Archive for June, 2009

Red Stag by Jim Beam

Posted in bourbon with tags , , , on June 29, 2009 by Mick

Red StagIf youve been reading along, and know anything about what i like, youd know i am pretty resistant to flavors corrupting my bourbon.

Maker’s/Ginger Ale….offensive.

Bulleit Coke…..fucking seriously?

Im from the school that is plain and simple….if you need a gimmick or need to add flavor to something to make it pallatable, then said something has issues. (Im talking to YOU lime infused beers.)

About three months ago i had starting hearing mumblings about a cherry infused Beam in the bourbon Twitterverse. (Believe it or not, ALOT of people that know their shit are on this) i got two completely different, immediate reactions.

Reaction 1, “Oh Jesus Christ, no, cough syrup, Southern Comfort, kill it with fire.”

The other reaction, the latter reaction was this: “Hmmm…this is a Beam. Fathers of Booker’s, Baker’s, Basil and Knob.” (Those 4 names together sound like a quartet of Disney characters…drunk, obviously). But these names also represent an amazing array of history, quality and taste.

Ok, Beam…ill bite.

I had to special order my bottle from CASK as apparently, im so fucking cutting edge with the bourbon, (ha) so i couldnt wait to try it out. The packaging is gorgeous…im kind of a sucker for good packaging, so this was an immediate win. I cracked it open, and IMMEDIATELY the smell of cherries and oak smacked me in the shnozz. It was beautiful…i found the smell to be anything BUT medicinal. Poured about one finger neat into a low-ball glass and took a sip, and ill tell ya…i was expecting Syrup City.

Not so much! It was clean….nothing coated my mouth, nor did i want a glass of milk. I will say this, it was a bit sweet. Now granted, im not used to sweet and whiskey. I dont do Jack and Cokes, i dont do Manhattans, though admittedly, i will reach for a Whiskey Sour on occasion. But this…the oakiness of bourbon killed alot of the sweet and left some of the tart of black cherry. I made another over rocks, and it was even better….the cold made the drink refreshing, and could hold up as a stand-alone.

Ill say this…it isnt something id reach for over my regular Jim Beam Black, but its definitely a WIN for the liquor cabinet. I can absolutely think of a million uses for this…a bourbon Manhattan for one. Im not really down with how sweet it is, but considering WHAT it is, its pretty respectable for a flavored bourbon. One thing to be careful of…because it is sweet, and smooth, its REAL easy to let this 80 proof booze get away from you.

My score – 84 out of 100

Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon

Posted in bourbon with tags , , on June 20, 2009 by Mick

BlantonsLiving in the Bay Area, we are completely spoiled by the selection of great restaurants and bars. The choices are sometimes so vast, that its completely overwhelming. We pick away here and there, and last night, we hit A Cote in Oakland.

As a pretty seasoned bourbon drinker, (i mean that figuratively and literally) my eyes usually focus on the bar to the slight translucency of BROWN. And then i saw it across the bar.

The faceted bottle…the horse on the top…..Blanton’s. Like a butterscotch jewel from afar….

I became excited….like that rush you get when someone tells you “Pssst…i forgot to tell you, i have a house in Tuscany….and you can have it.” I knew it was rare for a bar, let alone a restaurant to have it, so i decided that after dinner, id knock it down.

Once our delicious dinner of flank steak, salmon and gnocci ended, i got my Blanton’s. It was served neat WITH an extra glass of ice on the side. Holy fuck, right?

I am coming from two camps on this one. I usually drink bourbon on the rocks….but admittedly, i regret having poured this one over rocks. It was definitely better neat….the legs, so viscous and thick….like a port wine.

The taste is like DisneyWorld in your mouth. Chaotic, colorful and hot. The initally sip is surprisingly smooth for it being 93 proof, with immediate caramel notes and the oakiness of Pop’s tobacco and his old leather sofa. At the next level, you get vanillas and creaminess which soften the next-to- follow minty spice finish. Am i eating Indian food, or drinking bourbon here? Its amazing.

And then after that first sip warms your belly, the second one is just as enjoyable.

I dont think this is a bourbon i would have all the time….this is the one you keep hidden from people.

Like me….hide your Blanton’s from me because i WILL steal it from you.

My score – 99 out of 100

Nothing’s perfect. But this is as close as it gets.

Lagunitas A Lil’ Sumpin Sumpin Ale

Posted in Uncategorized on June 17, 2009 by Mick

sumpinTo me, Laginitas can really do no wrong…(well, Hairy Eyeball….ugh…another story…..)

Especially in the hops department. Lagunitas never fails to deliver on the hops, and is damn proud of it, often listing the beer bitterness measurement (IBU’s) right on the bottle.  As ive said in past reviews, despite it being my favorite species of beer, the IPA is sometimes just too much to handle with a certain meal your making, or just to cool off on a hot day.

Enter A Lil Sumpin Sumpin.

This beer has some very VERY strong peach smells off the cork, coupled with the traditional, citrusey grapefruit smells you get with some of the better quality IPAs. The smell doesnt stop there….toss in the body off of a heff, and you have the Sumpin Sumpin.

Weighing around 7 – 8% ABV, its no summer sissy, but it refreshes like any pilsner out there.

I bit the bullet and enjoyed this one along a miso glazed yellowfin tuna i broiled, coupled qwith some wasabi rice. Amazingly, it was delicate to accompany the miso, and strong enough to kick the fire in the wasabi. Im becoming a HUGE Lagunitas advocate, and i think all it took was this little seasonal ale to win me over.

Much respeck, Lags, much repseck.

My score – 95 out of 100…especially coupled with food.

*Thank you BeerAdvocate for the IMPOSSIBLE to find image.

Dr Swami and Bone Daddy’s Sweet and Sour Mix

Posted in Uncategorized on June 7, 2009 by Mick

drswamiIt isnt often here on WTF is Mick Drinking that ill review a non-alcoholic bevvie, but this one is definitely worth it.

 

First off, and some of my bourbon fans will agree with my bourbon ethics, its rare for me to mix bourbon with anything. My saliva and one standard sized  ice cube is all i need. But then i have to consider ONE big thing.

 

I live in Oakland, California. It can be HOT all up in this….as much of a straight bourbon fan as i am, it isnt the most refreshing beverage on a hot day. Now i love a good, crisp IPA like the next guy, but man….something about limes really punches home.

 

Enter “The Dude” from BevMo who introduced me to Sweet and Sour as a mix with whiskey. I had never HAD a whiskey sour, let alone thought to buy the mix for it. I spent the $5 on a huge bottle, and to not risk wasting any of my GOOD whiskey stock, grabbed the Trader Joe’s Rebel Yell ($9.99!!!!) to try this out. My bartending skills suck. So naturally, my ratio was this. 1:1. Half and half.

 

The lime is explosive, and the tartness TRULY masks the harsh end note of hot whiskeys. The sweet complements the clovey-ness and citrus notes in at least this bourbon. I mean, im certainly NOT a Jack n Coke guy….at all….maybe ten years ago when i didnt know any better….but fuck man….if i were gonna mix a drink, ONLY on a hot day, its this….the Oakland Margerita. Ha!

 

I recommend this for some of the whiskeys in your collection that are pretty basic in taste, and can handle the extremities of Sweet and Sour….i wouldnt do this with many good bourbons, except for maybe Red Stag, which ill review later on.

 

My score for the Sweet n Sour Mix – 89 out of 100.

Sazerac Rye Whiskey

Posted in rye with tags , on June 6, 2009 by Mick

sazeracIve had a few ryes that have been a bit persnickity in the taste. For me, historically, the best way to describe it, is if you were listening to a song, there is all treble, all bass, but no mid range at all….not necessarily empty, but hollow…

 

Thats how ive felt about some ryes. Alot of pop off the lips, then a burn, and maybe some flavor lingering after a swallow….not so much with Sazerac.

 

I know i sound like a big Buffalo Trace whore here (Sazerac is of the BT family) but lets face it….its a huge family with beautiful children. This rye is named for the famously traditional Sazerac cocktail from Nola, which ive actually had, and surprisingly, has as much depth.

 

Initially, i got a strong STRONG smell of clove off the nose, followed by a little vanilla and orange peel. The midrange on the lips that i felt was missing in most ryes?

 

There. With a faint “glazed ham” depth. Ham?

 

Hear me out….when i say ham, i refer to the heavy, autumnal dish thick in fruity glaze and clove….THIS is that.

 

It isnt often that i get a rye like this….and i hate to say it, if it werent for its definition of rye (understandibly made of 51% rye grains, duh?) i would think this was made of corn. Hello bourbon.

 

Its not the greatest whiskey, nor one i would reach for, but for a rye, i can deal.

 

My score 84 out of 100.

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon

Posted in bourbon on June 2, 2009 by Mick

elmerFirst, id like to welcome the @JimBeamFans for following me on Twitter, so now i definitely need to be on my game.

 

Second, given the fact that i have solid bourbon fans possibly perusing my blog, i most likely do not need to educate them that Elmer T. Lee is the distiller that made one of my favorite bourbons, Buffalo Trace, famous.

 

Right off the bat, lets just say “holy shit” to the price point for a single barrel bourbon at $30 for a 750ml bottle, from my favorite bourbon shop, CASK ….

 

This alone, is worth the try.

 

Especially when you look at how deep, orange and red the color is….its like a raging inferno of smooooothness inside. Pour a glass, let it begin…..

 

I tried it for the first time over one rock in a standard low baller. As some of my wine afficianado friends would say, “the legs” on this bourbon or like a supermodel in a pantyhose ad. 

 

CRAZY. The body and depth when you roll it around the glass does not make me think of a $30 bourbon…i am reminded of a Blanton’s or a Booker’s. And not only that, but you get an immediacy of a deep aroma….i smelled tobacco, leather and butterscotch….which all at the same time as a smell historically means STRONG intense flavor…..not so much.

 

And not even in a bad way.

 

This bourbon was like the Belgian-French language….slight complexity on the tongue, but after the second try, easy as it rolls off the lips.

 

Even at 90 proof, and 14 years in a barrel, its SMOOOTH.

 

Like Yacht Rock brand peanut butter.

 

Id highly HIGLY recommend this to annyone looking to have a good, economical standard bourbon in the bar, as well as offer this to my wine drinking friends who may not quite be ready for bourbon yet.

 

Do not encourage them to mix it with anything…..this is to be tasted sans others. Like your mom….

 

OHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

 

My score – 93 out of 100