Dan from North Point Bar came down to visit and brought along a bottle of Calumet 8yr. On a previous #whiskeyventure Kris stopped by the Dan’s private bar that he hand crafted, fully stocked with full size cooler behind the bar. The real deal. Anyway, Dan made it down to Florida and we decided to review the Calumet 8yr he brought, what he didn’t know is that Kris pulled three more bottles out of his #whiskeyventure Back Pack! A Calumet 14thr, and 2 unopened bottles. One Calumet 15yr and Sam Houston 15yr. We learned they all came from the same place, Western Spirits Beverage Company. Watch the review and see what other spirits they carry.
We had a great time? Surprisingly all 4 were very different. While Erik and Dan agreed that Calumet 8 was a great easy sipper, Kris enjoyed each one along the stage more and more. Kris was the only one that enjoyed the spicy Calumet 15yr and put it above the 14. Erik and Dan were not fans, that’s for sure! I think the clear favorite was the Sam Houston 15yr. Not easy to find but definitely recommend picking it up if you see it!
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We made a trip down to Cape Canaveral and visited Oceanside Distillery. Ron Folino, owner and distiller does a flash review of his double bourbon and gives us the low down on all their spirits. They are one of the few distilleries that carry the fresh from Florida on their label and check out how Ron the mad scientist makes all of his spirit concoctions. Plus, Ron generously donated a bottle of their signature bourbon for our #whiskeyventure Back Pack that we are auctioning off at Jax Bourbon Social. To top it all off, we were in time to catch Chase Harvey who was performing at Oceanside and he definitely set the drinking mood!
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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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Review and sampled the St. Augustine Distillery Company lineup plus, the brand new Cognac finished release! In this review we learn about the distillery, their process and if there is a Florida Style bourbon. Plus, we ask if there is a right and wrong way to nose and taste. Find out what hyper local means and how craft distilling is a labor of love. We highly recommend taking the tour, then stopping the in gift shop for samples and support local and pick up a bottle for yourself (watch the review, the cognac finished is awesome and limited supply) Huge thanks to Will and Ric, check out the review and the tour!
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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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Have you been to the St. Augustine Distillery yet? We just took a tour and it was awesome! We got to hang with Will Hensler the Chief Operating Officer and we learned about the over 100 year old building it’s housed in. Will runs down their process, milling, distilling, barreling and bottling all done on site! Watch the full vid on our site or YouTube channel to see where the magic happens, learn what goes into the labor of love of craft distilling. The tours are free along with samples, why aren’t you headed down to St. Augustine already? Plus, a new review comes out on Wednesday of these fine spirits along with a new release that you have to check out!
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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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The last 2 bottles round out this @lucamariano review. Jenn gives us the lowdown on what it means to be a Master Blender, the sampling, the proofing, the tasting and the sauciness! As we dive into the barrel pick we learn that there is a rare Signature expression out there in the wild that once a year Jenn and Francesco pick the most amazing barrel for. 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! Find out who Erik’s new favorite super hero is. Kris walks off camera for another Whiskey and a Hammock first! An impromptu live performance SURPRISE ENDING! Check out the review and we hope you’re sockless! Huge thanks to Jenn and Kenny!
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Three years today we’ve been making videos and reviewing whiskey. Today we are releasing part 1 of our review of Luca Mariano Whiskey with special guests Jennifer Brandt, Master Blender and “Born in Italy, perfected in Danville Kentucky.” We are reviewing Luca Mariano Whiskey with special guests Jennifer Brandt, Master Blender and Kenny Fuller their Creative Director. Saying they came prepared is an understatement. Bringing five bottles to taste through while we get our own master class on tasting and whiskey from Jenn. Kenny fills us in on the history, where the name came from and owner Francesco Viola. We learn about the amazing almost 600 acre spread up there in Kentucky while me and Erik debate about bubble hockey and northerners. Are they all the same? Plus, who can you breathe through your lips and smile with your eyes? Is it even possible? We had so much fun that we had to break it up into 2 parts. Find out the answers to all these burning questions and learn how Luca Mariano is making waves in the whiskey community. As Kenny says “you can’ t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning” Next week will drop part 2 where we find out what it means to be a master blender, sample the last 2 bottles and a first ever ending to one of our reviews.