All posts by Richard

Founding Apostle

The Buffalo Has Landed!

For all you rabid Atlanta Buffalo Trace fans out there, I have visible confirmation that we now have Buffalo Trace Bourbon in Atlanta! Matt and I cornered the BT representative at WhiskyFest NYC 2009 demanding to know when we’d be seeing Buffalo Trace in Atlanta. At the time he said that they were just moving into Chattanooga before year-end and he anticipated getting it to Atlanta by the end of 2010.

Well, it’s here and it’s early. I’ve only seen it at the Tower Package Store on Piedmont but I’ve seen it. I went in looking to pick up a bottle of Yamazaki 18 and I decided to look around a little. I don’t get to Tower very much anymore since I moved to the ‘burbs. As I was checking out the tasty array of bourbons I noticed a familiar bottle three shelves down. 1 liter bottle of BT for around $30! Woohoo! I’m sure you know what I had to do. If you’re also having a hard time finding Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel (I know I have) they also have that in 750ml bottles for around $30.

If anyone else sees Buffalo popping up around town please let us know in the comment section of this post.

Drink wisely my friends,

Richard

Extravaganza in Atlanta – 2010

Last night was the Single Malt and Scotch Whisky Extravaganza held in Atlanta. Was there Apostle representation? Whisky…in Atlanta…of course I was there. Here’s my take on the event….

Location
The event was again held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead. It is a great location that is easily accessable from Peachtree Street, major interstates, and MARTA. It’s an Intercontinental Hotel so the facilities are very nice, as you would expect. There’s not too much more for me to say on that.

What Was Poured
There were a good number of scotches on offer as well as single malt Japanese and Irish offerings. I didn’t specifically count the exact number but it was a lot. A quick summary includes Dalmore, Laphroaig, Ardmore, Glenlivet, Chivas, Glenrothes, Yamazaki, Glen Garioch, Bowmore, Macallan, Highland Park, Longmorn, Famous Grouse, Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Talisker, Glenkinchie, Dalwhinnie, Lagavulin, Oban, Cragganmore, Michael Collins, Bushmills, and several others that escape me at the moment.

I didn’t try everything on offer. With that much variety you have to be selective or you will be on the floor in no time. I started with Dalmore because I felt like I didn’t give the new range a fair shake at WhiskyFest NY 2009, possibly due to palate fatigue. I limited myself to the 12 Year Old and the Gran Reserva because I felt they had changed the most from their prior incarnations. I was informed that the change was mostly an increase in sherry aged casks in both bottlings. I found the 12 meatier than the older version and the Gran Reserva to be dryer than the old Cigar Malt. Both were better than I remembered from WF. More exploration is required.

From there I went over to the Bowmore/Glen Garioch booth. I hit the 12 Year old and 15 Year old Bowmore expressions first. The 12 seems to get better every time I try it. (mental note: we need to do a review soon) The 15, not as much. Formal tasting is difficult in a large setting like this but there was something offputting that I can’t place. From there I scooted over to try the Founder’s Reserve and 12 Year Old Glen Garioch. These are both newly released expressions that are just making it to Atlanta. The Founder’s Reserve was more vegetal on the nose but both were very nice and had a good balance of sweet and spicy on the palate.

My next stop was to try the new 15 Year Old Single Barrel Balvenie. Very nice! I hit the 21 Year Old Portwood again while I was over there and that was very good too. After that I did a trio of 25 Year Olds going from Glenlivet (thanks Randy!) to Highland Park to Laphroaig. The cheeky bastards at Laphroaig had it hiding in a boot and you had to know to ask for it. They did the best overall talk on process and whisky in general of all the booths so I can’t give them too hard a time.

I rounded the evening out with a few selective stops by Macallan and others. All things I was familiar with but just wanted a taste of. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get dates on when Hibiki and Glen Grant would be coming to Atlanta and thus they weren’t poured last night. That’s kind of the paradox of the way the Society does their events. They don’t allow the pouring of anything that isn’t available in the city where the event is held. On the upside, it’s nice to know that you can buy locally everything you taste. On the downside, there’s a lot of great stuff that doesn’t get poured depending on where you are.

Who Was There
The Extravaganza events seem to have more distributor representatives rather than whisky makers. I don’t think any Master Distiller’s were there last night. The crowd ranges from the young and hip to the well seasoned and everything in between. It was a good mix. I always find the Pour Bunnies rather amusing. I’m not really sure what the term is for the ladies that work the booths for show but I call them Pour Bunnies. Their knowledge varied greatly depending on the booth. Even between the girls at the same booth. Somebody has to pour the drinks, right?

Other Offerings
The food was good again this year. Carving stations for roasted meats, pastas, risottos, salads, deserts, coffee and various other things. Everything I tried was very good. They were again giving out cigars to attendees again this year which I find a nice touch. My one real gripe about the event as a whole was the food service. It would be nice if they had two separate stations so that everyone didn’t have to wait in line forever in a big circle that never went anywhere.

Summary Thoughts
In summary I thought the event was great. In the spirit of full disclosure I will note that I was a guest of The Society this year and that courtesy is greatly appreciated. There are very few whisk(e)y events that come to Atlanta each year. This is definitely one not to be missed.

Drink wisely my friends,

Richard

Glen & Morty

Last night my buddy Sam and I were fortunate enough to attend a tasting of The Glenlivet hosted by Morton’s in Downtown Atlanta and Brand Ambassador Randy Adams, otherwise known as “The Glenlivet Guy”. This was the Atlanta stop of The Glenlivet’s tour of Morton’s restaurants across the county. (the full schedule can be found here)

They were pouring the first four bottles in The Glenlivet range:
The Glenlivet 12 Year Old
The Glenlivet 15 Year Old French Oak
The Glenlivet 16 Year Old Nadurra
The Glenlivet 18 Year Old

Paired with each dram was a lovely appetizer including smoked salmon, beef, scallops and other tasty bits. In general I think the appetizers paired well with the different drams. My favorite combination was actually the first one. They paired a smoked salmon pinwheel with The Glenlivet 12 year old.

This was definitely one of the more informal tastings I’ve been to that were lead by a company representative. Randy is a very friendly, outgoing, and likeable guy. (as ambassadors should be) Sam and I chatted him a good bit and even got an invite to share a dram with him should we make it to Scotland one summer when he’s there with his wife’s family. Randy was informative without being overbearing and knowledgeable in all things Glenlivet and most things whisk(e)y. I look forward to seeing him at the Single Malt and Scotch Whisky Extravaganza on Thursday.

So what about the whisky you ask? Well, The Glenlivet range is all very approachable. Going into the evening the 15 Year Old French Oak was my favorite and the Nadurra had always caught Sam’s eye. We both enjoyed everything poured and I still held fast to the 15 as a favorite and Sam said he’d probably be picking up a bottle of that too.

All in all it was a good event with a fair share of humorous moments. One gentleman snatched the 18 year off the bar and then secretly poured himself a very impressive measure of about three fingers before promptly filling the rest of the glass with ice cubes and sneaking off. I really hope that we start seeing more events like this in the Atlanta area (take note producers, distributors, and retailers!). If so, I know I’ll be there and hopefully so will you.

Drink wisely my friends,

Richard

The Dalmore Mackenzie

Dalmore sent me this press release this week for a new Dalmore release. I was unfortunately a little slow in posting it, as the official unveiling was yesterday.

Illuminating a new partnership between The Dalmore distillery and the Mackenzie Clan

On the 17h March 2010 a unique gathering of Clan supporters and whisky aficionados’ is happening at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Underneath the shadow of the famous Scottish painting; ‘Fury of the Stag’, the first few bottles of a new edition of The Dalmore Mackenzie will be unveiled and enjoyed.

Only 3,000 limited edition bottles of the legendary highland single malt are being released to mark a new era in the distillery’s long affiliation with The Mackenzie Clan, and to help raise much needed funds for this famous Scots family.

The Mackenzie family, owners of The Dalmore distillery for almost a century, provides the inspiration for The Dalmore’s iconic stag head logo and its motto “I Shine, Not Burn” which is also the clan motto.

The launch will celebrate the single act of courage that an ancestor of Clan Mackenzie made when saving King Alexander III in 1263 from being gored by a stag, a scene that is depicted in the painting.

The star of the show will be this iconic piece of art, quite literally, as not only will the largest painting in the gallery (5.4m x 3.3m) take pride of place at this event, it will also be projected on to the National Gallery itself for one night only, so that the whole of Edinburgh can appreciate its brilliance in an entirely new way.

The partnership aims to raise funds to help refurbish and maintain Castle Leod and to support a range of activities organised by The Clan Mackenzie Society of Scotland & The UK.

According to The Dalmore’s master distiller Richard Paterson this is the first step of a long-term commitment, and the brand is hoping to raise a seven figure sum in the next 10 years to help protect this important piece of Scottish history.

He added: “Whether you are a Mackenzie or not, with only 3,000 bottles available globally, this is your chance to own a little piece of Scottish history.

“I have been nurturing casks at The Dalmore and monitoring their progress for some four decades. The challenge to craft a whisky fit for the Earl and all Mackenzies was an inspiration. I am proud to be able to help the clan by creating a whisky with a regal heritage and one which is truly fit for a king…….as well as a Clan Chief!”

Each limited edition bottle will be individually numbered and is adorned with the Clan and the brand’s iconic Royal stag formed in molten metal. All purchasers are entitled to claim a limited edition print of the famous painting personally signed by the head of the Clan himself who continues to reside at Castle Leod.

The Earl of Cromartie and chief of the clan, John Mackenzie, says; “As the head of the Clan I speak for all Mackenzie’s to say that we are really excited to be part of this special event which brings to life this iconic painting in more ways than one, celebrating a piece of history that forms the foundation of our joint heritage, as well as the dawn of a new era in our continued partnership with the distillery.

“I am delighted that The Dalmore are supporting the preservation of Castle Leod for not only me, but for the Clan, and for Mackenzies around the world and of course for Scotland”

Richard Paterson concluded: “This is the first step in a longer journey with the Clan Mackenzie as we work together for mutual benefit. The Dalmore and the Clan are inextricably linked. There are not many brands in the world that have these true royal connections, and we hope to announce more projects like this over the next couple of years. Watch this space.”

For further press information or any images please contact Emma Jarman or Anna Jones at LUCHFORD APM: emma.jarman@luchfordapm.com or anna.jones@luchfordapm.com or 020 7631 1000.

Notes to editors:

About The Mackenzie Dalmore

This limited release bottle can be purchased from all good independent whisky specialists for £100 (RSP) including the The Whisky Exchange, Royal Mile Whiskies, The Whisky Shop chain, Selfridges, Harrods, all good bars and of course at the Dalmore Distillery Visitor Centre (www.thedalmore.com). It will also be available in good stockists in USA, France, Germany, New Zealand and in Global Travel Retail.

Tasting Notes

The first spirit used was distilled in 1992 and held in American white oak casks for some 11 years. The Dalmore then finessed the whisky by re-filling to fresh port pipes from the douro. The natural soft amber red hue – drawn from the port pipes – links the colour of the whisky to the blood of the injured stag. Bottled at 46% abv, the Mackenzie bottling is a commanding, intense and courageous fit for all aristocracy and proffers hints of vanilla, red fruits, spices and the brand’s classic signature citrus orange

About ‘Fury of the Stag’

In 1786 Benjamin West, historical artist to King George III, commemorated Mackenzie’s encounter with the stag in a vast painting, commissioned by Francis Humberston Mackenzie. The painting remained in the Mackenzie family seat of Castle Leod until 1952, and now hangs in the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh (www.nationalgalleries.org ). A commanding and impressive sight, the painting is huge at 5.4m * 3.3 m in size and is situated in the very first viewing room in the gallery.

The Clan Mackenzie Society of Scotland & The UK

Castle Leod in Strathpeffer (near Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland) is the Home of the Chief of the Clan Mackenzie and Seat of the Clan Mackenzie. The Society (www.clan-mackenzie.org.uk ) organises and attends a variety of events each year including the Strathpeffer Highland Games in August. They are always looking for new members in the UK and from overseas from not only Mackenzies but also any Septs of the Clan, which are listed on their website.

This should be coming to select retailers in U.S. and I’ll let you know where when I know.

Drink wisely my friends,

Richard