Choose Your Own Adventure with Maker's Mark Private Select Program

Choose Your Own Adventure with Maker's Mark Private Select Program

In an interview with Jane Conner, the director of Maker’s Mark Private Select program, whsky.buzz learned additional information around the recently announced program. Maker’s Mark is getting ready to roll out a program where whisky lovers can, literally, choose their own adventure. In this case, there will be a total of 1,001 unique outcomes, and program members will have a preview of some of these different taste profiles.

Read More

The Whisky Topic interview with Drew Mayville, Buffalo Trace Master Blender

The Whisky Topic interview with Drew Mayville, Buffalo Trace Master Blender

Just around the time the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection comes out, Jamie and I speak with Sazerac Director and Master Blender, Drew Mayville. Drew tells us of his favourite Buffalo Trace Experimental lines, answers the question of “why BTAC?” and talks about his role as the Master Blender. We sipped from the Single Oak Project with their experiment of coarse grain versus light grain. We also took home some the infamous 26-year old [failed experiment]. 

Read More

When To Trick Your Whisky Drinking Audience

The Whisky Topic is on its sixteenth episode! I see podcasting as the equivalent to DVD commentary found on many blu-ray and DVD movies (I didn't invent this concept, I think Dan Benjamin may have). This week’s episode is an excellent example. I would rarely write about any of the tastings that I host—it would make for a boring read. I do think, though, it makes for an interesting listen.

This week, Jamie and I are joined by Glenford Jameson to discuss a blind tasting I hosted at my place a few weeks back. I’ve stressed it is important to maintain trust with your audience when doing blind tastings. It insults your audience if you pair two dynamically different whiskies in hopes of ‘tricking’ them. However, I made an exception. I asked a group of friends I regularly drink whisky with to participate in a ‘tricky’ blind tasting. They didn’t know what they were up for, but I broke all the rules. I served them:

  • slightly different versions of the same whisky
  • the same whisky
  • the same mash bill and age statement, but different label

The results were fascinating! Have a listen. Plus, we debuted are new theme song in big thanks to Alan Doyle!

Consumer Protection and The Whisky Industry

This week’s The Whisky Topic is incredibly insightful. Lawyer Glenford Jameson joins me to talk about consumer protection in the whisky industry. In the old days of the whisky world where tobacco and other substances were added to whisky, consumers needed protection from unwanted substances in their drink. The Bottled in Bond Act passed for that reason.

Today, we’re no longer worried about pesticides and poisons being introduced into our whisky. Consumer protection isn’t necessarily a health issue, but a quality and control issue. Companies are spending more money on branding and marketing than they are on their whisky, and that should tell us something. There are loopholes in the definition of whisky that distilleries are taking advantage of.

Despite this serious topic, it’s a fun podcast! Have a listen. 

The Importance of Aging

This week on The Whisky Topic, Jamie and I talk about scotch. Undoubtably, the discussion leads to no-age statement whisky and the current state of whisky from Scotland.

When I wrote about this topic originally, I noted that it’s not just about age-statements. It’s about the quality of the barrels used. Just yesterday, Oliver Klimek wrote about how Laphroaig 10 has changed over the years. Stylistically speaking, I’ve always been a far bigger fan of the Laphroaig Quarter Cask and the 18 over the 10. The 10 has always been a touch too mild, and while that can be good, it’s not really the type of drink I want from Laphroaig.

But this brings us back to the point that age-statements are such a small part of the picture when it comes to good whisky. First-fill, second-fill, third-fill, fourth-fill. These aspects of barrel maturation matter far more. That’s not to say all good scotch is made in first-filled barrels. It’s not. It does, however, mean that quality of the barrels matters far more than how long the whisky has been sitting around in those barrels.

The problem with no-age statement whisky isn't the lack of age statement (though that is a part of it). It's an issue of trust and credibility. For the distilleries that are selling NAS whisky, it's an issue they're going to need to address. 

Ultimately, it’s about palate and flavour. Check-out the podcast for a deeper explanation. Meanwhile, I’m going to see if I can find myself a Laphroaig 18. It’s an incredible drink! 

The Whisky Topic Podcast, Episode 4 - No, Not Blanton's!

This week on The Whisky Topic, Glenford Jameson (Food Lawyer) joins me as we explore the Kentucky whisky scene. It involves us tasting a lot of whisky we can't possibly buy because it has all been sold out. The trip to Buffalo Trace was mind-blowing. We tasted fantastic bourbons and ryes, and we talk about some of our favourites. Of most interest, we talk about the selection process Buffalo Trace uses for Blanton's single barrel bourbon and Elmer T. Lee. Somehow, we ended up talking about Maker's Mark cask strength bourbon, and where it sits against similar products.