Monday, January 19, 2015

New Arrivals: Lost Prophet 22 Year, Wild Turkey Diamond, Jefferson's Ocean Aged, Four Roses "Nate's Barrel"

Hello Bourbon Fans,

The train is back on the tracks, as we've got a couple new bourbons for ya. The crowning jewel is probably the new Orphan Barrel Project's: Lost Prophet 22 year bourbon. It uses a completely different recipe from the other three offerings and is sort of a perfect combination of age, complexity and smoothness. Definitely a little more tannic and oaky than say Barterhouse 20 year but a little more subtle and soft than Old Blowhard 26 year:

-Lost Prophet 22 Year Bourbon: $159.99

The next bourbon is a special celebration of Jimmy Russell's 60 years as Master Distiller at Wild Turkey. They call it "Diamond", and utilize specially selected casks ranging from 13 to 16 years old. This bourbon is delicate and perilessly drinkable. With some softer wild flower honey undertones and just the right amount of barrel char in the finish:

-Wild Turkey Diamond Bourbon: $149.99

Another bourbon that has been highly sought after but tough to come by is the Jefferson's Ocean Aged. This release Introduces a subtle briny-sea air element from being on a ship at sea, it's said the bourbon also ages faster as a result of the hot-humid climate and the gentle rocking of the boat:

-Jefferson's Ocean Aged Bourbon: $99.99

And last but not least after so much success with Exclusive Four Roses single barrels I had to grab another "Nate's Barrel". Like most of my offerings in the past I went with the higher rye mashbill and fruitier yeast strain. At 11 and a half years old and bottled at cask strength its got an incredible amount of depth and spice, and an exceedingly long and lingering finish:

-Healthy Spirits Exclusive Four Roses Single Barrel OBSF "Nate's Barrel": $79.99

That's all I got, enjoy everyone!

Nate

New Arrivals: Jim Beam Signature Craft 11 Year Wheat and Brown Rice Bourbon, Corsair Single Hop Whiskies!

Hey All,

What we have here is two massively different scale distilleries doing their version of innovation. The largest producer of bourbon in the world and one of the smallest, actually Corsair really doesn't make much bourbon, they're to busy changing the whiskey industry as we know it.

On the Beam side these two new offerings represent their 3rd and 4th release in the "Signature Craft" series. A series not unlike Buffalo Trace's "Experimental Collection". The first two releases were a 12 year bourbon and a Spanish brandy finished bourbon, both still available at the shop. For the new releases they've substituted rye in the mash for other types of grain, calling these the "Signature Craft Harvest Collection":

-Jim Beam Signature Craft 11 Year Red Wheat Bourbon: $49.99
-Jim Beam Signature Craft 11 Year Brown Rice Bourbon: $49.99

On the Corsair side Founder/Distillers Darek Bell and Andrew Webber continue to amaze be making whiskey out of any grain they can find including: quinoa, oats, spelt, buckwheat, and more, not to mention their use of bottle ready beer for distillation. And that's exactly what they've done with their latest offerings, taken extremely hoppy single hop IPA's and made them into whiskey. These are seriously some of the most sought after hop varietals on the market right now, so obtaining them for whiskey was probably no easy task.

-Corsair Citra Double IPA Whiskey: $59.99
-Corsair Mosaic IPA Whiskey: $59.99
-Corsair Galaxy IPA Whiskey: $59.99

Get em while you can! Cheers

Nate

New Arrivals: Mortlach 25 year and 18 year, Hibiki 21 year, Oban Little Bay and Bunnahabhain Ceobanach!

Hey All,

With the holidays firmly in the rear view mirror we're finally starting to catch up with all the new arrivals at the shop. Fortunately we're not alone in our holiday hangover as industry giant Diageo has just now begun releasing their rare malts and distiller's editions, offerings that normally hit shelves in November. Way to go Diageo, the most expensive whisky you have will probably sell much better in January. Actually that way of thinking reminds me of the immortal words of Homer Simpson:

Homer: "This year, I invested in pumpkins. They've been going up the whole month of October and I got a feeling they're going to peak right around January. Then, bang! That's when I'll cash in."

Some time later.....

Homer's Broker: "Homer, you knuckle-beak, I told you a hundred times: you've got to sell your pumpkin futures before Hallowe'en! Before!"

But I guess in some ways that may mean we have first pick of the litter since most shops aren't looking for the white whales right now. Here are some of the new Scotches and Japanese whiskies:

-Bunnahabhain Ceobanach (Batch 1): A new heavily peated 10 year single malt that's a throw back to the original Bunnahabhain recipe of the late 19th Century. $99.99

-Oban Little Bay: Following suit with Laphroaig and dozens of American micro distilleries Oban introduces their first small barrel whisky. For this release they've taken fully matured Oban 14 year and finished for a period of time in smaller barrels producing a darker color and richer flavor. $99.99

Mortlach 25 Year: The long wait is over, branded Mortlach is finally available in the US. This single malt has a cult following and has only ever been available in single barrels from Independent Bottlers. The rich-concentrated-sherry forward flavors remind me of distillers like Glendronach, Glenfarclas and Macallan. Mortlach is epic, if you can stomach the price it's totally worth it. $999.99

Mortlach 18 Year: $349.99

Hibiki 21 Year Japanese Whisky: Has the distinct title of winning best blended whisky in the world at the World Whisky Awards the last four years running. This is possibly the best Japanese whisky ever imported to the US outside of Yamazaki 25 year, and instead of dropping a full rent or mortgage payment on it like you would with the $1,800 Yamazki, Hibiki 21 year retails for the low low price of: $399.99.

Cheers everyone!

Nate

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Arrival: Mezcal Tosba

Elisandro Gonzalez was first introduced to me at meeting of agave geeks hosted by tequila critic and enthusiast, Kelly Cash almost two years ago.  He and his cousin produce Tosba Mezcal, a process that's been a decade in the making.

He shared with me an NPR audio story about their brand so I'm passing on the link right here.


So far I just brought in the Espadin at $76.99.  This Mezcal smells like sweet raisins and Blood Oranges. On the palate I get soft and round flavors of cloves and chai tea.  It has a long finish that dissipates nice and dryly, leaving lingering notes of chocolate malt.  Pairs beautifully with apples, salads, desserts and mixes well with citrus, dry sodas and chocolate bitters.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tequila Alquimia

Hey Fam, Eli here.  I wanted to highlight another family owned brand tonight but since I know the owner, Dr. Adolfo Murillo personally I reached out to him and asked if he wanted to write tonights 'Tequila highlight'.  So without further ado,
here's the scoop on Alquima Tequila.

Alquimia Organic Tequila

Our handcrafted Alquimia Organic Tequila is 100 % natural, USDA Certified Organic, and made of 100% blue agave Tequilana Weber. All of our certified organic agave is estate grown on our family ranch in Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico.  We personally supervise all aspects of the growing and harvesting of our agave, as well as the production of our tequila.
 We carefully select the best and healthiest agaves, only harvesting plants that are at their peak of quality and ripeness. Our quality control process demands that we closely monitor the cooking, fermentation and distillation at every single step. This ensures that our tequilas are consistently of the highest quality possible.
 Our project is completely sustainable and eco-friendly. Our tequilas are bottled in specially designed bottles made of recycled glass by a family of glass blowers in Tonalá, Jalisco. All aspects of our artisanal production reflect a proper balance of the old world and the new: a combination of alchemy, modern science, and tradition-rich culture. The making of Tequila Alquimia is just as much an art as it is a science.
 Our tequilas have won a total of 34 gold medals in the past 7 years in the two most prestigious international spirits competitions: the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (where our Reposado and our Añejo were “Best in Class”) and the Chicago Beverage Testing Institute’s International Review of Spirits.  Tequila Alquimia was voted the #1 tequila by GQ Magazine's men.style.com, and was also voted “Overall Favorite” by Huffington Post.
As a family owned company, Tequila Alquimia allows us to contribute to our communities, both in the United States and in Mexico.  Tequila Alquimia is our vehicle for the promotion of organics and sustainable agriculture. Our organic protocol, which we teach to growers throughout Mexico, is the tool we use to improve the quality of our soils, protect the health of the farm workers and consumers, and make a positive impact on the environment.

We hope you enjoy our tequila as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you.  SALUD!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Meet the Marqués.

I'm really excited to introduce you to Mezcal Marqués de Jaral De Berrio.  It is made from Agave Salmiana which is a big agave with large droopy leaves.  I had never heard of this varietal but have been doing a bit of research and it seems as if these agaves don't yield as many sugars as other agaves and because of that, they are seldom used in commercial products.  This is however a very special mezcal made in Guanajuato Mexico.  We brought the Plata and the Reposado in the shop and both are super smooth and are pack very little heat.  The Plata is creamy with delicate vegetal notes reminiscent of sweet brussel sprouts and fresh greens.  The Reposado is barreled just enough to nudge the vegetal flavor in exchange for light accents of vanilla.


Available now at the Castro store for $49.99 & $54.99















Info to geek out on:

Distiller: Daniel Botello

Distillery: Embotelladora Jaral de Berrio SA de CV

Oven: Conic Stone

Fermentation: Inox open containers

Milling: Tahona (large stone wheel)

Distillation: Copper Still (alambique)/2x

Agave Elevation: 6,824' (Highland)

Soil Type: Sub angular blocky structure, consistency ranging from firm to very firm texture and from argillaceous to sandy loam.  Its origin is colluvial to alluvial, pH of 6 to 7.8

Climate: Semi desert, warm weather with cooler winter season.  Average annual temperature is 16.7 C.  Rainfall is 473.4 ml.

Water: Well (thermal)




Tequila Cabeza: Designed with bartenders in mind



Hi guys, I wanted to showcase this great tequila.  With it's slightly higher ABV, it's designed for mixing but drinks great alone.  Being that it's designed for bartenders the website offers a lot of transparency in regards to it's production.  Available now for $39.99 at the Castro shop.

Here's the highlights all of which are directly sourced from The86co.com



THE AGAVE:

Tequila Cabeza is made from
100% estate owned agave that is
grown in the Los Altos region
in Arandas. The agave are grown
by the Vivanco family, who have
been cultivating agaves on their
800-heactare mountainside land for
five generations, and handpicked
by the Jimadores at seven to nine
years of age when the agave has a
sugar content of 23-28%. It is grown
without pesticides on land that has
been used for the cultivation of
agave for over 100 years.

COOKING AND MILLING:

The piñas are cooked in brick ovens
for 24 hours at 100 C°. They are
then left to cool for 24 hours
before being fed manually into the
shredder. This is where the agave
juice is extracted and the fibers are
separated. Natural spring water is
added to aid this process.

FERMENTATION:

The pure sweet agave juice (mosto)
is fermented with the aid of a
champagne yeast in cooper tanks
during the winter months. The cooler
temperature allows for an extended
mash period (approximately 10 days)
giving fruitier agave flavors.
Once the fermentation is finished,
the mash sits for two days before
distillation.

WATER AND ABV:

They add distilled natural spring
water to cut the tequila down to 43%
ABV (86 proof). The ABV was increased
from 40% during our mixed drink
testing sessions because we found
the extra ABV boosted the tequila’s
presence in cocktails. Tequila Cabeza
hasn’t been oxygenated; we believe
this helps retain more of the flavors
from the terroir in the tequila.

RESTING:

Tequila Cabeza is rested in stainless
steel for 60 days before bottling.

TASTING NOTES:

On the nose there is a bouquet of
highland agave that captures both
the earthiness and the honey of the
agave while adding complex layers of
green vegetables and a nice dose of
minerality.

More of the green vegetables,
earthiness and some green pepper
enter softly on the palate at the
start before you are hit with a
robust and earthy agave bomb on the
mid-palate that comes with a dash
of light citrus on the sides of
the palate. It is medium to full-bodied
with a velvety mouth feel and
finishes with a light bitter citrus,
more cooked agave flavors and black
pepper. This Tequila is all about
earthy cooked & raw agave flavors.

So many steps are taken to preserve
as much of the agave’s true flavor
as possible - the agaves are picked
at the peak of their maturity and
slow cooked in brick ovens. Winter
fermentation is used to bring out
more fruit characteristics from the
agaves; it is only filtered after
the first distillation, and no
oxygenation techniques are used to
smooth it out.

The 86 Co. wanted Tequila Cabeza
to taste of agave, and the Vivanco
family took these steps to give us
what we wanted. The final touch was
increasing the ABV for some extra
kick in cocktails.