SmokeGood DrinkGood Magazine

Distilled Spirits: Jefferson’s 18 Year Old Presidential Select

Founded in 1997, Jefferson’s is the brainchild of Trey Zoeller and his father Chet, a famed bourbon historian. They were continuing a family tradition that goes back to Trey’s 8th generation grandmother who was arrested in 1799 for the “production and sales of spirituous liquors.” To personify the brand, they chose Thomas Jefferson—known for his curiosity and experimental spirit. This is a mindset to which Trey has dedicated himself, pushing the boundaries of the definition of bourbon. Upholding tradition, yet always discovering new possibilities.

A superb bourbon, distilled from wheat in the fall of 1991, and aged in Stitzel-Weller Barrels. This is aged for 18 years and bottled in numbered batches, and has that same soft wheaty sweetness that is present in the other Jefferson’s bourbons.

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Tasting Note

Nose: Spicy on the nose with hints of bramble leaves, nougat, custard and ginger.

Palate: Very buttery and spicy with notes of oak, pine resin, cinnamon, nutmeg, stem ginger in syrup, astonishingly creamy vanilla and a litlte berry fruit.

Finish: Good length and body, with tangy oak and buttery toffee.

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This bourbon, said to be limited in nature, is pricing around $135 bucks. I would definitely recommend pairing with your favorite cigar –  #Smokegood #Drinkgood its a lifestyle.

Distilled Spirits: Diplomático Ambassador Selection Rum Simply Amazing

Diplomatico’s flagship, the Ambassador was created by Tito Cordero, Golden Barrel Award’s 2011 Master Rum Blender of the Year. Expect huge juicy sweetness and flavour thanks to its maturation in bourbon barrels and 2 year finish in sweet Pedro Ximenez casks.

Launched in London in October, 2011, Ambassador joins the ranks of the best premium rums in the world. The aroma seduces the drinker even before the first sip. Layers of rich chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, dried fruit, baked apple, dark-smoky oak and fine tobacco combine in a finely orchestrated liquid that has to be savored to be appreciated.

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Tasting Note

Nose: Fruity and thick nose with almond, hazelnut and cocoa. Toffee apples, fruits and hints of cooked banana, juicy sherry and mince pies, alongside deep notes of cinnamon and potpourri.

Palate: Rich and fruity with a buttery biscuit base, cinnamon, dried apricots, dates and Nutella. The predominant flavour, however, is of really good sweet pipe tobacco. Stunning.

Finish: Long and fruity with sweet, thick honey and allspice.

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To call Ambassador a ‘new rum’ is certainly incorrect as Tito Cordero has been busy blending components of this rum for several years, but it has only recently been released. Beginning with honeys of the cane, as it is called by the distillery, the fermented wash is distilled in a copper pot still before being refined in a smaller continuous still. Over the next decade, the alchemy between wooden casks and the cane alcohol takes place.

An exceptional 47% ABV rum every detail from the wooden case, 18 carat gold closure and writing on the bottle exude luxury. This is one product that didn’t disappoint anyone in the room when it was uncorked for the first time in London. #drinkgood

Distilled Spirits: Yamazaki 12 YO Whiskey Gold From Japan

I bought this bottle a long time ago for a party, freshly opened I found the very odd, it had a strong sweetness and taste of caramel and about an equally strong bitter tannin taste and this yielded some sort of flat taste curve of sorts. It didn’t linger and you was left with just this dry tannin taste.

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Now, however, it has been on the shelf for a few months at about 70% of content left and I tried this again last night and I must say I was very positively surprised, It had developed a very nice round sweet taste with some sort of vanilla mixed with some fruity jelly candy tastes and the nose felt very developed with first having very much orange peel -citrus smell after a while. Definitely one of my favorites now!

This 12 year old from Yamazaki first came onto the market in 1984 and was the first seriously marketed Japanese single malt whisky.


Nose: Good body with plenty of nut oils and zest, a pleasant floral character with a little tropical fruit and a rooty note.

Palate: Smooth and soft with good sweetness and winter spice. A lovely citrus note develops with more tropical fruit notes and a little rum.

Finish: Medium with fruit and zest.

Yamazaki Distillery

The Yamazaki distillery was Japan’s first malt whisky distillery. Established in 1923 by Shinjro Torii, spirit first ran from the still on the 11th Novemeber 1924. The buildings stand between Osaka and Kyoto, in the blissful serenity of the Vale of Yamazaki. The whisky distillery is part of the Suntory brand and houses twelve stills of three different varieties. This allows Yamazaki to produce the range of flavours necessary for Suntory’s blended whiskies. It is very difficult to source whisky for blending in Japan; there are two parent companies: Nikka and Suntory. Between the two they own almost every distillery in Japan, thus there is little exchange between different distilleries. The Yamazaki Twelve Year-Old was launched in 1984 and stands as the first properly marketed single malt in Japan.

Distilled Spirits: Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20 YO

20 Year, 90.4 Proof This is the #1 rated Bourbon Whiskey in the world—Rated 99 out of 100 by the World Spirits Championship. This bourbon is aged 20 years and bottled at 90.4 proof. This whiskey is wonderfully smooth and rich. No other bourbon today can stand 20 years of aging, but this bourbon does it with style. “Pappy” Van Winkle was a true character. This bourbon, like “Pappy”, is full of character that makes it a very special whiskey. It has been put in the class of a fine after dinner cognac. Rated 99 by the Beverage Tasting Institute.

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Tasting Notes

Nose: Stewed fruits on the nose, sweet spices, oiliness, white chocolate, walnut.

Palate: Rich, soft and sweet oak with custard. The mouthfeel is like silk, and Preston Van Winkle likens this to a classic Cognac, and we reckon he’s onto something. The maturity, smooth/oily feel of this on the tongue, coupled with musty fruitiness sum up what we love about a decent XO, this is sublime.

Finish: Good length, with hints of honeycomb, peppery spices and prune.

Overall: Heaven!

Excellent #drinkgood situation retail price $248.29 a bottle.

History

The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery has a four generation history. The Van Winkle family’s involvement in the bourbon industry began in the late 1800s with Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr. He was a traveling salesman for the W.L. Weller and Sons wholesale house in Louisville, traveling around the state by horse and buggy. Pappy and a friend, Alex Farnsley, eventually bought the wholesale house and also purchased the A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery, which made bourbon for Weller. They merged the two companies and became the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Their prominent brands were W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell, and Cabin Still.

In May of 1935 at the age of 61, Pappy opened the newly completed Stitzel-Weller Distillery in South Louisville. He had a heavy influence on the operations there until his death at the age of 91. His son, Julian, Jr. took over operations until he was forced by stockholders to sell the distillery in 1972. The rights to all of their brands were either sold with the distillery or to other distilleries.

After selling the distillery, Julian, Jr. resurrected a pre-prohibition label, the only one to which the Van Winkles kept the rights, called Old Rip Van Winkle. He used whiskey stocks from the old distillery to supply his brand. Julian junior’s son, Julian, III took over in 1981 when Julian, Jr. passed away. Julian, III has continued with the Van Winkle tradition of producing the highest quality wheated bourbon available. His son, Preston joined company in 2001 and the Van Winkles look to continue that tradition for generations to come.

Recently, the Van Winkles entered into a joint venture with the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY. All of the Van Winkle’s whiskey production now takes place at Buffalo Trace under the same strict guidelines the family has always followed in order to produce a superior quality product.

Aside from the rich family history, Van Winkle bourbons are special for another important reason, their recipe. All of the Van Winkle bourbons are made with corn, wheat, and, barley instead of corn, rye and, barley. This “wheated” recipe gives the bourbon a much softer, smoother taste and it also allows the whiskey to age more gracefully.

Distilled Spirits: Aberfeldy 21 Year Old Single Malt

The Aberfeldy 21 year Old Single Malt is a gift from nature. Everything needed to make this superb whisky is derived from natural elements of barley, yeast and pure water.

Provenance imprints each whisky with influences of the land, micro-climate and ecology. At Aberfeldy, the environment is in perfect equilibrium with the pure and abundant natural resources surrounding Aberfeldy Distillery. Water is thought to be one of the most important elements in distilling superior quality whiskies, and Aberfeldy Distillery is “blessed” to have the Pitilie Burn as its water source. Aberfeldy uses only the finest optic barley, much of which comes from the surrounding Perthshire Highland area. Without disclosing any brand secrets, similar care is given to our choice of whisky’s other ingredient, yeast.

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Ultimately, it is the experience and craftsmanship of Dewar’s distillers and blenders that transforms the natural ingredients into fine Single Malt. A perfect balance between man and nature. The Aberfeldy 21 provides a memorable taste discovery. Over two decades of slumbering in wood have added dignity to Aberfeldy’s distinctive heather and honey softness. In the words of a certain whisky expert, this premium malt is simply “pleasure in a glass”. The finish is long and honeyed, enhanced by fruity notes of orange peel, spices, vanilla and toasted coconut.

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Tasting Notes

Nose: Honey, fruity. Thick malt, enlivened by a fresh, zesty quality.

Palate: Smooth, vanilla, undulating, refined smoke.

Finish: Peters out gently, perhaps some ripe white peach notes and a good wave of honey.

Aberfeldy distillery

Aberfeldy is situated in the centre of Scotland, some five miles east of Loch Tay and the town of Kenmore and about eight miles south of Loch Tummel. Aberfeldy relies on the fresh water stream Pitilie Burn, which runs alongside the distillery. Aberfeldy is the only distillery in Scotland to use these waters. Aberfeldy uses only Scottish barley, yeast and water.

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The area is contains historical landmarks, such as Kenmore Bridge. This was built by the 3rd Earl in 1774 and the view from it was the inspiration for Robert Burns’s poem on the chimney piece of the Kenmore Inn. The distillery has two wash stills with a capacity of about 16,500 liter and two spirit stills with 15,000 liters. With these capacities the Aberfeldy distillery lies in the middle of the range of pot still sizes.

Distilled Spirits: Woodford Reserve Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish

The Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish is the latest in product innovation from Woodford Reserve, and marks the ninth release in the series. The Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish was produced by taking a batch of mature Woodford Reserve and finishing the spirit in Pinot Noir barrels freshly emptied and shipped from California’s famed Sonoma-Cutrer Winery.

 

Tasting Notes

Proof: 90.4°

Appearance: Rich, deep garnet

Nose: Bursting with rich red fruit and berry character overlaying a complex sprinkling of spice (cinnamon, clove), oak and dark caramel.

Taste: Warm and fruit forward with notes of cherry, raspberry, blackberry followed by a crisp spiciness and subtle oak sweetness.

Finish: Long and warm with lingering fruit and earthy oak character.

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Woodford Reserve Distillery

The oldest and smallest distillery in Kentucky traces its origins to 1797 when Elijah Pepper began distilling in Woodford County. This National Landmark crafts Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select, the Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, along with our new expression Double Oaked. Experience the only copper pot still and triple distillation process used to handcraft Bourbon today.

Wodford Reserve officially reopened its visitor center at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky, on April 9th, 2014 after completing a renovation project. Visitors may enjoy a panoramic view of the scenic Distillery grounds from the new tasting room which is lined with copper stools. A fireplace with copper detail separates the lounge area from the tasting room. The tabletops in the visitor center and tables in the tasting room are crafted using reclaimed wood from a barn on the Distillery property. Coffee tables in the main area of the visitor center are built from a cypress vat once used at the Distillery.

Distilled Spirits: The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 YO

To craft the DoubleWood 17 Year Old, David Stewart, who celebrates his 50th year at The Balvenie in 2012, returned to one of his most celebrated achievements – consecutive maturation in two different types of cask, a process often referred to as ‘cask finishing.’

This technique is at the heart of The Balvenie DoubleWood – it sees the whisky matured first in American oak barrels, which impart soft sweet vanilla notes, before being transferred to European oak sherry casks, where the second cask aging adds rich spicy flavors, depth and fullness of flavor.

An elder sibling to the popular DoubleWood 12 Year Old, this new aged version shares the same DNA and the honeyed, spicy characteristics as the 12 Year Old, but it is distinctly different, with deeper vanilla notes, hints of green apple, creamy toffee and a striking richness and complexity.

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Tasting Notes

NOSE
Elegant and complex with oak, vanilla, honeyed sweetness and a hint of green apple.

TASTE
Sweet with dried fruits, sherbet spice, toasted almonds and cinnamon, layered with a richness of creamy toffee notes, traces of oak and deep vanilla.

FINISH
Vanilla, oak, honey and a spicy sweetness.

The Balvenie Distillery

Balvenie lies in the Convals in Dufftown. The distillery was built by William Grant just below Glenfiddich in 1892, sharing its water source, the Robbie Dhu springs, with its illustrious neighbour. Despite also having the same distiller, Balvenie is hugely different in character. It is one of the few Scotch distilleries to boast in-house floor maltings, utlilising locally hand-cut peat. The floor maltings at Balvenie also supply neighbouring Glenfiddich.

Over the last few years, Balvenie has become the ninth bestselling single malt and demand is growing. Since being first built, Balvenie has been continually under the ownership of William Grant & Sons, proprietors also of the two neighbouring Speyside distilleries Glenfiddich and Kininvie. An award-winning distillery, two bottlings from the core range, ‘PortWood 21 Year-Old’ and ‘DoubleWood’ took gold medals at the 1998 International Spirits Challenge and at the 1997 International Wine and Spirit Competition respectively.

Distilled Spirits: Brugal Anejo Rum, Spirit of The Dominican Republic

Brugal Anejo is a 5 year old Dominican rum. The company was founded by Andrés Brugal Montaner. The majority of the board members are actually descendants of Montaner. Brugal is the market-leading rum in the Dominican Republic and is now a familiar sight in bars up and down the US after being taken on by a major drinks distributor. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out.

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Tasting Notes

The nose is full of caramel and dark brown sugar, buttery toffee and a little spice with pepper and vanilla. The palate is smooth and rich and rather dry with buttery spice notes and dark sugar, a little oak. The finish is of good length with dark sugar.

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Suggested Recipe

Comfortable in Hispaniola

1 1/4 ounce Brugal Anejo
3/4 ounce of Southern Comfort
3/4 ounce Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon sugar syrup
ice

Mix the ingredients in a metal shaker until frosted
Strain into a suitable cocktail glass
Add Ice

#drinkgood

Brugal

Brugal was founded by Andres Brugal Montener in 1888. Andres was a Spanish émigré in Cuba, and it was in Cuba that he learnt the methods of rum production. He emigrated to Puerto Plata, a province in the Dominican Republic, where he set up the business proper. A great number of Cuban immigrants were travelling to Puerto Plata to work the sugar cane fields and they proffered a ready workforce. Andre’s grandchildren built the company into the third largest rum producer after Captain Morgan and, of course, Bacardi. Brugal rum is produced in the traditional style and matured in American white oak barrels. Today, rather than by Cubans, the fields are worked by working class Dominicans and Haitians. They command a comparatively low wage. Varying varieties of rum are produced by Brugal, including several aged expressions and a famed white rum, reputed to be the purest from the Dominican Republic.

Distilled Spirits: El Dorado Rum 12 YO, The Golden One

A great 12 year old Demerara rum from El Dorado. This has won golds at the Caribbean Rum Taste Test in London 7 times in the first 10 years! There are nine stills at the distillery, and this is based around coffey still rum, and double wooden pot still rum. Lured by the legend of a City of Gold ruled by a gilded King, his body dusted with gold, early explorers braved the ancient heartland of old Guiana in search of ‘El Dorado’ (the Golden One). The legendary city of gold is reputed to have been Manoa, in the Rupununi region of the country.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Sweet, Toffee, Vanilla, Spices, Oak. Hints of smoke.

Palate: Cocoa, Caramel, Prunes, Spices, Vanilla.

Finish: Long, Sublimely Smooth, hints of smoke on the tail.

Today you can discover the true gold of Guyana, El Dorado Rum – a range of superb Demerara rums of unequalled quality and variety which have consistently won the highest International awards. Their unique flavour and taste is much due to the tropical climate of this lush country of Guyana – which translates from its Amerindian name “Land of many waters” – and the three centuries of rum production along the banks of the Demerara river.

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The El Dorado Brand

From the launch in 1992 by Demerara Distillers of their El Dorado range of Demerara Rums on the local and international market, the brand has gone from strength to strength, epitomizing the unique quality of the true taste of Demerara.

It was in that year that DDL became the first rum producer in the world to market a premium quality aged rum: El Dorado 15 Year Old Special Reserve. Since then this superb spirit has become the internationally recognized benchmark for aged rums and the company has gone on to develop an unrivalled portfolio of Age Statement Rums.

Demerara Distillers is an internationally recognized producer of award-winning rums with a range of over 20 different varieties of premium, standard and specialty products, all with the distinctive Demerara ‘stamp’ of quality and flavour.

Distilled Spirits: Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky 18 YO

Laphroaig-18-YearIncredible nose with amazing rich floral notes followed by smoke, rich barley, liquorice, treacle and then a wave of sea spray. Full powered entry into the mouth with immediate distribution of flavours to every taste bud. Big rich sensation as multi layers of flavour descend and smother the palate. Wonderful and sensational. A comment: “a conquest of fresh cut flowers ready to drink with delight!”

 

Tasting Notes

Nose: Very big. This is a beast of a whisky, with a breakfast character (granary toast, salty butter, a touch of orange juice and coffee). After a while of nosing it you’ll start to get banana loaf, developing alongside the applewood smoke, perhaps even cocoa too.

Palate: Very rounded and thick. Golden Syrup? Salt spray, fiery wood spices, dark and brooding peat, star anise, dark chocolate and stewed prunes.

Finish: Very long, with liquorice, Seville orange marmalade, salty butter and kippers.

Cost: $127.91 Purchase Here

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THE HISTORY OF LAPHROAIG

No one knows the full history of Laphroaig as much of it has been lost in the midst of time unfortunately. It’s clear that the Irish had been distilling here for many years and that the locals picked up the skills when they left, but because it was illegal the small stills on the farms were rarely discussed – just a nod and a wink in the right direction!

What we do know though, is that the Johnston’s started farming here around 1800, and that soon after messers Charles and Willie Doig were asked to do some ‘work on a distillery’ at Laphroaig. By 1815 Laphroaig’s reputation had spread and the tax man was getting suspicious so they officially established Johnston & Johnston and the legend of Laphroaig begun.

Find out more about the history of Laphroaig.