By @Nozinan on 22nd Apr 2015, show post
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This past Saturday I co-hosted a tasting with at a friend's place, he graciously offered his house for the event.
It was a scorcher of a day I think we hit close to 40C with the humidex, a few attendees dropped out last minute (for various reasons) but the rest of us soldiered on and it turned out to be quite the event, it also cooled off considerably after brief showers and we were able to finish the evening on the deck under the stars!
We started with a flight of 5 rums
-Plantation Multi-Island XO: a blend of Jamaican and Barbados rum finished 1 year in a Cognac cask and another in a Coteau du Layon Cask (sweet white wine. A sweetie, easygoing, well rounded by the oak and just a touch of ripe fruits.
-St-Nicolas Abbey 5yr old Barbados Rum: An Agricole style rum made in a tiny historic estate. The nose had typical agricole style notes but the palate was so punchy and full despite the 40%abv and it was more in keeping with the Bajan style.
-Rum Bielle Cask Strength 2010: Cask Strength Agricole (55.7%ABV) from Marie-Galante. Big punchy, slightly vegetal and full of spices, barks and dried fruit.
-Foursquare Premise: A 10 yr old blend of Bourbon & sherry casks Rums While previously I thought the sherry made this rum slightly tannic and dry I appreciated this so much more in the context of this tasting, superb, rich and firm spirit. Much thanks to @fiddich1980 for the hook-up on this one.
-Ferroni Boucan D'Enfer: A blend of rums from Trinidad, Mauritius & Guyana, aged in Cognac cask and finished in ex-Laphroaig casks A total mindf@ck, smoky, tarry, that aniseed carbolic Laphroaig thing but then dries down to a rich, brown sugar and ribs glaze.
We moved on to the Whisky portion of the evening.
Ballantine's 17: A classy blend that I have a soft spot for, a bit of leather, ginger and the merest touch of smoke, a great way to start the second half of the evening.
**YellowSpot 12: Irish pot-still assembled from bourbon, sherry and Malaga wine. a great summery whisky, the heavier linseed oil elements balanced by the fruit and floral aspects
Gordon & Macphail Ardmore 1998-2018: It almost feel like this was re-racked into sherry casks, there are apples, toffee, loads of creamy sherry, the palate is a tad sharp considering the age and very little smoke for an Ardmore.
Ledaig 10: It's been a while since I had this a great nose and dirty, earthy peat along with the sweeter elements from the bourbon casks a great way to transition to the peated stuff how is this bottle only 67$??
Springbank 12 CS: I don't have the exact edition but it's been open a long time eating fudge and apples stored in a sackcloth in a damp basement, someone may be smoking a cigarette nearby.
Port Charlotte CC01: 9 yr old PC finished in Cognac Cask at full proof amazing, it has a lot of the dried fruit/rancio notes but without the heaviness you get from sherry, big full palate. I wish I had a bottle of this, a friend graciously cracked open his bottle for the event.
There were a few more drams after this but it was "taster's choice" people went around trying from the bottles everyone brought
There was food and lots of water, no one drove home but no one left drunk, I hope to have done justice to the lessons I learned from better hosts than I.
28 days ago 12Who liked this?
@cricklewood That Boucan d’enfer sounds delightful!!!
28 days ago 1Who liked this?
@cricklewood that looks like a great time. Been wanting to try a Foursquare rum for a while. I have heard good things.
28 days ago 3Who liked this?
@cricklewood - Looks and sounds immense! I'd be very nervous holding such an event so fair play and glad it went well - I'd imagine it's a tricky balance to provide enough info. without going full on whisky anorak/geek?! The Ferroni rum sounds very unusual - be interesting to try that. Ditto the PC.
I have a bottle of the Ledaig 10 in the stash that I'd planned on opening this summer but I simply have no room. Glad it's still as good as it was (this bottle seemed a lot darker than the last) and I'm looking forward to opening mine. It was such a great dram!
28 days ago 5Who liked this?
Always keeping it...
27 days ago 6Who liked this?
@OdysseusUnbound It is an experience, almost like a rum finished whisky at first, it's in the finish that it doesn't have any malty notes nor the same mouthfeel as a whisky. It is not the first rum to try this trick, there have been some by Plantation, Mount Gay and a few independents but it's the only on that I've seen available at the SAQ. I'll gladly send ya a sample if you want.
@casualtorture It was my first experience trying a rum with using the Foursquare label, I have tried some of the other brands they bottle like Doorly's which are great value (especially the XO and 12 yr old) as they don't collectors in a frenzy. Even without the Sherry casks, this style of rum is a great introduction to those who doubt that rum can be enjoyed and taken as seriously as whisky.
That said there are a lot of good rum brands doing good work and that should be just as coveted as Foursquare.
@RianC it's always tricky hosting an event like this, it was mostly friends so it was more of the informal style, although I would like to lead more tastings of the variety you describe since I quite enjoy gabbing about spirits history, styles and those nerdy/anorak things without going to far.
It's been a while since I've had the Ledaig and it was amazing, it has some of the touchstones of a Islay style peat but there's a kind of dirty diesel fume like side to it, along with a welcome sweetness (different than that of the new PC10 for example.) from the bourbon casks. I definitely intend on picking up a bottle while it's still so affordable.
27 days ago 5Who liked this?
@MadSingleMalt I'm stealing that picture.
26 days ago 2Who liked this?
Not exactly epic per se, but Glenfiddich stopped by the office for a free tasting and loot giveaway so of course I attended.
They went through the 12, 14 and 15 year olds (14 was better than the 15 in my opinion) and gave a marketing spill that I gladly sat through in exchange for a few free drams and 2 free glencairn glasses.
26 days ago 8Who liked this?
26 days ago 3Who liked this?
@casualtorture whisky tasting at work and free swag is epic enough in my book.
The new 14 is certainly punchier than the 15 solera.
26 days ago 5Who liked this?
@cricklewood yes punchier and more flavor for sure. the 15 was too light for me. I can't even remember what it tasted like haha
@casualtorture where do I sign up for a whisky tasting at work?
26 days ago 4Who liked this?
@casualtorture Are those tasting notes or minutes of the meeting, in the notebook? "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy"
25 days ago 1Who liked this?
@casualtorture Nice work if you can get it. That's my kind of coffee break.
25 days ago 0
July 16-21, 2019, my sister @Maddie (MAD), the spirit of my late wife @dramlette, and I attended the 17th Annual The Tales of the Cocktail, in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, aka NOLA.
What is Tales? Tales is five and one half days of swimming in a sea of tropical creative decadent decay. NOLA in July is tropical.
From Matthew McConaughey: " New Orleans is like a blinking yellow traffic light: Proceed with caution...but...PROCEED!"
We dodged Hurricane Barry to fly in. We delayed our flight 3 days because we were unsure whether there would be flooding and we would be trapped for days at the airport unable to enter the city. As it turned out when we arrived there was no sign of water anywhere and not more than 90 minutes of sprinkles during the first four days we were there. Three days prior to our initial scheduled arrival there had been 9 inches of rain and flooding in NOLA.
What goes on at Tales? I will explain. Is Tales about whisky? Yes, maybe 10% of it.
Comparing Tales to a Whisky Fest, a good whisky fest gives you many tasting opportunities, scores or hundreds. Tales does this too. They differ in that even the best whisky fests usually allow only a couple of hours of tasting (maybe a second day if you are lucky) and you need to scurry and hustle to get a lot of experiences in before time runs out. Tales, Day One, gives you a couple of hours of tasting, then a couple more, then a couple more, and then a couple more. End the main part of Day One of five full days and one partial day...six days total overall.
Tales is decentralized. There are multiple attractions in multiple locations, though most are within one (or two) hotel(s). Tales is first and foremost about bartenders and cocktails. This is a huge national and international event drawing legions of hospitality industry folks from around the world who are getting their continuing ed, networking, marketing, and, yes, most certainly partying. Because these are liquor industry people, i.e.the adults in the room around liquor, I have never in 3 years of Tales seen a single disorderly person at Tales, despite round the clock drinking for 6 days. Maybe two-thirds of attendees are industry people, one-third enthusiasts. Most of the enthusiasts with whom we hung out had been to Tales many more than our three years worth.
How many attend? There were about 16,000 four years ago. This year seemed much smaller. There are thousands for sure, though we never saw more than about 100 people at any one time.
Cost of admission? Cheap, very cheap for what you get, so cheap that we met a nice newlywed Toronto couple down for a preliminary honeymoon prior to a bigger one later. I hope to see them posting on Connosr. Cost? $ 100 buys you a pass to all of the tasting rooms over the full Tales of the Cocktail. You could stop there. There are also nice classes to attend. $ 150 worth of classes bought gets you all the tasting rooms without further fee. MAD and I splurged this year on $ 400 worth of classes each. Details a little later. There are RSVP admission events and also some private invitation-only events. Some events and tasting rooms are held in the middle of the night. Bottom line is that you can have a very full experience doing nothing but paying the $ 100 and wandering around from tasting room to tasting room. Featured in the tasting rooms are neat spirits of all kinds from around the world, many cocktails, and sometimes some free food is offered.
Bottom line: I sampled about 40 alcoholic beverages per day, would like to have sampled 80 beverages per day with more time and alcohol tolerance, and could have sampled 200 samples per day if I had no human limitations. If you are open to a wide variety of new experiences, Tales is 'an embarrassment of riches'. Everywhere you turn around someone is handing you a drink.
Now, on to telling the tale of my experience of the 2019 Tales of the Cocktail:
Day One highlights: MAD wanted to hit the 'Spirit of Italy' presentation first thing. We had (6) 3-4 oz cocktails there w/ a 45 minute presentation, and free food including 2 types of cheeses, 2 types of olives, bruschetta, etc. It was lovely.
Our big deal paid class of the day was Sazerac Company's Rare Releases. This one was more significant for the information obtained than for the whiskeys sampled. The class was presented by Allisa Henley, formerly Master Distiller at George Dickel, now working for Sazerac Company. Allisa is the Master Distiller at "Sazerac of Tennessee" a Sazerac Company owned distillery making Tennessee Whiskey so new that it does not yet have a permanent name. Allisa presented to about 45 of us. Sazerac of Tennessee will be a medium-sized production distillery, but "larger than A. Smith Bowman". We sampled their new make Tennessee whiskey spirit and their spirit at 18 months in barrel, which is as far as they have thus far aged. They plan to release the Tennessee whiskey starting at 6 years old. In other Sazerac Company news: 1) they are pumping $ 11 Billion into expanding production at Buffalo Trace Distillery, and 2) the free Sazerac Visitors Center in New Orleans is scheduled to open October 2, 2019. We sampled 8 beverages. Best by far was the new NAS Weller Full Proof (93 points from me). Let's see now whether it is possible to actually buy some of it. Also very interesting was bourbon aged in Mongolian Oak. Quite different, and very much like some of the Japanese Oak. It's a lovely product. Get a taste if you see it. Also served was some E H Taylor Amaranth Bourbon. That one was interesting, but not compelling.
Day Two Highlights: The fee-paid Genever course. Major take-aways: 1) almost all Oude Netherlands/Dutch jenever is made at the Filliers Distillery, 2) Jonge Genever is almost indistinguishable from vodka, and 3) almost all of the jenever/genever consumed in the Netherlands is the Jonge/vodka-like faux genever.
Day Three Highlights: paid tasting Mezcal 101 seminar. 10 mezcals sampled. Major take-away: 1) mezcal can be made from any agave plant, but Espadin is the far most commonly used varietal used for mezcal, and 2) Get This! ---mescalleros consider more than a trace of smokiness in their products to be a DEFECT, not a desideratum. The Mexicans, with mezcal as with Tequila, want to taste the nuances of the agave.
Day Four Highlights: Irish Whiskey paid seminar gave an excellent history of the Irish Whiskey industry. We sampled 6 products, most of which were familiar.
Day Five Highlights: 1) the Diageo Rare Spirits Tasting was not of 50 yo malts, but of products from Diageo bottled from the 1930s to the 1960s. We investigated O.B.E. = Old Bottle Effect, things like that. It was an interesting experience, for sure, educational, but no 95 point whisky experiences, 2) I walked into the free Diageo Blending Lab w/about 35 people. We, six teams of 5-6 each, were given 10 minutes to blend Johnnie Walker Black Label from six components labelled, Malty, Creamy, Heavy Bodied, Fresh, Waxy, and Peaty. My team adopted all of my suggestions and we won the contest, coming very close to JW Black, and greatly impressing the Diageo judges. Next we went to work blending standard Crown Royal from five components, this time as individuals. I wasn't as happy with my result, and the judge didn't get around to tasting them all. It was great fun. 3) my favourite encounter of the whole week occurred in the last half hour of the last full day. In a room w/30+ vendors and 150+ samples to try, MAD insisted I go to the stand where Old Elk whiskeys were featured. I had a nice chat with Greg Metze, the Master Distiller of this recent and small distillery, and was shocked to find that he had recently been the Master Distiller at MGPI. When MGPI released their first ever product under their own name, in November 2015, it was named Metze's Select. I've sampled Metze's Select Bourbon and it was excellent. I had long wondered, "Where do you get a name like Metze's Select?" Now I was staring Metze in the face. Metze and I had now become buddies. Fabulous!
Tales of the Cocktail is quite an experience. That's why we keep coming back, along with all of that fabulous food in New Orleans. . .
22 days ago 15Who liked this?
On Sunday night my daughter and my niece, born 23 days apart in 2007, celebrated their bat-mitzvah. I'll spare you the details of what led to a bat-mitzvah being celebrated in a Chinese Banquet Hall (message me privately if you're interested), but I will focus on what made the tasting epic.
I was fortunate to have my BIL, @nosebleed, attending, as well as 2 Connosr members some of you may have heard of (and their partners), @paddockjudge and @talexander. I was busy working the room and missed some of the food, but at one point I got to the table and noticed the judge drinking some tea. He offered me some and I was happy to provide him my cup. I would say I have never tasted Chinese tea that had the same aroma and flavour as Shelter Point 100% rye at a cask strength. Later on we had some more Chinese T. T as in Talisker 57 N.
There were rumours that a gentleman named Jack was an unexpected guest, but he didn't make himself known to me until later.
Suffice it to say that had someone taken a shot at @paddockjudge, he had enough metal in his jacket to protect him. Flasks will do that...
After the party, we bid adieu to "lightweights" Pam and @talexander (I feel obligated to refrain from making any jokes like "we ran out of gingerale" but in fact I didn't see any at the afterparty) and went back to the nearby hotel.
Some friends had access to the elite lounge but were told no open alcohol was allowed. We decided to take out chances. We unsuited and brought the supplies up. In addition to @paddockjudge, @nosebleed and me, there were 2-3 others in the group that partook in the festivities.
Once again @paddockjudge outdid himself. We started by catching everyone one up with the Shelterpoint rye, then, as it is a Canadian Alberta rye, he had us compare it to both editions of Lot 40 CS rye. Trying to pace myself, I sat out the 2017 edition.
I then poured some Little Book, Chapter 2.
Only one person would think to bring everything needed for a Wiser's Legacy blending exercise to a bart-mitzvah. However it was aborted in favour of trying Highwood 90/20 (Burgundy label) and Highwood 25 Clagary Stampede anniversary edition. The others enjoyed these.
Then a real blending exercise was undertaken, using The Highwood 25, Lot 40 CS 2017, Deanston Virgin Oak and the Shelterpoint. We all got to try this successful combination from the Canadian Blending Master.
Others that were poured ( I don't remember who partook of each one) after this included Jack Daniels SB BP, Talisker 57N, Old Weller Antique 107, and Laphroaig Lore.
We all finished off with a small pour of Aberlour A'Bunadh batch 50, followed by Springbank 12 YO CS, both of which were particularly rich and good that night.
I think, given the atmosphere, the Chinese T, and the company, this classifies as an epic tasting.
13 days ago 9Who liked this?
@Nozinan In our defense, we originally had every intention of joining you "heavyweights" but the night before we had had a dinner party with some friends and they didn't leave until 2:30am! (we were falling asleep in front of them and they kept talking and hanging out.... we love them but boy that was late...) Then I think it was a bit after 10pm at the bat-mitzvah that we realized we weren't going to make it much longer....so our apologies!!! We wish we could have held out!
13 days ago 4Who liked this?
@talexander luckily round 2 is fast approaching...
13 days ago 2Who liked this?
@Nozinan, It was definitely an epic event, even before a single drop of whisky was poured. You and your wife are excellent hosts, generous, humble, and welcoming. You have amazing children who are courteous, caring, and friendly. It is a pleasure to call you my friend, and an honour to have been invited to celebrate this special occasion with you, your extended family, and your friends (cool friends I may add).
Thank you for allowing us to share this special day with you.
12 days ago 4Who liked this?
A gathering was had at the home of @Fiddich1980 on Satuday night that stretched into Sunday.
Present were the host, his wife, and 2 (non-Connosr) guests, @TAlexander and partner, @cricklewood, @paddockjudge, @Astroke, and me.
The history of what brought this tasting about goes back a couple of years, when @Talexander brought and opened a Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof at a tasting at my home. I had never had JD before, and this blew me away.
In the spring of 2018 @Paddockjudge and I went to Maryland to visit @Victor, @Maddie, and the dearly missed @Dramlette. On the way there we stopped at a store and saw a bottle of JDSBBP. It was just under $70 US, but I calculated the price to me, with Canadian duties, would likely be closer to $150 CAD, so I let it go. Had I known @Paddockjudge would get us across the border (legally) with dozens of bottles between us and not a penny of duty, I would have bought it.
Fast forward to this spring and the SAQ gets in 3 different barrels (exclusives), and @Cricklwood manages to snag one of each (one for him, one for me and one for @Fiddich1980). @Fiddich1980 comes up with the idea of hosting a tasting where these would be the anchors. 2 More batches are “discovered" and we have ourselves a tasting!
You may already have seen a glimpse of the tasting table in the video we prepared for @MarkJedi1’s ramblings thread, but in case not, here is a youtube link:
Now I’m an Internist by training, and a long-time debater, and process is a big thing for me. At my tastings we generally try to keep to one expression at a time and move on together. This tasting took me (pleasantly) outside my comfort zone, and the tasting before and after the JDs was framed as a “free for all”. In reality we probably all tasted pretty much the same whiskies, but perhaps not in the same order.
From my vantage point, the evening went a little like this (I apologize in advance if the alcohol contributed to any errors):
Bruichladdich Black Arts 4.1 49.2% (courtesy @Fiddich1980)
Hibiki 21 YO (Beautiful nose) 43% (courtesy @Fiddich1980)
(Jim Beam) Legent 47% (courtesy @Fiddich1980)
Writers Tears Dean XO Cognac cask finish 46% - great with the soft cheese - (courtesy @Fiddich1980’s guest Earl)
Shelter Point CS Malt/Rye blend 57.2% (courtesy @Fiddich1980)
SMWS 136.2 Eden Mill lowland distillery first fill Oloroso 3 YO 60.9% (courtesy @TAlexander)
Springbank 18 YO 2013 release 45.6% (thanks SAQ for pointing out the ABV) (courtesy @Fiddich1980)
Nikka Pure Malt Black 43% (courtesy @Fiddich1980)
Ichiro’s Malt and Grain Limited Edition 48% (courtesy @Cricklewood)
Auchentoshan 21 YO 43% (Courtesy @Paddockjudge)- see video above
I should mention that The KWM Shelterpoint single Barrel Rye that has been much talked about also made an appearance throughout the evening at different times (thanks @paddockjudge).
Around this time a dinner was served of various cheeses, crackers and Quebec artisan sausages, chilled Peach soup, a home made relish, and Beef Wellington. We ate VERY well indeed and proceeded to the cornerstone of the evening:
Jack Daniel’s Old #7. Yes, I brought it. It was meant to be a control dram by which to measure the others. One of our group forgot where he was (a campfire perhaps), and while the rest of us put a small amount in our glasses, he just took a big swig from the bottle…Then:
5 JDSBBP in ascending order of ABV: 64.5% (@paddockjudge), 65.45% (@Astroke) 67.85 %(mine), 67.95% (@fiddich1980) and 68.3% (@Cricklewood)
Somewhere around this time some butter tarts made the rounds (these are awesome, and often provided by @paddockjudge. Dessert (my wife’s Guiness ginger cake and @fiddich1980’s crêpes suzette) was served.
We continued in free-for-all style:
Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Tennessee whiskey 50% (courtesy @Talexander)
High West Rendezvous Rye Hungarian Oak finish 54.2% (courtesy @Astroke)
Baker’s 7 YO Bourbon 535% - very buttery - (courtesy @Fiddich1980)
Connoisseur’s Choice G&M Glenturret 18 YO batch 18/027, first fill Sherry Hogshead 51.6% (courtesy @Fiddich1980)
Maison Ferroni Boucan D’Enfer multi region rum finished in cognac and Laphroaig casks 50% (courtesy @Fiddich1980)
SMWS B3.4 Rocktown Bourbon 3 YO 57% (courtesy @TAlexander)
Port Charlotte 10 YO 2018 release 50% (courtesy @Fiddich1980)
Peat Faerie 10 YO Blended malt (Speyside and Islay) 50% (courtesy @TAlexander)
SMWS G15.4 Loch Lomond grain whisky 10 YO 2nd fill hogshead 58.3% (courtesy @TAlexander)
Kill Devil SIngle Cask 17 YO Jamaican Rum 46% - I could have sworn on first sniff I was sniffing Smith and Cross, but then it became so much more… (courtesy @Fiddich1980)
Deanstom 2008 9 YO Bordeau Cask Matured (oops, missed the ABV) (courtesy @Fiddich1980)
Kirkwall Bay Orkney Single Malt46% (one of my 50th Birthday gifts this year)
1792 Full Proof Bourbon 61.87% (such exactitude!) (courtesy @Astroke)
We ended early…I was in bed by 3 am.
As usual, while the food and the whisky were fabulous, the company was what made this another EPIC TASTING.
Can’t wait till the next one…
16 hours ago 8Who liked this?
@Nozinan You guys are awesome! I was stumped for words.
15 hours ago 5Who liked this?
@Nozinan what an incredible lineup and it sounds like a fantastic night with old and new friends. I've only ever seen let alone tried one or two of those - a special night indeed. I love seeing people sharing quality whisky - that's what it was made for. Cheers all
15 hours ago 4Who liked this?
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