Not one to eschew adding a single malt to the collection, I picked up a bottle of the Double Cask and made the executive decision that we would taste both of them. Because of this, you now have to listen to over a half hour of our pontificating as we discuss some of practices that make The Macallan one of the most prominent single malts in the world (Golden Promise, small stills, etc); as well as taste and talk about the two different single malts from there.
In the end, Chris & I both agree that #4 on the list has to be The Macallan 12 Sherry Cask. – as this is essentially the single malt that put The Macallan on the world stage, and the fact that the 12 Double Cask was only released late last year (how could it have garnered the votes?).
We encourage you to grab a glass, pour a dram, and join us.
Apologies if there's any strange audio quirks. I had to find a way to remove the AC unit noise that kicks on at about 5:35. And not being a sound engineer, I did the best I could.
This past weekend I had an opportunity to sit down with Pat Pyles, who has been a whisky collector (primarily Scotch Whisky) for roughly 40 years. Our discussion ranged from his favorite region – Islay, from which the Caol Ila 12 we were enjoying during our chat hails – to how his collection grew over the years, the one whisky he finds “undrinkable”and his opinions on where the industry has been headed recently.
Pat’s stories come from a long history of enthusiastically following Scotch Whisky and from the way he tells it, trying almost every single malt he got his hands on. There a real passion there, that all of our whisky loving listeners will appreciate.
Well, I was fortunate enough to be given a wee dram of the second single malt in this series. This time Brian Kinsman, Malt Master at Glenfiddich, set out to create something that had never been tried before, a sort of ‘Mystery Box’ single malt. Twenty of their whiskey masters/ambassadors where brought out to the distillery and let lose to pick their favorite barrel. Then it was Brian’s job to find the right blend, using all 20, to create this whisky, XX (Twenty).
Just us as we taste something special whisky lovers – especial Speyside whisky lovers, should be on the lookout for in the near future.
Recently I had a chance to turn my attention to a regional soda – Boylan Bottling’s Original Birch Beer. My fourteen year old nephew was visiting us from France and inquired what Birch Beer was. And instead of settling for just describing it as ‘similar to root beer’ we decided to sit down and taste it.
We picked up a four pack of Boylan’s – the recipe of which dates to 1891 – it was their first product, although in a serum form, not the soda we enjoy today. Using cane syrup, as opposed to high fructose gives their Birch Beer a distinctively heavy, full-bodied mouth feel. If you enjoy craft root beers – you definitely need to reach out and explore this North Eastern U.S. product.
While there are hundreds, if not thousands of people who’ve been in the ‘family’ of distilling and making single malt Scotches (as well as blends), there is really only a handful of people (or arguably none) who have had as much influence as David Stewart, Malt Master at The Balvenie for over 50 years. Besides developing the practice of finishing whiskies (with the 12 year Doublewood – which he developed before the term ‘finishing’ was termed for the practice) and developing all the single malts at The Balvenie. He also consulted in the design of the Glencairn whisky glass, now considered the preeminent piece of glassware to enjoy the spirit. So valued is his work that last year he was bestowed the title of Member of the Order of the British Empire (or MBE).
A couple of weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with David Stewart for a few minutes after an intimate tasting he led at Jack Rose Sallon in Washington, DC. Take a few minutes (bear with the background noise) and listen to the words from one of the true legends in the history of Scotch Whisky as we discuss his ‘favorite’ single malt from The Balvenie, some of the process that makesThe Balvenie the distinctive and world renown single malt we enjoy today – and he sets the record straight about the Kininvie distillery‘s origins.
Almost two weeks ago (sorry to just be catching up on posting so many recordings ‘in the can’) Page & I had the pleasure of having her cousins, Claire & Aris, visit for the weekend – primarily to watch the Cubs-Orioles weekend series. They brought us some lovely housewarming gifts – the first of which we tasted together for this podcast. Also joining us for this podcast is our friend, and fellow Cubs fan, Maureen.
The gift – Krupnikas, a traditional Lithuanian liqueur made by combining grain alcohol, honey, and spices. ‘Legend has it’ that it originated with Benedictine Monks in Belarus, and is know by simply Krupnik both there and in Poland. Krupnika(s) has a long tradition of being made on household stove tops, with family recipes playing a major role.
The Krupnkias that we enjoyed come from The Brothers Vilgalys Spirits in Durham, NC. Naturally their story started around their own stovetop, and then was founded as a business in 2012. They still keep a lot of the family tradition alive as the bottles are all hand marked, with both batch number and the name of the bottler (ours was Michelle, Batch No. 114)
Their business is growing and (especially if you live on the East Coast/Mid-Atlantic) you may be able to find this near you.
*Which I believe is how you spell the ‘Drink up!’ Lithuanian toast we enjoyed.
We’re now past the halfway point of this series and have returned to Scotland and Single Malts. Christopher Rhodovi from The Whiskey Room & I were able to sit down, taste and talk about #5 in the BTWOE* series** – The Glenlivet 12.
#5 on the list is The Glenlivet 12, which was the first legal distillery under King George IV’s new regulations – founded in 1824. With a storied history – including a legal case against many imitators – The Glenlivet prides itself on collecting many older ‘vintages’ of their The Glenlivet 12 whisky, comparing it to their current production and ensuring it’s as close to ‘the original’ as possible. Chris pours a ‘heavy hand’ and we both get off topic of the The Glenlivet 12, but at least stay on the subject of whisky. apologies if we went a big longer than usual…
We encourage you to grab a glass, pour a dram, and join us.
Though a busy end of the week and jam packed weekend prevented me from posting, the Baroness and I were able to conclude our ‘Three Blind Wines’ crossover series with my other podcast – Wine, Women, & Song last week. [If you are starting here – stop and go back to the first in this series.]
We conclude this mini-series with a tasting and review of ‘Big Meaty Red’ #3. Once more having no idea what the wine is, didn’t stop us from throwing out our guesses (we both agreed on it being New World, Australian Shiraz). I was very eager to get to the reveal of all three wines – which we did with surprising results. Regardless we both were in agreement that all three wines are fine choices for the Baroness to select from for WWS. Tune in to their August episode to see which one she selects.
The Baroness and I continue our ‘Three Blind Wines’ crossover series with my other podcast – Wine, Women, & Song. As you may recall the 3 provided wines to taste – all of which were wrapped in opaque paper and stripped of any identifying materials, and labeled simply #1, #2, #3 – are on the theme ‘Big Meaty Reds’. Ideally with one being selected for August’s WWS podcast.
So here is our tasting and review of ‘Big Meaty Red’ #2. Once more having no idea what the wine is, didn’t stop us from throwing out our guesses (we both agreed on it being New World, likely California – but we differed on the grape we thought it was). Find out what all Three Blind Wines are by listening to the third podcast in this series.
I should admit from time to time my friends in the industry drop off some items to taste and review.* In fact, the respect they have for my palate, thoughtful care in tasting, and creativity in reviewing helped to fertilize the seed of my podcast ideas. I never feel the pressure to ‘go positive’ on their behalf, though admittedly I often find something redeeming in the products that I taste – even if they are not ‘my taste’. Through my years of tasting I’ve learned tastes change, and tasting as objectively as possible has given me a wealth of information to draw upon to serve others’ tastes – and my own well.
So it is, that the Baron of Beverage finds itself in a bit of a crossover episode with my other podcast – Wine, Women, & Song. We taste wines blind while enjoying classically trained voices singing opera, art song, lieder, etc – and reviewing both. An upcoming theme on that podcast is ‘Big Meaty Reds’ and one of my friends ‘in the biz’ had an idea to help out. And so…
She dropped off 3 wines – all of which were wrapped in opaque paper and stripped of any identifying materials, and labeled simply #1, #2, #3 – to taste. Ideally, one would be selected for inclusion in Wine, Women, & Song‘s August podcast.
Not wanting to keep all the fun of blind tasting to myself, I asked her if tasting and reviewing them all individually here would be acceptable as well – and she agreed.
So here is our tasting and review of ‘Big Meaty Red’ #1 – and while the Baroness & I have no idea what the wine is, that didn’t stop us from throwing out our guesses (we both agreed on a guess of Spanish). Find out what all Three Blind Wines are by listening to the third podcast in this series.
*Currently, 90%+ of products reviewed are all procured at the BoB’s cost.