Camp Whiskey: Brooklyn, New York

August 7, 2012 § 7 Comments

If you live in the New York area, consider me your genie and the information in this post being your wish granted.  Dramatic you say?  No, just honest.  Camp Whiskey – in all it’s calm, cool, educational and surprisingly well sourced whiskies (aka, not available in this country – nor will most of them ever be) glory was the highlight of my summer thus far.

Every Wednesday evening this August on a rooftop in Brooklyn, Camp Whiskey assembles.  It’s a great crowd of novices & educated drinkers who are all easy going and excited to be a part of the group to learn, meet & taste great whiskies.

The first official event was last Wednesday, August 1st, titled “Irish Whiskeys That Aren’t Jameson.”  Starting with the most comprehensive history on Irish Whiskey I have ever heard, it wasn’t long before we were diving in to the liquid gold.  On the menu:

Locke’s 8yr, Single Malt, Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey (in the ceramic jug) was the new release this year from the Cooley Midleton Distillery.  Originally produced, however, by John Locke’s & Sons distillery near Kilbeggan, it’s bottled at 40% abv.  This single malt is a pure pot still, a procedure unique to Ireland whiskey.  Mistakenly, I erased my tasting notes on this one but I easily remember it as simply being wonderful. 😛

Bushmills 10yr, Single Malt this is the hearts-only of the distillates (meaning only the middle cuts) with a goal of creating an even smoother Irish whiskey.  From what I gathered, this one will NOT be making it to the US.  NOSE: More bland than the Locke, harder to analyze in that particular environment for me – even when I stepped inside. Seemed less interesting then the previous dram but would love to revisit in a quiet, neutral-air environment.  PALATE: Sweet first, cacao, a funky malt, salty, very short sherry finish.

Yellow Spot 12yr, Single Pot Still Whiskey aged in 3 different casks: American bourbon, Spanish Sherry Butts, & Spanish Malaga Casks.  This is a very limited release of only 500 cases, bottled at 46% abv.  NOSE: Sweet cinnamon, basil, sage & peppermint. PALATE: Bold, tingly, very long finish with an intense bite.  Awesome.

Kilbeggin 18yr – this is also extremely limited (4,000 bottles) – After being closed in 1957, the Old Kilbeggan distillery and its whiskey recipes were purchased by Cooley’s founder John Teeling in 1988 and finally reopened for production in 2007.  Whiskey using the Kilbeggan recipe (like this phenomenal 18 year old) was being produced at the Cooley distillery in County Louth, between Dublin and Belfast.  This is a beauty.  Unfortunately for me (& my empty wallet), it was my favorite of the lot!  Extremely interesting – I kept taking it inside to smell and analyze away from the fragrant rooftop plants.  NOSE: Caramel & cotton candy, sweet corn, salt water taffy.  PALATE: Mild and smooth beginning, wave up to tannins and spicy charred oak.  I love the influence of the corn in the mash bill.

Redbreast 12yr, Cask Strength Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey – “Irish Whiskey of the Year” I love a good cask strength whiskey.  (Explained how to enjoy cask strengths in an earlier post here).  It’s important to remember that not just any barrel is used for a cask strength bottling.  Typically, it’s the cask that is aging differently from it’s sisters.  As a fellow camper so eloquently put it; often it’ll be the barrel that, due to a crack in the ceiling boards was exposed to sun or the first few barrels by the door to the rick house that got the rush of outside air every time someone went inside.  These things over a collection of a few years to a decade can make a real impact on that single barrel.  It’s so unique that the distiller decides to bottle those barrels as they are.  This particular one is full of life.  NOSE: fermented fruit & soil/earth(?).  PALATE: tons of fruit, chocolate, pears.  A lovely dram for sure.

Wish you were there?! Don’t miss another week!  See below for details.

(or click HERE for more of the below flyer or click HERE for NYCwhisky listing)

…And here are some pictures from the event…

Yup … there was a gnome up there being carried away by angry monsters

Nothing like passing the great Whiskey Shop on my way to the subway!

Great job guys – can’t wait to attend the next Camp session!

Whisky Events Roundup (part 1)

November 15, 2011 § 9 Comments

To say I have been out and about these last few weeks is a bit of an understatement.  And while I haven’t been able to collect my thoughts and share them with you here until now, I will say that my twitter accounts (@whiskygirls and @localinfusions) have never been so active!

That said, I am sorry for my recent absence and not just from my own blog but from so many of the other great whisky blogger’s blogs in the community.

Let’s start, shall we?

Time Square NYC the night of WhiskyFest NY '11

Whisky Week NYC

WhiskyFest NY

The GOOD: Lot’s of fantastic brands, all under one roof.  Some interesting pours if you could get to those tables fast enough and then prove that you were worthy of such a pour (by the end of the night, this seemed to really come down to one basic fact: are you going to taste this or take it like a shot?) … though not in those exact words.

HIGHLIGHTS: Running around the first half of the night with my good friend (and fellow whisky geek) Jonathan Wingo of Brooklyn’s Whiskey Shop and together having a beautiful moment with Jonathan Luks of Mackmyra who shared with us a taste of their Special07 bottle (that will never be sold in the USA) and another taste of their Cask Strength whisky (whose proper name didn’t make it into my notebook – my apologies) but it is also a whisky that will not make it to the US market, sadly.  A proper review of this company will follow as they are most certainly worthy.

The other highlight for me was meeting Preston & Juilan Van Winkle (you know, of the Old Rip van Winkle brand).  Not only were they serving their incredibly limited and incredibly delicious products but, if possible, I was more impress with them as individuals.  Not pretentious, not stuffy – just easy to talk to, whisky loving, Southern boys.  I was honored to share a few laughs and a few sips with these two fine gentlemen.

The BAD:  Too many vendors in not enough time.  The food was awful and water was not easy to come by.  Unfortunately, this turned out to be a recipe for disaster.  People were frantically running around trying to drink every whisky they could and, aside from those in the industry, this seemed to have turned everyone into animals.  Sadly, the atmosphere quickly morphed into a post-college frat party.  Not. Cool.

Julian & Preston Van Winkle

Rodeo Bar Balcones Event

WHAT: Rodeo Bar in NYC is a Texas-style bar who has their BBQ (think Ribs & Brisket) flown in from Texas daily.  Head distiller, Chip Tate, of the Texas distillery Balcones, was in town and did a very cool pairing of his Texas whiskies along side of the authentic Texas fair.

HIGHLIGHT: The BBQ ribs with Balcones Brimstone whisky.  This is a blue corn whisky that has been smoked after coming off the stills and before going into the barrel with Texas Scrub Oak … the same wood that gives the meat it’s amazing smoked flavor.  Picking up what I’m putting down?  Heaven.

WHO: Lots of brand ambassadors, industry people, whisky enthusiasts and the NYCwhisky.com folks. Very fun!

Chip Tate of Balcones and Karl duHoffmann of Martin Scott

Balcones & Ellabess Fine Dinning Pairing Event

WHAT: The very chic NYC hip dining spot, Ellabess, threw a private soiree celebrating Chip’s unique whiskies.  Chef Troy Unruh and his team created an exciting pairing menu using Balcones products that were timed and served just as the appropriate Balcones spirit was being poured.

HIGHLIGHTS:  The evening finished on the roof with cigars and generous pours of Balcones extremely limited Rumble Cask Reserve (a cask-strength version of the Rumble, only ~200 bottles ever made).

Check out this video of the chefs hard at work with Balcones’ high-quality whiskies!

Balcones-inspired menu by Ellabess

Chef Troy Unruh of Ellabess and Head Distiller Chip Tate of Balcones

Yuuuum

Chip Tate & the Whisky Woman, Allison Patel

Rumble Cask Reserve on the roof top of Ellabess in NYC

The following post (part 2) to include:

Remy Martin Event, Miami, FL & Louisville, KY for the Icons of Whisky Awards

New “Whisky Only” Shop in Brooklyn: The Whiskey Shop!

July 20, 2011 § 7 Comments

Hello Whisky Lovers!

Apologies for my month away – I was traveling in France (I know, you all feel terrible for me!… and I thank you) tasting some UNBELIEVABLE whiskies which I will be blogging about over then next few days/weeks.  I have to admit, I thought I would miss my computer and find times to logon and touch base with reality, however, once I was there I realized that I certainly couldn’t be sitting behind it! Especially not when there were so many Japanese (and Australian and French) whiskies to try and fresh baguette on every corner!  But alas, I am back and excited to bring you this fun announcement!

Published first on GrubStreet.com – check out their review of the very new Whiskey Shop (below or click HERE).

 

Whiskey Brooklyn Team Opens the Whiskey Shop

7/15/11 at 4:10 PM

Ninety-nine bottles of whiskey line the walls.

Ninety-nine bottles of whiskey line the walls.

Because “there are not enough nice liquor stores, especially in Brooklyn,” the team behind Whiskey BrooklynWhiskey Tavern, and Whiskey Town has opened a pint-size liquor store to further “spread the brown gospel” says partner John Wiseman. The retail space, located next to the entrance to Whiskey Brooklyn, might be the country’s first whiskey-only storefront. Its tiny dimensions (288 square feet) mean it’s floor-to-ceiling brown spirits, a rotating collection of 99 bottles with an emphasis on domestic and local labels. Whiskey nerds will like the two varieties of Suntory Yamazaki, while neophytes might prefer the easy-drinking, specially brewed Tom Lawless house whiskey. And, “for those rare times when whiskey isn’t enough,” says Wiseman, there’s a curated lineup of one vodka, one gin, one rum, one tequila, and one bottle each of red, white, and sparkling wines. See the full roster of spirits here.

The Whiskey Shop, 44 Berry St., nr. N. 11th St., Williamsburg; 718-384-7467

 

Now that I’m back – I know where my next local-excursion is going to be!  Whiskey Shop, here I come!!!

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