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, April 1, 2015

Brenne

A few years back, my wife and I did three days of our honeymoon in Paris.  Till this day, I have mixed emotions about that, mostly because many Parisians were pretty rude to us, but I was told not to judge the French by the Parisians.  

That being said, Paris and what we saw of the French country side, coming in from Belgium, is beautiful.  The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the artwork, the architecture, the gardens, the food and the crepes!!!  (I left out Les Miserables, even though Whisky Joe loves that damn play).  

When thinking about the most popular drink in France, 99.9% of people will say wine, champagne, maybe cognac...but when looked at per capita, France consumes a ton of Single Malt Scotch.   They are one of the top consuming Scotch whisky countries in the world.   

It is only fitting that a country that enjoys Single Malts so much, would lead to its residents to dabble in distilling it.  Which brings us to the latest from the sample vault, Brenne, a French Single Malt Whisky.

Brenne has a cool backstory, plus, I've heard Whisky Joe sing the praises of founder Allison Patel for quite some time now.
Sunset Through Brenne



I had tasted Brenne before, but it has been a while.  Joe scored a bottle a couple years ago, late 2012 I think, and shared it with us New Jersey Whiskey Society folks.  But, I didn't jot down any notes, and it pays to revisit things now and again.

A Single Malt from the Cognac region of France, finished in Cognac barrels. Cool.

So on with the review!

Color: Golden, very much like a Lager


Nose:  Raw brown sugar, sarsaparilla or candy root beer barrels notes,
fruity, sweet


Palate: Juicy fruit gum, that's it!  Plus heaps of creme brulee
 


Overall Grade:  Solid B.  At the end of the day, this taste is unlike any Single Malt you've had, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, it may become a post-dinner go-to.
 

This is quite unlike any other Single Malt I have had before.  In fact, I think the only other Cognac finished whisky I have had was Crown Royal XO.  

But this is a different animal. 

Super light and sweet, but just enough spice to cut through it.  It is very unique.

Makes me excited to think about what further cask maturation would yield...rumor has it there may be an older version released soon...I hope to get my hands on the Brenne Ten when it comes out!
 
Our next review will be something I picked up on a work trip...a Bourbon local to Savannah Georgia!


Talk soon,
g.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

BOURBON - PAST VS. PRESENT

 

BOURBON LOVING FRIENDS!!

 

Our good friends & fellow whisky bloggers Coopered Tot & Smoky Beast are hosting a tasting!

I highly encourage anyone and everyone that has an interest or passion for whisky to attend.  This one in particular will give you a Past vs. Present style with some fantastic Bourbons.

SIGN UP NOW!  (only about 10 seats remaining!)


Monday, February 16, 2015

Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum

So as you all know Whiskey Joe and I have been good friends for quite some time, and when we were old enough, we started hitting bars in Hoboken.  Now as we pretended to be Vince Vaughn and John Favreau (or Frank Sinatra & James Dean depending on how you look at it), we always had go to drinks, Jack and Coke, Captain and Coke, 'any Glen will do' kind of Scotch, pretty typical 21-25 year old stuff.  

Now my love of rum never got past a rum and coke or a Miami Vice and I have never thoughtfully  drank it straight!  In fact, I don't believe a rum has been reviewed on this website either...until today!!!  The Lost Spirits Distillery from beautiful Monterey California has let us sample their amazing spirit, and I'm going to give it the respect it deserves. 

Some of you may be aware of Lost Spirits Distillery, if not Joe has a has a past write up with solid links amidst his notes here.  (Lost Spirits - Bohemian Bonfire - American Single Malt)

Per their website:

LOST SPIRITS DISTILLERY IS A “SKUNK WORKS” STYLE PROJECT LOCATED IN RURAL CALIFORNIA.  IT IS DEDICATED TO MAPPING THE CHEMISTRY OF BARREL-AGED SPIRITS WITH THE AIM OF ONE DAY CONTROLLING IT. 

So to make a long story short, these guys are taking a very scientific approach towards recreating old fashioned booze!  

Just a little info about the Navy Style Rum:
Sports & Spirits...a great combo

Beautiful 1880’s style label, adorned with cherubs and large sail boats
Comes in at a big ol 68% ABV, so needless to say this is cask strength

More From the Lost Spirits Web Site:

Fermented grade A molasses
Lab Grown bacterial “dunder”
Low rectification distillation
Sherry seasoned new American oak
Super high density of rancio (Oak derived aldehydes) and smokey (phelonic) notes created during maturation.

Lets rock and roll!!!!

In the glass – 

Look:  Deep dark amber, looks like lighter cooking molasses
Nose:  Deep woody notes,  mesquite barbeque and campfire, dark brown sugar infused cookies
Palate:  Smoked barbeque, think Texas brisket, with strong notes of mesquite.  Delicate dark brown sugar make this strong rum quite easy to drink
Finish:   Spicy, burns a bit, but to be expected at 136 proof.

With a few drops of water- 

Look:  Same
Nose:  Caramels and burnt sugar, a mild floral note and far less woody
Palate:  Very similar, Intensely smoky not in any way like a peated scotch though. The oak is much more available but still sweet and delicious like drinking a molasses cookie.
Beautiful Color on this Rum
Finish:  Spicy with a bit of burn, but again to be expected.

Guys, don’t mix this beauty with Coke or Pepsi!  This is rum is meant to warm your bones while on a ship off of Boston Harbor in the middle of January!  I am so surprised and happy with this bottle, it’s really enjoyable!!

Grade A-

Til next time,

g.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey

Superbowl Sunday and I need something new!

So my wife and I took a trip down to Whiskey Joe’s house this past Sunday to shoot the shit, see his daughter and wife and just hang out. 


There are always awesome jokes, and laughs, like the 20+ year gag of having me drink out of any form of New York Football Giants cup.  Since I am a longtime Dallas Cowboy fan, he loves to give me a hard time.  He knows the water doesn’t taste as good out of those damn glasses!!!

On the way to Joe’s I told him, I wanted to try a new drink, something different from my usual and he suggested to try something Irish.  

As he is tied up in his job of bringing whisky to the world, there are some blog samples that have been getting backed up.  One of which is Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey.  Now as I explained before, I have a love of big rich bourbons and ryes and when I’m drinking something as light as Irish Whiskey it’s usually a shot at a bar.  So this is foreign territory for me, I open the bottle up, pour a glass for me and the lady and let’s begin!

Quick details:  Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey consists of hand selected casks which are given further maturation in ex-Flor de Cana Rum barrels, bottled at 46% with no chill filtration.

Neat:
Color – Light, straw or hay such a light yellowy autumn color
Nose –  Lemon Zest, small amounts of vanilla, and slightly raw young ragged edges with maybe smell a bit like Lysol or very spirity.
Taste – Spicy, Grassy, light oak, but very delicate!!!
Finish – Short to medium, with a slightly warm finish 

With a few drops of water:
Color – Light straw or hay
Nose – Caramel lightly comes out on the nose, a sweeter sugary notes begin to show.
Taste – Very similar to above, sweeter, small hints of cinnamon like big red chewing gum or a red hot candy. 
Finish – No changes

All in all, the Teeling is nice, light whiskey.  It doesn’t have a major backbone or big huge note I could focus on.  Even with that, I think if you’re a Jameson drinker and you’re looking to upgrade and sip a nice Irish whiskey, give this Teeling a shot.  If you’re a lover of big bold American or Scotch whiskies, this may not be for you as it still has a few rougher edges, perhaps from having a few too many young components in the blend. 

Overall grade:   C

Talk soon!
g.

-Note: Special thanks to the Baddish Group for the sample

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bully Boy

A little insight into my life, I’m a Yankees fan, I grew up on Don Mattingly and got to spend a good part of my teens at the old Yankees stadium with my buddy Pete.  So when Derek Jeter announced his retirement last year, I was not going to miss his last game.  That being said, I took quick trip up to Boston to catch Derek Jeter's final game.  The game was on Sunday and my cousin and I went up Saturday night. 
After we got to Boston we went to the north end to grab a pizza from Regina Pizza.  Regina Pizza is a chain of pizzerias in Boston, but the original is in the north end of Boston.  It's tiny and always has a huge line, so my cousin and I took a quick walk to find a liquor store so we could have a drink while we waited on line.  We walked around the corner to the Wild Duck and I stumbled upon a local distillery's whiskey called Bully Boy.  The bottle was reasonably priced, so I grabbed it, and a few beers for the pizza line.


Here's the description from the Bully Boy site:
Bully Boy’s aged whiskey uses corn, rye, and malted barley as its primary ingredients, and is aged in new American Oak. The corn makes for subtle sweetness, and the high rye content creates a dry spiciness; the flavors are further refined through the barrel-aging process, which imparts both a prominent caramel note and a nutty finish. An excellent sipping whiskey. As with all our spirits, our whiskey is made in small, numbered batches, so you know you are getting a truly unique spirit.

I waited until I got back to Jersey to try it and here's the review.

Appearance:  Amber -1

Nose neat:  Alcohol vapors, vanilla, hints of black plum

Taste neat:  Light and thin in the mouth, vanilla and corn syrup, hint of Coca-Cola, light spicy rye finish.

Nose with an ice ball:  Saltiness, vanilla, and sugary sweet candy like rock candies or Smarties.

Taste with ice:  Salty, thin vanilla wafers, malted milk balls

Overall:  C+
It's a good whiskey, may be best used in mixed drinks or neat.  Be careful with the water, it really wasn't anywhere near as good with the ice.

-G