06.04.2018 | Adventurous Stills Mesquite Whiskey

American Whiskey

Today I am breaking out a one-off limited edition release from the Adventurous Stills out of Tempe, Arizona. This special bottle is their Mesquite Whiskey, which from what I’m told will be made again someday, but they have other crazy ideas to chase first!

Adventurous Stills is a very cool group of three partners that are taking the craft distillery business very serious. They are truly hands-on when it comes to making spirits and what I mean by this is that they literally built their own copper stills, mash tun, and basically everything else! Aside from this, they are making grain to bottle whiskey without ever sourcing their distillate. This is what craft distilling is all about, three people making award-winning spirits all by hand. Remember to always hug your craft distillers!

Now I am a bit of a mesquite fanatic, I just really f****** love the flavor of mesquite. There seems to be a growing amount of mesquite whiskeys on the market and so far they all have had different processes for being produced. As for the Mesquite Whiskey from Adventurous Stills, the process is quite simple and guaranteed to produce big flavor. Throw some mesquite wood on the grill, char it up, put it in the whiskey, and let time do its work.

I am unaware if anyone has or if it is even possible to make a barrel out of mesquite, but I would be curious to hear about if that is a thing if any of y’all know!

No need to waste time lets dig into it!

Here are the specs:

  • Age Unknown
  • 50% abv
  • $40 price tag

Color: In the glass, the whiskey is a chestnut orange. Extremely slow legs. Per the distillery, there is no added coloring, so based on the color it is evident that there was some serious interaction with the mesquite wood.

Nose: When going into nose this bad boy the mesquite is extremely evident and is quite rich. The nose had more complexity on it after opening up than I was initially expecting. After giving it some resting time I found candied bacon, caramel covered apples, and wood shavings. A very interesting and perplexing nose. The richness of the mesquite is a bit overpowering in my opinion, but once you begin being able to work past it there are certainly some fun scents going on!

Palate: Alright, I’m not sure if this whiskey is taking ME back to certain nights during my college days at the University of Colorado, Boulder… BUT… on my first taste, I swear I was tasting a handful of Lays Barbeque Chips (Snoop Dogg claims these to be the best munchies), which isn’t a bad thing at all just quite a surprising experience from a whiskey. After that flashback, there is a lot of burnt wood, charcoal, and butterscotch. I picked up on a slight bit of black pepper and leather, but the mesquite is a bit overpowering on the palate. The palate is where this whiskey falls the shortest, it’s just pretty damn intense. Right now its an 11 on the stereo volume when it could probably do better at a 7 or 8.

Finish: The early preview of spice on the palate comes out on the finish with a dry rub of black pepper, chili powder, seasoned salt, and brown sugar. The finish lingers for a while with an aromatic perfume of smoldering mesquite that stays on the palate. Word of advice, similar to a peated whisky I would drink this one last if part of a tasting. There is a lot of savoriness that coats the mouth after this, but I would say the lasting flavor on the finish was my favorite part of the whiskey!

The Adventurous Stills Mesquite Whiskey is an absolute trip. Imagine taking a big ol slab of peppered bacon and throwing it over a smoker full of mesquite, and that is pretty close to what you are getting with this whiskey. For myself, this was absolutely one of the most savory whiskeys I’ve ever had and being a mesquite head it filled my bbq’ing soul with joy! One thing that I appreciate most about the whiskey and through talking to the folks at the distillery is that you can taste that they had fun making this whiskey. The folks at Adventurous Stills had a vision for this one and went for it, and really created a one of a kind whiskey. This whiskey certainly reinforces the name of this Arizona distillery!

That damn finish… still just tasting finger-licking good bbq in my mouth!

Score: 7/10

This bottle was purchased by me and as always, the words and opinions are all my own

04.03.18 | Sugarlands Distilling Company Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey 4th Edition

American Whiskey

You know what they always say, you want what you can’t have. That has been my feeling when it comes to the Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey since it is a distillery only release, but here I am finally making it happen (thank you Sugarland!).

Now, this is a whiskey that really doesn’t need me to vouch for it. The Roaming Man has been clearing up the awards circuit since it first hit the whiskey scene. Born in Gatlinburg, Tennessee by a bunch of passionate funky “moonshine” making folks, the 4th edition took home six gold medals in 2017 and sold out in… wait for it… 30 minutes! Those are the sort of results that speak for themselves but don’t give tasting notes, so here I am!

I’ve said it once and I will continue to say over and over, that clarity is so important in the whiskey industry. Sugarland may be the clearest distiller I have ever seen. When you get your bottle of Roaming Man the label is going to give you everything from the mash bill, to the staves used, to the barrel treatment, to the evaporation and get this, even comes with a chromatogram chart. This is the science lover and chemists dream whiskey! While tasting the Roaming Man I actually had a really terrific time referencing back to the chart to see what congeners and/or compounds were creating the flavors I was experiencing.

Now for the dirty details about, of which, Sugarland tells them all:

  • Abv 60.9%
  • 51% Rye 45% Corn 4% Malted Barley
  • Barrel Type: American White Oak
  • Staves: 6 Months Air Dried
  • Treatment: #3 and #4 Char
  • Barrel Size: 25 Gallons
  • Avg Evaporation: 21%

AND, this isn’t even all the info I could give you on it!

Color: Now the whiskey itself is a nice crystal clear orange copper with some lovely cask strength crystal legs in the glass.

Nose: The heat is there, but not as much as I was expecting. Working past the slight ethanol the whiskey opens into a spice apple cider, lots of apple on the nose. There are HUGE floral spices, lots of sweet sugars (molasses?), and freshly cut hay. Really carries the nose of everything I want and love in a rye whiskey.

Palate: Alright alright alright, here comes that cask strength heat… BUT it still isn’t there… curious. The palate is nice and decadent. Vanilla bean crème brûlée with that nice burnt sugar top that just cracks wide open to the huge flavors. The apple is calmer on the palate and instead is more of banana bread, with sweet grains.

Finish: This finish reintroduces the terrific big rye florals and spices, but brings with it this time a spoonful of honey, the lingering flavor is a lovely dried oak that takes you into a short finish. On the finish, I still found hardly any heat. I don’t know how, but Sugarland really tamed the cask strength abv of the Roaming Man leaving you with an incredibly smooth and sippable rye whiskey!

The Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey is the big bold (young) rye the world deserves and needs in the oftentimes bleak state of affairs. The whiskey is a no-nonsense, no gimmicks, full clarity, damn good rye whiskey. In the glass, it drinks far beyond its age (thanks to the smaller barrels) and is so full of balanced flavors.

The Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey will have you dreaming of summer nights sitting on the tailgate of an old pickup truck in the backwoods of Tennessee!

Now to figure out how to get a full bottle of the 5th edition, pre-sale is launching Wednesday, April 18th, back to Colorado… we always want what we can’t have… but if you’re lucky enough to be nearby the distillery. Go get a bottle and thank me later!

Cheers!

The words and opinions are all mine, but the sample was provided to me by Sugarland Distilling Company.

03.04.18 | Turn the Volume to 11 | PM Spirits Mic Drop Straight Bourbon Whiskey

American Whiskey

Little did I know that I was already so spiritually connected to PM Spirits than when I began doing research on them in preparation for this review. PM Spirits was founded by Nicolas Palazzi who grew up in France and understandably got himself into the Cognac industry before launching PM Spirits. Nicolas has now turned PM Spirits into a premier curator of and promoter of artisanal spirits that exude quality. From Cognac and Armagnac to Mezcal and eau de vie, they are all top notch labels that PM Spirits carries. We have ourselves some of their Armagnac and Mezcal. Once I realized that they were turning out their own Bourbon from barrels they picked I knew I was 100% going to be in for a treat. Now the Mic Drop Straight Bourbon Whiskey was a New York release only, so it took some sourcing, but was eventually able to get my hands on a bottling of it!

From my experience with the Mezcals that PM Spirits carries their brand is all about a clarity and a commitment to the craft. To no surprise, the label of the Mic Drop provides a plethora of information to ensure ultimate clarity. The Mic Drop is an MGP distillate that was distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2017. The bourbon within is a blend of 20 different incredible casks that have a mashbill of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% barley malt. Bottled at cask strength of 56% abv, unfiltered, and natural colored there is absolutely nothing else you could need to know about this whiskey! And that is just how it should be. Plus there were a lot of terrific attentions to detail on the bottle design, from the glass stopper to the very different and intense comic book like hero adorned with a sneak and a freaking eagle. I suggest going to their website, because the inspiration for the label design is quite cheeky and I love it! I hear a lot of people poo-poo on MGP distillate when I know for a fact they’re drinking it, loving it, and they don’t even know it because there are not many labels out there committed to this sort of clarity. My advice to those people, stfu and if it tastes good who the hell cares where it came from! But I digress, let’s get onto the review.

In the glass, the Mic Drop is a light burnished orange, almost copper hue, that has legs that run parallelly down the glass. Definitely can tell its still on the somewhat younger side at 8 years of barrel time. Now at first, the nose had me concerned. As I worked my way into the nosing I definitely had to take my time as it begins fairly intense with strong notes of ethanol. Take your time, take a sip first and allow your body to acclimate because it gets good… The harsh heat quickly subsides and opens up a candy shop of sweetness. There is a basket of fresh picked red apples alongside a pot of melting butterscotch candies, while whole cloves and cinnamon sticks are ground down to a powdery form. The dessert like profile carries over to the palate as gooey caramel bites slowly melt over granny smith apples and sugar-coated plantains are brûléed. The exotic flavors continue to a holiday black tea that steeps on the taste buds, bitter and full of cinnamon, anise, and vanilla beans. Dry oak tannins briefly show their face on the finish and cause the mouth to salivate, an oily leather coats the entirety of the mouth, and hard honey candies take you along to the future.

The Mic Drop Straight Bourbon is one of the more lively and multidimensional bourbons that I have had in awhile. There is an actual story about where the name comes from, but I think the name Mic Drop comes from the fact that PM Spirits picked some kick-ass barrels that have turned the typical bourbon flavor profile up to an 11 on the audio system! If you have been looking for a bourbon that breaks the monotony of honey and oak, well this is the bourbon for you!

Cheers!

https://www.pmspirits.com/

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!