An Opinion on Metallica’s Blackened American Whiskey

An Opinion on Metallica’s Blackened American Whiskey

So…Metallica has its own whiskey now. Ugh.   Everyone has their own whiskey, it seems. Nothing new, of course. Celebrity sells. There have been celebrities moving distilled products since advertising’s infancy. Beautiful people, famous people, successful people…from doctors recommending a brand to silver screen actresses insisting that a brand will make you irresistible…it’s all been done. Here are just a few modern celebrities selling booze- Matthew McConaughy- Wild Turkey and Longbranch Whiskey Mila Kunis- Jim Beam Christina Hendricks- Johnny Walker David Beckham- Haig Club Dan Aykroyd- Crystal Head Vodka Ryan Reynolds- Aviation Gin George Clooney- Casamigos Tequila (though I think he sold that) Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt- Miraval Rosé Drew Barrymore-...

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #15- Red Brick Craft Distillery, Philadelphia, Pa

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #15- Red Brick Craft Distillery, Philadelphia, Pa

  I had the good fortune to meet Zachary Cohen and Brian Forrest in March of last year at the American Whiskey Convention at Citizens Bank Park. They had not bottled any spirits as of yet, but they had been hard at work for more than 6 months getting Red Brick Craft Distillery up and running in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Zach worked with Deer Creek Malt House to prepare an educational display for the event that showed the amount of grain that went into a shot and a bottle of whiskey. Even without spirits to pour at the event, he certainly made an impression. He feels strongly about supporting local farmers and grain producers, so we had plenty to talk about. Zach leased the property on Martha Street in Kensington in October of 2014. What once...

Aren’t All Barrels Made From American White Oak?

Aren’t All Barrels Made From American White Oak?

 Someone recently asked me, “Aren’t all barrels made from American white oak?” My answer was “No,” but the elaboration was probably a bit longer than he expected. Most of us know that barrels are made out of oak staves. White oak is a part of the genus Quercus from the family of Fagaceae. It is a fascinating wood in that it is water resistant (not water proof) and can be shaped into containers to hold liquids. While all wood has pores, white oak produces seals over those pores called tyloses that make it water resistant. (Red oak barrels, for instance, might work better for dry goods because the open pores in the wood would keep its contents dry and aerated.) Oak trees tend to grow tall and straight, which works well for coopers that need to cut long, clean...

What’s the Sweet Spot in Age for Bourbon?

What’s the Sweet Spot in Age for Bourbon?

So I’ve been asked “What is the sweet spot in age for bourbon?” The answer always goes the same way. “The right age whiskey is the whiskey you enjoy.  If you like it young, than that’s the right one.  If you like it old, than that’s right for you.” It’s like answering the question, “Who’s the best artist in the museum” or “What’s the best food on the menu?”  The truth is that the best is relative.  You have to develop your palate and determine which you prefer.  The more you’re exposed to, the better your own understanding will be of  those preferences.  What I can tell you is there are reasons that your bourbon tastes the way it does.  Knowing how age affects your whiskey is the first step to knowing which ones to sample next.   That, and knowing that price has...

Filibuster Whiskey from Washington D.C.

Filibuster Whiskey from Washington D.C.

Did you know that the citizens of Washington D.C. didn’t get to vote in an election until this month in 1964? (Don’t worry, I talk about whiskey in a bit..) Washington, D.C., is the only non-state to be enfranchised for presidential elections, gaining electoral votes through the ratification of the 23rd Amendment in 1961. That amendment gave the District of Columbia a share of electors proportional to its population (like the states), but limited it to no more electors than the least populous state (That’s right, D.C. and Wyoming are voting buddies!) This meant three electoral votes in 1964, and that number has not changed. Our capital is a strange place.  The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and...

John Hall’s Forty Creek

John Hall’s Forty Creek

I have found that many of the new distillers in America have come to distilling from breweries and beer production. It’s a logical step, as “beer” must be brewed before whisky can be distilled from it. (I’ve always liked the saying, “Whisky is what beer wants to be when it grows up…”) Some distillers come to whisky with wine expertise as well. Why make cognac when you can make whisky, right? One such wine producer in Canada that has made the transition to whisky production is John Hall of Forty Creek Distillery. The international community is paying more attention to Canadian whisky largely because of Mr. Hall’s contributions to craft production. John Hall started making wine in the 1970’s and purchased Kittling Ridge Estates Winery in Grimsby, Ontario in...

Herman Melville’s Rye Whiskey Reference

Herman Melville’s Rye Whiskey Reference

Today is the day that Herman Melville’s Moby Dick was published by New York’s Harper and Brothers in 1851. There is a reference in the book that connects whiskey to the color red, which indicates that aged whiskey was the norm in the mid 1850’s and that readers would make the obvious connection. “That drove the spigot out of him!” cried Stubb. “‘Tis July’s immortal Fourth; all fountains must run wine today! Would now, it were old Orleans whiskey, or old Ohio, or unspeakable old Monongahela! Then, Tashtego, lad, I’d have ye hold a canakin to the jet, and we’d drink round it! Yea, verily, hearts alive, we’d brew choice punch in the spread of his spout-hole there, and from that live punch-bowl quaff the living...

Angel’s Share Effect

How does the angel’s share affect my whiskey? A lot of different things affect the flavors in whiskey, not least of which is the addition of water or loss of ethanol from the barrel. The “angel’s share” is the loss of alcohol from evaporation during the aging process. Depending on where and how a whiskey is aged will determine how much is lost. (or how much water is gained) Barrels “breathe”. They are watertight, but molecules of water and ethanol will move in and out. If the microclimate within the barrel changes due to external temperature or humidity changes, the pressure within the barrel will change as well. Anyone who owns a glass barometer knows that pressure affects liquids. The change in the microclimate pushes water and alcohol into or out of the wood....