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Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon

Our friends in Congress aren’t exactly known for playing together nicely and they certainly aren’t known for working together to get a bill passed unanimously. Which is why it was rather strange when, back in 2007, every member of the then Senate agreed to pass a bill declaring every September from then on to be declared National Bourbon Heritage Month. Seriously, they spent half a day doing that, on the taxpayer’s dime.

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 https://www.knobcreek.com/our-products/single-barrel-reserve/

And maybe that tells you all you need to know about bourbon. As far as many are concerned Scotch is nice, but it’s well, a bit foreign. Bourbon on the other hand, is 100% American (legally it has to be) and drinking it is almost patriotic and definitely more than a little macho.

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve seeks to take this image to the next level. This is a tough whiskey, it’s 120 proof for cripes sake, a serious tipple. Even its bottle looks serious. No fancy swirls on the label, no artfully designed logo, just a description of exactly what’s inside; a robust 9-year aged full-bodied bourbon straight out of Clermont, Kentucky that should be consumed as is, no water, no mixers, and if possible in some kind of special bourbon glass (if such a thing exists)

In terms of taste there’s a lot going on. Mint, clove, pepper and the slightest hints of vanilla and maple are the first impressions upon the first sip. It leaves a burn behind, but not one that is as overwhelming as some of the other high proof bourbons out there. In fact, it’s probably the smoothest 120 you’ll find.

To sum up, Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is a serious, hearty, woodsy tipple that begs to be consumed either with like-minded tough buds along with some serious conversation or alone, somewhere dimly lit, after a very hard day at work.

Collingwood Whisky

The Collingwood bottle, famous for it’s cologne bottle resemblance, received a recent update.  I admit the uniqueness of the bottle always piqued my interest, but the new bottle design still rivals that of the most premium spirit.

Collingwood Canadian Whisky from Brown Forman Distillers utilizes the finest Canadian grains and water from Collingwood, Ontario.  This hand crafted whisky is triple distilled and aged in white oak barrels, then receives a final mellowing.  This unique mellow finish is achieved by bringing Collingwood together in stainless steel vats with maplewood staves.  Despite the current popularity of bourbon, Collingwood Whisky and Canadian whisky blends remain a favorite among booze enthusiasts.

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The maplewood mellowing process is evident in the nose of this spirit.  Among maple are also notes of caramel and butterscotch.  The body is light, but the palate is complex, sweet, and creamy.  Notes of maple, spices, and honey become apparent.  The finish lingers just enough but is quite easy to drink and the mellowness of Collingwood shines thorough this light, sweet finish.

Collingwood is an excellent member of Canadian blended whisky and one of the finest Canadian blends we’ve tried at boozeblogger.

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Crown Royal

Crown Royal is an immensely popular, recognizable brand and the best selling Canadian whisky in the United States. This blended whisky was originally created as a tribute to King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth’s royal visit to Canada.
Crown Royal is a whisky that is blended by mixing finished whiskies and a base spirit. These whiskies are created with water that is naturally purified through limestone, natural corn, rye and barley. Next, it is perfectly blended and patiently aged in oak barrels, which contributes a smooth finish with notes of oak and vanilla.

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We received three bottles of Crown Royal for review: Crown Royal XO, Crown Royal Reserve, and their newest addition, Crown Royal Regal Apple.

The Crown Royal XO is blended with 50 whiskies and finished in cognac casks from the Limousin forest in France. This exceptional blend of Canadian whisky is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks. However, it can be used to create a great Old Fashion. The XO is heavy on the nose with notes of oak, fruits, and vanilla. The palate contains notes of citrus and dried fruit and hints of barrel oak. The finish is long with hints of vanilla and spice.

The Crown Royal Reserve is another offering of Canadian blend whisky that contains a higher percentage of aged whisky compared to the blended Crown Royal flagship. I keep referring to this as the Crown Royal “Special Reserve” but they since dropped the special from the name. The nose of the Reserve has a noticeable rye spice and floral notes. The palate is light and sweet with notes of oak and vanilla. The feel of this Reserve is very mellow and smooth and finishes strong.

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The Crown Royal Regal Apple is another attempt by Crown Royal to capitalize on the growing trend that is “flavored whisky”. Crown Royal previously introduced the Crown Royal Maple and Boozeblogger found that it made a great Maple Moscow Mule! We were not sure exactly how to enjoy the Apple flavored Crown Royal. The nose is overpowering with sweet sugary Apple notes, reminiscent of a jolly rancher. There were not a lot of your typical whisky aromas. The Apple may need to be toned a bit and serve only to compliment the whisky. The taste continued with the strong sugary Apple flavor and finished with cinnamon and spice. The best way to enjoy this whisky will most likely be in the form of shots.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Buffalo Trace Distillery has a rich heritage and distinguished history as a premier American bourbon maker.  This distilling tradition reaches back two centuries to 1787.  Situated along the banks of the Kentucky River, Buffalo Trace is named for the bison who traversed the etched traces through Kentucky and on westward.  Buffalo Trace’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is an exceptional example and benchmark among Kentucky’s variety of great bourbons.

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The booming bourbon demand has created shortages among Buffalo Trace’s bourbon reserves.  Americans are turning back to a spirit that is recognized for its quality and complexity, similar to the craft beer boom.  The growth of bourbon sales has no immediate expectations of slowing down.  Because the method of maturing a great bourbon is a process that takes years, the wait and increase in demand has created a shortage that appears to only continue.

Buffalo Trace’s flagship bourbon is a deep amber.  The aroma is a heavy molasses with a vanilla sweetness.  I best enjoyed this bourbon neat, allowing all of the great flavors best enjoyed.  The palate was spicy and sweet, with a noticeable oak and caramel finish.  The finish was exceptionally long and continued with the spicy notes.  This is a workhorse bourbon whiskey that is flexible enough to be used in a combination of great cocktails.

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Here is a great cocktail that highlights the flexibility of Buffalo Trace:

Bufala Negra

1 1/2 oz Buffalo Trace

4 basil leaves

1 brown sugar cube

1/2 oz balsamic syrup

2 oz ginger beer

Served in an old fashioned glass topped with ice and fresh basil for garnish.

I particularly enjoyed Buffalo Trace as a stand alone drink, but I’m excited to continue experimenting with this great bourbon.

buffalotrace.com

BB Score:

45

 

Sauza Strawberry Margarita Recipe

This margarita recipe from Sauza is one of our favorites.  Make this in a pitcher and pour into cocktail glasses with lime and strawberry garnishes!

1 1/2 cups Sauza Signature Blue Silver Tequila

1/2 cup DeKuyper Triple Sec Liqueur

1 cup Pucker Strawberry Schnapps

3 cups sour mix

Sliced strawberries and limes for garnish

Preparation: Add ingredients to an ice-filled pitcher.  Add sliced strawberries and lime, stir and enjoy!

Serves 8

#SauzaPitcherPics

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Bruichladdich Distillery

The Bruichladdich Distillery, pronounced brook-lad-dee, is situated on the isle of Islay in Scotland. Bruichladdich is renowned for its single malt scotch and signature Classic Laddie.  We had the opportunity to taste this wonderful Scottish Barley. The Little Laddie is an exceptional unpeated scottish barley and the signature bottle is beautiful.

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The aroma of the Bruichladdich Scottish Barley is bright and citrusy.  Including notes of lemons, wild flowers, and vanilla.  My first taste of Little Laddie is dry and sweet.  Here there are flavors of oak, barley, grapefruit, and sweetness.  The finish was medium and includes more sweetness, vanilla, and warmth.  This is an exceptional Scottish Barley that is meticulously crafted.  The flagship whisky by Bruichladdich is one of our favorites at Boozeblogger.

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We also had the privilege of tasting an artisanal gin created by Bruichladdich, The Botanist Gin.  This is a top-tier gin with huge notes of citrus and flowers that is reminiscent of a fresh meadow.  This floral gin incorporates 22 botanicals that are indigenous to Islay.  The flavor of The Botanist is predominately floral and citrusy.  With so many ingredients being incorporated, it becomes apparent how well Bruichladdich has crafted this gin.  The finish is complex and rich with flavors of mint and citrus.  The Botanist gin is beautiful, the typography and names of all the botanicals etched into the bottle, is unlike any other bottle.

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The Bruichladdich Distillery has created a phenomenal whisky and gin.  We look forward to several more tasting of these and other expressions offered by Bruichladdich.

bruichladdich.com

BB Score:

45

 

Cinco de Mayo with Sauza Blue Tequila

Cinco de Mayo is the perfect time to break out that ninja blender, a bottle of tequila and make some Mexican restaurant margaritas.  Sounds like a past post of ours.  Boozeblogger knows just a little about having a great time on Cinco de Mayo.  We’ll share with you how to best enjoy the 5th of May with some of our favorite food and drink recipes.

A great way to start your festivities is with homemade chips and guac.  You’ll need something to snack on before you get into those margaritas.  It’s super easy to make these chips and guac that taste as good as Chipotle.

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Homemade Tortilla Chips

1 package of corn tortillas

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

3 tablespoons of lime juice

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Cut each tortilla into 8 chip sized wedges  I stack several tortillas and cut several at once.

Arrange the cut tortillas in a single layer on a cookie sheet

Apply oil to the tortillas

Bake for 7 minutes, turn pan, bake 7 more

Remove chips and place in large bowl, toss with salt and lime juice

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Homemade Guacamole

3 ripe avacados

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup minced cilantro

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

In a bowl, mash avacados with fork.  Stir in onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.

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Sauza makes a perfect tequila for margaritas.  Their tequila makes the freshest tasting margaritas because it is made with a process called “Fresh Pressed Agave”.  This is accomplished by steeping the agave before the juice is extracted and cooked, giving it a very natural and fresh flavor.

We used the Blue Silver 100% blue agave which is clean, has a great agave taste, and bite to it.

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Here is what you need for the perfect mint margarita with Sauza:

1 bunch of fresh mint

3 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)

6 parts Sauza Blue Silver Tequila

2 cups club soda

ice

salt for rim

mint for garnish

In a small pitcher, muddle together the mint leaves, sugar and lime juice until they start to melt together.  Add your Sauza Blue Silver Tequila.  Fill 4 glasses with ice and pour cocktail mixture 3/4 of the way to the top of each glass.  If you want, rim your glasses with salt by rubbing the rims with a lime wedge and dipping in a plate of salt.  Fill each glass with club soda and garnish with an extra sprig of mint.

Hudson Whiskey

Tuthilltown Spirits Farm Distillery is bringing back the tradition of whiskey distilling in The Big Apple.  Tuthilltown’s high quality handcrafted rye whiskey is the first since prohibition to be distilled in the Hudson Valley.  Also, Tuthilltown has the oldest continuously operated grist mill in New York and in 1982 became part of the National Register of Historic Places.  All of this history has come together at Tuthilltown to create an amazing small batch whiskey that harks back to pre-prohibition booze.

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We were fortunate enough to get our hands on two of Tuthilltown’s great whiskeys.  The Hudson Manhattan Rye and the Single Malt.  These bottles of Hudson Whiskey go through a distillation process that includes custom copper pot stills, while each bottle passes through at least seven sets of hands before it leaves.  Hudson Whiskey has become a top tier whiskey distillery and their attention to detail throughout the distillation process is evident.

The Manhattan Rye is bottled at 92 proof and comes in a 375ml bottle.  This is one of the best American made rye whiskies.  It’s best enjoyed not mixed in a manhattan but sipped neat.  The aroma of the Manhattan Rye is sweet and bright, reminiscent of flowers and cherries.  The Manhattan Rye has a wonderful rye flavor, as well as, a bright flowery and fruity taste.  The finish has a little spice and char flavor but is exceptionally smooth.  This is one of our favorite rye whiskies here at Boozeblogger.

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Another great expression offered by Tuthilltown is the Hudson Single Malt.  The aroma of this whiskey is reminiscent of fresh cut wood and leather.  Also, scents of sweetness and citrus.  The taste has a strong flavor of barrel char, somewhat harsh, and spicy.  Also present are notes of vanilla and oak.  It finishes strong and quite dry, definitely has a long lingering and tingly finish.  This is an excellent offering from Hudson.

We’ve found the Manhattan Rye to be more to our liking.  Both offerings are excellent examples of american whiskey that is not bourbon.  We look forward to further tasting and review of Hudson!

hudsonwhiskey.com

BB Score:

five-stars

Teeling Whiskey Company

Teeling Whiskey Company hails from Dublin, the hub of Irish whiskey production.  Here the Teeling Whiskey tradition began in 1782 with Walter Teeling and once again in Dublin, this once prosperous distillery has become relevant again. And right where it started in Dublin back in 1782.

Brothers Jack and Stephen Teeling are carrying on the family craft with their new distillery.  Teeling Whiskey is confident they will bring Irish whiskey in Dublin back to its celebrated roots.

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Teeling’s exceptional small batch blend contains a high malt ratio and is finished in rum casks for added spice.  The rum cask finish creates an amazing aroma and a delicious rum finish.  The small batch blend has been non-chilled filtered at a noticeably high 46% ABV.  This is a unique and special addition to small batch Irish whiskeys.

The aroma is fruity and reminiscent of oranges, apple pie, and spice.  This spicy aroma follows into the palate and includes notes of toffee and cinnamon.  The finish was smooth and the rum cask finish becomes apparent here.  This Irish whiskey is complex.  Teeling definitely has a winner with this one.

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This whiskey is best enjoyed on its own but really develops after a few drops of water have been added.  An Irish whiskey that is beautifully smooth and full bodied, Teeling has a special whiskey with this small batch.

teelingwhiskey.com

BB Score:

five-stars

 

Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

Zubrowka is an herb-flavored vodka that is distilled from rye and interestingly tastes great with apple juice, as it is traditionally had.  The name comes from the Polish word for the bison that enjoy grazing the Bialowieza Forest.  This fusion creates a uniquely sweet flavor that is unlike any other vodka.

There is some controversy over the FDA prohibition of the coumarin contained in this vodka (product of the bison grass).  Zubrowka contains trace amounts of this mildly toxic compound and was banned at one time here in the US.  Zuborwka has reintroduced it’s vodka in the US with a reformulated version, and I’m glad they did.

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This aromatic and sweet vodka is definitely smooth and exceptional.  It’s really hard to nail down the unique flavor of this vodka.  It contains notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and almond.  These flavors work so well with apple juice or cider, and maybe even mixed with more booze, like a hard cider.  This creates a drink that is reminiscent of apple pie.

Here is a great recipe for enjoying Zubrowka.

ZU & Cider

2 parts ZU

4 parts hard cider

Mixed in a tall glass with ice and garnished with apple slices

zuvodka.com

BB Score:

45

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