Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2013

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon
Distilled 2001, Bottled 2013

49% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
Handcrafted by renowned Master Distiller Chris Morris, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is vintage-dated bourbon, hand-selected from one specific day of production. The result is a one of a kind character and flavor that will never be replicated.

Each year on September 2nd – in honor of our founder George Garvin Brown’s birthday – Old Forester releases a limited-edition, 12-year old vintage-dated expression. Old Forester Birthday Bourbon has become a must-have for bourbon enthusiasts who want to experience the ultimate in rare handcrafted bourbon. Since its introduction in 2002, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon has received unprecedented acclaim, with an impressive collection of national and international whisky honors.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Burnt sugar (like you get on a nicely prepared crème brûlée), bit of a sour oak note.
Palate: Rye spice is dominant with a fair amount of oak, the sweetness that the nose telegraphed went hiding – barely detectable.
Finish: Short and dry.
Comments: I prefer the nose here over the 2014 vintage, but the palate left me wanting. With Old Forester, my expectation isn’t a tremendously sweet bourbon, but the disagreement between the nose and palate left me disappointed. With the progressive pricing scheme in recent years, I’m even more disappointed.
Rating: Average

What Richard Says:
Nose: Rich and deep with cinnamon woody notes mixed with vanilla cream and burnt caramel made from slow cooking brown sugar.
Palate: Creamy, spicy, muscular bourbon. Soaked raisins, cocoa powder, and deep cinnamon.
Finish: Heavy on the wood but it’s more of an old furniture oak.
Comments: Fantastic Brown-Forman bourbon. I’ve said for years that this is a standard bearer for their product. Sadly, unlike some others, Brown-Forman seems to know what they have on their hands and the price has creeped up five dollars a year for last few years. It pushed over $50 for the first time in 2013 and that knocked it down from a must buy on my list but it’s still damn fine bourbon.
Rating: Must Try

Ardbeg Perpetuum

Ardbeg Perpetuum Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
47.4% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
It has been 200 years since Ardbeg single malt whisky was first distilled on the Scottish island of Islay and 15 years since the legacy of this cult whisky was safeguarded by the foundation of the Ardbeg Committee.

The future of the Distillery was guaranteed in 2000 when it formed one of the most passionate and devoted whisky fan clubs in the world with the creation of the Ardbeg Committee – to ensure “the doors of Ardbeg never close again”. Today the Committee has 100,000 members in over 130 countries and Ardbeg Day has become a global annual event.

To mark these memorable events, at this year’s Ardbeg Day on 30th May 2015 with a ‘Past, Present and Future’ theme, committee members will have the opportunity to buy tickets (£199 per person) to attend the celebratory London event held at The Vinyl Factory, commemorating the Distillery’s bicentenary and be amongst the first to taste Perpetuum, the new limited edition.

Ardbeg Perpetuum is inspired by the many styles, ideas and quirks of fate which have influenced Ardbeg over time; it combines different styles, flavours, dreams and trials. Connoisseurs will taste a never-ending, rich and enticing combination of classic Ardbeggian notes and incredibly creamy flavours.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation, said: “Ardbeg’s character has endured for 200 years and we hope it will continue for centuries to come. The 2015 Ardbeg Day anniversary bottling, Ardbeg Perpetuum, celebrates this milestone year with a recipe that includes some very old and young Ardbeg, silky Ardbeg from bourbon barrels and some spicy Ardbeg from sherry casks. The resulting expression combines classic notes of dark chocolate and treacle with sea-spray, peat smoke, vanilla and a hint of sherry casks, to create an unforgettable single malt with an aftertaste that is never-ending.”

Ardbeg Perpetuum is a deep amber-coloured single malt, containing the unmistakable Ardbeggian aroma of tar, soot and pine resin, with dark chocolate, treacle and sea-spray. Its intense taste juxtaposes peat smoke and spice with creamy vanilla and milk chocolate notes, followed by a never-ending aftertaste of linseed oil, a hint of sherry cask, creosote and tar.

What Richard Says:
Nose: This is a very nice riff on the Ardbeg nose. The standard bottlings, not the limited releases. Tar with hints of licorice. Wet pine needles come through as it opens up with dark fruits a bit of cinnamon too.
Palate: A thick smokiness lays on top of layers of creme brulee and chocolate chips.
Finish: The finish is layers of dark chocolate and burnt out campfire.
Comments: This smells amazing and tastes even better. It hits all the high points that make Ardbeg a great malt without some of the recent limited releases’ influence bringing it down. Ardbeg fans should love this. Although, those not big fans of Ardbeg aren’t necessarily going to change their opinion based on this one.
Rating: Stands Out

We would like to thank Ardbeg for sending us a sample to review.

Blue Hanger 10th Release

Blue Hanger Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
10th Limited Release

45.6% ABV
What the Blender Says:
Arguably one of the world’s most fashionable whiskies, Blue Hanger 10th Limited Release makes its debut this month thanks to San Francisco’s Anchor Distilling Company and Berry Bros. & Rudd Spirits of London. Limited to only 4,398 bottles, this new variant of Blue Hanger, which is exclusive to the U.S., is comprised of one butt of Bunnahabhain 1987, one hogshead of Bunna Moine 2007, Mortlach 1997 and Bunnahabhain 1988, two hogsheads of Westport 1996, and three butts of a 2007 blended malt comprised of Bunnahabhain, Glenallachie, Glenfarclas, Glengoyne and Tamdhu.

This blended malt whisky is named after William “Blue” Hanger, the Third Lord Coleraine, a loyal customer of Berry Bros. at the end of the 18th century. Considered one of the best-dressed men of his day, his nickname came from his preferred clothing color. Blue Hanger was originally a blended Scotch whisky intended for the diplomatic export market in 1934, but disappeared for a period of time until 2003 when Doug McIvor, spirits manager, began his experiments in vatting malts. His objective from the beginning has been to create the best blended malt possible from existing stock.

The initial release in the U.K. of Blue Hanger in November 2003 ran to a mere 700 bottles and was a vatting of only two single malts: Glen Grant and Glenlivet. The first commercially available blended malt assembled by McIvor, Blue Hanger immediately secured a devoted following, which has led to each subsequent release being eagerly anticipated by whisky enthusiasts around the world.

“The ethos of Blue Hanger is to create the most balanced, complex and textured small batch blended malt whiskies possible from our diverse cask reserves,” says McIvor. “This 10th limited release exudes deep fruity aromas with hints of vanilla, leather and oriental spices. Behind the bursting apple and melon skin fruitiness is a delicate peat-smoke imbued by the Islay malt content that becomes more evident on the creamy palate as it swells. The finish is long lingering, fruity and spicy.”

Color: Pale golden
Nose: Bright; banana skin, fresh apple, hints of violets, creamy with new leather and firm smokiness
Palate: Complex, fruity with evolving texture and emerging smokiness
Finish: Long lasting with spice and lingering peatiness

What Richard Says:
Nose: Sweet round fruitiness with bananas foster, Granny Smith apple peel and wild flowers.
Palate: There is a lovely interplay of mild smoke and sweetness that evolves into a briny worn leather note.
Finish: Mild dry tartness of medium length with just a bit of smokiness sticking around.
Comments: Blue Hanger is one of those things I’ve read about and wanted to try for years. When I heard the U.S. was getting an exclusive release I had to grab one. Note that each release is very unique and really are only similar in branding name only. This 10th release is very enjoyable and more than worth the $100 but admittedly I can’t compare it to any of the prior 9 releases because I haven’t had access to them to date.
Rating: Stands Out

Event Notice: Around World Whiskey Tasting at Holeman & Finch



Travel the globe with Whisk(e)y Specialist Casey Teague as he tastes you through Whisk(e)ys from four of the seven continents. We will begin in Ireland, the birthplace of Whiskey distilling, where the unique style of Pot Still Whiskeys was created after a tax was placed on malted barley. Then on to Scotland where the Scots know the Irish invented Whisky, but they perfected it. We’ll then sample a wee dram of hand-crafted, French Whisky followed by new, exciting Indian Single Malts. As we continue to head east, we will sip the revered Japanese and Australian Whiskys that are now redefining Whisky as a category. Finally, home to North America for old and new styles of American Whisk(e)ys. All of this, plus light snacks and lunch for $100. To purchase tickets click here.

Greenspot Irish Pot Still
Bastille 1789 Blended French Whisky
Aberlour 16 yr Speyside Single Malt Scotch
Kavalan Taiwanese Single Malt
Hakushu 12 yr Japanese Single Malt
Hibiki 12 yr Japanese Blended Malt
Amrut Cask Strength Indian Single Malt
Sullivan’s Cove 13 yr Bourbon Cask Australian Single Malt
Alberta Rye Dark Batch Whisky
13th Colony Georgia Rye
Col. E. H. Taylor Cured Oak B.I.B. Kentucky Bourbon

Glendalough Double Barrel

Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey
42% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
Glendalough Distillery, Ireland’s first craft distiller, is leading an exciting Irish whiskey revival with the American release of its new Double Barrel Irish Whiskey. Available in leading bars and retailers in New York from February, this hand-crafted small batch spirit is a new caliber of Irish whiskey, boasting unique richness and complexity in a category dominated by mass production.

This truly new, unique style of Irish whiskey was born of a wild Irish streak, said Glendaloughs USA Brand Manager Donal Gallachoir. Like the fiercely independent, Irish monk, St. Kevin whose image graces every one of our bottles, we are carving our own way with the Double Barrel. This whiskey represents a distinguished sociability—it dares to stand out in a world of copycats and ‘same old’ styles.”

Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey brings new life to a 19th century style of Irish whiskey that would be familiar to your grandaddy. Hand-distilled in a Coffey still from a mash bill of malted barley and corn, the whiskey gains its distinctive complexity from gentle, steady aging that is aided by the country’s mild maritime climate. The double-aging process combines three years and six months in first-fill American oak bourbon barrels, then graduates to six months in first-fill Spanish Oloroso sherry casks. Before bottling, the cask-strength whiskey is cut with water sourced from the surrounding Wicklow Mountains.

The Bourbon barrels impart deep, robust chocolate and caramel notes, lightened on the palate with fruity, nutty notes from the Oloroso casks. The subtle nose is rich with the dark, fruity notes of Christmas pudding, and a sweet and creamy palate resounds richly with honeyed sweetness returning to dry fruit and a gingery, golden finish.

What Richard Says:
Nose: A light delicate floral note with a fresh grassy back.
Palate: Creamy and light. The flavor are delicate and fruity with a wisp of the sherry barrel influence.
Finish: Almost non-existent.
Comments: Light seems the best way to describe this whiskey. It’s not harsh like an overly young whiskey but it is exceeding subtle and coy. Drinking it goes down almost like water.
Rating: Average

We would like to thank 451 Marketing for providing us with a sample for review.