Balcones very special Rumble Cask Reserve tasting TOMORROW!

June 25, 2012 § 7 Comments

Hello whisky friends!  It’s time to mark your calendars!

You know every time my distiller friends roll into town – there are crazy whisky adventures to be had.  Well, now I’m giving you a headsup and a chance to join in on the fun.  (Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you read about it later!).

Chip Tate, head distiller and founder of the Balcones Distillery in Waco, TX is coming into town for the New York Bar & Restaurant Show and the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition … ok, you say, so what’s in it for me?  Glad you asked!

While he’s here, he will be doing a FREE tasting event on Tuesday, June 26th, 6:30pm-8:30pm at one of my favorite spots: the Brandy Library. (25 North Moore Street in Tribeca)

Aside from meeting Chip, what makes this extra cool is the under-the-radar/not-announced-till-right-now secret bottles that he’ll be pouring.  He’s pulled some crazy awesome barrel samples (whisky that’s taken directly from the barrel and put into a bottle), marked the glass bottles with a Sharpie marker and will be bringing them to NYC.  Awesomeness.

He’ll also have his SUPER LIMITED Rumble Cask Reserve (RCR) that’s finally launching in NY.  Last I checked, there were less then 300 bottles of this… ever.

Here are my tasting notes on the RCR:

ABOUT: Made exactly the way you make whisky but with one substitution, the ingredients!  This is made from figs, sugar & honey.  Fermented together, distilled & aged in a variety of American & French oak barrels.  This is the CASK STRENGTH version of his RUMBLE

NOSE: rich honey, drying rose petals, older leather, dehydrated apples

PALATE: smooth caramel and burnt sugar to start, a pleasant  journey which rolls moves the heavier notes quickly over the tongue

FINISH: long but light mouthfeel, honeysuckle flower into clove and black pepper on the end

WhiskyLive NYC 2012 – REVIEW

April 13, 2012 § 6 Comments

Anyone who knows me or who follows me on twitter probably knows that I attended the WhiskyLive NYC show this past Wednesday as I was practically jumping out of my skin with excitement! And this year surely did not disappoint.

It’s one of my favorite nights of the year – a time to catch up with old friends, meet new ones and drink some seriously stand-out drams.   And may I just give my sincerest apologies to everyone who I either didn’t mention here or didn’t have a chance to visit.  I could have easily used another 4 hours!

Photo (c) of The Whisky Woman, 2012

My first stop was quite intriguing … Notch Single Malt Whisky from Nantucket.  Notch partners with Cisco Brewers who makes a special beer for them from Maris Otter malt (which has an interesting history for a grain & according to Wikipedia, is “acknowledged right across the brewing world as the finest-quality malt available”).  This beer, or wort, is then moved to the Triple Eight Distillery to distill in a small copper pot still where just the heart cut of the distillate is used and aged for 8 years in ex-bourbon and finished in French oak Merlot wine casks from local Nantucket wineries.

Now, this was a really enjoyable dram but what I can’t understand is the price.  $888 for a 750ml bottle.  I am sure they didn’t have the price match the name of the distillery to be cute … but I just can’t get my head around this!  Remember, this was my first stop so I know my brain was still quite sharp – but I didn’t hear them mention the addition of 24k gold or a unicorn horn as a “gift with purchase” so not wanting to further interrupt the interview they were doing with Gregg from DistilleryAge.com, I snapped the above photo promised them I would be following up … and you bet I will be!  Asap.

Next stop, Balvenie!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Now you know you’re a #WhiskyBadAss when you show up to an event with your own malting floor!  David Stewart and team, you guys are my heroes. (If you missed it, check out my earlier post of my visit to this distillery HERE)

I always enjoy my time with the happy and wonderfully talented Balvenie crew.  David and I caught up over a beautiful glass of their 14yr Caribbean Cask Single Malt which was divine.  They actually bring rum over from the Caribbean in tanks – not in casks – and fill their casks with the rum for 6 months.  Once they have their barrels perfectly seasoned with the rum, they remove it and replace the rum with their 14yr single malt to finish for 6 months prior to bottling.  Pretty cool, huh?

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman

Hey – are we taking each others photo!? Silly social media whisky geeks (myself included)! Smile!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman

The Whisky Peddler.  Only available online HERE out of the World Of Liquor store in New Jersey.  Unbelievably yummy.  Patrick is smart.  He purchased two very interesting casks from notable distilleries in Scotland; one from Glen Grant and one from Highland Park.  You may ask (as I did) why buy his whiskies over buying a 14 year directly from the producer?  Because for both of these malts, he purchased the casks and kept them aging only in their ex-bourbon casks – no sherry finish on these beauts – and let me tell you simply – wow.  I was really happy standing here.  And at $52 or $60 / bottle, it keeps me baffled by the $888 price tag on the Notch …

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Off to the Cocktail’s Live area!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

A toast with Kat Valentina – the fab mixologist from LA who was brought in to serve up a very tasty creamy-whiskey cocktail:

2 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey, .5 oz Sambuca, .75 oz Rum Chata & 2 oz of chilled coffee

… can we say mid-show pick me up?

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Whisky & chocolate – a great pairing.  Lucky for us, the hyper-talented chocolatier, Roni-Sue, was there serving up her unique bonbons and pairing them with such lovelies as Laphroaig and Basil Hayden!  I loved their Dark & Stormy truffle: dark chocolate ganache that features Goslings dark rum, fresh ginger and lime zest – all I tasted was pure deliciousness.

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Glen Garioch paired up with Murray’s Cheese, an excellent cheese shop in NYC (and luckily right down the street from me!) to create a cheddar that pairs specifically with the Glen Garioch whiskies.  HOW COOL IS THAT!?  I’ll be there tomorrow picking up a good wedge for this weekend!  The whiskies are great – balanced, smooth and perfectly complimented by the tangy-creaminess of the cheese.  At this point, though, it was too crowded and my glass was too coated with other whiskies to get accurate tasting notes but I’ll definitely be picking up a bottle on my next Scotch-run.

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman

Finish off with hug, dram and special (secret) Bourbon-Ball (a dark chocolate & Smooth Ambler bourbon bon-bon) from John Little, head-distiller at Smooth Ambler, and it was time for the after party!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Now I don’t know how you travel to an after party … but I’m the kind of gal who likes to arrive in style so if that means negotiating a limo ride for some whisky for myself and my beloved whisky-family, like Balcones’ Chip Tate, Compass Box’s Robin Robinson and Kat Valentina … then so be it! 🙂

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Off to Ward III we went!  It was another amazing night!  Congrats Dave Sweet for organizing yet another stellar event!  Slainte!

Distillery Visit: Balvenie in Speyside, Scotland

April 6, 2012 § 14 Comments

Between the rain and the recent snow, there were a few beautiful, dry, warm & sunny days in Scotland … and I was lucky enough to have been a visitor during just those days!

After an incredible tour of Forsyths, the Scottish still makers (see my post on that visit HERE), next on the itinerary was a visit to another place in Speyside which has a deep place in my whisky-heart; Balvenie.

Not only was I lucky enough just being there – but my travel buddy (head distiller of Balcones, Chip Tate) and I were given a private tour by Balvenie’s Malt Master (aka, head distiller), David Stewart and their distillery ambassador, David Mair.  And if that wasn’t enough – David Stewart was also in the midst of celebrating his 50th year at Balvenie!  Congratulations, David!!!

We truly had a lovely afternoon walking the grounds, geeking out about all things “whisky” and of course – drinking some seriously special drams – a few of which David poured straight from the barrels into our open palms.  Luckily, slurping was acceptable because I wasn’t letting a single drop hit the floor!

Below is a collection of photos that I took during the visit.  Hope you enjoy!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

The Balvenie Castle … not exactly where we were trying to go (it’s not that close to the distillery) but it is quite cool to see.  Thanks to Google Maps for accidentally taking us here first!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Oh the Scottish weather!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

The sign says, “Welcome To Dufftown” …. phew! Back on the right road and almost there!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

We made it!!!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

This is the view with our backs to the distillery.  Isn’t Scotland just so pretty?

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

The Malting Floor.  One of only about 3-5 distilleries left in Speyside who still have an active malting floor.  It’s a lot of hard work, manual labor and expense for these distilleries to maintain so it’s a real treat when you get to see one with your own eyes.  Highland Park is another one who malts some of their own barley.  I don’t know if there is a single distillery left who currently malts 100% of their own barley… if you know of one – please share in the comments below!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Love their old, red grist grinder!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Inside a giant mash ton

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

This is what they’re talking about when they say, “wooden wash backs.”  Not many places ferment their grains in wood anymore.  Stainless steel is far more common.

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Check out their shiny gold (ok, brass) spirit safes! This is where the distillate cuts are made.  Meaning that during the distillation process, the distiller uses the switches and the hydrometer (the device that reads the % of alcohol content) to move the new make through the stills, the low wines receiver and the spirits receiver. Fancy, huh?

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Sorry – no photos allowed of the aging rooms (though they were really cool!) – we need to let that liquid gold get it’s beauty sleep!  Off to the tasting room we go!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

This was the “planned” tasting round … but as luck would have it, the cabinet doors were opened up and we were treated to a few bonus rounds!  David & David gave us to some really special pours which I’ll certainly share my tasting notes to later … so stay tuned!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Needless to say, it was a really special afternoon.  Thank you David, David and Chip for the laughs, whisky and lasting memories.  This day will stay with me for a very long time.

Sláinte!

WhiskyLive NYC 2012 – Coupon Code!

April 3, 2012 § 3 Comments

Oh man am I excited!!! It’s that time again – WhiskyLive is coming to NYC next week on Wednesday, April 11th.

If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet – especially all of you whiskey/spirit bloggers – do so now! WhiskyLive by Whisky Magazine is not the event to miss.  With over 230 different whiskies being poured and the USA PREMIER of the CocktailsLive show (featuring whisky cocktails created by some of NYC’s top bartenders – awesomeness!) this is something I seriously look forward to year after year. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!!!

Go for the whiskies, the networking and this year for the addition of the CocktailsLive show – all included in the price of a basic ticket (and did I mention a full dinner buffet?)!

Ready for your discount code?  Here you go!  Just enter: ww2012 in the promo code at check out to receive 10% off of your VIP or Regular ticket.  (Code is case sensitive – please note there are no upper case letters).  Click HERE for more info and to see the list of Master Classes.

I’ll be live tweeting at @whiskygirls and @localinfusions

If you’re going to be there – let me know in the comments and include your twitter handle – I’ll follow you!

(oh, and since I know you want the inside scoop, the industry after party will most likely be at Ward III in Tribeca …  but you’ll have to follow me on twitter for real time confirmation – where ever it ends up though – you can bet I’ll be there!)

Whisky Review: Kornog – Celtic Whisky Compagnie (part 2)

March 14, 2012 § 8 Comments

In preparation for my fast-approaching trip to Europe where I’ll be attending the World Whisky Conference, the Icons of Whisky awards, Whisky Live UK and doing a few days in both Scotland and France, I thought it best to do a pre-trip detox.  Limiting myself to only the necessary sips of spirits and events that my life requires.

…But then again – I AM a whisky blogger…

I can’t totally abandon all fun drinking for a week, can I?  I say no.  So I have found myself wishing to revisit a beautiful bottle of Kornog that was gifted to me by the ever-talented head distiller, Jean Donnay, of the Celtic Whisky Compagnie.  And since I already published my post about my visit to his picturesque distillery (click HERE for Part 1), I thought today was the day to abandon my carrot+kale+celery concoction and reunite myself with my trusty Glencarin glass.  Here it goes!

Goodbye Juice-on-the-Roof

The Whisky Woman's Juice on the Roof - a silly attempt to detox

Hello Friend!

Happiness in a glass

ABOUT: 46% abv (92 proof), Peated Single Malt Whisky, twice distilled in copper pots over live flame, wooden washbacks, aged in French Oak on an earth floor where it rested in the salty-air climate of Brittany, France for at least 3 years

NOSE: Definitely classic, pure “peat” (think Sharpie marker), toasted cereal, hint of dried tropical fruit, ripe banana

PALATE: Sweet, buttery grain, smooth approach in the beginning, obvious peat appears in the middle which morphs into the black pepper that cuts through the buttered grains

FINISH: Happily strong, travels nicely through the mouth with a long, lingering finish.  Black pepper re-appears on the tip of the tongue at the very end.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The little time in the barrels makes it very light and approachable and gives space to let this whisky’s classic peat notes shine through.  If you’re new to whisky and want to find out if you like peated malts, this is a GREAT place to start.  Not many barrel notes – which is expected.  Very enjoyable.  A PERFECT whisky to drink during the transition from Winter to Spring.  The peat is there to add a little warmth while the lightness is refreshing.

Photo courtesy of Celtic Whisky Compagnie

Campbeltown Loch 21 year old Blended Scotch Whisky

February 22, 2012 § 13 Comments

I had the most unique experience the other night that still, 2 days later has me a bit perplexed.

Sitting at the bar of an Italian restaurant around the corner from my home (Centro Vinoteca) I found myself peering quite intently at a lightly colored whisky sitting quietly between the Balvenie Double Wood and the Chivas Regal 12yr.

The view of whiskies from my seat at the bar

Can you see it? 🙂

Towards the end of the meal, I asked the bartender if I could just see the bottle.  Realizing that it had never been opened, the gentleman sitting to my right said, “Let’s open it up and have a taste!”  At which point I learned that he was one of the owners.  He kindly poured a taste for me and one for himself and then quickly drank his like a shot.  I, like the whisky geek that I am, sat there for what seemed like 30 minutes but was probably more like 5 smelling, examining and as best as I could, keeping track of the delicious experience.

Here’s what I wrote down:

ABOUT: 21 year old blended Scotch, 40% abv (80 proof), this is the house blend of the Springbank distillers in Campbeltown

NOSE: maple honey comb, hint of geranium, jasmine black tea, wet spices (clove, cinnamon)

PALATE: water, tire and sweet tobacco leaves on the front, perhaps a bit of toned-down cereal milk which lent a pleasant sweetness in the middle, toffee with grapefruit crème brûlée

FINISH: very smooth, lingering black tea, tobacco, leather and a lovely hint of peat

Coming home, I realized just how rare this bottle might be.  I found it sold out on the UK site, Master of Malt, and haven’t yet found anywhere else (IF YOU DO, please share a link in the comments section below!).   The only review I found was by the beloved Ralfy.  I’ve included his video below.  He gives a lot of history about this particular bottling.  ENJOY and let me know if you can find it!

 

Finger Lakes Distilling: McKenzie Pure Pot Still Whiskey

February 10, 2012 § 8 Comments

On one of Brian McKenzie’s, owner of Finger Lakes Distilling, recent trips to NYC, we had the chance to meet up for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Joseph Leonard, where, much to my surprise, he revealed the latest in his whisky collection; the McKenzie Pure Pot Still Whiskey.  Before anyone could say another word, we had popped the top and was sipping this bright, smooth, happily curious spirit and of course, passing it around to anyone with a willing palate.

In a matter of … oh … probably 10-15 minutes we had easily polished off 1/2 of this bottle.  Rightfully so.  This is smooth, and interesting, and it has this flavor-balloon effect in the mouth that is so compelling you keep going back for more … and a little more … and …

McKenzie Pure Pot Still Whiskey

As soon as you open this bottle, the air around you starts morphing into the most beautiful fruit/oak/mash combo smell.  I wish Brian could figure out how to make a candle like this!

Here’s what I have to say about this beauty:

The stats: 100% malted & unmalted barley grown in the fields surrounding his New York’s Finger Lake region distillery.  Distilled in just the copper pot part of his German Holstein pot & column combo still (talk about having the ultimate in distilling flexibility!) bottled without caramel coloring or chill filtration (floaties & chunks are a GOOD thing!), 40% abv/80 proof in standard 750ml bottles.

NOSE: copper drinking cup/metallic, corn husks, honeysuckle flower, honeysuckle juice, leather, sweet tobacco, dried granny smith apples

PALATE: mild front, a slight “water in copper cup” metallic flavor on the tip of tongue, moves into a strong dried apple & apricot middle with rye-like spice on back-end and top back of the throat.  It balloons and swells as moves back which is very intriguing.

FINISH: tip of the tongue is left with that copper-meets-clove spice that lingers a bit, middle to back of mouth is left pleasantly refreshed

Overall:  I would say this is a medium bodied whisky that is very smooth & approachable.  A happy choice … if you are lucky enough to find it!

Quick addition since publishing this post: Just saw that Drink Up New York has (as of the day of this post) added it to their site for online sales!  Click HERE for the link!

Thank you, Brian, for leaving the bottle in my excited hands.  It’s a pleasure to keep revisiting!

HOW TO: Create your own Whisky Tasting Party

December 5, 2011 § 13 Comments

I have been attending so many whisky events recently that it got me thinking: what would make these even better?

Answer: To be surrounded with my close friends.

So this holiday season, I offer you this: The Whisky Woman’s Guide to Creating Your Own Whisky Tasting Party .  It’s time to stop fretting and start celebrating!

WHAT YOU NEED:

Whisky (at least 3 different bottles, the more the merrier -for easy online ordering, check out Binny’s, DrinkUpNY, Astor Wines, BevMo, Park Ave Liquor, K&L)

Tulip Shaped Glasses  (to help focus your nose to the delicate aromas, check out Glencarin, -found HERE at Amazon)

Room temperature spring water (if you want to kick it up a notch, buy a dropper or 2 for easier control of the water-adding situation – found HERE at Amazon)

Unsalted Crackers (to cleanse your palate between spirits – also found HERE at Amazon)

Coffee beans (not necessary but I find very helpful when smelling lots of different whiskies during one sitting)

Opaque Container (for spitting and/or dumping – in a pinch, I use mugs – found HERE at Amazon)

Friends (this party can be done by yourself, but it’s WAAAAY more fun to dive into your whisky exploration with your pals around! – easily found HERE at Facebook) 😉

NEED TO KNOW:

For the novice, familiarize yourself with the different types of whisky.  “Whisky” or “Whiskey” is the main category under which you have Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, Single Malts, Blends, Irish, Canadian, Japanese, American Craft, etc.  If you are new to whisky, I suggest choosing bottles from different categories and going as pure as possible (single malts, straight Bourbons, straight rye) and not because there aren’t good blends out there (there are!) but because the authentic characteristics of each type of whisky are often more diluted or altered in a blend.

THEMES:

“Bring a bottle” – you can have each guest bring a bottle (though perhaps it’s best to confirm choices before hand so you can make sure you have some diversity)

“Vertical” – like a Vertical Wine flight, you can do a tasting of the same producer but different years

“Single category” – having different producers from the same category (like all Ryes or all Canadian whiskies) to start to understand the different nuances between the distilleries (think about their production methods and their climate & altitude locations as these effect how the whiskies age in the casks).

“Single Region” – look at trying Scotch’s all from the same area, Bourbons from just Kentucky or Tennessee

“Craft vs Mass Producer” – look for a small producer (perhaps one that is close to your neck of the woods?) and compare their product to one of the “big boys”

Feel free to get creative!  This is the fun part!

HOW TO:

1) Pour whisky & pass around to friends

2) Observe color and clarity (murkiness is OK! If your whisky is cloudy, the distiller did NOT use chill-filtration before bottling which removes impurities but also removes flavors)

3) Smell!  Putting your nose gently above the glass (give it some space!) start to inhale and enjoy the different notes you find.  Get in there – move your nose around to different points around the mouth of the glass, top, bottom, sides, open your mouth as you inhale through your nose … this will help you find different flavors.  Move your head away from the glass, inhale non-whisky air, and go back in again.

4) Chew – Take a very small sip that is enough to prep your palate but not enough to swallow.  “Chew” it by moving it around your mouth, letting it dissolve on your tongue.

5) Taste.  Be taken away by the spirit!  Pay attention to how it changes as it moves around, how it feels once you’ve swallowed it and the lingering effect it leaves in your mouth (called the “finish”)

6) Be a chemist!  Time to add a few drops of water.  This helps to calm down the alcohol and bring out the more delicate notes of the whisky.  Nose it again than drink and enjoy!

7) Rinse and repeat!

Photo credit: Sebastian Yao, Fix It In Post, (c) 2011 for Local Infusions. Please respect the photographer and do not steal this photo and use illegally

2 cool whisky events YOU can attend!

November 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

If you live in or plan to visit NYC, read on!  These two events are different and interesting enough that I wanted to give others a chance to attend instead of doing a post-event review. (See, aren’t I nice!?)

These are hosted by Le Dû’s Wines … who has been building quite a nice collection of whiskies over the last 6 months and are taking this recent addition to their shop quite seriously (which makes me happy!).  You may remember me giving them a shout out earlier this month for hosting the exclusive Louis XIII tasting I blogged about HERE. …

Get out your calendars are read on!

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7th

CLICK ON BOX TO BE TAKEN TO THEIR PAGE

Click on the box above to be taken to their site or call 212-924-6999 for reservations.

Enough said.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15th

This next event is FREE but invite only and space is extremely limited.  Consider this your personal invitation.  If you are interested (and why wouldn’t you be!?) email JT Robertson (jt at leduwines dot come) asap for a spot.

Here are the details: Free but invite only Signatory and Cigar tasting on December 15th.  Signatory’s Brand Manager will be tasting 8 or so awesome single barrel Scotches in a super swag cigar shop in Midtown (complete with a smoking lounge, of course).  What could be better?  Get on the list now to get the full scoop!

THANKS for the 411 JT!!! You know you’ll be seeing me behind a whisky glass!  Can’t wait! 

Whisky Events Roundup (part 3)

November 23, 2011 § 5 Comments

So my friends, to conclude my Fall Whisky Event Roundup series, today I present to you Part 3.  (You can find parts 1 and 2 by clicking on their respective numbers)

After this, I think it’s time for a nap … or perhaps I’ll sneak in one more whisky… 😉

NEW YORK, NY

Louis XIII Private Tasting

The Invitation... a sign of what was to come!

What: The great people of one of my favorite wine & whisky shops, Le Dû Wines, invited me to a very special exclusive tasting of the stunning Louis XIII cognac by Remy Martin in the Porter House New York restaurant in New York City.  The Louis XIII senior brand ambassador, Pierre-Antoine Bollet, led us in a most interesting tasting which started off with champagne and the story behind the cognac.  We then watched as the liquid gold was poured into special crystal glasses and passed around for the tasting to commence.

About: Louis XIII is an elegant cognac that is a combination of ages ranging from 40yr – 100 yr (their tag line is “a century in a bottle”).  Bottled only once per year in a vintage-designed Baccarat crystal decanter, the master blender (who is a woman!) aims to re-create the same flavor profile each and every year so that no matter which bottle you get (if you have the means to spend at least $2,300 USD) you know what to expect.  The grapes are from the Grand Champagne region in France and I thought it was interesting that though cognac is made from the eaux de vie of grapes, unlike wine, the spirit does not continue to age in the bottle, just like whisky.

Barrel: The cognac is placed in new limousin barrels at the beginning of the aging only.  Then, the spirit is moved into a unique type of barrel that is only used for the ageing of Louis XIII, which is called Tiercons.  This type of barrel is no longer produced; it has thinner walls and was historically used for boat transportation.  Tiercons are now only used for Louis XIII and, luckily for the brand, Remy Martin owns the largest collection of the Tiercons which are 100 – 150 years old.

How to NOSE: We began with the glass; the sides were straight like a “chimney” not fluted like a traditional whisky nosing glass or bowed like many wine glasses.  This allows all of the delicate aromas to travel vertically together.  My favorite part was that the first smelling did not happen with the glass close to the nose.  Instead, we started with the glass held down by the hips and slowly raised it up along the center of the body while giving the glass a gentle swirl.  As soon as you detected the first scent, you were to hold the glass there and experience the lightest notes (my glass was hovering somewhere in between my belly button and rib cage).  I thought it was such an interesting way to start discovering the 150+ flavor notes (and no, my nose is not sophisticated enough to find that many but it was fun to try!).

How to TASTE: Once we had brought the glasses much closer to our noses and really “got in there” with the smelling (my favorite part).  We were finally allowed to taste it!  Starting with a very small sip that we were to “chew” and let dissolve in the mouth – this technique (just as we do in the whisky world) allows you to prepare your palate, wake up all of your taste buds, and gives you the first hint of what you’re about to experience.

Final thoughts: This is a really lovely spirit.  There are many layers to this – I wish I had had a bit more (both cognac and time) to continue the exploration but alas, all good things come to an end!  With plenty of notes of dried fruits (apricots, apples) and warm spices (think cinnamon, clove, etc) I was pleased with how rounded it was on the palate.  The sweet notes are nicely balanced with the spicy notes and the 40% abv is necessary to cut through the heavier mouth feel.  Overall, a really beautiful spirit and one that I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to experience.

Louis XIII tasting at Porter House New York

The passing of the beautiful cognac!

Photos courtesy of Mara Rudzinski of Le Du Wines.

Women & Whiskies Skyy Whisky Tasting Event

What: There is a cool group of whisky-loving marketing ladies who put on some great tasting events throughout the year.  This is the first of their events that I was able to attend, and even then, I was unfortunately in and out pretty quickly.  Though I was skeptical going in, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the turnout and the overall presentation.

About: The evening was hosted in a private room overlooking the Olives bar in the W Hotel in Union Square, NYC.  There was a bubbly female rep from Skyy who had the challenging job of holding peoples attention long enough to give them some knowledge about what it was they were drinking to a room full of post-work ladder-climbing career women desperately trying to listen while getting drunk on whisky and presumably, their empty stomachs.

Herein lies the rub: don’t taste enough and you don’t have much to compare each expression to… drink too much and, well, you know, we have all been there.

Final thoughts: I will say that I was apprehensive about attending this event because I was having a hard time getting past the fact that I had little interest in drinking whisky with a bunch of other women (unless they were all my good friends).  If I am having a glass of scotch at a bar, I’d like to be surrounded by a wide range of people, not limited to one particular group.  However, I missed the concept completely.  This was not a casual “step right up”  tasting but rather a sit-down “let’s talk whisky” tasting, focusing on introducing the next generation of female whisky drinkers to the spirit (Yes!).  And for this purpose, I thought they did a great job.  So much so that I’d like to attend their next event from beginning to end this time if I am so lucky to be invited back.

Women & Whiskies Tasting Journal

Women & Whiskies Skyy Tasting

Special thanks to Sarah Jones (tweets at @fill_my_glass) for inviting me to this event!

LASTLY…

There was also a trip to Miami, Florida sandwiched somewhere in these last few weeks but it was over in the blink of an eye and, as it turns out, though we had a lot of fun, there was not much to report on the whisky side of it aside from the occasional Jack & Ginger (which is as tasty to drink as it is fun to say).

In conclusion to this awesome, crazy Fall season;  there was never a dull evening and though I didn’t get to blog, comment or tweet about each and every event I attended, I did try my best and I’m looking forward to spending a few nights relaxing next to the fire with a good book and a glass of whisky.

…oh wait, is it Thanksgiving already!?  HAPPY TURKEY DAY EVERYONE!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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