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The Romance Continues | Blog #120

Continuing on with their themed festival bottling’s the guys at Jewish Whisky company collaborated with the Westland Distillery in Seattle (very fitting). These festival whiskies have now become very sought after and collectible and with only 150 bottles available of this expression I know it will go fast.

“This whisky was designed as a follow on from the New York Jewbilee Westland Single Malt which was a vatting of 4 casks using 100% Washington Barley, Peated barley and Westlands unique 5 barley mashbill.”

At the time of bottling  for New York Westland filled 100 liters of the vatting into a 1st fill Bourbon cask where it has been aging for a further 9 months bringing all the complexity together. One thing for sure the Jewish whisky company guys really think ahead.

Westland Single Malt – bottled at the cask strength of 58.1% and only 150 bottles available.

Colour:     Deep reddish hue

Nose:     Sweet smoked beef jerky and pipe tobacco, makes me long for a cigar on the deck by the BBQ. A big tray of sugared fruit jellies sits in the background.

Palate:     Soft earthy tones and rich dark chocolate swirl around layers of heavy fruit syrup – the kind you have left over after the jar of preserved peaches are gone. It coats the tongue in the same way and is unctuous and chewy.

Finish:     Lingering on with some glazed pineapple and a touch of ginger along with canned mandarin pieces and the continuous hint of underlying earth.

This is a fabulous dram and shows the Westland distillery as a major contender in the craft distilling stakes in the US.

As those of you know that read my blog regularly I love unique whisky/ey and this is a great example of a small distillery making something with care and attention to detail. A big departure from the Chicago bottling which was really crazy but good this Westland harkens back to a somewhat more traditional single malt composition albeit with a unique combination of different barley.

“If the Jewish whisky company continues to nail these fun festival whiskey’s I will be lining up to get my bottle.”

Next festival is the New York original now in it’s 5th year on the 15th June. If you have the chance make sure you get your tickets early as it is always sold out.

With the Single Cask Nation launching into Canada some insider information from a reliable source mentioned that the new new Jewbilee festival could be held in Alberta in 2018. Stay tuned for more.

Next week we will have a taste of something new to Alberta.

Have a great week!


Springtime Seattle Sipping | Blog #119

Heading to Seattle for the inaugural Whisky Jewbilee was an exciting prospect. Especially when you consider that Washington State and particularly Seattle is fast becoming a major whisky hub in the US.

“Over 20 distillers just in the city limits meant that we were sure to experience some innovative and delicious drams during the course of the night.”

Checking into the amazing Arctic Club Hilton Doubletree were we availed ourselves of the fantastic bar and a great selection of local whiskey including J.P. Trodden Bourbon. Wow absolutely delicious. Watch this space.

Held at another cool warehouse district space “Within Sodo” the Jewbilee event boasted 200 whiskies and the best event catered food lineup that I have ever experienced. Cindy and I didn’t have enough time to get around to all the tables but were able to really spend some great time with a few.

Arctic Club Seattle Photo by Kirk Mastin Arctic Club Seattle Photo by Kirk Mastin

Heritage Distilling right in Seattle had some really interesting drams including a 90% Rye aged in a barrel used for aging Vanilla. Really cool stuff! Seattle Distillery had their whiskey front and center and also sneaked their really lovely gin under the table for a lavender infused smoothness that had to be tried to be believed.

With St Patrick’s Day coming up it was apt for us to spend some time at Tullamore Dew table and try out their new release Trinity. Really balanced and delicious, something Cindy instantly loved. Would be a pleasant sipper and make some brilliant cocktails.

A hidden gem under the table by Chris Uhde of JVS was probably the winner of the night. A 24 year old Littlemill from Exclusive Casks. I’m glad that it was my first dram of the night so that I could truly appreciate the depth of this whisky. Thanks Chris! 🙂

“No Jewbilee festival would not be complete without a trip to the Single Cask Nation table where Jason was holding sway with a never ending lineup of festival goers.”

 The Festival bottling was a Single Malt from the Westland Distillery and of course like every other festival bottling there is a real story to be told. Stay tuned next week as I get in depth with it and fill you in on the background and my own tasting notes. Thanks to Jason and Joshua for the bottle as a matching pair to go with my Chicago festival book end. A sherried Bruichladdie and an undisclosed Islay were both new releases (coming to Alberta soon) and both outstanding single casks.

Time to whip upstairs for a cigar from San Juan Cigars of Seattle. Hand Rolled, pressed and dried from premium tobacco these cigars are excellent. We were able to watch a Robusto being made and then added to the press. Unlike other events where people can smoke a freshly rolled cigar that San Juan Cigars considers “unfinished” at Jewbilee they had plenty of options to try these exquisitely made cigars after going through all the stages of careful crafting.

Next time I am in Seattle I might need to grab a box.

“Antiques, crafts, chocolate cherries and of course the amazing seafood and fresh produce found at the markets make a strong case for returning as soon as possible.”

With the whiskey event complete and another day to fill in Seattle Cindy and I checked out some great foodie spots at the Pike Place Markets including World of Spice Merchants (a must visit). Lunch at Place Pigalle restaurant overlooking the sound with some of the best serving staff I have ever experienced was a treat. Fresh Mussels always leaves a good impression.

World Spice Merchants World Spice Merchants

We wrapped up a perfect visit with dinner at the Pink Door where we were entertained with a prohibition era trio that were incredibly talented.

The Pink Door Restaurant The Pink Door Restaurant

Thanks Jason and Joshua for including Seattle in your Jewbilee schedule we are hoping we can make it an annual trip.

Next week as promised the Westland festival bottling by Single Cask Nation.

Until then…


Cover photo by Scott Gardner

When whisky is just not enough | Blog #118

“My wife Cindy and I recently came back from what is becoming the most intense and fun few weeks of the year.”

The task of choosing 25 unique whiskies for our Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar just got more exciting with the addition of a new product this year that required some additional hard work for the old taste buds.

“The time spent with our friends at Wemyss, A.D. Rattray and Malt Whisky Company to mull over the carefully selected lists of amazing drams was a treat.”

Our journeys took us from London to Edinburgh and then across Scotland to Glasgow, Kirkoswald and Stirling.  We are adding some extra sources for whisky this year and all will be revealed as we get closer to the release date. I must say that it’s fun to have some time behind the wheel on the left hand side of the road and despite the odd torrential downpour the weather was very kind to us as we wove our way through the lush green Scottish landscape.

Some real highlights this trip included time with our amazing bottler’s Craigton Packaging. Lugging my kilt all the way back to its birthplace was well worth it as Cindy, dolled up in an exquisite gown accompanied me to the Ben Charity dinner in Glasgow with Rachel and Kevan. A grand evening of hobnobbing ensued, with industry legends aplenty and the regaling of side splitting tales detailing the unique lifestyle in Glasgow.

Dinner at the Dunblane Hydro with the crew from Angel’s Share Glass was a stand out as well. The Kailyard restaurant at the Hilton Dunblane is world class and well suited to such a grand property. Watching master glass blower Tom make us a whisky angel ornament the next morning in their wee studio in Bridge of Allan was fantastic and it will be certain to take centre stage on our Christmas tree this year. Angel’s Share Glass is expanding so fast that they are building a new studio. You can check out their fun crowdfunding campaign here if you like whisky and beautiful glass.

Cindy Kissing the Blarney Stone ... twice! Cindy Kissing the Blarney Stone … twice!

With a couple of extra whisky sourcing visits thrown in our list was looking pretty good by the time we headed for Ireland to visit with the Hyde brothers. Being our first time in Ireland we were blown away by the hospitality and generosity shown to us. Staying at the amazing Hayfield Manor we were spoilt with an outstanding dinner and a tour of Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. Cindy kissed it twice for good measure and is sure to have double my luck from here on in.

“Tasting their rum finish and the new 1916 was really exciting and we can’t wait to get them both over to Western Canada.”

Touring through the impressive barrel storage we were really impressed with the amount of whiskey that the Hyde’s have aging away for future releases. Tasting their rum finish and the new 1916 was really exciting and we can’t wait to get them both over to Western Canada. The weather in Cork was gorgeous and even allowed for a cigar and Hyde Rum finish combination on the patio after a fabulous walk downtown visiting some great bars . A pint of the local Murphy’s Stout was a must and of course I couldn’t leave without also adding a pint of Guinness as well. Just to top off a great side trip was the opportunity to meet with Jennifer Nickerson daughter of Stuart (Malt Whisky Company) and hear about Tipperary Single Malt Irish Whiskey that will be on it’s way to Western Canada shortly, stay tuned for more.

Fontana di Trevi Rome, Italy Fontana di Trevi Rome, Italy

No whisky (and more) sourcing trip is complete without a visit to magnificent old Roma and an afternoon with the Samaroli boys. It is always such a privilege to visit such an ancient and historic city. Our favourite scene this year was walking to the Fontana di Trevi at 2:00am after checking into our old city hotel. The fountain has been completely refurbished and looks amazing. At 2:00am there is hardly anyone there and taking in the spectacular landmark without the usual crowds was something truly special.

Next week we are off to Seattle for the first Whisky Jewbilee of 2016. Looking forward to trying some really unique whiskies and sharing some fun times with our mates Jason and Joshua.

Until then stay tuned for some delicious whisky reviews and more right here at Singlemalting.com


Chicago Whisky Jewbilee Festival Bottling | Blog #86

As promised last week here is my review on the very exclusive Chicago Jewbilee Festival bottling.

To say that these guys think ahead would be an understatement. Everything from the ongoing story told by the labels to the tie-in of barrels being re-used. In this case, the whiskey was firstly aged for 8 years in new American Oak and then transferred into a barrel that was initially used to age a 6 year old Midwest Grain Products Rye (bottled for a previous Jewbilee) and then used again to age a special edition Schmaltz Hop Manna IPA which was bottled in celebration of the New York Jewbilee festival earlier this year.

The amount of time in the beer soaked Rye barrel is not disclosed so lets get into some numbers that we do know.

Whisky Jewbilee American Light Whiskey – 8 Years Old Finished in a beer barrel.

Bottled at Cask Strength 65.1% and only 255 bottles produced tasted in a crystal rock glass (Glenglassaugh).

Colour:     Has that nice classic IPA Amber look to it but with a touch of reddish tinge that I can’t figure out. Could be the back of the label reflecting the light as the red does not really transfer to the glass.

Nose:     Good thing I am sitting down as my knees were feeling a little weak upon smelling this unique and ridiculously interesting nose. Like smelling a freshly baked Hungarian Chimney cake (yes I have had this experience and in Budapest, albeit almost 30 years ago, amazing how smell and memory are so strongly linked) with sweet orange popsicle topping. There is something so unique about this……. Perhaps it is just knowing that this spent time in a beer barrel but as I slowly inch my nose closer I find myself searching for beery elements and thinking that the extra sweet nature of this nose could be partly related to the previous inhabitant. IPA’s are normally quite citrus dominated and even though I never got to try the Jewish Whisky Company Beer I bet is was a big Citrusy, Hoppy IPA that I would have loved. This is also the first whiskey ever, that I have heard of being aged in a barrel used to age beer. It’s messing with my nose and head in the most fabulous way possible.

Palate:     The 65.1 percent does make itself known so a wee sip is a good start. Real fruit Orange and Tangerine pastilles. I used to sometimes get some super soft high end pastilles in Australia that came in a really nice box and far surpassed the quality of the everyday brands. This takes me right back with a dusting of fine sugar. As it develops the tiniest hint of Rye spice comes through and a touch of vanilla essence. When I close my eyes and really concentrate on letting the flavor roll I can get a nice soft hop influence in amongst the citrus.

Finish:     Tingly 65% goodness that makes itself felt all the way down and keeps the gums and tongue dancing. Citrus is certainly the dominant characteristic of this whiskey and the finish is no exception and that lovely sweetness just keeps on coming. Orange Sherbet stands out especially with that zingy tingle going on. What a whiskey.

I have never had a whiskey like this….ever.  Great job on this Jewbilee special. I’m sure that in years to come this will be just as rare and sought after as the other editions. My humble opinion, maybe more so as this is one unique dram.

Rush out and join the Nation and see if you can get hold of this bottle somehow.

My passion for how amazing whisk(e)y is and how diverse it can be just gets underlined when trying funky bottlings like this one.

Next week I will be going even more obscure with a whisky that is another first and will fall into the weird and wonderful category.

Until then feed your thirst with awesome whiskey!