The Willett name dates back to one of the very first pewters, Edward Willett of Maryland. However, his descendant, Aloysius Lambert “Thompson” Willett of Bardstown, Kentucky was where it all began. Thompson began his love for whiskey and rye by working with his father at the Bernheim distillery. After a couple of years, he left to start the Willett Distilling Company with his brother, Johnny. They erected their pride and joy on their family farm, and history was made as this small family venture began to blossom.
Their first batch was officially produced in 1937 on Saint Patrick’s Day, located on high ground to ensure the Kentucky breeze would aid in the maturation. Over several years, Thompson’s brothers joined the company and eventually it was bought from him by his son-in-law, while his daughter was made president of the company. They renamed it Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, though it still remains very much a family business. After a revamping of their facilities, they went back into business on what would have been Thompson’s 103rd birthday.
This particular small batch is a chestnut color, understandably lighter than the average whiskey due to its shorter fermentation period. At first glance, you may think it won’t pack quite as much of a punch as its siblings in the Willett line. However, you will be pleasantly surprised. At first whiff, it’s all leather and light spices; but if you dwindle a bit, you’ll pick up on the light, sweet spices.
In your first sip, you’ll be immersed in a diverse flavor combination that may shock your palette at first—but in the best possible way. On the front, this rye offers up notes of mint and tingling spice. As it goes down your throat, you get the familiar warmth of all good rye. Evergreens, sweet caramel, and dry dark clove and oak all dance around in harmony in this delicious 3 year rye.
This special treat will be in limited supply on our shelves, so be sure to contact us soon. You will not want to miss out on tasting what the Willett family name is all about, and just how much they really understand rye whiskey.
Though the brand has changed hands a few times, I.W. Harper is back where it belongs, thanks to Diageo. The limited edition 15-year whiskey is produced in the original Bernheim distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. It has been aged most recently at the legendary Stitzel-Weller Distillery.
The bourbon distillery had humble beginnings as one of its founders, Isaac Wolfe Berhheim, came to New York from Germany in 1867 with a lowly $4 to his name. However, by the 1870’s, Isaac, his brother Bernard, and silent partner Eldridge Palmer started the Bernheim Brothers distillery in Kentucky with $3,200. This was quite the turnaround for two industrious immigrants. In this same decade, the brothers re-branded as I.W. Harper and a legend was born
The brother’s product was quickly recognized throughout the country, most notably taking home gold at the Chicago’s world fair in 1893. A huge reason why I.W. Harper was so profitable so quickly was that it was one of only ten distilleries legally allowed to still remain in production during prohibition–for medicinal purposes. The love affair between this incredible concoction and the world at large continued to grow as it became an international sensation.
Fast forward to today, and this 15-year bourbon whiskey is the stuff of dreams. At first sniff, cherries and apricots alert the senses of the warmth about to be provided by the handcrafted beverage. Notes of chocolate and lemon come in a second waft, and balance each other out with the lightness of citrus and deep rhythm of cacao. A flurry of emotions ensue as the drink embraces you with your first sip. The first impression is one of glowing caramel and heavy oak–an all too familiar feeling for us bourbon lovers. You are welcomed home, and yet there is a surprise in this rare version of an old favorite. It’s the balance of sweet and dry notes that really make it a home run. The smooth, fruity flavors provide a delicate coating for the deeper ones to kick through as you swallow.
This limited edition legendary bourbon whiskey is one that cannot be missed out on. The return of I.W. Harper to its origins is an occasion that should not be celebrated without a glass of its 15-year creation. Be sure to pick up a bottle at our East St. store, or reserve yours today. After trying it, be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below.
Buffalo Trace is the oldest continuously-operating distillery in the United States producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is a National Historic Landmark as well as being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery’s rich tradition dates back to 1773 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee.
About 20 years ago, Buffalo Trace Distillery began experimenting with recipes and barrel treatments. Right now, there are roughly 5,000 experimental barrels of whiskey aging in warehouses. Each of the barrels has unique characteristics and experimental changes in the mash bill, types of wood, barrel toasts and more. Periodically, an experimental whiskey is bottled and sold on a limited basis. And the first of these experiments involved the use of infrared light waves.
With the goal of learning how new and different flavors can be drawn from the oak, the distillery applied the light waves to barrels before charring in 2009. Eight special barrels were constructed for this experiment. All eight first underwent the same process as standard Buffalo Trace barrels, staves were open air seasoned for six months before being made into barrels.
Then, the barrels were divided into two groups and exposed to two different levels of infrared light waves. The first group of four saw 15 minutes of short wave and medium wave frequency at 70% power. The second group of four underwent 30 minutes of the short wave and medium wave frequency at 60% power. The barrels were then given a quick 15 second char before finally being filled with Buffalo Trace’s Bourbon Mash #1.
In 2016, it was time to see how the experiment worked. The bourbon from both barrels has distinct flavor notes of wood, caramel, and vanilla, as well as pepper flavors drawn from the oak. It was also noted that the short wave infrared light seemed to affect more of the inner layers of the wood, while the medium wave infrared light affected the surface and medium layers.
Tasting notes for each describe the 15 minute infrared light barrels as having a floral nose followed by a complex flavor profile. Oak and tannins mingle with dry raisins and sweet caramel. The 30 minute infrared light barrels are described as strong wood notes complemented by a taste of dried fruit. A lingering finish leaves a hint of cracked black pepper.
The Experimental Collection is packaged in 375ml bottles, and both entry proofs were bottled at 90 proof. Each label includes all the pertinent information unique to that barrel of whiskey. Want to get your hands on a bottle? Fill out our online contact form today. Then come back and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
The secret behind Jameson Irish Whiskey lies in the passion and dedication of their masterful craftsmen: our Head Distiller, Head Cooper and Head Blender. The Whiskey Makers Series celebrates them and their craft. The Makers Series is a trio is that includes The Distiller’s Safe, The Blender’s Dog and the Cooper’s Croze.
A Quick Vocabulary Lesson
The Croze is a tool used to cut the grooves for the heads of the cask. It takes years of experience to use this tool properly.
The Cooper’s Croze was created by Jameson Head Cooper, Ger Buckley. This whiskey showcases the diversity of barrels at the Midleton distillery and the influence that wood yields. With 5 generations of knowledge passed down from his family, Ger selects, repairs, and maintains Jameson’s treasured casks. The Cooper’s Croze is carefully crafted that carries vanilla sweetness, rich fruit flavors, floral and spice notes and the undeniable influence of oak.
This bottle won’t be around for long. Reserve your bottle using our contact us form today! Let us know what you think of The Cooper’s Croze and the Makers Series in the comments below.
State Road 55 may sound familiar to us Hoosiers. It’s a north/south highway running between northwestern and central Indiana. And it’s about to become much well known thanks to Old 55 Distillery!
Old 55 is a true family business. They are one of the few true field to bottle distilleries in the world. Every bit of the grain used is sourced from local fields or the family farm. Old 55 truly does capture the Midwest from the fields the spirits are harvested from to the hardworking people that travel it daily.
Old 55 is harvested, stored, milled, mashed, distilled, & bottled by hand in Newtown, IN. Their custom built pot still was designed and handmade in Germany by Kothe Destillationstechnik.
Old 55 has recently released a completely new take on bourbon using 100% Sweet Corn off the cob. Grown on the family farm, harvested, and distilled by to make something truly unique. It is Small Batch. It is Heart Cut. And is 40% alcohol by volume.
The Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company, dedicated to releasing limited edition spirits from rare casks discovered in some of the country’s finest whiskey cellars. Orphan Barrel has brought you Lost Prophet, Barterhouse, Old Blowhard, The Gifted Horse, Forged Oak, Rhetoric 20 & 21. And now Orphan Barrel has come out with its eighth release, Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 22-Year-Old, a 90.4 proof bourbon.
Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 22 continues the slow march of this series set to culminate in the debut of a 25-year-old in 2019. If you are not familiar with Rhetoric, its stocks were said to be found “in the old Stitzel-Weller Warehouses in Louisville, Ky. The whiskey was distilled between 1990–1993 at the Bernheim Distillery located at the historic 17 and Breckenridge in Louisville, Ky. Its mash bill is 86% corn, 8% barley and 6% rye.
Each sip of Rhetoric 22 starts with a smoky, leathery nose and tastes of toasted oak dark chocolate with ripe banana and spices of clove and anise. The finish is long and woody ending with dark chocolate notes.
According to Diageo, Rhetoric is an experiment in how barrel maturation imparts a lasting impression year after year. Each new year results in an older and wiser limited release from remaining maturing stock. A conversation piece if there ever was one.
The pomegranate has come a long way since the beginning of time, revered throughout history as a symbol of health, fertility, and rebirth. It is believed that the pomegranate may have been the “apple” in the Garden of Eden. Ancient Greeks believed it was a symbol of love and war. Ancient Egyptians regarded the pomegranate as a symbol of prosperity and ambition.
PAMA captures the complex, taste and ruby color of all-natural pomegranates. At 34 proof, it is made with all-natural pomegranate juice, premium vodka and a touch of imported tequila. The California pomegranates chosen for PAMA are selected at their peak for ripeness and flavor. PAMA is produced by PAMA Spirits Co. of Bardstown, Kentucky, United States, a subsidiary of Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc.
PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur is perfect for not only cocktails, but also appetizers, entrees, and desert! Here are just a few recipes featuring PAMA.
2 1/2 oz. PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
1 oz. Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz. Triple Sec
Splash Lime Juice
Splash Simple Syrup
Shake and serve over ice in a margarita glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
1/4 c. of pomegranate seeds
1/4 c. blueberries
1/4 c. of pineapple, diced finely
1/3 c. of strawberries cut into matchsticks
2 jalapeno peppers seeded and finely diced
3 Tbsp. fresh mint cut into thin ribbons
Juice of 1 Lime
4 tsp. of PAMA pomegranate liqueur
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside until ready to serve. If preparing several hours ahead, don’t add pineapple until the last minute (enzymes will soften the other fruit). Serves 6.
PAMA Soaked Watermelon
12 slices of watermelon
1 cup PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
1 tbs chopped mint or basil
Drizzle watermelon with PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur. Allow to soak at room temperature for 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator overnight. Add to a serving platter, sprinkle with herbs.
There are so many ways to incorporate PAMA into your favorite recipes. We’d love to hear how you use PAMA! Grab your bottle at your favorite Payless Liquors store and get cooking today!
In 2010, the seventh-generation distillers Paul and Steve Beam founded Limestone Branch Distillery with the intention of crafting the finest whiskey. Yellowstone is one of the older bourbon brands, dating back to 1872, the year its namesake national park was founded. Minor Case Beam, Paul & Steve’s great-grandfater was the original owner of the Yellowstone brand.
The first bourbon they released was Yellowstone Limited Edition. And now, they proudly present the 93 proof Yellowstone Select. The Beams selected, blended, and bottled barrels of 4 and 7-year-old of sweet, spicy, and smoky bourbons for this expression. Each was selected to give this exclusive whiskey a taste that celebrates its deep, family origins.
Appearance: Deep, golden chestnut.
Nose: Leather and dried fruit with a slight hint of citrus and smoky oak.
Palate: Spicy rye with a whisper of dried cherries fading to smoked caramel.
Finish: A memorable finish, rich with brown sugar and Kentucky tradition
This is an easy-drinking bourbon with a well-balanced flavor profile that also works well in cocktails. Grab your bottle at your favorite Payless location or reserve a bottle today!
One of Indiana’s most well known craft breweries, Three Floyds was founded in 1996 by Mike Floyd and his 2 sons Nick & Simon. They moved to Munster in 2005 and have since added a brewpub across the street. The Floyd’s started with just a few hundred dollars, a small system, and a love of brewing. They always strive to make the best and most memorable beers that leave no doubts in drinkers mind that they just had a Three Floyds lager or ale. This is especially true for 2 of their most well known brews – Gumballhead and Zombie Dust.
Zombie Dust is an intensely hopped pale ale that was created with their friends in the comic industry. The head has a yellow tint from the body of the beer which is a slightly hazy dark yellow. The Citra hops used give off tropical fruit notes of tangerine, mango, and lemon grass. The taste is impressive, with a bittering pull towards the front and middle palate, followed by a short malt kick, and then grassy, lemony, lingering hop dryness.
Gumball head is a hopped session American wheat beer brewed with a boatload of Amarillo Hops. A vibrant straw yellow, Gumballhead is a crisp refreshing beer perfect for summer. The Amarillo hops produce notes of grapefruit and lemon zest with a slight pepper smell. The flavors balance out perfectly with a burst of lemongrass and citrus fruits and during the swallow the wheat character shines through and the finish is somewhat tart and dry.
Three Floyds refuses to compromise on the quality and flavor of their beer and you shouldn’t either. Zombie Dust and Gumballhead are available for a very limited time. Contact us to find a 6-pack today.
Founded in 2004, Stranahan’s is the first modern microdistillery to legally make whiskey in Colorado, and the state’s first legal distillery since prohibition.
Stranahan’s is a straight whiskey and like bourbon, is aged in new number 3 charred oak barrels. The final whiskey is a blend of 2, 3 and 5 year-old whiskeys and cut with water sourced from the Eldorado spring outside Boulder. Stranahan’s is distilled from a 100% malt barley base grain – the first to ever do this. And Stranahan’s is different than most all mid-west (Kentucky) bourbons. You will taste the difference the western grains bring to this bourbon.
Typically when a distiller bottles his whiskey, several hundred or even several thousand barrels are combined for a staunchly uniform taste. At Stranahan’s, they select ten to twenty of our choicest barrels, and combine them for a small batch with a reliable, yet distinctive flavor unique to Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Each barrel is bottled by hand, with each label hand-signed by the distiller. The bottling process is done by volunteers.
And Payless was fortunate enough to get to select our own Private Barrel. We gathered a committee and sampled several barrels to create our own unique bottle. Here are the tasting notes of our barrel:
Nose: Malt & barley, oak, some brown sugar with a hint of toffee and spice.
Taste: Malt & Barley, almost cereal like hit first, with some brown sugar sweetness. Quickly oak wood enters in the middle, with some subtle hints of dried fruit. A smooth thickness coats your mouth, leaving you with some nice cinnamon-clove spice, with a vanilla-caramel flavor entering at the end.
Finish: A spicy malt flavor lingers a bit on the tongue, longer than most, to remind you that you have just had something unique.
Our Stranahan’s Private Label will be rolling out to all stores soon. And you can always reserve a bottle using our contact us form. Cheers!
Maker’s Mark was born in 1954 when T. William “Bill” Samuels Sr. purchased Burks Distillery in Loretto Kentucky. For the next 52 years, they pretty much stuck to the original recipe, occasionally releasing higher proof variations. But in 2010, as Bill Samuels Jr. was retiring, the idea of “I’ve spent my whole career not screwing up mom and dad’s whiskey, how do I leave this industry and not do something on my own” bothered him. And thus, Maker’s 46 was born.
Maker’s 46 went through 124 experiments with Independent Stave Company (ISC) before they finally settled on a process that required 10, one-inch thick toasted French oak staves to be inserted into a barrel that originally housed Maker’s Mark. The barrel is then refilled with mature Maker’s Mark were it will age another nine weeks. This amplified the baking spices, especially the cinnamon and vanilla flavors that are already present in Maker’s Mark. And because no unnatural agents are added and the special staves are from oak, the product is still a Bourbon.
When Maker’s started looking at doing a barrel selection program, they opted to put together a program that allowed buyers to build their own unique barrel of Bourbon, similar to the experiments they went through for Maker’s 46. And Payless was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to get the 28th Barrel from the Maker’s Private Select Barrel program.
The Maker’s Barrel program is unlike no other. Instead of sampling bourbon direct from barrels and choosing which barrel we preferred the taste of, you choose 10 oak staves in various combinations and let them age an additional 9 weeks in a barrel of Maker’s Mark. These staves alter the flavor profile so you get a unique barrel of Maker’s. Even though we could use the Maker’s 46 staves, we wanted ours to be different from and our committee of 7 chose not to.
We did have an American oak stave, baked oak, which allows vanilla and some sweetness to the bourbon. Then we used a combination of seared French Cuvee, and toasted French spice to allow flavors of butterscotch, caramel, fruits and spice. The roasted French mocha stave allows this Maker’s to have a lasting finish with hints of dark chocolate and coffee.
Nestled in the rolling hills of bluegrass and thoroughbred farms sits the historic Woodford Reserve Distillery. Woodford Reserve is one of Kentucky’s oldest and smallest distilleries. The distillery was built on history, sitting where Elijah Pepper began in 1812.
Woodford Reserve is crafted in small batches. This process allows uses all five sources of bourbon flavor giving it its distinct taste and crisp, clean finish. The five sources are grain recipe, water source, fermentation, distillation, and maturation.
Woodford Reserve Distillers Select has a brilliant honey amber color. On the nose, you’ll find hints of mint and oranges. The taste is rich and complex with flavors of citrus, cinnamon and cocoa. The warm and satisfying finish is smooth and silky.
The next expression in Woodford’s lineup is their Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey. The mash bill contains 53% rye which results in a spicy and sweet whiskey. The distillers work with the five sources of flavor to ensure the unique taste and a balanced flavor to produce the distinct taste they looking for in every bottle of Woodford Reserve.
Uniquely matured in separate, charred oak barrels gives Woodford Reserve Double Oaked a soft, sweet oak character. This innovative approach to twice-barreled bourbon creates the rich and colorful flavor Master Distiller Chris Morris was looking for. The mastermind behind Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, Chris knows the secrets to making good whiskey are time and patience.
Recently, Liz (the self appointed bourbon Grinch of Payless) and Charlie got the opportunity to sit down with some friends to pick out some Woodford Reserve barrels of their own! The Charlie Selection has the tasting notes of oak, chocolate and pecans with a slight hint of coconut. Liz’s selection has flavors of oak, tea leaf, molasses and caramel, with a hint of dark chocolate and apple. And you’re in luck, we’ve got 2 events where you can sample Liz and Charlie’s picks. We’ll be at our Uptown Drive store June 11 and our Greenwood Mall store June 18. So stop by one of our Woodford events in June to see who picks the better barrel!
First available in Indiana in 2012, Backbone Bourbon set out to create class craft spirits that can stand on their own merits. They sought rick flavors and classic profiles. Since Backbone’s launch, they’ve also introduced Bone Snapper Rye Whiskey, Bone Dry Gin and Backbone Prime. And now they have a new expression to their line-up, Old Bones Bourbon.
Old Bones is a barrel-strength high rye bourbon coming in at 110 proof. The mash-bill is composed of 55% corn, 40% rye, and 5% barley. Only 2,430 bottles of this 10-year-old bourbon were packaged.
Whether served straight or in a craft cocktail, these spirits are meant to be sipped and savored. Looking for a bottle of Old Bones? Fill out our Contact Us form today and reserve before they are gone!