’Tis the season yet again, and as we prepare to gather and make merry, let’s be sure not to skimp on the holiday liquor. Knowing what to have on standby is crucial to creating the perfect drink.
A well-stocked home-for-the-holidays offers drink selections that are both diverse and accessible, with a mix of classic crowd-pleasers and exceptional choices to prominently feature holiday and deep-autumn flavors.
The Holiday Liquor Cabinet
A liquor cabinet that can hold up through Thanksgiving and well into the New Year is important. Nobody wants to break their holiday groove to make an emergency run to the liquor store in their Christmas pajamas. So, make sure you have the following liquors available for guests at a minimum.
Rum—Try a spiced rum for warm wintertime vibes. You can’t go wrong with Captain Morgan or Sailor Jerry’s. Mixes well with nog and in hot mixed drinks.
Whiskey—Make sure you have something on hand for the whiskey connoisseurs at your holiday gathering. Irish whiskeys and bourbons can both hearken back to the memories of a traditional country Christmas. Try exploring offerings from Jameson or Knob Creek.
Vodka—a simple, clean vodka is a must-have for guests who want mixed drinks. It’s the most versatile and adaptable of the liquors. Try Svedka or Smirnoff, both of which also offer flavor-infused vodkas that might spark your holiday creativity.
Peppermint Schnapps—for those candy-cane-themed mixers or shooters, of course. Try spiking your hot cocoa.
Brandy—Brandy is another drink that can go well with egg nog, but it’s also a favorite for just sipping around the fire. Rémy Martin XO is a staple, but in some households, it’s a Christmas tradition to acquire a bottle of Spanish Brandy, or Brandy de Jerez, which owes its unique qualities to being derived from Spanish sherry.
Hearty Winter Beers
It’s not all about liquor. The beer-drinkers at your holiday festivities also deserve consideration. Stock up on a crowd favorite like Budweiser, with their annual holiday-themed cans, but think outside the gift box as well.
There is no shortage of craft brewers putting out seasonal brews each year. Try to have choices in at least three categories. Grab a lager, an ale, and round out the offerings with a porter or stout because you’ll want to have something hearty and dark on hand this time of year.
Bell’s Brewery—Christmas Ale
Tröegs Brewing—Mad Elf
Sierra Nevada—Celebration Ale
Samuel Adams—Winter Lager
Leinenkugel’s—Snowdrift Vanilla Porter
Mulling wine is a fun and easy way to add some warmth and holiday spice to your celebration. You simply simmer a dark wine at low heat and add cinnamon sticks, cloves, oranges, and whatever other herbs or spices you like, infusing it with that magical Christmastime flavor. Don’t boil it. Set your heat too high, and you’re likely to burn away alcohol content.
Zinfandel (not white)
Mixers and N/A
Don’t forget your nog, sparkling juice, ginger ale, and cola. Head to your nearest Payless Liquors and stock up on holiday cheer.
As the darker days set in, we turn to darker liquors. We may even decide to treat ourselves to something special as we gear up for the long winter. Market research shows that whiskeys and bourbons consistently become more popular in the fall and winter months, and distilleries often capitalize on this by dropping new releases and limited editions at the end of summer. Check out these fall whiskeys to see which ones you should try!
What’s good for whiskey drinkers this fall? A whole lot, as it turns out! Here are some of the fall releases we’re most excited for. Click here if you’d like to reserve a bottle.
Eagle Rare 17 Year-Old
Eagle Rare 17 Year-Old is the highest-end product in the Eagle Rare line from the renowned Buffalo Trace distillery. It’s aged in oak barrels, and the proud producers at Buffalo Trace say it has an “almost a wine-like character,” with spicy, nutty notes and a lingering quality.
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch
Four Roses limited edition runs are over 114 proof, and the 2021 batch has four distinct bourbons to choose from: a 12 year-old, a 14-year old, and 16 year-old bourbons of two different formulations.
King of Kentucky 2021
The historic King of Kentucky bourbon label was revived in 2018, and whiskey drinkers have been anticipating every release since. Head to Kentucky, Illinois, or Ohio if you want to find a bottle, as there will only be about 2,700 produced.
Little Book Chapter 5
Little Book, a series of craft bourbons created by Jim Beam, has reached its fifth incarnation, and Chapter 5 has been branded “The Invitation”. The Little Book line has intrigued both Jim Beam fans and high end whiskey connoisseurs with its interplay between tradition and experimentation. “The Invitation” is perhaps a reference to whiskey drinkers being invited to expand their horizons with this unusual and complex blended whiskey. Little Book Chapter 5 contains four bourbons of various ages, as well as rye whiskey.
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon
The 2021 version of Old Forester’s coveted Birthday Bourbon is a hefty 104 proof and has been aged 12 years. Budget-oriented whiskey drinkers will be happy to know that Old Forester’s standard line of offerings are also of a very high quality.
Our second entry from Buffalo Trace Distillery, Sazerac 18-Year, is a rye whiskey that has been aged for nearly two decades. Sazerac is named after a historic New Orleans coffee house that created an iconic cocktail using rye whiskey.
High West – A Midwinter’s Night Dram Act 9
Each year, High West thrills whiskey lovers with a limited release of their highly regarded Rendezvous Rye that has been specially finished in French oak port barrels. This creates a complex and multi-layered beverage that pairs well with sips by the fire and warm fall flavors.
Penelope Batch 7 Barrel Strength
Barrel Strength is a somewhat experimental label from Penelope Bourbon. The distillery describes the Barrel Strength line as “push[ing] the boundaries of our signature four grain flavor profile” and it lives up to the claim. This year’s batch is a blend of three bourbons which have been aged in new oak for between 3.5 and 5 years.
While not a limited release, we wanted to give Angel’s Envy a special shout-out in this list for their Toast the Trees promotion happening this fall. Great bourbon requires oak barrels, oak barrels require trees, and trees require healthy forests. Angel’s Envy distillery in Louisville is stepping up to do something about it by asking us to #ToastTheTrees to help them plant a whole lot of white oaks this year.
Scotch and bourbon lovers are never at a loss for options, but if the cooler fall months have you in a funk, feeling burned out by that same old drink, now is a great time to branch out and try a Canadian whiskey. Canadian whiskey offers a smooth burn similar to bourbon with a flavor profile that is mellow and accessible yet capable of hiding layers of depth and complexity to rival your favorite scotch.
What Is Canadian Whiskey?
The history of Canadian distilling dates back to Quebec City in the mid-1700s, per the Canadian Distillers Association. The first distiller to produce proper whiskey in Canada is believed to be John Molson in 1799.
But the true history of Canadian whiskey predates all of that. Scottish immigrants initially made their whiskey exactly as they did back home, or at least as close as they could get given local resources, conditions, and available ingredients—an origin story very similar to those of Appalachia’s storied bourbons and moonshines. What we now know as Canadian whiskey evolved over the next two centuries from this rudimentary transplanted scotch, just like its cousins in the United States.
To fit the modern definition of proper Canadian whiskey, a product should be aged in charred oak barrels for three or more years. Most Canadian whiskeys contain rye but are not considered true rye whiskey (though some rye-forward products are specifically labeled and marketed as “Canadian rye”).
How to Drink Canadian Whiskey
When you’re first exploring Canadian whiskeys, simply take a small sip at room temperature and roll it around your tongue and mouth. Then, serve it to yourself at the bottom of a proper tumbler rather than in a shot glass so that you can get your nose inside for a good sniff.
Drinking it straight over ice or mixed with water are also excellent ways to trial new brands without masking the flavor.
They also make great mixers for the whiskey and coke or whiskey sour connoisseur.
Great Brands for a Budget
At Payless Liquors, we offer a number of high-end and budget whiskeys, and the budget brands offer good flavor while still offering a quality drink.
Windsor Canadian—A staple of taverns and man-caves throughout North America and the world, Windsor is a great entry point for people who want a prototypical Canadian whiskey experience without sacrificing quality.
Canadian Hunter—The iconic bottle design of a rugged hunter with his two imposing dogs belies Hunter’s bright, approachable flavor and almost sweet notes. Canadian Hunter is an excellent choice if you want the most whiskey for your dollar.
Canadian Club—Another brand you’ll find behind the bar at many a fine establishment, Canadian Club has a mellow, even-keeled flavor that makes it great for mixing or sipping over ice. (They also offer a 100% rye version on a green label.)
High-End Canadian Whiskeys for the Connoisseur
In addition to well-known national brands, many special releases, boutique products, and high-end brands make their way through the Canadian whiskey scene. Here are some to watch for:
Environmental responsibility is a more pressing concern for modern businesses than ever. There is an increasingly expanding consumer market that prizes sustainability, environmental awareness, and eco-friendliness from the brands with which they do business. Companies in all markets are paying attention to this focus on environmentalism. And, that includes distilleries and breweries across the nation.
One of the best examples of brands taking sustainability seriously is Angel’s Envy, a distillery specializing in bourbon whiskey. The Angel’s Envy team has developed a program that aims to give back to the environment and help preserve it for years to come. While many companies have adopted similar environmentalist policies and programs, Angel’s Envy has a distinct impact on both the environment and the whiskey industry of the United States.
The Link Between Whiskey and Oak
An often overlooked yet crucial component of the creation of bourbon is white oak. Distillers will store their whiskey in white oak barrels, to optimize flavors and richness. This method creates the best whiskey. The natural flavors in this wood give bourbon its distinct taste. Different types of whiskey require different types of oak. The two most prevalent oak woods used in the whiskey world are American white oak and European oak.
Bourbon is the American take on whiskey, and bourbon requires American white oak barrels for optimal aging. Scotch whiskey and Irish whiskey tend to use European oak barrels. Many whiskey distilleries have developed filling and refilling policies to conserve their barrels and to optimize the flavor of their whiskeys. When an oak barrel is filled the first time, the whiskey inside absorbs the most flavor from the wood during aging. After so many years, the whiskey will absorb less flavor, and the distiller will need a new barrel. It’s easy to see how the whiskey industry has a significant impact on the supply of oak barrel lumber.
What Is the Toast the Trees Program?
The Angel’s Envy Toast the Trees program aims to replace white oak trees cut down for whiskey barrel manufacturing. They, instead, plant more trees than are cut down. For more than six years, Angel’s Envy has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation and Green Forests Work. Together, they raise money for the mass planting of new white oak trees across the country. Angel’s Envy has a vast network of retail and service partners. They are ready to provide customers with fantastic experiences in exchange for their support of this sustainability program.
If you’re looking for a whiskey experience that you can feel good about, Angel’s Envy Toast the Trees program is something you should investigate. The distillery is sponsoring cocktail hours and other specials at locations across the country. They are also sponsoring a social media campaign to drive environmental awareness and encourage participation in the program.
The team at Payless Liquors wants to help you connect with the Toast the Trees program this year. We provide a wide selection of fine bourbon whiskeys, including those produced by Angel’s Envy. If you are interested in trying one of these world-class bourbons for yourself and contributing to the Toast the Trees social media campaign, contact Payless Liquors today to find out which Angel’s Envy products we have in stock.
As we inch closer to another football season, it’s time to learn how to make tailgating cocktails. Sadly, we must deal with the bleak prospect that some local football may not happen as planned this year. Still, it’s important to keep the football spirit alive no matter what league you’re watching.
Traditionally, of course, the tailgating drink of choice is none other than inexpensive beer. However, this being the season of change, we’ve decided to roll with the punches and provide you with a list of alternative cocktails that truly honor area teams. Try these cocktails for your next tailgate experience:
Built to honor none other than the Purdue Boilermakers up in West Lafayette, this relatively simple drink is perfect for a tailgate party. All you’ll need are two ingredients any self-respecting tailgater should have readily on hand:
1 lager beer, poured into a mug
1 ½ oz bourbon (preferably Wild Turkey) poured into a shot glass
Then, simply drop your shot of bourbon into your beer and race to the finish!
While this drink was designed to incorporate Indiana heritage and regional ingredients, IU fans can appreciate the name as well as the unique autumn flavor. You’ll need:
Pour syrup into a cocktail shaker and muddle with rosemary. Add ice and remaining ingredients, shake well, and strain over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a slice of apple.
Return to Glory
Developed to depict the heritage of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and their return to a storied football program, the Return to Glory is as tasty as it is descriptive. Gather these ingredients:
2 oz Irish whiskey
2 oz ginger ale
½ oz Peach Schnapps
Splash of orange juice
Pour ingredients over ice in a tall glass. If desired, garnish with an orange slice and toast to the Fighting Irish’s return to glory.
Aside from smaller, more regional programs, the NFL may be the area’s one remaining hope of a full-scale football schedule this year. As a result, we’ve included this recipe crafted specifically for Indianapolis Colts fans – signature blue color and appropriately named tequila (Herradura means “horseshoe in Spanish) aside. We adore this play on a margarita. You’ll need:
1 ½ oz Herradura Blanco (or other white tequila)
2 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz agave nectar
½ oz blue curaçao
Pour all ingredients over ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a martini or cocktail glass.
If your team isn’t well-represented in Indy (or if football is delayed once again), there’s no reason to fret. This Tailgate Tea is a crowd-pleaser we’d be happy to sip anytime, football or no. Gather these ingredients:
1½ parts Svedka Strawberry Lemonade
1 part tea
½ part simple syrup
½ part fresh lemon juice
Splash of Corona Extra
Pour the first four ingredients into a tall glass filled with ice. Top off with a splash of Corona Extra, stir, and enjoy.
No matter what happens with this year’s football season, Payless Liquors is here for you. Stop in to see how our wide selection of beers, wines, and spirits can help you stock any social distancing tailgate party. Alternatively, call ahead or place an online order for pickup any night of the week.
The Old Fashioned is a cocktail that never seems to go out of style. One of the oldest known recipes for the drink is from a bartender’s guide published in 1862. The recipe in this book is similar to the “modern” Old Fashioned but was actually not a whiskey-based drink at all. The story of the recipe we know today dates back to 1880, when a bartender in Louisville, KY created the drink and took it on the road – right to the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, to be exact. This is said to be the birthplace of the Old Fashioned. The cocktail is mentioned in other books and periodicals over the years, but the basic recipe has always remained the same.
In today’s competitive bartending scene, it seems like such a simple recipe would fall by the wayside, forgotten in the sands of time as artisan cocktail creations move to the forefront of the bartending world. But its classic ingredients and familiar taste never goes out of style. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t change it up a little and add a modern touch to an old school cocktail. Take a look at these two new versions of the Old Fashioned as you hone your bartending skills while social distancing.
1. Gin Old Fashioned
If you are not a fan of whiskey and bourbon or you’re simply looking for something a little lighter and more refreshing for spring, this twist on the classic recipe is going to be a game changer for you. It bears some resemblance to a classic Negroni, but the unique characteristics that compose an Old Fashioned really come through and make this new creation stand out from the crowd. Build your drink with a two ounce gin base and a splash of simple syrup. A splash of bitters and some muddled orange and lemon rind complete the drink, as you stir it up and pour it over ice to cool your warm spring and summer days.
2. Coffee Old Fashioned
This one is for the coffee connoisseurs out there. Espresso martinis are played out, and hot coffee drinks are more suited to chilly autumn nights than golden summer evenings. This cocktail will definitely change the way you think about the traditional Old Fashioned. Start with two ounces of coffee liqueur and add a few splashes of orange bitters. No need for sugar in this one, as the liqueur adds a touch of sweetness. Stir over ice and then pour into your favorite beverage glass or serve it straight up with a lemon twist if you prefer the feel of a martini. Either way, you are sure to love it!
When you need a few ingredients for new cocktails like these, Payless Liquors is your go-to spot. We have everything you need for happy hour, including a great selection of domestic and import beers and wines. Whether you’re still or quarantine or just like the convenience of easy pick up, we can help. Use our online order form to make your selections today and pick them up with minimal contact.
Eastside Distilling has teamed up with country music singer and songwriter John Rich to create a unique “American blended” whiskey that is unlike anything else available. The partnership ultimately resulted in Redneck Riviera Whiskey, a spirit that is part of Rich’s Redneck Riviera brand and is now available at Payless Liquors.
What Is Redneck Riviera Whiskey?
Redneck Riviera Whiskey is an American whiskey that is a blend of two premium whiskeys, both aged for at least two years in oak barrels. One of the whiskeys contains sweet grain and malted barley, while the other features Midwest corn that provides a smooth flavor that evokes caramel corn from a county fair. The overall whiskey blend contains at least 20% whiskey, which means the spirit has gone through the minimum aging requirement and is composed of around 51% grain.
Origin of American Blended Whiskey
Co-creator John Rich first came up with the concept for Redneck Riviera Whiskey in the middle of a tour while consuming Crown Royal, a Canadian blended whiskey. Rich asked himself if there was such a thing as an American blended whiskey. When he noticed the lack of this specific, all-American spirit, the country star teamed up with Eastside Master Distiller Mel Heim, throughout 2017, to create a smooth easily approachable whiskey. Rich dedicates the Red Riviera Whiskey to the hard-working American, which is consistent with the brand’s motto of “Work Hard, Play Hard.”
The aroma of Redneck Riviera Whiskey foreshadows the sweetness of the spirit, a combination of butterscotch, light vanilla, and caramel, all complemented with a touch of honey. Every sip of this whiskey introduces a rich, complex combination of honey, dark stone fruit, oak, and vanilla to the consumer’s palate, a blend that the earthy grains later round out. The whiskey tasting experience finishes with smoother, more subtle tastes of vanilla, honey, and oak.
Redneck Riviera Whiskey is the perfect companion to any cocktail of your choice. It is equally delicious with a splash of your favorite mixer or as the base for an Old-Fashioned cocktail recipe. The versatility of the smooth spirit makes it a great choice no matter how you like your whiskey, whether you prefer yours on the rocks, or neat in the glass. Its versatility and smooth flavor make this whiskey stand out and embody hard-working American values.
About Eastside Distilling
Eastside Distilling is the nation’s first publicly-traded distillery, located in Portland, Oregon’s distillery row. Since its founding in 2008, Eastside has been producing award-winning craft spirits using natural ingredients to guarantee both taste and quality. Some of Eastside’s notable products include Redneck Riviera Whiskey, Hue-Hue Coffee Rum, and Portland Potato Vodka.
Experience the Redneck Riviera Whiskey now at Payless Liquors, with a measure of 40% ABV or 80 proof, per 750 mL bottle, costing $29.99 each.
In addition, look out for the upcoming Redneck Riviera Tasting event featuring John Rich himself. John will be at Payless Liquors, at Uptown Drive on April 27th from 2:00 – 3:30pm. Get your engines revving Indy!
Canadian Club Chronicles 41-Year-Old whiskey is the oldest bottling of Canadian whiskey on the market. It is Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2019’s Whiskey of the Year. It is a sought-after limited-edition whiskey, with hints of caramel, toasted oak, vanilla, spice, dark plum, and subtle rye. It comes from a proprietary mash that has aged since 1977 in Canadian oak barrels. It is liquid gold, boasting a complex taste that’s both smooth and satisfying.
What Is Canadian Whiskey?
Canadian whiskey is a unique type of liquor. One of the factors that distinguishes Canadian whiskey from other types of whiskey is that it doesn’t have nearly as many legal requirements as bourbon or Irish whiskey. While bourbon must come from the United States and consist of a grain mixture with at least 51% corn, Canadian whiskey has no such legal requirements. Corn is still the majority grain, but it does not have any requirement based on percentage. The requirements of Canadian whiskey are as follows:
Aged a minimum of three years in its native country
Wooden barrels must be no larger than 700 liters
Manufacturers must mash and distill the spirit in Canada
Alcohol content can exceed 90%, so blends are allowed
May add caramel coloring and artificial flavoring
Must have alcohol content of at least 40% when finally bottled
Unlike bourbon, which manufacturers must age in new, charred oak barrels, the type of barrel does not matter for Canadian whiskey. The barrel can be charred, uncharred, new, or old. Canadian whiskey consists of several different grains, but (again, unlike bourbon) each grain goes through fermentation, distillation, and aging separately. Manufacturers do not blend the grains together until the very end of the process. This means the amount of rye whiskey creators add to each blend can vary significantly.
History of Canadian Whiskey in the U.S.
During the Civil War, the shutdown of American distilleries moved much of the business to Canada. That shut down sent many early distillery pioneers to Canada to continue to hone their craft. By 1900, Gooderham & Worts had grown to one of the greatest distilleries in the world. It produced around two million gallons of Canadian whiskey annually at the time.
Canadian whiskey entered the United States for the first time during the Prohibition. At first, it was far from a hit – American distillers could purchase Canadian whiskey distilleries for cheap, showing the lack of demand for the product. One liquor salesman at the time, Harry Hatch, bought four of the five largest distilleries in Canada at once: Gooderham & Worts, Corby, Wiser’s, and Hiram Walker. The fact that just a salesman could buy the majority of industry leaders is a testament to Canadian whiskey’s initial lack of popularity. Eventually, the blended whiskey gained popularity and has continued to hold a special place among whiskey drinkers.
In 2017, Canadian whiskey generated almost $2 billion in revenue in the United States, with over 17.5 million nine-liter cases sold. Canadian whiskey is the largest imported whiskey type in the United States, worth around $4.8 million retail. Recently, consumers have been experimenting with a wider range of Canadian whiskies. Both high-end premium and super-premium Canadian whiskey brands saw sales growth in 2017 (38% and 48%, respectively).
Tasting Notes on Canadian Whiskey
Canadian whiskey is not “brown vodka,” as a common misconception goes. It has a dynamic and complex taste, with a variety of selections aged in many types of barrels with varying recipes. Canadian whiskey is one of the most interesting types of spirits thanks to the leniency of the legal requirements. Makers can craft different flavors and tastes by varying the recipe and barrel used for aging. Each bottle can taste brand new.
Despite the almost limitless taste options, most Canadian whiskey distilleries stick to age-old recipes and production processes. Canadian distillers offer quality products they’ve made the same way for decades. Most Canadian whiskies have a majority of corn spirits, along with rye grain. Flavorful rye grains became so popular in the recipe that many people began referring to Canadian whiskey as “rye whiskey,” and today the two terms are still interchangeable.
Canadian whiskey is generally lighter and smoother in taste than other types of whiskies. Most distilleries use majority corn and rye grains, but some recipes also incorporate triticale, barley, or wheat grains. Canadian whiskey tastes delicious straight, but it is also a preferred spirit for mixing into cocktails and highballs. It is a versatile drink with a rich history and a bright future. The recent popularity of brand-new Canadian whiskies – straight rye, spiced, and small-batch – is proof of the drink’s longevity.
The Silky-Smooth Canadian Club Chronicles 41-Year Whiskey
Canadian Club Chronicles has been distilling spirits since 1858. Hiram Walker, an American entrepreneur, initially founded the company as a way to continue his whiskey business during the U.S. Prohibition. Soon, however, the brand turned into one of Canada’s top choices. It has been distilling spirits for over 160 years. The 41-Year Whiskey is the oldest whiskey Canadian Club has ever released. The bottle’s other name pays homage to the company’s headquarters in Windsor, Ontario: “CC Chronicles Issue No. 1: Water of Windsor.”
Canadian Club Chronicles 41-Year Whiskey hit the market in November 2018. It is the very first limited-edition release from the “CC Chronicles” line. It has a 45% ABV, and was blended with small portions of rye, cognac, and sherry. Those lucky enough to have enjoyed a taste of this special whiskey have described it as complex and deep. The aroma is a delicate blend of caramel and toasted oak, with a hint of vanilla and spice. The palette boasts more vanilla, caramel, and oak, along with notes of dark plum, tobacco, and rye spiciness. It leaves behind a warm, lingering finish of caramel and spice.
Experts have called this whiskey, “silky smooth,” “exceptionally balanced, “harmonious,” and “extraordinary, yet subtle.” The 41-Year Whiskey taps into the burgeoning market for high-end and premium whiskies in the United States, and comes in a special-edition decanter-style vessel. Each bottle holds 750 milliliters. It is a very limited-edition whiskey, and one consumers are sure to reserve for only the best occasions and once-in-a-lifetime achievements. Treat yourself or surprise a loved one – get your bottle today before they’re gone forever.
In celebration of the final season of the critically-acclaimed HBO series, Game of Thrones, Johnnie Walker is proud to introduce White Walker by Johnnie Walker. The single malt whiskey takes its name from the feared supernatural creatures who inhabit the frozen lands north of The Wall on the fantasy megahit.
This new blend perfectly reminds Johnnie Walker and Game of Thrones fans alike that “Winter is Here.” The limited-edition bottle utilizes thermochromic ink to give fans a frosty surprise message when frozen. With flavor notes like caramelized sugar, vanilla, and fresh red berries, White Walker by Johnnie Walker makes for a delicious serve. The new blend is best-served ice cold, inspired by the White Walkers beyond The Wall.
The limited-edition whiskeys are inspired by the iconic characters and the creative world of Westeros and beyond and are here to tide fans over during their wait for the eighth and final season. Even the most revered Maester couldn’t have predicted a collaboration of this monumental proportion.
“Groundbreaking partnerships continue to be a strategic initiative for Diageo as they foster exceptional creative collaboration and help showcase the breadth of our portfolio. We are very proud to have our collection of single malts and Johnnie Walker, the number one Scotch whiskey brand in the world, collaborate with HBO’s most successful TV franchise to develop these limited-edition offerings for fans to collect and celebrate the final season of Games of Thrones,” said Dan Sanborn, Senior Vice President, Culture and Partnerships at DIAGEO.
“We knew there was fan appetite for a Game of Thrones whiskey and once we saw Diageo’s vision for a way to collaborate together we knew the idea was perfect and the time was now. From the beginning, they understood that we wanted to create something special, and they’ve accomplished that with both White Walker by Johnnie Walker and the single malt collection. We’re confident fans will enjoy sipping these delicious whiskeys as they wait for season eight and beyond,” said Jeff Peters, Vice President, Licensing & Retail at HBO.
Be sure to come in and grab your very own bottle to celebrate the final season!!
The fourth and final version in Old Forester’s Whiskey Row series has been released. The 1910 Old Fine Whiskey, a double-barreled whiskey, represents a specific point in Old Forester’s storied 150-year-old history. A fall fire that happened at the distillery in 1910 spurred a happy accident that led to the casking process that led to the Old Fine Whiskey.
Whiskey Row Series
Started in 2014, the Whiskey Row series tells the story of Old Forester’s one-of-a-kind history, highlighting significant milestones and innovations in production along the way. This series includes the 1870 Original Batch, a small batch bourbon pulling from three distinct warehouses, meant to reference founder George Garvin Brown’s original batching process; the 1897 Bottled in Bond, a small batch of barrels from one distilling season, in the same year, aged in a federally bonded warehouse for a minimum of four years; and 1920 Prohibition Style, which represents a barrel strength of the prohibition era when Old Forester was granted one of just ten permits nationally to continue being sold as a medicinal whiskey. The last of the series is the 1910 Fine Old Whisky.
Thanks to a Fire
On one October day in 1910, a fire caused the bottling line to be shut down at Old Forester’s distillery for an extended period of time. To make things worse, there was a vat of mature whiskey waiting to be bottled. Instead of pouring out the whiskey or letting it sit until ruin, the distillers at Old Forester decided to store the vat in new, charred oak containers until the line could be repaired. This resulted in the first documented double-barreled whiskey, which was new for Old Forester and remarkable enough to become a new barreling method.
In order to replicate the 1910 methods, the distilling team took mature bourbon from their inventory and had it go through a second barreling process in a lightly toasted, heavily charred barrel. I was then bottled at 93 proof. At 93 proof, this whiskey is at the right weight to challenge the other Whiskey Row Series. Popular opinion has the Prohibition 1920 series as the favorite, but with 1910 coming out, there could be a new favorite of the series.
The finished product has aromas of buttercream, sticky toffee, cedar, and apricot, with smooth, well-rounded taste mingling sweet oatmeal raisin cookie and milk chocolate, leading into caramel corn and evolving spice, according to Old Forester’s tasting notes.
We have a limited supply of this limited-edition whiskey. Be sure to call us and reserve your bottle of this one-of-a-kind series.
The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Years (2003 Vintage) is a single vintage bottling, limited and rare by nature. This non-chill filtered expression is bottled at 48.3% ABV and matured solely in American Oak casks, providing a velvety and round taste with woody peat smoke balancing oaky vanilla and honey.
At a time when few Speyside distilleries were using peat in production, The Balvenie decided to distill a batch of heavily peated malt, which was laid down to mature at the distillery in Dufftown, Scotland. Ever since, they’ve dedicated one week each year, named Peat Week, to using 100 percent Highland peat to dry its barley. Instead of coastal elements of iodine, salt and medicinal characteristics associated with Islay peat, Highland peat imparts an earthy, woody smoke note. This means the peat has an unexpected sweetness rooted in the Speyside regional character.
History of Balvenie
The Balvenie distillery is located in the town of Dufftown in the Speyside region of Scotland. It was founded in 1892 by William Grant and was built next to its sister distillery of Glenfiddich. Balvenie is still owned by the Grant family and has had an annual production capacity of 1.48 million gallons. It’s still one of the most traditional distilleries in Scotland as all stages of the whiskey making process happen on site – growing the barley, malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation, coopering and maturation. Balvenie is one of the best-selling single malts in the world and sits comfortably in the Top 10 for sales volume.
The color is a golden yellow and the nose is vibrant, fresh, and sweet. There are plenty of peat smoke aromas up front and these create an instant soft earthiness. Combating this are distinct aromas of honeycomb and vanilla, plus a whiff of dried apple and candied lemon.
The palate has its sweeter elements from the nose that hit first. They whiskey feels viscous and full, almost syrupy. There are plenty of honeycomb, vanilla notes, and hints of brown sugar. Underneath the initial taste is subtle hints of green apple, pear and a hint of apricot jam. Warm wood-like spices are everywhere as well. All of this is underpinned by a decent level of soft peat smoke that is never too far away. The finish is long, and the smoke really hits at the end. The sweet notes fade into a drier mouthfeel. The smokiness turns ashier and the warming wood spices grip your tongue and take hold of your throat.
It was difficult to know what to expect but it does not disappoint. The whiskey is tasty, balanced and easy drinking, even at the slightly high strength. It would be a good introduction to the world of peated whiskeys for someone too.
Although the peat PPM level is around 30. The smoke seems quite punchy, but it still has some way to go to go fighting with the big heavy Islay malts.
Come Get Yours
Does Balvenie’s Peat Week sound like something you would like to add to your collection? Contact us to reserve this bottle and get a taste of one of Scotland’s most traditional distilleries.
If you ask the average or casual whiskey drinker about rye whiskey, they will likely never have tried it outside of a cocktail, or say they are not a fan, without ever really having tried it for themselves. While bourbon has dominated the American whiskey market for years, rye whiskey has made a huge comeback over the past few years, and there does not seem to be any end in sight. Dating back to the days of prohibition, it was rye that was the original grain of choice by American whiskey makers, not corn. It wasn’t until after prohibition ended that corn took over and became the grain of choice, making bourbon whiskey America’s choice spirit. This was in large part due to corn being far less expensive, and in the end far easier to work with. By the 1990’s, rye whiskey had an afterthought and was being ignored by most whiskey drinkers. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that craft whiskey started to enter the market, and the cocktail craze started to emerge that rye was “rediscovered”, and the demand for rye started to once again grow. That’s about the time many of the bigger distillers took notice, including Jim Beam.
Knob Creek Rye is a product of Jim Beam and is an extension of their Knob Creek line. While the standard Knob Creek Rye has been on available since 2011, their single barrel rye’s are new to the market and is providing consumers with a true drinkable, yet affordable high proof premium rye product. Knob Creek was one of the first “premium bourbons” products Jim Beam brought to the mass market back in the 1990′s, along with other now staples like Basil Hayden, Booker’s, and Bakers. All of those offerings were bourbons though, so as the demand for rye continued to grow, Knob Creek Rye was born. Now some 7 years later the demand for higher proof rye’s has increased, and thus Knob Creek single barrels rye’s have (finally) come to be.
Payless was fortunate enough to get in early to this new offering and was given the opportunity to select from several premium offering of this high-proof rye. A select panel of bourbon tasting experts unanimously selected the same rye barrel, identifying it as a clear cut above the rest, and now this special hand selected single barrel rye whiskey is available exclusively for Payless customers.
Sweetwood jumps out of the dram, followed quickly by those traditional rye spice notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, & even some clove that one comes to expect in a rye whiskey. There is dried orange peel, and a pleasant vanilla mid-note that slowly opens up to allow in some dried black cherry, and notes of black pepper. There is complexity here that starts your taste buds to get very excited to take the next step.
A silky texture presents with sweet caramel and wood leading the way. Swiftly entering are strong notes of sweet candied apricot and orange. There is a strong vanilla mid-pallet, with a balancing under-note of some subtle almond mixed in. Oakwood notes mix with soft hints of leather enter as the heat from the proof announces itself. There’s a nice spice that is present throughout to provide that kick you look for in a rye whiskey, but never fully extinguishes an ever-persistent sweetness that presents itself from start all the way through the finish. Joining the party late are some subtle notes of ginger and black pepper that present themselves at the very end.
A long, spice filled finish provides complexity and a firm backbone, yet is still sweet and extremely drinkable. While there is a punch of heat, that is to be expected from a near cask strength product (single barrels are 115 proof, while recent cask strength releases were just 119 proof), but don’t let that scare you. This hand-selected barrel provides an array of mouth-watering flavors that lay on the tongue from front to back and sparkles with enjoyable bursts of spice, vanilla, caramel, and ripe fruits. This is a drink that can be enjoyed neat, or will rock out any cocktail of your choice. This is a rye not to be passed on if you are lucky enough to find one.
Seagram’s first introduced Crown Royal in 1939 to celebrate King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visiting Canada and it remained a Canadian only product until 1964. The beverage giant Diageo acquired the Crown Royal brand in 2000 when Seagram’s was dissolved and since then there have been numerous versions and variations of the original released. Like most Canadian whiskey it’s a blend of different grain whiskeys of various ages.
This version to come out of the Crown Royal brand is Salted Caramel. The idea behind this was to infuse a blend of Crown’s best whiskeys with the subtly salty-sweet taste of indulgent salted caramels – imparting lush, creamy notes that compliment the richness of flavors that come out of the master-blended casks.
Crown Royal has a rather unique presentation. Their definitive crown-shaped bottles came from when Seagram’s introduced the Crown Royal brand to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Salted Caramel is no different. Like every bottle of Crown Royal, it gets treated to the signature crown-shaped bottle. This bottle though comes in a decorative display box and caramel-colored display bag with drawstrings.
In the Tumbler
Like most Crown Royal variants, Crown Royal Salted Caramel has an amber, almost copper color to it. When swirled in a tumbler, it has a thick-like look and feel to it that is consistent with most flavored spirits that have added sweetness to them. The aroma that billows out of the glass presents a pleasant, light maple syrup. Mixed with the maple syrup are aromas of wood and grain from the cask as well as hints of vanilla.
The initial delivery brings a flavor of maple and caramel forward with a subtle peppery spiciness from the oak and grain. The spiciness carries a light touch of black pepper and orange-peel zest. The added sweetness of the caramel gives the spirit balance and cancels out the heavy oak and grain taste that comes with non-flavored whiskeys. The mixture of flavors provides an even balance on the taste buds that will leave you pining for more.