Posts Tagged connoisseur

Bourbon on The Rock with Japanese Big Ball Ice

I was finally able to obtain some big ball ice trays from Hong Kong thanks to Ebay. These trays do an excellent job of making 2.25″ diameter ice spheres. The ice has a lower surface area than a hand full of small cubes, which allows it to melt at a slower rate, thus diluting drinks less. Bourbon on the rock, as I have started calling it, brings some new enjoyment to drinking chilled bourbon. I have also read that double boiling the water will make the ice more clear. The boiling reduces the oxygen bubbles in the water, which make the ice less cloudy. I have to admit that I don’t have the patience to double boil the water, but I have been single boiling it. If I was presenting it at a bar or restaurant, I would take the time to double boil the water in order to obtain the clearest ice possible.

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Limited Edition ORVW 23 year-old Decanter Released

ORVW 23 decanterFRANKLIN COUNTY, KY—December, 2009 —The Van Winkle family is pleased to announce the release of a very limited Old Rip Van Winkle Family Selection 23 year-old bourbon whiskey decanter. Every barrel of whiskey was chosen from the lower, cooler floors of the aging warehouse, allowing this wheated-recipe bourbon to age more gracefully.

Julian and Preston Van Winkle hand-picked these select barrels which were filled in April of 1986. This bourbon will not be chill filtered, leaving in all the flavor and complexity of the whiskey. Each decanter will be bottled at the original barrel entry proof of 114.

“This is some of our best whiskey,” commented Julian Van Winkle. “I’m thrilled to offer this new expression of Old Rip. Hopefully whiskey aficionados will appreciate the rich taste of this bourbon as much as I do.”

There will only be 1,200 of these unique decanters available. Each bottle was produced by the award-winning Glencairn Crystal of Scotland and is hand-engraved and numbered to commemorate the exclusive bottling. Every decanter will be packaged in a beautiful solid wood, leather-lined box along with a crystal stopper and two crystal glasses.

Approximate Retail Price of the new 23 year decanter is $350.00 (USD). Actual price may vary by retailer due to differences in taxation, regulations, and distribution channel factors.

Are you planning to purchase one? Have you tasted it yet? Please leave us a comment if you have.

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Buffalo Trace Experiments with Double Barrels

Buffalo Trace Experimental CollectionFRANKLIN COUNTY, KY— It’s time for the next round! After more than twenty years of experimentation, Buffalo Trace Distillery is rolling out more of their sought after Experimental Collection. The release explores what effect “double barreling” has on bourbon whiskey. In these two experiments the bourbon was aged in new, charred oak barrels and then removed after several years, only to fill more new, charred oak barrels.  The full flavor from each of these new barrels was extracted by the whiskey, creating a very powerful result.

Here are some of this experiment’s details:

1. 1993 Double Barreled: These barrels were filled April 4, 1993 and bottled September 15, 2009. Buffalo Trace Rye Bourbon Mash Bill #2 was used and the product entered the barrel at 125 proof. The bourbon was removed from its original barrel and re-barreled December 12, 2001. At 16 years and five months of age the finished product has a deep, rich flavor that fully expresses the oak character. The re-barreling has taken it far beyond its 16 years. It has a very strong, powerful finish.

2. 1997 Double Barreled: These barrels were filled November 18, 1997 and bottled September 16, 2009. Buffalo Trace Rye Bourbon Mash Bill #2 was used and the product entered the barrel at 125 proof. The bourbon was removed from its original barrel and re-barreled December 12, 2001. At 11 years and ten months of age the finished product has a complex barrel flavor. It possesses a deep caramel color making it pleasing to the eye as well as the palette. It has a very robust start and finishes smooth.

“I really love the variety in these experimental releases,” commented Harlen Wheatley, master distiller. “The end product is so different from one release to the next. I look forward to the new information we garner from each round.”

There are more than 1,500 experimental barrels of whiskey now aging in the warehouses of Buffalo Trace. Each of the barrels has unique characteristics making it different from all others. Some examples of these experiments include unique mash bills, types of wood and barrel toasts.  In order to further increase the scope, flexibility and range of the experimental program an entire micro distillery, complete with cookers, fermenting tanks and a state of the art micro still has been constructed within the Buffalo Trace Distillery.

The Experimental Collection will be packaged in 375ml bottles. Each label will include all the pertinent information unique to that barrel of whiskey. These whiskies will be released in late October of 2009 and retail for approximately $46.35 each. Each experiment is rare and very limited. For more information on the Experimental Collection or the other products of Buffalo Trace Distillery, please contact Kris Comstock at kcomstock@buffalotrace.com.

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Woodford Reserve Releases Limited Edition Bourbon Featuring Specially-Aged Barrels

October 27, 2009, Louisville, Ky. – Woodford Reserve announces the latest extension of its acclaimed Master’s Collection which will be released on November 1. Called ‘Seasoned Oak Finish,’ it is the fourth in the series of limited edition bottlings and continues Woodford Reserve’s tradition of crafting rare whiskeys that extend the category in bold new directions.

Barrels play a key role in producing bourbon, with approximately 70 percent of the spirit’s wrmc-seasoned-oak-bottle-shot-187x300flavor and aroma and all of its color provided by the oak barrel. Woodford Reserve’s new offering, Seasoned Oak Finish, features bourbon finish-aged in unique barrels crafted with wood that has been seasoned longer than any previously used in the industry.

“Of all the distillers in our industry, we are the only bourbon company that crafts its own barrels, giving us unique knowledge and control of the process,” said Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris. “As the rough oak staves are exposed to seasonal weather changes and subsequently dried, this natural cycle develops a new range of flavors in the wood.”

This seasoning progression changes the wood by reducing tannins and ultimately creates a new range of flavor compounds. The staves for most bourbon barrels are seasoned for three to five months; however, Seasoned Oak Finish combines fully-matured Woodford Reserve with barrels crafted from wood that has been exposed to the outdoors for three to five years — the longest seasoning known in the bourbon industry.

“By ‘finish aging’ Woodford Reserve in barrels that have been crafted from oak and seasoned for several years, we created a bourbon unlike any other in the industry. It’s the most robust bourbon we have ever made,” said Wayne Rose, brand director for Woodford Reserve. “This special Master’s Collection release emboldens Woodford Reserve with ‘extra-aged’ oak character resulting in a new and complex flavor profile.”

Seasoned Oak Finish is the fourth in the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection series following the Four Grain, Sonoma-Cutrer Finish and Sweet Mash products. Released periodically at the master distiller’s discretion, the Master’s Collection whiskeys are extremely limited in quantity and bottled only once in a proprietary package inspired by the copper pot stills of The Woodford Reserve Distillery.

The inspiration for the Master’s Collection is rooted in the rich history and tradition of what is today known as The Woodford Reserve Distillery. In the mid-1800s distillery owner Oscar Pepper and Master Distiller James Crow studied and recommended use of key processes like sour mashing and charred barrel maturation at the historic Woodford County distillery. These practices are still maintained in the bourbon industry and, today, the distillery receives more than 80,000 visitors annually and is the only one in America to triple-distill bourbon in copper pot stills.

Woodford Reserve Seasoned Oak Finish will be sold in 44 U.S. markets, and a limited quantity will be available in Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, New Zealand and Australia. Each bottle is individually hand-numbered and presented at 100.4 proof. Available in major metro markets, only 1,337 cases are available with a suggested retail price of $89.99 for a 750ml bottle.

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Woodford Reserve is one of the fine spirits produced and marketed by Brown-Forman

Corporation, a producer and marketer of fine quality beverage alcohol brands, including Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Fetzer, Korbel, Tequila Herradura, Sonoma-Cutrer, Chambord, Tuaca, and Bonterra. Please enjoy your bourbon responsibly. For more information on Woodford Reserve, visit www.woodfordreserve.com.

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 45.2% Alc. by Vol., The Woodford Reserve Distillery, Versailles, KY ©2009.

Tasting Notes for Woodford Reserve Seasoned Oak Finish

Color:  Rich mahogany.

Aroma:  Deep, complex and subtly sweet; hints of cinnamon, clove, rich caramel and pipe  tobacco, with a nutty oak character.

Taste:   Full-flavored and robust oak with layers of anise, dark berries and cherry fruit,  warming cinnamon and clove spice notes, all with a caramel nut sauce.

Finish: Velvety and long with a hint of crisp dryness.

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Bardstown Bourbon Society Changes Name

Bardstown Whiskey SocietyHeaven Hill’s Bardstown Bourbon Society will be renamed to the Bardstown Whiskey Society and launched an attractive new website for members. In response to recent member satisfaction survey results, the Bardstown Whiskey Society has lots of new and exciting benefits to offer in order to teach consumers more about American Whiskey.

By joining, you will receive the following exclusive benefits.

  • An attractive membership certificate
  • Invitations to special events such as the annual unveiling of the Evan Williams Vintage Single Barrel Bourbon
  • Members-only access to the Society’s web site www.bardstownwhiskeysociety.com
  • Rebates, product information and news from the world of American whiskies
  • A chance to interact with Master Distillers Parker Beam and, his son, Craig Beam

Neck tags on bottles of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage, Elijah Craig Single Barrel, Elijah Craig Small Batch, Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey and Parker’s Heritage Collection include the member registration web address for the Bardstown Whiskey Society (www.bardstownwhiskeysociety.com/register) where you can sign up for a complementary membership.  You may refer friends who enjoy our products but don’t have internet access to write to our mailing address:

Bardstown Whiskey Society

1064 Loretto Road

Bardstown, KY 40004

Once you submit the invitation, you will receive a new member packet within 4-6 weeks containing membership materials.

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Four Roses Single Barrel Limited Edition 2009 Review

Four Roses Limited Edition SB 2009The Four Roses Single Barrel Limited Edition 2009 Release is starting to hit the shelves now. The bourbon is coming at uncut barrel strength and has not been chill filtered. It is running 11 years old and around 113.8 proof (or 56.9 percent alcohol by volume). The 2009 Limited Edition Single Barrel Bourbon has combined the mashbill using 20% rye grain with yeast number 5 which is the OESQ recipe (see below for reference code info). The distillery is producing 1,836 bottles of this release, from super select barrels, and distributing it only in select U.S. markets. The price point is around $70 USD.

Master Distiller Jim Rutledge specially selected the sophisticated 11-year-old whiskey from among the 10 bourbon recipes the distillery produces.

“We’re excited to continue the tradition of releasing an exceptional, and very unique single barrel limited edition that consists of one recipe we feel exhibits various combinations of flavors and aromas pleasing to any Bourbon enthusiast,” said Rutledge.

As a member of the Mellow Moments Club, I had the privilege of tasting this bourbon at the Four Roses Distillery prior to its release. Master Distiller, Jim Rutledge, opened a barrel and drew some of the precious whiskey straight from the barrel for us to taste. He kept the pours coming all night and entertained us until we were all content! When asked how he liked to drink his bourbon, he said, “straight from the barrel!”

The first thing I noticed about my pour of whiskey was the dark, rich amber color. The nose was quite potent and told of the higher proof. The first taste had an initial edge that turned smooth and sweet. Upon taking my first taste, I immediately noticed less spice and ultimately less rye than the standard Four Roses single barrel bourbon (20 % vs. 35%). This bourbon seemed to sit very well on the tongue and was less oily than the standard single barrel. I tasted the oak, nuts, caramel, honey, a bit of wheat grass and spice. It had a very long, clean and complex finish with a nice slow burn that hung around for a bit. After several drinks, the rye started to pop out a little more, but was not overpowering and somewhat subtle. It added to the great complexity of the bourbon. I added a splash of water, which greatly opened the whiskey up and brought out more subtleties. It handled the splash of water very well and is how I will probably drink it from this point forward.

Overall the bourbon is a success. It is different from anything else I have tasted from Four Roses. I can say that it is probably not a bourbon for the beginner or average bourbon drinker. It is definitely targeted at the connoisseur with a sophisticated palette. That being said, I will definitely be buying several bottles of this for the bunker, if I can find them.

Be sure to let us know what you think!

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Four Roses Reference Codes:

10 Total Recipes

Two Mashbills:

OE             OB

Corn                        75%         60%
Rye                          20%         35%
Malted Barley         5%           5%

Five Yeast Cultures:

Yeast Codes:          V, K, O, Q, F

Basic Flavor Descriptors:
V – Delicate fruity flavor
K – Slight spicy character
O – Robust fruitiness
Q – Floral essence
F – Light herbal essence

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Bourbon Clubs And Societies: Learn The Speakeasy Knock

speakeasy

Are you a bourbon connoisseur and enjoy attending exclusive Bourbon events? If so, you may need to know the secret knock. Some distilleries have created special programs for their loyal customers and avid bourbon drinkers, but may not make them well known. These Bourbon Societies offer exclusive benefits to those who are in the know. If you want to receive invitations to private events, tastings, and tours as well as some occasional free swag, you should join some of these free clubs.

Heaven Hill’s Bardstown Bourbon Society

The Four Roses Mellow Moments Club

Maker’s Mark Ambassadors

Knob Creek Stillhouse

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Society

The following societies have been organized by individuals and are not sponsored by any one distillery  They may also charge a fee to become a member or participate in events. They offer discussions, meetings and tastings with fellow enthusiasts. Some are online forums that allow you to connect with others that share the same interests as you in Bourbon. There may be other small and regional clubs that promote a sense of community within the Bourbon world. Also check out the Events Calendar for more details about specific events. Let us know if you know of any clubs that have been left out or would like your event added to the calendar.

The Bourbon Society

New Orleans Bourbon Society

Straight Bourbon

Bourbon Enthusiast

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