Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review of the Jacob Bromwell Great American Flask - A Flask that Stands All By Itself





Copper has long played a significant role in the history of mankind.  Since the discovery of its properties as an uncompounded metal along with it's accessibility, the use copper throughout the world - particularly in whiskey distilleries, is even more prevalent today.



Spirits and copper have gone hand and in hand since the beginning of distillation.  Without going into a history lesson, copper is essential to proper distillation and purification along with properties that include the preservation of nutrients. These are just a few reasons why we see the use of copper in the process of making the finest spirits we all have grown to love. 

Bourbon and whiskey lovers take great pride in what they choose to drink.  For that reason, people have special shelves, cabinets and areas of their home dedicated in keeping and displaying their spirits.  So I ask the question, why would you not have something  just as special to carry your prized whiskey when you’re not at home.  That question was answered when I came across The Great American Flask.

The Great American Flask is just that.  Handmade from Jacob Bromwell, a company, founded in 1819 who produces high quality, handmade kitchen & bake-ware products, drink-ware, writing instruments, tobacco and men's accessories.  Their philosophy is simple, they want their customers to experience the simple and traditional values that once was.  Each Great American Flask is  handmade from 100% pure cooper that is lined with hot tin.  Hot tin provides greater wear and corrosion resistance than that of most base materials.  Also, hot tin prevents the copper from oxidizing.  Each seam on the flask is soldered with lead-free solder by hand, showing some imperfections due to the natural part of the hand-made process.  As a bonus,  it makes each flask completely unique. 

The flask holds 9 oz. compared to your standard stainless steel 8 oz. flasks.  The Great American Flask is also made historically-correct from the early original 1800’s copper flask.  How would I know that? The company has been in business since then and still going strong.     

The Great American flask can be ordered and customized to your liking.  You can include their beautiful gift box, a pure copper chain and or copper funnel.  If like your copper to stay fresh, you can add their copper polish as well or just watch the patina develop overtime.  They also offer personal engraving up to 30 characters.

Made in the U.S.A. it also carries a “True” Lifetime guarantee.  What that guarantee means is that every item purchased through Jacob Bromwell will meet your highest standard or you can exchange or return for complete refund.  This reminded me of what a gentleman's word and hand shake once meant.    

The large mouth allows a better flow then a standard flask would and I noticed that it made it easier to clean, refill and empty again. 

Though larger than other flasks, it still fits nicely in one’s hand and can still be tucked away in a coat pocket, pants, or a blazer.

The flask comes with two options to seal your vessel. Unlike most flasks that have permanent captive closures or a cap attached, when you buy the Great American Flask you will receive a birch wood stopper and a cork stopper.  Because both options are not attached, it makes it a bit easier to lose and harder to replace.  Jacob Bromwell does offer a copper chain to remedy that problem and I was told that they will be offering a leather strap soon. (see below)
    


To break my birch wood stopper in, I soaked mine in water for a few days to allow it to absorb and soften.  This gave it more of a snug fit and wouldn't allow any leaking if it tipped over.  

First Fill -

It took me a minute to decide what should be the first bourbon I filled my Great American Flask with but I felt I chose a fitting whiskey.  I went with the Old Forester 1870 original batch released in the winter of 2014.  Like the Great American Flask, Old Forester 1870 was made to represent something that once was and bring honor to the heritage that got them to where they are today. With two products emulating the pioneering spirit in their own way, I felt it was the right choice

Taste Comparison - 

After filling the flask, I compared it side by side with a bourbon glass.  I allowed the bourbon to sit in the Great American Flask for over 24 hours, giving it time to settle.  During my comparison, I could not taste any change in flavor compared to the the Old Forester in the bourbon glass.  Other than getting some nose from the glass, the Great American Flask did a fantastic job of providing me exactly what I expect from sip to sip.  
   
Final Thoughts - 

I was highly impressed with the Jacob Bromwell and the care that went into their products.  The service I received was top notch and that's something that you just don't experience in todays fast past world.  The price of the flask is worth the labor and craftsmanship involved.  Knowing that you own something truly unique and the care and effort that was put into the making of it, makes all the difference.

I look at the Great American Flask as more as an investment than just another vessel.  I can see this being passed down to my sons one day, know that it will hold up for the years to come and only aging gracefully like bourbon does in each barrel.  Overall, this is truly a unique flask worthy of being carried by proud men and holding the oldest and or rarest of whiskies. 

Price starting at $199.99 and goes up depending on accessories added or custom engraving.

Website - Jacob Bromwell

Facebook -  J.B. Est. 1819
 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas for that Bourbon Lover In Your Life

Finding the right gift for someone can be hard.  Finding that perfect gift for the bourbon lover in your life can be even more challenging.  If you are not in the know and don't understand what he or she is talking about when your shopping with them at your local wine and spirits store, use this list that I have made up to help make the holiday shopping a lot easier.

Whiskey Glass(s)

Even though their are many glasses on the market, only a few make it to the list.  The top glasses for the whiskey drinker are:

The Neat Glass -

The most scientific glass made to date to get the best taste and notes from their favorite whiskey.


http://theneatglass.com/

Custom Glencairn Whiskey Glass -

Have a set of glasses customized with their name, logo, or favorite team or whiskey etched right on the glass.



http://www.glencairnwhiskyglass.com/personalized.html


Decanter Box Set

Can't find a bottle of pappy for them?  Order the next closest thing, the Pappy Van Winkle decanter set.  A decanter set that will truly set them apart from all their friends. 

Per Pappy & Co.

Warm, rich, and filled with history: Not just Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, but also the barrels it’s made in. Heritage Handcrafted has breathed new life into reclaimed Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrel wood to create these limited-edition boxes. Limited in production to 250, this treasure will never again be produced. Each box is handcrafted, individually numbered and personally authenticated by Julian Van Winkle with a signed note. Each unique box is adorned with a solid bronze “Old Rip Van Winkle” logo and accented with touches of handcrafted iron, luxurious velvet and hand-braided leather. Inside, you will find a crystal decanter, two crystal glasses and four hand-wrapped Pappy cigars. A perfect set for the bourbon aficionado



http://www.pappyco.com/products/limited-edition-pappy-van-winkle-signature-gift-set.html

Bourbon Apparel

Just because they can't drink bourbon all day long, doesn't mean they can show their love of bourbon throughout the day.


http://www.bourbonwoodtradingcompany.com/

Flask

Every whiskey lover needs a flask or two.  Their are flasks for all occasions and adding another to their set will help them along the way.


http://www.bourbonandboots.com/



Whiskey Barrel Stylus Pen

If you care about what they drink, they should care about what they use when they write letters or notes on their favorite whiskey.  



http://www.bourbonpens.com/

Whiskey Tasting Notes Book

Having a good source to keep their notes on all the whiskey(s) will help them remember what they will go back to and what to move on from.

http://www.33books.com/products/33-whiskeys


Whiskey Barrel Chairs and Furniture

 There is life for a barrel after all the whiskey has been poured.  Buying a beautiful piece of furniture that has been handmade from a talented craftsman is a great gift to any bourbon lover.


http://www.cohenwood.com/

Bourbon

When all else fails, simply ask your local wine and spirits owner for a good reasonably priced bourbon and they will point you to the right direction.  Any spirit lover will appreciate a good whiskey.





Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Updated Review of Black Dirt Single Barrel Bourbon Batch #5 - Black Dirt Distilling




So why Black Dirt? The Black Dirt Distillery takes its name from the dark, fertile soil left by an ancient glacial lake that once covered thousands of acres of upstate New York known as the Drowned Lands. Because of these natural occurrence, the perfect condition was developed for growing the main ingredient that all American whiskeys needs, corn. 

The history of Black Dirt Distilling, LLC’s origin is not as short as some may think.  The original distillery goes back to 2002 when the first micro-distillery was formed in New York called Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery.  Founded by Jeremy Kidde and Jason Grizzanti, these two men had a plan to do more then what just one distillery could do.  Jump a few years ahead, in March, 2012 Jason and Jeremy formed the Black Dirt Distilling, LLC.  This addition was birthed out of the recent bourbon boom and the high demand for fine bourbon and whiskey outside the bourbon trail.  In order to meet this demand, the Black Dirt Distillery commissioned a 4,000 square foot distillery along with a 60 foot distillation column which was completed in Pine Island, NY in 2013.  Currently they are producing bourbon, gin, and brandy from these two distilleries.  The current batches of bourbon that can be purchased and what was reviewed was aged and bottled at the Valley Winery & Distillery.



Having the title as the first mirco-distillery in New York State, Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery / Black Dirt Distilling is growing by name and volume through their years of experience in both distillation and marketing.  They are making a name for themselves by making and bottling their own product from the beginning unlike many mirco-distilleries who purchase whiskey to help generate revenue.

 Mash Bill of Batch 005:

Aged a minimum of 3 years in new charred American Oak at 45% Alc / vol - 90 proof
Char level 3
Distilled from:
80% Black Dirt grown corn,
12% Malted Barley
8% Rye

Nose: Aroma of sweet caramel, vanilla and honey

Taste: Smooth up front.  Has a oily layer through out your tongue

Finish: Bitter in the back and lingers for a moment.

Final Thoughts:



For such a young bourbon, both in age and in production, I give a lot of credit to a company that is not buying their product from the larger distilleries throughout the United States.  With the sudden boom in the whiskey business in the past couple of years and many mirco distillers opening up, its hard not to buy barrels of whiskey to get cash flowing in.




Featuring a single barrel expression this quickly in one’s business plan is a risky move in the bourbon business. However, being able to say that it's your own gives a distillery more credit than most would think.




Overall, the bourbon is too young to develop much depth of flavor and characteristics you would come across in older whiskeys.  However, that's not the story here.  The heart of this tale is the depth of history which surrounds it.  From their founder, Jason Grizzanti who holds a fruit science degree, to the location of their sweet corn in the unique fertile ground where once stood an ancient glacial lake.  These are the blocks that build a great foundation for what could be an impactful distillery in the North East.  In order to build something that will sustain the sands of time, a good foundation must be laid.  Black Dirt has laid that foundation and we look forward to what the years ahead have to offer. 



Retail Price 750 ml size:

$40 - $47.99

Where to Buy:

Buy online at Astor Wines or Drink Up NY

Website: Black Dirt Distillery

Facebook: Black Dirt

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review of the Smooth Ambler - Old Scout Straight Bourbon Whiskey Aged 7 Years



With our second review from West Virginia based Smooth Ambler Spirits Co., we highlight the 7 year bourbon.  This expression showcases an excellent example of what this company can do and leaves us curious about other spirits yet to come. 

Smooth Ambler Old Scout Straight bourbon whiskey might not originate from the hollers of West Virginia, but the men and women who chose the juice certainly do.  This 7 year bourbon comes in at 99 proof and is produced by MGP in Lawrenceburg, IN.  Bottled in Maxwelton, West Virginia, this whiskey contains a high rye content of 36% and like the label says, carries a truly smooth taste throughout the whole drinking experience. 
Smooth Ambler does not shy away from their current business plan and it's no secret that some of their whiskey is coming out of Indiana.  Like any young distillery, it takes time to distil, age and produce, but what they do have from the beginning is their raw natural talent and the ability to determine what a good whiskey is and what is not. 
According to recent rumors, we will soon be treated to Smooth Ambler’s newest release and their first distillation – a bourbon that will be aged 3 years at 92 proof and will have a high corn mash bill.

Old Scout Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Compared to the 8 year, single barrel, 110.4 proof we last reviewed, the 7 year 99 proof was a much smoother expression and provided a more pleasant finish than the higher proof whiskey.  Believing that single barrel would carry a more distinctive taste with more flavor, we again found that the 7 year bourbon had a more complex taste that filled your mouth with sweet caramel and toffee flavors.  I wouldn't turn down either whiskey, but I feel the mood would determine which bourbon I would choose.  
  
The Four Barrels Tasting Notes:

 Nose - A youthful bourbon, smooth aromas of rye and cinnamon. Reminds me of an afternoon walk in the fields of Kentucky.  Hints of maple and caramel along with toffee.

Taste - Very smooth up front and carries the same through the middle.

Finish - A pleasant spice that does not linger to long.  Little to no burn.   

Final Thoughts:



The 99 proof and age of 7 years is a good combination that brings this high rye content to a desirable level.  Unlike most young bourbons, this 7 year is at the beginning of the "honey years" of maturity for this mashbill. 


49.5% ALC. / Vol.
99 Proof
750 ML

Retail Price $38.99 - $45.99

Aged 7 years
Barrel No. 58
Bottle Date 2-5-14

Mash bill:

60% corn, 36% rye, 4% malt 

Distillation Process;

Continuous Column distillation
General information per Smooth Ambler:

Awards:

Gold Medal, Best of Show & Best of Class, 2012
American Distilling Institute, 95 points, 2012 Wine Enthusiast
Silver Medal, 2013 San Fransisco World Spirits Competition

Smooth Amblers Tasting Notes:

Bold, sweet and spicy flavors with subtle apple, leather and cherry pipe tobacco.  Exceptionally drinkable for 99 proof.  Serve neat or use to make a helluva' cocktail.

Website: Smooth Ambler
Facebook: FB Page