Welcome to my new site, theamericanwhiskeylife.com. I am an avid whiskey drinker and have blogged for awhile on thescotchlife.com. Scotch whisky is my favorite drink, or dram as they say in Scotland. However, it is now time for me to talk about American Whiskey and I am fortunate enough to have a background in American Whiskey and some good friends at Jack Rose Saloon in Washington, DC who are experts in the subject. More on both of those points later! (as in another post)
For now, it is time to start! And it all started in Virginia! (Disclaimer) I am assuming we started whiskey in Virginia with the likes of George Washington himself! So, if you have some imperical evidence that it started in Maryland, New York or elsewhere, I don’t care.
So tonight I brought home some “Virginia” whiskey. Quotes used on purpose because the first whiskey actually was initially brewed elsewhere, so here we go.
Up first, Virginia Gentleman! This whiskey dates back to the 1900s but is not owned by the original family now but owned by famed Buffalo Trace Distillery. It is actually distilled in neighboring State Kentucky and then re-distilled here in Virginia. The basic offering is served up at 40% ABV or 80 proof. It is a smooth bourbon, excellent to enjoy neat, or mix with your favorite American soft drink. Otherwise known as Coke-Cola. Or “Coke”. Sorry, not Pepsi.
This, for the money, is an enjoyable whiskey and I would, in fewest words describe it as, a crowd pleaser.
The next whiskey is a neophyte to this group, but is no less represented. I have never seen nor heard of River Hill Bourbon Whiskey, but now I have. From Luray, Virginia, which hosts the famous Luray Caverns, Fred Foley and family have produced a “bourbon.” It tastes like a fine bourbon that definitely has been made with passion and detail. It has been aged 6 months which has given it some body and taste enough to bottle and bottled at 45% ABV. I think this would be even better with time in the cask but speed to market does rule and I understand. I really think it is another quality American whiskey and look forward to what they develop in the future.
The last, but certainly not least, is Catoctin Creek’s Roundstone Rye Whisky. This whisky (notice they use the Scottish spelling!) deserves its own posting but I wanted to round out the post with it. Catoctin is a new American distillery in Virginia but they have made an impact on the American scene in short time. Please go to their site to see all their awards and offerings. This Rye whisky is quite the flavor pleaser. Complex and well rounded that comes from no less than four years in a cask, this is quite a good whisky. This is a great whiskey for chefs who like to experiment with whisky in food or sauces. I think this could be made into a beautiful syrup. The Scots have whisky syrup that you put on your porridge, I think this is a candidate for such an endeavor. Bottled at 46% ABV, this is a winner and represents a reemergence in Virginia of whiskey making, which is only appropriate since this is where it all started.
For fun, after I did a blind taste test on each of them, I poured the remainder all together to make an All Virginian. It was good!