Heads & Tails: The Bourbon & Rye 2016 Edition

Welcome to this week’s installment of Heads & Tails – The Bourbon & Rye 2016 Edition. It’s been a while since we’ve shared a Heads & Tails post since putting them on hold during Bourbon Heritage Month.

Heads & Tails Weekly Recap Header

Welcome to this week’s installment of Heads & Tails – The Bourbon & Rye 2016 Edition.

It’s been a while since we’ve shared a Heads & Tails post since putting them on hold during Bourbon Heritage Month. Now that we’re almost recovered from that party, we thought we’d give it a shot and return them to their rightful home on Fridays. We hope you enjoy this addition and find a few things of interest to share across the web and help us spread the #bourbongospel.

And if you’re up for paying a visit to St. Louis we’d love for you to join us for Whiskey In The Winter on November 12th. Several members of the Bourbon & Banter team will be attending and we would be honored to meet you and share a glass during the event. You can get more information via the feature spot below and also enter to win a pair of VIP tickets.

Have a great weekend everyone and make sure to tag us on Twitter and Instagram as you enjoy some whiskey this weekend. Cheers!


Whiskey In The Winter is a whiskey lover’s dream. Each year there’s 300+ whiskeys available for sampling along with whiskey cocktails, whiskey-inspired food stations, and educational seminars from whiskey industry experts.

Bourbon & Banter is proud to be an event sponsor again this year and to celebrate we’re giving away two pairs of VIP tickets to this year’s event.
Learn more and enter to win a pair of VIP tickets


We’re not very political here at Bourbon & Banter. But sometimes you have to say enough, is enough. This year’s elections have gotten out of control, and we’re pretty darn sure there’s only one way we’re going to survive the elections. Help support the Bourbon & Rye party in 2016 by downloading our social graphics and sharing them online. Together, we can drink way through this political nightmare.
Download and share today


We are proud to announce the addition of Washington, DC to our line-up of events in 2016!

WhiskyFest offers you the opportunity to taste from a selection of more than 350 whiskies from around the world; many of them rare and exclusive. Meet the whisky distillers, master blenders, and other whisky experts who will be in attendance. Want to learn more about whisky? Attend free seminars conducted by distillery managers and brand ambassadors.
Learn more at WhiskeyAdvocate.com

fancy myself a bourbon expert, but I realize I have accumulated a fair amount of experience buying, drinking, selling and trading them. I once heard that “intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, but wisdom is knowing that you don’t put it in a fruit salad.” I have made plenty of mistakes on my bourbon journey (and will make plenty more), but those have taught me more about the field than anything else. It’s called Bourbon & Banter for a reason, and I rarely skip an opportunity to learn from someone more knowledgeable than myself, or to be a sounding board for someone looking for advice. Some of my terrific recent conversations led to my writing this blog post, which I thought might be a helpful roadmap for those newer to the whiskey world. As I mentioned, reading something is not the same as living it, but I do believe these to be tried-and-true lessons I wish I had learned sooner. Read more…


“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” The same can be said about booze reviews. Here’s a recap of our most recent booze reviews for your reading pleasure. If you like what we’ve got to say we sure would appreciate you sharing the link with your booze loving friends.

Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye Whisky Review
Alberta Premium Cask Strength is a fine rye with a depth of flavor and a very long finish. The color is tan, but not too light, and has the long legs you would expect at the 127 proof.
Stranahan’s Blue Peak Single Malt Whiskey Review
All in all I’d say Stranahan’s Blue Peak Single Malt Whiskey (named for the 13-thousand-foot peak in Aspen) marries “approachability” and “complexity” without sacrificing one for the other – an admirable feat in itself.
Uncle Nearest Uncut/Unfiltered Rye Whiskey Blend 001 Review
In Uncle Nearest Uncut/Unfiltered Rye Blend 001 you’ll experience a pleasing ride with three different whiskey regions coming together in a masterful blend that deserves to be on the radar of rye enthusiasts everywhere.
Jack Daniel’s Twice Barreled Special Release Review
With the confusing news about Jack Daniel’s Twice Barreled 2022 Special Release American Single Malt Whiskey, I got the distinct sense that Jack Daniel’s doesn’t know what they want to do with their single malt. After tasting this, I’m that much more convinced on the matter.



As the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Sunday, the Commonwealth of Kentucky used to prohibit alcohol sales in most of its 120 counties, but that has changed. The recently-compiled map shown above is already out-of-date. In elections last week, voters approved legal alcohol sales in Cumberland and Metcalfe counties, while Williamsburg and Mayfield residents voted for expanded sales.

Read more over at The Chuck Cowdery Blog.


Deerfield, IL (June 8, 2016) – Japan is a land of contrasts and paradox: its culture holds a deep reverence for ancestry and heritage, but also a fascination with the future; and its people respect tradition, but they constantly reinvent and reinterpret the world around them. The House of Suntory, the founding house of Japanese Whisky, is proud to introduce a whisky that extends that thread forward: Suntory Whisky Toki™. Respectful of heritage, inspired by reinvention, Suntory Whisky Toki expresses both what is authentic and what is next.

Suntory Whisky Toki, which launches exclusively in the U.S. this month and in Canada in July at a suggested retail price of $39.99, is a blend of carefully selected whiskies from the House of Suntory’s globally acclaimed Hakushu Distillery, Yamazaki Distillery and Chita Distillery. Traditionally crafted according to Suntory’s Art of Blending philosophy, the expression features the quintessential characteristics of a Suntory blend: exquisite balance, harmony and oneness.


While Suntory Whisky Toki respects tradition, it also challenges whisky convention by rethinking the hierarchy of its components. Suntory blends often use Yamazaki malts as their key component. Inspired by the spirits of innovation, the House of Suntory’s fourth Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo took a fresh approach with Suntory Whisky Toki, selecting the singular Hakushu American white oak cask malt whisky — with its unique freshness, mellowness and spectacular green apple notes — as one of the blend’s two pillars. To complement that selection, Fukuyo chose Chita heavy-type grain whisky as the blend’s second pillar, adding a clean taste with notes of sweetness and vanilla.

By pairing these seemingly dissimilar but deeply accordant whiskies, Fukuyo’s insight overturned the old relationship between malt and grain and created a blend that is both groundbreaking and timeless.


Traditionally in Suntory blends, grain whiskies have played merely a supporting role, acting as a broth or dashi to accentuate key malts. But the unrivalled sophistication and wide range of grain whiskies produced at Suntory’s Chita distillery led Shinji Fukuyo to rethink that role. He saw these whiskies, with their exquisite balance of complexity, subtlety and refinement, not as a scaffold for the heroic malt to ascend but as true heroes in their own right.

This unique encounter between Hakushu malt and Chita grain whiskies gives Suntory Whisky Toki its silky taste and vivid character. To give the blend greater depth and complexity, Fukuyo carefully selected two Yamazaki malts. Yamazaki American white oak cask malt whisky harmonizes the Hakushu and Chita components, while bringing roundness and reinforcing the sweetness of Chita heavy-type grain whisky with peach and custard aromas. Finally, Yamazaki Spanish oak cask malt whisky adds woody and bittersweet notes to the blend. The result is a vivid, well-balanced and silky blend with a subtle sweet-and-spicy finish.


The smoothness of Suntory Whisky Toki allows for exceptional versatility — the expression can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, as a highball or mixed as a cocktail. The Suntory Whisky Toki highball is recommended for those interested in experiencing how whisky is enjoyed in Japan today.

The highball is an artful blend of whisky and sparkling water over a generous serving of ice. In the 1950s, the highball was a favorite of whisky drinkers in Japan. The Japanese praised this simple, stylish cocktail as a refreshing way to drink whisky. They also loved how well it paired with Japanese cuisine. Since then, Suntory has played an important role in reestablishing the highball as a popular cocktail for a new generation of whisky drinkers.

To make the Toki highball in the proper Japanese serving ceremony, fill a tall glass to the brim with ice. Add one measure of whisky. Stir to cool the whisky and glass. Again add ice to the brim. Pour three measures of chilled sparkling water along the side of the glass to avoid melting the ice or bursting the bubbles. Add a twist of lemon. Enjoy.

TASTING NOTES – Suntory Whisky Toki (43% Alc./Vol. 750ml)

Color: clear gold

Nose: basil, green apple, honey

Palate: grapefruit, green grapes, peppermint, thyme

Finish: subtly sweet and spicy finish with a hint of vanilla oak, white pepper and ginger


(St. Louis) June 27, 2016 – Luxco announced the brand refresh of David Nicholson 1843® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and the launch of David Nicholson Reserve® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.The brand, dating back to 1843 and part of Luxco’s portfolio of whiskeys since 2000, will continue to provide 100 proof ultra-premium bourbon, in an updated sleek, upscale package for both of the variants.

“The 100-proof bourbon category continues to explode with an impressive 24 percent growth rate*,” says Fletcher Buchman, brand manager at Luxco. “We continue to add products to our portfolio that fulfill the demand for craft bourbons with fuller flavor and connect current and future consumers that celebrate authentic bourbons.”

David Nicholson Reserve is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey that offers a rye mash bill for a spicy, warm finish and will be available in 750ml in July. This bourbon, bottled at 100 proof, is extra aged for a more robust flavor and a full-bodied long finish. Suggested retail price per bottle is $34.99-$39.99. The suggested retail price per bottle for the David Nicholson 1843 is $29.99-$34.99.

“David Nicholson 1843 is still made according to the original recipe and offers a smooth, wheated Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey with hints of vanilla and oak. For David Nicholson Reserve, with the rye mash bill, we achieved a more complex, toasted rich flavor and a spicier bourbon,” says Buchman.

The brand’s packaging refresh includes a sleeker, contemporary bottle and a cleaner label design. With the addition of a natural cork and embossing on the shoulder of the bottle, the packaging now reflects the award-winning bourbon inside. David Nicholson 1843 recently earned a double gold award in 2015 and a gold award in 2016 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

For more information about David Nicholson 1843 and David Nicholson Reserve, please visit www.davidnicholsonwhiskey.com


After two years of intensive research, the German publisher Alba-Collection is pleased to present the new and detailed „Bourbon – Rye – Whiskey Distilleries in USA“ whiskey map. The map contains 805 distilleries and shows the great variety of the American whiskey landscape. It is probably the most detailed special subject map of its kind.

The map is accompanied by a 24-page booklet, which gives the details of all 805 distilleries. Apart from a few dozens of large distilleries, we also found many hundreds of small craft and micro distilleries, which fall into 10 distinct whiskey categories. This also shows the enormous upswing whiskey has taken in the USA during the past years.

The map is supplemented by a set of 12 regional whiskey maps due to the high density of distilleries in some areas.

You can take a look at our map collection at www.alba-collection.com. All maps come in several sizes. We also offer attractive bundles for resellers.

For further information, please contact hirst@alba-collection.com.


Chef Robert Wiedmaier is known for his expertise in taking an ingredient and spinning it into a multitude of sensational directions on the same plate, but who knew that his cultivated skills would lend to collaboration with a small batch bourbon-making distillery?  His exceptional palate, never ending curiosity, and penchant for surprise have prompted his obsession to create a bourbon to match the foundational Belgian flavors that inspire his cuisine. Wiedmaier and Virginia’s Filibuster Distillery have put their minds and taste buds together to produce the first full­fledged custom-bottled whiskey for the Robert Wiedmaier Restaurant Group. Hand selected by chef Wiedmaier and Ramon Narvaez, Corporate Beverage Director of the RWRG, the exclusive 90-proof Straight Bourbon Whiskey produced by Filibuster is now available at Wiedmaier’s restaurants.

“We pulled several cask samples that I felt really were showing well, and Chef and Ramon went with the ones that really spoke to them, and complemented their cuisine,” says Filibuster’s Master Blender, Sid Dilawri. He adds, “We started with a multi­barrel blend of 4, 5 & 6 year old Straight Bourbon, and then a ‘Dual Cask’ aging process in former Cabernet Sauvignon French Oak barrels from Trefethen Winery is what set us apart.  We went with a ‘High Rye’ style, which is more lifted and spicy, and better with food. The final step was ‘cutting to proof’ – adding water from our deep limestone well to get it to a smooth, but flavorful, 90 proof.”

This limited edition Filibuster/Robert Wiedmaier Straight Bourbon is available neat, in a cocktail, or as part of a brand new $18 whiskey flight program at Brasserie Beck and Mussel Bar in Bethesda and Baltimore, Maryland. A “flight’ allows the restaurant and bar guests to sample three different types of whiskies, to compare and contrast flavor and style. While flights are often seen in the wine and beer world, whiskey flights are a newer concept, in keeping with surging popularity of hand-crafted whiskies and other libations.

The family-owned Filibuster Distillery was founded in Washington DC, but recently re­located to Shenandoah County, Virginia, where the climate, the limestone ground, and water lend themselves to higher quality whiskey. Chef Wiedmaier states, “When I’ve got bourbon on my mind, I turn to a decidedly artisanal brand, not one that’s mass produced. You can taste the uniqueness in its flavor notes, a real timeless quality. I pour it neat with a good cigar standing by.”

1792 SMALL BATCH BOURBON AWARDED “BEST OF CATEGORY”AT 2016 LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL SPIRITS COMPETITIONBARDSTOWN, KENTUCKY (June 30, 2016) – 1792 Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was awarded “Best of Category” at the 2016 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition. An additional four medals were awarded to bourbons from Barton 1792 Distillery.

These spirits were ranked among 401 spirits that were submitted from a total of 29 countries.

Bourbons earning medals include:

Gold Medal

  • 1792 Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Kentucky Tavern Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Flatboat Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Silver Medal

  • Zackariah Harris Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

The Los Angeles International Spirits Competition was formed in 2007, with an esteemed panel of judges using a blind-tasting method to award medals to the best distilled spirits from around the world.  The award-winning entries will be displayed during the Los Angeles County Fair, Sept. 2 – 25, in “The Wine, Beer & Spirits Marketplace.”

Complete results of the 2016 LAISC are available at www.laspiritscomp.com.

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy whiskey. And that’s pretty close.


Bourbon Heritage Month has come and gone. It’s time to give your liver a quick rest and get ready to head into our second favorite month of the year – November. Why November? Because November is when our favorite whiskey festival is held each year – Whiskey In The Winter.

Whiskey In The Winter is a whiskey lover’s dream. Each year there’s 300+ whiskeys available for sampling along with whiskey cocktails, whiskey-inspired food stations, and educational seminars from whiskey industry experts. Now in its 4th year, Whiskey In The Winter has become one of the countries premier whiskey festivals drawing whiskey lovers from across the country.

Bourbon & Banter is proud to be an event sponsor again this year and to celebrate we’re giving away two pairs of VIP tickets to this year’s event. Even if you’ve already purchased your tickets, you can still enter to win.