Monday, October 5, 2015

Get out and try it - Russells' Reserve 10 Year Old

Russell's Reserve Small Batch 10 Year Old
Bourbon is making serious inroads into Australia these days. Not that bourbon never was here but rather being taken more seriously as a premium product. Ok yeah Bourbon and cola tastes great and is a marriage mad in heaven but it is not the be all end all. of how it should be considered. The spirits companies have been their own worst enemy in Australia, setting this view point that Bourbon should be consumed with cola as the primary message. Well if you are a regular ready of my posts you will already know I have a soft spot for bourbon as do most of our club members. As always I say step back, take another look, and reinvigorate your appreciation for Bourbon. And where can you start? Why not jump in to Russell’s Reserve Small Batch 10 Year Old Bourbon.

Russell’s Reserve, as the name suggests, is the bourbon that celebrates the family name and the Wild Turkey icon Jimmy Russell. Like all Wild Turkey products this is a premium product but unlike the other family members is declared small batch in production. Each batch is about 150 barrels specially selected then married to create the Russell’s Reserve Signature taste. Though the barrels are selected on an individual basis the original spirit off the still is exactly the same as what you will find in all Wild Turkey. The grain is the same, the mash is the same, the yeast which is over 40 years old is the same, the stills are the same and of course the warehouses are the same. It is simply the ageing of the spirit in the barrels that deliver the most characteristic changes. Aged at a minimum of 10 years Jimmy feels this is as far as bourbon spirit should be aged while delivering the zenith of Wild Turkey flavours.

Russell's Reserve new packaging September 2015
On the shelf the bottle is solid and squat making it very clearly different to the regular Wild Turkey releases. Directly above the table you will spy raised lettering displaying Jimmy Russels signature. Jimmy never really wanted a bottle named after him so for the collector it is worth noting that Jimmy’s signature has now been removed from the bottle. Jimmy wants this to be just as much about his son and family as it is his and the fact is it is both Jimmy and Eddies creation. According to a discussion I had with Jimmy Russell back in July 24th 2015, the signature will be replaced globally with the line ‘Russell Family Reserve’. Of course the flavour profile will remain exactly the same. Here in Australia there is still a mass of the old bottles getting around so snap them up while you can as the design has been significantly amended. Backing up on the change to the bottle we will also see releases of the Russell's Reserve 6 Year Old Rye, Russell's Reserve Single Barrel, and Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Rye.

Meeting Jimmy Russell in Sydney
The man himself Jimmy Russell is a loveable chap, always willing to give you an ear and listen to what you have to say and ask. I discovered a lot of things about Jimmy and Wild Turkey during our interview so without repeating, If you would like to find out more about my interview with Jimmy Russell, then head on over to my article on Dramnation: An Interview With Jimmy Russell - A Humbling Experience.

Russell's Reserve Small Batch 10 Tear Old
Distillery: Wild Turkey
Location / Region: Lawrenceburg, Kentucky USA
Alcohol / ABV: 45%
Type: Small Batch Bourbon

Colour: Flame Orange

Nose: Sweet rich oak vanillas, saturated oranges and warm buttered popcorn. A spice of mild fennel and peppercorns lurks.

Taste: Super rounded, fruity with rich vanilla on initial taste. As the whiskey moves into the palate sweet toffee and smooth buttered corn kernels with some high grain nippy on their heals.

Finish: Long and warm with mild spicy oak tannins that delivery a earthy texture. A grain element sits in the high points with fleshy fruits in the mouth before the finish extends with a soft dryness.

Overall a great value small batch bourbon. At just over $60AU a bottle you cannot go wrong with this whiskey. If I was to give a dram 6 out of 7. I really enjoy this whiskey anytime of the year.

There is much to appreciate with this bourbon and the value for money is perfect. Get out and try it if you have not already and remember those older bottles will be disappearing from the shelves very soon.

The Baron

Monday, September 21, 2015

A beast of whisky - Ardbeg Supernova 2015

Ardbeg Supernova 2015 Sample
With the Ardbeg Space Experiment now over there has been one final release of the Ardbeg Supernova series to celebrate. Release 4 of the Supernova series is possibly one for the most exciting I have tried to date. It really packs a punch even though the ABV is ever so slightly less that than 2014.

We have been following some of the progress of the Ardbeg Space Experiment in recent past with our post Going Supernova - Sampling the Ardbeg Supernova and Space Aged Whisky - Ardbeg In Space. To find out more about the experiment results why not have a read of the White Paper Dr Bill Lumsden has released.

Ardbeg Supernova 2015
Distillery: Ardbeg
ABV: 54.3%
Location / Region: Islay, Scotland

Colour: Apple flesh

Nose: Giant, rich, and peaty. Smoke is prevalent while displaying sweet caramel fudge, boggy earthy textures, and milk chocolate. The malt element also delivers a bready to warm breakfast cereal characteristic.

Taste: Full bodied, mouth coating, sweet, tacky, salty and earthy. A heavy hitter in character this whisky is not shy of pushing its way to your gut.

Finish: Hell warming in the chest. A real fire build fast and furious before sweet medical textures salivate in the mouth. Finally a very obvious spicy aniseed and turpentine dryness to finally take hold.

Overall it is a beast of whisky and something to keep those peat freaks happy that may have felt the Ardbeg Day 2015 Perpetuum release earlier this year was not disco enough. If I was to give a dram a solid 6 out of 7. It is a good whisky with real character.

At $245 a bottle the price is not for the faint hearted but I certainly think if you were not as happy with the previous Supernova release this should stifle those qualms. Purchasing is available for Australian residence now through the Moet-Hennessy website.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was supplied a sample for review. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Whisky Meets Art - Glenfiddich Artist In Residence Contest

Whisky can encompass many things and it is great to see when the distilleries and corporate biddies that run then get involved in the Arts. William Grant & Sons is one of the family owned companies that embrace craftsmanship and the arts throughout their distilleries values.

Right now, from the 10th Sep until the 13th Sep, Sydney locals can head over to the Carriageworks in Eveleigh for the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair to catch a glimpse of the 7 finalists for Artists In Residence Contest. don’t think this is just your average gallery display because the Glenfiddich pop-up bar will be in amongst the art work serving up drams. Glenfiddich Artist in Residence curator Andy Fairgrieve will also be on hand to discuss the artworks and lead a panel of judges in who takes home the grand prize.

What does the winner receive? A 3 month internship at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland called at $21,000. Live the craft, make the craft, drink the craft.

If you are keen on a dram and a showcase follow your nose to:

Sydney Contemporary Art Fair
September 10-13
Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street Eveleigh

For further details contact Agent99 Public Relations, visit Glenfiddich or the William Grant & Sons websites.

The Baron

Information quoted in this post has been provided to us as an official media release by Agent99 on behalf of William Grant & Sons. This article originally appeared on

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Big Guns - Dramtacular at The Whisky Room

Dramtacular setup at The Whisky Room, The Clock Hotel
Sydney has become an exceptionally vibrant place for whisky tasting experiences with many bars now running their own events. As the industry expands so too bars are looking for alternate was to generate ideas no how to interact with this growing whisky audience. Quite simply whisky is not the den of older gentrified drinkers but instead a vocal, colourful and very enthusiastic and educated audience. Key word here us “educated”. Of course we want to know more about how the whisky is made but also who makes in and why they do the things they have done. Access to these makers and brand ambassadors has become and imperative requirement in the current dramming light.

The evening of Monday 17th August saw one of our favourite dramming locations, The Whisky Room at The Clock Hotel in Surry Hills, Sydney host an almost micro conference on whisky titled Dramtacular. This event was managed jointly with South Trade and The Whisky Room to deliver likes of Martin Lynch, Brand Ambassador for Teeling Whiskey, David Vitale founder of New World Distillery and creator of Starward Whisky, and Gee David Brand Ambassador for Bruichladdich, banter it out over their products and whisky in general to a crowded room of 40 or so individuals. All 3 brands currently fall under the South Trade portfolio distribution throughout Australia, so it is no coincidence the 3 big guns have come together in one Dramtacular evening.

Speakers and audience
For event situations like this it is not important to focus on what exactly is being tasted so we are going to avoid listings the settings and describing the profiles of each whisky. Really what we get out of opportunities like this is a chance to meet, greet, and interact with a suite of knowledgeable, influencing individuals that make this whisky community so electric.

Through the evening we had some insightful looks into distilleries from the perspective of the Starward founder David Vitale, to the brand ambassadors Gee and Martin. Each speaker had their own style of presentation, but all were relaxed in their own way. Playful banter crossed the floor between speakers with points of facts often deferring to one or the other. The evening finished with a few more pours of whisky to make the rounds and the speakers mingling in the crowd or sharing a cigar in the balcony.

Just a few of the drams and eats on the tables
The Whisky Room, as a location for events like this or rocking in for a dram is simply fantastic. Large high ceilings, creative yet balanced decor, big wide doors and windows opening onto a balcony suspended into a green spaced outdoor atrium. Dániel Molnár and staff are always friendly and very knowledgable about the whiskies on the shelf and the beers on tap. The whisky list is creative but not ridiculously extensive so the bottles are turning over at a good rate. Often you will find the duty free gem relaxing on the shelf just waiting for the seal to be cracked. A nice list of boiler maker match ups between beers and whiskies is on hand while the bar top food is excellent and the wine list diverse. We recommend ordering your eats over the Whisky Room bar for prompt fast delivery to your table. The burgers are delicious.

Thanks to South Trade, Dániel and the lads at The Whisky Room, David, Martin, and Gee for a fantastic evening.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was invited as a guest this event. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Space Aged Whisky - Ardbeg In Space

Ardbeg Space Aged Whisky
Anyone who knows anything about whisky knows Ardbeg and the distillery that holds the same name. Love its deep peaty waters or shudder at the thought of smokey whisky, it is irrelevant to the fact we all all know the distillery. This can be emphasised through the iconic Ardbeg 10yo, or the fact Ardbeg is synonymous with peat, that Dr Bill Lumsden progresses the distillery through experimentation or the point of the quirky PR promotions and PR campaigns that we look forward to rolling around each year.

So to be announcing Ardbeg as the first distillery to officially send whisky into space for experimentation would be like opening the gate after the horse has bolted. You know it has happened already. So let us look at where this experiment is at now. After seeing a vial of Ardbeg placed on the ISS (International Space Station) in October 30th 2011 and, and after 3 years of orbiting the earth at 17,227 miles per hour, 15 times a day for 1,045 days, the whisky has returned to terra firma. That is one hell of a round trip that now needs to be poked and prodded like an Area 51 Alien crash site.

Not without a control subject at the same time an identical vial was retained at Warehouse 3 at the Ardbeg Distillery. On return earth the 2 samples have been collected in a Houston, Texas laboratory to examine the difference in maturation.

10ml of this precious liquid has been making a globe trotting exhibition from country to country and now, June to July, we see this 10ml appear in Aus for the first time.

David White presenting and discussing the space whisky experiment
On show in Sydney’s Dan Murphy’s Double Bay store, this sample of the whisky has been displayed in what is being called a “zero-gravity display case”. Much anticipation has been queried about this display and what “zero-gravity” really meant. How does it float? Was it a large magnetic levitation tool? Well truth be told it neither floats nor is it zero gravity. In fact it is a cleaver illusion where by the vial is sandwiched between layers of clear plastic and polished to a near perfect transparency. Either way the capsule looks pretty cool.

As part of the launch David White, International Business Director at The Glenmorangie Company, presented the display while leading us through a thorough discussion on Ardbeg, Dr Bill Lumsden’s involvement, and what this experiment hoped to achieve.

The focus of the research is to look at the impact of zero-gravity as on the whisky maturation process. We cannot say right now how this experiment was conducted or even if the whisky was contained in glass, stainless steel, or wood, as details on the research have not been made public. The final white paper will be available in September 2015 according to current sources.

The crowd enjoying cocktails and Ardbeg 10yo
Following is an extract of Dr Bills Lumsden, Ardbeg’s Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation and lead researcher, words on the subject.
“Ardbeg is known for taking risks in its development of some of the most coveted whiskies in the world, so it is fitting that it is the first distillery ever in space. We are now close to finding answers to something previously unknown which is truly exciting.” 
“We hope to shine new light on the effect of gravity on the maturation process and are
very excited to bring the Ardbeg Space Installation to Australia, as one of only ten
locations around the world”.
In conclusion of the experiment a small measure of this whisky will be actioned off to the highest bidder. As sort after as this whisky sample will be, we can very much doubt it will be tasted. If it is consumed then we can be sure it will be an experience out of this world (cough cough bad joke).

To conclude let us be clear it is certainly not the first spirit sent into space and, probably not the first whisky (smuggling contraband into space has been happening since the Apollo missions and earlier), but it is the first with a specific scientific purpose. Maturing whisky in space is an interesting concept, be it a very expensive concept.

Thanks to Ardbeg, Moet Hennessy Australia, and EVH PR for the invitation.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was invited as a guest this event. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated.

Friday, August 14, 2015

We Shaped It - The Bar That Jack Built

The Bar That Jack Built
The year 2014 saw Jack Daniel’s Australia pioneer the what is considered the world’s first crowd-sourced bar. Built in celebration of Jack Daniel’s birthday, the concept was a bar built on the back of hard labour and material donations donate by the public in return for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. From chair sat on to the wood of the bench top served from, it truly was The Bar That Jack Built.

Now, the year 2015, sees The Bar That Jack Built return but with an original twist. This bar build will be hitting up 6 destinations from Sydney to Melbourne, while Jack aims to wrangle the locals into helping hit those nails, sand those corners and donate the props to once again, build the Jack Daniel’s bar. Get involved and get paid in bottles of Jack, then kick back and attend the bar launch when it comes back into town all over again.

So the concept (as mentioned) is a celebration of Jack Daniel’s the man, the legend, our hero’s birthday. But when was Jack born? Sketchy details means no one really knows. Rumour of his birthday may or may not have been in September but, it would seem this reasoning is as blind as to why Old No.7 got its title. So pick a date, any date, and you could be right. Otherwise go with the flow, believe in what Brown-Forman is telling us and let the whole month of September simply be Jack Daniel’s birthday instead.

Getting setup for the build
August 6 saw a select group of media and whisky appreciators team up to be the first in to start contributing to The Bar That Jack Built. Luckily for me I was on that list. Arriving early (as I prone to doing) I had to wade my way through a warehouse in Marrickville that was filled with props used for supply to various events and media. Some pretty cool stuff to be sure with many arriving and instantly commenting on the dragons leering over the stairs to the upper loft. A quick climb was to discover an open studio prepped with various tools and tables ready to get us started on the bar build.

Our chief carpenter, Josh Pinkus, lay in wait ready to to give us the ins and out on what we were building and how to go about it in a safe orderly manner. Josh’s hands-on easy approach left everyone confident in the tasks nominated while adding in his guidance where needed.

My contribution to the bar, along with side kick Chris Calcino of APN Australian Regional Media, knocked out 2 shelves and a bench-top over a quick hour period. Chris claimed little knowledge in carpentry but whistled a mean dock workers tune while he laboured away. Not to be forgotten Chris and myself hastily scratched out names into the bench top and racks hoping to track the items down when the bar returns to Sydney in late September.

Building that bar
A hard earned thirst was built up by all as dust and shavings chocked out parched throats (cough cough must… have… Jack). No better way to quench this thirst than with Jack Daniel’s Old No.7 neat or Jack in a cocktail two. On offer was a rather delicious Lynchburg Lemonade (based on the lemonade served at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery) or the Tennessee Mule, another favourite by mixing ginger beer and Old No.7. The Brown-Forman Brand Ambassador, Grant Shearon, was on hand from Queensland to guide us on a tasting tour of Jack Daniel’s Old No.7 before a swag of hot dogs, gherkins and hot pastrami reuben sandwiches were dished out to the hungry revellers. I ate too much but it was a good too much. Love a good reuben.

No hard work goes without gratitude in The Bar That Jack Built. Closing off the night our handy work was graced with a payment in bottle of Jack Daniel’s Old No.7 to thank for the efforts. I say “Thank you Jack Daniel’s”.

Tasting and after party
To get involved in The Bar That Jack Built Australian Tour be sure to turn up at one of the following locations on the listed dates. Times are not listed (yet) but current expectations are to haul in midday to late afternoon and contribute to the cause.

Thursday 10th Sep: Towradgi Beach Hotel, Wollongong
Friday 11th Sep: Walsh's Hotel, Queanbeyan
Saturday 12th Sep: Kooringal Hotel, Wagga Wagga
Sunday 13th Sep: Birallee Tavern, Wodonga
Monday 14th Sep: The Overland Hotel, Shepparton
Tuesday 15th Sep: Grovedale Hotel, Geelong

Official location dates
Once the tour is complete the bar will be open for business. If you are in one of the following locations then it is Jack time. Federation Square, Melbourne from 18-20 September, and Parramatta Park, Sydney from 25-27 September. Even if you could not be involved in the build the bar is still going to be open to the public at certain times. Live music and entertainment including all things Jack will be at the bar for you to enjoy.

For additional enquiries and to follow the status on the The Bar That Jack Built On Tour watch the official facebook page.

Thanks to Brown-Forman, Jack Daniel’s, Josh Pinkus, and Red Agency for getting us involved and help shaping the bar. We will be seeing you are the Parramatta Park bar for sure.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was invited as a guest this event. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Crooked Tailor - Whisky Bar In The Hills

This article original appeared on and was written by D.T.W.C. member Matt Wooler.

The time has come where a dedicated cocktail & whisky bar comes to the The Hills!

The Crooked Tailor is the 6th bar addition to the larger Pocket Group. The Pocket Group is a grouping of bars literally built from the ground up by co-owners Karl Schlothauer and Christophe Lehoux. Over the past few months we have been watching in anticipation for the bar to open its doors. A quick glance in would see both Karl and Chris cutting the wood and hammering the nails. Now you will catch them at the bar sipping a beer, cocktail, or whisky.

Slightly quirky in feel The Crooked Tailor seats 91 patrons. The menu is seasonal with an (American) Diner style cut to the eats. At this time The Crooked Tailor is looking to start opening for lunches so watch their facebook page for more info.

With the bar only just opening, the back shelf is still filling up but even now we see a handsome range of whiskies taking shape. Scotch is a primary component but there is just as much Bourbon and Rye whiskies to attract the hungry whisky traveler. The anticipation is to have a fine selection of rare malts to compliment the daily drams.

With our frequent trips to the bar we can say the food is pretty outstanding. A hell of a bite is given to the cheeseburger while the soft shell pull pork tacos are a big winner and both perfectly matched with a barrel proof bourbon.

We queried Ryan O’Keefe, Group Operations Manager, from The Pocket Group to give a first hand account of what the bar is all about, plus what whiskies are going to be on offer.

Q. Whisky styles?

Ryan. All bases covered here, we do have a particular focus in Scotland & will regularly be bringing rare malts, noted I have a soft spot for American whiskey so there is a fair bit on the back bar as well.

Q. Drinks styles from cocktails to beer to wine?

Ryan. Craft Beers, Concise boutique wine list, Cocktails are rotated fortnightly based on what produce is presenting best at market. We have a supplier whom we work closely with who accesses the markets everyday and grabs us the fruit/veg/herbs that are at the peak of their season which we then play around with and hero in our cocktail menu. We are blessed to have a very talented team whom are all capable of making any number of classics beyond our list & incorporate punter tastes/wants/moods to put together something delicious. Expect things like Mandarine sours, Rhubarb Boulevardiers & Cauliflower fizzes running at them moment.

Q. Motivation for opening in the hills?

Ryan. We identified a gaping hole in the market for good food & drink in a welcoming, comfortable environment. The main goal for CT was to create a space where any demographic from the local community can feel comfortable visiting and expect top shelf service & offerings.

Q. What kind of events we might see in the future?

Ryan. it is still early days in this regard - we are trying to be as responsive to the locals as possible. We do have some ambitious plans up our sleeves but they will stay there for now - all developments will be updated via our social media pages.

In these early days Ryan has been seen working The Crooked Tailor bar with the boys as well as managing operations across the entire Pocket Group. With already so much attention arriving nightly at The Crooked Tailor, it is a good idea to be getting in early for a seat at what we are are already fondly calling The Penny Top Bar. No really the bar top has hundreds upon hundres of US coins lacquered to the surface. This bar top has to be seen to be believed.

Opening Times:
TUES - SAT : 4pm - 12am
SUN: 4pm - 10pm

LOT 7/250 Old Northern Rd, Castle Hill, NSW

To follow The Crooked Tailor on social media  and get all the details on upcoming events, menu changes, and bar editions be sure to find them on:

Instagram: @crookedtailor_bar

It certainly is a fantastic time to be getting into whisky out in The Hills Districts with bars of this quality on our doorsteps.

- Matt Wooler (aka The Baron) founder of Dramnation

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Two Blues - Blue Hanger & Penny Blue

Blue Hanger & Penny Blue
Recently I received 2 samples bottles from Wine & Spirit Merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd, one being a Blended Scotch Malt Whisky (aka Vatted Malt), the other a Single Estate Mauritian Rum, and both a label of the parent company.

Berry Bros. & Rudd, as the name suggests is a Wine & Spirit Merchant. Being Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchant their experience in picking and choosing what makes a good product we can assume is next to none. From a whisky perspective in Australia you will be aware of the brands The Glenrothes and Cutty Sark. Cutty Sark, originally in the BB&R portfolio was essentially traded with The Eddington Group for The Glenrothes. The Glenrothes in turn is an essential blending element that makes up The Glenrothes.

Blue Hanger Blended Scotch Malt Whisky

Blue Hanger, 9th Release, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky 

Blue Hanger (the first of our reviews) as the story goes takes its name from the clothes worn by William ‘Blue’ Hanger. William was long time and loyal customer to BB&R towards the end of the 18th century and was know for his impeccable sense of dress. Though it is undisclosed, Blue Hanger is blend of different single malt whiskies from several distilleries. I am speculating The Glenrothes must be in there somewhere but don;t take my word on that.

Blue Hanger, 9th Release, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky 
Merchant: Berry Bros. & Rudd
Location/region: Scotland
ABV: 45.6%
Bottled: 2013

Colour: Weat

Nose: Sweet woody notes, biscuits, typical light vanillas with fine dry smoke. Some older sherry influences displaying ham and peanuts. I found it hard to discern extremely pronounced notes on the nose with everything muddling together.

Taste: Textural across the tongue with a lot of sweetness and old decaying oranges (certainly not fresh).

Finish: Long and spicy that turns to a very smoky dry mouthfeel.

Overall I get the impression this is a distinctly and deliberate old style whisky vatting. It would be very appealing to an audience liking the traditions of spirit heat, spice burn, and lip tingle while wood finish is mingled throughout. The blending is characteristically fine. With the emergence of world whiskies being extremely robust and assertive it is nice to know some things don’t change and traditions are being held onto by companies like this.

Penny Blue XO Single Estate Rum

Penny Blue, XO Single Estate, Batch No. 2, Mauritian Rum 

What’s in the name? First of all it clearly indicates this is an extra old rum. Exactly how old I cannot say but it is not often that when a spirit sports the label XO is it actually said how old it is. ‘Single Estate’ is referring to the fact this spirit sees products completed from start to finish. This includes cane farming, distillation, maturation and bottling on the one property/estate. ‘Batch’ of course meaning it is the second run or bottling and release. ‘Mauritian’ or Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of the African continent. That is a lot to fit into one name.

What the name is not telling you is that this is a vatting/blending of 22 casks of rum with a ratio of 30% Whisky cask, 30% Cognac cask and 30% Bourbon cask. The final 10% is made up of spirit from the previous batch of Penny Blue. It is non-chill filtered, naturally wood coloured, and contains no additional sweeteners. That is some pretty cool maturation and blending going on here but how does it all work out? Let us make it clear here that I have never been a rum fanatic so there will always be a bias to my appreciation.

Penny Blue, XO Single Estate, Batch No. 2, Mauritian Rum
Distiller: The Indian Ocean Rum Company, Medine Distillery, Berry Bros. & Rudd
Location/region: Mauritius
ABV: 43%
Wood: 30% Whisky, 30% Cognac and 30% Bourbon

Colour: Toffee

Nose: Spirity and bold with big vanillas, oranges and typical florals. The barrel influence is extremely obvious with a sort of blended wood effect.

Taste: Waxy sweet vanilla sugars and heavily palate drying. There feels like common influences of the cognac but it is clearly rum the whole way through. Some residual light fruit cake textures and flavours appear.

Finish: High and dry.

As rums go it is delicate and refined. No question about it. Rum though is not my thing at the best of times as I find the high levels of dryness excessive and hard to mask. The barrel ageing has added levels of wood balance but it still is rum through and through. I do enjoy a whisky finished in a rum barrel where minor influences appear so of course I can appreciate opportunities to try these refined rum products.

Thanks to Daniel Hutchins-read and Berry Bros. & Rudd for the samples.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was supplied a sample for review. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cloaked in Velvet - Teeling 21yo Silver Reserve Single Malt

Teeling 21yo Silver Reserve Single Malt. Note bottle unavailable to shoot. Package tube from Teeling Small Batch.
Teeling Whiskey have been making grounds in Australia releasing both the Small Batch and Single Grain to critical applause. Now, to add another level to the family, we see the release of the Teeling 21yo Silver Reserve Single Malt into Australia.

I do not have too much detail right now on this whisky nor even a pack shot as we only received 50ml to sample. Current indications is the Teeling 21yo Silver Reserve Single Malt will be on Australian store shelves mid 2015. This small batch release of 5,000 bottles saw maturation in ex-Bourbon before a final finish in Sauterne wine casks.

What we can pretty much say is that even though Teeling have opened their doors to the new Dublin Distillery, plans for this release and the next 20 years to come will be using spirit distilled at the Cooley distillery. If Teeling could innovate this way under another distilleries roof imagine what is to come from their own house. Very much looking forward to how this turns out.

Teeling 21yo Silver Reserve Single Malt
Distiller: Teeling Whiskey Company
Location / Region: Dublin, Ireland
Type: Single Malt
ABV: 46%
Wood: Matured in ex-Bourbon. Finished in Sauterne wine casks.
Colour: woody honey

The nose is a delivery of thick caramel, essences of emptied wine barrels, woody oaks, smoked bacon and paprika. May I say some resonance to the Balvenie 21yo Port Wood but much sweeter and bolder.

I almost did not want to move to the taste as the nose had already delivered so much love. A neat sip had an essence of woody dryness from the start but with a heavy coating of caramel and wine. Not sickly sweet but instead a heavier port wine sweetness less the grape sugars. A bit nutty around the edges and a crisp popiness (if that is a word) on the tongue. Dry smoked paprika appears making me almost think this is lightly peated. Potentially think of the sherry and smoke of a Highland Park. Everything is big in the mouth feel but still well balanced. Dear lord I want more.

Finish: Big, vast and warming with some spirit heat returning to the throat. The dryness lingered but was constantly being countered by caramel cloak it wears devilishly well. That puff of smoke is still there and I would be amazed if there was no eating at all in this.
Teeling 21yo Silver Reserve Single Malt Official bottle shot.
Overall this is a lush whisky with a big nose draped in sweet caramel velvet. It lurks in the corner of a crowded room seen but not seen. Only once you know it is there well.. it is hard to take your eyes off it. If I was to give a dram then a solid 6.5 out of 7. Curious about the smoke elements? I need to find out more about this.

Priced at $199.99AU and like all Teeling Whiskey in Australia, it is exclusive to Dan Murphy’s first followed by bar tops later. Thanks to Martin Lynch and Teeling for the sample. It is a stunner for sure.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was supplied a sample for review. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Getting Crafty - The Balvenie Craft Fair & Winter Picnic Festival

The Balvenie Craft Fair & Winter Picnic Festival
The Balvenie has been developing a persona of hand craftsmanship for many years now. Rightly so as their whisky typifies the excellence craftsmanship can deliver to the water of life. But The Balvenie is not a selfish inward looking marketing monster. The brand loves to celebrate crafts people all over the world, from all walks of life, that have the same passion to think creatively and mould these ideas into something tactile with their hands. Each year William Grant & Son’s establishes the The Balvenie Craft Bar pop up in one of Australia’s capital cities. Last year say The Balvenie Craft Bar appear in Sydney and the year before in Melbourne. Held over 4 days from Thursday June 25th until Sunday June 28 2015, this year has seen the concept adapted, renamed and reapplied to appear as The Balvenie Craft Fair & Winter Picnic Festival.

Chocolate frogs and The Balvenie
Popping up at Sydney’s iconic Strand Arcade, The Balvenie has put on a series of The Balvenie Master Classes. With only 14 places per session, the master classes were located on the 1 floor overlooking the expanse of the victorianesque location. Hosted by local brand ambassador Laura Hay, revellers tasted 3 of The Balvenie’s finest core whiskies paired against a choice selection nibbles, oils, cold cuts, dips and breads created locally from The Strand Arcade’s artisanal proprietors. The whiskies tasted were: The Balvenie 12yo DoubleWood paired with candied crusted macadamia nuts from The Nut Shop; The Balvenie 14yo Caribbean Cask paired with a wedge of creme brûlée and short crust pastry from Sweet Infinity; The Balvenie 17yo DoubleWood paired with a chocolate from from the Haigh’s Chocolates. A nice pairing of all and when combined with the additional food stuffs all we were missing was the red and white chequered blankets, bags of lettuce, and lashings of ginger beer to complete the picnic theme. Tickets to the master classes were $15 with all funds being donated to charity.

A section of nibbles paired with The Balvenie core family range
If punters failed to get a space in master classes The Balvenie pop up bar was displaying on the ground floor at the main entrance to The Strand Arcade off George Street. Visitors and passers by could stop for a quick dram and shortened master class with our other fondly know brand ambassador from Melbourne, Richard Blanchard. Serving small tastes of The Balvenie 12yo DoubleWood guests were welcome to take their dram and explore the various artisan displays put on by The Strand Arcade stores.

The match up with The Strand Arcade was an excellent idea as it allowed the guests to take in the craftsman in an environment we are all naturally prone to explore. I love going to the Strand Arcade whenever I am in town and where ever possible utilise the arcade to cross through the city just to have a look at the stores on the way through. I hope we get to see The Balvenie appear here again, maybe for a mid summers eve supper (hint hint). Top marks to The Balvenie and The Strand Arcade for a perfect winter festival.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was invited as a guest this event. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated.