Category Archives: tasting

Foiled by Pine Nuts

I had planned to do another tasting tonight, but after making some pesto the other night, some questionable pine nuts have made everything taste bitter to me.  Apparently this will last anywhere from 2-14 days – ugh.  Looks like no tastings until this passes.

WebMD even has a video on the topic: http://www.webmd.com/video/pine-mouth

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The American Hooch 2008 Gift Guide

I’ve gotten questions from many friends and co-workers about what bourbon they should buy for their friend/boyfriend/roommate for the holiday season.  This is always a difficult thing to judge since some of the best wiskies don’t always make for the classiest gift, but on the other hand many of the gift-like bottles aren’t the most original or demonstrative of taste.

With that in mind, here’s my American Hooch 2008 Gift Guide to help you navigate your social relationships with a properly chosen bottle of alcohol.

The Mantle Piece Bourbon

willettThis one is for that someone on your list who wants something to show off to folks stopping by over the holidays.  Willett Family Pot Still Reserve is certainly a fine tasting bourbon, with notes of butterscotch, cherry-sweetness, and honey, but it is most impressive in its profile.  Your receipient will not only be impressed with the pot still shaped bottle, but also the wonderfully gurgly noise it makes when you pour.  I wrote about it here.

This one might be a little tougher to find, but it will make an immediate visual impression.  It will also run you around $40.

Continue reading The American Hooch 2008 Gift Guide

American Trio #1: One-Oughts

Instead of venturing into a new whiskey this week, I’ve decided to take a look back with a coordinated trio from my past conquests.  For this first tri-tasting installment, I’ve chosen to group the spirits based on a common proof range.  This will allow me to better compare the plays and counter-plays between the other aspects of the trio.

And the three are…

1. Old Grand-Dad (Bonded) – the definition of the everyman’s bourbon: sweet, corn, classic (4 years, 100 proof)
2. Knob Creek – the punchy, bold, from the Jim Beam folks (9 years, 100 proof)
3. Old Weller Antique – reasonably priced, wheated, and slow: from Buffalo Trace (7 years, 107 proof)

I start with OGD – because there is no messing around with OGD.  It is not the subtlest of bourbons to say the least.  I’m betting it’s a good base to build from.  It is just as I expected, an angular, straight-forward bourbon.

On to the Knob Creek: in comparison, it smells sweet and refreshing…almost juicy.  Letting it wash over the tongue…wow.  Knob Creek really puts OGD in its place.  Much smoother much more depth to the flavor, yet still with its familiar punch followed by slow, oaky burn.  Over several more sips, the KB becomes spicier – as I remembered it had been.  Certainly not as angular as the OGD.  These two definitely contrast, though not in the most interesting way: we all knew that Knob Creek was better to begin with.

Moving on: Old Weller Antique comes across quite strangely after the Knob Creek.  Much more medicinal than I’d tasted before, and combined with the gentler wheated entrance it’s quite a shift of gears.  The spiciness is muted in comparision to a solo tasting, but appears in a crechendo in the finish.  These two demonstrate some of the fundamental differences between the two mash bill approaches.

Over all:
This is an interesting trio.  Clearly, there is a jump in market from the OGD to the KB and OWA, but each one is unique – with the exception of their proof range.  We have a wheated bourbon and two rye bases, one aged 4 years, one aged 7 years, and one aged 9 years.

I really enjoy the oak and tang from the Knob Creek that comes through with the increased aging and the Jim Beam mash bill respectively, but the Old Weller Antique finds its place in slower times when you aren’t looking for the muscle of Knob Creek.

As for Old Grand-Dad?  Well, good bless the fellow, he just makes the other ones taste better.