Monday, January 13, 2014

Stitzel-Weller Distillery to start making bourbon again! Well maybe. . .

Stitzel-Weller Distillery to start making bourbon again! « Whisky Advocate

The news that Diageo was going to reopen the Stitzel-Weller Distillery was reported last January but we have seen very little progress on that front. Diageo seems ready to raid the old Stitzel-Weller rickhouses for a few exclusive releases. Plus they are announcing two brand new bourbons from new make. However, with Four Roses pulling their contract to supply Bulliet one has to wonder where Diageo is going to get its new make. Perhaps this is year we see some action.

A Race to the Bottom Shelf: Look Past the Screw Cap and Enjoy These Exceptional Bargain Bourbons

A Race to the Bottom Shelf: Look Past the Screw Cap and Enjoy These Exceptional Bargain Bourbons

A few months back I was ask to recommend some bourbons that you can get at your local state agency here in Ohio. I was also asked to recommend some inexpensive bourbons. I still unapologetically love the Old Ezra 101 (7yr).

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Masterson's Unleashes Unblended Canadian Whiskey on US Whiskey Drinkers

The title of this entry just about says it all. I am a huge admirer of Masterson's Rye. It is an exceptional whisky. You will notice that there is no "e" in this whisky because in fact its Canadian. It's no secret that the Canadian's love their Rye whisky and in fact "Rye" and "Whisky" are used interchangeably up north. 

However, with the meteoric rise in Rye's popularity in the US and its shrinking stocks in US rackhouses many have looked north for a steady supply. Masterson's is not alone. Whistle Pig has a Canadian source and so does Pendleton. Canada makes more Rye grain based whiskey than another country. Why is this?  Davin De Kergommeaux Canada's foremost whiskey commentary has explained that in Canada whisky is produced by mashing and distilling all the components separately.  Rye, Malted Barley, Corn and Wheat are all separately mashed, distilled, barreled and aged. So in Canada Rye is for blending to achieve a good flavor profile in their whisky and they make a lot of it. So much in Alberta that they can sell off supplies to be bottle as straight American Rye and not even feel the pinch.


So when I saw a recent web posting on Masterson's Wheat Whisky and Masterson's Barley Whisky I became suspicious. Are we really being sold Canadian Whisky blending components as stand alone whiskey? Well the answer appears to be yes. I know what you are thinking . . . What about Whistle Pig and Masterson's Rye those are great whiskies? Yes they are and perhaps is was pure luck or serendipity that this type of Canadian Rye was rediscovered. 

I guess my point is this, have we reached a point in the story of the come back of whiskey, that whatever it is and for whatever it's intended purpose if it's whiskey we will slap a pretty label on it and charge a premium. Commentators and tasters are not raving about these two "new" Masterson's. So have we reached the point that someone has to shout "the emperor has no clothes"? I think so.

Don't package and sell me components of what was intended to be blended whisky and tell me its good and certainly don't charge me a premium for a bulk, stock and high volume whisky. Be a wary whiskey/whisky drinker. Know what's in the bottle before you buy. 

While I'm sure that the distillers have put great time and effort is to making the Whiskies that make up the Masterson's line, imagine what a talent Canadian whisky blender can do with those components. Simply put these Whiskies were not meant to be bottled individually. But in or zeal to scarf up every last drop of the highly aged whiskey and in our head long tumult to stuff our basements with next aged whiskey we haven't stopped to asked ourselves whether it is worth the asking price. We seem to want to figure that out later. So Masterson's is asking a premium price for their new Barley and Wheat Whisky. Are they worth it at $65.00? Those same whiskies in the hands of skilled blender make up some of the premium Canadian Whiskies (aka Rye). For the same money you could enjoy a an Alberta Premium, an Alberta Dark Horse, a Gibson 18, Wiser 18 or Legacy. Do yourself a favor before you spend $65 plus on any of these individual component this try an equivalent price point in a Canadian whisky you will probably find the Whisky it was meant to be.