Celebrities getting in to the distilled spirits business is nothing new. We've reviewed a few for our channel already.
With Creek Water whiskey we have the award winning recording artist, Yelawolf, throwing his hat in the game. I'm not going to give you a history lesson on who Yelawolf is and what songs you know him from, we're here to talk about the whiskey.
-------> How does it hold up to the competition?
You can watch our video review at the bottom of this blog post if you just want to get right to it.
First things first, Yelawolf teamed up with Next Century Spirits to create what they are calling a "saloon style" whiskey. Next Century Spirits is based in Durham, North Carolina. They distill their own spirits as well as do contract distilling for others, such as this one with Creek Water whiskey.
Next Century Spirits claims to have invented a technology that helps to speed up the aging process while also eliminating the angels' share and cutting down production costs (which is great for anyone looking to put out their own label without investing in their own distillery)
Creek Water comes without an age statement but it does come in at 100 proof.
Which is great for a bottle that sells for only $25!
BTW: Thanks to Paul at Top Shelf Wine and Spirits for this bottle.
He's selling it for $25 with FREE SHIPPING on all orders right now.
Click here to buy Creek Water Whiskey
On top of that, promo code: Brolic2 will save you some extra cash.
Back to the whiskey. So I'll admit, I'm not a fan of the packaging. I think the topper is a little gaudy with it's fake gold metal and the growler type stopper. If anything, it's different so I can give them kudos for that. The label reminds me of a 90s barb wire tattoo. But good thing we're not judging off of looks. The juice inside is what really counts. Mike and I both were a little perplexed by both the nose and the palate. While we didn't agree on what we were smelling or tasting, our scores were pretty close to each other. I was getting some vanilla and leather on the nose, but there was a distinct oil flavor that I never really tasted in any other whiskey before this one. It sounds so strange but it works! As Mike said, this is a mans whiskey. It makes you want to go out and fix something, or just work on your car.
We liked it all 3 ways which is super rare for us. We liked it the most neat, but we still thought it was descent with water, and I kinda enjoyed it over rocks. Neat is, as usual, the way to go here.
We may just have to reach out to NCS when we're ready to create our own Brolic Whiskey :)
We are giving this a strong try or buy recommendation.
For $25 and 50% abv, it's hard to pass up if it's in your area or if Top Shelf can ship to you.
Yelawolf says: "It smells like a good time"
Our full video review can be viewed below:
Jameson Irish Whiskey teamed up with Angel City Brewing company from Los Angeles, CA to create this Jameson Caskmates edition.
How does it work?
Jameson loaned Angel City Brewing company some barrels that previously held Jameson whiskey to age their own Irish Imperial Red Ale. Once the ale was finished and bottled, Angel City Brewing sent the barrels back to Jameson, in which they then finished their Irish Whiskey inside of.
So these barrels racked up quite the frequent flyer miles. (Keep in mind the Jameson barrels originally held bourbon at one point)
Angel City Brewing company is based in the Arts District of Los Angeles, California. Their Imperial Irish Red Ale used in this came in at 16% abv.
This Jameson Caskmates release was exclusive to the Los Angeles area. I happened to stumble upon this bottle in Fallbrook, CA.
Let me just say this, it tastes nothing like the standard Jameson Caskmates IPA edition. This is indeed something special.
As with just about everything Jameson releases, it is bottled at 40% abv.
Usually I found triple distilled, low abv Irish whiskey to be pretty boring, but the additional aging from the used Irish Imperial Red Ale barrels really worked well together. It's an enjoyable and unique dram.
Color: Way darker and richer than I expected to see!
Nose: Wow! Lemon rinds/lemon oil bursts out initially. You definitely get the hops influence as well. This is such a treat to smell!
Taste: Impressive. Citrus and hops like a high end IPA without the bitterness. Whiskey comes though nice and mild. Probably the best Jameson I've ever had.
Finish: Medium-short. It doesn't linger too long but it's enjoyable while it's leaving.
I scored this a 7.8 out of 10 neat.
Being that I promised this bottle to a friend, I will now be hunting this one down to see if anybody still has a dusty bottle of this 2016 release hanging out anywhere.
Check out our full video review below. Plus a potential giveaway?:
For our first review of 2019 we are taking a look at W.L. Weller 12.
So unless you're absolutely brand new to whiskey, you've probably heard of this bourbon, but hopefully you didn't fall victim to the hype train and pay secondary pricing.
This bottle is supposed to retail at around $30, but some shady shop owners and whiskey bottle flippers on the secondary are trying to get upwards of $300 for it.
Why is this happening?
It all started a few years ago when some bloggers were calling this "Poor Mans Pappy"* all of a sudden people where running out and buying up the same bottles that have been collecting dust for years.
*Pappy is in reference to Pappy Van Winkle. Which has also skyrocketed in price on the secondary market fetching thousands of dollars on a bottle that used to retail for under $200.
Now, why is it being called the Poor Mans Pappy?
Everything from the Weller and Van Winkle lineups use the same mashbill.
They are also aged in the same warehouse.
Anyone who has tasted single cask whiskeys side by side can tell you, the same whisky can taste vastly different for numerous reasons. Therefore, simply being the same mashbill doesn't mean they will taste the same, hence why I think it's complete non-sense that this current whiskey economy is falling for this Poor Mans Pappy bullshit.
Basically what happens is Juian Van Winkle will go through the inventory and select which whiskey will go on into the Van Winkle stock (Rip Van Winkle 10 and Van Winkle 12 lot B...or eventually aging further to become Pappy Van Winkle 15, 20 or 23). If it doesn't make the Van Winkle stock, it becomes Weller. You should take this as your first hint that the whiskey taste different if he feels they don't make the cut.
Even a side by side of Weller 12 vs Rip Van Winkle lot B (retails for around $70 but fetching $300-700 secondary) will show you that there's more balance to the Rip. Again, same juice and aging time yet one retails for 2x the other...based off taste alone.
The mash-bill is said to be a company secret, yet certain website are claiming this to be the breakdown: 70% corn, 16% wheat, 14% barley.
Remember...this is unconfirmed!
They use a #4 char on the barrels they use for aging which gives a nice deep rich color.
Bottled at 45% abv (A wheated whiskey should be higher proof in my opinion)
So is it the most over-rated whiskey ever?
In my opinion it could be. It's a $30 whiskey for a reason. I would never, ever pay secondary pricing on a bottle, let alone a whiskey as "run of the mill" as this one is.
It's very thin and nothing to wow you when neat, but through this review I learned my preferred way (as well as Mike's) is with a drop of water. Surprisingly, the water made this so much more enjoyable on the palate even though the nose was almost non-existent.
My score was 5.1 out of 10 neat
6.9 out of 10 with water
Obviously opinions and palates are subjective and these words are my own. I will never support the secondary market, nor the shady shop owners who feel it's OK to charge secondary pricing on bottles. I think eventually people will smarten up and realize that A- This bottle is only worth retail and B- There's so many other great whiskey to enjoy, so there's never a reason to pay more than retail on anything.
Check out our full review and details on the whiskey in the video below:
When you make friends in the whiskey world you get to taste some stuff that normally wouldn't be on your radar otherwise. Sometimes you meet people who are so special, they gift you whisky that meets that criteria as well.
This is one of those cases, this was a gift from a friend I made through one of our whiskey meetup groups.
Cadenhead in Scotland's longest running independent bottlers.
Often times Cadenhead buys single casks and then bottles them under their label, other times they make their own blend, hence the "creation" part of the name. This is the latter. Cadenhead Creations Sherry, 20 year old Scotch.
This is a blend of 4 different whiskys.*
2 single malts and 2 grain whiskys, then blended and rested in sherry wood before bottling at 46% abv.
The single malts are from Bruichladdich and Mortlach.
The grain whiskys are from Cameronbridge and Invergordon
No color added and non-chill filtered.
*The breakdown is as follows:
1993 Bruichladdich - Hogshead barrel
1992 Mortlach - Sherry Butt barrel
1991 Invergordon - Sherry Hogshead barrel
1989 Cameronbridge - Hogshead barrel
This one is by far the most heavily sherry forward whiskys I ever tasted. For a 20 year old whisky (age is based off the youngest part of the blend) this doesn't come across as a mature whisky, it tastes rather young in my opinion. The mouthfeel is thin but the finish tends to linger a bit with the sherry.
Color is almost reddish.
Nose is slightly disappointing with nothing that jumped out to me.
Taste is not very bold but you do get all the fruits you would expect from the sherry. With a drop of water I was getting dark chocolate on the mid palate.
I gave a slight edge of with water vs neat (7.0 vs 6.9) due to getting that chocolate note even though it made the finish shorter.
Final thoughts: I'd only recommend this one for the die-hard sherry fans.
You can watch our full review and opinions down below:
This is our second time reviewing a whiskey from Rabbit Hole. The first one was their sourced bourbon finished in PX casks, which to this day is still my go-to dessert style whiskey.
This time around we are reviewing their rye whiskey.
This was contract distilled which means it's made to their own recipe but in another distillery. This is different than sourced whiskey which is where you simply buy someone else's product.
While this is a 95/5 Rye, it is NOT an MGP product. It's Rabbit Hole's 95% rye 5% malted barley, this was made by New Riff in Kentucky.
(As of late 2017 Rabbit Hole distillery has been creating their own juice, but it may be a while before we get to taste it while it's aging)
While Rabbit Hole as a company is young, they have a lot of veterans of the whiskey game involved.
Head Distiller: Cameron Talley comes from Wild Turkey
Larry Ebersold is from Seagrams (MGP)
Others involved are from Woodford Reserve, Brown/Forman and Jim Beam
This tells me Rabbit Hole intends to be a serious contender in this crowded industry and will do what it takes to stand out from the crowd.
Let's discuss the rye whiskey now.
So I brought this to a whiskey meetup since Johnny Brolic himself stated he wanted to try it.
The bottle was freshly opened right there and it was a descent pour, nobody had complaints.
At the time of this video review, only 3 days had passed but the difference in taste and aroma was night and day!
I'm impressed that it packs this much flavor from such a young whiskey.
Color: Medium/Dark brown
Nose: Rye or pumpernickel bread, malty cereal-like sweetness
Taste: Rye spice followed by sweetness, finishing with more rye. Kind of mouth drying but with a lingering flavor that clings to the palate for a while.
Finish: Long. Drying and enjoyable.
I really enjoyed this one neat and give it a solid 8.5 out of 10.
Since this was Just Mike's first real rye whiskey, watch the video below to see his opinion.
We're back for another episode of our mystery whiskey review series: Brown Bag Special.
To keep things simple for those who don't know, BBS is where Just Mike goes out and buys a whiskey from any price range he decides on (including bottom shelf) without telling me anything about it and we review it without unveiling what it is, or what it costs, until the end of the video.
If you want to read about what we reviewed, without watching the video, read below. (after the video)
Ok, so if you want to know what we revealed in the video here it is:
John Barr Blended Scotch!
Just Mike said he paid around $25 after taxes on this one.
Off camera he said it was purchased at Sidewalk Spirits in Vista.
Based off the nose alone I thought this was a bottom shelf or well whiskey. It wasn't pleasant, very grain heavy with a harsh alcohol smell.
Surprisingly it didn't taste any where near as bad as the nose. Granted, it's not enjoyable, it's just that I expected a harsh flavor. John Barr has a very slight sweetness and a very quick finish.
I think this is best as a party whisky (read: shots) or a cocktail mixer. It's not a good sipping whisky at all.
I would pass on this one, yet Mike says he likes this more than Johnnie Walker Black. To each their own, but I think he's nuts.
While Just Mike had to call out sick for this review, I was joined by the always beautiful (even when sick), Wonder Woman.
It was kind of fitting to have her join me since Michters is actually run by women. The master distiller is Pamela Heilman and the master of maturation is Andrea Wilson.
Michters Toasted Barrel is a limited release bourbon that is essentially their standard bourbon that has a second aging finish. They finished the bourbon in brand new toasted american white oak barrels for 26 days.
The wood for the second maturation was air dried for 18 months before being used. They then toast it over an open flame for 60 minutes.
Their bourbon goes into the original barrel at 103% abv (rather low) that has a #3 char level.
The bourbon then gets bottled at 45.7% abv.
The representative I dealt with from Michters said that they don't disclose the mash-bill and wouldn't confirm or deny the percentages I've found on other websites. So, while completely unconfirmed, the mash-bill I've seen floating around the interwebs is as follows;
I inquired about the speculation that Michters is a sourced whiskey and was given this answer to explain it in simple terms. There were 3 phases of Michters.
Phase 1 they used sourced whiskey that they bottled and sold to raise revenue.
Phase 2 Pamela Heilman was distilling the product herself but using a distillery that Michters does not own. Essentially it's like renting the equipment but you're still doing all the work yourself, which is vastly different than sourced whiskey. This Toasted Barrel is from phase 2.
Now they are in Phase 3, which means they are currently distilling and aging their own distillate in their very own distillery.
While I don't know when we will see this distillate hitting the shelves, at least we know they do have their own distillery that they are currently working out of, I'm looking forward to seeing how it affects the final product. (Even when using the same recipe the different stills and location can and most likely will, affect the final product)
The retail price of this is around $60 which is a somewhat fair price. Even though this is a NAS whiskey.
The unfortunate part is that whiskey flippers are trying to get insane prices on the secondary market in excess of $200 for this. You will never see or hear me support secondary pricing and there is no exception here.
You can check out our video review below:
Head distiller of Bruichladdich, Jim McEwan did something unique with this expression. The Port Charlotte Islay Barley is made 100% on Islay. From the growing, harvesting and drying of the barley, down to the distillation, aging and bottling.
They used Oxbridge and Optic barley. This comes in at 40 ppm. Not exactly what I think of when I hear "Heavily Peated" and I'm actually glad it wasn't as peated as I was expecting based off the name. This is so well balanced and what I would dub and slightly more than lightly peated....far from heavy.
This was bottled at 50% abv.
No color added and non-chill filtered. (Just the way I like)
The color is very pale with a slight golden honey hue.
Although it is a NAS whisky, it does not taste young at all and I'd guess that the majority of this single malt whisky is double digits in age. It's a beautiful dram. So much so, it got Mike to show excitement over it!
Check out our review below to see how high of a score Just Mike gave his new favorite whisky:
Burning Chair is an interesting whiskey.
The head distiller, Dave Phinney, comes from a wine background and used that to influence this bourbon.
Burning Chair is a bourbon whiskey produced by Savage and Cooke out of the San Francisco Bay area of California.
While this expression is a sourced whiskey from 3 different sources*, it's then vatted together and finished for 8 months in Napa Valley wine barrels that we hand selected by Dave Phinney.
The color has a deep reddish hue so you can definitely see the wine influence.
It's bottled at 44% and comes in a beautiful matte black and triangular shaped bottle.
4% malted barley
*sourced locations are Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.
You can watch our full review below:
The Glendronach distillery is known for their non-peated whisky that usually has a sherry influence. This expression is their first time in recent years putting out a peated whisky.
While it is peated and matured in ex-bourbon barrels, they still finish it in both Oloroso and PX sherry casks.
It is then bottled at 46% abv.
Natural color and non-chill filtered.
At 25ppm this is not too heavy on the peat so it's not a smoke bomb in any sense of the word, but it's enough peat to make this an interesting dram. Both Mike and I enjoyed this one a lot. (neat) but DO NOT recommend this one on ice!
The nose is fantastic and the mild, yet clingy peat smoke makes this an enjoyable dram that lasts on the palate for an extended time.
You can watch the full review on our Youtube page or by clicking the video below:
Templeton Rye whiskey is an perfect example of everything wrong in the whiskey industry.
This is a company that is purposely deceiving the public. It starts with the bullshit story they feed us about them making a recipe that dates back to the days of Prohibition. They make sure to include some rubbish about it being Al Capones personal favorite whiskey as well. They bragged about it being made in Iowa too...that was until they lost their class action lawsuit a few years ago.
The lawsuit forced their label to take off the "Prohibition recipe" and they needed to indicated that it's sourced whiskey distilled in Indiana.
To this day though, they didn't learn their lesson and they still use tricky wording that makes people believe they're making the product themselves. No transparency, only deception. Their PR manager should be ashamed of themselves for what they put out together.
Anyway, let's get back to the swill. Why did they get sued? Well for one, Templeton gets their whiskey sourced from MGP (in Indiana)....and the "prohibition era recipe"?...yea, that turned out to be a engineered flavoring additive created by the Claredon chemical company.
Yep, one of the issues in the whiskey industry right now is that Rye whiskey has a legal loophole that allows up to 2.5% flavor additives in the recipe!
That means we're not tasting a master distillers hard work, we're tasting a bio-engineered byproduct that is inside of a whiskey base. I can't consider this a whiskey, it's a flavored whiskey in my opinion.
Note: I only have this bottle because a buddy brought this to a whiskey meetup based on a local shop owners suggestion. Afterwards he gave me the bottle to review.
It just so happened to be the old label that inevitably got the company sued, so it still shows "Prohibition Era Recipe" under Templeton Rye.
Final thoughts - I will say this: I will never give a dollar to Templeton.
I highly advise boycotting this brand, they don't deserve our money when there are so many hard working, honest and transparent companies that have earned our respect.
If you want to watch our review anyway, it's attached below:
We are taking a look at the whisky that was crafted as an ode to the father of Japanese whisky, Masataka Taketsuru.
This is Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt. Pure Malt is a blend of 2 single malt whiskys, mostly from the Miyagikyo distillery and the rest being from Yoichi distillery.
Taketsuru Pure Malt is a no age statement whisky that is bottled at 43% abv. Partially finished in sherry casks. Very lightly peated.
Masataka Taketsuru took an apprenticeships in Scotland to learn the craft. Originally starting with Longmorn from Speyside and even Hazelburn in Campbeltown played roles in his education to becoming the master distiller he became.
Masataka Taketsuru aimed at replicating Scotch whisky in Japan and this definitely comes across as close to Scotch as you can get without being in Scotland.
This is a great homage to the man who brought the Scottish whiskey style to Japan.
Being priced at around $60 dollars, Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt is a great buy.
Check out our full review below:
Are you up for a challenge?
Rather than telling you all about the whisky inside the bottle, Glenlivet Code wants you to try to decipher it. They don't give you any tasting notes to try to sway your opinion, they don't tell you anything about the casks it was finished in...this is just a mystery in a matte black bottle.
Bottled at 48% abv. No age statement.
I think this is a cool concept, when done right and from a trust worthy distillery. The Glenlivet knocked it out of the park with this one, granted the original retail price of close to $150 should turn most people off, it is a great whisky at the $80 price this was picked up for at Costco.
The Glenlivet even has a website that you can take a "test" to see how close you are to figuring out what the distiller was aiming for. You can take the test here:
The Glenlivet Code game
While Mike and I didn't have the same opinions, the blog will always reflect my personal tastes. You can watch the video review to hear what we both thought.
So on the color alone I'm guessing there is some sherry influence.
Nose: On the nose it reminded me of a Japanese whisky. Floral bouquet with some citrus and pear notes, sweet vanilla like notes and hints of light peat smoke.
Taste: In a word, complex. It's balanced with waves of flavors that change through out the mouth and the finish. Lovely whisky with definite sweetness and I'm swearing, this is lightly peated :)
Finish: It clings for a while, it's medium-long fruits (apple, pear)and my brain still picks up an oiliness and flavor of peat. (Whether lightly peated in the malt or from a finished barrel that previously held a peated whisky)
Overall I think this is a great tasting whisky that might just be prices a bit too high, but sadly that's the trend whisky is taking these days. I think it should be priced closer to the $80 range to fly off the shelves. Triple digit priced whiskies are always a hard sell.
Have you tried The Code yet? If so, what did you think?
Watch the full review, and sometimes opposing views, in the video below.
So as much as it pains us to have to do so, we are revisiting Conor McGregor's Irish whiskey, Proper Twelve.
Reason being, in all my years of drinking whiskey, I've never seen a whiskey go south so quickly after being opened. There's just something not right about this one. Everything about this company and this whiskey seems really shady.
I can't let my viewers (or readers) go about spending their money on something without knowing what seems off about the company, in my own opinion.
First of all, I was "somewhat" lenient in my initial review when I was mistakenly giving lee-way to what I thought was a new distillery. But Proper Twelve is not a new distillery as Conor McGregor leads us to believe. This whiskey is sourced. From whom? We still don't have definitive answers. Most people tend to believe it's made by Bushmills. I was also told by someone who claims to work for Slane, that they make it.
Either way, Conor McGregor is trying to trick people into thinking he created a new distillery for this whiskey.
Moving on to the company itself and why I believe they are shady.
First, they never talk about the whiskey, they only talk about Conor McGregor in all of their social media posts. Most importantly, they are flat out refusing interviews from people in the whiskey press. That's a HUGE red flag. Their own PR manager said she would answer questions via email after declining interview attempts.
I asked 2 simple questions (while I had many more) to start:
1- Does Conor Mcgregor own a distillery?
2- Where is this whiskey being sourced from. Common rumor is it's made at Bushmills.
Each follow up was met with a similar response of "We're really busy but I'll give a proper answer asap" This has been since a week after my first review went live. So what is that, a month and a half and she can't answer a straight forward question?
The company lacks any transparency and I will never respect a company that isn't transparent.
More shady practices? Let's talk about the green bottle.
Did you know that even the green bottle is fake?? Yes, that's right. They are using a cheap green film over clear glass.
I have never seen this anywhere else in the whiskey world. Just one more fake facade this company is putting up.
Let's get back to the flavor. So I gave it a 4.5 after the bottle was opened for about an hour...well I tried it again 2 days after the review was recorded and it was horrible! I thought maybe I ate something that messed with my palate so I tried it again and nope, it's just BAD!
I even brought the bottle to not 1 but 2 separate whiskey meetup groups to try, and the over-whelming consensus and cringed faces told the story...this whiskey is rancid.
I will say, this is the worst tasting whiskey I ever had. My new score is the lowest score I can give it. It is a 1 out of 10.
The only people buying it (blindly) are Conor McGregor's fans.
My final thoughts: This is a flash in the pan. Conor McGregor and Proper Twelve don't have long term plans for this company. They're just trying to make as much money as they can while his star is still shining in a sport that spits people out and fans turn their back as soon as you start losing fights. I don't believe this company will make it through 2020.
See my "emotional" response in the video below (and watch Mike's initial reaction to the taste):
Audio Podcast below:
"The Ultimate Islay Single Malt Scotch" It says so right on the label :)
Arbeg has quite the cult following, and for good reason. This peat bomb of a whisky is non-chill filtered and bottled at 46% abv. It comes in at 55ppm while Laphroaig is 40ppm (peat parts per million) while also also 3% higher proof over Laphroaig. It comes with a heavier price tag, but I personally feel the flavors are different enough that both bottles belong on everyone's shelves if they like peated whisky.
Color: Very pale and light
Nose: Smoked BBQ meats and medicinal iodine-like tones
Palate: Smoke hits immediately, making way for sweet tones, finishes with more smoke by way of BBQ like burnt meats (I swear I mean this in a good way haha)
Finish: LOOOOONG! You can probably still taste it next week
For me, Arbeg 10, just like Laphroaig 10 is a must own bottle.
View our video review below:
As a fan of scotch and other whiskeys I was tired of looking up reviews for new whiskeys that just oozed of snobbery. I wanted to create an outlet for average Joe's who don't have a sommelier palate. Born and raised in Long Island, New York, I moved to San Diego, California in 2010 with my wife. I'm also a fan of MMA, pro-wrestling, comic books, video games and strongman. All subjects are topic for discussion on the podcast.
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