Gone Hog Wild over the big reveal!

I’m giving a big HEE HAW over my newly completed fun room.   And what would a fun room be without a good space to sip whiskeys.   So what have I been working on that has kept me away from blogging?

Here’s the list:

  • new flooring
  • wall and trim paint
  • additional lighting
  • palette wall with wine crates used as shadow boxes to display spirits.
  • 106″ Projection TV
  • Cigar Humidor (in back room)
  • Granite top on bar

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Needless to say, it’s been a lot of work, but I’m Hog Wild over how it’s turned out. So in celebration of the completion of this space, I’ve decided to treat myself to a dram of something that I don’t often take off the shelf.  I present to you: The 2014 Whistlepig Rye “The Boss Hog”.  Or as the bottler affectionately calls it “The Spirit of Mortimer”.20160302_192056_HDR[1]

Here’s what the folks at Whistlepig say about The Boss Hog:

The 2014 Boss Hog was been selected from among our oldest and most unique barrels – Bond 77. Bond 77 entered wood on April 5, 2001. As part of a quadruple barrel aging process, the Spirit of Mortimer spent nearly 14 years in a combination of new American oak, and early use bourbon barrels. Bottled at cask-strength, the Spirit of Mortimer represents our purest, most powerful, and most primordial expression of the world’s finest rye.

The Spirit of Mortimer is dedicated to Mortimer WhistlePig. Mortimer, our mascot, compatriot and friend, laid down his life in summer 2014 while defending the honor of Mauve WhistlePig, his beloved Kune Kune spouse.

The 2014 Boss Hog is Mortimer’s monument and memorial.  Mortimer’s physical monument will be the “Spirit of Mortimer,” a finely crafted Danforth pewter topper which will sit atop each Boss Hog bottle and depict Mortimer midflight, with arms stretched to the heavens. Mortimer’s spiritual monument will be the unrivaled whiskey within the bottle. Here’s to you, Mortimer

But how does it taste?

The nose is clean with distinct qualities of a traditional rye and nuances of oak, caramel, and vanilla.  However,  rye is definitely dominant in the nose.   The golden brown legs are a constant reminder that this ain’t your momma’s sippin whiskey.  Or is it?

At 119.5 proof the first sip will have you yelling out SOOOWEEEE!   This is a powerful whiskey, yet if sipped with care, the burn is minimal and just at the back of the throat. The creamy texture of the spirit leaves a wonderful honey-like after-taste in your mouth.  This is really good stuff!

My Take:  Boss Hog is a great special occasion whiskey and holds a place in my Top 5 list.   At around $200/bottle, it’s definitely not a mixer.  If you have the pallet for it, drink it neat so that you can enjoy all of the benefits that 13 years of aging presents.  It’s got some heat, so it’s not recommended for the novice whiskey drinker.   However, novice or aficionado, if you just want to say that you’ve tried something special, The Spirit of Mortimer will guide you to the promised land.

Until next time, Drink Passionately!

“There’s no place like home… There’s no place like home…”

I spend a lot of time reading about whiskeys in an effort to determine what I want to add to my collection.   As is often the case with many whiskey enthusiasts, much of my collection originates from what is arguably the motherland of whiskey, The Blue Grass State of Kentucky.  However, as I continue to skip down the “yellow brick road” of craft whiskey, I’ve had the fortune to discover some fantastic products from other states like Vermont, Utah, Alaska, Tennessee, Oregon and Michigan, just to name a few.  However, just as little Dorothy Gale discovered in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, sometimes “There’s no place like home”.

Home for me is in Ohio, perhaps best known for its politics, The Ohio State Buckeyes, one reasonably good pro football team and one pro football team that continually disappoints its fans.  Oh yeah, and then there’s that basketball player named LeBron.  What you may not know, however, is that there are couple of small distilleries in Columbus, OH, that are producing some really good spirits.   Specifically, Middlewest Spirits the makers of the OYO brand and Watershed Distillery.  Check out the links above for a full description their product lines, but today I’d like to talk about two little gems that I added to my collection this past weekend.  Watershed’s Bourbon and  OYO’ s Pumpernickel Rye.

Watershed Distillery
 is the brainchild of  Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo, whos company name pays homage to the “Watershed Moments” that shape an individual’s life.   I recall visiting their facility a little

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Crisp and Clean

over 4 years ago, shortly after they opened their doors.  At the time, it was a very small operation located in a very unassuming industrial suite.   After listening to the historical schpeel, we tasted their vodka, gin and bourbon.  To be perfectly honest, the most impressive part of the visit was the logoed glasses that are still a mainstay in my home bar.

 

In recent weeks, I’ve had my own Watershed moment as my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to give Watershed Bourbon another try.  Mr. Wizard,  I’m glad I did.   Age has been good to this easy to drink spirit.   Bottled at 94 proof, the nose is crisp and clean with a mild oakiness and perhaps a hint of citrus.  The taste is equally crisp and enjoyable with minimal burn.

My Take:  Don’t be fooled by the unassuming label that may remind you of the “generic” product craze of the 90s.   This is a very good bourbon worthy of a place in your collection.   At a $40 price point, it is great as a mixer but also quite nice neat.   Whether you’re new to whiskeys or a real enthusiast, I think you’ll have your own Watershed moment when you try it!

OYO Dark Pumpernickel Rye Whiskey is the latest product from Co-founders

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Warm Rich Color

Brady Konya and Ryan Lang of Middlewest Spirits.   Middlewest has been in business since 2008 and producing product since 2010.   As is typical with newer distilleries, their initial products were young and in need of age and refinement.   Today, however, they make some of my favorite whiskeys (i.e. Olroso Wheat and Michelone Reserve Bourbon); and now I’m adding OYO Dark Pumpernickel Rye to the list.

 

With a complex yet soothing nose, this rye product makes me dream of warm sweet comfort foods.   When you try this, take some extra time to let the nose take you on this midwestern journey.   Inspect its long slow legs and when you can no longer wait, take a sip.   No, you’re not in Kansas anymore.  This is a full-bodied rye that will keep your interest all the way to the Emerald City.

My Take:  This product was just released at the end of 2015, so it can be a little tough to find, but if you see it on the shelf, grab it!  At $55, drink it neat or over ice, although it would probably mix quite well in a cocktail.  Aged at least 3 years, it is mature enough to hold it’s own against any other rye that I’ve tried.   Although I think any whiskey drinker would enjoy this, those of you with a deep appreciation for rye’s will really treasure this jewel.

Until next time, Drink Passionately!

 

 

The Spirits Define the Man…

 

Brrrr….. Three degrees (Fahrenheit) outside so I’m staying inside as much as possible today.   While I was watching the morning news and the debate over Obama’s SotU speech, my mind thankfully strayed away to a question that I began to ponder: ‘Does the spirits that a person drinks reflect that individuals personality‘?

I don’t doubt that there is some validity to this question. Sure, I enjoy the mainstream spirits from Wild Turkey, Beam, Heaven Hill, Patron, and the like; however, I feel that the spirits that better represent my personal character are not always seen at the local bar.  Here are some of my go-to, less-mainstream spirits that I regularly enjoy at home.

OYO Michelone Reserve Bourbon             OYO Oloroso Wheat Whiskey

Whistlepig Old World Whiskey                  Parker Heritage 7 Promise of Hope Bourbon

Noah’s Mill Bourbon                                      Johnny Drum Bourbon

High West Double Rye Whiskey                 Defiant American Single Malt Whisky

Ardbeg Islay Single Malt Whisky                Tamdhu Speyside Single Malt Whisky

Cava de Oro Extra Anejo Tequilla                Tears of Llorona Extra Anejo Tequila

So that’s who I am.   Now I’d like to hear from you.   What spirits reflect your character?  20160113_110728

 

Born in a Barn? No Foolin’!

20151121_133135[1]It’s 20 degrees outside, and the forecast is for up to 4 inches of snow tomorrow.  So as I typically the case in my evening routine, I went to my liquor cabinet for a little warmer-upper.   After a little pondering, I decided to commemorate this cold snap by picking something from Ohio’s own snow belt; you guessed it, Cleveland’s own Tom’s Foolery Rye Whiskey.

The distillation methods used by the folks at Tom’s Foolery are really quite interesting, using a grain to bottle approach that even includes the grinding of their grains.   But the real question is whether this whiskey provided the warmth that I was wanting?

Let’s check it out:

Visually, Tom’s Foolery Rye was packaged in a nice looking bottle with a 20160112_092916wax wrapped cork stopper.  The spirit itself although appearing rather thin in texture did leave some lingering legs on the glass.  With a color that was a soothing toasted golden brown, it created a mental image of a warm summers day as opposed to that of a cold winters evening.  But enough with the daydreaming, it was time to take a sip.

Hmmm, I have to say, the nose was somewhere between complex and unusual.  The nose led with a strong astringent, perhaps citrusy quality with a trailing sweetness that made me go hmmmm?

At first taste, I felt a tingle all throughout my mouth, once again rather unusual.  Finally, a  warmth settled into the back of my throat(there it is).  A mild harshness of ethanol was present, most likely a result of the youth of the product as well as the mash bill (70% rye – 30% malt) content.   I anticipated that the mouthfeel would settle down, but it never really did.  Yet, after each sip, I would be left with a sweet taste in my mouth and sometimes followed by an earthiness of an almost mushrooms-like quality.  Hmmmmm.

So I decided to try something a little out of the ordinary for me; I plopped in a sliver of an ice cube.   Sure enough, most of the burn and astringency went away.  Additionally, a hint of cinnamon and malt started to become present.  Ah ha!

My Take:  Although Tom’s Foolery is a relatively new operation, it utilizes some wonderful old-school techniques that speak to the passion of it’s owners, Tom, and Lianne Herbruck.  It’s obvious that Tom’s Foolery Rye Whiskey lacks the age that brings the fantastic character and definition to a whiskey, but I still found it to be very drinkable, and without a doubt, mix worthy.    At around $35 per bottle, it’s worth having one or two in my collection, in support of this passionate micro-distillery.   I look forward to keeping a close eye on the Tom’s Foolery products as they continue to age.

Drink Passionately!

Tom’s Foolery began as a hobby: a barn, a still, and a family with passion for quality and tradition.   Today, we make all our products the same way, by hand, just one-barrel-at-a-time.   Tom’s Foolery is a traditional American distillery where we make great products from scratch and share the experience with friends. “