6 Fabulous Whiskies To Make The Holidays Better

Stalla Dhu Cask Strength Linkwood 13-Year-Old Reserve – 57.3% 70cl


Toffee apples on the nose and toasted caramel notes emerge beautifully. The palate is complex and rich with notes of nougat and woody tobacco hints. Definitely one of our favourite’s!

Kavalan Classic Single Malt Whisky – 40% 50cl


The Taiwanese distillery, despite only being in business since 2005, has stunned the industry with their young but full-flavored whisky, focusing on their distinctively enjoyable tropical fruit notes.

Nikka Miyagikyo No Age Statement – 70cl 43%


Masataka Taketsuru, known as the; Father of Japanese Whiskey; created Nikka in 1934. The Miyagikyo distillery, located close to Sendai in northern Japan, produces this rich, fruity, and smooth Single Malt which presents flavours of honey, citrus peel, and freshly cut grass.

The Lakes Whiskymakers Reserve No.5 – 52% 70cl


The fifth edition in The Lakes Whiskymaker’s Reserve series is a great example of an outstanding English single malt! This bottling presents a distinctively sherried style, bottled at 52% ABV and made using a combination of Pedro Ximénez sherry, Oloroso sherry, and red wine casks.

Legent Bourbon – 47% 70cl

Legent bourbon is truly unique while remaining true to the core of bourbon’s principles, bringing together over 225 years of bourbon-making heritage and nearly 100 years of Japanese whisky artistry. Partially finished in red wine and sherry casks, it has a complex combination of spice and fruity undertones.

Lindores Cask of Lindores STR Wine Barique – 49.4% 70cl


This is the second release in the Casks of Lindores series from Lindores Abbey distillery, and has been matured exclusively in STR (shaved, toasted; re-charred) red wine barriques and bottled at 49.4% vol. A warming, sweet dram with complex spice.

 

American Whiskey Cocktails

With the weather getting better, the thought of sitting outside with a nice cocktail just sounds glorious. So I had chat with everyone around here and decided to put together a list of some of our favourite American whiskey cocktails!

Kentucky Buck – w/ Maker’s Mark

Credit Maker’s Mark

A harvest of sweetness and spice with fresh strawberry, citrus, bourbon and ginger beer. Just right for right now, this buck gets its perfect kick from deliciously bold Maker’s Mark.

Ingredients

  • 2 parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon
  • 1/2 part fresh lemon juice
  • 2–3 whole strawberries, hulled
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Ginger beer
  • Fresh strawberry for garnish

FORBIDDEN SOUR – w/ Elijah Craig

Credit Elijah Craig

Take your whiskey sour to new heights with this Bourbon & Pomegranate cocktail.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 oz. Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Pomegranate Flavored Liqueur
  • .5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

MINT JULEP – w/ Knob Creek

credit Knob Creek

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 PARTS Knob Creek
  • 2 BUNCHES mint
  • 1 PART simple syrup
  • 1 SPLASH soda

DIRECTIONS

  • In a julep cup, mix the mint sprigs with simple syrup and a splash of soda.
  • Add fine crushed ice and pour in the bourbon.
  • Lift out two mint leaves for garnish.
  • Add powdered sugar over mint to add an optional frosted appearance.

Handsome Devil – w/ Smooth Ambler

Credit Smooth Ambler

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Old Scout American Whiskey
  • .75 oz Lillet Blanc
  • .75 oz Simple syrup (1 to 1)
  • .50 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Dashes of Peach Bitters
  • 3 Mint Leaves

Preparation

Combine all of the ingredients in an ice filled Boston Shaker. Shake thoroughly then double strain into a chilled rocks glass that is filled with ice. Garnish with a twist of Orange.

Sugar Shack – w/ WhistlePig

Ingredients

  • 2 oz WhistlePig Rye Whiskey Aged 10 Years
  • ¼ oz Maple Syrup
  • ¾ oz fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ oz Blackberry Simple Syrup
  • ¼ oz Pimento Dram or Allspice Dram
  • 2 dashes Maple Bitters
  • Star Anise for garnish

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a shaker.
  • Add ice to the shaker.
  • Shake.
  • Fill your favorite tiki mug with pearl ice.
  • Strain into mug.
  • Garnish with star anise and your favorite tropical adornments.
  • Enjoy!

Exciting Addition to Our FEW Range

We are soon receiving some of this fantastic rye from FEW Spirits!

The Immortal Rye takes rye whiskey to a new and enticing level. This release is taking their already fantastic grain-to-glass, award winning straight rye whiskey, then bringing it to proof with cold extracted 8 Immortals Oolong Tea. This brings out special layers of flavours and complexity that will elevate any cocktail!

8 Immortals tea is a favourite tea amongst a lot of Dancong oolong lovers. It is easily one of the finest teas in it’s category. It is soothingly smooth and very calming. The name coming from 8 legendary heroes in Chinese mythology. Shouldn’t be surprising that they chose a tea of this caliber to create this whiskey, considering their own high quality! Even the label brings a nice homage to Chinese artwork showcased in the 1893 World’s Fair.

THE SPICE OF THE LEGENDARY FEW STRAIGHT RYE FOLDS INTO THE FABLED 8 IMMORTALS TEA TO BRING AN OVERLAY OF PEACH, HONEY AND EXOTIC DRAGON FRUIT THAT IS OTHER-WORLDLY.

All of us here a big fans of FEW Spirits and their dedication to creating amazing spirits. So it’s needless to say that we are excited to crack one of these open and try a few different cocktails.

Now available HERE on Whisky Merchant!

Happy and responsible drinking,

Andrew

Willett Family Bourbons

I’m always happy when bourbon shipments come in! Wether they are new releases, new to us, or just restocks! This past week we received our shipment of bourbons from Willett Distillery in, you guessed it, Kentucky. I have been a fan of Willett bottlings for a while, although I have not tried all of them yet, I have enjoyed the ones I have.

Willet Distillery remains independently family owned and operated, while it’s roots date back to shortly after the American civil war. It is currently in it’s fifth generation of family distillers and continuing to deliver exceptional spirits with that southern hospitality feel.

Two of my favourite bourbons that always have a place on my shelf are from the Willett Family brands. Those would be Rowan’s Creek and Noah’s Mill! In addition to those two, also returning to our shelves are Willett’s Family Resrve 4, Willett’s Pot Still, and Pure Kentucky XO.

Willett Family Estate 4 Year Old: Incredibly well balanced that you’ll almost forget it’s cask strength! A wonderfully robust rye that gives you flavours of baked cherry pie, caramelised vanilla, and baking spices.

Willett Pot Still Reserve: Eye catching decanter in the shape of a pot still holds an even more solid bourbon! An interwoven mix of zesty citrus and honey carries this bourbon over the taste buds. Ending with that tasty rye spiciness.

Noah’s Mill: A wonderfully lush small batch bourbon. Incredibly smooth for a full proof bourbon. Flavours of toasted cinnamon pecans, coconut dates, mesh well with the spices and charred oak notes.

Rowan’s Creek:One of the best selling bourbons from the distillery, it is named after the creek that runs through the property. Incredibly velvety on the tongue, with a fantastic caramel sweetness you’d expect from a great small batch bourbon. Lingering clove spiciness is just enough to compliment the sweetness.

Pure Kentucky: Named as a tribute to it’s home state, because when you think of Kentucky, you think of bourbon! For those that like those oak and spice flavours at the forefront, with just the right amount maple sweetness.

If you’re feeling like a bourbon purchase is in your future, give one of the Willett family bottlings a go!

Sunday Tipple with Maker’s Mark

With our new shipment of Maker’s Mark coming in, I thought why not enjoy some this weekend. Well, I unsurprisingly decided to go with the Maker’s Cask Strength! So happy I did too! The best you’re gonna get without drinking straight from the barrel!

Maker’s Mark was one of the first to develop a premium image around their bourbon, and has held themselves to high standards to this day! Maker’s main focus is producing the highest quality bourbon they can, and they have a steadfast reputation for their craft. They do that by having such a small selection of whiskies in their repertoire. The other thing that sets them apart is the use of red wheat instead of rye in the mash bill. Rye is easily the most commonly used second grain in the mash, Maker’s is one of the few companies that wanted to go a different route. Instead of the spicy bite of the rye, wheat brings on a sweeter and more smooth sip.

It was never in the cards in the beginning to create a Cask Strength version of Maker’s. After years of inquiries and one evening trying it out of the barrel, they thought, why not! The winners of that decision, us bourbon drinkers! We get another tasty treat to have on our shelves.

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is not for the drinker looking for a mild sipping bourbon, although I would encourage all to try it! This bottling is a bold, revved up offering of Maker’s. Everything you have already loved from the standard bottle, but just turned up a few notches! The vanilla and caramel flavours are much more pronounced. Robust orchard fruit notes with an undercurrent of cinnamon providing that wonderful spice bite. The finish is much longer than that of the standard release and you don’t get the roughness you’d expect from a cask strength.

This is well worth a try if you are looking for a bourbon with a bit more power! And when the world opens back up, a visit to their distillery in Kentucky should be on your list, go hand dip your own bottle!

New Westland Bottlings to Look Forward to.

If you have not yet explored any of Westland Distillery’s range of bottlings, you should really do so! If you are interested, I would start with the Sherry Wood release! Wonderful maple syrup flavours and oaky sweetness from the four different casks used in the creation of it!

Westland Distillery, based in Seattle, focuses all their effort on producing high quality American single malt whiskies. They highlight the use of local components in the crafting of their whiskey, like Pacific Northwest oak and peat from a local bog. They are proud of their local contributions to the whiskey world, but also want to honour the more traditional single malt world. I’d say they are doing a very good job at both!

We believe that the world of whiskey is not flat and that it is time to step beyond what we have inherited. We find ourselves at the edge of a new frontier, but the edge is not the end of what we know, it is just the beginning of what we have yet to explore.

The new Outpost Range is going to feature three different bottlings that will explore different trails to the possibilities that American Single malts can achieve. As they put it, the frontier of whiskey is vast! The new collection will be made up of Garryana (previously released on it’s own), Colere, and Solum. Garryana, named after the Pacific Northwest’s native oak, will represent a new oak species in the world of whiskey. Colere is crafted to highlight the barley impact on flavour, exploring new and forgotten varietals of Pacific Northwest barley. Solum is for all those peat heads out there, they will charting their own path through the use of local peat and exploring what new flavours can be unearthed.

The whole range looks exciting to me, and exploring the unknown in whiskey is something that could bring about some truly tasty treats! As they come closer to availability, we will definitely keep you up to date. The Garryana Edition 5 will be the first to be released, followed by Colere, then Solum. If you are interested in checking out the 2019 release of Garryana, before it was added into the outpost lineup, you can check that out here.

A little Van Winkle for Saturday

Not quite the Pappy, but still very enjoyable! Makes for a Saturday evening wind down that much more pleasant. Been a long week, so looking through our open bottles is always something I don’t take for granted. One of the great things working in this industry, is having something interesting to try.

The Van Winkle name is usually the name that starts to make bourbon lovers salivate hand over their credit cards. Usually some of the most sought after whiskies in the world of bourbon.  While it may be touted as some of “the best” out there, we all know that the best is down to the individual. The history that the name carries, along with the alusiveness of the line-up, creates a sense of wonder around them. Don’t get me wrong though, all the ones I have had have been absolutely delicious, but there are plenty more attainable bottles out there if these aren’t within reach.

Like I said before, it’s not quite pappy, but pretty close. Same family and same release schedule. Old Rip Van Winkle 10 is bottled close to barrel proof with a touch of their Kentucky Limestone well water added to the mix. This is a very enjoyable offering from the Buffalo Trace Distillery and a great accompaniment for a summer BBQ. Not overly complex, just really easy to sip. Wonderful waves of fruit, lingerings of charred oak, candied peaches, and bit of that biting spice riding the back end!

At the time of writing this, we may have a coule left, so head over to the site to check! Or pop us an email and we’ll be sure to let yo know.

Enjoy your weekend and pour yourself a dram of something nice!

A Sunday Tipple With Another Smooth Ambler

Decided I wanted to break into anther bottle of Smooth Ambler, but this time their Contradiction release. I enjoyed their Old Scout bottling, so thought this Sunday evening was a perfect time to a crack open another new bourbon to me! The perks of working in the industry, you always have access to interesting bottles.

Whereas the Old Scout bourbon was fully sourced whiskey from elsewhere, Contradiction is a marriage of sourced whiskey and their very own distilled spirit. The portion that is their own is a sweet wheated bourbon distilled right there in West Virginia. The two are blended together and then recasked into the original barrels for the remaining months. It’s quite unique to four different grains in the final product, and is awesome that Smooth Ambler steps outside the box to take chances. I always enjoy when companies step outside of the norm in spirit making. Tradition is great, but pushing the boundaries into new territory makes for a more interesting product.

I am really enjoying the punch of sweetness coming from the wheat in their homegrown bourbon. Those sweet flavours mix nicely with the more matured rye spice from the sourced bourbon. When playing with these four different grains things could definitely go sideways and not play well together, that doesn’t happen here! They thankfully work in harmony. Tasty notes of dark chocolate covered cherries, cinnamon, honey, and light oak.

Grab a bottle here if you have not already tried some Contradiction!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Currently Sipping WhistlePig 10

I’ve been on a WhistlePig kick this week. So I thought I’d share this Friday’s tipple. Today we are enjoying the wonderful WhistlePig 10 year. As a big fan of the Farmstock bottlings, it’s been a while since I have sat down to enjoy this 10.

I have said before that we are very fond of the products that the Vermont distillery crafts. A wonderfully unique farm distillery that are doing a great job at elevating Rye whiskey to more fun and interesting levels. They started off their whiskey making adventures by importing all their rye from Canada, and in 2015 they started the adventures of distilling their own liquid.

The 10 year old is using 100% of the Canadian rye, that WhistlePig said they “rescued the stock from misuse as a blending whiskey.” After bringing in the liquid into Vermont it is aged in new American oak and then hand bottled. Using 100% rye is pretty rare these days, so it makes it that much more special. Maybe in 2025/2026 we’ll get 100% WhistlePig distilled spirit, until then I am happy to keep enjoying this.

This is a tasty full-flavoured rye whiskey. Fragrant whiffs of peppermint, charred oak, and fresh grown herbs. Big mouthful of butterscotch, cinnamon, sweet vanilla, and a tongue coating of the rye spiciness.

Try a bottle here if you are in the market for a rye! It’s no wonder it’s as highly awarded as it is.

Currently Sipping Smooth Ambler Old Scout

A Friday evening is always a good time for an unfamiliar bourbon. This evening is the Smooth Ambler Old Scout. A Tasty bourbon from the West Virginia Distillery.

Even though Smooth Ambler create a variety of spirits from scratch at the distillery, the Old Scout line is not that. The Old Scout bottlings are sourced whiskey, hence the name, the source whiskey was carefully scouted out. Some purists might moan about it not all being made in house, but they can keep that moaning to themselves! Smooth Ambler is one of those distilleries that does it right, and finds some terrific liquid. The Appalachian community spirit that the distillery is built around is just another ingredient that adds to a wonderful product. The community around them are really at the heart of this company, so producing a liquid that can make their small community shine world wide, is fantastic. I am a fan of a lot of liquids that come from distilleries all over the world, but I will always gravitate more frequently to distilleries like Smooth Ambler where when you hear them talk about their spirits, you know they truly care about what they put out!

Now they have a few different versions of Old Scout, but in front of me I have the 99 proof Straight Bourbon. The current mash bill of this one is 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley. Aged around 5 years, with a high rye content, you are getting a very bold bourbon. They have done an exceptional job at sourcing this liquid. Oodles of butterscotch sweets, very warming with that rye spiciness, cloves, along with some wonderful earthy herbs.

Grab a bottle here if you are unfamiliar with Smooth Ambler as I was.