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-...

Stoll & Wolfe

Stoll & Wolfe

There are many new distilleries popping up in Pennsylvania, but none carry the Pennsylvanian distillery torch quite like Stoll and Wolfe. You see the name Stoll and Wolfe, which is named after founders of the brand, Dick Stoll and Erik Wolfe, was originally named Bomberger’s as a tribute to the old Bomberger’s Distillery (known to most as Michter’s). They planned to reopen the distillery in Lititz, PA where Mr. Dick Stoll was distiller in the 70’s. Mr. Stoll is now famous for being the man behind the famous A.H.Hirsch Reserve 16 year old bourbon that every collector longs to own. The attempt to resurrect the Bomberger’s brand was not to be, however. Michter’s brand name was already owned by Chatham Imports in Kentucky. A lawsuit kept the brand name in limbo for a...

Dad’s Hat Rye in PA

Dad’s Hat Rye in PA

One of the whiskey distilleries that deserves a closer look in Pennsylvania is Mountain Laurel Spirits, makers of Dad’s Hat Rye.  While so many whiskey distilleries began to introduce spirits other than whiskey to the market, Mountain Laurel Spirits only ever intended to produce rye whiskey.  Every ounce of spirit they create with their German-made pot still goes into barrels to become Dad’s Hat Rye. Dad’s Hat Rye was the brainchild of Herman Mihalich, who grew up immersed in and around his family’s bar in Monessen, Pa.  He studied Chemical Engineering at UPenn, where he would meet most of the partners he would incorporate into Mountain Laurel Spirits.  He gained experience in the workplace after school in pharmaceuticals, flavor and fragrance, but would return...

The Amazing Booker Noe

The Amazing Booker Noe

  I can’t stress this enough.  Booker Noe was an incredible man. The titans that paved the way for the modern bourbon age that we find ourselves in were not CEOs or marketing strategists.  They were country boys with a love for bourbon.  Before Prohibition, wealthy tycoons like Colonel Blanton, Colonel E.H.Taylor, Isaac Wolfe Bernheim and Samuel Bronfman led the way.  After the bourbon collapse of the brown spirits market in the 60’s and 70’s, it was largely the perseverance of a few (now legendary) Kentucky distillers that brought bourbon back.  Booker Noe was one of those men. Frederick Booker Noe II was the grandson of the famous Jim Beam.  He was born in 1929 and was the son of Jim Beam’s daughter, Margaret Noe.  Booker began helping at the distillery as...

Lincoln Henderson’s Angel’s Envy

Lincoln Henderson’s Angel’s Envy

Most bourbon drinkers have seen that beautiful bottle of Angels Envy by now.  It has what’s called “shelf appeal” because it stands out among the other bourbons when they’re all lined up on the bar shelf.  The tattoo-like wings and the tall graceful bottle…You know you’ve seen it. The whiskey itself is about 4-6 years old. It was sourced from an undisclosed distillery in Kentucky and then finished in port barrels.  I’ve read that the port barrels used to finish Angel’s Envy bourbon are 60 gallons, but I’ve also read that they used port pipes (a large tapered barrel used in the port industry) which are closer to 150 gallons…not sure on that one.  The company didn’t establish a distillery until 2013 so the whiskey had to be sourced from elsewhere.  The most...

Where Whistle Pig Got Its Name

Where Whistle Pig Got Its Name

I’m prepping for the Dram Devotees of Bucks County’s Whistle Pig tasting Thursday night, and I came across the funniest story about how Whistle Pig got its name. Dave Pickerell was being interviewed by Mark Gillespie of Whiskycast, and Mark asked him the origin of the name “Whistle Pig.” (You can find the actual interview in episode 267 at whiskycast.com) Dave went on to tell a story of how Raj Bhakta, the founder of the brand, was hiking in Vail when a Frenchman on a bicycle careened down the mountain toward him. The man stopped and asked (rather oddly and in a comically high-pitched voice), “Could it beeeee…could it beeee a whistle pig?” Raj answered, “A what? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “You know…a whistle pig.” The man made some strange...

Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle

Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle

  Everyone knows how hard it is to get their hands on a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, but not many know who the man was on the label. “Pappy” Van Winkle (Julian Van Winkle, Sr.) began his whiskey career in 1893 when he became a salesman at W.L. Weller and Son.  He sold brand names such as Old W.L.Weller, Mammoth Cave, Hollis Rye, Cabin Still, Harlem Club, Silas B. Johnson and Stone Root Gin.  His time there was very educational and he soon became a very influential figure in the company.  In 1908, he and fellow salesman Alex Farnsley bought the Weller wholesale business after William Lerue Weller’s death.  W.L.Weller did not have a distillery of its own, but he was able to secure a contract with the Stitzel Distillery in Louisville.  Once Prohibition...

The Russells at Wild Turkey

The Russells at Wild Turkey

Last night I had an opportunity to speak with the grandson of Jimmy Russell (and the son of Eddie Russell) from Wild Turkey.  Bruce Russell is their brand ambassador at the moment, but looks to someday take the reins with his father. I was impressed with his interest in rye whiskey and his thoughts on non-chill filtered cask strength product.  It seems Bruce Russell has grand ambitions for what is possible for Wild Turkey in the future.  Change is good:)  He calls his grandfather “Mimmy”.  Seems Jimmy Russell didn’t want to be called grandpa, so his grandchildren’s pronunciation of his first name stuck. Jimmy Russell began working for Wild Turkey in 1954.  He learned his craft from Wild Turkey’s second master distiller, Bill Highes, and Ernest W. rip, the son of...