All posts by Richard

Founding Apostle

Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond

Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond Straight Rye Whiskey
50% ABV
$15 to $20
Widely availble in the U.S.

What the Distillery Says:
Produced in the tradition of the classic Pennsylvania or Monongahela rye whiskies, Rittenhouse is a much acclaimed rye now enjoying a renaissance in the major metro markets of the country. Available in the standard 80° bottling or in a special Bottled In Bond expression, Rittenhouse is a tribute to the classic rye whiskies that were once the preeminent American whiskey style, kept alive through the many lean years by Heaven Hill and two other Kentucky distilleries.

What Richard Says:
Nose:Caramel, wood, and something meaty.
Palate:Very smooth in the mouth for a 100 proof whiskey. Much more luscious than the 80 proof expression. Spicy rye notes with a cinnamon under current stand out.
Finish:The finish is all spice but again smoother than I would’ve expected of this proof.
Comments: There are so few remaining “secret” drams out there of great whiskeys at great prices. I fear that by telling all of you about it this one will become less secret still. A great value dram that all rye and cocktail drinkers should have in their bar.
Rating:Must Buy/Best Buy

What Matt Says:
Nose: Oak, honeydew, and caramel dominate.
Palate: Slightly oily, though not as much as the 80 proof.  The oak is a lot more prevalent in this expression.  Bitter and resinous oak notes skip about with deeper toasted notes (some char too),  There is a dry, pungent tobacco note nestled in there.  Caramel, mint, anise (clove reveals itself with a little water).
Finish: Minty and numbing (even more so than the 80 proof expression).
Comments: I would like to amend my statement from our review on the standard Rittenhouse expression.  It’s not that the Bottled In Bond version is better, but that it’s more versatile.  Without water, you get a high test rye that tastes great.  If you water to 80-90 proof, you get all the complexity of flavor we found in the standard expression.  Even a small amount of water makes this puppy blossom like honeysuckle in Spring.  I really cannot recommend this more highly.  It’s dirt cheap and really great.  I’ve been told that it’s becoming hard to find in some markets because of the rye lust that hit the country a little while back.  Be patient though, after the hipsters and mixologists move on to tiki drinks or some other thing, you can stock up on this again.  It’s always on my shelf.  So if all else fails, have a dram with me.  My wife even likes it!
Rating:  Must Buy/Best Buy

Overall Rating:Must Buy/Best Buy

New U.S. Releases – April ‘10

I’m late with this again and I’m sorry. I was on vacation with my lovely wife. Without further delay, here’s what we heard about this month.

For those high rollers out there…
Glenfarclas 40 Year Old
Timeframe: The UK launch was 4/29 but I haven’t heard specific U.S. details yet
ABV: 46%
Price: $525
The release notice only gave a GBP price but based on current exchange rates I did the math for you. We know that about a quarter of the production for this release will be coming stateside. I have yet to try a 40 year old scotch but if anyone wants to get me something special…my birthday is in July.

For the microdistilling enthusiast:
Mckenzie Bourbon Batch #1
Timeframe: May 1st
ABV: ?
Price: $45
This is the new bourbon coming out of the Finger Lakes Distillery. Matt and I tried their rye and corn whiskeys at WFNYC 2009 and based on that experience this looks pretty interesting. Due to the small initial supply it’s only being released in New York State. However, if you’re in New York it should be available at around 130 different retail locations. Happy hunting!

We’ve got a couple of retired Master Distillers getting back into the game:
Angel’s Envy Bourbon
Timeframe: September 2010
ABV: 45%
Price: ?
This is a new project led by Lincoln Henderson, the retired master distiller from Woodford Reserve. Lincoln and his son Wes are launching a new bourbon and a new distillery. This first release is being made for them but they should be up and running at their own distillery around the same time.

WhistlePig Straight Rye Whisky
Timeframe: Late spring 2010
ABV: 50%
Price: $70
This is coming to us from Dave Pickerell who used to be the master distiller at Maker’s Mark. Dave found some 100% Canadian rye whisky that he thinks is pretty good. The mashbill is 100% unmalted rye and it’s around 10 years old.

Canadian Buffalo Invasion:
Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky
Timeframe: May 2010
ABV: 40%
Price: $49.99

Royal Canadian Small Batch Canadian Whisky
Timeframe: May 2010
ABV: 40%
Price: $29.99

Both of these are coming to us courtesy of Buffalo Trace. Matt previously mentioned this release but I thought I’d add in a few more details.

Finally making it across the pond:
Timeframe: September 2010
ABV: 46%
Price: $70
Kilchoman is finally making it to the U.S. It won’t be until this fall so I don’t yet know if we’ll get some of the Autumn 2009 release or if it will be a new 2010 release. Stay tuned.

Timeframe: May 2010
ABV: ?
Price: ?
Swedish whiskey makes it to the U.S. I might just stop by IKEA on my way home from buying some.

And finally:
Early Times 150th Anniversary Bottling
2010 marks the 150th anniversary for Early Times and they are putting it out in a special 375ml bottle for the occasion. The retail should be around $11.99 if you’re interested.

That’s it. If you know of anything I missed then please let me know.

Drink wisely my friends,


Event Notice: Dewar’s Scotch, Steak, & Cigar Dinner

First, my apologies on the late posting of this event. I was on vacation with my wife last week and I’m running a little behind on blog business. I owe Matt a review or two and I owe all of you a April new release recap.

This Sunday, May 16th at 7:00 PM there is a scotch, steak, and cigar dinner being held at New York Prime Steakhouse in Atlanta. New York Prime does these dinner every so often and I think they are really neat events at a decent price. $59.95 plus tax and gratuity will get you this…

Meet & Greet with Dewar’s 12 Year Old and a Montecristo Classic Toro

First Course: Chopped Salad with Dewar’s White Label

Second Course: 16 oz New York Strip wih Creamed Spinach, Creamed Corn and Dewar’s 18 Year Old

Third Course: Key Lime Pie with Dewar’s Signature and a Saint Luis Rey Series G

For reservations contact Michael Smith at 404-846-0644

It sounds like a great event but sadly I probably won’t be there. If anyone gets a chance to go, let us know how it was.

Drink wisely my friends,


Yamazaki 18 Year Old

Yamazaki 18 Year Old Single Malt Japanese Whisky
43% ABV
Available in Asia, Europe, and the U.S.

What the Distillery Says:
This is a full-bodied whisky with spicy cherry-like tones. The toffee aromatics of this copper-gold colored whisky offer a pleasant, long, dry finish.

What Richard Says:Nose: Honey, caramel, orchard fruits, honeysuckle, and a very cognac-like note that plays over a foundation of light oak and cherry blossoms.
Palate: The lighter notes of the palate dance around and play with the wood in a great way. TA candied sweetness that is balanced with the oak rather than cloying. Water dampens the sweetness and pulls out more hints of smoke.
Finish: The finish is oaky yet refreshing in a manly sort of way. It is slow to develop and lingers a good while.
Comments: The extra sherry casks give this whisky a nice extra umf compared to the 12 year old. This is one of my all around favorite whiskies at the moment. This is a dram to make you respect and fall in love with Japanese malt.
Rating: Must Try

What Matt Says:
Nose: Sherried, crisp green apples, star fruit, dark berries and a myriad of other things that ebb and flow in a dance too fluid to measure.
Palate: Warm and velvet soft. Chocolate covered blackberries, slight tannic bitterness, bananas, and apples.
Finish: Cloves and allspice.
Comments: A really stellar whisky.  At a lower price point, I could drink this everyday and never get tired.  It’s complex enough to have something to offer at every dram, and smooth enough that you don’t have to think too much about what you’re drinking.  If you could taste a classical symphony, it might taste like this.
Rating: Must Try

Overall Rating: Must Try

Hibiki 12 Year Old

Hibiki 12 Year Old Blended Japanese Whisky
43% ABV
Available in Asia, Europe, and the U.S.

What the Distillery Says:
Malt whiskies matured 12 years or longer are perfectly matched with mellow grain whiskies of the same age to create this HIBIKI offering. Also included is some whisky from casks formerly used in long-term aging of Japanese plum liqueur, which helps bring out the sweet floral notes on the nose and palate that Suntory whisky is known for. Adding venerable malt aged more than 30 years further brings out the bouquet and adds body to the palate. At a turning point marking the 20th anniversary of HIBIKI, this new offering brings together all of Suntory’s whisky making expertise and blending craftsmanship for whisky enthusiasts around the world.

Tasting Notes
Brilliant amber in color. A fruity bouquet, followed by sweet honey and custard cream. On the palate, a soft and mellow sweetness makes this a whisky one can also enjoy straight. A long finish, with subtle tartness and a spicy bouquet.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Perfume and wild flowers with notes of ripe plums and nectarines. Water opens up the nose. I don’t get anything new but everything is more pronounced.
Palate: Not as sweet on the palate as the nose would suggest. There aren’t any flavors that jump out but instead all flow together seamlessly. Not a dram for water, it flattens it out.
Finish: The finish is velvety and leave only hints of the palate. Very clean. Water make the finish all but disappear.
Comments: This is what a blend should taste like. Everything marries very well and plays off each other. This is a very balanced and easy to drink whisky. It’s dangerously easy to drink. This is the kind of whisky you could got through half a bottle and not even realize it until you tried to stand up. I don’t have as much experience with Japanese blends but if they come like this then bring on more!
Rating: Stands out

What Matt Says:
Nose: Bubblegum (more like the flavored fluoride at the dentist’s office than the real thing) and grain spirit (like moonshine).
Palate: Sweet without being too caramel-like, bubbly and viscous, wickedly smooth.  So balanced that individual flavors are hard to define.
Finish: Like oiled silk.
Comments: Water does nothing for or against this whisky.  I love the plum wine influence.  Redefines smooth.  Plus, the packaging is beautiful.  I’m with Richard, more Japanese blends please.
Rating: Stands Out

Overall Rating: Stands Out