The World of Whiskey

Whiskey whiskey, you can be the devil. Why are some so hard to get? Why are some so expensive? What is the difference in all of them?

To start, there are a few different kinds of whiskey. It can be made from various sources, mostly corn, rye, barley and wheat. The base material is a good general indicator of what the finished product will taste like, before the aging process also manipulates the end result.

Bourbon can only be called such if the whiskey is at least 51% corn in the mash bill, and it must be aged in a first used charred barrel. (The mash bill is basically the recipe that each individual distiller uses for their whiskey) It can be from anywhere in the United States and can be aged for any amount of time. In order to have “Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey” on the label, the bourbon must be aged at lease 2 years and can not have any coloring added.

Rye consumption has increased rapidly in the past year, mainly due to a combination of better quality products and the high cost of whiskeys in general. Rye whiskey must be 51% rye, the rest of the rules apply as they do to Bourbon. There is also a large influx of Canadian Whiskey, but here we’re only addressing American Rye. It tends to have a spicier, almost oily coating quality to it. Often used in cocktails, it imparts a lighter and drier flavor than the richer drinks made with the sweeter Bourbon.

Those are the two we most encounter here in the United States. But why is whiskey getting so expensive and hard to find? Most of the time when people discuss this, they’re talking Pappy Van Winkle. Bottles start now at $600 for the entry level bourbon, and go up to $5000 for rare bottles. Pappy is made at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, and is known for having a richer flavor for its addition of wheat to the mash bill, as well as small amounts of malted barley added. I’ve had it. It’s not bad. Worth that much money is another story!

Be wary of the whiskey you choose. As with Scotch, which is aged in old Bourbon barrels, Sherry barrels or Madeira barrels, bourbon and rye flavor profiles can change with extra aging too. Also, check out the background of your whiskey. Maker’s Mark is a huge production, but they have their own distillery, as does Buffalo Trace. Jack Daniels is a Tennessee Whiskey, which means it’s made under a different process involving charcoal filtration. Bulleit’s distillery won’t be done being built until 2016. They have been selling whiskey for years, but they make and blend it somewhere else. There are a lot of whiskies that do that it. It’s expensive to build a distillery. Some very good ones are made this way. Some are more specific, as Four Roses, which produces its own strain of yeast for their distillation. The end result is a huge array of different whiskies, all with a different flavor profile.

When discovering whiskey, start with the basics. Try the big ones! Then as you refine your taste for it, try some small batch bourbons and ryes. They’re made in very small quantities, and tend to be harder to get and have a smaller amount of people involved in the process.

Currently Bottlenose carries several small-batch, hard-to-find, or unusual whiskeys that you should definitely know about. About a month ago, we got in our first order of Hire Wire “Revival” Bourbon Whiskey. This product comes to us from Charleston, South Carolina, and is made by husband-and-wife team, Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall. Contrary to popular belief, Bourbon does not necessarily need to be produced in Kentucky. What’s cool about this product is that it is “finished” for nine months in Madeira barrels. You’ll notice notes of raisin, light smoke, vanilla, spice, and toffee. The Madeira finishing imparts a richer, more fruit-forward palate. We are one of the very few retailers in New York City to offer this.

​We have featured the lineup of whiskeys from Dark Horse Distilleries for some time now, but their brand is always worth mentioning again. They are based in Kansas City, Missouri, and we offer their Bourbon and Rye. We only have one more bottle of the Barrel Strength Rye left, and at almost 57% ABV, you’ll want to grab it! It’s a whopper. Dark Horse is cool because they are small-batch and run their own facility, which is more than can be said of larger companies.

​McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey comes to us from Clear Creek Distillery in Portland and represents an American’s producer’s homage to Single Malt Scotch. It is made from 100% peat-malted barley brought in from Scotland and features of a petey-ness that most closely mimics the single malts of Islay—most specifically Lagavulin. This is a great choice for those of you who like both Scotch and American whiskey. Enjoy this hybrid!

​High West “Double Rye” is brought in from Park City, Utah—Utah’s first distillery, opened in 1870. It gets its name from the fact that it is a combination of two ryes—one that is two years old and the other that is sixteen years old. You’ll taste notes of cinnamon, honey, anise, and “gin-like” evergreen flavors. If you’ve never tried a whiskey from out West, this might be your chance.

Rosé… Think Pink!

Rosé is a mystery to most. Most of us are polarizingly white or red wine drinkers, until the second bottle to say the least. Though made all year, when summer comes along, we see tons of this pretty pink wine pop up all over the place. But what is it made from? Is it going to be dry? Nothing that pink can’t not be sweet right?
Rosé is made from the same grapes that all the reds you drink are from. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Grenache and many more all are used to make rosé. The color of the wine you drink depends on how long the grape skins are left in contact with the grape juice. When the skins of the red wines are kept in contact with the juice, the color can darken to make a dark rosé or a red wine if you want to keep going! This is the most popular way to make rose, although some are a blend of red and white. When the grapes are crushed to make red wine, as the juice runs from the grapes they separate it off and use it to make the pink rose wines.
Next time you are looking for a Rosé don’t let the dark ones scare you! They are usually fuller bodied, with richer concentration of flavors and can have nice acid and tannins too that red wine drinkers traditionally look for. Provence is known for Rosé, and that is the benchmark that many have come to know and love. There are serious Rosés out there too that pair enthusiastically with food and can even be aged.
Mystery solved. Come in and taste some!

Mayacamas Vineyards

Mayacamas is an iconic vineyard that is located in the mountains that separate the valleys of Sonoma and Napa. Mayacamas is thought to mean in the now extinct Wappo Native American tribe language “the howl of the mountain lion” . This is why on the label you can see two howling lions.

Mayacamas was built in the late 1880’s by a sword engraver turned pickle merchant, John Henry Fisher. He made and sold wine until the property fell into hard times in the 1920’s, the depression and prohibition was to blame. Selling illegally made grappa and wine to the catholic church for mass didn’t keep them afloat. In 1941 Jack and Mary Taylor bought the winery, and renamed it Mayacamas for the surrounding mountains, and planted what would come to be known as world class Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

In 1968, the property fell to Bob and Eleanor Travers. Bob had just learned winemaking at Heitz Cellers, and loved the potential of the property at Mayacamas. Throughout the years, this vineyard has put out classic and beautiful expressions of Cabernet and Chardonnay, with a high potential for aging. They have stood up against some of the finest wines in the world at the “Judgement of Paris” a highly regarded wine tasting that pits the finest French and American wines against each other testing not only taste and style, but aging ability as well.

Here at Bottlenose, we carry the Mayacamas Chardonnay 2011 and the Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.

Come enjoy a bottle of this legendary wine.

Wine of the Month – April

This month we have a offer on one of our best selling and most popular wines – Mont Rocher Carignan.

A beautiful cherry red colour. The nose shows an abundance of intense red berry fruit and hints of vanilla flavours. The palate is soft, full flavoured with a smooth easy drinking finish.

Was $90.00 – Now only $78.50
Additional Information
Case available Yes
Bottle Size 75cl
Body Medium
Style Fruity
Grape Carignan
Region Languedoc
Country France
Price £78.50

Wine is…

Wine makers and sommeliers from around California explain what wine means to them.

Amazing Spirit Labels 2014

Competition amongst liquor brands is intense. These inspiring and imaginative designs help their products stand out from the crowd.

There is a lot of competition among liquor producers to stand out on the store shelves. Often this means creative and unique bottle shapes or eye-catching labels. Needless to say we have come a long way from the jug and cork. Here are 10 awesome examples of liquor bottle labels…

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