In life there are certain accomplishments that are sometimes quantified by the quality of the spirits that you sip. If you doubt the words of a rum expert, all you need to do is look at the groaning shelves at your favorite package store. Rum has just about exploded in popularity in recent decades after a hundred or so year slumber. Sure you could count on a booze-cruise rum punch while sailing with your friends in the islands- you probably want to forget what highly manipulated rum can do to your gut and your aching head. But this is not a piece about what happens when you drink manipulated, (read: lousy) rum on a stern of a pitching sailboat. This is about drinking some of the very best rum that money can buy. And while you’re learning about what is special about Foursquare Rum, the suggestion is first and foremost, that you are worth it. This is not booze-cruise rum, nor is it rum that deserves a place on the very top shelf of your bar, never to be opened. Why? Fear perhaps has much to do with it. You do deserve to drink Foursquare. Recognize this fear of the unknown and you’ll come to a magical place where quality and cost become a misnomer. Where success is not measured by expense, but by quality. Where experience matters, like that picnic boat you ogled over in your youth, or the first time you experienced a glass or two of really well aged wine, or slurped some really rare Scotch Whisky. It’s important to note that while Foursquare is not inexpensive, there are rums on the market that far exceed it in cost. Many of these pretty label and fancy bottle rums are manipulated in some manner. Why is that? Because they can, it’s because they are permitted, because no one really cares to know. From caramel coloring to sugar being re-added for a sweet mouth-feel, to globs of thick glycerin to even out the creaminess across the palate- to all sorts of things that would get a rum judge in trouble, just by mentioning that so-and so’s rum is being manipulated.
“I’ve found that the deep cherry notes of both Luxardo and Heering are a great complement and substitute for almond, allspice and passion fruit syrups.” Warren Bobrow, author of books such as Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today, also points to the sweet nature of tiki cocktails as working in cherry liqueur’s favour. “I’m from the mindset of dry, and sometimes over proof rum over sweet, caramel coloured and heavily sugared rum in a tiki drink,” he says. “It’s the sweet stuff that is so memorable the next morning.” So he layers cherry flavours at the bottom of the glass and serves it with a straw for guests to “pull the sweet liqueur up from the bottom through the drier elements of the rum”.
A most venerable beast, the favorite dog of the Queen of England, the Corgi Dog– agile, able, agreeable and friendly. To understand the breed, one must have an open mind because the Corgi Dog is a fast learner- but extremely independence minded. The same holds true for the pragmatic, friendly and highly ambitious owner of the new Corgi distillery located in an ‘up and coming’ section of Jersey City. If you’re coming from out of town, you’ll have to go way off the beaten path. Once there, you’ll find what appears to be a movie studio from the 1920′s. Painted an extremely dark color- the warehouse/distillery calls out to the adventurous, thirsty drinker in the midst of utter urban decay. The new Light Rail line, located beside the distillery is slowly bringing the thirsty and the curious out to the far reaches of the known universe. You might find it may be easier to take a car service out here. The turf is still highly industrialized and there aren’t a whole lot of sidewalks or casual walkers around these parts.
Sherryfest is returning to New York!
Some notes from this weekend’s ‘Virtual Cruise of Scotland
Single Malt Tasting’
Whisky or Whiskey?
- It’s called Scotch Whisky. Whiskey (with an e) is bourbon from the United States and Irish Whiskey- the process of making Irish Whiskey is awfully similar to making bourbon whiskey. I’m not sure why Ireland uses the e, but no matter, they don’t use it in Scotland and that is what you are here to taste!
- Whisky can be from Japan, France, America, India, Germany, Russia (it’s pretty darned good- I tried rye named Polgar) really all over the globe. The Japanese whiskies are beating the Scots at their own game to some palates. I find them too light and aromatic for this tasting (put that out of your head!) They don’t have any peat either in Japan. But that’s another story.
What is Single Malt Scotch?
- A single malt is one that is entirely produced from malt in one distillery
- Single Cask means the bottling comes from one, single cask
- Labels may read the region of distillation and is helpful to the consumer!
- Labels are permitted to show the various kinds of casks (also helpful)
- This is sometimes shown as wood finished or sherry/port finished, ex-bourbon aged, American Oak aged,… etc. etc.
- Age Statements on the label is the age of the YOUNGEST whisky in the batch (if blended)
- Distillation only takes place in pot stills, no column stills are permitted in Scotch Whisky (this is not vodka!) although some whisky distilleries do use column stills…
- Independent bottlers are not necessarily better- but it wouldn’t hurt to drink more spirits from independent (non-William-Grant, Diageo… etc.) companies.
McClelland’s Lowland Single Malt Scotch.
- Made by Bowmore-a distiller of fine measure-although this whisky is more of a private lable without a distillery of their own
- A good entry level dram- about $30 dollars
- Hardly a sophisticated dram- but a good intro to Single Malt Scotch
Hazelburn 9 year (Barolo Cask)
- Finished in a Cask that formerly held Barolo wine
- Spent the first six years in a used bourbon cask
- Spent three years in a used Barolo cask that previously held Springbank Whisky
- Malt is 100% barley done by the distillers themselves!
- Non-chill filtered nor caramel colored
- $ 64
Talisker 10 year Single Malt
- .Massive slurp of peat and iodine
- Made by the sea and you can taste every drop of the ocean in each sip
- Peated? Absolutely!
- Aged ten years in the Isle of Skye
- 45.8% ABV
- Ex-Bourbon casks make up the aging process in Hogsheads- (large casks)
Bruichladdich Classic Laddie Unpeated
- No peat to get in the way of the nose and your enjoyment
- Islay beauty!
- 100% Scottish Barley
- Produced by Jim McEwan and aged in American Oak (bourbon) Casks
- Bottled at 50% ABV
- Non-chill filtered, nor caramel colored!
Caol Ila 12 year Single Malt
- Brine Bomb!
- Islay (the other island in Scotland)
- Pronounced Cull- EELA.
- Peat Monster.. Earth. Smoke
- Salt.. Brine. Seaweed..
- IS Chill-Filtered
- Possibly caramel colored
- $ 64
Lovely evening at the Stonington Harbor Yacht Club!