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An Aussie and a Jew walk into a bar… | Blog # 124

This week while on the road in Chicago with none other than Single Cask Nation founder and all round awesome guy, Joshua Hatton, we decided to do a joint blog on a couple of interesting whiskies. Having never done this before we ask that you please bear with us as we hope that it all makes sense.

“We are breaking this down into two parts firstly to taste a unique American Whiskey and then in part two a Single Cask Scotch Whisky.”

After wandering the aisles at Binny’s for a considerable amount of time Joshua and I settled on a compilation whiskey from 4 different distilleries called Four Kings. Pretty much exclusive to Binny’s it really fit the bill as something unusual that neither of us had tried before or knew much if anything about.

So the two of us went into tasting this bottle with no pre-conceived notion of quality or otherwise apart from the good reputation of the distilleries in question. After eyeing off various hotel vessels like coffee cups and even sanitary plastic wrapped water cups Joshua had the brilliant idea of asking for wine glasses. So with wine glass in hand and parked in the hotel lobby lounge of the Hampton Inn near the Chicago O-Hare Airport we cracked the bottle.
Here is my take on it and for comparison and to see the whole event from Joshua’s perspective then you can read his blog here…

Four Kings 2015 Craft Whisky Collaboration Corsair Distillery, FEW Spirits, Journeyman Distillery, Mississippi Distillery

Numbered bottle 364 of 800 – Rye Whiskey 40% ABV
30 Gallons of whiskey from each distillery for this blend. Celebrating Chicago whisky week 2015. Interesting to find out who made the final decision on the makeup of the blend or if it is just four equal parts  from the four distilleries which would be rolling the dice a little if they were looking for a great balance of their differing styles.

Four Kings Whiskey Four Kings Whiskey

Colour: Some deep reddish hues from this combination of 4 different Rye’s. The only age indicator on the bottle is on the back label stating that it is over 1 year old. Rusty Amber would be the closest I can get.

Nose: Instantly distinctive softer rye spice with a herbaceous greenish note and a flourish of flora but not in a bad way. Like lying in sweet fresh grass in the summer time with the heady scent of mum’s flower garden wafting in and out on the breeze. Might be the unique glass but seems a touch hotter on the nose than it should be for 40%. I really like this softer rye nose and could easily call it a “pretty” whiskey at this point.

Palate: Wow … was expecting more a bit more punch on the spice side but it’s very muted to almost non existent up front. I really wish I could be tasting this at 46% as it seems to be missing some of the full character I was hoping for at 40%. Angostura bitters in the background and a very palate drying delivery. Feels like there is a fair amount of corn involved in at least a few of the mash bills as there is a light floral sweetness permeating the palate that reminds me of a hand full of tiny hard candies that I had as a child. They were pastelle colours and really all tasted the same regardless of what colour they were but were delicious, not overly sweet and just a touch chalky.

Finish: Fairly short when compared with a lot of American Rye I have had in the past. I would have liked these guys to be a bit more bold like a lot of their whiskies are in isolation. This collaboration is however an easy ride that is a unique rye experience and very pleasant.

“I would say that the nose is the real winner on this whiskey. I would definitely love to try some of their other collaborations as I hear that the blended malt is really interesting.”

Joshua and I indeed had different takes on the Four Kings which is a good thing as everyone comes to the table with a different palate and mindset. With the American side of the equation safely negotiated we delve into something Scottish next week.

Until then, le’chaim!


Whistling Andy Montana Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Written by Special Guest Blogger Joshua Hatton

State of Montana – 40% ABV – you can find this whiskey at these locations.

Just the name alone, Whistling Andy, brings back memories of watching Andy Griffith reruns when I was just a wee boy.  Remember the whistling theme song?

Now that I’ve put that in your head, it’ll be stuck with you for the next 2-5 days.

You’re welcome.

Ok, ok.  If you want that out of your head, try some Zappa on for size…

The chance to sample this bourbon came to me out of the blue.  The brand, Whistling Andy, was new to me and therefore, I was excited to give it a try.  Not much is known about this whiskey or detailed on their website. Here’s what we do know:

  • The bottle is from Batch 1.
  • It’s labeled as a “Straight Bourbon” yet has not age statement on the label so, according to the law as I read it, this bourbon should be 4 years of age or older and was, of course, aged in new charred or toasted barrels.
    • (Bourbon has no minimum specified duration for its aging period.[6] Products aged for as little as three months are sold as bourbon.[7] The exception is straight bourbon, which has a minimum aging requirement of two years. In addition, any straight bourbon aged less than 4 years must state the age of the spirit on the bottle.[8])   
  • The mash bill is at least 51% corn but the bottle label also states that there is Rye, Wheat and Barley.
  • The grain is 100% Montana grown grain (I dig the state pride!).
  • It’s bottled at 40% ABV (chill-filtered, too? not sure)

Let’s nose/taste/swallow (we’re not spitters here at the jewmalt.com HQ)

On the nose –  From the get-go there is a cinnamon gum note and scent of freshly ground grains/cereals.

Apple Porridge and creamed corn.  It’s not overly sweet.

Wait, baked pears are popping up with a side of Wasa crackers.  An interesting melange of notes.

On the mouth — Feels hot for 40% ABV (80 proof for my American readers).  It’s also much lighter and fruitier in taste than the nose lead on about.

Lots of chewy red candies and, get this, Honey Comb cereal.  The heat goes away after the first sip but some of that cinnamon from the nose remains.




The mouthfeel is a little thin (maybe a higher-ABV could have helped that?).  Black and green ground pepper corns bring us to the finish…

Finish — Drying and grassy with some good length to it!

In sum — Overall, it was a pretty good experience.  The nose to mouth experience was a little off-balance but I did enjoy the surprise of it.  You can’t judge all whisk(e)ys by their noses.  While I did enjoy this (and plan to share with others), I’d *love* to see a cask strength version of this whiskey.  I’ve found few whisk(e)ys that didn’t benefit from being experienced at cask strength!

Special thanks to Lisa and all at the Whistling Andy Distillery for the ample sample!

– Jewmalt