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Credit: Scotch Hobbyist

Port Ellen 7th Annual Release (Quarter Bottle, 28 years old)

ABV — 54.7% — Natural Cask Strength

Legs — Tight, slow

Nose — tangy smoke, coal, some vanilla, a refreshing fruityness, maybe lemon. Slight prickle from alcohol if you sniff too long, but pretty low alcohol profile overall considering it is cask strenght. Maybe the age mellowed it? Some water moves the vanilla and lemon to the back and makes the smoke less tangy.

Taste — Slightly hot, more coal and less tang. No hint of vanilla or lemon carrying over from the nose. The coal goes on forever on the finish, particularly as the hotness fades. Not much difference with a splash of water, just less distinctive all around. Definitely recommend drinking this one cask strength. It’s mild enough as is, and you lose too much character with water. …


In the early 20th century Suntory Ltd. was primarily an importer of Spanish wines but began to make its own plum-based dessert liquor. In 1923 its founder, Shinjiro Torri, capitalized on the sizable whisky market and founded the Suntory Distillery in the Vale of Yamazaki, between Kyoto and Tokyo.

Most of their (very lightly peated) barley is imported (from Australia, typically), but the natural water used for Suntory whiskies comes from wells right near the distillery and is relatively hard (ie, has a high mineral content, similarly to Highland Park and Glenmorangie). While the sizes and shapes of the various stills used at Suntory differ greatly, they are all in the copper pot tradition, and the whisky is distilled twice. The Yamazaki 12 year old expression comes from whiskies aged in three types of wood: American, Spanish, and Japanese oak. …


A few years ago, I stumbled across the best deal on whisky in all of Brooklyn.

A friend was in town for the holiday one week, and we decided to head over to Henry Public, a bar not too far from my apartment that serves up some great whisky-based drinks. Towards the end of the night we moved from a table in the back up to the bar and I noticed a new bottle of scotch up on the shelf that I’d never tasted: Strathisla.

We had the bartender pour out a (generous) dram, and pull the bottle down for a closer look. To our surprise, we saw a 1963 vintage Strathisla from Gordon & MacPhail. The vintage was a shock, but so was the price — this was going for only $12 a dram, no less! …


Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey is an American whiskey in the single malt style distilled in Denver, Colorado. Founded in 2004, it is one of many new American microdistilleries creating small batch whiskies outside of the traditional bourbons and ryes that dominate the US whiskey industry.

Stranahan’s is distilled and aged in small batches for 2–5 years (earning it the “straight” whiskey moniker) using 80% locally grown barley. …


In an unfortunate turn of events, The Edrington Group, owners of Macallan, Glen Rothes, Highland Park, and Tamdhu, mothballed the latter distillery.

Although there are no immediate plans to reopen the distillery, their stocks will continue to exist (and age) for a while to come, and grocery store shelves will likely carry Tamdhu products for the foreseeable future. Since Tamdhu presumably makes up a significant portion of Edrington’s Famous Grouse blend, my guess is that production will resume once the stocks dip too low to contribute to that brand. But for now, you can still find the 10 year old at places like Fairway for around $22. …


We’ve already reviewed Trader Joe’s Tomatin 10 (available in CA), and Dan didn’t have much love for it. But fortunately for the right-most 95% of the country (and the rest of the drinking world), Tomatin has an extremely affordable official 12 year old release into which they clearly put a lot of work. Tomatin, in the Monadh Liath Mountains outside of Inverness, is at once one of the highest ditilleries (in terms of elevevation) in Scotland and one of the largest, with 12 working stills. Most of their distillate goes into blends such as Antiquary, but since around 2008 they have been increasing their output of various single malt expressions. …


As regular readers know, late last year the Whisky Party crew put together a group of friends to purchase a 3 gallon barrel of single malt American whiskey from Tuthilltown Distillery in New York. After much work (and mishaps) shipping 23 bottles to various places across the country, all three of our bloggers were finally able to taste their bottles. Here are the tasting notes on our very first (and hopefully not the last) private barrel of whiskey, along with a head to head look at how it compares to the official single malt bottling offered by Tuthilltown.

HUDSON SINGLE MALT WHISKEY — OFFICIAL BOTTLING

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Gable Erenzo at Tuthilltown describes this official bottling as a “very American style whiskey” that tries to bridge the gap between a bourbon and a scotch. The whiskey has the mash bill of a scotch (100% malted barley), but is aged using a bourbon process employing charred, fresh oak barrels. The Hudson Single Malt contains a vatting of whiskey aged anywhere from 5 months to 2 years, depending on the barrel size, with smaller 3 gallon barrels aged for a shorter span, and larger 14 gallon barrels aged up to two years. It should be noted that it is only sold in 375 mL bottles. …


At the end of our very interesting tour of the Tuthilltown Spirits’ distillery we enjoyed a tasting session in their quaint farmhouse/shop. Surrounded by barrels of whiskey everywhere, there were many varieties of Hudson Whiskey to sample. This un-aged new make Corn Whiskey surprised me as one of my favorites.

Hudson New York Corn Whiskey

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Abv: 46%

Color: vodka

Legs: medium-to-large sized beads but slow and many of them; they just keep dropping; slow enough that waiting for them to take the photograph required some patience

Nose: corn fuel (shockingly), but also corn cob, corn bread, and a hint of buttery, saltless popcorn; the currants I usually associate with new make are also there, with some other, subtle berries (rasberries?); …


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Going back about a month, a great Christmas gift was bestowed upon me. It was a visit, tour, and tasting at Tuthilltown, “New York’s first whiskey distillery since prohibition.” Not all that far from NYC, this Hudson Valley distillery is a quaint operation, converted from a mill granary, that literally accomplished changing the NYS laws to allow farmhouse distilleries to serve and sell alcohol on the premises (with a few legal caveats — more below).

Upon arrival, we hurried to what is essentially a converted barn-stillhouse to catchup with the tour that had just started (they run two per day, one in the morning, one after noon). Ralph Erenzo, one of the two founders, was already educating the tour group, beside the mash tun, about grain acquisition and composition — two aspects of the Tuthilltown operation that they have painstakingly improved upon over the course of their existence. …


In looking at the Tuthilltown website, I saw that they offer the option to purchase a barrel of whiskey. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but have always been scared away by a) the cost and b) the lack of options available. It seems that Tuthilltown whiskey was able to counteract both.

The Plan

Tuthilltown offers the option to buy barrels in 3 gallon, 5 gallon, and 7 gallon sizes. On their website, they estimate that each gallon will produce 8 to 11 Tuthilltown-sized bottles (375 ml). Whenever I have seen the opportunity to buy barrels before, it seems like the up front commitment is thousands upon thousands of dollars. A 3 gallon barrel seemed totally doable without much hassle for me and my friends (we figured that it wouldn’t be too difficult to find buyers for between 24 to 33 bottles of whiskey), and after a few e-mails to test the water, we decided to go through with it. …

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Whisky Party

Interesting news related to whisky, whiskey, beer and brewing.

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