Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Encore 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

Fellow Single Malters, I am reviewing wine for the first time in my blog. The lucky one for today's review is Encore 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon. The world of wine is overwhelming. There are countless varieties and  regions with lot of information that the mind can comprehend. Plenty of books about wine, paring with food, cooking with wine etc. Let us begin the journey of recognizing fine wine one bottle at a time :-). One of my missions is to simplify the jargons so that it is easily understood. This is a dry red wine from California- a Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Dry means it isn't sweet, Cabernet Sauvignon is a very popular and widely planted grape.
Also, I am exploring wine that suits my palette. I have an inclination to dry wine & Cabernet Sauvignon fits my requirement perfectly.

Vital Stats
Encore 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon
Price- $14.99
ABV- 13.5%
Region- California
Awards Won- None found

Tasting info- 
Serving Glass- Wine glass
Serving Style- Room temperature
Appearance- Dark Red

Aroma- Red grapes from barrel, blackberry, hint of dark chocolate
Flavor- Medium Dry, nice mouthfeel, ,hint of blackberry, cherries
Body- Full bodied
Finish- Warm & smooth

SJ's Rating- Top Shelf
I like the fact that this wine is neutral, it is not overpowering sweet and goes so well with food. Also, I did not have a splitting headache the next morning after consuming it.
Occasions - Enjoy over dinner with friends and family.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Tomintoul 16 Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The whisky for today's review is Tomintoul 16. Reads the product label Tomintoul- "The Gentle Dram". My first impression of it is... yes gentle. I have to try some of its other expressions to get a complete feel about this brand. As for now lets get right to the tasting notes.Enjoy!

Vital Stats
Tomintoul 16 year old Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Price- $58.99 for 750ml & $8.99 for 50ml sampler(pictured and gifted by a dear friend)
Age- 16 years
ABV- 40%
Region- Speyside
Distillery- The Tomintoul Distillery, Scotland
Awards won- None found

Tasting info- 
Serving glass- Glencairn whisky glass
Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Medium gold

Aroma- Gentle oaky,fruity. Light aroma of tangerine, cinnamon & spices
Flavor- Lightly sweet oak, citrus , nothing too outstanding for 16 yr old
Body- Medium
Finish- Non lingering, short finish

SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
Fairly basic flavor profile for a 16 year old whisky. I was expecting a richer aroma and overall a more complex flavor which Tomintoul 16 failed to deliver. It is very light on the palette and I would enjoy a regular 12 year old Glenlivet or Glenfiddich over this one. It is priced about right for it's age but lacks the robustness expected.

Occasions best enjoyed-  Casual drinking, anyone new to scotch
Cocktails- None , have it neat or on the rocks

I am sure you enjoyed the review and would try it yourself. Cheers 🥃🥃🥃 & congrats for choosing to enjoy responsibly.
Not in the mood to read, listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Mini Barrel Aged whiskey tasting

Hello Single Malters, today it is time to reveal the fruits of my labor(or the barrel's labor 😃). We will find out what kind of magic happened when whiskey met the barrel for 40 days. This post is a follow up of my earlier blog ageing-whiskey-in-barrel-at-home. It has been so much fun to me ever since I got this barrel to engage in my hobby.I understand that ageing whisky is an ancient art that cannot be mastered overnight, I am also not taking it too seriously just enjoying the process and appreciating what it takes to make whisky. The results are interesting so without delay let me get to the tasting notes. 

Vital Stats
Mini barrel aged whiskey
Age- 40 days in my new mini barrel(in addition to the 4 yrs spent on Evan Williams barrel)
ABV- 50%
Distillery- Author's residence :-)
Awards won- Applaud from friends and whiskey lovers

 Comparing before & after(What difference can you tell?)
                                       Before ageing                               After ageing 

There are many theories on what happens when whisky meets a small barrel since the ratio of the liquor as compared to the size of the barrel is unlike commercial barrels. Hence, it is supposed to mature quicker. It looks like it has slightly matured and also become somewhat darker. 

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn whisky glass
Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Dark Amber

Aroma- Rich fruity Oaky barrel aroma
Flavor- Delicious,creamy vanilla, some spices, barrel ageing added some depth to the flavor
Body- Full bodied
Finish- Creamy, smooth warm and lingering
SJ's rating/Conclusion- Middle Shelf
I found out that there is just a slight difference is aroma, appearance and flavor. It is sweet and would consider it as desert. I believe the appearance is a little bit darker and the flavor bit more oaky. There is however no way to prove this so take my word for it. I will continue to sample this in the coming days/months and see if there is any difference. It is a genuinely adventurous  DIY project & long lasting hobby for gentlemen.
Please share your experiences in the comments below if you have tried something like this. Would love to hear from you.
Not in the mood to read listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Embajador Supreme Anejo Tequila

Today I am reviewing Embajador Supreme Anejo Tequila. Embajador means ambassador in Spanish, lets see if it lives up to it's name. It comes in a slick bottle with a wooden cap that gives it a distinctive look. This would be a good idea to give as a gift to tequila lovers. Could not find the distillery but it does look like they have a meticulous process in producing highest quality tequila. Especially with so much competition they better be on their toes. 
Now lets enjoy my tasting notes and find out how it stands compared to other tequilas. 

Vital Stats 
Embajador Supreme Anejo Tequila
Price- $49.99 for 750ml bottle ,$7.99 for 50ml sampler(I got it as a Christmas gift 😃)
ABV- 40%
Age- 18 months
Country of Origin- Mexico
Distillery- Could not identify
Awards won- Gold 2014, Spirits of Mexico

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn whisky glass

Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Pale yellow
Aroma- Faint aroma of blue agave, peppermint,spice
Flavor- Sweetness of blue agave, spice,vanilla
Body- Medium
Finish- Mildly sweet non lingering

SJ's rating- Middle Shelf
It is a decent and balanced sipping tequila. Compared to other anejo tequila like the Aha Yeto it lacks the flavor and mouthfeel. I felt like I was having a reposado and not an anejo.
Occasions best enjoyed- Tequila flights, parties and as a mid range gift.
Cocktails- Anjeo's are meant to be sipped neat but I would use this in  margarina on the rocks as well

Keep the party going, Cheers! Enjoy responsibly. Not in the mood to read, listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Ageing whiskey in Barrel at home

Hey Single Malters,  I have recently picked up a new hobby that is ageing whisky in mini barrels. Well at least I am going to try and see how it goes. I got this barrel/dispenser as a Christmas gift from my lovely wife. I am having so much fun with it and sharing how I am ageing a whiskey in today's post. It has been exactly one month since I aged this whisky and will update you once I do a tasting comparison with non-barrel aged whisky to see the difference so stay tuned for that in my upcoming blogs as well. For now Enjoy!
In today's post I will include
1. Type of barrel used
2. How to age whisky with step by step instructions with pictures
3. Tips on which alcohol to use for ageing

The barrel/dispenser I used in from Sharper image
Setting the stage, the packaging contents 

Instructions  to age alcohol 

Step by step Instructions 

Step 1- Remove the plug from the front of the barrel(remember to keep it safe so it can be used later)

2. Wash barrel with warm water, shake and empty
3. Use the attached funnel to carefully pour your whiskey in the barrel(I used Evan Williams Bottled in Bond) 

Step 4- Carefully screw the sprout into the front of the barrel

Finally all done 

Labelled the ageing start date of Dec 24,2019 and wait to let the magic happen

Some tips on ageing whiskey
I did some research on which alcohol to age so came up with suggestions to go for a higher proof alcohol. Hence, my quest began to find the perfect alcohol. My criteria was higher proof but not so high that it would have no change in flavor. Also, slightly cheaper whisky which means it hasn't  been aged for too long. I found Evan Williams bottled in Bond which fit my requirement. It is 50%ABV and just $13, match made in heaven. It is not too high proof or aged too long that I would not notice the difference when it matured.
Also, I kept 1/4 of the liquor just so I could compare it with the matured whisky when it is ready. Now how long I plan to age it is a big question. Well that I do not know, I will leave it at least a month and sample every month to see the difference. For now my intent is to enjoy the process of aging and reap the fruits of my labor eventually.
So go ahead knock yourself out and age yourself some good whisky. Cheers 🥃🥃🥃 & choose to enjoy responsibly.
Not in the mood to read. Check out my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Glenfiddich 14 Bourbon Barrel Reserve

I am reviewing Glenfiddich 14 for today's review. It is a special Bourbon Barrel Reserve,an interesting twist of flavor with Glenfiddich 14 paying tribute to American Bourbon industry in this release. Reads the product label "A celebration of the american spirit. After years maturing in casks that previously held bourbon, our Malt Master Brian Kingsman finishes our Scotch whisky in deep charred new American Oak Barrels from Kentucky for a rich, sweet and vibrant malt". This is why this whisky has the character of bourbon as well. The finishing in new oak barrels wakes it up with a bold vanilla punch, overlaid with notes of fresh oak and velvet caramel.

Vital Stats- Glenfiddich 14 Bourbon Barrel Reserve
Price- $46.00
Age- 14 years
ABV- 43%
Region- Speyside
Distillery- The Glenfiddich Distillery,Dufftown,Banffshire,Scotland
Awards won- None yet.

Tasting info-
Serving glass-Glencairn whisky glass

Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Dark gold
Aroma- Fruity,tangerine, vanilla, oak, peppermint
Flavor- Fruity goodness of tangerine with toffee, caramel,vanilla and lingering oak sweetness
Body- Medium
Finish- Smooth,warm & lingering

SJ's rating- Top shelf
Highly complex fruity,deeper & darker version of Glenfiddich. Very well rounded and the new oak barrel giving it that fresh bold personality. Loved it. I am happy I poured myself a dram or two:-)
Occasions best enjoyed- Casual drinking, would be an amazing gift for the price
Cocktails- None, Enjoy it neat or with two cubes of ice

Hope you enjoyed it. Cheers to the marriage Glenfiddich & American Bourbon! & enjoy responsibly. Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives podcast instead.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond

Hi everyone, Today I have Evan Williams Bottled in bond kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey for the review. It is 100 proof genuine sour mash bourbon that is bottled in bond. Are all these jargons confusing to you? so was I. Let me break it down for you. 
100 proof means it has 50% alcohol by volume. 
Sour Mash is a process used in distilling that uses materials from an older batch of mash to start the fermentation of a new batch. It is similar to making of sourdough bread with water. Bourbon made using this process is called sour mash bourbon(From wiki). 
Bottled in Bond status is earned only by meeting strict government standards, originally passed in 1897 to ensure quality & consistency. In accordance with these standards the liquor must but produced in one distillation season (Jan to June or July to Dec) by one distiller at one distillery. It must be aged in federally bonded warehouses under US government supervision for at least 4 years and bottled at 100  proof or 50% ABV. 
Evan Williams proudly boasts its Bottled in Bond status by meeting all these standards in this elegantly while labeled bottle. 

Vital Stats-
Evan Williams Bottled in Bond
Price- $13.93 for 750ml bottle
Age-  At least 4 years
ABV- 50%
Distillery- Old Evan Williams Distillery, Louisville,KY
Awards Won- None found

Tasting info-
Serving  glass- Glencairn whisky glass

Serving  style- Neat
Appearance- Dark amber ...very soothing to the eyes
Aroma- Pleasant aroma of creamy vanilla, oak, spice, cinnamon, coffee
Flavor- Amazingly sweet & complex, rick oak , vanilla, cinnnamon, pepper
Body- Full
Finish- Warm, smooth lingering

SJ's rating- Top Shelf
I am blown away by this one. A bourbon of this caliber could be sold at much higher price range. It is like that humble wise man who does not boast his knowledge. A robust 50%ABV with a flavor to match at a very cheap price. I know.. it doesn't add up but try it yourself to find out. I loved it.

Occasions best enjoyed- Casual drinking, flight with other bourbons that have lesser ABV
Cocktails- Old Fashioned, Manhattan.
Hope you enjoyed the review. Cheers 🥃🥃🥃 & Enjoy Responsibly. Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Glenlivet Archive 21 & Happy New Year 2020

Happy New Year 2020 fellow Single Malters. It is a special occasion so reviewing Glenlivet 21 year old archive today. There are some fine things in life that do come with a hefty price tag. The Glenlivet Archive 21 is one of them. I am not saying everything with a higher price tag is good but this certainly is one of them. My general rule is if I like the flavor price does not matter.. expensive or cheap, go with what your palette enjoys and of course your wallet can afford! The special thing about this whisky is it produced in small,bespoke batches where each cask is nosed and approved making every batch unique.
I got to taste this in The Glenlivet Sipping sessions held in Dallas by the Purple Heart Foundation. This is the second time this year that I went to this event and I enjoy it more every time I participate. Indulge in some of the pictures of the event as well! Now without delay lets get to my tasting notes.

Vital Stats- The Glenlivet Archive 21 Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Price-$329.99 for 750ml bottle( I got a free sample at the Glenlivet event 😄)
Age-21 years
ABV- 43%
Region- Speyside
Distillery- The Glenlivet Distillary,Moray,Scotland
Awards won- Gold outstanding by International wine & spirits competition(2013 & 2017) , The scotch whisky Masters 2013

Tasting info-
Serving glass- The Glenlivet whisky glass

Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Dark Amber
Aroma- Very pleasant dried fruits, dark chocolate and sherry
Flavor- Creamy layered fruity & chocolate goodness, raisins, caramel & spice
Body-  Full bodied
Finish- Lasting warm, toasted hazelnut lingers

SJ's Rating- Top Shelf
The Glenlivet archive 21 lives up more than expected of it. It is an archive of flavors upon flavors exploding in your mouth as it has lived in the casks for 21 years. Very smooth of course and incomparable flavor. 

Occasions best enjoyed- Celebrating milestones like silver jubilee anniversaries or big achievements
Cocktails- None. Meant to be enjoyed neat. No exceptions

Here are some pictures of the Glenlivet event that I highly enjoyed

Welcome banner

The whisky flight Glenlivet 12 yr, Glenlivet 14 yr,Glenlivet Founder Reserve(From left to right). Also pictured far left is a Hot Toddy cocktail kit.

Flavor scorecard 

Bartender setting up the state for the event

Yummy appetizers served..pork something very delicious

Your perfect instagram corner 

Very carefully crafted props for pictures to share in social media

Some more products on display

Author SJ (Left) with Glenlivet whisk(e)y Brand Ambassador Robert &  friend Felipe(back)
Wishing all you Single Malers a very Happy New Year 2020. Choose to Drink responsibly. Cheers!!
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead & relax.