let’s not forget that bit!

In sum  Sweet and puckering stuff.  You might want to put on your big boy/girl boots before delving in!  A little bit goes a long way.  You’re going to want to spend time with this one.

Whether you choose to add water or not is up to you.  I decided not to but a little bit might help (as you’ll learn from the review over at and another great review from Matt and Karen at Whisky For Everyone.)

Special thanks goes out to IA for the sample – cheers!