Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel:
Taste of Tradition
For this edition of a single-barrel tour, I’m going to jump ahead in my tour schedule to tell you about our Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel because…
We are excited to have this IN STOCK NOW!
Our half-day trip to the distillery was once again an entertaining and informative experience. We arrived in time for our lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s. Now, it may sound cliche and touristy to eat lunch at the distillery restaurant, but this was definitely worth it. We were seated around a large table with 8 or so other guests. As we sat down, a wonderful retired lady talked to us about the experience, food and distillery. She was very knowledgeable and sweet.
The food came and was a fantastic mix of southern fare: fried chicken, Jack Daniels apples, mac and cheese, fried okra.. and on and on… all served family style via a lazy susan. And once we were stuffed with the main course, we were treated to Jack Daniels chocolate pie!
And then we were on to the whiskey! Now, much like other distilleries, Jack Daniel’s blends their whiskeys in order to find the perfect “Jack” taste. That is why picking out a single barrel is exciting: we pick one barrel that we think is perfect for our customer and the bottles are all consistent with that taste.
We were welcomed into the newish tasting room (they now offer tasting tours!) and were seated in front of a selection of three barrels and a couple of guides.
Tasting these barrels was a bit different as they were already taken down from barrel strength alcohol content to bottle strength. That meant that we did not have to add a bit of water in order to bring the spiciness (or “heat”) down.
It was four of us this time so we had a good number of opinions and came to a majority agreement. One was eliminated right away and we had some haggling over the other two.
First, barrel number 1745:
Nice milder tasting bottle which had some “oakiness” to it and light vanilla notes. It left a nice lingering, spicy finish. Had a sweet, tart aroma to it
I thought this was good but I wanted something a little different with a little more to it.
Next, barrel number 1760:
Mild aroma. It had a dryer caramel taste with a lighter spicy finish.
This was my least favorite. While I enjoy a nice caramel whiskey, I don’t think that’s what our customers would want. I wanted something more complex… which leads to…
OUR CHOICE: Barrel 1757:
Had a mid-mild nose to it. A good mix of caramel, woodiness and a great oakiness on the mid-palette. It starts out milder but ends with a lingering spicy finish on the side of the tongue. It is also not overly sweet.
Overall, I loved this one from the start. It has a lot going on and a lot that is unique to this whiskey in comparison to our other single barrels. I think the oakiness and spicy finish make this barrel fantastic.
So, if you like Jack Danie’ls, and want something unique and great tasting or need a souvenir unique to Nashville, this is highly recommended!
Single Barrel Tour with Matt the Beer Guy
This is part of an on-going series of single barrel whiskey picked exclusively for Midtown.
Interested in whiskey? Be sure to check out Nashville Whiskey Festival!
Single Barrel Tour with Matt the Beer Guy
This is the first post in an on-going series of single barrel whiskey picked exclusively for Midtown.
Jim Beam: Knob Creek Single Barrel
An Introductory Experience
I enjoyed the trip to Jim Beam for my first barrel tasting and selection. The whiskey was great to try and meeting Master Distiller Fred Noe was a trip. It’s impressive to be met by the master distiller and see that his office is the first one as you enter.
Now, I was warned about Fred: He makes no changes to his style for anyone, meaning, he’s going to be the good ol’ boy from the country, cussing and all. He know his stuff though and was fun and interesting to talk to.
After introductions, we headed to the barrel warehouse for the tasting. It was awesome to be let into the storehouse to see all of the stored barrels and smell all of the aging bourbon. We were presented with 3 barrels, each stored in a different location but *I believe* aged for the same length of time. One of the storehouse managers showed us how to hammer out the bunghole and pour the samples. We were set to taste!
Now comes the point of contention from Midtown: We were presented with plastic cups. As a wine, spirits and craft beer store, we pride ourselves and appreciate the appropriate glassware. Unfortunately, this falls short. That being said, the bourbon itself did not.
The fun of tasting straight from the barrel, is that the bourbon is barrel strength, aka not watered down. The Knob Creek we tasted was all above 100 proof and thus pretty hot. That is why Fred recommended we add a bit of water in order to bring the simulated proof roughly down to single barrel bottle standards. We tried them barrel strength first and then added a bit of water.
My favorite was one of the smoother bourbons as I love the carmel and vanilla notes that I associate with “smoothness”. That explains my taste for Woodford Reserve. The last of the barrels, we all agreed, was definitely not up too par; it tasted less complex than once would expect. The third barrel had a decent bit more spice and good depth. We decided upon this barrel as once our customers would love.
After deciding, we were taken for lunch and given a tour. The new touring facilities and visitors’ center are impressive. They have a mini distillery setup just for touring and it gives a fun, interactive aspect to the process.
Overall, my first single barrel tasting was a fun and informative experience. I hope you like the Knob Creek. We’ll let you know when it arrives.
We are thrilled to announce that we have set a date and a location for Whiskey Fest 2013 — this year’s festivities will be held on the evening of Saturday, September 14, 2013 at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
If you attended Whiskey Fest 2012, then you may remember that our focus was centered on local favorites; this year’s list of featured whiskeys will include Japanese, Canadian, Scotch, and Irish whisk(e)ys in addition to our American standbys.
The festival was a smashing success last year, but we want to make everything bigger and better for 2013, so we will be packing our schedule with a larger variety of classes, seminars, and special events in the days leading up to September 14th. You can also expect to see – and hear a lot more from us on the web and in the store about our favorite whiskeys and bourbons as Whiskey Fest draws near.
In the meantime, we will be making a point of keeping you up to date on the enormous selection of local and imported whiskeys on our shelves. We just received new shipments of Corsair Triple Smoke and W. L. Weller 7 Year, and we are also proud to be one of only a handful of spirits stores in the area offering a limited stock of Hakushu 12 Year Japanese Malted Whiskey. We are also expecting several shipments of hand-selected single barrel whiskeys any day now so you can look forward to brand new batches of some of our most-requested spirits including Blanton’s, Four Roses and Buffalo Trace Single Barrels, Elijah Craig 12 year, and that good old Tennessee standby: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, so please stop by and pick up a bottle of whatever tickles your fancy!
For now, we will continue to post updates about Whiskey Fest 2013 and related activities on Twitter, Facebook, and right here on the Midtown blog, so don’t forget to check back in with us frequently and be sure to let us know if you have any ideas or requests about spirits or seminars that you would love to see at Whiskey Fest 2013.
Hey there whiskey drinkers and bourbon enthusiasts!
We are hard at work on this fall’s Whiskey Fest and we are eager to share as much information as possible with all of you, so watch this space for updates and announcements pertaining to the upcoming festival.
We’ve been getting some questions about where and when this year’s Whiskey Fest festivities will be held and, unfortunately, we don’t have all the answers just yet — we’re hoping to lock down a venue in the next few days and once that happens, you’ll be the first ones to know all the details!
Additionally, if you have any ideas about guests you’d love to see or distilleries that you’d like to learn more about, please feel free to let us know.
In the meantime, feel free to come on in to Midtown Wine and Spirits and browse our enormous collection of whiskeys, bourbons, and regional spirits. Our Single Barrel collection is growing by the day — we’ve just chosen new barrels of Buffalo Trace, Four Roses and Elijah Craig, and we’re expecting some very exciting shipments of Blanton’s and Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel any day now!
That’s right folks, this is a big deal! On September 22, the 1st Annual Nashville Whiskey Festival, sponsored by your favorite wine and spirits store, will take place at the War Memorial Auditorium. It will be one of the biggest events to hit Nashville and will be packed full of stars and gems of the whiskey world. With Tennessee being not only one of the largest whiskey consuming states in the world, it is also one of the largest whiskey producing. It’s only proper to throw a festival in celebration of one of America’s favorite spirits. What happens at a whiskey festival, you say? Here’s just a few things we have in store for you:
- -Special tastings through the week leading to the event
- -30+ distilleries & breweries participating
- -Educational seminars put on by master distillers
- -Special VIP hour w/ rare whiskey tasting
- -Cigar kiosk
- -Barrel aged beer
- -Special whiskey cocktail seminar featuring Tim Laird America’s C.E.O.
There’s all this and so much more to come. Follow us on Twitter (@Nashwhiskeyfest & @midtownwine), Facebook and make sure you’re on our email list to get the latest information as it comes out!
With the warm weather approaching — though it never really left — we’re getting closer to bringing out the bottles of gin and other lively spirits. Some like to call them “rays of light”, “sunshine in a glass”, or “liquid pine trees”, I just like to call them good.
Gin has not always been at the top of my list of spirits to rave about. It honestly stayed at the bottom for a long time. Then the creativity set in and I fell in love with the “Old Tom” style of gin that was soon to become my favorite.
The best things about liking gin are the trinkets, mixers and liqueurs that have been solely designed to complement the beautiful botanicals that are found in the gin itself. I was unaware of these until I found myself at a bartenders’ competition where the base spirit was Bombay Sapphire Gin. Never would I have thought that hickory smoked lemons, strawberries, figs, eggs and lavender would be some of my new favorite pairings with gin. This may have been the start of my love affair with gin — OK, this definitely was the start of my love affair.
To describe my palate/taste when it comes to gin, I prefer ones that have slightly subdued juniper notes and more of the prominent citrus tones up front. I tend to go with an “Old Tom” style gin more often than a London dry or the funky gin spirits such as Bols Genevere or Junipero.
Gin is not really a spirit that can shy away from its heritage and main flavor profile, such as other ubiquitous spirits like vodka, rum or tequila that one can mix with just about anything and mask its true flavor. It can mesh and hold the solid flavors of so many different items.
For instance, an italian blood orange soda that can be found at whole Foods or Trader Joes is one of the best mixers for Bombay Sapphire. It makes the gin cocktail taste like you have mixed in 3 or 4 different components. The sparkle of the bubbles break up the piney punch that sometimes dominates your palate upon first sip. The brightness and sweetness of the fruit intermingled with the botanicals of the gin bring out these crazy flavors that range from lemon sorbet and sparkling grapefruit to sweet eucalyptus and toasted honey. If you happen to come across some sparkling blood orange soda or something like it, don’t pass it up!
Now if you want to channel your inner mixologist and experiment, using egg whites takes gin cocktails to an entirely new level. For sweeter style drinks, just add any baking spice and/or small bits of fruit – hazelnuts sprinkled with a dusting of cinammon, nutmeg, brown sugar and cardamom or figs and plums. Thinking outside the box like this leads to discovering new ideas, crazy ingredients never before considered and a way to offer new sensations to your palate.
For the last pairings, these are definitely my favorite additions to any gin cocktail I have ever held to my lips.
Hickory smoked lemon rounds ranks #1. The faint smoke you get after the initial lemon zest rounds off the acids of the lemon, and the smoke seems to give the lemon a rounder, caramelized taste. Instead of it butting heads with the bright botanicals of the gin, it brings out the above-referenced notes of figs and hazelnut that one would not expect.
Ranking second are the “juniperized” pickles — pickles soaked in juniper berries and lemons. I can’t tell you everything the pickles were brined in, but I am sure that I ate more than I probably should have. I tore into the sweet, zesty bits of goodness and found that there was a lingering flavor that came across as, believe it or not, slightly blueberry-ish.
All in all, there’s always a way to get around the basic and up-front taste of the gin spirit. As I said before, it’s never going to get too far away from the initial base flavor but can pretty much set its style in the modern contemporary feel. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new in life; cocktails being one of the easiest way to accomplish that. If you don’t like it, you can always make it into an Alabama Slammer!
It’s that time of year again where we search for our best sangria recipes and dust off the old ones. More than likely, you already have more than one, whether it’s a recipe you pulled out of a magazine, borrowed from a friend, saw on television or made up yourself. Let’s face it, sangria recipes are like opinions — everyone’s got one, and everyone thinks theirs is the best.
Sangria shouldn’t be intimidating or complicated to make. The whole point is to keep it fun, fresh, easy to make and easy to drink! It is nothing more than a sweetened wine punch to enjoy during the warmer weather days, especially beach/poolside. It’s pretty cost efficient, and it is only as invested as you are. Sangria can involve white wines, red wines or even sparkling wines. It can be made with liqueurs of every style and flavor — rums, vodkas, brandies, melon flavors, strawberry flavors and much more. You can make sangria with most any kind of fruit — peaches, plums, berries, mangos, oranges, etc. There is no fixed recipe for sangria, whether it be red or white, fruity or dry, 2 ingredients or 10 ingredients, a little of this, a little of that, or mixed with any kind of fruit you fancy.
The fun of making it is that there are so many options — you go with what you love. I’m not suggesting you change your whole recipe, but I would like to provide a few guidelines/tips that you can follow to achieve the best possible sangria.
Here’s a short list of Do’s and Don’ts:
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Rye whiskey is the hidden treasure of whiskeys, or at least it was.
Now it’s hitting the market with a strong hand, reclaiming its place as America’s preferred spirit. Classic rye cocktails are very much in style these days, and to get to know how to use them, you should know what you’re looking for in one. So, let’s take it back to the basics.
Rye, by law, has to have a mash bill of no less than 51% rye, while the remainder can be corn, grain, barley, or other grains. Rye offers a more distinct, layered and complex flavor of spice and grains than any other whiskey out there. Whereas people prefer bourbon for its sweet, smooth, caramel-like body, those who like ryes will prefer the spicy, firm richness that gives rye the more bold personality.
You’ll usually find notes of walnut, black pepper, spices, toasted grains, and sometimes a nice spiced vanilla or cinnamon. All these different flavors in a rye open up a world of possibilities, allowing you to to mix, match or infuse it with something. Certain cocktails were even invented solely to complement a rye whiskey: the Manhattan, a Sazerac, a Ward 8 or an Old Fashioned. Fruit or fruit bitters can be rye’s best friend if you allow the spice in the whiskey and the sweet top of the fruit to meld together — just as one would do if pairing cheese and wine.
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These days, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when wanting to make a cocktail.
Everyone you come across is working his/her way to becoming a mixologist. New restaurants, TV shows about drinks, all kinds of new infused vodkas and bourbons, fancy names and flair to match — it gets overwhelming. It is not hard, however, to achieve such mastery, allowing you to avoid that feeling of being overwhelmed or uneducated.
When it comes to something so fun as mixing, fear should play no part — everyone should be able to enjoy it. It’s what I like to consider an art in itself, and like any art or hobby, the “mixer” should be able to delve into it however deeply he likes.
There are a few necessary items that one should always have handy when wanting to get creative.
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Every year, we all receive that one late gift from a friend or a relative (or in this case a soon-to-be mother-in-law, who believe it or not I actually really do like). It presents a fun and often unexpected experience, especially when said gift contains a bottle of amazing bourbon. In this case, I was more than pleased to open up my present to find a bottle of Booker’s Bourbon, in its signature wooden box.
Now let me say this — I love bourbon. Few libations hold such complex and mystifying flavors. There are dozens upon dozens of excellent options out there for even the most discriminating palate. It had been a very long time since sampling this particular small batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, but I must say the reunion was beyond enjoyable.
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