In the midst of everything else I’ve got going on at the moment, I realized that I hadn’t finished the update about our final Newcomers Whisky Club meeting of 2016…which was in November! 😳 So I wanted to finish this and get the information posted! Our theme for this tasting was “Americana,” and was an opportunity to sample some newer and/or less well-known whiskies being produced here in the US!
Witherspoon’s, Cross Timbers Texas Malt Whiskey
The first whiskey of the evening was Witherspoon’s, Cross Timbers Texas Malt Whiskey, a whiskey that none of had tasted before! Witherspoon’s is a local distillery, located in Lewisville, TX, about 30 minutes from us. Quentin Witherspoon first learned to distill during a posting to Africa when he was in the Marines. Once he returned to the US, he began Witherspoon’s distillery, offering outsourced bourbons while getting his production up and running. Cross Timbers Texas Malt whiskey is made with a mash bill of 50% malted barley – 6-row modified from Wisconsin – and 50% corn grown here in North Texas. The spirit is then aged for at least 9 months in #4B heavy-charred 53 gallon new American white oak barrels.
Angel’s Envy, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
From there we moved to a whiskey that a number of us have tasted before, and one that most of us found very good. , aged for up to 6 years and then, somewhat uniquely for US bourbons, finished in 60-gallon ruby port barrels made from French oak. The brainchild of Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson, Angel’s Envy bourbon has developed a very loyal following – for good reason!
Russell’s Reserve 6-year old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey.
Next up was our first rye whiskey of the night, Russell’s Reserve 6-year old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey. For me, this was the highlight of the evening, but I am a rye fan, so my vote is somewhat biased. Named in recognition of Jimmey Russell, who has spent 60 years at the Wild Turkey Distillery, this rye was an absolute classic rye whiskey!
Smooth Ambler Yearling Bourbon
Following the Russell’s Reserve, we sampled a bourbon produced by the Smooth Ambler Distillery in Greenbrier County, W. Virginia (that, by the way, was just acquired by Pernod). Our whiskey for the evening was a bottling of their Smooth Ambler Yearling, a bourbon whiskey that has been aged for 3 years and 6 months.
High West Rendezvous Rye Whiskey
After that we tasted the High West Rendezvous Rye Whiskey, another one of my favorite rye whiskies! Big and bold, floral and sweet, this is another wonderful example of just how good rye can be. For those of you who have not tasted anything put out by High West, you owe it to yourself to look for them. With the exception of the truly horrific experiment (in my opinion) Yippee Kiya, a bourbon finished in vermouth casks, High West routinely bottles some great whiskies!
Barrell American Whiskey Batch 002
The final whiskey of the evening is a fairly new brand to show up on the shelves, Barrell American Whiskey. Produced by Barrell Craft Spirits, out of Louisville, KY, is an independent bottler of sourced whiskies and rums.
Batch 002 was distilled in Indiana (MGP) and then aged by BCS in Kentucky. This has a fairly common bourbon mash bill of corn, rye and malted barley, although they don’t disclose the actual ratios on their website. Batch 002 is aged for 9 years, 5 months and then finished in Sherry Cask. Batch 002 was a big whiskey, bottled at 123.8 proof! With the addition of some water – pretty much mandatory here – this becomes an exceptional whiskey!
Availability of Barrell Bourbon and American Whiskey does remain somewhat limited to retailers who commonly have a more expansive selection, but you can find it around. I picked this up at True Spirits after Greg recommended it to me. And I must say, this was a VERY GOOD recommendation! I shared this with my friends at the North Texas Spirit Society and it was a big hit there, too!
Anyway, just doing some general housekeeping here and putting this update onto the page for posterity! Hasta la proxima vez!