Tag Archives: Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace Releases Canadian Whisky?

Straight on the heels of Richard’s momentous discovery that Buffalo Trace is now available in Atlanta, John Hansell breaks news that the Sazerac Company (makers of Buffalo Trace and countless other fine spirits) will have two new Canadian whiskies on store shelves by the end of the month.  How can an American distillery release a Canadian whisky, you may be asking.  Well, the answer is simple.  The Sazerac Company acquired some Canadian whisky stocks (no word on the source) and now they are making them available.  I have to say that I’m torn about this news.  As you well know, Richard and I are not huge fans of Canadian-style whiskies.  The only Canadian whisky we really enjoy comes from Forty Creek which is hardly Canadian-style despite meeting all the requirements to be called “Canadian Whisky.”  We are however, fans of Buffalo Trace Distillery on a level bordering religious zealotry.  So, we have to give these a try.  The two whiskies will be Caribou Crossing Single Barrel ($49.99) and Royal Canadian Small Batch ($29.99).  For the full press release and some pictures (including the ridiculously campy Caribou Crossing bottle), check out WDJK.  Some of you may have also noticed that Crown Royal announced a new expression recently (Crown Royal Black).  We will try that one at some point too.  I’m all for the idea of a bolder/richer Canadian whisky.  It certainly can’t get less bold…

Drink well, drink responsibly.

Matt

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

Bourbon & Bacon Expo 2010

While Richard was at the Single Malt and Scotch Whisky Extravaganza in Atlanta, I was at the 2010 Bourbon and Bacon Expo at Astor Wines in New York City.  Last year the festival got some rather mixed reviews, so I was hoping the folks at Astor would use the criticism to make the event a little better.  There were plenty of changes, but I can’t say that it was all for the better.

There was plenty of good whiskey to drink (though nothing as premium as the Parker’s Heritage 27yo they were pouring last year).  There were nine tables pouring whiskey and/or cocktails, plus the additional cocktail pour in the classroom.

Hirsch was there pouring three of the A.H. Hirsch Selection whiskeys.  The Buffalo Trace table was pouring Eagle Rare 10 and the standard Buffalo Trace.  Maker’s Mark was pouring some bacon infused cocktails at the lounge bar, while bacon infused Old Fashions were served in the classroom (featuring Four Roses Yellow Label).  Although none of the Tuthilltown team was in attendance, cocktail-crafters/mixologists were pouring white dog Sazeracs made with locally produced ingredients including Edward III Manhattan Absinthe and Hudson New York Corn Whisky (both distilled at Tuthilltown), yum.  Other pours included Heaven Hill, Michter’s, Four Roses, Wild Turkey and Black Maple Hill.  Bacon presenters included Carlton Farms, The Breslin, Swiss Meat & Sausage Co., Broadbent’s, Flying Pigs Farm, D’Artagnan, Black Pig Meat Co., and Nueske’s.

This year the Expo was cheaper and the space was bigger, two big pluses in my book.  Astor center recently opened a lounge area with seating and a bar.  We showed up as the doors opened.  As people spread out and took advantage of the new layout, things felt less cramped than last year.  By the time we left, the entire space had filled to the same overcrowding that many of these events fall prey to.

Although one of the complaints from last year’s event was a lack of organization, this year was worse.  Like last year, there were whiskey tables and bacon tables.  There were no pairings as the marketing for the event suggested.  The whiskey tables had brand ambassadors leading the gathering masses through a selection of whiskeys while the bacon tables consisted of a descriptive title card and a platter of bacon cut into bite-sized chunks.  Since we showed up early, we managed to try all the porky offerings.  When we left, some 1.5 hours into the 3hour event, all the trays were empty and had been that way for at least 20 minutes.

At last year’s event, there was a charming hostess with a microphone that made sure everyone knew what was going on and where to go for classes and presentations.  There were no such announcements this time.  I wonder how many attendees even made it back to the classroom for the bacon-infused Old Fashions.  The marketing for the event mentioned a class on how to perform a bacon infusion, but if this happened, my party and I missed it.  When we went back for our Old Fashions there were very few people in the classroom.  If people didn’t know about it, they really missed out.  It’s like a country breakfast in a glass.

Now, on to what is important, the whiskey.  With so few whiskeys available, I was able to hit up every table without much risk of palate fatigue.  It’s all about pacing and knowing when to spit/dump.  The pours were rather generous, so people had to show some restraint.  The whiskey highlights for me included the Heaven Hill table.  I finally gave Evan Williams (the standard black label) a try.  Since a few unfortunate incidents, I have been gun shy when it comes to alcohol that you can purchase in a large plastic jug.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s the same mash bill as the more premium Elijah Craig, but spends less time in oak.  This gives it a much sweeter character without a lot of woody notes, definitely a worthy entry level or even every day dram.  While the Evan Williams is good, I am quite partial to the Elijah Craig 12yo.  At the Expo, they were pouring the EC 12 and 18 side by side.  I have to say, the 12 is my preference.  Something about the mash bill makes this whiskey take on oak really quickly.  That extra six years is overkill for my palate.  The Evan Williams Single Barrel (2000 I believe) was also on hand and quite good.

The Hirsch table was interesting.  With all the original Michter’s whiskey gone forever, Hirsch is bottling Hirsch Selection, a collection of whiskeys from across the U.S. bottled exclusively under the Hirsch name.  The Small Batch Bourbon from Kentucky that was sweet with a nice black pepper bite to it.  The aged (3yo?) Small Batch Corn Whiskey tasted like corn whiskey.  There was nothing really outstanding about it, but nothing unpleasant either.  It’s milder than some corn whiskeys but also less cereal in nature.  The 20yo American Whiskey is purported to be distilled in Illinois.  Since the only whiskey distillery that I know of in Illinois closed in the late 70’s, I wonder where this actually came from.  It certainly tastes like it could be from the Hiram Walker distillery, but that would make the spirit over thirty years old, unless it’s been sitting in a bottle in a warehouse for 12 years.  Maybe I’ll reach out to my contact at Preiss Imports and see if he will give me more information.

One of the whiskeys I was eager to try was the Black Maple Hill Small Batch Bourbon.  I don’t know much about this label, but it has always intrigued me.  The rep at the table was not very talkative.  I really wish there had been water at this table (it was the only table without a carafe).  This is high proof bourbon and without water, the alcohol really dominates both the nose and palate.  I probably should have sought out some water, but the aloof rep was not very inspiring.

That’s about it for my whiskey highlights, although I should mention that I decided I like the Four Roses Small Batch over the Single Barrel.  The bacon highlights for me were the Applewood-Smoked, Peppered Bacon from Neuske’s and the Wild Boar Bacon from D’Artagnan.  A couple of the folks in my party really enjoyed the Flying Pigs Farm Heritage Breed Bacon.  I really missed RUB’s pork belly from last year.  I still dream about that stuff.

Ultimately, I enjoyed myself and felt like I got my money’s worth.  They still have some stuff to work on though.  It would be nice to see reps at the bacon tables and have at least one table that offers specific pairings of the whiskeys and bacons on hand.  Clearly the teaching kitchen in Astor Center cannot handle the needs of this event.  I’m not sure how they could solve that problem, but it needs to be solved if they intend to continue this event.  Did I enjoy my self?  Yes.  Will I go next year?  Probably.  However, if the event is just like this year, I probably won’t go a fourth time.

-Matt

New U.S. Releases – February ’10

The new release calendar is starting to pick up a little steam this month. There are some interesting things coming down the pipe.

Garrison Brothers Texas Bourbon
Timeframe: Spring 2010
ABV: 50%
Price: less than $50
This is the first release from this little distillery in Hye, Texas. These guys are doing new bourbon from the ground up. This is a pre-release bourbon that was distilled in 2008. Only 1,000 bottles will be distributed to local liquor stores in Blanco and Gillespie Counties in Texas ahead of the full release at a later date. It should also be noted that these are 375ml half bottles.

Old Crow Reserve
Timeframe: Spring 2010
ABV: 43%
Price: $10-$12
This new version of Old Crow from Beam Global is aged an extra year over the standard Old Crow to the ripe old age of 4 years.

Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky
Timeframe: March 2010
ABV: 40%
Price: $50
The folks over at Buffalo Trace got their hands on some Canadian whisky and thought it good enough to bottle. I’m not the biggest fan of Canadian (especially after the defeat in Olympic hockey) but if it’s coming from Buffalo Trace then I’m intrigued.

Jura Prophecy
Timeframe: April/May 2010
ABV: 46%
Price: $70
This new release from the Isle of Jura is another smoky whisky along the lines of their Superstition release.

Dalmore 18 Year Old
Timeframe: April/May 2010
ABV: 43%
Price: $150
This is the newest addition to the recently relaunched Dalmore line. I can’t wait to give it a try!

The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1973
Timeframe: TBD
ABV: 49%
Price: $1,250
This bottling is the newest release of The Glenlivet’s ongoing vintage release program. Only 240 bottles of this are coming stateside so if you want it and see it, you better grab it.

Ardbeg Rollercoaster
Timeframe: TBD
ABV: 57.3%
Price: TBD
This new release from Ardbeg is celebrating the 10th anniversary of The Ardbeg Committee. A must try for the peat freaks out there I’m sure.

That’s it for February. Please let me know if I missed anything.

Drink wisely my friends,

Richard

New U.S. Releases – September ‘09

Here’s our monthly round up of new releases. There should be something for everyone this month. We’ve got prices from $23 to $15,000.

High West Bourye
Timeframe: This fall
ABV: 46%
Price: TBD
This is a new product from High West that is a blending of a 12 year old straight rye whiskey and a 10 year old bourbon. A post-aging mashbill? I can’t wait to try some.

Dearstalker 18 Year
Timeframe: This fall
ABV: 46%
Price: TBD
This is malt distilled at the Balmenach Distillery that hasn’t been available before. More expressions are scheduled for U.S. release next year.

Benromach 10 Year
Timeframe: This Fall
ABV: TBD
Price: TBD
A new addition to the Benromach line up. I’m sure Matt’s already got a bottle on hold.

The Spice Tree
Timeframe: This fall
ABV: TBD
Price: TBD
A great whisky makes its return! We loved the original incarnation and now that John Glaser has found a way around the SWA’s rules I can’t wait to taste the new expression.

Gold Bowmore
Timeframe: This Fall
ABV: 42.4%
Price: $6,250
This comes from the famed 1964 vintage that gave us Black Bowmore and White Bowmore. With those kind of siblings it’s hard to go wrong.

Slane Castle Irish Whiskey
Timeframe: July 2009
ABV: 40%
Price: $23
This one apparently slipped under our radar. Thankfully, more Irish Whiskey is never a bad thing.

The Macallan Lalique 57 Year Old
Timeframe: This fall
ABV: 48.5%
Price: $15,000
Wow! Fifteen grand for a bottle of whisky. Out of my price range but let us know what you think if you get the opportunity to try some.

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Birthday Edition
Timeframe: Now
ABV: 45%
Price: $29
The standard bottling is great and I can’t wait to toast Mr. Lee with a bottle of his special edition.

There’s also a bunch more that we didn’t get many details on. The annual release of the Buffalo Trace Antique collection will be out in October with the same line up as last year. Glen Garioch and Conemmara are both coming out with new bottlings.

Diageo also announced their 2009 Classic Malt limited editions. Here’s what I’ve got on those so far:
•Talisker 25-Year-Old ($199.99)
•Brora 30-Year-Old ($399.99)
•Caol Ila Unpeated 10-Year-Old ($59.99)
•Lagavulin 12-Year-Old ($74.99)
•Port Ellen 30-Year Old ($369.99)
•Royal Lochnagar Selected Reserve ($209.99)
•Talisker The Distillers Edition ($79.99)
•Oban The Distillers Edition ($99.99)
•Lagavulin The Distillers Edition ($109.99)
•Caol Ila The Distillers Edition ($79.99)
•Dalwhinnie The Distillers Edition ($74.99)

That’s it for September. If that’s not enough for you then we’ll have to wait and see what October brings!