02.09.18 | 8 vs 8 | Old Charter 8 Year

American Whiskey

Today I am bringing you a discontinued offering from Buffalo Trace, the Old Charter 8 Year. Back in 2014 the Old Charter 8 Year was discontinued and replaced by the non-age stated (NAS) Old Charter 8, which is claimed to have been aged 8 seasons (whatever the hell that means). Well, long story short people felt duped by the change, while still keeping the number 8 plastered all over the bottle and so they did the “rational” next step of suing Buffalo Trace. Anyways, long story short the lawsuit was eventually dropped and now we are just left with much inferior (from what I’ve heard) NAS Old Charter 8, so how is ye olde 8-year-Old Charter? You’re about to find out!

First things first, the bottle is plastic and has a freaking party stopper. You wanna talk about nostalgia? This bottle had me reminiscing about my college days of Sailor Jerry and Jack Daniels Honey – man were those good days… Well you know looking back I wish I would have known about the Old Charter 8 year because at about $20 for a 750ml I would have been downing this stuff left and right at that price point! Besides my feelings of nostalgia, I actually kind of like plastic bottles, because they are so functional for packing on a day out in the Colorado mountains!

The Old Charter 8 year is a very light and swiggable 40% abv and is a Polish Gold in the glass with basically nonexistent legs. On the nose is a hefty harvest of corn and perfumed oak –  a slight tinge of alcohol opens up a thick honey and clove mixture. Certainly not a bad nose in the slightest bit! Very much what one can expect from a young bourbon. The palate was a slightly funky musty oak and ever so slight sprinkle of spice – black pepper and cinnamon – and a bowl of oatmeal drizzled with honey. The finish continues lightly with oak and dried grass. The finish rides off into the sunset with vanilla beans and honey.

Now at $20, if you can find it, this one isn’t half bad. Are there better ones out there around that price range, yes, but I really found the Old Charter 8 year to be perfectly fine in its own right. A light and extremely easy drinking 8-year bourbon that is perfect for swigging right out of the plastic bottle from where it resides! For myself, this is a whiskey for packing into your day long backcountry skiing trips and long day hikes, pull it out and take a quick swig, and know that you aren’t going to reach in and grab a handful of glass shards!

Have you had the Old Charter 8 year or the Old Charter 8? Would love to hear your thoughts on and as always thank you for joining along on yet another bottle journey!

Cheers,

The Whiskey Accountant

02.06.18 | Chocolate Cereal and Pipe Tobacco | Wood’s Distillery Tenderfoot American Malt Whiskey

American Whiskey

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Admittedly I am not a huge fan of Whisky Festivals – you really have to take the good with the bad, but don’t worry I’m not going to get on my soapbox and rant about why I don’t like them. I want to talk about the good!

What I love most about them is being able to try tons of new whiskies, all that I want, and often times ones that I hadn’t known about. In Colorado there are new distilleries opening up left and right and it is quite crazy how quickly it’s happening, so these festivals are a great opportunity for myself to get out there and see what is happening across the state.

When you’re trying so many different whiskies in a tight window it’s easy for many to fall through the cracks and get forgotten amongst the many drams that are had. That brings me to Wood’s Distillery out of Salida, Colorado, a mountain town a few hours west outside of Denver. I recently tried their Tenderfoot American Malt Whiskey at a festival, and here I am a few weeks later still thinking about it.

The Tenderfoot Malt Whiskey is a blend of malted grains including 2-row barley, cherrywood smoked barley malt, dark chocolate barley malt, malted rye, malted wheat, and then aged in good ok new American White Oak barrels. Now reading what goes into making the whiskey you might say, “damn, there is a whole lot going on and that could quickly become a weird unbalanced mish-mash of flavors,” and I would then tell you, “hell no, this shit is good”.

A decadent balanced palate of dark flavors, chocolate cereal (think Cocoa Krispies), sugar and spice roasted nuts, pipe tobacco and leather brings a smokey perfume to the nose and floral palate.

The Wood’s Distillery Tenderfoot Malt Whiskey reminds a Coloradan that there be good things going on up in dem der hills!

Side note, but their Gin was also really stupid good!

01.26.18 | Smoke on the High Desert | Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey Apple Brandy Cask Finish

American Whiskey

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I am very excited to be sharing with you an American Single Malt that hails from the high deserts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey is distilled by Santa Fe Spirits that opened in 2010 under Colin Keegan, an Englishmen turned South Westerner. Santa Fe Spirits offers a range of distillates from Apple Brandy *hint hint* to Gin to their Atapiño Liquer, which is a distillate made using piñon nuts and ponderosa pine resin and sugar. However, I am the Whisky Accountant, so I am here to talk specifically about the Colkegan!

There are three expressions currently: the standard Colkegan, Cask Strength, and Apply Brandy Cask finish. However, these are anything but standard. The Colkegan line is all made using smoked malt that utilizes mesquite wood for smoking, which creates an insanely good and unique flavor. Their standard expression is a wonderful smoky whiskey that really showcases the mesquite and one that I highly recommend. Being in a high desert their barrels experience vast changes in temperature and humidity that the Distillery takes full advantage of using their climate-controlled warehouse to maximize the barrel’s interaction with the whiskey. I am super honored to be trying the limited release Apply Brandy Cask to share with y’all today, the oldest of the line at 6 years of age!

Your first impression is going to be the styling of the bottle. With its old timey block print and a name like “Colkegan” you may think that you were about to drink a single malt from Scotland itself, a nod to where all single malts stem from. However, the subtle barrel emblem emblazoned with Zia Sun from the state flag of New Mexico reminds you that this is a single malt with a story and a region all its own. The whiskey comes in at 46% abv with a pale gold hue and thin legs in the glass. The nose is so delicious, sweet and decadent – caramel apples intertwine with a medicinal smoke of cherries that just invites you into the glass. On the palate, the Colkegan actually really reminded me of an ex-Bourbon cask Scottish Single Malt. The flavor begins with spiced florals and honey before opening up a very smooth and rounded fruit medley and smoke. The smoke is very tame at this point, like low hanging thin smoke after putting out a fire. The finish was dried fruits – cherries and apple chips and a tame mesquite smoke. The finish was the first taste of actual mesquite with a lingering charcoal palate.

I feel that this Colkegan was one of the closest American Single Malts that I’ve had to a Scottish Single Malt, while still showcasing a flavor all it’s own. A masterful transition from nose to finish showcasing the mesquite and Apple Brandy. Apple on the nose, white oak and brandy cask on the palate, and mesquite on the finish.

This whiskey had me dreaming of being fireside, orange flickering on the adobe walls of the South West on a cool fall night. True beauty in complexity!

To find out more about Santa Fe Spirits be sure to check out their website https://santafespirits.com/ and their Instagram @santafespirits.

Cheers!

 

01.12.18 | The Light Side | High West 14 Year Light Whiskey

American Whiskey

The yang to the yin of whiskey, light vs dark, Luke vs Vader, what am I talking about?? The High West 14 Year Light Whiskey, that’s what!

Now I am not well-versed on what the hell light whiskey is, so I’m going to let the label fill you in on it, per High West, “…light denotes a grain spirit distilled between 80-95% alcohol by volume – it’s “lighter” than a straight whiskey (which is distilled to <80% ABV) but “heavier” than neutral grain spirits (what is called NGS and makes vodka) which must be distilled >95%.” Basically with this you are distilling out the congeners and science things that make your prototypical whiskey flavors, so what are you left with? You’re about to find out!

The nose gave me a total feel of nostalgia back to my childhood when visiting my grandparents house where they always had those huge tubs of ice cream with the red handle, y’all know what I’m talking about! Well on the nose there was vanilla ice cream with a melted caramel topping, sweet, creamy, and very soft. Once on the palate there was an initial rush of ethanol that quickly dissipated into a decadent buttery pound cake and creamh white chocolate. The 14 years of oak shows its face briefly on the finish before ushering in a lot of butterscotch.

It’s unlike any other whiskey on the market in all the right ways. It’s such a soft whiskey that you could hold in your mouth for hours without discomfort, so decadent and buttery with just the right astringency and no burn. A light spring time whiskey that should be drank with pastries on a Sunday morning, cause that’s how I roll on Sundays. Unfortunately only available at the distillery and the park city lounge, don’t pass it up if you ever find yourself at the mothership!

Cheers

01.10.18 | New Bourbon Alert | Bear Creek Distillery

American Whiskey

We are keeping in Colorado as we head down the street from Laws Whiskey to Bear Creek Distillery. I’m pretty sure with the right amount of skill and a little luck you could roll a barrel straight down to Laws from Bear Creek!

Let’s talk about one of Colorado’s newest Straight Bourbon Whiskies that has emerged from its 3 year slumber to join a growing cast of delicious Colorado bourbons! The technical facts are that this bourbon sports the young 2 Year age statement and brings with it a beautifully standard 45% abv. Sounds like a whole lot of other bourbons out there, right? Well here is where I’ve spent the last couple days reflecting on this whiskey, because it isn’t and I had a bit of a revelation of why these young Colorado spirits make me so excited!

At a young age there are a plethora of base flavors that you can’t hide behind the barrel. As the drinker you are getting to experience the ingredients of the whiskey itself. For many of the emerging craft distillers there is a commitment to using high quality locally sourced ingredients that they are proudly showcasing with their whiskies. There is no bitter, astringent, alcohol taste to these young bourbons. In the case of Bear Creeks’ bourbon I found a beautiful harmony of nature in the glass. The mouth feel was a creamy cereal of fresh grains, honey balm, cinnamon sticks, and bright green florals. The flavors shined the spotlight on the quality of the locally sourced grains that are used. It was beautiful and shows the base on which given more time in the barrel you will have a grizzly bear of flavor in the glass.

Bear Creek isn’t a one trick pony either as they’re rolling out all sorts of delicious and high quality distillates! We actually ended up taking home a bottle of their AMAZING cask strength rum that aged in Laws Four Grain Whiskey barrels! Teamwork makes the dream work people.

If you’re ever in Denver make sure to stop by Bear Creek Distillery for a pour of whiskey and one of their delicious cocktails. Good alcohol makes good cocktails!

Remember to hug a craft distiller today for what they’re bringing to the Industry right now!

Cheers!

01.10.18 | The Fiercest Critic | EH Taylor Single Barrel Bourbon

American Whiskey

I have the most amazing wife in the world, this is true for a million reasons! One of these reasons is that she is so very supportive of my journey with no aim through whisky and cocktails. She is my bar side ride or die until the end! Whether it be trying a new bar, sipping cocktails, or at a whisky tasting you will pretty much always find Leah by my side.

Unexpectedly though, I have also created one of the fiercest and unapologetic whiskey reviewers this side of the Mississippi. She is the bad cop to my good cop when we sit down to sample whiskies! If she likes it then we better have doubles of it, cause she is going to drink it.

Today I bring you a Mrs. Whiskey Accountant approved bourbon, the EH Taylor Single Barrel Bourbon. This Taylor comes from Buffalo Trace’s Mash Bill #1 aka the Low Rye (10% or less). A non age stated bottled in bond that my best guess drinks like a 10 year and has an abv of 50%.

The color is a wonderful burnished gold that you just cherish in a Bourbon. The nose is very approachable and is of decadent caramel chews and browned sugar with an earthy must of oak. On the palate I was met with a quick bite of oak that nipped with the tongue with a pinch of pepper. That bite though opened into a decadent vanilla birthday cake that carries sweetness all the way into the finish. The finish was leather oak with a flash of alcohol that turned to a sweet and warm fresh butterscotch on the stovetop.

I’m a big fan of the EH Taylor line and the Single Barrel is a crown jewel of it. For an everyday drinker this Taylor is an incredibly approachable and easy drinking bourbon that drinks below it’s proof. Whether in a cocktail or neat in a glencairn I ensure you that the the EH Taylor Single Barrel will get the job done for ya!

Cheers!