A Dozen Roses

In the crowded bourbon market, it is difficult to stand out in a positive way. Four Roses, like most other major brands, offers a product line that essentially contains a bottom shelf bottle (the yellow label), a small batch bottle, a single barrel bottle, and limited releases. They also offer store-pick, single barrel barrel strength bottles. Which, also, is not unique.

But, what does makes Four Roses stand out, and why it has held my attention recently, is its yeast.

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Old Grand-Dad 114 – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

”Should I Stay or Should I Go” is a 1980’s punk rock hit by the British band, The Clash. If you are not familiar with it, the song and video can be heard and seen here. Although released in 1980 with reasonable success internationally, the song didn’t reach #1 hit status in its home country until its re-release a decade after its original release. Much attention was given to the song’s lyrics and whether the band was signifying a potential breakup, something that would in fact transpire beginning the year following its release. Accordingly to band members, the song wasn’t actually about a potential breakup. Instead, “It was just a good rockin’ song.”

If there was one song to describe Old Grand-Dad 114, it would be “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” OGD114 was originally released in…1980. It too didn’t have immediate success, but later found a cult following as high-proof bourbons became more in fashion. And OGD is “good rockin’” bourbon (my quote, but work with me here).

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March 2017 Monthly Tasting – Blanton’s and Bottling Proof Isolation

Numerous factors affect a whiskey’s final characteristics.  Those in the know will tell you that the mash bill, the yeast, the fermentation method and environment, the still, distillation rates and proof, the type and char of barrel, the barrel entry proof, the aging environment, and the time in the barrel are all factors that contribute to each specific product.

But one more nuanced variable also shapes the way a product is perceived – the bottling proof.  This month’s Flight Club will focus on just that – the bottling proof – and that factor’s impact on nose, taste, and finish.  We will be sampling the entire international lineup of Blanton’s, which includes otherwise identical single barrel bourbons* bottled at 80 proof, 93 proof, 103 proof and barrel proof.

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Jim Beam Bourbon Tasting at Botanica Wichita

by Josh Cary

Last month, I stopped by Botanica Wichita for a bourbon tasting hosted by Adam Clary of Standard Beverage. The evening consisted of a quick history of bourbon, which was enjoyable, even if it was a rehashing of most of the things any bourbon fan already knows and a tasting of four whiskeys from the Jim Beam lineup. These were as follows; Jim Beam Black Extra-Aged, Jim Beam Double Oak, Jim Beam Bonded and Knob Creek.

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Yamazaki 12 – Not Your Father’s Scotch

Yamazaki 12

There is no dispute that Japanese Whisky can trace its roots back to Scotland. Nearly a century ago, Masataka Taketsuru famously went to Scotland to study and get hands-on experience distilling Scotch in the Speyside and Campbletown regions. After returning to Japan, Taketsuru joined forces with Shinjiro Torii and they built the Yamazaki Distillery in 1923 near Kyoto. Taketsuru left Yamazaki in 1934 to build the Yoichi Distillery in a different part of the country to better mirror climate conditions he had seen in Scotland. Since then, the Japanese have become well versed in distilling the water of life and even today these two founding visionaries continue to dominate Japanese whisky as their companies have grown into Suntory (Torii) and Nikka (Taketsuru).

Japanese whisky is often compared to Scotch and this is a natural comparison given its previously discussed roots. This comparison, however, is a disservice. While inspired by Scottish whisky, Japanese whisky stands on its own and the varieties of whiskies emerging from the Land of the Rising Sun are sophisticated, multilayered, and creative in their own right.

One of these whiskies is Yamazaki 12 year old single malt (43%ABV, $100+). The 100% malted barley distillate is aged in a combination of ex-bourbon casks, sherry casks, and mizurana oak casks. Visually, the coloring is golden to amber, shimmering in the light. It’s inviting you to come on a journey.

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