The Kings of Craft Whiskey
Here’s an article from not too long ago that is still very relative today! Happy Thanksgiving WGUBers!!!
There are many things that need to be considered when dealing with family, friends & +1’s during the Holidays. Does Aunt Carl have a date this year, who will have the honor of carving Mr. Gobble-gobble bestowed upon them, do we put sexy cousin Amber next to crazy aunt Margaret at the table and (most importantly) what will be on the drink menu? If you’re still undecided about which liquor bottle would best adorn your liquor cabinet, we recommend perusing our list of Tasty Libations of the Week. However… if you, like your buddies at camp WGUB, are big fans of the many Contradistinct (word of the day usage… BOOM!) types of whiskey out there… then we have something fun for you.
We’ve been dabbling (hard) in the world of American craft whiskey over the past few months. For those of you who aren’t necessarily familiar with the term, American craft whiskey distillers are redefining how they make whiskey by creating unique, small batch, variations of the nation’s most popular spirit… and reaching a new generation of drinkers. In essence, whiskey is getting the same micro-distillery treatment that beer got in the 90’s when little breweries started popping up all over the country.
Now that everyone is up to speed… we’ve been “testing” (which is why all of the pics are of empty bottles) our way through a number of very good whiskey’s and have come up with our favorite 3. 3 brands we now like to refer to as the “Kings of Craft Whiskey“!!!
First up… Bowen’s Whiskey ($39.99). Brewed and Bottled in the Country Music Capital of the West Coast, Bakersfield Ca… Bowen’s won over our hearts with its very unique style of Buttery, Caramel-infused Oak flavors and a one-of-a-kind campfire aroma. It’s strong enough to knock any raging beast on its arse, but smooth enough to make the most sensitive pallet take notice.
Bowen’s is no stranger to the halls of White Glossy Central. In fact we first reviewed them back in August of 2012 and have been fans ever since. Since then we’ve tried many (many, many, many, many) other whiskeys and continue to find Bowen’s sitting front and center on the bar at our happy place. It’s definitely more in the realm of Scotch Whiskeys (opposed to Bourbon or Rye), and something we always have on hand. Hats off to the peeps at Bowen’s Whiskey.
Next in line… Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey ($24). Made in the heart of Whiskey country… Kentucky, Buffalo Trace is not just a damn fine whiskey, it’s also the oldest whiskey distillery in America. (The distillery was even allowed to remain operational, to make whiskey for “medicinal purposes”) Okay, okay… is this considered a “craft whiskey”? I don’t really think so. But come on, it’s just so good and I love to talk about it. So let’s just keep moving along shall we?
If you’re looking for that one shining example of what Bourbon Whiskey should taste like… I’d say that BT has GOT to be the ultimate benchmark. It’s almost as if they perfected the recipe and all other Bourbons have been lining up to try and replicate the process. Pop the cork, pour a glass and take a big whiff… right away you’ll notice molasses, melted brown sugar and a tad of toasted oak. It’s as fragrant as it is good! Now take a slow sip. You’ll be scared at first because whiskey burns… and this does for just a split moment, then warmth… flavor… joy. Spicy vanilla Nirvana. I have to say that this whiskey, especially for the price, is another must-have for your liquor collection.
Number 3 on our list of amazing whiskey… Few Bourbon Whiskey ($50). So yes, you may be thinking to yourself right now “Jeez White Glossy, after the way you wrote about Buffalo Trace how can you bring another Bourbon Whiskey to the table?”. Well, let me tell you… they may have the same name, but definitely belong in different categories all together. Few may be a simple 3-grain Bourbon recipe but there is truly nothing simple about it. A molasses-esque sweetness gives in to interesting aromas like toffee, caramel and the very lightest hint of orange… but lacking in the traditional oak sent. It “feels” a little more sophisticated than your traditional Bourbon Whiskey, and the lack of smoked wood may be the secret sauce.
I think the masterful edge that Few Whiskey has over others in its likeness is the refined sweetness mixed with a somewhat dry (not in a bad way) and interestingly spicy flavor. It’s almost as if this magic brew constantly evolves in your mouth while you’re drinking. It’s like it creates a neural tap to your brain and changes the taste to exactly what you needed at any given moment to achieve perfect mouth-happieness. Is it magic? Is it a trick? Or is it just the most perfectly engineered “simple” whiskey ever? Why don’t you try it and tell us!
So… that pretty much wraps it up. What are your thoughts on the state of whiskey in America? I did a little research and found that distilleries in our county have gone from 50 in 2005 to over 250 today. Things are changing friends, and it’s a good idea to find your favorites and support them now… while you can!!!
Sidenote: Each of these whiskey was tested and sampled either straight (with whiskey stones) or with a splash of carbonated water. What you add to your glass may change things a little bit, but we can almost guarantee that these drinks will still shine!!!