Well, that bottle evaporated quickly. Tin Cup is a very easy and pleasant whiskey. At $25 a bottle, it was very worth it.
The very smart Drew Long of DCFoodies.com has taken Early Times whiskey and re-aged it to remarkable effect. After seven-and-one-half months of sitting in a new charred oak barrel, the thin, bland Early Times became deep and delicious. We were floored when we sipped it.
Inspired by Long’s example, we decided to try it for ourselves. Could we, to put it crudely, turn shit into shinola?
On June 6, 2011 we took a small Wasmund’s charred barrel we had previously used to age barley spirit, and filled it up with Kentucky Gentleman blended whiskey. This Barton Brands product is pretty lousy stuff—it is 51% Straight Bourbon aged four years or more, and 49% neutral grain spirits. (As such it does not meet the legal definition of Bourbon.) It cost us all of $13 (after tax!) for a 1.75 liter plastic bottle. Take a sip of Thompson’s and you taste a little whiskey and a lot of alcohol. It is harsh. Have a peek at the color and you will get a sense of the quality of this stuff.
We let the Thompson’s sit until October 22, 2011—about four and one-half months. When we popped open the bung hole and drained the barrel, we were stunned on two counts. First, half the whiskey had evaporated—poof, a .875 liters of whiskey gone, meaning about $6 dollars and 50 cents of our investment was lost. Second, we were surprised at how much deeper the color was, and how much better the Thompson’s tasted.
Were we served this blind, we would guess it was the product of some small, upstart distillery. We would admire the deep amber color and compliment the apricot-like note and the char flavor. We likely would rate it ***3/4 stars out of a possible 5, which is very good.
So now we know—with $13, a barrel, and some patience you can produce the better part of a liter of tasty whiskey.
Readers of this blog may recall that Copper Fox is the same outfit that makes this incredibly fun age-it-yourself whiskey set.
Anyhoo, this blog post does a good job of describing —complete with photographs!— the old-fashioned way that Copper Fox makes its whiskey. Enjoy.
Stranahan’s is a small distillery in Colorado that is quickly getting bigger. This past year the distillery corked barrel number 1,000, and moved from a 5,000 square foot plant to a 60,000 square foot facility.
We are not surprised. STRANAHAN’S COLORADO WHISKEY is darned good, and the public should demand plenty of it. It weighs in at 94 proof, and it isn’t corn sweet like most whiskeys made in the U.S. (Think Bourbon.) It is a 100% malted barley whiskey aged in new charred oak barrel for 2 years or more. Mmmm, the texture is oily, and the flavors of barley and barrel shine through. This is a distinct whiskey, one that you wouldn’t mistake for any other. It’s worth the price of $50 to $70 a bottle. (Rating ****3/4)
For further details, surf to http://www.stranahans.com/. You can see if InternetWines.com can sell you a bottle by clicking here. Stranahan’s is part of the Classic & Vintage Artisanal Spirits collection.
12/2008 AUSTIN NICHOLS WILD TURKEY KENTUCKY STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY 101 PROOF
In short — we love it. It’s less than $30 for a fifth, and at 101 proof it goes an awfully long way. Take it neat in small sips, soften it with a little water or an ice cube or two. However you have it, this rye whiskey tastes awfully good. It’s pungent and spicy, and tastes a little of charred maple. Mmmm. (Rating ****1/4)
“In 1999, Miles and Marko [Karakasevic] distilled 20,000 gallons of great Pilsner to create just 24 barrels of Whiskey. These barrels will be watched (and certainly tasted) over many years […] they are an art endeavor, not an on-going production. Release I of the series was just 3 years old when it was bottled at cask-strength (124.9 proof) & it was unheard of to taste a whiskey as smooth as a fine 15-year-old (80 proof) ones.”
This bottling is at 55% ABV (110 proof). Like Irish Whiskey and Scotch, it was made from barley in a pot still. (Most American whiskey is made from corn, wheat, and rye in column stills.) We tasted the earlier version and were flummoxed by it. This time, though, aging has coaxed forth something special.
Nose it and your brain will reel in confusion. “This is whiskey?” Hops, barrel… Take a tiny amount in your mouth and savor it for a few minutes. Raspberry, white pepper… What else? Fascinating. A whiskey to ponder in solitude. Utterly unique. (Rating ****1/2) For further details or to learn more, surf to CHARBAY’S website.