Who makes it? Hillrock Estate Distillery
Mash Bill: ? 63% corn, 37% rye
This was our second mail call and Joel Kath from Proof Artisan distillers sent us not one but three bottles from their distillery in true North Dakotan fashion(according to Erik). So we were up for the challenge and reviewed all three. Kris said that the Crooked Furrow smelled of sweet apples while Erik was more of a buttered popcorn on the nose. For the finish, was smooth and we both agreed that an ice cube is not needed. Then on to Harvest Blend which we both agreed was good but not as good as Crooked Furrow and that there was a flat spot on the finish. Glen Fargo was Kris’s favorite being a single malt and America’s scotch like whiskey.
Kris gave it 8.5, second highest next to Joseph Magnus
Erik gave it 7.5
How much: This will run you around $90.00 and if opt for the Motorhead edition, you’ll have to add 85 bucks to it coming in at $175.00
This big Heavy Bottle of Solera Aged Bourbon from Ancram, NY. The first distillery to traditionally floor malt their grains and solera age their bourbon all while being one of the very few to claim Field-to-Glass. This 850 acre estate that grows all its’ rye and barley is watched over by an 1806 Georgian House which was moved there piece by piece. In the barn a custom American made still, mash tun and spirit receiver designed by none other than Dave Pickerell, who was brought on by Jeffery Baker and Cathy Franklin to create something different in the world of whiskey. They succeeded!
Other products by Hillrock: Single Malt Whiskey, Double Cask Rye Whiskey, plus a Napa Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Sauternes and Cognac finishes. Plus single cask picks by Motorhead and Anthrax.
After we reviewed Copper Sky’s Wheated Bourbon back in December(Copper Sky Wheated Bourbon Review #0018) we called Mike Root(founder, owner and the one who sent us a bottle and sweet samples) and told him how much we enjoyed it. Mike said “come on up for a visit”. We had one thought, WHISKEYVENTURE! The amazing part is that another group down here in Florida, Bourbon and the Bible, were talking to Mike about a Copper Sky barrel pick. Then they saw our review, couldn’t believe the coincidence, asked if we wanted to be involved and of course we said YES! The vote was unanimous, we selected a 13 year light whiskey that came in at 135.3 proof and it was smooth. Plans were made to trek out west.
We flew out to Colorado, met Mike and gave us a tour. We learned Kya Coursen’s unending energy keeps the place humming as Sales Manager and Mixologist, Isaac Haefner, their head blender, explained the magic that happens in their spirit playground. Before we got to work, Mike shared a sneak peek of bourbon barreled rum they were working on and it was awesome! Slightly sweet with a punch of high proof where you might mistake it for whiskey. Can’t wait until this one is released.
Then we all got to it, bottled, corked, labeled, and added our custom label until the barrel was gone. After all that hard work we sat in the tasting room talking with local patrons and relaxed with a few cocktails mixed up by their Director of Mixology Oliver Capece which went down way too easy. We can’t thank Mike and his staff enough for letting us invade his distillery, we had so much fun hanging out we would of camped out in the tasting room all night! If you are into whiskey, we’d highly recommend heading out to Longmont, CO and visiting @copperskylongmont and have a drink and a cocktail!
For our glass review, we used a bottle from review #0014 Iron Smoke Bourbon and a helper Iron Smoke CASKet Strength to put three glasses through the paces. A Rocks(old fashioned) glass, a Glencairn and a Norlan. Since we started reviewing we’ve been using the tried and true Rocks glass. We’ve talked about changing it up and then we received a comment from Zesty Cheesemaker from review #0017 and he said this “hate to say it, but i think you guys are using the wrong glassware… you’re going to need something like a Glencairn to funnel that aroma thereby allowing the flavor’s to shoot through then take a puff of your smoke along w/ it. Hate to say it, but i think you guys are using the wrong glassware… you’re going to need something like a Glencairn to funnel that aroma thereby allowing the flavor’s to shoot through then take a puff of your smoke along w/ it.” So then we figured it was time for a glass showdown.
First, the Rocks glass. It has been around so long that it is the quintessential whiskey glass and official glass of the Old Fashioned. That wide rim and thick base(so non liquid ingredients could be mashed and muddled) that flattens out whiskey’s complex aromatics.
Second, the Glencairn. Developed by Glencairn Crystal Ltd. of Scotland designed by Raymond Davidson. The glass was derived from the traditional nosing copitas used in whisky labs. It would be of no surprise that the Glencairn is the official glass of scotch, endorsed by the Scotch Whiskey Association. I’m sure that master blenders from five of the largest whisky companies in Scotland had nothing to do with it. Production of this glass started in 2001. Plus, the nub at the bottom is where you are supposed to hold the glass for two reasons. One, so you don’t warm up your whiskey with your hand and two, so any smells from your hand(oils, soap etc) are kept away from your nose as not to interfere with the nose of the whisky.
Last, is the Norlan. This beautiful glass was designed by Sruli Recht in 2016. The idea behind this glass was to reduce the ethanol oxidation to surface volume which employed the use of fluid dynamics. So the liquid could be agitated in such a way that the ethanol could escape, reducing the volatility of the spirit and allowing the flavorful aromatics to surface. With it’s double walled design, your hand will not warm up your whiskey and the circumference at the top was made wide enough to fit your nose in your glass when taking a sip.
Poured all three, the Rocks glass on the nose seemed to dissipate quickly and held in just a little longer in the Norlan but the Glencairn was being greedy and holding all those aromatics in. On the palate, the Rocks glass seemed to have less of the alcohol than the Glencairn but you’re able to fit your nose in it. The Norlan seemed to have less alcohol but the spirit seemed cooler that the other two, maybe because of it’s double walled construction.
Our verdict: If you’re tasting a whiskey for the first time and want to catch all the different flavors and smells then a Glencairn would be the choice. If you are going to just sit a relax with one of your go to’s then the Rocks glass is the winner. If you want to show off to your friends and want something that isn’t as dainty as the Glencairn then the Norlan is our pick.