Highlights from Whisky Jewbilee (better late than never!)
Where The F*ck is My Hat?
Well, frankly it took a while to recovery from Whisky Week in New York. Once the brain cobwebs cleared and lost articles of clothing were recovered (thanks to the guardian angel who retrieved my hat from the taxicab and was gracious enough to call and return it!!!), it was time to download pictures off the camera and compare notes scrawled on whisky brochures. Basically Joshua and company throw a hell of a party (I guess us Jews don't technically believe in Hell, so let's just say it was a tuchus-slapping good time). There haven't been that many yarmulkes and kilts in the same room since Shrek VIII - The Ogre Bar Mitzvah.
Here are some highlights from The Whiskey Jewbilee!
Single Cask Nation
Jason from The Jewish Whisky Company lays out some Single Cask Nation tasting bottles and pours us a taste of their 15-Year Heaven Hill Single Barrel Bourbon. It's light, sweet, and delicious with honey, molasses, and spice. The Laphroaig 6-Year is the true beast of the lineup.
First stop is with David Perkins of High West. Stopped to brag about how we found a rack full of Bourye & HW 21 Year in New Jersey a few months ago and are fully stocked at home. David poured a taste of Campfire. "Who says you can't mix a bourbon, a rye, and a peated single malt scotch?" says David. Skeptical to say the least, at the end of the day it was pretty damn tasty. Just a hint of sea brine Scottish smoke behind the signature HW high rye bourbon goodness. (Bourye is still better). David says, "Well I'm going over to Four Roses, I hear Jim Rutledge brought one bottle of the new small batch and I need to taste it." Yes please! (Following David and pretending we're old friends).
Indeed, Jim has brought the mystical hooch. However, he's very protective over the proper experience of his whiskey. "Is your glass clean?" Jim asks, giving me a slight crow-eye. "Well, I just rinsed it out," I reply sheepishly. He eyes David - obviously aware of his penchant for contaminating perfectly good bourbon with all kinds of mystery ingredients. "Let me smell it." He whiffs the peat from a mile away and turns the crow-eye to David, shaking his head. He pours another dose of water, rinses it thoroughly and smells it again. Still not acceptable. "Rinse it with bourbon!" suggests David, with a grin. The crow eye turns to an all-out scowl. "Well I hate to do it, but..." Jim pours a rinse of 4R yellow label into the glass, swirls it, and dumps it into the bucket. David smiles, clearly having won the battle but knowing that it's a long war. After another sniff, Jim is satisfied and pours us both a sample of the 125th Anniversary Small Batch Limited Edition. It's just off the charts, so much going on that it's hard to describe and surely needs more careful study, but rich brown butter, wild clove spice, and lots of wood dance together in the type of miracle that only Jim and his magical brooms down at 4R conjure up these days. The 2012 4R Small Batch LE was one of our favorite whiskies of all time. Perhaps a head-to-head review soon? Stay tuned...
We made a new friend - James Wills from Kilchoman. (Pronounced Kill-Ho-Man, the 'c' is silent). Kilchoman is the 'it' scotch right now in our humble opinion. They're producing a 100% local-sourced Islay product (barley, peat, water, all local!) and it's absolutely astounding. We also got to try their Sherry cask product which is to die for. More on Kilchoman shortly - songs will be sung of this smoky beast!!!
Wifey's current favorite - Brenne, a french single malt aged in Cognac barrels wins for a singularly unique new take on flavor. It's got a wild nose of flowers and bubble gum. Allison Patel, Brenne's creator aka The Whisky Woman, poses with our buddy Susannah from What Tastes Good. Aww adorable!!!
Stay tuned for individual reviews of all these treats and many more gems we discovered at Jewbilee. If you missed it, don't make the same mistake next year!