Monthly Archives: December 2011

Buffalo Trace vs. Buffalo Trace Single Barrel – Side by Side Review – BTSB 79-100

The format of this review may be a bit different since I’m doing a side by side comparison, but I figured I would at least give the regular information for the new and unreviewed whiskey, being the single barrel Buffalo Trace.  As far as I can tell this is a special selection for the liquor store I frequent in New Jersey.  ( )

Price – 750 ml – $26.99 – ( )

Method – 1 Ice cube in Glencairn glass

Rating – 79-100

Review –

So this would be my first side by side comparison of what promises to be two very similar whiskeys.  The first, Buffalo Trace, I have already reviewed and you can click to read that review which was a favorable one.  The new one is a Single Barrel version of the same whiskey, aptly names Buffalo Trace Single Barrel.  Like I said above as far as I can tell this is a very limited occasion and was hand selected by the purchasing team at Shoppers Vineyard.  This is their explanation:

“I made my first trip down to Kentucky about 8 years ago. Back then, bourbon wasn’t as big as it is now, but I had a feeling it was ready to explode… and I was right. Items that were readily available back then are impossible to get now. The prices have also SKYROCKTED, which is not a good thing but that’s what happens when demand FAR exceeds supply.  Continue reading

Dramin’ Music


Thought I’d throw a few of the songs I like to play when I’m “in my cups”  great additions to a good glass and a calm evening.

Angel’s Envy – Expression 10/10 – 97-100

Price – 750 ml – $39.99 – (out of state  purchase – not available in NJ)

Method – Teaspoon of water in 50ml

Rating – 97-100

Review –

First thing’s first.  This has got to be one of the best bottle designs I have seen thus far.  The tall narrow bottle with the Wings coming through the whiskey from the back of the bottle is perfect.  But enough of that, onto the bourbon.

Only one word ran through my head as I took my first few sips of Angel’s Envy, smooth.  The lack of burn, both in the mouthfeel and finish is bewildering.  I immediately double checked the bottle to make sure I read the fact that it is a 86 proof whiskey correctly.  The taste of this whiskey fills your whole mouth immediately.

You can tell immediately that this is a product of Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson, the man behind the 10 foot tall flavors of Woodford Reserve and Old Forester.  The bourbon is aged for 4-6 years in charred American Oak barrels, and then finished for 3-6 months in Port wine casks.  The most interesting thing to me is that the Louisville Distilling Company, the company that produces Angel’s Envy, is not an old distillery.  In fact this is their first bourbon.  Lincoln and his son Wes started the new company with the express intention of creating “a career culmination in two fingers of the finest bourbon you’ve ever tasted.”  I think he has done just that.  This is only the first expression of Angel’s Envy, called 10/10

The sweet maple and fruity flavors from the Port finishing casks explodes on your palate with stunning results.  The taste is sweet, but not cloying.  The drinking experience is top notch, and not one I expect to top any time soon from a bourbon.  This is a definite suggestion for fans of Woodford Reserve, and bourbon in general.  The finish is long and has amazing depth, going through at least 4 flavor transitions as the finish goes along.

As it stands, this is my favorite bourbon, taking the place of Maker’s 46 in a first round knockout.  I will re-buy this whiskey a long as they make it.

Official Website:

Official Description:  “Mr. Henderson describes his masterwork as “a warm spirit, lacking any hint of edginess, with ephemeral hints of port wine and a rich amber hue.” He explains, “My goal with Angel’s Envy is to produce a bourbon of exceptional character. Even with economic fluctuations, consumers want the opportunity to treat themselves to special indulgences, and I have created an affordable luxury that can be savored.” Lincoln Henderson sought to create the best-tasting bourbon on the planet. In our humble opinion, he succeeded.”

“Irish Whiskey” VS “Scotch Whisky”

There are four distinct styles of whiskey or whisky in the world (the “e” is used in the United States and Ireland, whereas Canadian and Scotch take their whisky without the “e”) each with its own particular characteristics. While all are produced in a broadly similar way, there are substantial differences between different countries’ products including the choice of grains, number of distillations, type of stills used, maturation period and type of oak barrels used. Each country’s style has its own special characteristics to discover and savour.

Irish and Scotch are often compared to each other just as American and Canadian have broadly similar characteristics.

No Smoking

Unlike Scotch, the malted barley in Irish whiskey is dried in enclosed kilns, not over peat fires, and therefore lacks the ‘peaty smokiness’ of Scotch whiskies. This maintains the natural flavour of the barley as one of the defining characteristics of Irish whiskey, which are typically fragrant, with a roundness of body.


A second important differentiating factor is the Irish use of unmalted barley in the pot still as well as malted barley. (The Scots use only malted barley at this stage.) The main flavour of Irish whiskey comes from barley, and the differences between the brands lie in the proportions of raw and malted barley. Three styles of whiskey – pot still, grain and malt whiskey – make up blended Irish whiskey. The flavourful pot still whiskey is blended with both lighter grain whiskey and more flavoursome malt whiskey to produce the final, well-balanced blend.

Triple Distilling

Tullamore Dew is distilled three times to greater purity and smoothness
Three times for purity, once more than Scotch. Tullamore Dew, like most Irish whiskies, is distilled three times to give greater purity and smoothness. Each extra passing of the spirit through the still improves its quality, purity and strength – with the result that Irish whiskey leaves the still with higher alcohol content than Scotch.

‘Vatting’ not ‘Blending’

The character of Irish whiskey is more closely connected to the distilling process than to the subsequent blending. The skill, they say, lies in creating the right distillates in the first place. As a result, the Irish call this latter technique ‘vatting’ rather than ‘blending’. By contrast, blended Scotch whisky is achieved by mixing many different mature malt and grain whiskies together, balancing the final flavour by adjusting the relative proportions of each.


Whiskey History (Irish and Scotch)

Whiskey Production

Irish Whiskey, the most romantic of spirits with its amber, jewel-like tone and storied past, is made from ingredients so ordinary as to cause wonder that they can be transformed into such a glorious.  The Irish were the original distillers of whiskey: earliest records date back to the 6th Century. Later, the skill was taken across the Irish Sea to Scotland – hence the broad similarities between the two nations’ products. The monks, who were the healers of their day, used spirit as a base for medicines, rubs and liniments. Why wouldn’t they? Here was a substance as clear as water; that burned like fire and literally preserved flesh. It was nothing less than the legendary ‘Uisce Beatha‘ or Water of Life in English, eventually anglicised to give us Whiskey.beverage. But when grain, yeast and water are brought through the wonders of distillation and oak aging, a truly delightful spirit results. The devil is in the detail and modern whiskey making in Ireland is equal parts science and art.

16th century records show uisce beatha being produced for consumption, but the art was still the preserve of the religious orders. It was not until the disillusion of the monasteries in the Tudor period that whiskey ceased to be the drink of the elite. In fact Queen Elizabeth I was known to be fond of the beverage – and she wasn’t alone. No less a person than Peter the Great, Czar of Russia, mentioned that “of all the wines, the Irish spirit is the best”. Continue reading