The Whiskey Neat Newsletter: September 10th, 2021

Hello Reader,

A little lighter on the newsletter this week as we wrap up summer and start to head into fall. However, whiskey hunting season is just around the corner. I'm confident we'll have a lot coming up in future newsletters.

With that, let's get to the news and tasting of the week!

80-Year-Old Glenlivet Whisky Goes to Auction

This will be the oldest single malt scotch whisky ever bottled, originally put into the barrel in 1940. Sure the first decanter of the barrel will run you an estimated $80-140k, but still.

I honestly can't even grasp 1940 as a barreling date. Imagine all that's happened in the world since this was originally laid down.

An estimated 250 decanters will be released. Amazing.

Diageo launches new Johnnie Walker visitor experience in Edinburgh

Johnnie Walker has launched an eight-floor visitor experience in the heart of Edinburgh today. This undertaking represented a 4 year, $185 million investment by the company in the tourism aspect of the business.

Visitors who sign up for the Johnnie Walker Journey of Flavor tour will be able to have drinks tailored to their palate. There will be 800 varying flavor combinations which means one person could visit every day for two years and never have the same thing twice. Pretty cool.

American Single Malt Whiskeys, Blind Test And Ranked

An expanded version of the tastings of the week I put together via a full taste testing of some single malt whiskeys by UPROXX. I'm not sure I would have chosen some of the names they did, but who doesn't like a 6 bottle, winner-take-all tasting? A good read if you have 5-10 minutes to kill, but spoiler, Balcones Pilgrimage was declared the champion. Most of the bottles were $75-$85, including the winner.

I may have to check out my local store and we may have to include it for a future score of the week / tasting of the week.

Tasting of the Week

This week's tasting of the week was Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage. Evan Williams is a part of the large lineup from distillery juggernaut Heaven Hill.

If you haven't noticed just yet, I'm kind of a sucker for single barrel. That said, I won't pick up just anything. However, with my recent scores of the week seemingly being all $50+, the Evan Williams single barrel caught my eye at just $28. It was aged 8 (almost 9) years and seemed like a pretty good value off the shelf if you can get past the bottom-shelf stigma of the brand. Onto the tasting...

On the nose I got very light notes of cinnamon, caramel, smokey oak, and a very very trace amount of an almost smell of rain. Second time around I started placing a little more of a fruit note, mainly apples and oranges.

On the palate the cinnamon and smokiness carry over, along with a general, but light, fruity sweetness.

The finish is very smooth, almost as if nothing is there. The sweetness holds on until the end, along with again the very light note of oak and possibly even a little bit of tobacco.

This is really an Evan Williams taste, but one you can appreciate and think through. Especially if your only experience with the Evan Williams brand is through the standard bottom shelf bottle. Those extra years of aging really add layers to the bottle and make it enjoyable.

My closing thoughts are that everybody wants to get those super rare bottles and of course the $50+ plus bottles are going to more often than not be “better” than sub $30. However, if we look at whiskey as a taste value per dollar spent, I think the single barrel, longer aged expressions of what we would probably consider bottom shelf brands pack some real punch. Like I said, I only paid $28 for this and it was pretty enjoyable.

There are some really good $30 bottles that compete with this product - even within the Heaven Hill lineup! However most of them are small batch. I’d say the small batch comparisons at this price point are generally better, but again I'm a sucker for single barrel and like the idea that there is some variation from bottle to bottle. At this price point I’d say this is very much worth trying, and depending on your preference it may have some staying power in your lower tier home bar lineup.

Like I said, a little lighter week this week, but more to come in future weeks! Until next Friday, stay well!



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