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Whiskey Acres BIB and Blue Popcorn #0025

Who makes it? Whiskey Acres in Dekalb Illinois

Mash Bill Bottle in Bond: 75% yellow dent corn, 15% Soft Red Winter Wheat, 10% malted barley

Mash Bill Blue Popcorn: 75% shaman blue popcorn, 15% Soft Red Winter Wheat, 10% malted barley

Two great bottles by Whiskey Acres, on the nose of the BIB Kris was able to pick up a sour, earthy smell and on the finish is where the wheat showed through. Very different from any of the blind 6 we did in the last review. Erik on the nose said it was sweet and grainy while on the finish it coated your tongue in sweet corn flavors. With the addition of ice, Kris preferred a half skull while Erik would of gone with out. Kris thought that with just a little bit of water it brought out more of the flavors and taming down the 100 proof.

For the Blue Popcorn, Kris right of the nose thought is sweet and buttery, on the palate is where the caramel showed through. Erik didn’t taste a whole lot of difference and that the bottle in bond was sweeter. This is where Kris and Erik had a major difference of opinion and Kris enjoyed the Blue Popcorn better and would of picked that over BIB but Erik chose just the opposite.

Kris gave the BIB a 7.0 and Blue Popcorn a 7.5

Erik gave it 7nd Blue Popcorn a 6.8

The “D” gave both a 9.1

How much: This will run you about 50.00 for BIB and the Blue Popcorn 60 if you can find it. If you find it out in the wild, pick it up cuz it’s sold out online!

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.

Blind Tasting Review of our top 6 review #0024

Who makes it? Chattanooga Whiskey, Hillrock Estates Distiller, Missouri Spirits Distillery(out of business) and Iron Smoke Distillery

This is our 2 year anniversary and we decided to do a blind tasting of our top 6 reviews.

The line up

  1. Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend
  2. Chattanooga Whiskey Straight 91
  3. Missouri Spirits
  4. Chattanooga Whiskey Straight 111
  5. Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon
  6. Iron Smoke Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Off the get go Kris knew that number 1 was Joseph Magnus, with that heat and complexity it had to be. Erik on the other hand thought it might be Chatt 111. Kris went through and tasted them all first while Erik did a taste and put it on paper.

We talk about what we have learned of the past 2 years, where Kris thinks that finishing plays a very important role and Erik thinks we’ve come along way on nosing and relating the flavors on the finish. Since were talking about the best we decided to which was our least, for Kris, Maker’s Mark didn’t register high on his list while Erik gives Wild Turkey Rare Breed a hard NO and would love to do a “Rare Breed Sucks change my mind”(borrowed from Louder with Crowder) episode, coming to college near you. Erik races ahead and decides to give them all a shooting score to and 111 and Jos A Magnus almost take him out. An OG #whiskeykrew member Gary Elmes drops by and helps set up the tasting to keep it fair but there is one thing he won’t do on camera…

Kris’ list was:
Chatt 111
Chatt 91
Hillrock
Missouri Spirits
Iron Smoke
*Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend

Erik’s list was:
Hillrock
Chatt 91
Missouri
Chatt 111
Iron Smoke
Jos. Magnus CB

Shooting Score:
Missouri
Chatt 91
Iron Smoke
Hillrock
Chatt 111
Jos. Magnus CB

1350 Distilling Review #0023 – 5 Bottles!!!

Who makes it? 1350 Distilling, Whiskey is sourced

Mash Bill: The Guardian and Code Four are both 99% Corn, aged 3 years. Leatherneck is a Rye whiskey

Our third mail call from 1350 Distilling included 5 bottles! We put all 5 to the tast test, the Guardian Bourbon is great all around bourbon thats an easy sipper. The Leatherneck has a little more to it, that’s because it’s heavy on the rye and that spice shines through without being overpowering. A cube tames it down and lets more flavor through. Next was the Code Four Cask Strength, this was Kris’s Favorite while Erik preferred the Guardian. The Code Four definitely packs more of a punch coming in at 115 proof and it lets you know it! Good flavor, picks up more with the addition of an icecube. The Five Alarm is Bourbon and Cinnamon, no sugar here. If you’re thinking Fireball then you’ve got it all wrong. Lastly the Gin is interesting since it’s base is made from sugarbeets and 6 other ingredients which one is a closely guarded secret.

How much: from 40- 50$ but for Code Four it’ll run 70$

Phil Bragg retired from the Marines after 27 years of service as a mechanical engineer. Then with wife Kandis and 2 other friends turned his hobby into a business and created 1350 Distilling. 13 stripes and 50 stars, after you know that it will stick with you forever. The center piece is a custom made steam injected still that is shaped like a military round that puts out 100 gallons of distillate. This military themed distillery is high on community and always there for the veterans. We met Phil Bragg in person and took the tour and we’ll never forget it. Had such a great time, can’t wait to do it again.

Old Elk Straight Bourbon Whiskey vs Old Elk Sour Mash

Who makes it? Old Elk

Mash Bill: 51% corn, 34% malted barley, and 15% rye. Sour mash is the same, just different yeast strain experiment.

I already had a bottle of Old Elk Straight Bourbon but my cousin Jason brought down the Old Elk Sour Mash Small Batch.

Me and my cousin both agreed that we like the Sour Mash offering better. While the Straight Bourbon felt it had more heat, definitely got better with the addition of an ice cube. This one also seemed to have more spice to it. The Sour Mash had more of a cherry, chocolate covered cherry, sour taste but much smoother on the finish. We both agreed that even though we both like our whiskies chilled we would rather drink this one straight from the bottle.

How much: the Old Elk Straight bourbon was 70 while the Sour Mash will run you about 80.

Curt Richardson is the one behind Old Elk and also the visionary behind the Otter Box. He worked with MGP and with a specific Master Distiller, Greg Metze. After creating many recipes and mashbills for Old Elk, Curt hired Greg to come work at Old Elk and you now see his signature on all the bottles.

Art of the Spirits

Who makes it? Art of the Spirits

Mash Bill: 1st: Final Run- 90% corn 5% rye 5% malted barley – 2nd: The Originals- 99% Corn 1% malted barley – 3rd: Easy Elegance- 90% rye 5% corn 5% malted barley – 4th: Krule 2B Kind 100% corn

We sit down with Richard Paul the owner/creator of Art of the Spirits and get to taste all four of these amazing bottles. We started with his best and Richard was right Kris and Erik both enjoyed that one the most coming in at 128 proof, with a nose full of spice and the finish of oak and cinnamon. The second was fruity on the nose with cherries and apricots, going down smooth with a little bit of heat that sneaks up on you, pleasantly though. The third spice on the nose again and this time Erik caught a little bit of Earl Gray. The fourth single barrel had a great nose was a little lighter on the palate with caramel at the fore front.

Kris gave it 7

Erik gave it 7.5

How much: This will run you from $200 to 70$ depending on the bottle and which store you find it in.

Richard Paul in 2016 did some research and found that whiskey was going to to be the number one spirit by 2019. He loved all that you could do with whiskey, the elegance, the labeling and since he worked with David Uhl and Danial James he decided put their artwork on the labels.

Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon Whiskey

Who makes it? Hillrock Estate Distillery

Mash Bill: 63% corn, 37% rye

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!

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

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.”