Malty Monday Monitor for August 25, 2014


Below are a few of the more interesting press releases that landed in our inbox this week…

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Mark Gillespie of WhiskyCast Accepts the ALS #IceBucketChallenge

For more information about ALS, the #IceBucketChallenge, or to make a donation, click here to visit the official ALS Association website.

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Goodnight Brew

Goodnight Brew: “Pitcher Book” for Beer Lovers Taps September 2014

Goodnight Brew: A Parody for Beer People, will be available from Bailiwick Press, bookstores, gifts shops, and Amazon in early September.

A spoof of the beloved children’s book Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Brew is a full-color “pitcher book” for grown-ups. In the charming story, the brewery employees—including three little otters (in charge of the water), a wort hog, and a hops wildebeest—introduce us to the brewing equipment, ingredients, and styles of beer. Join this fanciful crew as they close down for the evening and say goodnight to the brew kettle, barley and yeast, hops and mash, saison, porter, IPA, and much more.

Befuddled about beer ingredients?  Puzzled about the brew process?  Can’t remember the difference between an ale and a lager? Don’t miss the brew infographics that follow the story!

Goodnight Brew has already captured the attention of brewing experts and beer enthusiasts alike:

“This is the perfect nightcap.” — Pete Limbach, Carnival Technician, New Belgium Brewing Company

“In the music world, a cover song is only worth recording if it can top the original. Goodnight Brew brings that same attitude to the classic children’s book. After reading you’ll wonder why anybody ever bothered with that moon business. The perfect gift for the baby-toting beer geek.”— Patrick Dawson, author of Vintage Beers

“A perfect piece of joy and beer-musement!” — Michael Bussmann, Social Networking Nerd, New Belgium Brewing Company

“Goodnight Brew is a curious hybrid—like a smoked IPA or stout brewed with strawberries—that entertains and informs. With the wit and authority you’d expect from a bedtime story about beer, this crazy book leaves you dreaming of hops and barley while inspiring you to get to the nearest brewery and thank the creators for their hard work.” — Will Siss, beer columnist and blogger at beersnobwrites.com

“This book easily brings out a smile and the desire to meet a hops wildebeest in his natural brewery habitat.” — John Holl, editor of All About Beer Magazine and author of The American Craft Beer Cookbook.

“Goodnight Brew is completely adorable. More breweries would do well to operate with such fancy. But most impressive is the amount of quality word-play without resorting to a single hop-based pun.” — Michael Kiser, Good Beer Hunting

Karla “Ann E. Briated” Oceanak is the nom de brew of the author of the beloved Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel Series for young readers. She has been a writer and editor for more than 20 years and speaks on children’s literacy. Allie Ogg is an illustrator, potter, and fine artist. She also works at Equinox Brewing. They both live in Fort Collins, Colorado.

For more information, visit www.bailiwickpress.com.

Goodnight Brew, written by Karla “Ann E. Briated” Oceanak, illustrated by Allie Ogg, ISBN 978-1-934649-50-3, published by Bailiwick Press, distributed by Legato Publishers Group, an affiliate of Publishers Group West, available October 2014, $16.95 USA / $18.50 Canada, humor, hardcover, 32 pages, 10” x 8.5”, color illustrations.

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Voting Now Open for Icons of Whisky America 2015

Icons of WhiskyNominations have now closed for Icons of Whisky America 2015, and Whisky Magazine would like to thank you for taking the time to identify the finest companies and individuals in the whiskey industry. We now invite you to vote online for the best of these retailers, producers, distributors and importers by visiting http://www.iconsofwhisky.com/vote. You will have the chance to vote for your top three nominees in any category according to the guidelines below:

Retailers may vote for nominees in the following categories:

  • Producer awards  (e.g. Whisky Distiller, American Whiskey Ambassador)
  • Distributor & importer awards (e.g. Whisky Distributor)

Producers may vote for:

  • Retail awards (e.g. Whisky Retailer – Single Outlet)
  • Distributor & importer awards

Distributor and importers may vote for:

  • Producer awards
  • Retail awards

Journalists may vote for nominees in all categories

Please visit http://www.iconsofwhisky.com/vote by Thursday 28th August 2014 to vote for the very best in the industry – it will take less than two minutes to complete.

Once voting is closed and finalised, the winners of the Icons of Whisky America 2015 will be announced and presented in Bardstown, Kentucky in conjunction with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival and the Bourbon Hall of Fame on Wednesday 17th September 2014.

We very much look forward to receiving your vote.

Best wishes,

Rupert Wheeler

Whisky Magazine
Managing Editor

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Iron Hill Brewery’s “The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale” Launches on 9/5/2014!

IHTheGreatImperialPumpkinWILMINGTON, DE – On Friday, 9/5/2014, beginning at 5 p.m., all 10 regional Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant locations will celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of a new season with the annual release of both The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale and Classic Pumpkin Ale.  Iron Hill’s award-winning Pumpkin Ale will be available on draught at all 10 locations through Halloween (Friday, October 31), and pumpkin lovers will be able to take home The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale in cork-finished 750 mL bottles for a limited time.

“I can’t think of a style of beer that we do here at Iron Hill that evokes such pomp and circumstance.  This is a release that our fans mark down on their calendars months and months in advance,”  saysDirector of Brewing Operations Mark Edelson.  “Pumpkin Ale is also one of our favorite beers to make, too, with its spicy and bold flavors – it really tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass – and we look forward to pouring our award-winning pumpkin ales throughout the season.”

Iron Hill’s Pumpkin Ale is a medium-bodied, copper-colored ale with malt-y sweetness and a balancing bitterness.  It is spiced with traditional pumpkin pie spices and vanilla, in lieu of finishing hops, for intensely seasonal flavor.  The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale is a hearty autumnal beer brewed each year with more than 200 pounds of pumpkins, as well as pumpkin pie spices, molasses and Belgian candi sugar, giving it a rich flavor and heady aroma, evocative of wool sweaters, crisp evenings by the fire and all things fall.  Throughout the season, the beer will be sold as a Bottled Reserve, Iron Hill’s line of cork-finished 750 ml bottles, for $19.50.  The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale’s collectible bottles feature a custom-designed label from local artist Jeff Schaller, inspired by the beloved comic strip Peanuts. 

Highlighted events will include:

  • September 6, 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. – Iron Hill Maple Shade will host its annual Welcome, Great Pumpkin party by pouring pints and tulips of Pumpkin Ale, The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Cinderella’s Carriage, Bourbon Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Bourbon Cindy
  • September 13, 12 noon until 6 p.m. – Iron Hill Wilmington will host a multi-tap event with five different styles of pumpkin beer:  Pumpkin Ale, Charlie Pumpkin Brown, Great Pumpkin Stout, Pumpkin Weiss, Ichabod Imperial Pumpkin Ale
  • September 19, 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. – Iron Hill Voorhees will celebrate the rite of fall by paying tribute to Cinderella’s Carriage, a Belgian-style pumpkin ale spiced with cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg
  • September 20, 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. – Iron Hill North Wales will host its Pumpkinfest party by pouring pints and tulips of Pumpkin Ale, Ichabod Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Weiss, Bourbon Pumpkin Ale, Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Spiced Porter
  • September 20, 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. – Iron Hill Phoenixville will welcome pumpkin lovers back with Welcome to Pumpkinville!, a multi-tap event featuring Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Cask Conditioned Pumpkin Ale, Vanilla Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Weiss, Great Pumpkin Stout

Founded by home brewers Kevin Finn and Mark Edelson and restaurateur Kevin Davies in Newark, DE in 1996, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant has blossomed from one restaurant and brewery to 10 locations across the mid-Atlantic, with an 11th location, in Ardmore, PA scheduled to open in the coming year.  Each restaurant is dedicated to producing and serving top-quality hand-crafted beers and cuisine in a warm and hospitable setting, and all are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

Locations include:  Newark, DE (147 East Main Street, 302-266-9000);  Wilmington, DE (620 Justison Street, 302-472-2739);  Media, PA (30 East State Street, 610-627-9000);  West Chester, PA (3 West Gay Street, 610-738-9600);  North Wales, PA (1460 Bethlehem Pike, 267-708-2000);  Phoenixville, PA (130 East Bridge Street, 610-983-9333);  Lancaster, PA (781 Harrisburg Pike, 717-291-9800);  Maple Shade, NJ (124 East Kings Highway, 856-273-0300); Voorhees, NJ (13107 Town Center Boulevard, 856-545-9009);  and Chestnut Hill, PA (8400 Germantown Avenue, 215-948-5600).

For more information about Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, or to make a reservation at any of their locations, please visit www.ironhillbrewery.com, follow them on Twitter (@ironhillbrewery) and like them on Facebook.

A Whisky Retreat with @WhiskyRaj of Purple Valley Imports…


Mark Monaco and Whisky Raj hiding behind the afternoon’s libation selections.

The magic of the interwebz never ceases to amaze me! Way back in mid-March, I found out that Raj Sabharwal (aka @WhiskyRaj on Twitter) of Purple Valley Imports would be in Philly on April 24th and 25th. This information came my way via a brief chat that we were having on Twitter. After several back and forth emails, we finally settled on a date, time, and place for what Raj called a Whisky Retreat. This small gathering, which was arranged for us by Mark Monaco of Palateur Imports, would take place at Misconduct Tavern in Center City Philadelphia on Friday, April 25th at 1PM. In addition to Raj, Limpd, Mark Monaco, and I, we were also joined by Mark Gillespie of WhiskyCast and Chris Markham, one of the owners of Misconduct Tavern.

The date and time of this gathering brought to mind an Esquire article from 2009 titled “In Praise of the Weekday Afternoon Lost to Drinking“. While I’m nowhere near as brazen as the author, i.e. our Whisky Retreat was planned in advance and vacation time was used, I can wholeheartedly appreciate losing yourself in drinks and conversation during a business lunch and NOT returning to work. The last paragraph of the Esquire articles sums up the rationale for a “lost afternoon” beautifully…

As with all afternoons liberated from work, you’ll never remember a single second of the time you spent at the office the day before, nor the day after. But that day, you remember.

Now that you know how this Whisky Retreat came together, let’s talk about what went down via an email chat that took place between Limpd and I earlier this week…

G-LO: Well Yo Ho Ho! That certainly was a fine way to end the work week and kick off the weekend. I thought for sure that work would get in my way and spoil my plans, but thankfully, they spared me this time around.

First things first. I was totally surprised by the Misconduct Tavern expansion. I think The Alemonger mentioned that it was happening, but I completely forgot about it. The place looks great and now there’s more room to spread out a bit.

Limpd: I think Chris said they took over a part of The Vesper Club and the alley and parking lot adjacent to Misconduct. The new place looks fantastic and appears to double the size of the original area. I like how they wrapped the bar to include the new space and added all of the new tables.

It was great to have the time to sit down and talk to Raj of Purple Valley Imports (PVI Global). Normally, we get a couple of minutes at an event or a minimum number of characters. I wasn’t expecting to meet up with Mark Monaco of Palateur Imports. Interesting career going from IBM to DiBruno’s and now importing champagne, wine and spirits as well as a variety of food products and let’s not forget the Speyside Glenlivet Water. And, it is always great to catch up with Mark Gillespie of WhiskyCast.

Our first glass was one of Raj’s new items. What did you think of the Mahon Gin from Menorca, Spain?

Mahon Gin

G-LO: I’m so glad to see that Raj brought the Mahon Gin to the tasting. He’s been talking about it quite a bit on Twitter, so it was nice to give it a try. Much like yourself, I haven’t had all that much gin over the years, so I’m far from an expert. That being said, I really liked it and would definitely welcome the opportunity to explore it further. It wasn’t overly piney like some other gins that I’ve tried. It also tasted really good over ice with a bit of that Speyside spring water added to the mix. Very refreshing!

This was definitely a different kind of tasting. Raj brought a really interesting line up, but given the circumstances, I can’t help but feel like our little gathering was less about the whisky and more about just talking and getting to know a bit about each other (that’s a really good thing by the way!). It was a low key and highly relaxed afternoon that just happened to involve some really tasty food and booze.

For me, the most interesting part was finding out about all of the common threads we shared and about everyone’s career trajectories. Mark Monaco and I went to the same college and we knew a few of the same people. Raj and yourself have worked in the same industry. Chris worked in various bars around Philadelphia before buying Misconduct. Mark worked all around the country as a journalist before finally settling down in Haddonfield and going full speed ahead with WhiskyCast. And of course you and I have this whole blogging thing going on while still working at our day jobs. Of course the real common thread is whisky, and there certainly was plenty of that flowing during our wee retreat.

Mark Gillespie and Raj Sabharwal

Limpd: It’s amazing to think that you and Mark could have been in a class together, or that I could have crossed paths with Raj. And, I still can’t get over watching Mark Gillespie pull out a piece of recording equipment to conduct an interview with Raj right in front of us. It makes it seem like we are really “in the know” and not just a couple of chuckleheads drinking on the back porch.

As respects the gin, I know what you mean. While I don’t have a lot of experience with it, I really liked the Mahon. Not like drinking an evergreen at all, and what a pretty, shiny bottle. I could say the same thing about the bottle of Dumangin Vieux Marc de Champagne that Mark Monaco brought. I thought that champagne brandy was really good and a little too easy drinking.

Besides the spirits, we had the cask strength Stalk & Barrel, the Tweeddale Blend, the Amrut Kadhambam, and three bottles from Blackadder (an Amrut peated cask, a 23 yr old Blairfindy and a 21 yr old Macallan). I’m not sure what I liked the best. The Kadhambam with its blend of sherry, brandy and rum casks was very good. The Macallan was interesting in that I don’t think I have had a Macallan that old that wasn’t sherried. The Tweeddale was a very good blend that tastes far more polished than its 12 yr old statement would suggest. Did you have a favorite?

G-LO: It’s definitely possible to be “in the know” and still be a chucklehead. Let’s not get too full of ourselves!

With respects to Gillespie, definitely impressive to see him do an interview on the fly. You should have seen him pull together that tasting at last April’s “event that dare not speak its name”. Keep in mind that he had six or seven of us tasting whisky while hundreds of people were behind us not exactly being quiet. While it’s always great to see the man work, the bigger thrill was chatting with him without the microphones around. It was definitely Gillespie at Cask Strength!

I’m impressed that you were able to remember everything we tasted. I keep forgetting that you have a photographic memory. There was definitely an interesting mix of spirits on the table. Gin, brandy, blended Scotch, and Single Malts. Add in the delicious sandwiches that we had (need to try those pulled pork and quail egg sliders you ordered. If we didn’t have witnesses I would have pilfered one from your plate!) and our little retreat approaches legendary status.

As is usually the case when it’s just a casual tasting, I wasn’t paying all that much attention to the whiskies. By that I mean that I wasn’t trying to understand what was going on in the glass. I was just drinking, eating, and talking. Not saying that the booze was an afterthought, just saying that I wasn’t really rating them. That being said, the real stand outs for me were the Mahon Gin and the two Amrut whiskies because they were incredibly different from everything else that was on the table. That Blackadder one was particularly delicious. I’d be happy to have either one of those Amruts in my whisky cabinet. Tis a pity that they’re no longer available for purchase.

Going back to the conversations, it was really interesting to get some behind the scenes information about the whisky industry in general. It really gave me an appreciation of what people like Raj and Allison Patel have to go through to bring their product to market. And then there was “the inside skinny” with regards to all of the whisky events that happen across the country. I was always curious to know how that all comes together and how expensive it can get.

Limpd: You just can’t help but gloat about WhiskyLive. Disgraziato! And, thanks for keeping my ego in check. Just because we get invited to nice things doesn’t necessarily mean we deserve to be there.

I would say that Mark wasn’t just “cask strength” but that he was unfiltered as well. With his wealth of knowledge, he can really reach back and lambast some producers for their boneheaded moves.

I agree. The afternoon was more about camaraderie than a formal whisky tasting. With the pre-game beer, the food, the conversation, and all of the whisky and spirits, lunch was a bit of blur, but certainly one of the best lunches that I have had in some time. Kudos to Raj and Mark Monaco for pulling it together .

We have wondered aloud a number of times just how Raj and Allison take their product from the barrel to the market. I thought it was interesting to hear both Mark Monaco and Raj describe the effort (especially in PA) to get their product not just into the US but to their final destination. I was quite surprised to find that Raj’s PVI is into 30+ states. Additionally, I had no idea how much money was put into the whiskey events which are essentially trade shows for them. I would have thought a nominal table fee would be assessed as the producers are giving away their products. It never occurred to me that the host would charge a big nut to the producers as well as charge the attendees. This information seems to support the drop-off at the last few SMWSA events in Philly and the elimination of their events in Philly and NY this year.

And, while Raj was a bit of tease in bringing in product that is no longer available, he did manage to locate a bottle or two of the Blairfindy (alas the 15 and not the 23) and they should be here in time for Father’s Day. I figure a gift for me and a gift for Pappy. (Or, maybe just two gifts for me.)

G-LO: Gloat? Me? Never! It’s not my fault that you came down with some form of the plague prior to the big event. Speaking of which, doesn’t Miracle Max still owe you a bottle for taking that ticket off your hands? How’s that for good old Catholic guilt?

Mark was definitely fired up in a good way (or perhaps he was Flyered up given his love for hockey). Although the conversation went a bit over my head at times, it was interesting to hear the two Marks and Raj talk the industry talk. Definitely a tough business, but also very satisfying and fun when things finally come together. I’d switch industries in a heartbeat if the right opportunity came along (how’s that for a not so subtle hint? Heh).

And how was Raj a tease exactly? He could have NOT brought those rarities and simply told us about them. I didn’t realize you placed an order. Somehow I doubt that your Pappy (not to be confused with Mr. Van Winkle) will ever see any of it.

Geez. I didn’t think we’d go on this long. Any final thoughts?

Limpd: I am with you. There has to be more to life than sitting in the cubical farm. Of course, until the kids are a bit older, we need to focus on the difference between a vocation and an avocation. I call Raj a tease in jest. He was (and has always been) quite generous with the samples. I think the mark of a good sample is that you crave more. That was certainly the case with our lunch lineup.

And, now to World Whisky Day!

G-LO: Ohhhhh! I almost forgot about World Whisky Day! Hopefully we can pull something fabulous out of our hats for that most wondrous of days. Let’s put the planning session on the agenda.

Agreed on Raj! Super generous guy and an absolute gentleman in the truest sense of the word. I can’t thank him enough for his hospitality. Here’s hoping that we cross paths with him again very very soon.

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Many thanks to Raj Sabharwal, Mark Monaco, Mark Gillespie, and Chris Markham for inviting us to join them for this very special Whisky Retreat!

Listen to Us Talk About Irish Whiskey on this Month’s WhiskyCast Virtual Tastings


Mark Gillespie

The great Mark Gillespie at The Barthenon!

Mark Gillespie is either a glutton for punishment, or perhaps he genuinely likes us, because this past Saturday he invited us to record yet another episode of WhiskyCast Virtual Tastings. Not only did he invite us, he even took his show on the road and recorded the March 2014 episode at the Barthenon, i.e. Limpd’s kitchen where we spend a lot of time conducting our extensive adult beverage research.

For this month’s episode, Mark went with an Irish theme and selected three very different Irish whiskies for us to nose, taste, and discuss. Mark brought two of the whiskies, i.e. the Paddy blended Irish whiskey and Redbreast 15 single pot still Irish whiskey, while Limpd raided his basement whisky bunker and selected a bottle of Tyrconnell 14 year old single malt Irish whiskey.

If you too are a glutton for punishment (or perhaps you actually like us and think we know what we’re talking about), click here to give a listen to the Booze Dancing crew and our good friend Miracle Max talk about the goodness that is Irish whiskey.

If you too would like to take part in a future episode of WhiskyCast Virtual Tastings, be sure to email Mark at comments@whiskycast.com (be sure to put “Tasting Panel” in the subject line of your email).

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Once again, many thanks to Mark Gillespie for tolerating our booze infused banter. We had a glorious time!

Whisky Review – The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 2


David Stewart and The Balvenie Tun 1401

A while ago, Mark Gillespie of WhiskyCast fame invited us over to partake in a Virtual Tasting. While the tasting alone would have been more than sufficient, he provided me with a lovely parting gift in the form of a sample of the second batch of Balvenie’s Tun 1401. This was a well-received gift as I really like Balvenie and have commented on more than one occasion that the DoubleWood is a gateway or table Scotch. The Tun 1401 is a limited edition series prepared by Master Distiller David Stewart and named after his favorite marrying tun.

  • Appearance: Light amber with good lacing.
  • Aroma: A little bit astringent with hints of rubber, pineapples and toffee.
  • Taste: Very heavy with the alcohol and a little bit of wood smoke. With water, the alcohol recedes and a balance of the fruit (now more of candied citrus – lemons, oranges) and spices from the wood takeover and lead into a nice, long finish
  • ABV: 50.6%

I found this to be a very complex whisky. And, given the ABV, I have to recommend adding water as the flavors really come alive once the alcohol has been pushed to the background. All I can add is that any time Mark needs an extra panelist, I hope he calls upon me!

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Many thanks to Mark Gillespie for sharing this sample with us!

Whisky Review – The Glenlivet Alpha


The Glenlivet Alpha

When I woke up this past Fourth of July, whisky was the furthest thing from my mind. Scratch that. It was definitely a Top 5 on my list of early morning thoughts.

What I meant to say is that when I woke up this past Fourth of July, I never expected to return from my morning activity with a sample of The Glenlivet Alpha. Here is how it all went down…

At about 8:30AM, I took my eldest son along with Limpd’s eldest son to the “charming, but regrettably dry town of Haddonfield, NJ for their annual Fourth of July Parade (both boys attend the same Tae Kwon Do school and were going to march in the parade together). While waiting for the parade to start, I was goofing around on Twitter and wound up having a brief chat with Mark Gillespie of WhiskyCast and Oliver Klimek of Dramming.com. This Twitter chat eventually led to Mark sharing his Alpha sample with me and an invite for the Booze Dancing crew to do yet another WhiskyCast Virtual Tasting. As I have said many many times, the interwebz is a truly magical place!

Now that you know how I scored a sample of this whisky, let’s find out a bit more about it. Here is what The Glenlivet has to say about their Alpha expression via a very dramatic YouTube video:

Let’s get on with the review…

  • Appearance: Pale golden color with a slight amber tint.
  • Aroma: Very sweet and fruity on the nose. Getting tart peaches backed with creamy vanilla nougat and powdered sugar. Perhaps even a bit of ripe pears. Last but not least, there’s also a touch of peppermint and eucalyptus.
  • Taste: Light bodied with just a touch of oiliness. Quite a bit of heat concentrated on the front half of my tongue (poblano chile perhaps?). From mid-palate to the finish, vanilla and ripe fruits start to come through with just a hint of sweet tobacco at the very end. The finish is dry and mildly fruity with some of those herbal notes showing up in the aftertaste.
  • ABV: 50%

I liken my tasting of The Glenlivet Alpha to stumbling upon a movie that you know absolutely nothing about on HBO, only to find yourself completely sucked in and unable to change the channel. Another way of saying this is that since I had zero expectations (i.e. I read very little about this whisky before sitting down to review it), I just let this whisky reveal itself rather than having a set of preconceived notions about how it would smell or taste.

So did I like this whisky? Hell yes I did! What I enjoyed most about Alpha is how the aromas deceive you into thinking that it will be a soft and gentle dram. While it definitely leans towards the sweet and fruity side of the flavor spectrum, the 50% ABV and moderate spiciness that comes through in the palate remind you that you’re drinking a potent whisky and not some session cocktail. Definitely a dram to sip and savor!

But wait, there’s more…

Here are a few more reviews of this very unique expression from some of my favorite whisky bloggers:

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Many thanks to Mark Gillespie for sharing his sample!

Booze News Flash: A WhiskyCast Virtual Tasting, a Bit of Beertography, and a Blogging Birthday!


This week’s news post is all about us…

The WhiskyLIVE NYC WhiskyCast Virtual Tasting Is Online!

Last Wednesday I posted my review of the 2013 WhiskyLIVE NYC. If you managed to make it to the end of my review, then you already know that I took part in a WhiskyCast Virtual Tasting along with our good friend Miracle Max, Susannah Skiver Barton of the What Tastes Good blog, Ian Chang of Taiwan’s King Car Distillery (makers of Kavalan whisky), Hana Choi of the Style Fare blog, and Hana’s husband Olaf Asprink. Five of us were incredibly eloquent, and one of us was a slurring and babbling mess. If you want to figure out which panelist had a bit too much to drink (hint: they suggested fruiting up a whisky), click here to listen to the podcast on the WhiskyCast website. Please let us know your findings in the comments below.

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Beertographer of the Week

As some of you already know, I’m a bit of an Instagram addict, and two of my favorite things to photograph are Craft Beer and Whisky. Our buddy John Kleinchester runs the Beertography blog and has featured several of my Instagram photos on his website over the past year and a half.

Two weeks ago, John sent me an email and asked if I would like to be featured as his next “Beertographer of the Week”. Since I was incredibly flattered by his offer, I of course said yes! Click here to visit John’s blog, and to find out why I enjoy Beertography so much.

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“It’s just the booze dancing…” Turns Three!

Much like year two of “It’s just the booze dancing…”, year three has been booze infused and action packed! In addition to the usual beer and whiskey reviews, here is a list of some of the other things that we’ve experienced and shared with you over the past twelve months…

As you can see, it’s been a very busy year, and the fact that our livers still function (as far as we know) is a complete miracle!

Thanks to all of you for tolerating yet another year of our booze infused nonsense, and for making this whole blogging adventure an incredibly good time. And please let us know in the comments below what you’d like to see more of over the next twelve months.We’d love to hear your ideas!

Cheers!

Whisk(e)y and Philly Food News For The Week Ending 7/27/2012


Mark Reynier of Bruichladdich Speaks Out About The Bruichladdich Buyout

On July 16 we asked for your opinion about the proposed Bruichladdich buyout by Remy Cointreau. As of this writing, 80% of you went with “It’s not personal. It’s just business.” . The people have spoken and they have decided that the Bruichladdich buyout was a good business decision!

Now it’s Bruichladdich Managing Director Mark Reynier’s turn to speak out about the Remy Cointreau buyout…

The Best Laid Plans (an excerpt from the Bruichladdich blog)

The deal has been signed for Rémy to buy Bruichladdich for £58m including debt.

I am conscious there has had to be a dearth of information surrounding this news. Here’s my explanation of the recent turn of events.

Bruichladdich was the first to be bought out of industry ownership and reopened as a private, operating, single malt distillery. It cost £6.5m in December 2000.

Banks were not accustomed to an individual wanting to buy a distillery. Distilleries were, after all, the reserve of conglomerates and cartels. This hare-brained idea was turned down, out of hand, by every bank except one. And it took eleven months to get them signed up.

To have a chance to develop Bruichladdich along the lines I had in mind, time was essential. Private equity would be needed – and lots of it.

Finding equity investors was not so difficult, and knowing that the stocks of maturing Bruichladdich could be borrowed against, I knew how much equity investment it would take. At least I thought so…

Click here to continue reading Mr. Reynier’s blog post on the Bruichladdich blog website.

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The July Edition of WhiskyCast Virtual Tastings is Now Online

July’s episode of WhiskyCast Virtual Tastings marks the end of its first year, and several members of tasting panels from previous episodes returned to help mark the occasion. Shelly Brisbin, Scott Rogers, Tim Davis, and Sean Fousheé tasted Suntory’s Yamazaki 18-year-old single malt, the Bunnahabhain Toiteach from Islay, and a “Mystery Malt” revealed after the tasting.

To celebrate the anniversary and the start of Year #2, I’ll be giving away a special one-off 20″ X 24″ edition of one of the photos from the WhiskyCast Photo Gallery during August and September. To enter, you’ll need to listen to the August and September episodes for the secret word that appears in each episode. Once you’ve figured out the secret word, email it along with your name, address, and age to contests@whiskycast.com. The July drawing will be held on August 15, and the August drawing will be held on September 15.

If you’d like to be a member of one of our tasting panels, just email comments@whiskycast.com and put “Tasting Panel” in the subject line. There are only a few requirements: you’ll need to have Skype on your computer and a headset or external microphone, and you can’t be employed in the whisky industry.

You can either listen to the podcast online, or download it via iTunes.

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Meet The 2012 Philly Vendy Awards Emcee, Judges, and Finalists

Philadelphia, PA – July 23, 2012 – Nominees have been chosen and the emcee is on board. The battle will take place Saturday, July 28, 2012, 3:00-7:00 p.m. at The Lot @ 39th and Market. “The People” will designate a “People’s Choice’’, but winners of the coveted Vendy Cup and Best Dessert? That power is in the hands of five local food stars. In alphabetical order:

Collin Flatt – editor of Eater Philly, and the first and only editor of NBC’s now-defunct The Feast, and before that, Phoodie.info. He teaches classes at The Wine School of Philadelphia, is a beer consultant for bars, and an educator at The Beer School of Philadelphia.

Anna Goldfarb (Emcee) – A local author, humorist, and screenwriter, her first book, “Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through” is a humor memoir about how terrible she is at being an adult. She writes the popular blog, Shmitten Kitten, and is a contributing writer to The Frisky and Hello Giggles.

Tony Luke Jr. – Twice hailed by Gourmet Magazine for quality and innovation, and covered by GQ, The New York Times and scores of other media, Tony Luke’s redefined the Philly Sandwich experience with specialty favorites. Under his helm, the business has expanded into eight premier locations, making it one of the biggest success stories of the Philadelphia dining renaissance of the last two decades.

Joy Manning – Former restaurant critic for Philadelphia Magazine, Manning is a food writer specializing in restaurant coverage, recipe development, and culinary culture. Her work has appeared in Details, Food & Wine, Relish, Cooking Light, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Serious Eats. She is the co-author of “Almost Meatless” and most recently, worked at Prevention magazine as nutrition editor.

Lari Robling – Former food critic for the Philadelphia Daily News, and author of the internationally acclaimed cookbook “Endangered Recipes”, Robling produces sound-rich audio food segments for WHYY radio, and created a series of podcasts on the history of French cuisine for the American Philosophical Society Museum.

Marcie Turney – One of Philadelphia’s most prominent entrepreneurs, Chef Turney has worked for nearly a decade with partner Valerie Safran to transform the 13th Street neighborhood into Midtown Village. Their businesses include restaurants Barbuzzo, Lolita and Jamonera; gourmet prepared food market Grocery, and lifestyle boutiques Open House and Verde, which is home to Turney’s signature line of chocolates, Marcie Blaine Artisanal Chocolates… 

Click the following link to read the complete press release:

Vendy 2012 Emcees Judges and Finalists

Follow the Vendy Awards on Twitter for the latest news and announcements at @vendysphilly and like them on Facebook at Vendy Awards.