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Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon Whiskey

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.

Copper Sky Distillery Tour, Bottling, and Interview

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!

Whiskey Glass Showdown

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.

Proof – Crooked Furrow, Glen Fargo, and Harvest Blend

Who makes it? Proof Artisan Distillers

Mash Bill: ? (not disclosed)

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 Crooked Furrow 7.5, Harvest Blend 6.0, Glen Fargo 8.0

Erik gave it Crooked Furrow 8.2, Harvest Blend 7.5, Glen Fargo 8.0

How much: for the Glen Fargo about $75, the Crooked furrow about $45, and Harvest Blend ?

The distillery resides in a 1920’s municipal building complete with Judge’s chambers where the tasting room is. For their tasting room, the “minions” salvaged a bar from the Down in Under Pub in Grand Forks, North Dakota that was about to be torn down. The pub has been around since 1892!

Proof is also the first legal distillery in North Dakota since prohibition.

Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend

Who makes it? Joseph Magnus Distillery & Co.

Mash Bill: ? (not disclosed)

We picked up this bottle of Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend and knew that when we cracked it open we needed to have Monte De León Cigars there with us. This sourced bourbon is finished in Armagnac, Sherry, and Cognac casks. Came on strong at 124 proof with notes of molasses, burnt cherry, coco, and leather. After we sampled this delicious bourbon it was time to have a couple of Monte De León’s own cigars in a non-stop rain storm. All of us were soaked (whiskey and rain) and could not have had a better time. We get into a little history of the bottle, grandparents, how some things changed and how some have stayed the same.

Kris gave it 9

Erik gave it 8.6

How much: This will run you about 150 dollars

In 2007 Jimmy Turner found a bottle of bourbon in a closet while cleaning out his parents home after his mother died. It turned out to be a 122 year old bottle passed down from generation to generation, he gathered experts together and they tried to re-produce it’s contents. They found an 8-year-old bourbon aging in Kentucky that had a strikingly similar profile to the original bottle and all agreed that it needed to be finished in a sherry cask.

Nancy Fraley is the Master Blender at Joseph Magnus finishing the 12 year bourbon in a triple cast process using Oloroso Sherry, Ximenez, and Cognac casks.

After we posted our review Nancy Fraley herself commented on our video:

“Hey there @Whiskey and a Hammock, Magnus Master Blender Nancy Fraley here. Fantastic episode and review, thanks, although I’m sorry it didn’t score into the 9’s! 😉 Just a few FYI’s: the Cigar Blend Bourbon was not a product that was original to the Jos. Magnus distillery that existed between 1892 and 1917. Since I come from a brandy production background (Germain-Robin in CA, started by a 10th generation Cognac maker), I’m deeply influenced by the long tradition of “Cigare” Blend Cognacs, and as such sought out to make a Bourbon that would be an homage to my mentor(s) in the French brandy world. Also, the components in your bottle use about 2 to 3% of the finished flagship Magnus expression of the regular Jos. Magnus Triple Cask (Oloroso, PX, and Cognac), and I combined that with 12.5 to 20 year old Bourbon. All of this blend finishes exclusively in Armagnac barrels. Thus, any cask finished notes you might taste will really just be coming from the Armagnac. The Sherry and Cognac notes in the blend are negligible. But the plum, prune, leather, and burnt cherry are a combination of the age of the Bourbon and the Armagnac.

Secondly, yes, I actually DID take a needle and syringe into the 2 original Magnus bottles by going through the side of the glass and did very little damage to the closure and cork. It literally took at least an hour to do this because of all the pushback on the needle! When I analyzed the whiskey, I noticed that it had a strong Sherry type note to it. Interestingly enough, we discovered that when Joseph Magnus was selling off used barrels when he closed down his distillery, he was selling off Sherry casks. Cheers, Nancy.”

Proof Artisan Distillers Unboxing!

Huge shout out to Joel Kath owner of @proofartisandistillers who sent this amazing package of brown water goodness. Not just one but THREE different bottles for us to be excited about. So you know what we’re reviewing this month, PROOF ARTISAN DISTILLERS! Review #19!!!SHOW MORE

Copper Sky Wheated Bourbon and friends

Who makes it? Copper Sky Distiller

Mash Bill: ? (not disclosed)

Our first mail call from Copper Sky Distiller in Longmont Colorado(unboxing on our Instagram) and then of course gave it a review. Not only did we get a bottle of their 5 year, 100 proof wheated bourbon, CEO and owner Mike Root, tossed a couple of samples in there for us which we also give a go after we reviewed the “Wheater”. The first sample was a 5 year Rye, 120 proof bourbon and the second is a Light Whiskey coming in at 13 years and 140 proof. Can you say fire in bottle! Check it out and see if we give it our stamp of approval and the stick around for the samples which one actually gets hotter when we add water to it.

Kris: 7

Erik: 7.2 neat – 6.8 little melt – 7.0 full melt

How much: 45.00

Can only be picked up in and around Longmont Colorado or contact them for a mail order

North Point Bar and Chattanooga Single Barrel

Who makes it? Chattanooga Whiskey

Mash Bill: ? (not disclosed)

I traveled to Tamassee, SC to bring #whiskeykrew member Dan Manhardt a new addition for his bar from Chattanooga’s Experimental Distillery. A bottle of #chattanoogawhiskey Single Barrel coming in at 122.62 proof. I get to check out the bar that Dan built himself, learn what makes the best Highball and at 81 he is still kickin ass! After the bar review we take a cruise on Lake Cherokee with a little #bibandtucker. Can’t wait to visit again.

Kris: it’s Chattanooga Whiskey, how can you wrong?

Dan: I like it!

How much: This will run you about 70.00

Can only be picked up at Chattanooga’s Experimental Distillery

Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend

Who makes it? Joseph Magnus Distillery & Co.

Mash Bill: ? (not disclosed)

We picked up this bottle of Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend and knew that when we cracked it open we needed to have Monte De León Cigars there with us. This sourced bourbon is finished in Armagnac, Sherry, and Cognac casks. Came on strong at 124 proof with notes of molasses, burnt cherry, coco, and leather. After we sampled this delicious bourbon it was time to have a couple of Monte De León’s own cigars in a non-stop rain storm. All of us were soaked (whiskey and rain) and could not have had a better time. We get into a little history of the bottle, grandparents, how some things changed and how some have stayed the same.

Kris gave it 9

Erik gave it 8.6

How much: This will run you about 150 dollars

In 2007 Jimmy Turner found a bottle of bourbon in a closet while cleaning out his parents home after his mother died. It turned out to be a 122 year old bottle passed down from generation to generation, he gathered experts together and they tried to re-produce it’s contents. They found an 8-year-old bourbon aging in Kentucky that had a strikingly similar profile to the original bottle and all agreed that it needed to be finished in a sherry cask.

Nancy Fraley is the Master Blender at Joseph Magnus finishing the 12 year bourbon in a triple cast process using Oloroso Sherry, Ximenez, and Cognac casks.

After we posted our review Nancy Fraley herself commented on our video:

“Hey there @Whiskey and a Hammock, Magnus Master Blender Nancy Fraley here. Fantastic episode and review, thanks, although I’m sorry it didn’t score into the 9’s! 😉 Just a few FYI’s: the Cigar Blend Bourbon was not a product that was original to the Jos. Magnus distillery that existed between 1892 and 1917. Since I come from a brandy production background (Germain-Robin in CA, started by a 10th generation Cognac maker), I’m deeply influenced by the long tradition of “Cigare” Blend Cognacs, and as such sought out to make a Bourbon that would be an homage to my mentor(s) in the French brandy world. Also, the components in your bottle use about 2 to 3% of the finished flagship Magnus expression of the regular Jos. Magnus Triple Cask (Oloroso, PX, and Cognac), and I combined that with 12.5 to 20 year old Bourbon. All of this blend finishes exclusively in Armagnac barrels. Thus, any cask finished notes you might taste will really just be coming from the Armagnac. The Sherry and Cognac notes in the blend are negligible. But the plum, prune, leather, and burnt cherry are a combination of the age of the Bourbon and the Armagnac.

Secondly, yes, I actually DID take a needle and syringe into the 2 original Magnus bottles by going through the side of the glass and did very little damage to the closure and cork. It literally took at least an hour to do this because of all the pushback on the needle! When I analyzed the whiskey, I noticed that it had a strong Sherry type note to it. Interestingly enough, we discovered that when Joseph Magnus was selling off used barrels when he closed down his distillery, he was selling off Sherry casks. Cheers, Nancy.”

Chattanooga Riverfront Distillery Tour and Experimental Distillery

Chattanooga Riverfront Distillery and Experimental Distillery

The Whiskey Krew tours Chattanooga Whiskey’s Riverfront Distillery by none other than the man himself, CEO & Co-Founder Tim Piersant. We learned so much and meeting Tim was great. Afterwards we walked over to the Experimental Distillery to quench our thirst with a couple of flights with six tastings. Chatt Whiskey Silver, Chatt Whiskey 91, Chatt Whiskey Cask 111, Chatt Whiskey 99 Rye, Chatt Whiskey Batch 015 Coffee infused and an old fashioned with Dr. Thacher’s cocktail syrup. Great atmosphere, great people and great whiskey!