Review: Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

IMG_2019This whiskey was introduced in 1992 as part of the Jim Beam Small Batch Collection – it was modelled after the whiskey and recipe made by Basil Hayden, a distiller in the late 1700s. The whiskey used to carry an age statement of 8 years, but is now “artfully aged”, i.e. not as old. Likewise, it used to be a “straight” bourbon – but now no longer carries that description. This whiskey has the lowest alcohol content (40%) of any of the Jim Cream Small Batch Collection (which includes the Knob Creek line, Booker’s, and Baker’s), and is crafted to be a lighter bourbon. This bourbon is unique in that it has a higher rye content (the recipe uses about 30%), which is nearly double that of the other Jim Beam products.

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Review: George Dickel Rye Whiskey

Dickel RyeGeorge Dickel produces a number of products which they filter through maple charcoal in the Lincoln County process – a signature of Tennesse whisky (and, therefore, also Jack Daniel’s). George Dickel is the other major Tennessee distillery, making this rye – however, this one they don’t distill. They do filter it through maple charcoal, but it is produced at MGP in Indiana – a distillery well known for their rye (used in Bulleit rye, this one, and others) with a signature 95% rye mashbill. It is about 5 years old.

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Review: George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey

Dickel no. 12George Dickel is the other distillery in Tennessee, the second major whiskey producer in Tennessee after Jack Daniel’s – the largest American whiskey producer in the world. This whiskey is aged 12 years, and filtered through maple charcoal in regulation with the Lincoln County process which Tennessee Whiskey employs. However, unlike Jack Daniel’s, George Dickel chill their products before they filter it through the charcoal, and do so faster than Jack Daniel’s resulting in a different stripping process. Great value for this whiskey, and often a pleasant surprise for guests at tastings I have lead.

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Review: Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey

IMG_1897 This whiskey is a single malt, owned by Kilbeggan and distilled at Cooley distillery, home to brands such as Kilbeggan, Greenore, and Tyrconnell. This whiskey is a bit unique as far as Irish whiskey because it double rather than triple distilled, and it is also peated bringing in smoke and earthy flavours. The whiskey itself is blended from a mix of younger and older whiskies to bring out a good peat character from the younger whiskies as well as maturity and depth from the older whiskies. The name itself, “Connemara” refers to the region of Western Galway, where peat dwells and is cut, and where some of the distillery staff themselves used to cut peat.

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Review: Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey

Sazerac This whisky is produced at the Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, and is the roughly 6 year old sibling of the fabled 18 Year Old. I was very excited to happen upon a bottle last summer in Ontario, as they only pop up here from time to time.

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Review: Redbreast Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey Aged 12 Years

Redbreast 12 (4) One of the most highly regarded brands whisky has to offer, with fabulous ratings across the board, this is an Irish pot still whiskey, which means it is made from both malted and unmalted barley. It is distilled at Midleton distillery in County Cork, Ireland. It is aged for 12 years, mostly in Oloroso sherry casks but partially in bourbon casks as well. The first official reference to this brand was in August of 1912, so it’s been around for quite some time. The name, redbreast, refers to a robin. It was likely named by the chairman of Gibleys, an Irish liquor merchant that managed the brand, who loved birds.

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