Monday, March 30, 2015

Latest Acquisition - Bacardi and Angel's Envy

The deal closed on Friday, March 27th with Bacardi acquiring Angel's Envy with this marking Bacardi's entrance into the American whiskey market.  Bacardi will leave in place the management and staff structure allowing Angel's Envy to continue operations as is currently planned with distillery expansion set to be
complete in 2016.

Read the details here from Businesswire.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Go Irish - Teeling Irish Whiskey

I'm not Irish and don't do a lot of celebrating on St. Patrick's Day but one thing this Irish holiday represents (besides the Irish and great whiskey) is the entrance of Spring.  After a rather long and at times harsh winter, I'm looking forward to warmer weather and with that, digging in to some new whiskey. 

Teeling has a long history of making whiskey dating back to 1792 where Walter Teeling began distilling in Dublin.  Fast toward to 1987 and John Teeling opens up Cooley Distillery which prior to his purchase was making Potato based alcohol.  Since Cooley's opening they became a force in the Irish distilling scene racking up numerous international awards.  Point is, they know whiskey.  In 2011, The Teelings sold Cooley to Beam Global for a cool $95M.  Now, Jack Teeling is kicking off a new venture by sourcing whiskey from his fathers former distillery with the release last year of Teeling Irish Whiskey.  This is a small batch Irish blend that is finished in Flor de CaƱa rum casks for around 6 months.  This is non-chill filtered (NCF) and is bottled at 92 proof. 

This expression interested me as I'm not sure there's another Irish whiskey with a second finish using rum casks.  I'm a big fan of Balvenie and they offer a rum finish 14 year old Scotch that to me is average with the rum not balancing so well with the scotch base.  So, I was maybe a tad skeptical with the Teeling. 

The whiskey is 35% malt whiskey (100% malted barley) and 65% grain whiskey (95% corn and 5% malted barley) and according to Teeling, aged between 4-7 years in first fill bourbon casks.  After that first aging, it's then rum cask finished. 

Color: Very light pale straw
Nose: Molasses (backstrap), vanilla, grain whiskey 
Entry: Grain forward, vanilla just a touch of cinnamon
Finish: Rum notes, mild oak with a touch of pepper toward the end.  Medium in length.  

I like the fact that it's NCF and they didn't cheat us on the proof.  This is an easy sipping Irish and one that I will keep on the bar on a regular basis.  I have quite a few Irish whiskies but this rum finished expression is a nice deviation from the norm.  Teeling has plans to offer future expressions with additional second finish expressions as well as super premium aged single malts. 

The Teeling Irish Whiskey Small Batch is readily available in numerous markets and runs about $40 a 750ml.  

Note: This whiskey was provided by the PR firm representing Teeling here in the U.S.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Cigar Journal - Monte by Montecristo Jacopo No. 2

I don't have to point out that my writing on this blog is pretty much exclusive to whiskey.  My friends know that whiskey isn't the only thing that I have a passion for.  Good BBQ, craft beer and cigars make there way into my normal consumption routine.

During the winter it's tough to sit down and enjoy a good cigar because the weather pretty much sucks here in the Mid Atlantic.  I won't whine because my neighbors to the north have had it far worse.  That being said, I make it a point to travel to my local cigar lounge where they allow clients to "bring their own".

This last week I settled in to enjoy the Monte by Montecristo Jacopo #2.  This has got to be one of the nicest box pressed cigars I've seen as well as being a little unusual in that it had 4 equal sides; not something you see in a typical box press.  The construction of this torpedo looked to be spot on and the wrapper was a typical colorado brown.  Using a Xicar cutter, I clipped the end and used a torch to toast the foot and then light.  Initial draw was nearly perfect with just the right amount of resistance.The one thing lacking with this cigar was noticeable flavor transitions as I smoked through the stick.  This is not necessarily uncommon but something I experience when smoking an aged Cuban.  Overall, this was a medium strength cigar with a good flavor profile.

From a flavor perspective, this cigar had some good things going on.  Initial profile consisted of honey sweetness with light citrus on the back end; a combination I like in cigars.  Added to that I got some espresso, cocoa and moderate wood notes.  As I continued to smoke the stick down, the citrus influence dropped off and the coffee and wood notes became more pronounced with the honey sweetness still lightly in play. Taking my time with this cigar avoided any bitterness from popping up toward the end due to tar build up.  This was a pleasant smoke and one I'll come back to as the weather becomes more favorable.

This cigar was featured in the Cigar Aficionado Magazines top 25 cigars of 2014 coming in at #9.

I got this cigar from Famous Smoke Shop where it runs about $9.25 a stick.  From their website, they say this about the Jacopo:

 "Monte by Montecristo is a modern twist on the classic cigar. The Monte features a double binder, composed of a Dominican Olor and Nicaraguan Corojo which encases an aged Dominican filler, all wrapped in a rich Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. With the name of Montecristo, you can be assured you will get the same flavor, complexity, and enjoyment out of this cigar that you have come to expect from all of Montecristo's offerings.  In a word, this smoke is exquisite."

Size: 6 1/8 x 54 
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper Color: Natural
Wrapper Origin: Ecuadorian
Wrapper Leaf Type: Habano
Price: $9.25 (per cigar)