husband, father, whisky lover, blogger, freelance whisky writer, and head of the New Jersey Whiskey Society & leading the USBG NJ efforts...currently the New Jersey Whisky Ambassador for Diageo & therefore leave the recent writing duties to guest bloggers, primarily that Bourbon loving fella named Gerard

average Joes on a whisky journey...all views are our own

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mosswood Threesome

This past June my wife, myself and our friend Mark took a trip to visit the beautiful city of San Francisco.  

My wife had 3 to-do lists, things to see, things to eat and things to drink.  We did some awesome stuff, we went to AT&T park and saw the Mets, who blew the game in typical Mets fashion. We did Muir woods, Haight & Ashbury, Alcatraz and actually everything on my wife's comprehensive to do list other than ride a cable car.  

As a typical male, I had only a few things on my to do list, see a Giants game, see an A's game, do what ever my wife had on her to do and find some whisky that is not available back east.  

Which lead us to the great San Fran Whiskey store search, one Google search and one recommendation later I located a store called Cask located on Market St.  
I asked very nicely if it would be ok if we stopped by quickly prior to us embarking on our day, and damn am I glad I did.  

Cask specializes in Whisky, the staff is fantastic, friendly and knowledgeable and as soon as I asked what is something that I can't get back east they brought me to Mosswood.  

So what is Mosswood?  

Mosswood is a "distillery" located on Treasure Island (which is in between San Fran and Oakland, and has nothing to do with this.

Mosswood sources whisky and then ages it in a process they call ACE'd (additional cask enhanced)

This is how they describe it on their page:
"Our whiskeys are sourced from other distilleries, brought back to our facility to be aged and blended in order to create new and unique flavor profiles. The first releases offer a six year-old Bourbon from Tennessee--though not charcoal mellowed--with a higher rye content than your typical bourbon mashbill, adding a subtle spice to the spirit. Our current releases offer a seven year-old Light Whiskey, with a mashbill high in corn, distilled at a higher proof. We are excited for the roundness in flavor the Light Whiskey lends to our barrel finishes. The Additional Cask Enhanced (ACE'd) spirits implore subtle nuances with every sip."
But, I really like the way Sku sums them up too:

"This company is planning to release MosswoodWhiskey, a whiskey distilled in Tennessee and finished in a variety of barrels, Mosswood Light Whiskey, distilled at MGP and Mosswood Irish American Whiskey, a blend of Irish Whiskey from Cooley and light whiskey from MGP. "

So what did I pick up?

Purchase #1 was the Tennessee Bourbon Apple Brandy ACE'd

Purchase #2 was the Indiana Light Whiskey Apple Brandy ACE'd

Purchase #3 was the Indian Light Whiskey Espresso ACE'd (done via the phone, great staff, great coordination, great group of guys) 

On to the review:

Tennessee Bourbon, Apple Brandy ACE'd:
(I heard from Cask this is likely George Dickel juice)
Appearance:  Light amber,  -2 lighter than your normal iced tea.  Light sediment floating

Nose:  Warmed apple pie ala mode with a nice scoop of vanilla bean ice cream

Taste: Exactly how I hoped after I smelled, Warmed apple pie ala mode with a big ol scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Hints of caramel and brown sugar flow as well.

This is honestly a treat, it's such wonderful pairing of the beautiful Dickel Bourbon and a apple brandy cask.  The apples accentuate and mingle so well with the vanillas and sugars of the bourbon.
Bravo Mosswood, this is a A-.

Indiana Light Whisky, Espresso Barrel ACE'd

Appearance:  Very light amber, very watery, a little bit darker than a miller light.

Nose:  Lots of Alcohol Vapors, hints of leather and sweet corn, but overwhelming smell of old coffee, like the old paper filter that's been in the maker for a day.

Taste:  Iced coffee from the bottle or can, not fresh, corn sweetness, but the coffee over powers and doesn't enhance the whiskey the way the apple brandy did.  There's a very hot finish even a burn at the back too...

With water:

Here's the disappointment, nothing changes.  Still a muddled flavor,  with a not so pleasant coffee overtone

Overall:  C-, I honestly don't know what to do with this bottle.  I may have to gift it away...look out!

Indiana Light Whisky, Apple Brandy ACE'd

Appearance:  Very similar to the Espresso Mosswood, very light tan, no reddish hue that the Tennessee bourbon had.  Extremely watery on the pour as well..

Nose:  Alcohol distinguishable notes of apple or whisky...mild woodiness 

Taste:  What did these guys do????  The switch to light whisky has completely changed this once delicious dram!  Apple...gone, vanilla...gone, caramel...gone.  This is a bland tan liquid that has mild sweetness.  

Honestly I'm not adding water, it won't help.

Overall:  D... I'm speechless...Mosswood, please go back to the bourbon!!! 

Mosswood may wind up being like the old Washington Redskins running back Timmy Smith, in one game you can put up 204 yards, but it may be the only meaningful thing you do in your career...but I can hope they get back to their early glory as they certainly did not 'ACE' this test.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Barrell Bourbon Batch # 2

Sometimes in life the sequel doesn't live up to the original.  

Outdated by over a decade?  Really??

Movies like Blues Brothers 2000, or Predator 2 should remind you of some cinematic sequel disasters.  But sometimes, you get movies like Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather Part 2, where the sequel equals or exceeds the original, and that my friends, brings us to Barrell Bourbon Batch 2...

The folks over at Barrell Bourbon recently released their second batch which much like Back to the Future 2, has a lot of the same elements as the original...
Spoiler Alert:  Blues Brothers 2000 was horrible

-  Mash bill: 70% corn, 25% rye, 5% malted barley
-  Distilled in Tennessee
-  Bottled at 117.8 proof
-  Aged for 5 years in charred white oak barrels

Luckily enough, Barrell Bourbon's kid did not turn out to be a-holes, much like Marty McFly's.

Here we go!

Tasting Notes:

Appearance– Amber minus 1, looks like a finely brewed iced tea, pours syrupy and has very impressive legs that hug the glass.

Nose neat – Impressive and inviting overtones of Oak and Leather, hints of vanilla bean follow and linger wonderfully.

Palate neat – Toasted Oak drizzled over notes of vanilla and rye. You also can feel the heat, with a toasty rye spice on the finish.

With water:

Appearance – Same
Nose – Same woodiness and leather, vanilla, notes of baking spices come through
Palate – Powerful notes of charring and vanilla bean come out to play, more distinct notes of white pepper, and baking spices enhance the warm rye finish.
Overall, I'd grade this a solid B+. Extremely bold and engaging bourbon, beautiful rich notes of oak, leather and vanilla throughout the tasting. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Catskill Distilling Company - One & Only Buckwheat - Most Righteous Bourbon

Hey everyone, 

I'm back at it this week, taking a look at a few interesting things that have crossed my path and on to my bar cart!  
Side By Side Fun

Not so long ago, I went to a small shindig at Whisky Joe's place while his wife and daughter were out of town.
Knowing whisky would certainly be a part of the night, the emails swirled, the golf was organized and a bunch of us were set up for a good time!
Leading up to that event, I had stumbled across a bottle of something called One and Only Buckwheat.  I had heard of it, but the price was a bit steep for my liking. 
However, I when I spotted it in the 'bargain bin' section of the AMAZING store Little Brothers in New Jersey, I took the bait.  I have a taste for some oddball stuff at times and with the shindig approaching, I figured I'd pick it up.  I did a little research, and this juice is produced by the Catskill Distilling Company in Bethel, NY, they also make one of my favorite local bourbons, Most Righteous, which we'll discuss in a few.  The mashbill for The One and Only is 80% Buckwheat and 20% small grains, it comes in at 42.5% ABV and it has a very nice rich caramel almost fall leaf red hue to the eye.  On first sniff the nose has deep caramel and vanilla tones with a grainish hint behind.  I'm ready to sip this sucker!  

Tasting Notes:
Big Caramel and Vanilla come through first and foremost think like one of those kraft caramels in the clear wrapper you'd get on Halloween.  Also, like a Bernheim's it also has this grassy quality that just comes through and blends well with the overall sweetness of the whisky. Honestly I really enjoyed my first glass and it's definitely worth the 15 dollar investment so far!  Let's add a few drops of water...

A little more Caramel and Vanilla with the water both on the nose and the palate, overall, I don't think my tasting notes will change too much

So a little surprise on a Wednesday night, Solid B+.  I'll definitely enjoy this bottle!

Part 2 of our Catskill Distilling Company tour is Most Righteous Bourbon!  

I've had this on my bar cart since March, and I'm a fan.  No big story here, found it at Bottle King one night in Glen Ridge, NJ it was on sale for $20 and I said why not!  

The color is a deep reddish amber, a tad darker than the Buckwheat.
The nose is inundated with fruits, dried apple covered in caramel 
The palate is syrupy sweet, deep molasses and vanilla with a finish reminiscent of dark chocolate followed by rye spice.

I added a few drops of water and the 70% corn comes out a bit deeper on the nose, some cinnamon appears as well, but I still get a big fall juicy apply hint.

The palate tastes a bit like corn pops cereal to me, all in all the big molasses and vanilla notes pull through again.  I'm giving this one a nice solid B+ almost an A- 

So that was my tour of the Catskills for the evening!  Very enjoyable with out all the wilderness!

Have a great one!