Wednesday, January 29, 2014
New Arrivals: Glendronach 17 year cask strength PX single cask, Ben Riach 19 year cask strength PX single cask
You know what type of barrels I like my single malt Scotch to age in? First fill sherry casks. You know why? Because of all the barrels you can age Scotch in, first fill sherry has the most color, flavor and tannins to give. It's one of the reasons I'm such a big American whiskey fan, the oakier-more viscous flavor profiles just appeal to me. Now the problem is ex-sherry barrels are in such high demand that the Scotch industry has essentially out grown Spain's ability to produce them, forcing prices to sky rocket. One sherry barrel is now equal to the cost of 15-20 bourbon barrels. This has seriously impacted the Scotch whisky industry, in fact the majority of whisky is now aging in ex-bourbon barrels.
Which leads to this weeks new arrivals, two incredible cask strength first fill Pedro Ximenez single casks. Both of these releases are one time bottlings, and are also great examples of oak driven, tannic, mouth coatingly awesome single malt Scotches:
-Glendronach 1996' 17 Year Cask Strength Pedro Ximenez Sherry Single Cask: Comes in at a surprisingly approachable 53.2% alcohol, making this single malt concentrated yet perilously drinkable. Flavors of toffee and nougat dominate with hints of roasted nuts, dessert wine, rasins, dates and earth. $159.9
-The Ben Riach 1994' 19 Year Peated Cask Strength Pedro Ximenez Sherry Single Cask: A very special limited peated version from Ben Riach. If you thought first fill sherry barrels were hard to find, try finding heavily peated Scotch aged in first fill sherry. They pretty much don't exist, mostly because the oak and sherry notes mask the peatier-smokier notes, not exactly ideal for peaty Scotch producers. But this is a different beast, coming in at a robust 51.9%, Ben Riach manages to retain an intensely smokey-earthy flavor profile, but with extremely lush notes of dark chocolate, stewed fruits and toffee-sticky pudding. This is pretty much the balls. Fans of Lagavulin Distiller's Edition will certainly like this. $169.99
Come and get it!
Happy to announce the arrival of this year's Private Edition from Glenmorangie. This is the fifth release in a series that's always extremely limited. Each new iteration represents a one of a kind bottling that will never be made again. For "Companta" Master Distiller, and creator of awesome whiskey, Dr. Bill Lumsden traveled to the Burgundy region of France and hand selected some barrels from the Grand Cru vineyards at Clos de Tart. On a separate trip Bill found his way down to the Cotes du Rhone region and came away with some fortified red wine barrels from Rhone Valley.
Using both the Burgundy and Cotes de Rhone barrels to finish Companta turned out to be a match made in heaven. The flavors of berries and plums from the red wine perfectly compliment the notes of honey, citrus and crushed minerals already found in Glenmorangie. Unlike some red wine finished single malts Companta's wine notes are beautifully integrated and add to the overall depth of flavor without being overpowering or musty. This is an exceptional Private Edition and one to seek out quickly if you want a shot at getting one. Cheers
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Just landed a very limited allocation of the Jefferson's Presidential Select hyper-aged 25 year Bourbon and 25 year Rye at both shops. These are absolute oak bombs with a super viscous mouth feel, sure to become some of the favorites released in 2014. In recent years, the 18 year and 21 year Presidential Selects have been some of the best and most sought after bourbons on the market. Get these while you can! Both varieties are available at the Castro and Clement locations. Cheers
Monday, January 6, 2014
It's time to break out the deed to your house or sell that old car you never use, that's right Diageo has finally released this year's Rare Single Malts. Not to be out done, Suntory also released the first ever 25 year Japanese Single Malt available in the US, Yamazaki 25 year! These are some of the most limited and sought after whiskies on the planet, well worth any personal loan or divorce proceedings you may have to go through. Here's information about each:
Lagavulin 37 Year Single Malt $2,999.99: The oldest bottling the Lagavulin distillery has ever produced! Lagavulin changed the Scotch industry as we know it by offering their epic 16 year single malt as an entry level. Seriously? A 16 year unbelievable, probably my favorite (and Ron Swanson's too), as their beginner/value single malt. Insanity. And if the cult following on the original wasn't enough, the 37 year has a global production of only 1,800 bottles, with only 6 making it to Northern California. If this isn't the holy grail, I don't know what is.
Tasting Notes: Elegant and assured, this outstanding Lagavulin has all the calm "less is more" confidence of a real maestro. The low-key nose is rich and complex with oily, scented smoke, honeyed toffee and spicy sandalwood. The palate is rounded and richly enjoyable at natural strength. Sweet-smoky tropical fruits and charcoal introduce growing wood smoke threaded with sweet waves of honey, pine and chestnut, while the drying finish yields more lingering, fragrant smoke.
Yamazaki 25 Year Single Malt $1,799.99: The most highly anticipated Japanese whisky release ever to hit the US! Aged in a combination of Spanish Sherry, white oak and the extremely rare and protected Japanese "Mizunara" oak. This has the color and depth like no other single malt I've ever seen. Even the packaging itself, a beautiful hand made wooden and leather box by world-renowned London based designer Bill Amberg, is one of a kind. If you're a fan of oakier Japanese whiskies, this is the crowning jewel, the real deal end all be all of excellence. You want this!
Tasting Notes: The color is a beautiful deep coffee brown with some red-amber hues. On the nose notes of raisin, strawberry jam, rosemary and tomato puree. On the palate notes of bitter chocolate, cocoa and almond with just a touch of balsamic acidity. The finish is long and complex with notes of dried fruits and sherry.
The Singleton 28 Year Single Malt $399.99: Our most affordable single malt of the day is certainly no push over when it comes to quality. This cask strength extremely limited gem of a single malt was first put into barrels in 1985. Singleton whisky has been very hard to come by the last few years as most of it is finding its way to the Asian markets instead of the US. Singleton has some beautiful briny-floral qualities that really set it apart, the regular 12 year is incredibly well priced at $30-$35, if you can find it that is.
Tasting Notes: The nose teases with soft apple and pear fruit, faint smoke and complex floral notes. The palate is rich and sweet, rather like honey-coated wholewheat cereal. The finish is warming and deliciously drying, with tingling echoes of pine and cedar and a lingering whisp of smoke.
There are certainly worse things you could cash in your 401K for. Get em while you can.
Available @ Castro (or at Clement by request)