Tag: USA

Templeton Rye Whiskey


Templeton RyeSay “whiskey” in America and the first state that comes to mind is Kentucky. This is not surprising, seeing as Kentucky has become synonymous with Bourbon, which has expertly advertised itself as “the spirit of America.”

The assumption that if it is whiskey then it is made in Kentucky is a fairly recent phenomenon. As we pointed out in Whiskey: A Global History, a century ago Kentucky lagged behind other states, including Indiana. And let us not forget that Bourbon can be made outside of Kentucky and it is.

And Indiana, believe it or not, is the state where Templeton Rye is distilled. Now that might confuse you, seeing as the Inter-Tubes is aflood with talk of Templeton, Iowa being the whiskey’s namesake. Which it is.  But Templeton Rye is produced by Lawrenceburg Distillers of Indiana.

Anyhoo, this 80 proof whiskey is aged 4 years in new charred oak barrels. It is a little mild, compared to some of the young, wild ryes out there. Templeton Rye offers caramel, toffee, and light black pepper notes. It is tasty, and we encourage you to enjoy it neat so as to appreciate the full range of flavors. (Rating: Very Good)

You may read more about Templeton Rye at http://www.templetonrye.com/. At present, it is distributed in a limited number of states.

Our preferred online retailer is selling it here.



Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon Limited Edition 2012


Four Roses Single Barrel Limited Edition 201254.7% alcohol—need we say more? Well, sure, a little.

Despite being 109.4 proof, we sipped this 12-year old Bourbon neat with no water added.

The folks over at Bourbon Blog has happy things to say of this whiskey some time back (here). Much to our sadness, only 4,000 bottles were released. I you can find it, it runs about $75 a bottle—but that price is sure to climb as time passes and it becomes more rare.

This whiskey is big and rye-heavy (20%, according to SourMashManifesto.com)—which means folks who are used to vanilla-thick Bourbons might find this one a bit unfamiliar. As lovers of Old Forester and other rye heavy whiskeys, we adore this one.

It enters the mouth intensely, then reveals a range of notes—burnt orange, barrel char, pear… Delicious. (Rating: Excellent)

Read more at http://fourrosesbourbon.com/2012-limited-edition-barrel-strength/



Port City Brewing Company’s Ales


by Jacob

Eating and drinking local products has become popular in recent years. In an effort to support some of our local producers, I recently sampled three beers from Port City Brewing Company, which is located in Alexandria, Virginia. Founded in 2011, Port City strives to “…be a reliable and innovative regional brewer of top quality beers that are delicious and well balanced, made from the finest ingredients available, and which celebrate their raw materials,” and currently makes four beers, a pale ale, a wit, an IPA, and a porter. Below are my reviews of all but the porter, which I have not yet tried.

Optimal Wit (5%) – Typical of many Belgian style white ales (which it is), the Optimal Wit is a cloudy golden color in the glass, has lemon notes on the nose, and tastes of banana and light orange. It is an effervescent beer that would be ideal to drink on a hot summer day (Rating ****).

Essential Pale Ale (5.5%) – Golden and almost pilsner looking in the glass, the Essential Pale Ale has an apricot and grain (hops) nose with mild hops and a slightly bitter and dry finish (Rating ****)

Monumental IPA (6.3%) – The Monumental IPA looks unfiltered and golden in the glass and has a hoppy, apricot and pit fruit nose. This is a very smooth beer that is not overhopped on first sip. Instead, the hops build on you and provide a nice and hoppy and dry finish. This was my favorite of the lot! (Rating ****1/2).

More information on Port City Brewing Company and how to visit it are available at: http://www.portcitybrewing.com


Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey


Editor’s note: We’re republishing this article from our archive as part of a reorganization of the site’s content.

Knob Creek
by Colin A. Dodds

If you ever wondered what was behind the grimace of Humphrey Bogart or John Wayne as they drank some nonspecific mixture in the movies of yesteryear, Knob Creek Straight Bourbon Whiskey is an edifying experience.

The key word in its extended name is ‘Straight’- this is alcohol first (100 proof) and beverage second. It has a dark, sharp

flavor with very little of the sweetness that characterizes bourbons like Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, and Old Crow. What sweetness it does possess takes the form of a subdued, almost smoky syrup-like undertone.

There is something refreshing about the flavor- in the way that standing out in the freezing cold until half of you burns and the other half is numb is refreshing. Even Wild Turkey and Old Grandad are not the trial by fire that Knob Creek is. To the less experienced bourbon drinker, Knob Creek burns in such a way that the drinker is torn between being proud of having swallowed it and the urge to

immediately wipe the taste from memory. The flavor reminds you of the very pain that alcohol supposedly undoes, elusive to the degree it is intense, unremitting…It is a fine bourbon for the ‘man on a mission,’ when that mission is to get drunk via a merciless and honest (for aren’t all merciless things ultimately honest?) bourbon.

Knob Creek had a brief advertising campaign a year or so ago. It had no laughing, socializing people in it. No indication is made of the of the goodtime possibilities of this drink. The ads consisted of the label, blown up to ad size. I realize now that this was the closest I have come in my short life to truth in advertising. The reason is this, Knob Creek is a bourbon of reckoning.

Sure, you can swill a couple glasses among friends and be howling happy. It will be the night of your life- provided you don’t end up in jail.  Then again, it still might be the night of your life.

But to me, Knob Creek is a solitary drink.  It’s just you and this rectagular, ancient-looking bottle, and a whole lot of taste. (Rating ****1/2)

Click here to order Knob Creek Whiskey, and surf here to read more about this Jim Beam product.


Evan Williams 1989 Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey


Editor’s note: We’re republishing this article from our archive as part of a reorganization of the site’s content.

Evan Williams 1989 Single  Barrel Kentucky Straight  Bourbon Whiskey
by F. Sot Fitzgerald

O.K.- a quick lesson in bourbons. What’s the difference between a single barrel bourbon and your typical bourbon?

The latter is mixed, the former all comes from one barrel.  More clearly, many bourbons are blended—that is, as bourbon ages in barrels its flavor changes. Sometime for the better, some times for the worse.  So typically distillers take bourbons of different ages and mix them so to marry the best qualities and hopefully bury the worst.

Evan Williams Single Barrel is just that—a single bourbon that hasn’t been mixed with others. After distilling it was oak casked in 1989 and bottled just a couple years back. It is 86.6 proof and is a little more red than many bourbons.

Why wasn’t it blended? In part, because their is an increasing consumer demand for unique whiskeys—witness the huge clamor for single malt scotches. Any distiller would be a fool not to make a few single barrel whiskeys.

But the other reason is that sometimes certain batches and barrels of whiskey come out superb or wonderfully unusual; thus, it would be a gross crime to destroy this peculiarity through blending.

So we have Evan Williams 1989, named after the first fellow to have a licensed distillery in Kentucky, way back in 1783. When I tasted it next to other bourbons my first response was, “That’s something special.”  It is buttery, very creamy, supremely smooth and sweet. This is a truly lovely bourbon, and I am astonished that I was able to purchase it for about $17.00- a remarkably low sum for the quality.  If I might send a plea to the folks at Heaven Hill, who make and distribute Evan Williams: I beg you to please send me another bottle, it’s a delight. (Rating ****1/2)

To read more about Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbons, surf to http://www.EvanWilliams.com/.


Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight 12 Year Old Bourbon Whiskey


Editor’s note: We’re republishing this article from our archive as part of a reorganization of the site’s content.

Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight 12 Year Old Bourbon Whiskey
by F. Sot Fitzgerald

My first sip of whiskey many moons ago brought on a quick gag.  The stuff almost dripped out my mouth.  My friends looked on, I felt the pressure to BE A MAN.  So I swallowed it and felt the burn.  It was evil stuff- $6 a liter slop I had procured through a friend of a friend, as I was underage.

Over time I read up on whiskey, including bourbons, sour mashes, scotches, etc., and have come to a fawning approval of them.  Which isn’t to say that there aren’t some that can still choke me.  Oh no- there really are some rotten whiskeys, whiskeys so bad that the only human beings who drink more than a sip of them are sick drunks who have fried out their tastebuds and are just looking to croak themselves or stop the shakes. Happily, this is far from the case with Elijah Craig.  Named after the 18th century Reverend Elijah Craig, who, I understand, was a Baptist who founded the berg of Georgetown near Lexington then took to making hooch.

Elijah Craig comes in a lovely bottle, squat, thick and curvaceous, which shows off its light caramel, reddish color- a color derived from the whiskey’s aging in a charred oak barrel.  It’s 12 years old and a hefty but not outrageous 94 proof (47% alcohol).

Elijah Craig has a bouquet of vanilla, firm, not overbearing.   Unlike a number of whiskeys, there is no hint of alcohol ester- that uncomely stink that can best be described as surgical and chemical.  The roast from the barrels is plain to the nose, and upon tasting it has a certain creaminess to it.

Those of you who are looking to start on whiskey but are afraid to try, I urge you to buy a bottle of Elijah Craig.  A fifth is under $15 dollars, last I checked.  Pour a shot of it in a broad-mouthed glass, and give it a small stiff.  Drop a few drops of water in it then give it another sniff.  The water opens up the bouquet.  Add a few more drops so that the color is noticeably lighter.  Then have a sip.  Trust me—it won’t burn, and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Once you get a real feel for it, you’ll naturally move to reduce the water, until one fine day you’ll drink it like me- straight up in small sips on a cool autumn’s night.  Like a real man, a real happy man.  (Rating ****)

Click here to order Elijah Craig 12 year Old Bourbon, and head here to learn more about Elijah Craig whiskey and other Heaven Hill Bourbons.


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