Heaven Hill Old-Style Bourbon

Heaven Hill has been distilling continuously since 1935, and for most of this time has been very focused on bourbon and rye. Their flagship brands are Evan Williams and Elijah Craig, though as with most American whiskey distilleries they produce several other brands including the highly regarded Parker’s Heritage Collection whiskies, Henry McKenna, Old Fitzgerald, and Fighting Cock. Note that I haven’t yet mentioned the The Heaven Hill Old-Style label. While this isn’t a new whiskey from Heaven Hill, it’s one that doesn’t get a lot of emphasis from them – they don’t even list it on their website.

Yet, they’ve been producing both this version and a bottled-in-bond version for quite some time. The BiB version gets pretty good reviews, though it is very hard to find (and may be discontinued at this point). This version, while easier to locate, is not as well defined as the BiB, which has very specific requirements – it has to… (read more)

Saturday, February 28th, 2015 Whiskey No Comments

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Nitro Cold Brew

A couple of years ago I was in Austin for a couple of days and made a point of stopping by Cuvee Coffee during the visit. Whenever visiting someplace new I always make a list of the drinks-oriented places that I want to check out, and this was at the top of the list of coffee roasters I was interested in seeing. It turned out to be a good choice – the coffee was great, but while there I also ended up sitting next to the guy who creates the labels for Jester King Brewery. It made Austin feel small in a way that you often find with Portland.

As for the coffee, what was actually the most mind-blowing item on offer was a cold-brew coffee that they were serving on nitro. I had never heard of such a thing before, and was astounded at both what a great idea it was and how excellent it tasted…. (read more)

Saturday, February 21st, 2015 Coffee No Comments

Whisky Advocate vs. Malt Advocate

For the past fifteen years or so, there have been two magazines that whisky fans could turn to: Whisky Magazine and Malt Advocate. Whisky Magazine was (and still is) published in the UK and focused largely on Scotch whisky, with a lesser focus on Irish whiskeys and, as time passed, Japanese and other international whiskies. Not so much on American whiskey though. The Malt Advocate ably filled that gap, providing great coverage of the world of American whiskeys (bourbon, rye, etc.) while also featuring a good deal on Scotch whisky, Canadian whisky, and Irish whiskey. They also covered the world of beer a bit, but that was a more minor topic overall.

In 2010, the company that owns Wine Spectator purchased Malt Advocate, and shortly after this (September 2011) the magazine relaunched with a wholesale redesign. Renamed Whisky Advocate, the redesign was substantial. The physical format changed dramatically, from a typical 8.5in. x 11in. magazine size to a… (read more)

Monday, February 2nd, 2015 Random Writings No Comments

Vintage Beer Review: 2009 Goose Island Brewing Bourbon County Stout

Since moving to Oregon there have been two beers that I’ve consistently missed, and curiously enough, neither are from Massachusetts. For someone who is a fan of bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts, each is an iconic beer that sets the bar for others of its type: Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout and Founders’ Kentucky Breakfast Stout. As a result, I’ve been mighty stingy with the few bottles of these that I had with us when we moved  cross country. In the case of KBS that amounted to 5 bottles, and even fewer for Bourbon County Stout, of which I had only 3 bottles.

Here we are, nearly 3 years later, and I’ve been ever-so-slowly making my way through those few bottles. Let’s face it, beer is meant to be drunk, and even better is when you have the chance to share it with someone who’s trying it for the first time. The best part of having these bottles in the cellar… (read more)

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    Monday, March 18th, 2013 Beer No Comments

    Bruichladdich The Laddie 10

    I don’t quite know what to make of Bruichladdich. I’m really not sure that I ever have. The first time I tasted Bruichladdich’s whisky was back when I began drinking scotch, at a time when I only drank smoky whiskies. Back then, it was all Islay, all the time. In that context, Bruichladdich was completely out of left field. Instead of being oily and smoky, it was light and sweet. I was dumbfounded, and it would be a while before I tried Bruichladdich again.

    Over time, as my palate developed and I tried more whiskies, I came to appreciate Bruichladdich more. And I came to understand that the diverse array of bottlings that they were producing was partly due to the distillery’s history. It was purchased by its current owners in 2000, but before that had been shuttered for several years, with uneven production before that. Thus, the stock that the new owners inherited was a mixed bag. Alongside… (read more)

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    Saturday, March 16th, 2013 Scotch No Comments