Chief Distiller Andy McLain does not sound like he grew up in the United Kingdom. His accent is unmistakably from “can’t put your finger on it” Middle America. Andy’s dream of bringing the deep-seated spirits culture he grew up with across the pond is imbued into every aspect of the Royal Foundry Craft Spirits distillery, its brand, and its cocktail room (recipes are represented in metric, bless them). Growing up, Andy’s Dad did not regale him sports patter; rather, father-son lessons were soaked with the finer points of brewing, malts, and what made a good drink. After Andy moved to Minnesota, he sought to continue the tradition with the good people of Minneapolis, bringing “British flavour” to the Twin Cities.
As the press release says, Weller fans have been jonesing (Jonestowning?) for a single barrel version. What the press release didn’t say is how many of these fans are already lining up to sell their extra kidney to be sure to secure a bottle on the secondary market. It’s so awesome that Evolution has equipped us humans with two of these organs, so one can keep us alive and the other can be used as currency for essential purchases like this. HOW COOL!
This gin would be excellent sipped with an ice cube and a lemon peel expressed over the top. With its heavy lemon notes, it goes very well with anything peppery or lemony. I tried it neat, on ice, and in a gin and tonic with a few pink peppercorns. Though many may argue such a product doesn’t exist, Wonderbird is a great sipping gin. For this one, keep presentation simple, as too many added layers will veil the delicate layering of the base botanicals.
The older bourbon succumbs to the unbridled alcohol of the younger whiskies in the blend. Upon first sniff, this completely singed my nose hairs, which is a highly unpleasant feeling and one that doesn’t make you eager to subject your delicate tastebuds to. This causticity renders the whole experience – from first sniff to final swallow – wholly unpleasant. I felt like I was drinking something rawer, less aged, and much cheaper.
Overall, I am big fan of finished “bourbons.” I will admit that before tasting this, I have paid $125 for a 10-year MGP bourbon finished in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels for 6 months finished and bottled from a place in California. It is very, very good.
The Bardstown Bourbon Company bills themselves as the first Napa Valley style destination on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The Bardstown Bourbon Collaborative Series #1 is a sourced Tennessee Bourbon finished in Phifer Pavitt Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon barrels from Napa Valley for 19 months. Certainly makes sense for a Napa style destination.
I am always wary of any brands that market themselves as being best as a shot (aka: reducing the time you have to actually taste it). Liquors that are designed to have as little booze flavor as possible to minimize the displeasure of delivering alcohol quickly to the blood stream are all the same. After all, Drinking Curious is also Drinking Responsibly. Whether it’s honey, cinnamon, or old-fashioned-inspired “whiskey-based” spirits, they are all meant to be tossed in the freezer, peddled by scantily clad promo models, and not worthy of a spot in any decent liquor cabinet.
know you came here to read about whiskey but when discussing whiskey-based cocktails the lead spirit isn’t always the most important player. This is never truer than when discussing Vermouth. The type of Vermouth you use in a cocktail can either sink it into disaster or elevate it to greatness. Ever on the hunt for an exceptional Vermouth to pair with my whiskey, Vermouth Routin Original Rouge is a welcome addition to my cocktail bar. With flavors of jammy fig, rich oak, deep caramel, and baking spices, this Vermouth is a perfect complement to even the stoutest of whiskies.
To me, summer is gin season. There is nothing like a tall, ice-cold gin and tonic on a hot, humid day. The botanicals bring a brightness to the palate that provide just as much of a cooling sensation as the ice. With summer weather just around the corner (and for many of us it’s already arrived), here’s my suggestion on how to drink curious this gin season.