Today is National Bourbon Day! I think you know what to do! 😉
Today is National Bourbon Day! I think you know what to do! 😉
As part of trying a few Irish Whiskey’s I picked up a fifth of The Dubliner Irish Whiskey Bourbon Cask Aged which is 80 proof and quite pleasant when served neat in the glass. Reviews are not especially stellar for this bottle, probably because there are Bourbons at the same price tag, $26, which are much more complex. I have not found Irish Whiskey to be overly complex in general, but I have found it to be quite enjoyable which is a key piece of the puzzle. The flavor contains quite a bit of sweet honey coupled to caramel and finishes with a nice residual sweetness and a light alcohol burn to remind you this is Whiskey. Bourbon is a bit of an afterthought to my tastebuds, but it is present nonetheless. Not sure I will shell out the funds for another bottle, but if someone offered it to me I certainly would not turn it down.
You know how they say a picture is worth 1,000 words. How about several photos which demonstrate a point. I got to wondering the House ABC Committee and their decision to gut House Bill 500 and why that might have happened. Then I took a few minutes and looked at the campaign contributions they have received from the NC Wine & Beer Wholesalers and it paints a picture of pay to play politics. Take a gander at the screen shots below and see if you come to the same conclusion.
It should be noted a few are not in the pocket of the NC Wine & Beer Wholesalers, but it should be obvious a majority of the committee are on Tim Kent’s payroll through campaign contributions.
When McClelland’s Highland Single Malt Scotch went on sale in NC I decided to give it a whirl since it was a single malt for $22 a fifth. Unfortunately every inexpensive whiskey cannot be a winner. This one was rough around the edges and everywhere else. It did work well after having other palate numbing foods and beverages, but had a rough raw oak/wood character which had undertones of cedar. It just did not trip my trigger and for the same price I can pickup a blended Scotch or Bourbon which would be more enjoyable. I tried it neat and with water and never found the secret sauce to making this wonderful other than having it once your tastebuds had been beaten to submission by another alcoholic beverage. The finish was acceptable, but the harsh wood character is just a bit much for my tastes. At $22 it is a pass and so if you find it for more, it is even more of a pass. The wood also made the alcohol present as almost hot. At 80 proof it really should be easier to consume. Pass on this one if your tastes are similar to my own. It really is not worth the price of admission.
As I was finishing up the bottle of Medley’s Private Stock 10 Year I realized I never mentioned Old Medley 12 Year on the blog. The 12 Year was around a $50 price point and quite tasty as I remember with a nice presence of brown sugar and leather. It had much in common with all the Bourbon’s in the Medley family and Wathen’s. Medley Private Stock was a bit more pricey approaching $60 and despite being 90 proof it was actually a bit on the hot side to me for drinking neat and so I enjoyed it with a cube. It didn’t take much to tame it and once a little ice melt happened the flavor blossomed. Neat it had an interesting cedar aromatic with quite a bit of pepper and spicy rye. Brown sugar and leather round out the flavor with a spice finish and hits of sweetness. This turns out to be a somewhat rare Bourbon. Private Stock was only released in 20 markets and only 1,000 cases were available so if you missed it when it hit and don’t run into a bottle it is more than likely flown the coop. Never fear, Medley always seems to released something on occasion and everything I have had from them and Frank-Lin have been quite tasty.
As part of my Irish Whiskey excursion I got a bottle of West Cork Irish Whiskey Bourbon Cask when it when on sale at NCABC for $21.95. I must say it was much less sweet than 2 Gingers I mentioned recently on the blog. Neat this one was much more interesting, but still was not complex enough to keep my attention. The Bourbon mainly presented itself as oak rather than truly having Bourbon character. The flavor was lightly spicy with cinnamon and light pepper characteristics. It also had a fruit apple character and a touch of citrus. At 22 beans this one is one to try if you have not tried it before or if you are looking for an Irish Whiskey which is nice to have neat. I’m still looking for complexity, but at this price point you should definitely give this one a whirl and decide if it is up your alley or not your cup of tea.
When it went on sale at NCABC for $16.95, I picked up a fifth of 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey to give it a whirl. I’ve been trying to expand my horizons and to give time to other spirits besides Bourbon and Scotch. Most proclaim Irish Whiskey to finish sweeter than Bourbon and Scotch and thus far I have found that to be true. 2 Gingers is just a tad sweeter than some blended Scotch, but not cloying. I drank it neat and found it tasty neat, but not overly complex and borderline boring. It had honey, citrus, and a light spice attribute. I’m sure it was crafted for mixing and it would be just fine for that purpose. It was a good choice to accompany food and I had several meals and snacks with a glass nearby. I probably would not stock the bar with 2 Gingers, but if you were running out to a party and wanted an Irish Whiskey which would not assault your palate and would pair well with whatever your host brought out it would be an excellent choice. Couple that to a low price and I can see it becoming the life of the party. On the other hand, if you want to sit on the couch and contemplate life I might seek out something with more character because we all philosophize best with a complex beverage in our hand. 😉
It’s been rare in the past I have highlighted places I believe you should visit and I’ll try to correct that in the future. Last night I found myself in Columbia, SC at a bar named Bourbon and had an experience worth sharing. Most of the time any bar with a name like Bourbon or including Bourbon has very little Bourbon on the shelf when you actually get there. This place is the exception and was truly exceptional. They have a long list of Bourbons, many of which are near impossible to get even on the secondary market. The pricing on some was out of sorts, but there is a cost associated with procuring those fifths so I’m not going to begrudge them for their pricing. Some Bourbons were downright affordable to even be called cheap. You could get a half pour of any of their offerings and their selection was as good if not better than Front Street in Wilmington, NC which I consider the gold standard for Bourbon bars. They have food and it was very good, but the draw here is the bar and the Bourbon. So get in the car, head to Columbia, and thank me later.
On Wednesday Senate Bill 155 was introduced and while I wish it was more encompassing, it is nice someone finally realized there is no reason to wait until noon to have a bloody mary at brunch on Sunday. This bill addresses two things, one of which is the silly rule to only allow alcohol sales at restaurants after noon on Sunday. The second is to allow off-premise free tastings for those holding a distillery permit. Where it falls short is not allowing alcohol sales in retail stores until noon. I’m not saying everyone needs to have a drink at 10am on Sunday, but how about you are heading to lunch with friends and forgot to grab the wine on Saturday before lunch on Sunday. Now you run to the store to quickly pick up a red for the event and are told you need to wait until noon. Why do I need to wait until noon exactly? Because someone feels my ability to purchase alcohol should be based on their religious convictions? That’s a special kind of stupid considering all the various religions and when they have services. Are we to continue to cowtail to the prohibitionists or can we all agree it is 2017 and the chances of someone getting all liquored up and going to church service is not going to change with a change in the laws. This bill is on the right track, but let’s complete the circle and send a message to people like Rev. Mark Creech that his skewed sense of values is not that of the majority of NC.
I finally made all the information available from NCABC work for me. Recently in Wake County the ABC stores got rid of all the waiting lists. Now all bottles are distributed as evenly as possible to the 24 stores in the county. This was an effort to make the system fair for everyone and while I admire it, it really makes it difficult to find something special. The other day I happened to be checking out the NC Warehouse Stock Status Report and spotted a special item on it in stock. I called Wake County ABC to try and order a case to get ahead of the curve and it was allocated so that was not possible. After asking several questions I determined some of the Wake County stores receive their shipments directly from the NC Warehouse and others from the Wake County warehouse. Of the stores close to me, one is a Monday delivery from the NC Warehouse and the other two are Thursday from Raleigh. It was not possible to tell what Monday the one close to me would get the goodies, nor what Thursday, so that meant checking repeatedly. I was out of town last week, but checked one of the Thursday stores on my return and they had not gotten the item. Knowing this I figured the Monday delivery had not received it earlier in the week. As luck would have it I needed to be out and about on Monday to pick up some items and so I went to the ABC store and walked in just as it opened. They had received the item last week, but received one additional case of three yesterday and I was lucky enough to bring one home.
So it is possible to get any new item at a Wake County ABC location. If you can find a location which is convenient to you and determine their warehouse delivery date and time you could simply stop by near opening time on that day and get anything new. As most of the items are not something I am after I will just keep checking the Warehouse report and once I see an item in stock I will then start making the rounds. My next goal with this quest would be to get a list of all the delivery days for all the ABC stores in close proximity. I have three, but knowing another handful could prove useful.