This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Whiskies of the World 2016 show in San Francisco on the beautiful Hornblower Yacht: The San Fransisco Belle. While it remained docked throughout the show, the motion of the waves definitely seemed to… uhh, intensify as the night’s tastings went on. Read some highlights from the show…
After the debacle with the SWA censuring Compass Box’s recent Flaming Heart (5th Edition) and This is Not a Luxury Whisky releases for, literally, revealing too much information about the recipe used in the bottle, Compass Box has come back fighting with a Campaign for Scotch Whisky Transparency. Is this just a publicity and/or marketing stunt by Compass Box to drum up more controversy and thus more exposure, or a righteous crusade for more truth and transparency in whisky marketing? Let’s break it down.
Here are the drinks that I consider to be my favorites after a few months of experimentation and rediscovery. Of course, many are whisky-centric, but not all. Also, my cocktail philosophy.
If you’re intimidated by the world of whisky appreciation and want a whimsical crash-course, or if you’re trying to think of a fun gift (Last-minute Christmas gift? Yes!) for a whisky lover who doesn’t take it all too seriously, this is an excellent purchase. If you think this will teach you about whisky via scent, you may be disappointed.
Flaviar is a spirits company based in the UK, but they ship to the United States as well. While they do sell whole bottles (sometimes with hefty discounts), their primary business is “tasting boxes”, which are nicely-presented boxes of five 45ml vials containing curated selections of spirits.
I got a batch of samples from Exclusive Malts’ new 2015 releases… These bottlings tend to go quickly and aren’t widely distributed to begin with, so if you’re interested in any of these… well, it may already be too late. Oops.
Flaviar is a spirits company based in the UK, but they ship to the United States as well. While they do sell whole bottles (sometimes with hefty discounts), their primary business is “tasting packs”, which are nicely-presented boxes of five 45ml vials containing curated selections of spirits.
The maker of Beyond Barrels Aging Masts contacted me with an interesting twist on the sticks-in-bottles concept: Minimize the amount of end grain while maintaining a liquid-to-wood-surface-area ratio identical to that of a 53-gallon oak barrel, heat-treat the wood without charring it (charred wood makes spirits taste like char), and then focus on adding interesting flavors through the use of French Oak, Cherry, and even Peach wood.
WhiskyAnalysis.com is a meta-analysis of online whisky reviews and ratings, to “provide an extensive comparative assessment of whiskies, based on a proper scientific meta-analysis of descriptions and scores given by whisky reviewers with extensive experience” so that you can “make sense of whisky flavors and quality, as an aid in selecting ones you might like to try next – based on your own personal preferences.”
The aging-at-home industry appears to be picking up speed lately, with products such as Whisky Elements, Beyond Barrel Aging Masts, and even wooden bottles! They all promise more-or-less the same thing: Take under-matured or middling-quality whisky and quickly infuse them with a little extra oak flavor while also filtering out impurities and mellowing the spirit. As I discovered with my testing, the results are not so cut-and-dry.