Saturday, December 29, 2012
Finally got a counter part to the Yamazaki and Hibiki lines, which have been unavailable lately due to popularity. The similar Japanese whiskies we got in from Nikka were a real treat to try, elegant and supremely well crafted, definitely going to give Suntory a run for their money in the coming years. Nikka currently owns two distilleries: Yoichi and Miyagikyo. Here's what we got in:
-Taketsuru 12 Year Pure Malt: Made from an artisanal mingling of stocks from the Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries. The single malt whiskies are vatted together, helping to marry the flavors, and bottled at an approachable 40% alcohol (80 proof). "Pure Malt" is some what of an invented term by Nikka, but it serves the purpose for what they mean. It's 100% malt whiskey, not containing the cheaper grain whiskies or neutral spirits that would warrant a "Blended Whiskey" title, but since it's from two distilleries instead of one they needed a designation other than single malt, hence the name pure malt. The overall flavors are really complex with just a hint of peat, some floral notes and a really lush caramely oak character.
-Yoichi 15 Year Single Malt: This single malt from the Yoichi Distillery is a little more delicate and refined than the 12 year Taketsuru. It's bottled at a more concentrated 45% alcohol (90 proof) yet has a cleaner flavor and is more soft and silky on the palate. It has engaging flavors of wild flower honey, white florals, cereal grain, brown sugar and nougat. A beautifully balanced whiskey that I'm glad to see is finally available stateside.
Give these a try if you get a chance. Cheers
Just got in a few bottles of my favorite Talisker release, the extremely limited 25 year. Not much of this made it to San Francisco and while they've done small releases like this the last few years, there's no guarantee they'll have enough to do a release next year or any time soon. Basically it's a get it while you can kind of thing. The 25 year has Talisker's signature brininess and intense peat with a beautifully lush balance of oak from the longer aging. I get flavors of seaweed, camp fire, black pepper, gravel, stoney minerals, browned butter and burnt caramel. Wildly complex and engaging yet approachable and creamy. Definitely a winner!
Monday, December 24, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
Buffalo Trace Antique Collection just landed! Limit 1 bottle from the line per customer. Only got a few of these so they'll likely sell out fast, good luck. Here's what we got:
-George T. Stagg bourbon
-Sazerac 18yr rye
-Thomas Handy Sazerac rye
-William Larue Weller bourbon
-Eagle Rare 17yr bourbon
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Happy to announce the release of the Pappy Van Winkle line at Healthy Spirits. Please keep in mind that this release is super time sensitive and will likely sell out in 15 or 20 minutes. Beer and Bourbon Club members can call in and reserve (limit one per club member), everyone else bottles are behind the counter first come first serve.
-Old Rip Van Winkle 10yr 107 proof bourbon
-Van Winkle Special Reserve 12yr Lot B bourbon
-Pappy Van Winkle 15yr Family Reserve bourbon
-Pappy Van Winkle 20yr Family Reserve bourbon
-Pappy Van Winkle 23yr Family Reserve bourbon
-Van Winkle Family Reserve 13yr rye
Store phone: 415-255-0610
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Just got a shipment of aged whiskies from Corsair, the first time they've ever been available in the Bay Area! Corsair is a micro distillery in Kentucky that has a reputation for having unique products and doing a lot of experimentation. The quinoa whiskey definitely uses a grain I've never seen in whiskey before, and I was surprised how much I liked the finished product. They use red and white quinoa seeds and are able to extract flavors of roasted nuts, earth, vanilla, toffee and a hint of espresso. This is more than just an experiment, it's an overwhelming success.
The Ryemageddon is also quite unique. Most American rye whiskey is made with raw or unmalted rye grain which lend most of the spicy, floral and earthy notes. For the Ryemageddon Corsair uses malted rye and chocolate rye (heavily charred). While it lacks the typical rye spice it more than makes up for it with lush notes of dark chocolate, creme brulee, burnt caramel and bread pudding. Totally different take on a rye but man oh man is it good.
Lastly we have the barrel aged Rasputin, which is made from an imperial stout beer. My understanding is that when they're distilling it they allow the whiskey vapors to pass through a basket of hops, almost like botanicals in gin, making it a hop flavored imperial stout whiskey. Basically this whiskey is the "kitty's titties", if you'll excuse the workaholics reference. It's super floral and hoppy on the nose but wonderfully rich and chocolaty on the palate. The hop flavors are well integrated and the whiskey really tastes like a fantastic roasty-chocolaty stout. Well done guys, well done.
Pretty limited numbers on these people, I only got 6 bottles of each just FYI.
Got some new whiskies in from Hooker's House, a brand a lot of people have expressed interest in the last year. I was really impressed with what they had to offer. The rye is on the younger side, around 4 years old and is likely sourced from LDI. They finish it in Zinfandel barrels which I think adds a lot of depth, some musty grape notes and just a hint of spice. It's the first red wine finished rye I've ever seen.
Both of the bourbons are finished in Pinot Noir barrels and manage to take on even more red wine character than the rye. Their regular bourbon is a six year likely sourced from Heaven Hill. It tasted significantly older than six years to me, more like the depth and oak of a 10-12 year. The Pinot Noir flavors are incredible giving the bourbon a great minerality, notes of stone fruits, blackberries, earth, pencil shavings and charred oak.
The 21 year bourbon was something to behold. Although we weren't told the source my co-worker Dave thought it might be Stitzel-Weller. It reminded me a lot of the older Willett Family Estate bourbons I've tried. Regardless, one of the best bourbons I've ever had and very unique. It says cask strength on the bottle but what I've been told is they diluted the whiskey with water while it was still in the barrel, so even though its 47% alcohol no water was added to the whiskey after it came out of the barrel making it "barrel strength". What's interesting is when I first tried this bourbon it was so cloudy and murky the rep immediately told me they planned on filtering it before bottling. I told him it was great as is and that they should leave it unfiltered. Realizing that would save them a couple steps and a decent amount of time he agreed to release it that way (aaaahem, your welcome). I get an amazing amount of depth and oak on this with flavors of burnt caramel, port wine, concrete, gravel, eucalyptus, rye spice, dark chocolate and flint. My rep has already told me they aren't going to be getting any more barrels this old, so get it while you can!