Live from the Denver airport (kudos for the free wi-fi), my take on last night's Whiskies of the World in San Francisco:
- Eades "Double Malts" is a lame advertising term to describe the combination of two single malts, married in an additional cask. However, their Islay blend, made with Bowmore and Caol Ila and finished in a Zinfandel cask, is going in an interesting direction. I think I like it when people put a sweet and soft spin on a macho spirit, kind of like a drag queen with a beard.
- The new Ardmore single malt (previously it went mostly into the Teacher's blend) seemed to be a big hit at the event. I'm glad- I like the stuff. I had lunch with the brand ambassador Simon Brooking the previous day. He said that there are about 3,000 cases released this year (in the next couple of weeks), but should be five times that next year. It's the only fully peated Highland malt, with the peat smokey flavor profile of an Islay scotch, but there's something about the texture of the whisky that's most like the smoothness Glenlivet or Glenfiddich. The combination of lighter texture and heartier flavor I really enjoy.
- I tried Tuthilltown Spirits products for the first time. I was surprised to love their unaged corn whiskey (moonshine, basically). I didn't like the Baby Bourbon at all, but found their Single Malt to be tasty. And those little tiny bottles are just so cute. I'll take a dozen!
- But the big hit of the night was the High West Rendezvous Rye, a blend of a 6 year old and 17 year old rye that was destined to be blended into Canadian Whisky. The man behind the brand, David Perkins, saved it from its fate and married the two together. Perkins says that with the exception of Anchor's 100% rye, his product probably has the highest rye content on the market. And in a strange coincidence, Perkins is the future father-in-law of an old raver friend from the early 1990's I ran into at the event. Flashback!
- There were also a few vodkas, rums, eau-de-vie's, and absinthe at the event. I skipped most of them but tried some tequila.
- Querido Viejo had a deliciously sweet blanco that reminded me a little of Corralejo crossed with Don Julio. I didn't like their reposado at all- it was aged 9 months in new oak. The anejo, aged in Canadian whisky casks (and I think Canadian whisky casks are often used bourbon casks used again but I could be wrong) I also enjoyed. It's strange how so many tequila brands have blanco, repo, and anejo expressions, but they may not share the same barrel finish or flavor profile.
- Speaking of that, I also tried the Don Eduardo tequila. The blanco is triple distilled and thus doesn't taste like anything much. The reposado, on the other hand is only double distilled like usual, and is wonderfully strong in agave character and spiciness from aging in Oregon pine. The anejo, aged in used bourbon barrels, I thought was just okay. Go repo!