logo

My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Forty Creek Heritage Limited Edition 2017

Since I moved from Texas in 2015 the one whisky I miss the most and find the hardest to source from other side of the world is Forty Creek.  It is very special and unique and honestly I miss it more than my family. If they are reading, then that is a joke.  But I do miss it a lot.  I picked up this while passing though Texas on business and my bottle was number 9132 from Lot 11 (... you are welcome whiskey pedants).   The nose has lots of familiar notes of vanilla and freshly sawn wood.  Quite mild and sweet like those cheap cigars that are sold in US Drugstores. The taste is also sweet, with caramel, chocolate, butterscotch balanced with some grass and pepper notes.  The finish does manage to muster a little spice and oaky resistance but still overall a typical Forty Creek "candy disguised as whiskey" (that I love).  Perhaps not their finest work... but to honest even their "OK stuff" is better than most.

Read More
  • Wednesday, 11 April 2012 01:40

    A Visit to Garrison Brothers Distillery

    Written by
    So Easter weekend I had my first opportunity to visit my "local" whiskey distilery.  In fact this visit had a lot of firsts for me.  It was my first bourbon distillery, my first US distillery and the first distillery where we were greeted by the founder and owner of the distillery, in this case Dan Garrison of Garrison Brothers.  Pretty cool.  Located in Hye, this is Texas' first legal bourbon distillery since prohibition and is producing a very nice product.  They charge $10 for a tour but as this is one of the most interactive distillery tours I have ever been on and as they patiently waited for their whiskey to mature (resisting the temptation to sell white dog spirit or put an immature product on the market) I didn't mind paying.  My favorite aspect of this tour  was the fact we were able to try and taste at every stage of production.  We could taste the mash after the corn, wheat and malted barley had been cooked (it was bit like sweet breakfast oatmeal), then taste the distillers beer during fermentation (quite sour but with some fruit), white dog spirit off the still at 140 proof (hot and herbal) and finally (of course) the matured, Texas straight bourbon.   What are the main differences between a single malt and bourbon distillery? The first was the grain recipe.  Garrison Brothers use corn, wheat and malted barley (but no rye which is often found in bourbon recipes) while single malt distilleries of Scotland use only malted barley.  In Scotland the sugars are extracted by adding hot water to the grains, in bourbon making the process involves actually cooking the grains in water to extract the sugars.  The fermentation process in most malt distilleries produces a "beer" of around 8% ABV, Garrison Brothers beer was closer to 16% ABV.  Finally the distillation of the bourbon was done in a single still whereas single malt is always double distilled and sometimes triple distilled.   Garrison uses 500 gal of beer at 15%  ABV which is put into the steam heated stills and in turn produces about 150 gal of 140 proof (or 70% ABV) white dog spirit that is aged for at least 2 years in oak casks so that it can be called "straight" bourbon.  Garrison Brothers use a #4 char, also known as alligator char (and the "alligator" in the Ardbeg Alligator).

    They have no license to sell liquor so we couldn't actually buy a bottle at the distillery so I bought a T shirt instead, but there is a licensed store when you turn off the main road for Garrison Bros.  I believe if you are whiskey loving Texan you will love this place and being in the middle of Texas wine country (yes that really exists) there are plenty of other reasons to make the trip and visit the area as well.  If I had to complain it would be the price per bottle.  At almost $80 / bottle retail this is very expensive for a bourbon, but there are good reasons for that.  In it's defence it is not bad when compared to the price of many Scotch single malts in Texas and hopefully with some sustained success, time (and of course increased volumes) we will see the price point reduce. 

    Leave a comment

    Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

    Whiskies Tried...

    Total to Date: 647

    Distilleries

    Visited to Date: 58

    Follow Me on Twitter!

    Random Whisky

    Alfred Barnard Blend #1

    This is the blended whisky I made using the Master of Malt Home Blending Kit and discussed in my blog... http://www.somanywhiskies.com/blog/item/169-my-alfred-barnard-blend-project-part-1.  The nose was quite salty and tangy, like sea spray (the Islay's clearly evident) and also quite peaty, but in an earthy rather than smokey way.  There was even a hint of maple syrup smoked bacon.  The taste was very smooth and sherry starts to come through, followed by spices like pepper and cinnamon.  There were also some sweet fruit notes, like a jam, but the kind of generic sweet red jam you might get in bed and breakfast.  There was some smoke in the finish and with a little water some oak notes also came through.  This was quite rich for a blend, but then this has only 25 % grain whisky, most blends today are probably closer to 50/50 grain to malt whisky, and I found the Islay influence dominant in the nose (even though it was less than 20% of the total ) but overall whisky was very drinkable and smooth.  Going to Master of Malt website if I was to make a bottle according to this recipe it would cost $83 for a 700 ml bottle and have an ABV of 40.75%.  Because I found the nose and taste a little disjointed I can only give this version 2 stars.