Part one of a primer on the word “smooth” in whisky tasting. What it means, why people use it, and why you should stop.
On a very serious business-related trip, for business, my wife and I dragged ourselves (complaining all the way) up to picturesque Sonoma County, California, to trudge through a tour of Sonoma County Distilling Company’s facility and reluctantly down a bunch of samples. For business.
If you’re new to the modern whisky/scotch market, you might be confused to read about the term “NAS”, even if you know that it stands for “No Age Statement”. How can a whisky have no age? Why does the term matter, and why does it seem to cause such controversy in online discussions?
Author Fionnán O’Connor has assembled a beautiful coffee table style hardcover book entirely about the magic of Irish single pot still (previously called Pure Pot Still) whiskey. In the author’s own words, “It’s worth repeating that there aren’t really that many of them. What’s left from the past can be difficult to find and, although the future looks brighter than it has in a century, what’s bottled at present is still relatively slim. … that’s also why this book seemed worth writing in the first place and I can only hope that that same narrowness of scope might offer me a little more room to give each of these tipples the attention they deserve.”
It seems that just about every distillery is frantically blending and selecting barrels for one-offs, while their interns are leafing through Gaelic almanacs in the local archive, looking for thus-far unused local landmark names. … Even if you find consistent reviews online, tasting is very subjective [and] “Worth my money” is an impossible metric to crowdsource.
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 three 45ml vials containing curated selections of spirits.