Mark Saunders turned a hobby into whiskey company. Previously and Enterprise IT salesman covering clients in Kentucky. Avid member of the local bourbon community, selected barrel for groups and liquor stores. Then he bought barrels that were the birth year of his 4 children.
We get to hang with good friends Jax Bourbon Social, Warriors and Whiskey, and Tuesday’s Creations. Andy from Jax Bourbon Social brings the New England bottles including the event pick.
For the single barrel you get honey, vanilla, backing spice and straw. With the addition of ice brings out the sweetness and leather notes. We all agree this one is better with a cube.
The pick is a 7yr, 114 proof pick just for the JBS and it was awesome! On the nose, black licorice, and heat. For the taste it is full body, smooth, green apple, red apple and cinnamon.
The single barrel can be picked up for around $54 while the pick, which is only available from JBS, will run you about $100 and they only have a few bottles left!
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We met Luke at a few of our events, being a fellow whiskey enthusiast he offered one of prized bottles for a review. We took him up on it and Luke dropped by with 2 bottles from the Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Series. Jess Motlow the second distiller was chosen plus Kris had a surprise in his #whiskeyventure backpack.
A little background, Jack Daniel passed away in 1991 and left the distillery to his two nephews Lem Motlow and Richard Daniel. Lem bought out Richards interest and was more interested in running the company so he put his brother Jess in charge of the distilling. The brothers made it through World War I, Prohibition(being one of the few that a medical license to distill and sell whiskey, and WWII. Lem died in 1947 and his brother Jess retired soon after. The company then went to Lem’s 4 sons that held onto the company for 9 years and then sold it to Brown-Forman for 20 million dollars!
Popping it open, it was easy on the nose. A little heat for Kris with a little sweetness to it. Erik said it didn’t smell like Jack and actually nosed like a good bourbon. On the finish Kris said that for an 86 proof whiskey he could feel the bite but dissipated quickly. Erik thought it was hotter than expected and thought the same that the flavor went away quickly. Luke was pleasantly surprised and found it refreshing. He liked that fact that the finish went away quick because he was ready for another sip faster.
Adding the ice smoothed it out some and brought the sweet flavors, where Erik got a maple flavor and Luke could taste honey. Kris felt it definitely brought the sweetness and could taste a little more of the char.
All in all it was a decent bottle and for 40 bucks but if you check the net you’ll find it all over the price scale. From 60 dollars on up to 400!
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Mashbill: 53% corn, apple wood smoked wheat, barley and just a slap tickle of rye!
Where it’s from: Fairport, NY
When it Started: 2013
We were invited to come down and hang with Monte DeLeon at the Jefe Boutique Cigar, Whiskey and Wine event in Eola Park, Orlando.
Started to rain while we were setting up then a special guest arrived! Tiffany from Iron Smoke Whiskey dropped in, had some bottles so we decided to shoot a flash review on the spot!
The first bottle was one of our favorites the flagship Iron Smoke Bourbon. Always a great pour plus it doesn’t hurt that it’s the highest rated bourbon in Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible coming in at 95.5 out of 100. One of the things we like about this is how they smoke their wheat with apple wood for a subtle flavor that really comes through.
Next up was Rattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie Bourbon, WOW does that hit all the right notes with apple, cinnamon, nutmeg and you can almost taste the crust! All natural ingredients, that’s why they call these elixirs and not liqueurs.
Last was something special that Tiffany brought just for us. A new addition to the Rattlesnake Rosie line up, the Chocolate Peanutbutter Pie Bourbon. So dangerous because you don’t taste the alcohol! This would be great in a chocolate martini!
In the end it was a great event, loved hanging out with Monte DeLeon Cigars and huge thanks to Tiffany for stopping by, hanging out and shooting the flash review with us. Love her energy! Can’t wait for the next event!
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There’s a little history there… Calumet started out as baking powder in the 1924 and made a fortune by William Monroe Wright in Lexington Kentucky. His son Warren got into horse racing and built out there estate to train horses. They ended up producing 2 Triple Crown Winners, 8 Kentucky Derby winners and 11 of their horses ended up in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. In 1947 they earned over a Million dollars from winning performances and stakes wins.
Western Spirits Beverage Company has the Calumet Farm Bourbon under it’s belt as well as Sam Houston, Bird Dog, and Lexington Bourbon Whiskey.
Starting with Calumet 8 at 90 proof, Kris on the nose could smell the heat, slightly sweet while Erik found the same and Dan said it tickled his nose hairs! Kris was surprised on the lingering finish, easy and smooth. Erik could taste the heat but it was good while Dan thought is was smooth and easy drinking. After adding ice, Kris got notes of cherry and definitely brought out the flavors and sweetened it up. Erik picked up the sweet, dark cherries and caramel. Dan said it dampened the fire and he may be odd because he doesn’t taste fruit in whiskies, only in cognac.
Calumet 14 was next and Kris already sampled this before but on the nose brought more spice and more heat. Coming in at 96.2 proof. For Erik, he could smell rubber cement and ethanol. The taste Kris said the spice really came through while Erik said it hit pretty hard. Dan could feel the heat as well. After adding ice it mellowed out and Dan said it took some flavor away but left all the spice.
Calumet 15yr was next clocking in at 105 proof and Kris did not expect that it would be much different than the 14 but he was wrong. On the nose more force notes pushed through and Kris could tell the difference and more spice and a long long finish. Erik could smell rubber cement again, on the finish he said “this is not my jam” and “it won’t go away” the funk won’t go away. Dan could tell of the nose it was entirely different and the taste the spice hangs on and doesn’t go away. Dan said, “you definitely know you drank somethin!” and good flavor but the spice takes over. Dan didn’t taste the funk but he and Erik were not fans while Kris liked it better than 14 and likened it almost to Wild Turkey Rare Breed.
Sam Houston 15 at 103 proof, lower than Calumet 15 but obviously not discernable. Kris could smell heat and sugar, Erik said it was similar to the rest but much steeper and Dan said it was a real eye opener. On the taste Kris could taste sweet, spicy and a woody aspect. Erik for the taste got candied pecans and Dan could taste a lot of things but it was hard to identify any of it but really like the flavor and the spices
Kris ranking: Erik ranking: Dan ranking: 8yr -6.5 -7 -6.5 14yr – 7 – 6 – 5 15yr – 7.5 -0 – 4 Sam Houston – 8 -7.5 -8
To wrap it all up, we all would pick up the Calumet 8yr. Nice easy sipping with no ice needed but one cube will bring out more flavors. The 14 Erik and Dan would pass up and Kris would pick it up unless the 15 was available. For the 15 only Kris would pick this on up and Sam Houston we all would pick up but this not easy to find so if you see it grab it! Unless they’re charging secondary prices, then that’s on you. In pricing the Calumet 8 will run you about $45 dollars, the Calumet 14 goes for around $99 and Calumet 15 about $110. The Sam Houston Kris picked up for $150 but we asked Google and they have it going for $299. Happy Hunting! Cheers!
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Mashbill: 60% corn, 22% malted barley, 18% Hard Red Winter Wheat
Where it’s from: St. Augustine, Florida
In this line up we start with the Florida Straight bourbon coming at 88 proof. We taste throgh these bottles with Wll Hensler, the Chief Operating Officer and the VP of Production, Ric DeMontmollin. Will gets a rustic note, cigar box cedar, and chocolate notes and Ric added in cocoa. Kris and Erik found that on the nose was easy, woody with a sweetness to it. On to the taste with ripe red fruit, a little nuttiness with a little bit of that chocolate making an appearance. For it being a wheat forward bourbon Kris definitely thought it had a more robust flavor which the 22% barley contributes to. Most often times wheated bourbons are smooth, softer and on the lighter side. Most bourbons we have tasted stay in the 4-6% malted barley range. Ric says that wheat tends to be more single noted while corn and barley you can get more variance out of. That’s why they decided to go with higher malted barley.
Then we moved onto the Port Finished Bourbon on the nose a little bit of that higher proof came through but this time a bit more fruitier aspect still containing that sweetness. On the finish ripe red fruits, plums, raisins. Will suggests that the Port Finished pairs well with a cigar. Kris thought it had a more subtle flavor but longer on the finish compared to the Straight.
Lastly the Cognac finished. On the nose a lot of leather, tobacco then on the finish Will says he gets Red Velvet cake while Ric thinks flan has prominence. As for Kris and Erik, they thought it dried out the palate but had a solid flavor profile and a long lasting finish and were very impressed.
Ric took some new make right off the still for us to nose and taste coming in at 149 proof, man that’ll get ya if you you’re not ready. Holy smokes! That is brining on the heat!
We pose the question to Ric if there is a right and wrong way to nose and taste. He said there isn’t a wrong way but definitely taste everything and make a mental catalog of those flavors and smells!
Huge thanks to Will and Ric for taking the time and extolling their expertise! This is a limited release that only four French Cognac casks were filled for this finishing and it’s only being sold at the distillery. We highly recommend taking the tour and stopping by the shop afterwards, tasting some samples, support local and buy a bottle or two!
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A short #whiskeyventure to south landed us in St. Augustine Florida, the oldest city in the US and one of the first to bourbon distilleries to open in the Sunshine state. We meet up with Will Hensler the Chief Operating Officer to tour the distillery which is housed in an over hundred year old building that was once an icehouse and powerplant. Will gives us a little history and then we visit where the magic happens. Watch the vid to find out more about their process and how much works goes into Craft Distillation. Next is barreling, their barrels come from one of the oldest family owned cooperages and we get to see how much of that whiskey gets soaked into the staves. From start to finish it’s all done right there in St. Augustine. From milling the grains, distillation, barreling, storing and bottling! See how it all comes together and stay tuned for the review where bottles are lined up and we drag Will and Ric into the tasting room. Plus a new release!
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Now we’re down to the last 2 bottles. The single barrel Bourbon and a Total Wine Barrel Pick.
Jenn goes into more detail about what it means to be a Master Blender. She will get 20 samples at a time and taste through them at strength then proof them down to 103 and see which ones stand out. For the Old Americana she likes to pick a barrel from floors 2,3,4,5 and 6 to blend so you get the full flavor of what Luca Mariano has to offer. The ones she samples that are great from the get go and they get bottled for the Single Barrel. One special barrel gets the Omni Omni by her and Francesco for the Signature bottling for that year.
Kenny tells us how the oldest stone house in Kentucky built by William Crow is on the Luca Mariano property along with bootlegger tunnels from Guy Jones!
Alright, now for the tasting! On the Single Barrel Bourbon Kris picked caramel on the nose while it made Erik think of sweet cream corn, cereal with maple syrup drizzled on top. Then the taste and finish. Kris caught hints of vanilla mixed with sweet caramel while Erik couldn’t shake the corn and maple syrup. Kenny said it had a buttery taste with caramel, with Subway macadamia nut cookies. Jenn on the other hand, had the caramel come through with a hint of smoke and a leathery feel. Then onto the Total Wine Barrel Pick. This was a bit challenging as Kris of the nose found sour notes with stone fruit. Erik pulled in caramelly and an acetone. We loved Jenn’s description of a chocolate chameleon as the flavors kept shifting and then Kenny did us all in as he nosed a full on Twix bar. The taste was awash with nodding heads and Kris could swear that sweet tea notes made an appearance.
We were very impressed with Luca Mariano line up and their barrel pick is an obvious stand out. In the end Kris’ favorite was the Single Barrel Rye while Erik would take home the barrel pick.
For the price? The Old Americana will run you about 45 out the door while the single barrel will cost you about 62 dollars. If you can find the Signature, it will cost you about 88 dollars.
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