I thought it might be a good idea to post little nuggets of whiskey related advice, knowledge, or wisdom from time to time to help out our readers. Some people may say that these are all “common sense” but in life, like whiskey I find that “common” sense is a little less common than we think. A number of you may already know most or all the bits of information that we’ll share under the “Did You Know” banner but if we can enlighten just one reader then in my opinion the post was helpful. So here goes…
Did You Know…that your local liquor stores have access to a lot more selection than you see on the shelves?
Have you ever gone into your local purveyor of the water of life just to sigh as you see the same old bottlings again and again? You may find yourself wondering why your local shop only carries the same 5 bourbons, 2 ryes, 2 Irish, and 4 scotches? The answer? Supply and demand. I’m not going to give you an economics lesson but suffice it to say that if your local shop sells their selection just fine then why change? However, if they see a growing demand for something else that they can get their hands on then they may start stocking that too. Try talking to the local store manager/owner and see if they are willing to order specific whiskeys for you. You may be surprised when they pull out the book they get from their local distributor and then ask you which of 50+ additional scotches on that list you are interested in.
There are limits of course. Some producers don’t sell in certain areas. There are plenty of scotch bottlings that don’t make it stateside. Japanese whisky is all but completely absent here. Even a great brand like Buffalo Trace doesn’t send any of their standard bottling two states south to Georgia. So don’t go in expecting to get the most hard to find and esoteric whiskey imaginable. On the other hand, see what they can get. You may just be surprised. If enough people start doing it then you may just see that standard selection increasing a bottling at a time.
One additional note about price – generally speaking the liquor store will probably charge you a little more for your special order bottle than if you bought it off the shelf. Why? Well, it’s either because they can (you obviously couldn’t get it elsewhere or you wouldn’t be coming in and special ordering it) or because what they pay for a single bottle is a good bit more than the per bottle price if they order a case/box of a regularly stocked item. Either way, as long as they don’t completely screw you on the price then fair is fair. They are getting a decent profit and you are getting the whiskey you’ve been looking for. What’s not to like?
I was reading through my daily dose of whiskey industry news this more and I came across a note in John Hansell’s blog about a Japanese blend coming to the US. Suntory is releasing the 12 year old Hibiki blend to the U.S. on October 1st. You can get additional details on the whisky here.
For those who haven’t had a chance to try any of the great spirits coming from the land of the Rising Sun then you are missing out. But given the few bottlings that make it here who can blame you. Right now you can find Yamazaki 12 and 18 year old and that’s about it unless you have an exceptional specialist retailer near you. I tried these first at WhiskyFest NY back in 2007 and I was really amazed. Especially with the 18 year old. So it is with a good bit of excitement that I’m awaiting the new Hibiki release from Suntory. Hopefully some will make it down to Atlanta but if not I’ll have to have Matt score me a bottle.
As June draws to an end we find ourselves in the midst of summer. At least in Atlanta anyway. I don’t think there’s been a high below 90 in the last two to three weeks. With the change in climate has your whiskey drink of choice changed? Now if you’re like me you have more than one bottle or favorite in the local bar so it’s not like you have to be exclusive to just one. What I’m really asking is, does your desired beverage profile change in the warmer months? Do you gravitate away from peaty Islay malts in favor of whiskey sours?
Personally, I tend to be a mood drinker. I drink whatever strikes my fancy at the particular moment. That said, I’ve noticed lately that I do tend to gravitate toward or away from certain whiskeys depending on the time of year. Peaty scotches just seem to go with cold weather for me. Maybe I secretly picture myself blasted by cold scottish winds on the coast of Islay. Who knows? Fiery bourbons also seem to fit well. I guess I’m keeping out the cold from the inside out.
When it’s warmer I’m still not much of a cocktail drinker but my tastes do change. Sweeter bourbons, Irish whiskeys, and lighter Scotch tend to be the drams I reach for more often than not. But again, all this is more of a general trend. There are plenty of whiskeys of all types that I’d be more than happy to drink anytime of the year. What about you?
Just so we’re clear, I want everyone who visits our site to know that I really hate Matt. Yes, of course we’re friends and all that but I still hate him. Why? Because New York is soooooooooo much more of whiskey town than Atlanta. More bars, better selections, more niche liquor stores, need I go on? And now the S.O.B. is doing wonderfully successful whiskey tastings to boot!
So in an effort to liven up the Atlanta whiskey scene and help me hate Matt a little less I’m putting a question/invitation out there. Is there interest in whiskey tastings in the metro Atlanta area? If so then shoot me an email. Bourbon, Scotch, Rye, Irish, or whatever you fancy, it doesn’t matter. Let’s work to bring more whiskey to the ATL.
Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey
40% ABV, 80 Proof
Around $40, Available in 30 States
What The Distillery Says:
Honoring unique rogues whose spirit lingers long past their mortal existence. Dead Guy Whiskey is distilled from the sweet wort of Rogue’s award-winning Dead Guy Ale. Distiller’s yeast is added and the sweet wort is fermented for 7 days then double distilled in a 150 gallon copper whiskey still and ocean aged in oak. 5 Ingredients: Munich, C-15, and 2-Row malts, distiller’s yeast, free range coastal water.
What Matt Says:
Nose: Sea foam, vegetal, almost like an Islay or a coastal Single Malt from Scotland
Palate: Viscous, briny (think Jura or Old Pulteney), spice w/ a slight burn. Warming.
Finish: Vegetal w/ a slight burn.
Comments: Dead Guy Ale is very malty with lots of dark berry notes to my nose & palate. My appreciation of the beer gave me high expectations for this whiskey. Unfortunately, I am having difficulty finding any of the “award-winning” qualities from the Ale in the Whiskey. Served at room temperature, Dead Guy Ale is really nice, with a great balance of fruit and malt (it loses a lot if it gets too cold). The whiskey is a little heavy on the brine which mutes the cereal and fruit in the wort. There is not a lot of depth here. Maybe they should go the Charbay route and throw in some hops. That being said, Rogue may have created one of the best boiler makers on the planet. When paired, the Dead Guys really shine. It’s like one of those perfect terroir tastings where things just come together and create an experience greater than the sum of its parts. Was that the intent? You will have to ask the guys at Rogue for that answer.
Rating: Slightly Below Average unless paired with a Dead Guy Ale.
What Richard Says:
Nose: Musty like old mildewing clothes with notes of vegetable matter and rancid grapes. It is not very appealing.
Palate: It tastes better than it smells. It has coastal notes similar to a roughened Jura or Old Pulteney. This isn’t terrible but it just doesn’t make me want to drink it straight.
Finish: This finishes a little rough around the edges but that isn’t surprising given the youth of the whiskey. The lingering notes are unfortunately a much more unpleasant version of the palate.
Comments: I didn’t get to try this with their beer to compare but I wouldn’t buy this myself. I applaud the effort of innovative micro distillers but definitely needs more work.
Rating: Probably Pass.
Overall Rating: Probably Pass.