I just completed a 3 day Blending and Maturation course with Nancy Fraley and the American Distilling Institute. The class was hosted by the very generous and talented folks at Ironroot Republic Distillery. As you all know, I just launched my Kings Code Batch 1 Riona with Kings Country Distillery just before Thanksgiving. When I signed up for the course, I had wondered if I was putting the cart before the course (pun intended) . As it turns out, it was quite a self-affirming experience for me. The unique way I’ve developed in the last couple of years to pick crowd pleasing single barrels and to make my whiskey blends, was validated by what I learned in class.
There was much to learn from Nancy, a true Master Blender, but we connected on quite a few different levels. The glee on our faces and the obsidian spirit in our glasses, our “first collab”, tells me that this will not be the last we see of each other. So stay tuned with bated breath on what develops. But in the meantime, drink some whisky, Glen Scotia Single Malt Whisky in particular. QS01 An Epiphany a 9 yr old in ex-bourbon cask from Campbeltown. Need I say more .. Oh ok, this Saturday from 1 to 3 pm. No need to sign up.
If you’re a Magnificent Bastard, you already know what the cat dragged out. If not, read on and watch this video.
For what it seems like months, even though it’s only been six weeks, I’ve had to self-induce a silence as loud as the magnificent news I had to share. On the heels of a successful blending project called Kings Code with Kings County Distillery, came an opportunity that only dreams are made of.
The last five years I have spent some “vacation time” at the Wizard Academy in Austin. The vortex of energy that you feel when you walk on campus opens your mind in ways you can never imagine. I believe they call it Portals. This is where I dreamt the impossible dream. I dreamt that I would be able to make whiskey someday. But without the financial means to build a distillery nor time to wait for the products to mature, my only option was to make whiskey better ( or make gin, check out my barrel-aged Lawleys Gin Je Ne Sais Quoi).
At the first ever crowd-sourced distillery in the world, Crowded Barrel Whiskey Company, I have been named the Spirit Hunter. In this role, I vow to bring you great spirits from near and far.
Some will be blended and others will be alliances with distilleries. Stay tuned to this website and the Whiskey Tribe Channel and subscribe if you haven’t yet to keep up with my hunting adventures. Slainte!
You all know I’m always busy and this season is no exception. I’ve been up to my ears with several projects and always working on bringing you the best wines and spirits that I can find out there in the world. It’s always nice to return to this beautiful view from the back door of our store. So, pour yourself your favorite sip and read on. I’ve found so many wonderful things to share with you that I can’t possibly fit them all in one weekend. Also, some of it I can’t tell about yet or I’ll have so vanquish if I do. But we’re going to do a whole bunch of back to back tastings of wines and spirits on Saturdays from 1 to 5 pm. For those of you coming from a distant state or land, or even from the other side of CT, this should help make the trip “worthwhile” , yeah right, like you need an excuse to visit us to get a taste of our extensive, exclusive but not always expensive wines and spirits. So buckle up and come see us.
What’s on this weekend?
1 to 3 pm Holiday Wine Tasting with Jessica McClure from Winebow who is a WSET Level 3 Wines Specialist. Jessica has an exquisite palate and a head full of knowledge about wines and cocktails and other things, just too many to mention here. You should come meet her and find out.
3 to 5 pm Barrell Bourbon Tasting with Chris Riesbeck who can tell you a LOT about whiskey. I won’t steal his thunder so you’ll just have to come and find out. Also, the grey and gold label bottlings will be on SALE! Not fire dumpster sale prices but I think you’ll be pleased with what we’ve priced it at for you.
What to do for next weekend?
Nov 17th 4 to 6 pm More holiday wine tastings with Stephanie Smith. She’ll walk you through tasty wines will fit your mood and you will impress whoever is at your dinner table.
Nov 18th 1 pm to 3pm Ungrafted Selection’s Kimberly Kunzik will take your nose and palate on an incredible journey with spirts, vermouths and apertifs. Invites will go out next week, after a get a few zzzz.
Nov 18th 4 to 7 pm Exquisite Tasting event of additive-free Tequila and Mezcal. Details to follow. If you like agave-based spirits, DO NOT MISS this event. Invites will go out next week after a nice long bath.
What’s new with us for whiskey?
November 19th, 1 to 3 pm Kings Code Batch 1 Riona launch at Kings County Distillery, Brooklyn NY. Colin Spoelman and I will get to taste this first batch of Kings Code whiskey I’ve blended for the distillery. And ok, if you show up, we’ll let you have a dram too. There are only 48 bottles available for sale at this event. The entire batch was only 820 bottles. At Canterbury Liquors, we brought in 60 bottles and those are definitely more than half gone.
If you haven’t picked up a bottle of our Fireside Double Down Single barrel from Denver, Colorado, you can freeze your butt off this winter and I won’t be able to help you. This is a 6 yr old hazmat (over 140 PF) bourbon that was finished in a rye cask for over a year, mile high in the sky. If you’re a high rye bourbon drinker, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this bottling. If you’re a rye fan, your nose will betray you and make you think you’re sniffing rye but I am convinced you will not be disappointed and, devil forbid, you cannot say you don’t like bourbon anymore. If you’re a gin drinker, you’ll find some familiar notes to explore and enjoy. Despite the high proof, you’ll find that this whiskey gives you a nice Colorado Hug without assaulting your palate (after the first small sip). If you’re a bit of a whiskey snob and only drink malts, then just get yourself some Kings Code Riona.
What’s new for Whisky Mentors around the state?
Nov 17th 5:30 to 7:30 pm, I’m hosting a fundraiser for Playhouse on Park. You can get tickets here.
Earlier in the year we procured a single cask of ex-bourbon and peated single malt from the Milk and Honey (M&H) Distillery called Bee in my Bonnet. I named it that because this is an absolutely delicious and powerful single malt whisky that we should all be talking about and sharing sips with, It is lightly peated, so it’s a great gateway whisky for those trying to learn about peated whisky. It’s not a phenolic peat so those of you who think peated whiskies smell like bandaids, you will appreciate this. In addition, being ex-bourbon casked brings loads of honeyed sweetness and vanilla as well as a good level of char from being aged near the Dead Sea. The massive diurnal temperature change in the area is akin to aging whiskies in Texas so we know this whisky is going to be flavorful despite its youth.
On October 12th, 2023, Thursday evening from 6 to 7 pm, stop in for a taste of our pick as well as the core range from the distillery and meet Tal Chotiner. the M&H VP of international sales with close to 25 years of experience in the world of whisky. Tal used to work for Diageo in Israel and was a Johnnie walker Brand ambassador for the Middle east and “single malt advocate” from Diageo. When Tal is in Israel his job is to interrupt Tomer’s (Head Distiller & Blender) work with crazy ideas and stupid questions… I’m sure he has cool stories for us.
Many of you came from far and near this past weekend to get a chance to purchase an allocated or unicorn bottle of whiskey. You were treated to a taste of 4 whiskies from our private barrel collection. Thank you for doing this to support our local community in Canterbury, CT. Some of you came because you already know about the care with which we select our whiskies and others came based on word of mouth. Regardless, you know we do not compromise on quality. Purchasing single barrels of whiskey, gin, rum, tequila and any other spirits seems to be something many retail liquor stores clamor to do. We stopped counting how many barrels we have purchased in the 4 short years we have been opened once we got past one hundred of them. It’s not because we are now jaded. Rather it’s because we realize that we are taking the top 1% of the distillery’s product when we do that. This practice tends to hurt the craft distillery more than it helps then in the long run. At the end of the day, what do we really want? We all want to drink good whiskey and great whiskey on occasion.
As part of this effort, we have started collaborating with various distilleries to bring you great whiskey by blending. The very first of a commercially available blend, Kings Code, is available this fall in the Northeast and it is in collaboration with Kings County Distillery.
Join us for a special whiskey event this Saturday. There will be 3 separate tasting events from 1 to 1:20 pm (Part 1), 1:30 to 1:50 pm (Part 2) and 2: to 2:20 pm (Part 3) . We will taste a bourbon, a rye, a single malt and an Irish whiskey for each event. There are only 50 spots available for each tasting. You can only sign up for one of the 3 tastings so everyone can get a chance to try some good whiskies. The whiskies to be tasted have not been determined yet but you can be sure they will be good. As part of attending this FREE event, you will receive a raffle ticket at the door which you want to hang on to for dear life for Project Interrupted 2 that will take place promptly at 2:30 pm and end at 3:30 pm. When your raffle ticket gets called, you will have a chance to select from over 100 bottles of rare and allocated whiskies. For that privilege, we ask that you donate $25 for each allocated bottle you purchase ( in case there are fewer people than bottles) and this donation will go directly to our local non-profit organizations ( volunteer fire department, school and library) as we have done in previous years.
QS04 The Rye’d Choice is a 6 year old Putnam Rye at 66 ABV from Boston Harbor Distillery is being released this Friday Aug 4th 2023. If you already know about my Putnam Rye picks, you know what to do. If you don’t, and you chase cask strength ryes of allocated status, then you might want to come see us. Also, to be perfectly evil, we are introducing you to another brown spirit category, barrel-aged gins.
QS03 Je Ne Sais Quoi is a gin we formulated a year and four months ago to become a great sipping gin and also to make an incredible gin Old Fashioned.
5 pm to 6:30 pm this Friday, Aug 4 meet the Founder, Rhonda Kallman and Head Distiller, John Stark, of Boston Harbor Distillery. They’ll be available to autograph your bottles and answer any whiskey questions you may have.
David (Dave) Thompson, Managing Director and co-founder. Spirit of Yorkshire ltd
Farmers, brewers and distillers. 100% of our whisky is produced from “Field to Bottle”
Working with farmers helping them grow Malting Barley crops for beer and whisky production, followed by 20 plus years owning and operating 2 marketing businesses and for the last 7 years working with my friend making whisky.
Third-generation farmer, Tom Mellor and I have been friends for many years and had the pleasure of watching our families grow up together. In 2012 when Tom approached me with the idea of making Yorkshire’s first single malt whisky, I was blown away by the opportunity and couldn’t wait to get involved. You don’t get many chances to produce something completely unique and Yorkshire Whisky is one of them! In May 2016 we fired up the stills and laid down our first casks of what would become Yorkshire single malt whisky in the summer of 2016. It made absolute sense to use the area around us to name our first single malt whisky. To us, Filey Bay is more than just a brand, it’s home. The ever-changing coast shapes who we are and what we do. From the gannets at Bempton Cliffs to the barley growing in our fields, our entire process is within this stretch of land. Where we respect tradition but do things our own way.
The expertise of the whisky-making process was provided by the world-renowned whisky expert, the late Dr Jim Swan, who was our mentor from the start. We set up with two Forsyth pot stills and a four-plate rectifying column that works in tandem with our spirit still. The use of the column allows us to create two distinct styles of new make spirit creating greater options for flavour in maturation and in the whisky-making process. Combining respect and tradition with a progressive approach to distillation, the result is a pair of complex and distinctive new make spirits that mature beautifully in a range of cask maturation techniques.
Much of the unique character of our whisky comes from our field to bottle approach: all of the barley used in the distilling process is grown on the farm, making it one of the only genuine field to bottle whisky distilleries in the UK. Meanwhile, the chalk aquifers directly underneath the farm provide a consistent water supply that’s ideal for whisky distilling.
While you mostly know us for our whiskies, gins and other spirits, you probably don’t know that we have an amazing selection of wines to delight your palate. We have tasted and approved every single bottle of wine that we use in these weekend wine tastings. Whether you need a special bottle of wine for that special occasion or a few cases of porch pounders for the summer, we know you’ll find something in our collection that works for you.
Now for the and more part of the tasting…. I hear there are some bottles of really tequila and maybe a whiskey or two as part of the tasting. Just sayin…
So put away the weedwhacker, lawn mover, what yard implements you were thinking of using this Saturday and stop in for a taste first.