Bourbon and blended whiskeys have always been savored, but they’re finding a new popularity as mixed drinks and cocktails become more about the subtle flavors of casks, malts, and grains. The recently stodgy Old Fashioned and traditional Manhattan have become honored libations among younger drinkers.
If you’re an old whiskey aficionado or a seasoned bourbon drinker, you may have found your favorite labels and are rarely moved to try new single malts, blends, and bourbons. If you’re new to the complexities and variety in distilled spirits, read on to learn more about labels you should try.
Bourbon Has Everyone Longing for Their Old Kentucky Home
The thing about bourbon is the corn. When you buy a bottle of authentic bourbon, it must be made from a minimum of 51 percent corn. The proportions of rye, malted barley, and wheat are up to the individual maker. The corn gives bourbon its sweetness, while charred barrels add a smokey or spicy essence.
If you want a sipping liquor, try Barrell Bourbon 9 Year Single Barrel Bourbon. This is a mysterious choice, since the straight bourbon is released only periodically from an undisclosed location somewhere in Tennessee. The small, numbered batches are sourced and released at barrel proof to make each batch unique.
Four Roses has also released special edition small batches including the Al Young 50th Anniversary Bourbon. Al Young bourbon is gaining a lot of attention for Four Roses, since the bourbon is named for the distillery manager who changed the fortunes of the Four Roses Company.
Canadian Whiskey Is Catching Back Up to U.S. and U.K. Brands
In 2010, Canadian whiskey outsold U.S. distilled whiskey. Clearly, Americans on the states’ side have always appreciated whiskey bottled on the provinces’ side. Interest in Canadian whiskey waxes and wanes, but it’s on the upswing right now. Even legendary bottler Sazerac is investing in Montreal-based stills.
Canadians have a different process for blending whiskey than distillers in Ireland or Kentucky. In Canada, each grain is distilled separately, then blended to make the final product. In the U.S., whiskeys are created by mashing all of the grains together and distilling them as a blend from the beginning.
The classic Canadian Crown Royal is always a refreshing addition to mixed drinks. For a unique sipping beverage, try the Sortilege Canadian Whiskey and Maple Liqueur made with 100 percent pure maple syrup. This is a good whiskey for desserts and coffee, too.
Blended Whiskeys Are Stretching the Limits
The fact of the matter is that all whiskey is mixed with other whiskey batches to form a blend. Unless you distill the spirit yourself and pull it from the barrel, you can be assured that you’re drinking a proprietary blend of compatible whiskeys no matter what the label says.
Enjoy sampling blended whiskeys from a variety of makers to develop your palate. The varieties of grains and distilling methods make for whiskeys that taste fruity, tropical, nutty and even toffee-like. The skill of the master blenders is in their final products, where several barrels have been chosen to perfectly compliment each other, then aged together to let the flavors simmer like a good sauce.
Blending is the distilleries’ way of creating their own recipes with the liquor they’ve been aging. The people who choose blends for maker Johnny Walker have over eight million casks of Scotch from which to create blends. The possibilities are endless.
The special-edition Johnny Walker & Sons Odyssey blend is crafted from only three distilleries. It comes in a special self-righting frame for use in the signature Odyssey yacht or in outer space.
Johnny Walker Blue Label is a blended scotch that harkens back to the nineteenth century and its affection for intense scotch flavors. Blue Label Johnny Walker is created from Scotland’s rarest whiskeys and is considered one of the finest blends of old-aged malt and grain whiskies. A gift of a bottle of Blue Label is considered a deep compliment.
Holiday Wine Cellar is your source for the best bourbon, whiskey, and whiskey blends. We’ve got over 5,000 liquor selections, plus over 2,000 beer and 4,000 wine selections. Call or stop by our landmark store in Escondido, California today.0