Independent’s Day with The Spirit Specialist

Tasting and Review – ‘Independent’s Day’ with The Spirit Specialist

Don’t worry you’re reading that right, and we’ve not spelt it wrong! Back in July we joined The Spirit Specialist for a celebration of independent American whiskies. Although we’re trying to sample more American whiskey, we’re definitely not experts, so it’s always nice to join others for these intimate tastings and hear their thoughts too.

Independent’s Day

Ben’s tastings usually follow a theme which is great – an opportunity to learn about a sub-set of the spirit market. In this instance, American whiskies. As the name might suggest, it was hosted close to American Independence Day, so we got to hear all about Ben’s travels and love affair with the States. Some familiar faces (and some new ones!) led to a night of wonderful stories, and fabulous tasting notes.

What did we taste …

Belmont Farm, Virginia Whiskey – 43% ABV

Nose: honey, vanilla, saline, fruit husks
Palate: apples, pears, citrus, vanilla, honey nuts
Finish: oaky spice, lots of fruit, baking spices

An interesting mix of 51/24.5/24.5 corn/wheat/barley, we have tasted this whisky before as part of the ‘Belmont and Brownies’ evening. We’re big fans, and really enjoy the apple and honey notes that run throughout! It is fresh, fruity, and VERY drinkable. Definitely one to add to your shelf if you can get your hands on a bottle.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sagamore Spirit, Signature Rye – 41.5% ABV

Nose: creamy, vanilla, fudge, grassy, brine, wheat, orange peel
Palate: bake-well tart, fudge, oak spice, buttered rye toast with marmalade
Finish: ginger, more bakewell tart, old fashioned cocktail, peppermint

Another whisky that we have previously sampled! We’ve not tasted many rye whiskies, but this is definitely part of the market we want to explore more. The creamy, fudge, orange-y vibes of this whisky are fabulous. A great copper colour – it gives off vibes of being wonderful in a cocktail.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Catoctin Creek, Distillers Edition – 46% ABV

Nose: creamy, rye, muddy, wet grass, savoury vanilla, toasted nuts
Palate: sourdough, dipped in chilli oil, spearmint, saline
Finish: spicey, minted BBQ lamby

WOW. What can we say. There is A LOT going on here – and some truly different flavours to find in a whisky. We happen to have a bottle of Catoctin Creek sitting unopened on our self, so suspect we will be cracking it open to re-taste soon.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

MB Rowland, Straight Wheat Whiskey – 54.1% ABV

Nose: creamy porridge, black pepper on banana toast, grassy
Palate: sweet candied ginger, quite thick
Finish: ginger spice and rye

This is a grain to glass distillery. A mash of 69% red winter wheat, 26% corn and 5 % barley certainly give this whiskey some edge. A creamy and spicy whiskey yet one that you should definitely have. We haven’t come across many wheat whiskies however this one certainly has peaked our interest.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

New Riff, Kentucky Straight Bourbon – 50% ABV

Nose: fresh cinnamon swirls, buttercream icing, buttery popcorn, orange oil, vanilla, freshly cut grass
Palate: orange chocolate, hint of spice, rye toast
Finish: oaky spice, buttery caramel

You guessed it – we’re tried this one before too! It was actually one of the first bourbons that we tried as part of our Pour and Sip subscription. It was great to re-visit, and was a firm reminder of why this gets such high ratings from us.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

 Wilderness Trail, 6 y/o Straight Bourbon – 50% ABV

Nose: salted caramel chocolate, liquorice, Bennett’s cough mixture
Palate: caramel, mint, grassy, peppery
Finish: creme caramel, woody savouriness

Another intriguing dram, 64% corn and 24% rye was another example of how varied the American production is. This dram is certainly one of a more acquired palate, having said this it was enjoyable. Lots of sweet pudding notes balanced with hints of mint and woodiness.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Tastings with The Spirit Specialist …

It’s no secret that we really enjoy Ben’s tastings (familial ties aside!). They’re always intimate, interactive, and light-hearted. A great way to taste LOTS of different whiskies. It was great to re-visit some that we have tried before, and also be introduced to some new flavours. As always, do reach out to Ben – he’s always happy to suggest something for your palate!

We’ve now attended a number of tastings with Ben, you can find links to them below.

New Kids on the Loch with The Spirit Specialist

We were very lucky to try a number of early expressions from new distilleries with The Spirit Specialist – these are our tasting notes.

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