Heads & Tails: Wetter Is Better Than Dry Edition

Welcome to this week’s installment of Heads & Tails – The Wetter is Better Than Dry Edition. This is only the 2nd installment of this new feature but the feedback so far has been fantastic. We’re still working out the layout so don’t be shy in dropping us a note on what you do and don’t like.

Heads & Tails Weekly Recap Feature Image

Welcome to this week’s installment of Heads & Tails – The Wetter is Better Than Dry Edition.

This is only the 2nd installment of this new feature but the feedback so far has been fantastic. We’re still working out the layout so don’t be shy in dropping us a note on what you do and don’t like. And of course, if there’s something you’d like to see added let us know that as well. We sure don’t want you to go into the weekend feeling like you just visited your favorite liquor store only find out that your go to bourbon was just put on allocation.

That being said let’s dive into the weekend with some light reading on what’s going on in the industry and a few things we think you’ll enjoy checking out over a few liberal pours of your favorite whiskey.


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 The recently-compiled map shown above is already out-of-date.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


The Liquor Cabinet—a brand new, beautifully designed, fundamental cocktail & spirits app for imbibers everywhere—is now officially available to the public, free of charge, on iTunes. Born from a deep-seated passion for curated spirits, distilling, mixing and imbibing, The Liquor Cabinet was founded with the mission to provide a definitive and inspiring resource for all things liquor related. The app offers its users a single source of in-depth, authoritative, and trustworthy information, all within an engaging environment that is striking in design and seamless to navigate.
Available for free download in the iTunes store


Developed with Chicago-based Few Spirits, Brainville Rye Whiskey is made from a combination of rye, corn and malted barley grown within 150 miles of the distillery.

The mash is fermented using a French wine yeast, said to give the whiskey a stone-fruit, apple and pear flavour profile. The liquid is subsequently aged in new, charred American oak barrels custom-made in Minnesota.
Learn more about this limited-edition release.

The flaws in today’s spirits labels, as outlined below, have led to myriad problems for distilleries and other producers, as well as for consumers, and even for bars and retail stores. The system, as regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is—in many ways—broken. The good news, though, is that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. This fall, the TTB will open up an online forum for anyone to propose amendments on a huge swath of presently outdated rules; from adding new regulated spirits categories, to clearing up misleading labeling language. Below, what’s broken, why the commenting period is important, what the process is, and what could be the best outcome.
Read more over at Eater.com


Folks say education is key to getting ahead in this world of ours. We don’t pretend to know the secrets of success, but we do know that these books will help you become a better drinker. And hell, if that’s not of value to you then we’re not sure why you’re here. Do yourself a favor – read more and drink curious.

American Rye: A Guide to the Nation’s Original Spirit Book Review
American Rye: A Guide to the Nation’s Original Spirit could be a great stocking stuffer for the cocktail enthusiast or burgeoning whiskey devotee who is unfamiliar with the category and interested to gain a solid foothold.
Buffalo, Barrels & Bourbon Book Review
Buffalo, Barrels, & Bourbon by F. Paul Pacult is a study in how the bourbon gods giveth and taketh away. Published on September 23, 2021, the book’s release was perfectly timed: Bourbon Heritage Month, the start of allocated bourbon season, and most relevantly the time at which Buffalo Trace normall…
Pappyland Book Review
“Maybe whiskey is so fragile because once the cap comes off, the past rushes out of the bottle and is gone forever,” Wright Thompson explains in one of his incredible passages that captures what makes bourbon so transcendent. Unfortunately, caps do not often come off bottles of Pappy Van Winkle, arg…
Bourbon: What the Educated Drinker Should Know Book Review
When I first agreed to review Bourbon: What the Educated Drinker Should Know, for Bourbon and Banter, I was skeptical. The book description said in part, that it is written “… in a style both beginners and aficionados will appreciate.” My first thoughts were that I have been drinking bourbon for alm…



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.”


BARDSTOWN, 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.

Whiskey is by far the most popular of all remedies that won’t cure a cold.
-Jerry Vale, American Singer


Don’t feel bad if you’re unable to describe what you’re smelling or tasting while drinking bourbon. For many folks who are still early in their bourbon journey, it can be very daunting to describe what they’re experiencing when tasting a new whiskey. Even familiar aromas or flavors can suddenly seem foreign or difficult to describe. That’s why we created the Bourbon Flavor Wheel.

The Bourbon Flavor Wheel lists a wide range of aromas and flavors that are commonly found in bourbon and presents them in an easy to use format. Whether you’re a bourbon novice or seasoned connoisseur, the Bourbon Flavor Wheel is a great tool for expanding your ability to describe your next glass of whiskey.

We’re thrilled to finally offer the Bourbon Flavor Wheel for free download in a variety of tasting mat formats. That’s right – we said free download. Head on over to our Bourbon Flavor Wheel Tasting Mats page and download your very own copy today. And if you find them to be useful please spread the word by sharing the link with your friends who enjoy a glass a whiskey.