Thursday, October 25, 2012
Holy cow am I excited about today's new arrivals. It feels like Christmas mourning around here, but instead of snow it's raining heavenly bourbon! I could make a case for this being the best release of the year. But wait a minute you say? What about Pappy Van Winkle? Well as many of you may know Stitzel-Weller barrels (a distillery Julian Van Winkle was involved with until it closed in 1992) are getting harder and harder to come by since none have been produced in 20 years. Stitzel-Weller bourbon is the main component of Pappy Van Winkle 15, 20 and 23 year, and it use to be used in the 10 and 12 year bottlings as well, which are now being made by Buffalo Trace. I have a feeling Michter's 20 year bourbon, which is probably closer to 23 or 24 years old , may be a single barrel from Stitzel-Weller. Really no way to know for sure as the company is very tight liped about revealing their sources, but my palate usually doesn't steer me wrong. Regardless it's one of the best bourbons I've ever had.
I was also able to secure a decent amount of the Michter's 10 year bourbon. Michter's has this notion that they can and should exceed your wildest expectations for a given age statement. While the 20 year is closer to a 23 or 24 year, the 10 year is likely in the 15 to 16 year range. Basically they want their 10 year to be better than any other 10 year on the market, so how do they do that? By putting out a 16 year and calling it a 10 year, kind of clever in a way. The last bottling of 10 year Michter's bourbon is rumored to have been a Stitzel-Weller bottling as well, and after opening the current one I have to say, it tastes surprisingly similar. But again no way to confirm that notion. Even if they're not Stitzel-Weller products these two bourbons have an incredible amount of depth and oak (they are seriously much older then their age statement), are elegant, refined and some of the best sauce going right now. Don't sleep on these, they definitely won't be around for long!
Saturday, October 20, 2012
New Arrivals: Cragganmore 12 year, Cragganmore Distiller's Edition, Cragganmore Cask Strength 21 year!
Just got a few new Cragganmore single malt Scotches in. Look out for Distiller's Editions and other limited Scotch releases over the next few weeks. Cragganmore is on the short list of distilleries in Diageo's "Classic Malts", making it the definitive Speyside single malt. New in:
-Cragganmore 12 year 40% (80 proof)
-Cragganmore 1997 Distiller's Edition (port finished) 40% (80 proof)
-Cragganmore 21 year Cask Strength Non-Chill Filtered 56% (112 proof)
The Cragganmore Distiller's Edition is arguably my favorite port finished scotch, soft and creamy with some beautiful strawberry, raspberry and red fruit undertones. What really surprised me though was the 21 year old cask strength. Pretty sure it's a one time release, I've never seen that vintage before anyway. It's unbelievably complex with incredible notes of wildflower honey, heather, lavender, sea water, stoney minerals and the tiniest hint of peat. Gorgeous stuff, I highly recommend trying it if you get a chance, I was able to get six bottles for the shop. You want these!
Just wanted to keep everyone in the loop on the captivating E.H. Taylor bourbons I currently have. Buffalo Trace started bottling the E. H. Taylor line a little over a year ago and is consistently selecting some of the best barrels in their inventory. E. H. Taylor was one of the original owners of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in the mid 1800's. He was revered for his unprecedented quality control and innovations, some of which are still used to this day. To date the collection has included a Single Barrel bourbon (my favorite single barrel from buffalo trace) and the Tornado Surviving Warehouse bourbon (so this tornado totally hit one of their warehouses, then they like bottled some of those barrels). Both are excellent and bottled in bond, meaning they're 50% alcohol (100 proof), giving them beautifully concentrated flavors and long lingering finishes. I just recently got in the "Barrel Proof" release, which is a cask strength unfiltered version of the already stellar Single Barrel. Bottled at 67.25% alcohol (134.5 proof) this is seriously as robust and flavorful as they come, pretty close to George T. Stagg territory. All three are on the shelf now, and I'm told a super limited E. H. Taylor rye may be available soon. Cheers