Tag Archives: Knappogue Castle

Event Notice: Irish Whiskey Tasting at Mac McGee’s

Tuesday, October 19th Mac McGee’s will be hosting a tasting of four 12 year old Irish Whiskeys. The price $20, that’s 48 years of whiskey for $20! Here are the details:

Time: 7:00PM on Tuesday, October 19th
Place: Mac McGee’s Irish Pub, 111 Sycamore St, Decatur, GA 30030
Price: $20
Pour: Tullamore Dew 12, Powers 12, Redbreast 12, Knappogue Castle 12
Contact: RSVP at 404-377-8050

Drink Wisely My Friends,

Richard

New U.S. Releases – June ’10

I’m trying to be a little more timely with these release summaries as I’ve been slacking off lately. I only heard about five new tipples this month but they all are very interesting.

Iowa Bourbon Whiskey
Timeframe: July 1st
ABV: ?
Price:?
Iowa Bourbon! Five years ago would you have ever thought of such a thing? This is coming to us from the Cedar Ridge Vineyards Winery & Distillery. It was distilled back in 2008 and the first 1,500 cases are being released this year. What’s even cooler is that they are going to use their own used barrels and make a scotch-style single malt to be called Cedar Ridge Single Malt Whiskey in 2011.

George Washington Rye Whiskey
Timeframe: July 1st
ABV: ?
Price: $85/375ml
This was some of the first whiskey made at the reconstructed distillery in Mount Vernon. It was recreated from President Washington’s original recipe found in the archives at Mount Vernon. It was distilled in 2009 and ready for sale next month but only at the distillery.

The Arran Malt, Anniversary Bottling
Timeframe: June 29th release, no word on when it will show up on our shores
ABV: ?
Price: Around $80
This is some of the original malt distilled back in 1999 that was finished for the last two years in Amontillado Sherry Casks. It is being released to mark the 15th anniversary of the distillery.

Glen Breton 15 Year Old “Battle of the Glen” Canadian Single Malt Whisky
Timeframe: ?
ABV: 43%
Price: ?
You have got to love the sense of humor of these guys. They are releasing this special bottling to celebrate their victory in the Canadian Supreme Court against the SWA’s draconian naming laws. For those that don’t know the SWA tried to force the distillery not to use the name because they thought if it said “Glen Breton Canadian” everyone would automatically assume it’s scotch. Congratulations on the victory guys and I can’t wait to try the celebration dram.

The Kilbeggan Reserve Malt
Timeframe:?
ABV: 40%
Price: ?
This is a truely special dram. Just for the simple fact that it is the first whiskey distilled at Kilbeggan in 53 years. It’s a three year old matured in quarter casks by Cooley at the recommissioned Kilbeggan distillery. That gives Cooley two working distilleries now. Kudos for their hand in the resurgence of Irish Whiskey!

Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey
It’s not new. It’s the same Knappogue but they are doing away with their vintage releases in favor of a standard 12 Year Old.

That’s it for June. Please let me know if I missed anything that you may have heard of.

By the way, I just wanted to remind folks that these release summaries are for U.S. releases. There are plenty of things that are coming out for travel retail or overseas only that don’t make it on the list. I don’t include them deliberately because it used to frustrate the hell out of me to hear about great new whiskey and then find out that I can’t get it.

And as a reminder…Maker’s 46 should be in your local liquor stores around the middle of July!

Drink wisely my friends,

Richard

New U.S. Releases – January ‘10

We’re kind of in the lull of whiskey releases this time of year. There are no major U.S. festivals or holidays to tie new releases to so it’s been pretty quite. I only have two lined up for you.

“?” Maker’s Mark
Timeframe: TBD/June
ABV: 47%
Price: TBD
This is pretty major news in terms of bourbon. Fans have been chomping at the bit to get something new from Maker’s for a long time. We don’t have too many details yet beyond the proof. They haven’t even come up with a name yet. I heard rumor of a June release but John Hansell said that Master Distiller Kevin Smith is still tinkering with the final iteration so who knows.

Knappogue Castle 1994 Vintage Irish Whiskey
Timeframe: TBD
ABV: 40%
Price: $100
This is a special 15 year old release from the Bushmill period of Knappague. It should be interesting.

That’s all that’s come across my desk in the last month. There are always a whole bunch of things that you can’t get here but I try to focus of U.S. availability. That seems to be a rarity in whiskey blogging for some reason. As always, if I missed something please let me know.

Drink wisely my friends,

Richard

Whisky On The Hudson ‘09

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you already know that Thursday night was the Whisky Guild’s annual Whisky On The Hudson booze cruise.  You also know that I forgot my ticket and had to wrangle a new one (which makes this the most expensive tasting event I’ve ever attended.  Not the Guild’s fault, but there it is). Despite my ineptitude, Thursday turned out to be a really great night.  I schmoozed with industry insiders, helped turn other attendees on to new things, and most importantly I learned a lot.  I was even surprised a couple of times.

The boat was bigger this year, but the number of presenters was about the same, which made for a more comfortable socializing experience.  The down side was that things looked a little sparse for a while.  I decided to get the lay of the land first and to seek out some friends.  First I headed to a part of the boat where Glenmorangie had set up a little jazz club, where you could taste the whole line (including many Ardbeg’s) and relax a bit.  Of course, there was a mob around the Signet.  Even though I love Glenmorangie, I was on a mission (I grabbed some of the new Ardbeg Supernova on the way out though).  I didn’t want to be sidetracked.  However, I am easily sidetracked.

I found a boat map to help look for the William Grant & Sons tables.  I know I will find Dr. Whisky there.  On my way, I get turned around and end up talking Rick Wasmund of Copper Fox Distillery in Virginia.  Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky (hmm, he leaves out the ‘e’ even though it is an American Single Malt) is a pot stilled whisky that uses barley malted over apple and cherry wood.  I tried it last year and was not impressed, but a trusted source said that they have improved the product, so I was willing to give it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised.  You can taste the influence of the fruit woods, but it does not come off as overly fruity.  It’s bold, round and balanced.  To sweeten the deal, Rick was also pouring an aged rye (containing both rye and his proprietary malted barley) and white dog* of both whiskies.  I’ve tried a lot of white dog in the past couple of months (it seems to be the it whisk(e)y these days).  I have to say, these were my favorites.  The malting process really smoothes out the rough edges commonly associated with white whisky.  The most interesting thing Rick has to offer is a box set that contains two bottles of the white whisky and a miniature charred oak barrel.  You can age your own whisky!  He had a second fill barrel there with five month old whisky.  It was different from the bottled stuff.  The wood was really bold.  This is a must have for any whisky nerd (like myself).  Here’s the rub.  Wasmund’s is only available in the D.C. area right now.  They are working on getting New York distribution, but the rest of the country is still without fruit wood malted single malt.

Once again, I was off to find Dr. Whisky.  He’s always good for a laugh and some quality information.  In route, I caught a glimpse of a Jefferson’s Reserve bottle.  “I wonder if they brought the Presidential Select,” I think to myself.  It’s not on the table.  I ask and they deliver.  Trey Zoeller, V.P. of Bourbon Operations for Castle Brands, comes over and we start talking about this whisky from the now defunct Stitzel-Weller distillery.  This is one of Malt Advocate’s “Must Buy” bourbons (but you already knew that).  It’s every thing John Hansell says it is (we’ll have a formal review someday).  As Trey and I reminisce about dead distilleries (we agree that the Hirsch <Michter’s> 16yo is superior to the 20yo), he tells me that he has another batch of this Stitzel-Weller bourbon that he plans to release next year as Jefferson’s Presidential Select 18yo.  I can’t wait.

Finally, I make it back to the Balvenie table where I find a bearded(!) Dr. Whisky pouring the entire Balvenie line.  We have a chat and I try the new 17yo (Madeira cask).  This is a good one folks.  I was a little disappointed with the Rum cask 17yo from last year.  The palate did not deliver on what the nose promised.  The Madeira 17yo is just the opposite.  The nose is a little weak and uninteresting, but it really delivers on flavor.  Later, I came back and tried the 21yo.  A very fine dram indeed.

Much of the remainder of the night was a flurry of schmoozing and tasting (I even ran into Mark Gillespie of WhiskyCast).  I reacquainted myself with the Glenlivet 15yo (aged in virgin charred Limousin oak).  Limousin oak is used in Cognac barrels and is tricky to work with but it makes a damn fine whisky.  The 15yo is the only Glenlivet to use Limousin oak casks.  This specialty oak gives the whisky a richness and boldness that round out and compliment the sharp, fruity qualities common to Glenlivet.  This is smoother and richer than the standard expression.

I had the opportunity to try the PC6 and PC7 (both distilled at Bruichladdich).  These are both good drams with a fair amount of peat.  I prefer the PC6.

Dave Conroy of International Beverage Company, Inc., took me through his whiskies from Mull and Islay.  I don’t remember ever trying Bunnahabhain before and I think I would remember an unpeated Islay.  I liked it at every age.  There is a sweetness and complexity that I associate more with the mainland.  This is very approachable whisky.  Dave also introduced me to Tobermory and Ledaig (both from the Isle of Mull).  Really good stuff, the Ledaig especially is a must try for any peat lovers out there.

Other things that stood out for me that night were the Knappogue Castle 1995 Irish whisky, the Hibiki 12yo Blended Japanese whisky, Deanston 30yo, and Tuthilltown’s New York Whiskey.  However, the topper had to be the tasting lab led by Master Ambassador for Laphroaig, Simon Brooking.  We tasted peated barley, he lit a peat brick on fire, and each dram was accompanied by a song (or a joke) and a toast.  Simon is a real showman.  We tasted Ardmore 30yo (loved it), Laphroaig 10yo, Quarter Cask, 15yo, 18yo, and 25yo.  I really like the Quarter Cask (and the 25yo of course).  The 18yo is a new addition that will be replacing the 15yo.  They are very different whiskies, so if you are a fan of the 15yo, stock up.  Personally, I prefer the 15yo, but I seem to be among the minority in the critics’ circles.  Maybe I’ll have to give it another go in a less overwhelming setting.

So, that was my Whisky on the Hudson experience.  I’m already looking forward to next year.  The Whisky Guild does several of these events around the country each year.  You should check it out.

* “White dog” is a common term for whisky straight from the still (non-matured, no water added).  I’m not sure if Wasmund’s non-matured whisky is unwatered or not, but it is pretty high proof.

Drink well.  Drink responsibly.

-Matt