Tag Archives: whiskey

Spirit Review: Angels Envy Rye

Angels_Envy_Rye If you don’t know who Lincoln Henderson was, you’re soon going to find out. Formerly the Master Distiller for Brown-Forman and responsible for the creation of the Jack Daniels Single Barrel, Gentleman Jack, and Woodford Reserve Bourbons, Mr Henderson retired from the profession in 2004, only to reemerge in 2010 with Angels Envy Bourbon.

Now, with the release of the Angels Envy Rye, Mr Henderson has created an altogether unique spirit out of something otherwise ordinary. Starting out with a MGP sourced 95% rye whiskey, (Bulleit Rye, Dickel Rye, Templeton, High West, James E. Pepper, etc) Angels Envy manages to create something altogether delicious by finishing their rye whiskey in small-batch French cognac barrels formerly used to finish Plantation XO Rum. This uncommon finishing process yields a whiskey that has huge notes of maple, vanilla, caramel and spice.

Unfortunately Lincoln Henderson passed away this past fall, but his legacy will be remembered through his contributions to the distilling world, and the unique products that he envisioned and brought to life.

Nose: Huge nose of sweet vanilla, brown sugar, deep caramel, caribbean spices, honey.

Palate: Nice and creamy mouthfeel with clove spiced honey, raisins, cinnamon. The intensely sweet opening notes fade to a really rich and warming flavor with notes of pepper, allspice and cloves.

Finish: The finish is long, drawn out with hints of coconut, grapefruit, and a lingering dry spice that is really pleasant.

All in all, if you can find it, and bite the bullet on the higher price tag ($75-$85) you will not be sorry to invest in a great whiskey to sip neat and enjoy in the company of friends. Cheers!

Rating: ★★★★★

Spirit Reviews: Fremont Mischief Whiskey

Fremont Mischief Distillery is another of Seattle’s newest craft distilleries. At this distillery they are producing four products; John Jacob Rye Whiskey, Fremont Mischief Rye Whiskey, Fremont Mischief Gin, and Fremont Mischief Wheat Vodka. Today we will be taking a look at the Fremont Mischief Whiskey.

This whiskey is an 8 year old, 90 proof, rye whiskey. So how can a distillery licensed for only a year already have a product that claims to be aged eight years? As it turns out, both the John Jacob and Fremont Mischief are distilled following the same family recipe, the former being produced in Seattle from Washington grown grain, the latter being distilled in Canada. Both are bottled at their respective proofs at the Seattle location with artesian water from Mt Rainier. So let’s see how this rye whiskey stands up to the competition.

Upon opening the short squat bottle you are greeted with fantastic caramel and vanilla notes, but not much else. A little bit of peppery spice and alcohol aromas, but those are very muted. On the tongue the whiskey definitely picks it up a notch with lots of spicy notes, more caramel, and some oaky notes. Other than that, this whiskey seems a little thin in flavor, and the finish is long and dry, but a little alcoholic with some slightly bitter undertones. Perhaps not the best whiskey to be sipping neat. What this spirit really seems suited for is cocktails, although it is still not quite bold enough to be a go to whiskey in my Manhattans. Overall I think that the eight years in a barrel is more negative than positive as most of the kick seems to have been stripped from this whiskey. While this particular whiskey was not really my cup of tea, I do look forward to trying some of Fremont Mischief’s other products. Cheers!

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Spirits Review: Dry Fly Washington Bourbon

Dry Fly is a distillery that seems to be bound and determined to push the envelope while still retaining the highest standards possible. Every product they have released has been distilled to a fantastic level of quality, while breaking out of the molds that most seem bound and determined to stay in. They have a vodka that is not flavorless, a gin that includes hops and apple in the botanicals, and a whiskey made from winter wheat.

This last weekend marked the Seattle release of Dry Fly’s newest product, a 101 proof Bourbon distilled from corn, unmalted wheat, and barley, and as luck would have it, I happened to be driving though Seattle right as it went on sale. Unfortunately for those who were not in Seattle or Spokane for the releases, all 480 bottles were sold within hours, and I am told that the next release is not until late next year. But, back to the bourbon.

This is not your average bourbon, perhaps having more in common with your great-great-grandpappy’s bourbon. Aged for only three years, this golden liquid is bold and in your face. The aromas are packed with spices and a faint oakiness. On the tongue, you get big sweet flavors of caramel and vanilla, the alcohol hiding in the fringes, despite the hefty proof. The flavors fade out with a long spicy finish laced with cinnamon and oak. All in all, a fantastic bourbon that will only continue to improve with age. Cheers to Don, Kent, Patrick, and the whole Dry Fly family for another fantastic product!

***Update***
Today the first bottle of Dry Fly Bourbon ever produced, sold at an eBay charity auction benefiting the Spokane chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities for $2650!

Rating: ★★★★½

A little bit of Irish

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and I thought I would share some interesting tidbits about a few things Irish.

Saint Patrick, was actually not Irish, but British Roman. When he was about 16, he was taken as a slave to Ireland, by Celtic pirates, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to Britain. He joined the catholic church, and eventually returned to Ireland as an ordained bishop, to bring Christianity to the tribes that he had come to know and love. By the seventh century, he had come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

Although Ireland is arguably the birthplace of whiskey, currently there are only 5 operating distilleries in Ireland: Middleton Distillery, Bushmills Distillery, Cooley Distillery, Kilbeggan Distillery, and Clontarf Distillery. Of these 5 distilleries, only Cooley Distillery is Irish owned. These distilleries produce over 70 different brands/varieties of Irish Whiskey.

Corned Beef & Cabbage is not a traditional Irish dish. In fact, while corned beef has been around in Ireland for centuries, it wasn’t until immigrating to North America that the dish became more well known. Even today, it is not a meal that is often consumed in Ireland, except by tourists.

Ireland has only been a self-governed country since 1922 (as the Irish Free State) and more recently as the independent Republic of Ireland, created in 1937. In 1949, Ireland seceded from the British Commonwealth, and was was officially recognised by Britain through the Ireland Act 1949.

Although Ireland’s most famous beer is Guinness, over 60% of the beer sold in the country is actually lager. In a similar fashion to it’s distilleries, at the beginning of the 19th century there were over 200 breweries in the country, 55 of them in Dublin alone. During the latter half of the 19th century the number of breweries fell to about 50, and today there only about 12, although craft brewing is beginning to emerge again. Also of interest is the fact that hops did not come into widespread use in Ireland until late in the 18th century, far after they were being used in most countries in the world.

Hurling is the national sport of Ireland. Similar to lacrosse, this intense field game is considered one of the fastest paced games in the world. And if you thought that Friday night football in Texas was a big deal, you ain’t seen nothing!

So there are your fun facts for the day. Sláinte!

Vintage Cocktails #19: The Japalac Cocktail

First appearing in the Old Waldorf Bar Days (1931), the Japalac cocktail is uniquely named, in that it is named after a fast drying, enamel paint!  I am not really sure as to what the inventor of said cocktail was thinking when he named this drink.  It probably would not have been my first choice.  Seriously, picture this.  You walk up to the bar and say, “Bartender.  I’ll have a lacquer enamel.”  It sounds horrifying!  Nonetheless, this is definitely a cocktail worth trying, despite the name.  It is also a great example of pre-prohibition cocktails.  Strong and small, meant to be consumed quickly.  It’s such a shame that cocktails have become a way to consume large amounts of sugar and flavored vodkas, rather than the culinary masterpieces that they were meant to be.

The Japalac Cocktail
Juice of 1/4 orange
3/4 oz dry vermouth
3/4 oz rye whiskey
1 tsp raspberry syrup
garnish with an orange twist