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/

02.16.18 | Citrus Clarity in the Smoke | Lagavulin 8 Year Limited Edition

Scotch Whisky

If you look at the current landscape of Single Malt Whisky you will see that distilleries are in a nuclear arms race to release older and older whiskies as limited releases to one-up one another. Recently I was informed of a very notable distillery aiming to release a 50-year scotch in the near future. Five. Zero. Its often times a hard thing for myself to conceptualize a whisky that is double my age, but do not for one moment get me wrong. These whiskies are exquisite, amazing, masterful, ancient, etc., etc., etc. I am not complaining one bit. However, what would you say to one of the most famous Islay distilleries deciding that for a limited edition release they would release an… 8 year? *Alongside an absolute epic bottle costing over $1,000 of course*

The Lagavulin 8 Year was released to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the distillery. Now, this seems like a milestone worthy of an old ancient cask from deep within the rick house, right? The reason for the 8 year age statement goes back to whisky writer and historian, Alfred Barnard, sampling an 8 year Lagavulin and proclaiming it to be, “…Exceptionally Fine,” so Lagavulin set out to recreate the old 8-year style and release it as a Limited Release.

The Lagavulin 8 year comes in with an abv of 48%, which I found to be a terrific direction to turn up the abv a bit for this youngin from the 43% abv of the 16-year. The whisky was aged in primarily American Oak casks. Clarity. In the glass, the Lagavulin is a lovely crystal clear chardonnay white color. The palate blossoms immediately. A fresh harvest of bright citrus – orange and tangerine zest –  fades to a swelling wave of saline ocean water misting the nose. A clean smoke of barley and fresh hay finish the scent as you go to taste the whiskey – such a lovely clean and citrus smoke on the nose. On the palate, it begins with the iodine of crisp ocean water that marries with a perfumey smoke of spices burnt over oak. The palate turns sweet as a flavor of clove and honey and sweet grains usher in the finish. The Lagavulin shows its face on the finish. The finish begins with black pepper and seasoned salt that gets the taste buds salivating. Smoldering peat is present, strong and proud. The finish is long and incredible. A layer of smoke remains with cinnamon and sweet honey coating the inside of the mouth.

Holy s***! The Lagavulin 8 year is simply incredible. Crisp, refreshing, clear Islay amazingness. The flavors with the 8 year are pronounced and work in harmony with the fresh ocean peat that is present. I love what Lagavulin did here, they said eff you to all those that just throw out NAS young whiskies and said let us show you how it’s done by rolling out an absolutely exquisite 8 year scotch.

The Lagavulin 8 year is a refreshing medley of fresh citrus that awakens the senses to brisk mists of fresh salty ocean water as mulling spices steep over a smoldering pit of peat. So much clarity and sharpness in the various flavor profiles present. It goes without saying that I love this whisky and at around $50 this is one single malt that should not be missed out on!

Sláinte

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