Tag Archives: Rye Toast

Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye – Cask Proof!


Virginia, USA – 58%ABV – $65 – **KOSHER CERTIFIED RYE WHISKY**

We’re about to journey into the land of FUN…  “What kind of fun?” you might ask…  Single cask, cask strength rye whisky from Catoctin Creek.  (Yes, Catoctin Creek spell “whisky” the same way most of the world does; without the “E.”)  For a whisky geek like me, I think this is a $hit ton-o-fun!

So, what’s the make up of this concoction from Catoctin?  Well, you may have heard the term “mash bill” before.  If not, a “mash bill” is basically a mixture of grain(s) that distillers use when making a beer (or wash) that will then get distilled into spirit.

As far as rye goes, most rye whiskeys are made from a mash bill that has about 51% rye grain (the legal minimum to call said whiskey a “rye” whiskey) and the balance is often rounded out with corn, wheat and barley.  Some distillers use a higher percentage of rye grain but Catoctin Creek is one of a handful of distilleries that use 100% rye grain.  What’s more is Catoctin uses only organic certified rye grain.

Zero the Kosher Kat approves of this whisky!

What’s more-more is, even though the owners are not Jewish, Catoctin Creek one of a very few American distilleries that have their whiskeys kosher certified.

Here’s a video regarding Catoctin Creek and kosher certification:

Now, on to the tasting!

On the nose — Very youthful and a touch one dimensional in scent at first but after just a minute or so, it opens up.  I mean it *really* opens up.

Fresh spring-scented fabric softener sheets notes mix with very light key lime pie filling.

Rye and citrus notes to be sure but I also detect pencil shavings and school-house pencil end erasers.

It’s evident the spirit character shines with not too much wood influence – an interesting play on rye whiskey compared to most brands out there – unique.

Fresh granny smith apples and apple sauce (home made, no sugar added, no cinnamon added).

Rye bread, lightly toasted with fresh, un-melted butter.

The addition of water seems to bring out more of the springy floral element but doesn’t change much else.

On the mouth — Aggressive attack filled with orange jujubes and baby aspirin notes.  No, these are more than notes – pretty damn spot on (especially with the jujubes).

Spring-like again in flavor but with a focus on woodsy leaves from last autumn and new growth chutes.

Great mouth feel and, though aggressive, not really “hot” in any way.  It doesn’t need water but I’m going to add a bit any way.  Just for fun.

Adding water makes the mouthfeel massive & thick (like drinking Lou Ferrigno).

There is also a touch of spice now; right along the sides of the tongue.

**Caution, do not add too much water here.  Initially I brought the whisky down to 50% ABV but in a 2nd sampling I brought it down to 54% (or so) and that was just right.  Too much water and some of the flavors become elusive/shy.  Just a touch brings out the mouthfeel but keeps the flavors generally intact.

Finish — A long, citrusy finish.

In sum —  When going into this rye, forget what you know about the spirit in general.  This will be a new experience.

I really enjoy their standard 40% ABV version of this rye whisky but tasting this in cask proof makes this whisky shine like a rye diamond.  A wonderful springtime whisky.  Fine whisky – kudos to the Catoctinians on this one!

Special thanks to Scott H for the sample!

Four Roses Limited Edition, 2010 Small Batch

America – 55.05%ABV (sample ABV – actual bottle ABV is 56.2%, I think) – $90

Today I am taking a much needed Bourbon diversion.  Four Roses whiskey is a new experience for me and I’m very thankful to Nick Clark for the sample!

Thanks also goes out to Stephen of the Malt Impostor for turning me on to the stuff!

One of the things I love about American whiskey is that, tasting & drinking the stuff makes me feel like a bad-ass American!

American whiskeys are bold, confident and generally provide a great in-your-face experience.

Being a lover of all things sophomoric, I can’t sip on a bourbon without thinking of this song:

Now that you’ve watched the video/listened to the song, we can review this whiskey!

On the nose Surprisingly restrained nose for the high proof.

Like smelling warmed & salted butter with cooked sugar and cinnamon.

Marble rye and after a couple of minutes a nice spiciness begins to tickle my nose.

On the mouth Big heat and as thick as sterno gel.

The heat is not my first experience however…

The initial assault is by a massive rush of of flavors – delicious toasty bread and butter.

Sugared fennel seed and over steeped orange pekoe tea with a good deal of honey (albeit burnt).

Dried apples.


Finish The finish is very long.  I’m overjoyed.

In sum Very impressive – pleasing in many ways.  Complex, robust and a total joy ride on the tongue.  I wish the nose offered a bit more but the reward was actually tasting the stuff.  For snowy days and hanging out by a fire or in your own little homemade igloo.

anCnoc 12yr & 16yr Scotch whisky – a side by side tasting.

Highland region – 43%ABV for the 12yr – $35 | £25 | €30 — 46%ABV for the 16yr – $45- $65 | £40 | €49

anCnoc, anCnoc, anCnoc… aChooo!!

Actually, it’s pronounced “ah-knock”.  This whisky, distilled by Knockdhu, used to be called Knockdhu but have decided to change the name of the whisky to anCnoc so as not to be confused with “Knockando” whisky.

The 12yr is on your left whilst the 16yr is on your right.

The anCnoc line was recently (within the past few years) launched here in the US (and elsewhere) with both the 12yr & 16yr readily available in most major markets.

If you look around a bit, some stores & online shops may have some 1993 & 1994 vintages.  There’s even a 30yr whisky out there though, it’s a bit hard to come by.

I’m a bit short on time today so I need to cut to the chase.  Let’s taste these whiskies!

On to the nosing

12yr — Lemon juice and curdled milk in a … good way.

Very sugary nose.

Vanilla and coconut shells.

Witch Hazel (originating from Connecticut!  Represent!).

Malty notes with some pear.

Apple and buttered toast (rye bread).

16yrSugared candies… for my Brits out there, Parma Violets (for my fellow Americans, Smarties).

Pineapple and dried mango (topped with salt).

Sea breeze and, dare I say, a waft (or thread) of smoke in the distance?  Nah, maybe it’s just in my head…

On to the tasting (with notes on the finish)

12yrNice entry, good mouthfeel.

Much of what I got on the nose I am getting here in flavor.

An emphasis on the vanilla and buttered bread.

A tad salty and some unexpected pizza spices on the finish which is medium in length.

16yrMuch more vegetal in flavor as compared to the nosing.

Grassy yet with hints of vanilla custard and pie crust.

Lemon pinwheels and butter cookies.

The finish is slightly drying with some oak…

In sumBoth easy and approachable whiskies.  The 16yr was the clear winner in my book with those delicious sugared candy and tropical fruit notes.  The 12yr was nice however, I would have liked to have tried this at 46% and non-chill filtered like the 16yr is.  I feel bad for the Brits out there – the 12yr is at 40% ABV while here in the states, we get a slightly higher ABV for our 12yr.

So, while the 12yr is pleasant enough, I’d put my money down on the 16yr for the win.  Summery, light, refreshing.

Special thanks goes out to Kathy Lewis-Flanigan for the generous samples!

Kavalan Single Malt Whisky – Concertmaster – Port Finish

Taiwan – 40%ABV – 200ml sample (thanks to Ian Chang of Kavalan for the sample)

For the next three days, Gal of Whisky Israel and I will be sharing our thoughts on the Kavalan range.  While I’m not tasting these whiskies blindly, Gal and I will not be sharing our thoughts on these whiskies prior to our posting them.  Be sure to check out Gal’s notes on this whisky (a link to Gal’s review is listed below my notes).

Before I got into whiskies, I was a true lover of port and madeira wines.  The fruity spice of port and the earthiness of madeira turned me on like a light bulb.

Being a portaphile – I just made this word up and would hate to utter it aloud as port-a-phile sounds like something else entirely…

Ok, moving on.  Loving port & madeira like I do, I often find myself seeking out whiskies which are finished in these types of casks (such as the Balvenie 17yr Madeira Cask or the Angel’s Envy Bourbon).  When I opened up my sample package from Mr. Chang, I was excited to see a port finished whisky from Kavalan.

So, let’s dig in.  Can you dig?

On the nose Lightly spiced with wafts of mangos.

Spices come back – cinnamon & nutmeg.

Fresh pears and over ripe pineapples.

A youthful nose with some hints of mushrooms and soured milk – earthy.

Pencil shavings.

On the mouth Hits you hard with loads of spice.

Lightly sweet – watered down pear juice.

Good mouth feel but the flavors are a bit elusive.

Buttered rye bread.

A touch of honey.

Oh, actually, there’s a lot of honey here.

Finish Wheat biscuits, side of honey and butter, shortish.

In sum An enjoyable nose on this whisky.  The fruitiness was a welcome thing.  I was a bit let down by the flavor side of this – a touch off balance (or maybe I’m a bit off balance here!) from the nose and, quite honestly, I was hoping for a bit more from the flavor/palate.  The finish was quite nice just a bit too short.

Make sure you read Gal’s notes here.

Rick’s Mystery Dram series – Week 9 of 10 – Sample #10

Whiskey sample number ten.  Another American whiskey sample from Rick.

As I mentioned in the 3rd post for this “Rick’s Mystery Dram” Series, I’ve decided to make this a wee bit more interesting by sending out a mystery dram to the correct guesser of the week’s mystery dram or, if there has been no correct guess, the sample goes to a commenter (randomly chosen).  Last week, “Matt L” won the mystery dram (again) and did so by guessing what the dram in question was.

Details on how to win a mystery dram sample (which will be Scotch or American whisk(e)y, your choice) are listed below, after the review.

Review time!

On the nose Big, fat, thick spice with a side of rye bread and a cord of oak.

Very perfumed.  Like the cheap perfume on a girl you wish you hadn’t said hi to in the bar — sexy but over powering.

Some of the standard notes you’d find in bourbon:

Cinnamon.  Nutmeg.  Vanilla.

On the mouth Everything just got a bit toasty here – that rye toast has just been browned; awaiting a pad of butter that does, in fact, arrive!

Grape soda (this is the third time I got grape soda notes in a bourbon).

Very easy to chew on but there does seem to be a fair amount of alcohol here (45-50%ABV?).

Finish The finish is interesting – I’m almost getting some great port wine notes coming back.  The overall length of the finish is medium and perfect.

In sumThis is a very comforting dram of whiskey.

Perfect for the summer time.

Watch the sun set and sip your glass empty – life is good.

The clues

  • Getting notes of rye in the nose and in the tasting
  • Grape soda notes and, my guess, an ABV of 45-50%.
  • More grape notes in the finish – almost reminiscent of port wine.

JMSWS antes up!

For those who attempt to guess – each week I will be sending out one mystery dram (a small 5cl bottle) and the first person guesses correctly wins the dram.  Actually, if there are no correct guesses for the week then a winner will be chosen at random.  You win whether your right or not (like a weatherperson – right or not, s/he still has a job)!

So again, I will be awarding a free whisk(e)y sample every week to one lucky winner (whether you guess correctly or not).

How do I enter to win you ask?

Easy, comment on this post with what you think the mystery dram of the week may be.  It’s that simple.

I will let you choose the type of mystery dram — Scotch or American Whiskey (though that’s all you’ll know about it).  And if you’d like, you can send me your tasting notes and I’ll post them for my readers to guess at.  If you’d prefer the blind tasting to be between just you and me… that’s cool too.

For previous “Rick’s Mystery Dram” entries :

Here’s Mystery Dram #1 (which ended up being Parker’s Heritage First Edition)

Here’s Mystery Dram #2 (which ended up being Parker’s Heritage Golden Anniversary)

Here’s Mystery Dram #3 (which ended up being Evan Williams Single Barrel, 2000 vintage, barrel # 234)

Here’s Mystery Dram #4 (which ended up being Tonala 4 year Anejo tequila)

Here’s Mystery Dram #5 (which ended up being Wild Turkey Russell’s Reserve, 10 year)

Here’s Mystery Dram #7 (remember, there was no #6 dram.  #7 ended up being Jefferson’s Presidential Select, 17 year, batch #3)

Here’s Mystery Dram #8 (#8 ended up being Sazerac Rye 18yr which, by the way, completely threw me off.  Not what I was expecting from a rye whiskey.  I liked it anyway.)

Here’s Mystery Dram #9 (#9 ended up being Thomas H. Handy Sazerac which, by the way, was correctly guessed by Matt L!!  Congrats Matt – great job!)