Gruppo Campari’s Wild Turkey has won two prestigious awards at the 2013 International Spirits Challenge. The new kid on the block, Wild Turkey 81 Kentucky Straight Bourbon won the accolade of Gold – Best in Class, while the original Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon was presented with Silver. These wins for Wild Turkey 81 and 101 follow the announcement of Wild Turkey American Honey’s Silver award at the ISC earlier this year.
Wild Turkey 81 is a blend of 6-8 year old bourbons, making it older than most of its competitors in the category. Deep amber in colour, with a rich nose of vanilla, oak and hint of orange and toffee, and a palate exploding with honey, brown sugar and tobacco, Wild Turkey 81 delivers a long and smooth finish making this bourbon perfect enjoyed with ice and coke. The flagship bourbon from the brand, Wild Turkey 101 is a unique marriage of 6, 8 and 12 year old bourbons. This long, rich and full bodied bourbon is best served neat or over ice or in a classic cocktail such as a Manhattan. Strong flavours, true of American bourbon, shine through with caramel and vanilla, and notes of honey and orange. Both variants feature the famed Wild Turkey high-rye mash, delivering a spicy kick synonymous with the brand.
Masterfully crafted in original Bourbon country, Kentucky, USA, Wild Turkey 81 and 101 are products of the passion of Master Distiller Jimmy Russell and his son, Associate Master Distiller Eddie Russell.
The ISC, widely regarded as one of the most authoritative, respected and influential competitions in the world, conducts a series of scrupulous blind tastings over a period of 7 days. The panel of judges consists of 50 of the industry’s most respected and experienced professionals, who award scores based on aroma, appearance, taste and finish.
With over 1,000 entries from almost 70 countries worldwide, these wins are a celebration of Wild Turkey’s authentic Kentucky heritage and are testament to the commitment and extraordinary knowledge, passion and skill of the team behind Wild Turkey. Christophe Schaillee, Regional Director Europe for Gruppo Campari said “It is an incredible honour to have both Wild Turkey 81 and Wild Turkey 101 receive awards at this most prestigious international celebration of sprits. We work hard to ensure our products are unique and created with the utmost attention to detail and craftsmanship. We are very proud of our product and of course these wins are the perfect way to toast the achievements of all involved in making the Wild Turkey brand a success.”
Wild Turkey 81 (40.5% ABV) and Wild Turkey 101 (50.5% ABV) are products of the Wild Turkey Distillery, which is owned by Gruppo Campari. Wild Turkey 81 is available at select Tesco stores across the UK, RRP £22.99. Wild Turkey 101 is available online from specialist drinks retailers including http://www.thewhiskyexchange.com and http://www.thedrinkshop.com.
A name derived from the fact that the distillery is the 209th to be registered in the United States. Quite a feat when you think about it, and an apt name for a gin that has been hailed as one of the finest in the market. Not widely available though as it’s only really come across to the UK recently and has yet to truly establish itself, but that doesn’t stop us from grabbing a head start for when you local bar stocks the new gin in town.
The Rudd family came up with the original idea for No. 209 Gin. after in 1999 Leslie Rudd became the new steward of the old Edge Hill winery. When he was surveying the property, he noticed the faintly visible words “Registered Distillery No. 209” painted above the iron doors of what was being used as a hay barn. Unearthing the rest of the story was the point of inspiration for No. 209 Gin and the historical restoration of Edge Hill. So with a background in wine and fine food, owning a restaurant and the Rudd Oakville Estate Winery, they embarked upon the exploratory research to make ‘the finest possible gin with care and intelligence for people who think about what they drink – a gin that reflects the heritage of small batch hand-crafted distilling but is a unique and modern 21st century spirit.’ Quite a feat to achieve, and they did using a combination of between eight and eleven botanicals including juniper, bergamot orange, lemon peel, cardamom pods, cassia bark, angelica root and coriander seeds.
Using a pot still distillation process to extract the botanicals flavours as they are macerated. The base spirit of Midwestern corn and water from the Sierra-Nevada mountains is four times distilled and after letting the botanicals macerate, it is then distilled a fifth time. Then the heads (beginning) and tails (end) of the distillation are discarded, leaving the heart (middle) to be bottled.
The distillery itself can be located on Pier 50 in San Francisco, meaning that No. 209 is created in the worlds only distillery that is built over water.
So how does this gin that reflects the heritage of small-batch fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
No, 209– 46%
Dominant fresh citrus on the nose with light floral aromas following. Slight sweet start with a hint of spice on the palate that develops significantly. Rather warming near the end that creates an incredibly long finish.
A great tipple, and one that can also be enjoyed as the base for a cocktail –
30 ml No. 209
30 ml Campari
30 ml Sweet Vermouth
Combine all ingredients over ice and stir. Shake and strain into a tumbler glass. Garnish with orange peel.
A great find, and one to look out for as I’m sure many bars will be taking full advantage of this brand.
Check out the rest of the photos, taken at 24 Bar and Grill, via my Facebook page.
Everyone has more than likely heard of this brand. It can sometimes be considered an icon in the drinks world, with many consumers coming across it at some point in their lives. It can also divide opinion, with more varieties coming out and Jack Daniel’s seen as more the mixing whisky instead of being sipped on its own. But Jack Daniel’s is well-known for a reason, and if it was disliked for nearly 140 years, I sincerely doubt I would be mentioning it in any way, shape or form.
So let’s have a look at Mr. Daniel’s.
Founder Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel was born in September 1846. Seemingly no one knows the exact date because the birth records were destroyed in a courthouse fire however some records list his birth date as September 5, 1846. Jack was one of twelve children fathered by Calaway Daniel. Jack’s mother, Lucinda Cook Daniel, died in 1847, after which his father remarried and had several more children. Jack Daniel’s grandfather, Joseph “Job” Daniel emigrated from Wales to the United States.
Jack died in 1911 from blood poisoning which started from an infection. The infection allegedly began in one of his toes, which Jack injured one morning at work by kicking his safe in anger when he could not get it open. Jack Daniel never married and did not have any children, however, he took his nephew Lem Motlow under his wing. Lem was very skilled with numbers, and was soon doing all of the distillery’s bookkeeping. In 1907, due to failing health, Jack Daniel gave the distillery to Lem, who then bequeathed the distillery to his children, Robert, Reagor, Dan, Conner, and Mary, upon his death in 1947.
Tennessee passed a state-wide prohibition law in 1910, preventing the legal distillation of Jack Daniel’s in the state, and as a result Lem Motlow began distilling operations in St Louis, Missouri and Birmingham, Alabama, though none of the production from these locations was ever sold due to quality problems. The introduction of prohibition in 1920 (until 1933) stopped production in St Louis; production in Alabama having been stopped earlier by that state’s prohibition laws. All production then ceased. Even the enactment in 1933 repealing federal prohibition did not allow production in Lynchburg to restart, as the Tennessee state prohibition laws were still in effect. Motlow, as a Tennessee state senator, helped repeal these laws, allowing production to restart in 1938. The five-year gap between national repeal and Tennessee repeal was commemorated in 2008 with a gift pack of two bottles, one for the 75th anniversary of the end of prohibition and a second commemorating the 70th anniversary of the reopening of the distillery. The U.S. government banned the manufacture of whiskey during World War II and a little beyond, from 1942 to 1946.
Motlow resumed production of Jack Daniel’s only in 1947 after good quality corn was again available.
When the company was later incorporated, it was incorporated as “Jack Daniel Distillery, Lem Motlow, Prop., Inc.” This has allowed the company to continue to include Lem Motlow, who died in 1947, in its marketing, since mentioning him in the advertising is technically just citing the full corporate name. Likewise, the advertisements continue to say that Lynchburg has only 361 people, though the 2000 census reports 5,740. This is allowable because the entire label was trademarked in the early 1960’s when this figure was the actual population cited by the Census Bureau; changing the label would require applying for a new trademark or forfeiting trademark protection.
Moore County, where the Jack Daniel’s distillery is located, is one of the state’s many dry counties. Therefore, while it is legal to distill the product within the county, it is illegal to purchase it there. However, a state law has provided one exception: a distillery may sell one commemorative product, regardless of county statutes. With this, Jack Daniel’s now sells Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, the original No. 7 blend, and a seasonal blend at the distillery’s White Rabbit Bottle Shop.
To create such a range, Jack Daniel’s whiskey (made of at least 51% of single grain) is filtered through sugar maple charcoal (named the Lincoln County Process) in large wooden vats prior to aging, which is an extra step that is not used in making most Bourbon whiskey. Because of this, the company claims that this makes the product different from Bourbon. However, Tennessee whiskey is required to be “a straight Bourbon Whiskey” under terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement and Canadian law, and there is no other legal definition of the term “Tennessee whiskey”.
So Jack Daniel’s does things a little different in that the Lincoln County Process is used to create a heavier flavour, so with this in mind, how does the range fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –
Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 – 40%
Light nose with a distinct sweetness dominating. A smooth offering on the palate with a slight spice and vanilla flavour. Charcoal notes with burn sugar after-taste. Lingers.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel– 45%
Bottled from a single barrel from the Jack Daniel distillery. On the nose it gave off a subtle vanilla aroma with a slight oak lingering behind. Smooth vanilla extracts with cereal and hints of citrus on the palate create a long finish.
Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack – 40%
Charcoal-mellowed twice, before and after the ageing process. On the nose, a very strong vanilla and honey aroma with burnt sugar dominating. The palate enjoys a very smooth offering though with the vanilla and honey combining well. Short with a hint of spice at the end.
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey – 35%
Made with a mix of rich spices and honey. Dominant caramel on the nose with hints of subtle oak. Light vanilla flavours start, but the caramel takes over with a rich, lingering sweetness.
A special edition winter drink, originally made for the German market. A punch with JD, apple, cinnamon and cloves. Light green apple aromas on the nose with a subtle spice end. Instant freshness of apple on the palate with a dry cinnamon flavour following that creates a short offering.
Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select– 45%
This release is not only bottled at a stronger 45%, but is also partly matured in ‘Sinatra barrels’, grooved on the inside to allow more wood/spirit interaction.
Smooth grain nose with a soft corn aroma with a following of dry wood notes. A developing smoke on the palate, wit h a soft, slight spice flavour on the tongue. Creates a long wood finish with a mouth watering experience.
Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Century– 50%
A limited-edition bottling, celebrating the life of Frank Sinatra, who would have turned 100 in 2015. Bottled at 100 proof from 100 casks specially selected by master distiller Jeff Arnett.
Heavy fudge notes on the nose, with rich, thick vanilla and caramel aromas a-plenty. The aromas carry onto the palate, with the thick fudge, soft charcoal and dry wood notes coming through. A very long, warm note of walnut and almond offer a fantastic finish.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel ‘Manchester Select’ #1 – 45%
Exclusive to The Britons Protection in Manchester.
Light caramel and vanilla on the nose, with hints of butter and wax combined with oak. Very smooth upon the palate, a slight sharpness from the oak but it mellows with honeycomb. A lively finish on the tongue with dry spice battling toffee and oak flavours.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel ‘Manchester Select’ #2 – 45%
Plenty of soft vanilla and honeycomb upon the nose, offering a subtle yet smooth aroma. The honey travels onto the palate well, with dry spice hints coming through alongside flavours of clotted fudge and vanilla which offers a slightly dry finish.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel ‘Manchester Select’ #3 – 45%
Walnut notes upon the nose, with subtle dry oak and hints of cedar coming through. A soft corn profile on the palate, with small kicks of vanilla moving into a dry spice finish that lingers.
A great selection, with some great recipes to choose from too –
Jam Jar or Highball
25 ml Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
25 ml Triple sec
25 ml Sour mix
100 ml Lemon-lime soda
Combine and stir. Garnish with a lemon slice and cherry.
Hot Tennessee Toddy
25 ml Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
Spoonful of honey
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Pour Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 into a heavy mug. Add a spoonful of honey, cinnamon stick and lemon juice. Top with boiling water and stir.
Jack Daniel’s is great on its own and shouldn’t be underestimated or consigned to the market of mixers. It is the most versatile out of the range true, but so are most other bourbon and whiskies. Give it a go, or indeed another go, try it over ice and if not preferred, try one of the recipes above or simply enjoy a Jack & Coke. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
The Palace Hotel in Manchester was the host of the biggest whisky festival outside of London, so big in fact that there had to be two sessions and two floors. The Whisky Lounge were the proud organisers for the 4th year in a row and had on offer the crème de la crème of the whisky world from both Scotland and Ireland, and even threw in Japan, England and America for good measure. Part of the Manchester Food & Drink Festival, there would be a host of seminars and masterclasses on offer including The Magnificent Seven, hosted by Colin Dunn of Diageo, which took you through an in-depth look into their varied portfolio. Joe Clark of The Whisky Lounge also offered his advice for novices of whisky festivals and helped pave the way of how to get the most out of the drams on offer. To cap the morning session off, Ryan Williams of Buffalo Trace was to be on hand to guide enthusiasts through the award-winning distillery and their delights. This year I myself didn’t participate in any of the workshops on offer, but took full advantage of scanning the list for new additions, rare offerings and old favourites – including a rum from the guys at Berry Bros and Rudd.
Below, in order I sampled, I give to you my tasting notes on the mornings offerings –
The Classic at cask strength. Floral and very clean on the nose with a sweet maltness and a creamy flavour on the palate. Lingering finish. Smoother with drops of water with a slight power kick at the end.
Suntory Yamazaki 12yr – 43%
Light on the nose with aromas of honey, vanilla and peach. Becomes a little sweeter on the palate with spice lingering and a long finish.
On the nose, a very light offering of vanilla and butterscotch creates a smooth, soft and slightly sweet aroma. A sweeter taste of honey and vanilla with some intense fruits on the palate creates a rather creamier bourbon to almost class it as a dessert wine.
The nose enjoys delicate citrus notes with a slight mix of corn. As it hits the tongue, it gives a short, sharp hit but mellows quickly into a more distinctive citrus taste with a hint of barley coming through.
Strong and intense banana and toffee aroma with hints of leather and a rich sweet follow-through on the nose. Smooth with a slight smokiness and ginger and lime extracts on the palate with a long warm after-taste with subtle spice hints.
Ripe, fresh fruit on the nose with an aroma of pepper at the end. Rather dry on the palate with spice, rich fruit flavours creating a long finish.
As you can see, a rather diverse collection was available, as well as varieties that are already gracing the site including Ardbeg, Connemara and anCnoc. With a total of four hours per session, there’s more than enough to keep you busy, and the guys and girls behind the brands are more than willing to tell you everything you need to know.
I know for a fact I’ll be attending next years festival as it’s the perfect chance to try some whiskies that you may never be able to afford in a bar or restaurant, plus a great opportunity to sample some you may never thought you would like.
If you’re ever with me for a drink, it’s a rarity I go for lager these days, nothing against them, I just seem to have a bigger heart towards ales. But what I do love is the time where you can just crack open a bottle at home on a hot summers day. Millers is my preferred tipple when on the hunt, so with this in mind, lets see how the brand came about.
The Miller Brewing Company was founded back in 1855 by Frederick Miller. It was at this time that he purchased the small Plank-Road Brewery in the Menomonee Valley in Milwaukee and utilised the easy access to raw materials produced on nearby farms. Over a hundred years later, the family were no longer a part of the company, with W. R. Grace and Company agreeing to buy 53% of Miller from Mrs. Lorraine John Mulberger (Frederick Miller’s granddaughter, who objected to alcohol) and her family on September 19th 1966. Three years later on 12 June 1969, Philip Morris bought Miller from W.R. Grace for $130 million, before being bought by the South African Breweries in 2002, to become a merged company named SABMiller. On October 10th 2007, SABMiller and Molson Coors agreed to combine their U.S. operations in a joint venture called MillerCoors.
Miller High Life is the companies oldest brand, having been first introduced back in 1903 and marketed as a pilsner. The more widely found brand, especially here in the UK, is the Miller Genuine Draft. First introduced in 1985, it is the original cold filtered packaged draft beer, which means that the beer is not pasteurized. The concept for the brand was developed by product consultant Calle & Company. Martin Calle evolved the concept from Miller’s New Ventures effort to launch a new dry beer at a time Miller Brewing was in danger of becoming a much-cloned light beer manufacturer. Originally introduced as ‘Miller High Life Genuine Draft’, the ‘High Life’ part of the name was soon dropped. Miller Genuine Draft is actually made from the same recipe as Miller High Life but with a different treatment. It was developed to give High Life drinkers the same taste in a can or bottle as they found in non-pasteurized kegs. *
So, how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Miller Genuine Draft – 4.7%
A light body with a slight grain malt aroma and a sweet yet sharp flavour. On the palate, it gives off a smooth and lightly hopped finish.
Miller Genuine Draft received the gold medal in the American-style Premium Lager category at the 1999 World Beer Cup, as well as the silver medal at the 2003 Great American Beer Festival. Perfect with BBQ or flame grilled meats, or just on those days where you need something good yet chilled.