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Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Honky-Tonk Whiskey with No Honky-Tonk Blues


George Dickel Rye

So last weekend as we ventured in to a local dive bar to play some pool, I asked the bartender which rye whiskies she had and she answered, "Uh, we don't have any... I don't think."  I asked, "What's that one there?" (All I could make out was the green bottle and the word RYE.)  She produced a bottle of George Dickel Rye, and from there the evening just continued to get better.
 
If the name George Dickel is unfamiliar to you (as it was me), you just aren't paying attention. Dickel has been making a name for itself in the whiskey world since around 1870. Dickel's Old No. 8 Brand whiskey competes for the same market as Jack Daniels Old No. 7.

Founded in the small town of Cascade Hollow, Tennessee, George Dickel is a small-batch whisky brand that has continued to grown for the past 140 or so years.  Dickel produces five whisky variations, including George Dickel Cascade Hollow, Old No. 8 Brand, Superior No. 12, Barrel Select Tennessee whiskies, and now George Dickel Rye.

According to Larry Olmsted, contributor to Forbes.com, "The rye revival keeps getting better and better..." Personally, I couldn't be happier to see a resurgence of rye whiskies. Next to some of my favorite bourbons, there is nothing that I can rely to enjoy as well as the taste of a new rye whiskey.

Whiskey: George Dickel Rye (Cascade Hollow Distillery)
Type: Straight Rye Whiskey
Origin: Tennessee, USA (although for the purists in the audience, the rye is purportedly from Indiana)

George Dickel Rye is a straight rye whisky matured in new charred oak barrels for at least 5 years, that consists of a mash bill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley. This 90 Proof whiskey has an amber, golden appearance and its aroma is a grainy scent with a slight hint of fruit, maybe a little citrus.  At 90 Proof, Dickel Rye has a bit of a bite at first that was a welcome awakening for my honky tonk evening.  The rye (true to form) then turns really smooth and very drinkable.  Dickel Rye has a wonderful spiciness that makes it quite pleasant on the rocks or even neat. I enjoyed mine neat, with water on the side. (Pool is thirsty work!)

I really enjoyed the Dickel Rye. The evening consisted of rye whiskey, beer, water, and pool and this spicy spirit was quite memorable. Researching the pricing online I found that bottles run around $20 to $25, very reasonable for this tasty spirit.  I thought it would be easier to find another bottle, but apparently, having only come on the market in November 2012, it is still not widely stocked.

So to sum up, George Dickel Rye is a really enjoyable rye. It is “available” at a bargain price and has a smooth, spicy, warm taste that goes well with an evening of pool and honky-tonk music.  It may not have the subtleties or complexities of flavors that one would find in a finer whiskey, but it has a great flavor, is a smooth drink, at a great price. I highly recommend this as an alternative to whatever is the “standard pour” at your bar. Try it neat or on the rocks, chase it with a beer, and may be mix it with some Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and The Rolling Stones.

Cheers.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

No Shock from this Monkey

Monkey Shoulder is a premium (triple malt) Scotch whiskey brought to us by William Grant & Sons (the makers of many other fine labels like Glenfiddich, Balvenie, and Tullamore Dew).  Incidentally, Balvenie's Doublewood is an AMAZING Scotch and very reasonably priced. Grant also makes The Knot which I reviewed on this past St. Patrick’s Day's post.

I could go on all day about William Grant & Sons’ products, there are so many, but back to Monkey Shoulder.


Whiskey: Monkey Shoulder (William Grant & Sons)
Type: Blended malt Scotch whiskey
Origin: Scotland

The name "monkey shoulder" comes from a temporary condition suffered by malt men as they turned the barley manually (apparently in the days before worker's comp cases and OSHA). Incidentally, according to the Monkey Shoulder website, their malt men still turn their barley manually, but under better working conditions so this injury no longer occur.

My Review:
Monkey Shoulder is a smooth and rich Scotch blended from three of William Grant & Sons' single malts (according to Buxton's book , Glenfiddich, Balvenie, and Kininvie) to produce this fine malt whiskey. It is a smooth, creamy, warm, and very malty Scotch that is not too peaty (which, as I have stated in other posts, I have not yet acquired a taste for).

This is a delightful whiskey and, similar to Sheep Dip, it is very enjoyable for the those being introduced to Scotch. It works very well neat, on the rocks, or in whiskey cocktails. In fact, from looking at the overly hip, loud, and vibrating Monkey Shoulder website, it appears the "mixing market" is what they are targeting. However, Monkey Shoulder stands very well all on its own.

Monkey Shoulder is widely available and reasonably priced. I recommend picking up a bottle and putting this monkey through the tasting regiment. If this very pleasant whiskey doesn't please, you can always try the many suggested cocktails on the Monkey Shoulder website.

Cheers!

And now, Peter Gabriel's Shock the Monkey (mood music) :-)


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rye Whiskey: Our Heritage as Americans

Now's your chance to try our founding father's personal rye whiskey recipe. Mount Vernon has announced the soon release of George Washington's own Rye whiskey. This piece of American history will soon go on sale at the first president's Mount Vernon estate in Virginia.

A still was an integral piece of a farm equipment at this time in history. When President Washington retired, he returned to his home farm estates and started a whiskey business.  The presidential home, Mount Vernon,  reconstructed Washington's distillery and will make more than 1,100 bottles of unaged whiskey available beginning today, April 4. The bottles sell for $95 each.

According to Mount Vernon, the rye is the most authentic version of Washington's whiskey available. Washington was a detailed record keeper, and distillers used the same grain recipe and fermentation process as it was done 250 years ago.

So, if you're in the area, swing by Mount Vernon on the way home this evening, pick up a bottle of George Washington's Straight Rye Whiskey, and knock one back like a true American patriot.

Thanks George!

Here is a short video on the distillery.  Very interesting! Cheers!


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Whiskey Quote:

“I know some who are constantly drunk on books as other men are drunk on whiskey.”

― H.L. Mencken