Whiskey a Go Go
Posted on July 27 2015
North America has a long and proud tradition of producing Whiskey brought to the new world by immigrants from Ireland and Scotland who sought to reproduce the “water of life” of their homeland.
While European Whiskey/Whisky is predominantly produced from barley, settlers in America were forced to use whatever was to hand resulting in distinctively different styles with very different flavour profiles. More often than not US whiskies are made with various different types of grain in the “mash”, more in keeping with the Irish tradition – but that is where the similarities end.
Bourbon is the name synonymous with US whiskey and is most likely derived from the name “Old Bourbon” a region in Kentucky rather than specifically with the now dry (and distillery-less) Bourbon County. Where Bourbon appears on the label we can be pretty sure that at least 51% of the mash bill is maize with the balance made up of other grains and helping to determine the final character of the spirit. The real alchemy takes place in the charred white oak barrels that the spirit is aged in order to impart colour and flavour.
Better quality examples however, like our current favourite whistle Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight Bourbon, are aged for 12 years in the heart of Whiskey country. What better way to serve it than straight up with a beer back. Buy a bottle of Elijah Craig in May and we’ll throw in a couple of American craft brews to go with it for FREE. If you prefer your drinks a little longer; from the classical cocktail bastion you could whip up a Manhattan or if you’re feeling frisky try a Blood and Sand with the scotch subbed for Bourbon.
Also note worthy is the newly arrived and rare even in America, Whistle Pig 100/100 Straight Rye Whisky from Vermont. While 51% Rye is sufficient to call a whiskey Rye, the best are 100% Rye and in this case bottles at 100 proof hence 100/100. Having been released in 2010 it quickly gained critical acclaim being awarded 96 points by Wine Enthusiast, the highest score ever given to a Rye Whisky. Don’t take our word for it; we have samples available in our Chiswick and Esher shops.