Saturday, June 29, 2013
What a privilege to have legendary fourth generation distiller Eddie Russell of Wild Turkey stop by the shop. Eddie has been involved in the Wild Turkey Distillery for almost 30 years. About a decade ago he collaborated with his father, Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, to create the "Russell's Reserve" line of products. Which included a 10 year bourbon, a 6 year rye, and more recently a 55% (110 proof) single barrel bourbon that I'd highly recommend trying next time you see it.
Wild Turkey has been working on building a much larger facility the last five years to keep up with the increased global demand for their products. Eddie told me one of the best aspects of the expansion has been the addition of a bottling line, which used to be completely outsourced. Not having a bottling line on site increased the time it took to get the finished bourbon to market and also added additional layers of costs. Another benefit of having a bottling line is that they can now begin a private selection program for accounts like us, allowing retail shops or bars to choose their own single barrel and have it bottled just for them. He figures the private barrel program is likely to come to fruition early next year.
A couple special releases to look forward to this coming winter are:
-A very limited older bourbon to commemorate Jimmy Russell's 60 years with the distillery.
-A really unique blend of a bourbon and rye that I'm told happened by accident.
Both sounded amazing, releases we'll definitely be looking for closer to the holiday season. Cheers
So finding inexpensive single malt Scotch is getting harder and harder every year. The world wide demand is at an all time high. Some value brands, like Singleton 12 year, have been pulled from the U.S. market entirely just to accommodate the growing Asian and European market's demand. Islay whiskies are without a doubt at the forefront of this trend with peat-heads world wide having a seemingly unquenchable thirst for all things smokey. Distilleries like Laphroaig have had to take drastic measures. Since there's no way for them to go back in time and create more whisky, they've had to double their prices just to slow down sales. Their flagship 10 year offering that was once $30 a bottle six months ago you'll find for $50-$60 today.
Enter Bowmore "Legend" one of the last great Islay single malts you can still find at a reasonable price. While Bowmore isn't quite as smokey as Laphroaig it more than makes up for it by having an intense briny saltiness, a beautiful minerality, and a soft-remarkably well balanced peaty smokiness. Logic tells me they won't be able to keep this price going for long, as every other Islay producer has long since abandoned the notion of having a single malt around $40. That being the case this is definitely a get it while you still can type of deal with the Bowmore pricing.
As a special offering to our devoted whiskey fans both shops will be featuring Bowmore Legend at $34.99 , while supplies last.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Just got in the new sherry cask matured version of Kilchoman Islay whisky. I've had my eye on the Kilchoman distillery, established in 2005, since they became the first new distillery built on the island of islay in over 100 years. They are currently one of the few farm distilleries, which means they grow their own barley and malt it on site. They do source a percentage of their malted barley from Port Ellen, just like all the other distilleries on Islay, but its a fun concept none the less. Since they're such a young distillery I've been waiting for some older stocks to come along. That's going to take some time, but fortunately they had the foresight to use some first fill Oloroso sherry casks for their new release "Loch Gorm". The first fill casks really give a lot of depth and oak, making it taste much older than a 6 year whisky. Combine that with a super intense smokiness and for me it's reminiscent of a cross between Laphroaig and Lagavulin. Not quite as refined as either of those two but an incredible flavor profile, and a great new addition to a region Scotch fans can't get enough of.
Available at both shops!
Friday, June 7, 2013
Just got in some great new single malts that have slipped under my radar the last few years. Glenfarclas is a distillery in the heart of Speyside situated right next to the river Spey, and in very close proximity to industry stand outs: Balvenie, Aberlour, Cragganmore and Glenlivet. Here's my brief notes on each one:
-Glenfarclas 12 Year: Surprisingly vibrant and zesty with hints of lemon peel and wild flower honey.
-Glenfarclas 21 Year: Incredible value for a 21 year, the 17 year Glenfarclas is around the same price but no where near as good. A lot more oak and sherry notes than the 12 year with an exceedingly lush and engaging finish.
-Glenfarclas 25 Year: This one was really interesting because it tastes a lot like the 12 year just a lot more elegant and refined. Less oak than the 21 year but it has a beautiful viscosity, long lingering finish and the similar citrus/ lemon zest notes with a hint of crushed minerals.
These are probably some of the best priced 21 and 25 year single malts I've seen. Definitely worth a try if you're looking for something new or unpeated. Cheers!
Available at Castro and Clement