LJ gives #AWBAR a starred review in the 1 November issue. All Saints’ Day, indeed.

*Risen, Clay. American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye: A Guide to the Nation’s Favorite Spirit. Sterling Epicure. Nov. 2013. 304p. photos. index. ISBN 9781402798405.$24.95.BEVERAGES
New York Times editor Risen (A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination) deftly combines history and assessment in this informative volume that covers more than 200 of the titular spirits. The introduction discusses regulations that define types of whiskey, the process and ingredients used to make each kind, and the history of production in the United States; it also instructs readers in how to enjoy whiskey, how to organize a tasting, and how to read a whiskey. Risen then tackles particular drinks, including tasting notes, age, proof, price range, and rating for each producer’s brand, along with a high-resolution photograph of the bottle. Descriptors such as lavender, cinnamon, wood, and smoke, among others, will appeal to the reader’s taste, smell, and visual imagination. ­VERDICT This book will delight those interested in learning about the history, traditions, and comparative taste of whiskey, and the gorgeous images will conjure up memories of grandfather’s old favorites. A fascinating read as well as a valuable reference guide, this work is sure to be a hit, especially in regions where the beverage is gaining popularity.—­Ann ­Weber, Bellarmine Coll. Prep., San Jose, CA

LJ gives #AWBAR a starred review in the 1 November issue. All Saints’ Day, indeed.

*Risen, Clay. American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye: A Guide to the Nation’s Favorite Spirit. Sterling Epicure. Nov. 2013. 304p. photos. index. ISBN 9781402798405.$24.95.BEVERAGES

New York Times editor Risen (A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination) deftly combines history and assessment in this informative volume that covers more than 200 of the titular spirits. The introduction discusses regulations that define types of whiskey, the process and ingredients used to make each kind, and the history of production in the United States; it also instructs readers in how to enjoy whiskey, how to organize a tasting, and how to read a whiskey. Risen then tackles particular drinks, including tasting notes, age, proof, price range, and rating for each producer’s brand, along with a high-resolution photograph of the bottle. Descriptors such as lavender, cinnamon, wood, and smoke, among others, will appeal to the reader’s taste, smell, and visual imagination. ­VERDICT This book will delight those interested in learning about the history, traditions, and comparative taste of whiskey, and the gorgeous images will conjure up memories of grandfather’s old favorites. A fascinating read as well as a valuable reference guide, this work is sure to be a hit, especially in regions where the beverage is gaining popularity.—­Ann ­Weber, Bellarmine Coll. Prep., San Jose, CA

Clay Risen is blogging all things American whiskey over at Mash Notes. 

Clay Risen is blogging all things American whiskey over at Mash Notes

Another great blog post at the excellent K&L site by David Driscoll.
http://spiritsjournal.klwines.com/klwinescom-spirits-blog/2012/7/19/the-ndp-dilemma.html

Another great blog post at the excellent K&L site by David Driscoll.

http://spiritsjournal.klwines.com/klwinescom-spirits-blog/2012/7/19/the-ndp-dilemma.html

Clay Risen’s blogsite is up at clayrisen.com. He’ll be chronicling our work together on the forthcoming American Whiskey, Bourbon, and Rye and other alcohol related matters. Check it out for the good stuff and bad. Scott & Nix

Clay Risen’s blogsite is up at clayrisen.com. He’ll be chronicling our work together on the forthcoming American Whiskey, Bourbon, and Rye and other alcohol related matters. Check it out for the good stuff and bad. Scott & Nix

Last week the Tuesday tasting took on an interesting mix: Basil Hayden’s 8 YO (80 proof), Jefferson’s Very Small Batch (83 proof), Four Roses Small Batch (90 proof), and Knob Creek Small Batch 9 YO (100 proof). The theme was “small batch” apparently, but I don’t think we planned it that way. The nose and flavors ran the gamut here from butter and lemons and bananas and candy corn to bbq and leather. Not in the same whiskey, of course, but each of these excellent drinks had something to offer. Not a dog in the race. 

Last week the Tuesday tasting took on an interesting mix: Basil Hayden’s 8 YO (80 proof), Jefferson’s Very Small Batch (83 proof), Four Roses Small Batch (90 proof), and Knob Creek Small Batch 9 YO (100 proof). The theme was “small batch” apparently, but I don’t think we planned it that way. The nose and flavors ran the gamut here from butter and lemons and bananas and candy corn to bbq and leather. Not in the same whiskey, of course, but each of these excellent drinks had something to offer. Not a dog in the race. 

Four high test whiskies made the scene at our Tuesday tasting: Fighting Cock [we’re not kidding] (103 proof), Baker’s 7 year old (107 proof), Noah’s Mill (114.3 proof), and Booker’s 7 years 4 months old (129.1 proof). 
Some background: By law, American whiskey must have the “proof” printed on its label. It’s a statement of what percentage of the liquid contains alcohol. For example, an 80 proof whiskey is 40 percent alcohol by volume (often abbreviated as ABV). Simply put, the ABV is half the proof statement.
So, why use the term “proof” at all and not just state the ABV? Tradition, I suppose. If you know better, please tell us. In the USA, whiskey must be a minimum of 80 proof (40 percent ABV) and less than 160 proof (80 percent ABV). Some makers dilute their whiskey with water after aging, some sell their hooch as cask strength at the proof it comes out of the barrel. 
Most brands print both the proof and the ABV, so you don’t need to figure out the math after a glass or two. Whiskey helps most things in life, but definitely not others. Arithmetic and surgery come to mind. 
The whiskies at the tasting last night were definitely all on the upper high end for proof, and it so happens that a few were absolutely delicious. Concentrated fruit and wood mixed with honey, butter, and toffee. Very spicy, too. Cut with a little cool water, they shined even more. Value for money. More delicious complex booze needing less water for less cash. What’s not to like?

Four high test whiskies made the scene at our Tuesday tasting: Fighting Cock [we’re not kidding] (103 proof), Baker’s 7 year old (107 proof), Noah’s Mill (114.3 proof), and Booker’s 7 years 4 months old (129.1 proof). 

Some background: By law, American whiskey must have the “proof” printed on its label. It’s a statement of what percentage of the liquid contains alcohol. For example, an 80 proof whiskey is 40 percent alcohol by volume (often abbreviated as ABV). Simply put, the ABV is half the proof statement.

So, why use the term “proof” at all and not just state the ABV? Tradition, I suppose. If you know better, please tell us. In the USA, whiskey must be a minimum of 80 proof (40 percent ABV) and less than 160 proof (80 percent ABV). Some makers dilute their whiskey with water after aging, some sell their hooch as cask strength at the proof it comes out of the barrel. 

Most brands print both the proof and the ABV, so you don’t need to figure out the math after a glass or two. Whiskey helps most things in life, but definitely not others. Arithmetic and surgery come to mind. 

The whiskies at the tasting last night were definitely all on the upper high end for proof, and it so happens that a few were absolutely delicious. Concentrated fruit and wood mixed with honey, butter, and toffee. Very spicy, too. Cut with a little cool water, they shined even more. Value for money. More delicious complex booze needing less water for less cash. What’s not to like?

We poured four single barrel bourbon whiskies at our Tuesday tasting: Evan Williams (86.6 proof), Wathen’s (94 proof), Rock Hill Farms (100 proof), and Knob Creek Reserve 9 year-old (120 proof).
Many wood-aged whiskies are drawn and bottled from multiple barrels. Single barrel is considered a premium and implies that you’re drinking a more full-bodied and flavorful whiskey. We can’t say that this was not the case with these four single barrel bourbons. Big-time flavor from all four and in different ways: stewed fruit, oatmeal cookie, vanilla, toffee, even chocolate and tangerine. Depth is what single barrel promises and they delivered. Excellent value for money going on here, too. We like that.

We poured four single barrel bourbon whiskies at our Tuesday tasting: Evan Williams (86.6 proof), Wathen’s (94 proof), Rock Hill Farms (100 proof), and Knob Creek Reserve 9 year-old (120 proof).

Many wood-aged whiskies are drawn and bottled from multiple barrels. Single barrel is considered a premium and implies that you’re drinking a more full-bodied and flavorful whiskey. We can’t say that this was not the case with these four single barrel bourbons. Big-time flavor from all four and in different ways: stewed fruit, oatmeal cookie, vanilla, toffee, even chocolate and tangerine. Depth is what single barrel promises and they delivered. Excellent value for money going on here, too. We like that.

Our mid-week tasting featured four familiar whiskies at a mellow 80 proof each: Heaven Hill, Early Times, Evan Williams (Green), and Virginia Gentleman. These are all very reasonably priced bottles and I didn’t know what to expect when stacked against one another. Clay said, “I think you’ll be surprised.” Smooth. Classic mash flavor profiles: a little citrus, wood, honey sweetness, even barley. Each quite different…and good. Clay called one “session whiskey”; when you plan to make a whole night of it. I like that.

Our mid-week tasting featured four familiar whiskies at a mellow 80 proof each: Heaven Hill, Early Times, Evan Williams (Green), and Virginia Gentleman. These are all very reasonably priced bottles and I didn’t know what to expect when stacked against one another. Clay said, “I think you’ll be surprised.” Smooth. Classic mash flavor profiles: a little citrus, wood, honey sweetness, even barley. Each quite different…and good. Clay called one “session whiskey”; when you plan to make a whole night of it. I like that.

We did a whiskey Wednesday tasting, this week, as well as our Tuesday night flight.  Two tastings in one week?  Hard work for us means an excellent book for you next year.
Three uncommon whiskeys hit the dance floor last night: Smooth Ambler Yearling (92 proof), Buck 8-year-old (90 proof), and John B. Stetson Straight (84 proof).  They had little in common across the board. One was musky and tasted of Cheerios, one was full of caramel and roses, while the other was somewhat thin and flowery.
Going into this project, we actually wondered sometimes if there would be quite enough b r e a d t h  in the variety of American whiskey. Wrong, knuckleheads!  We’re 40-odd whiskeys into this thing and the variety is staggering.

We did a whiskey Wednesday tasting, this week, as well as our Tuesday night flight.  Two tastings in one week?  Hard work for us means an excellent book for you next year.

Three uncommon whiskeys hit the dance floor last night: Smooth Ambler Yearling (92 proof), Buck 8-year-old (90 proof), and John B. Stetson Straight (84 proof).  They had little in common across the board. One was musky and tasted of Cheerios, one was full of caramel and roses, while the other was somewhat thin and flowery.

Going into this project, we actually wondered sometimes if there would be quite enough b r e a d t h  in the variety of American whiskey. Wrong, knuckleheads!  We’re 40-odd whiskeys into this thing and the variety is staggering.