Category Archives: Takin’ It Easy

Four Kings Rye 2014 Edition – A collaboration between FEW Spirits, Journeyman, Corsair, and Mississippi Distilling


Region – Four different ‘Murrican locations – ABV 40%

Image stolen/pilfered/thieved/snatched from Jonathan Bray’s Single Malting blog

My life, for the past 12 years, has brought me to Chicago for various and sundry reasons. Mostly, it was my previous life in the world of Industrial Storage Supplies and the sales thereof. Yessir/ma’am, sexy, sexy stuff, that; Industrial Storage Supplies. Don’t hate it until you’ve hated it. The people were great though. Nay, amazing. But… it’s Industrial Storage Supplies. Industrial. Storage. Supplies.

As of late, my reasons for visiting the Windy Apple are those more related to whisky. Be it the education and sales of Arran/Kilchoman/Tamdhu and some of my favorite independent lines and/or Whisky Jewbilee and/or Single Cask Nation. My visits to Chicago will continue on for some time and for that I am happy.

This most recent trip to Chicago (which has now been many weeks ago, damn my being too busy to write these days!) had me bumping into my friend (or should I say “mate,” but not in the “mate for life” sense of the word. My friend is an “Aussie.” But not in the shampoo sense of the word — an actual, honest to goodness man from Australia.) Jonathan Bray.  Some of you may know him from his fantastic “” blog.  

This most recent bump into Jonathan gave us the good and cheap excuse to try our hand at blogging together. The result will be two different whiskies reviewed on two different blogs for the total of four posts (two from me, two from Jonathan).

Today’s post covers a fun collaboration between four major craft whiskey producers: FEW Spirits, Journeyman, Corsair & Mississippi Distillery.  This is their “Rye” collaboration (four 30 gallon casks from each of them blended together for a 40% ABV trip into rye craftism).

The following is my take on the result (you can read Jonathan’s review of the whiskey HERE):

Four Kings Rye Few Spirits Corsair Journeyman Mississippi DistillingOn the nose — Perhaps one of the more odd notes I’ve detected in a whisky: imitation watermelon bubblegum verging on jolly rancher.

Yup, you read correctly. 

Breath deeply and some more chocolaty notes come to the fore.  I could fool myself into thinking I smell some malted rye in here but I can not say for certain. If so, the presence is slight (which I am thankful for as it’s only adding to the nose).

Four Kings Rye Few Spirits Corsair Journeyman Mississippi DistillingBanana milk shakes and circus peanuts.  Seems to be more spirit & yeast driven rather than cask driven.

In the mouth — There’s the rye spice you’d expect though it’s *immediately* offset by notes of circus peanuts and Four Kings Rye Few Spirits Corsair Journeyman Mississippi DistillingFortune bubble gum – cheap penny candy store candies that bring me back to 1985. 

Mouthfeel is lightly oiled and the heat is spot on.

Somewhat unidimensional with the candied notes but I like this dimension. It’s quite tasty and perhaps a little *too* easy.

If you’re looking for the pine/fennel/spicy/rye bread notes you’d come to expect in a rye, look elsewhere. It’s an entirely different kind of flying rye whiskey all together.

Finish — Shortish finish, slightly drying, banana laffy taffy.

In sum — This is a great little blend of a whiskey. It’s a no brainier whiskey.  I was afraid the ABV would feel al little too low but it does not. Still, I wonder, at 46% or higher…

Taking a break from the Advent Calendar thing to have a sit with a solid little Glen Grant 10yo


Region – Speyside – ABV – 40%

I’ve been blogging every single day for the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar and have decided, or at least thought, I needed a break!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a lot of fun, all of this blogging business.

Interestingly enough, however, now that I’m back into the blogging thing, I feel that I should be sharing my thoughts with the one whisky I just want to relax with – this here Glen Grant 10yo.

I forgot how fun it is to blog.

Here we go then!

Glen Grant 10yoOn the nose — Roasted almond richness with a little ginger spice lurking around the corners. Cigar wrapper meets pomelo pith.

Some salted peanuts – nice and warm.  Charred oak, and, is that frankincense?

In the mouth — A bit thin due to the ABV but it’s got this wonderfully delicate quality to it.

Glen Grant 10yoStraight-forwardly fruity with hints of fresh apple and ripe pears.  Perhaps some cherries a la tinned fruit. A hint of anise.

Finish — Medium in length. A touch of brine and burnt brush.

In sum — A solidly straight forward whisky that is perfect in the glass for any social setting. Would love to try this as a non-chill filtered whisky. But hey, I can not complain. Ten year old juice in my glass that is, in some ways, more mature than I am!

Wild Turkey “Kentucky Spirit” cask # 98, pick by Julio’s


Region – Kentucky – 50.5% ABV

Wild Turkey Kentucky SpiritI’m not a bourbon guy (generally speaking). Really, I’m just not huge on American spirits in general.

Don’t get me wrong, I quite enjoy bourbon, rye, and other American whiskeys. It’s just that, well, my heart and passion is in malt whisky.

You can look at all of my posts over the past 6 or so years, and see that I focus on malt whisky. Malt whisky is mine, my precious.  I wants it. I needs it. The others, they’re all tricksie!!

Gollum! Gollum!

Still, I need to give credit to a whisk(e)y where credit is due.  There are some good bourbons, great bourbons, and amazing bourbonsout there. Today, I’m reviewing a great bourbon. A well selected cask.

I think this cask may be all sold out at this point (I’m glad I purchased my bottle when I did) as this was a bottling that Whisky Advocate quite liked.  It’s in the top 10 of 2015’s releases.  Not too shabby.

On to the tasting!

On the nose — Spoiler alert! It smells like bourbon! Cloves, cinnamon, allspice, pencil shavings, coconut, cooked vanilla pods.  The standard stuff you’d expect to smell (thank you new charred oak – we know you all too well).

Let’s get beyond this though… buttered popcorn, wet leather, salted bread dough (huh…), Cherry tarts. All of these notes are well integrated.

In the mouth — Big and spicy stuff with notes of salted licorice, vanilla ice cream, buttered baguette, cream of corn soup (if it could be a very sweet soup).  Pear skins, and a hint of mint.  Decent mouthfeel with a fair amount of oiliness.

Finish — Cherry tootsie pops, all the way.  Medium finish

In sum — This can be picked apart (a la the above) or treated like bourbon should be treated – simply fine-fine sippin’ juice!  Really yummy stuff here.  Nicely chosen, Julio’s!!  Well met.




Russell's Reserve Single Barrel for Gordon's Fine WinesRegion – Kentucky  – Special pick by and for Gordon’s Fine Wines– Single Barrel # 514 Rick House “T” – Floor 6, 55% ABV (multiply ABV x 2 to get “proof” – I really prefer the use of ABV, less multiplication, and more direct – come on America!!!).

A week or so ago I reviewed a single barrel pick of Russell’s Reserve by and for Warehouse Liquors in Chicago. As promised in that post, I’d be reviewing the RRSB bottle I purchased at Gordon’s Fine Wines.

Below is said review.

Spoiler alert — I really enjoyed this single barrel pick. It was the first RRSB that ticked all the boxes (as far as ‘Murrican whiskeys go) for me.

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel for Gordon's Fine WinesOn the nose — A hot, dank, and damp warehouse with wafts of charred oak in the air.

Heavily spiced, and warmed apple sauce.

Getting pop corn (like with the Warehouse barrel pick) but the corn has yet to be popped.  Whole kernel, yet buttered, and it’s specifically the smell of the taste of these whole kernels.

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel for Gordon's Fine WinesBaking spices, damp earth maraschino cherries.

In the mouth — Corn bread with jalapeño, and a honey glaze.  Very sweet, yet spicy verging on hot.

Maraschino sauce over melting vanilla ice cream.

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel for Gordon's Fine WinesRemember that maraschino sauce I mentioned? (It was literally the last sentence – if you don’t remember it, you better sober up and come back to re-read.)

The mouth feel is *that* thick.

Tasting notes aside, this is an easy drinkin’ whiskey.

Back to tasting notes (broad brush), there’s some wonderful rye spice as we near the finish.

Finish — Very long with specific notes of sugar & lime on a white kernel corn cob.

In sum — Like I said, I really enjoyed this whiskey.  It’s an easy drinker. There really was not need to dissect this as it’s the type of whiskey that you could mindlessly enjoy.  At the same time, it can be picked apart to discover wonderfully delicious notes.

Springbank 15yo Single Cask, re-charred Sherry Butt 58.3% ABV


Springbank 15 recharred sherry buttCampbeltown region – 58.3% ABV – $139

It is a very true statement that Springbank is a Scotch Whisky that is in a league of it’s own.

The quality of their products tend to be a few notches above the rest and the whisky’s character is, well, unique.  Very unique.

Could the essence of their individuality be connected to terroir (Campbeltown and they, Springbank,  being one of only three distilleries in Campbeltown)?

Perhaps it’s their distilling process (2.5 times distilled which is explained here)?  I think not as their other products, Hazelburn (3 times distilled and unpeated) and Longrow (2 times distilled and heavily peated) still have that Springbankiness to them…

Maybe it’s the fact that they handle every step of the process whisky-making process from malting on up?

Perhaps it’s the fact that their wash (beer to be distilled in to spirit) spends 70 hours or more fermenting in Boatskin Larch wash backs? (Most Scottish distilleries ferment their wash between 48 & 54 hours in either Oregon Pine or Stainless Steel).

I am not sure any one of the above points really offers up answers.  Regardless, Springbank Scotch Whisky  is pretty amazing stuff.  While I am a known Glenmorangie freak, I have to say that Springbank produces my favorite whisky.  Ever.  And when they do it right. Boy howdy, they do it right-right!

Today’s Springer is a 15yo single cask matured in a re-charred sherry butt.  This is a highly unusual style of Scotch whisky and it sounded simply super fun and interesting to me so I had to get a bottle.  Had to.

On the nose — As I might have guessed (and surely hoped), the nose is very Bourbon-like due to the re-charred oak.  There’s a high sweetness here and a sharpness in scent.

Springbank-recharred-Sherry-Cask-1Brown sugar and peat!  What a combo!  Paraffin wax and molding clay.  Pencil shavings, albeit burnt pencil shavings.  A wide combination of dried fruits (dates, prunes, dried banana, etc…), pickled walnuts and cherries pits.

Springbank-recharred-Sherry-Cask-2There’s a salty/briny quality to this as well.  Heavy leather gloves (well used) and a brush fire.

This is like nosing a 50-50 mix of George T Stagg and a sherried Springbank.

Springbank-recharred-Sherry-Cask-3On the mouth — Big, salty and massively sherried (but without being like a run-of-the-mill sherry bomb).  There is no unidimensionality going on here.  In fact, there’s a lot going on here and it’s part of a nice flavor story:

Springbank-recharred-Sherry-Cask-4Salted dates floating in a bowl of Mexican vanilla extract and grated chicory.  Soft yet driving peat and dank malt (a la Malta Goya).

A lovely mouth feel.  Very bourbon like in experience (mouthfeel, very sweet and prickly on the sides of the tongue, charred-oaky-goodness) with the addition of cherry-twizzler sweetness!

The nuttiness returns but it’s like a nutty-syrup mixed with unlit cigars.

Finish — Medium finish loaded with dates and a touch of salt.

In sum — As if Springbank was unique enough!  This is a wildly fun ride of a whisky that would impress the Bourbon lovers out there.  Heck, this should impress whisk(e)y drinkers anywhere.  Very tasty and quite balanced.

One could sit and dissect this whisky or just relax and simply enjoy it.  This is a desert (and dessert) island dram for me.  I better get another bottle before you all buy it out on me!!