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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Whisky On The Hudson Cruise 2014

Yes, that is my glass on the bottom right...
My wife loves when I go Whisky Guild events.  She loves it because usually by the end of the night I've drank enough whiskey to drunk dial her and profess my undying love.  I kid you not, she waits for that call.  I'm good with the guys from the NJ Whisky Society busting my chops for making the call, but it's all true, and she should know how lucky I am.  

So this year the when the tickets to the NYC Whiskey Guild's Manhattan cruise was announced, I got 2 tickets...1 for me and 1 for the wife.  

My thinking here is twofold.  If I drink too much whiskey, and I profess my love, I may get to make out with my hot wife on a boat and she'll probably drive home.  

So let's take you back to September 18th, 6 PM, The weather is a perfect 75 degrees, clear skies all you can ask for in a night for a cruise.  

I met the wife at Chelsea Piers and explained...There's this VIP hour, we need to hit a few things hard and fast and then we can relax, she agreed and we got on board and I was overwhelmed!!!

I grabbed 2 bottles of water and we were off!!!

I have to explain to you the view is somewhat chaotic and crazy when you first get on the boat.  You walk into the main level of the boat and the vendor's tables are in a horse shoe shape and there are a lot of people here.  So I got into a bit of a panic mode, and needed to find Whiskey ASAP!!! 

Based on the pour list, I had a few initial targets:

Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Brandy-finished, Cask Strength 
Michter’s 10yr Bourbon 
Michter’s 10yr Straight Rye 
Tullibardine 25YO
Oban 18YR – Limited Edition

So I’m going to break the night into two buckets, amazing and really good.  

We worked our way around to the Catoctin Creek booth where I had to try their Cask Strength Rye.  They are a 4 year old distillery located in Virginia they had 3 great rye offerings.  All three were very strong ryes, I preferred the Cask Strength.  It was sweet and caramely and I would look for a bottle.

One of the Good Guys...Whisky Joe working Classic Malts
Next up on our journey around the Hudson, was one of the top two booths from the evening, the Oban/Talisker booth.  The booth was set up extremely well with educational tools, and that Oban 18 was absolutely arresting.  Of course the X-Factor in making this table one of the best of the night was also seeing my good buddy Joe Gratkowski.  I've known him forever and he's always been engaging and kind...he's one of the good guys.  I also got to try some Talisker Storm another great dram and I even got a special pour of the new Mortlach!  Bravo on all of your single malt options tonight.

Catskills Distilling - I recently reviewed their bourbon and Buckwheat whiskies, I got to taste their wheater and Rye...Both I will be keeping an eye out for highly recommended.

Bayway Barrel Selections - Bayway is a huge liquor store in Elizabeth, NJ.  Pat and his team have great palates and he hand chose a delicious Angel's Envy, Knob Creek and what I considered their best Woodford Reserve Double Barrel done especially for them.
Journeyman Distillery - their Buggywhip Wheat is one of my favorite wheaters, they have a great rye and bourbon and if you like a big American Whisky, their Silver Cross is really good as well. I did get to try their single malt
which they source from New Zealand, which was really unique and very tasty.  Journeyman also had my wife's two favorite drinks (and one of mine) of the night, Snaggletooth Coffee Liqueur and The OCG (old country goodness) which honestly may have been my favorite beverage all night. It was an apple cider/liqueur served ice cold that could have been served warmed over the stove just as well.

Journeyman...worth checking out!
Lost Distilleries - I'm going to do a whole write up.  The story is really unique and it needs its own post.

Really Good:

Michter's seemed like a perfect spot to start, really nice sweet Rye and Bourbon but no...
This is the first and only disappointment I had all night.  Michter's didn't bring the 10yr old's with them; they did have a new release bourbon which I nosed, sipped and thought it was rather woody for a younger bourbon, but overall very tasty.

After that, The Tullibardine 25YO did nothing for me, I think it was a case of old not necessarily equaling tasting good.

Long Island Spirits - The Rye, Bourbon and the single malt all very good all unique in their taste.

Whistling Andy - Neat story, out of Montana, using all local ingredients, I tried the bourbon and the American whiskey as well as a neat Coconut Hibiscus Rum.

The Big Peat Blends - To steal a line from Dennis Green, They are what we thought they were...Big Peat.  Definitely a peat blast for peat lovers everywhere.

Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu the First, Japanese Single Malt Whisky - Really neat stuff, very tasty the only Japanese whiskey on the ship!

So that's it guys, it was a great evening, great weather, and great whisky.  

I really hope no one on top deck of the boat cared that my wife and I made out!