Forbidden Root Brewery to Launch Its Fernet-Inspired Fernetic in Florida

Ferneticbottle_editedForbidden Root Brewery (Chicago, Illinois) recently announced that it will introduce the Florida craft beer community to Fernetic Imperial Black Ale, a limited release collaboration with Fratelli Branca Distillerie (Milan, Italy), beginning in late-June.

To properly represent Fernet-Branca in “its first foray into craft beer”, the brewers at Forbidden Root teamed up with the Branca family to “[deconstruct] the beloved Italian digestif and [reconstruct] the legendary family recipe into an unforgettable craft beer for Amaro and beer lovers alike.”  Their collaborative efforts resulted in Fernetic, “an exotic, spicy and complex” Imperial Black Ale made with a recipe boasting “quality ingredients such as rhubarb root, saffron, and wormwood, among the selected botanics of the 27 herbs and spices found in Fernet-Branca.” With an aromatic profile hinting at notes of coffee and peppermint, the 8.4% ABV Fernetic supplies a drinking experience possessing “a soft roastiness . . ., bitter notes [that] build to a spicy, creamy middle and dry woody finish.”

“Collaborations are always an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and build off someone else’s creative energy,” says Forbidden Root head brewer BJ Pichman. “With Fernet-Branca, we were working with a nearly 175 year-old recipe, a body of very distinct flavors and a bitterness factor that is not usually present in beers. Our team really enjoyed the creative challenge of working to make a delicious, uncommon beer while keeping true to the flavors and history of the Fernet-Branca recipe.”

Fernetic Imperial Black Ale will officially release in Florida in late-June at the following launch events:

  • Wednesday, June 21 at 3 p.m. at Ice Plant Bar (110 Riberia Street, St. Augustine, FL) – “A cocktail competition will run from 3-5 p.m. preceding the 5 p.m. Fernetic tapping. The event will give attendees an opportunity to taste the unique collaboration brew, meet Fernet-Branca and Forbidden Root representatives, and enjoy Fernet-inspired cocktails.”
  • Thursday, June 22 at 7 p.m. at SweetWater Bar & Grill (1507 S Federal Highway, Boynton Beach, FL) – A special tapping of Fernetic that will feature a cocktail competition at 10 p.m.
  • Friday, June 23 at 6 p.m. at The Blue Goose (48 9th St N, Saint Petersburg, FL) – Launch event with a Fernetic tapping at 8 p.m.

In addition to those launch events, Fernetic Imperial Black Ale will also see an extremely limited release on draft at select locations found within the Florida distribution area of Forbidden Root Brewery.  If you have been looking for a truly unique craft beer experience, be sure to check out one of the launch events above or keep a close eye on tap lists for Fernetic Imperial Black Ale.  Prost!

Vital Information for Fernetic Imperial Black Ale from Forbidden Root Brewery & Fratelli Branca Distillerie

Release – Limited, Florida launch begins June 21, 2017
Style – Imperial Black Ale
ABV – 8.4%
The Inspiration –  Fernet-Branca, an Italian Amaro made with 27 herbs and spices
The Botanicals – Rhubarb root, peppermint, saffron, wormwood, angelica, star anise, & 14 others
Availability – 22 oz. bottles & draft (bottles may not be available in Florida)

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Photo Recap: Cavalier Distributing Trade Show – Tampa

Just a few weeks ago, Cavalier Distributing (Lakeland, Florida) held a fantastic and informative trade show at The Vault, a beautiful venue located in the heart of Tampa’s Downtown Arts District.  Cavalier used this industry-only event as an opportunity to introduce the area’s restaurants, bars, retailers, and media members to their vast portfolio of fine craft beers, meads, ciders and spirits.  The best way to capture all that this event had to offer was through a visual medium, so check out the photos below (click to enlarge) so that you too can get the inside scoop on the exciting beverages headed our way this year from Cavalier Distributing.  Prost!

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Yazoo Brewing and Jose Cuervo Team Up to Create Maracuyá y Tradicional Golden Strong Ale

ETFlogo_editedAt 3 p.m. (CST) on Wednesday, April 19, Yazoo Brewing Company (Nashville, Tennessee) will host a taproom release for Maracuyá y Tradicional, a cask-aged collaboration with Jose Cuervo Tequila (Jalisco, Mexico).

After quietly collaborating for nearly two years, the folks at Yazoo Brewing and Jose Cuervo have seemingly come out of nowhere to announce their clandestine efforts with the release of Maracuyá y Tradicional (translated: Passion Fruit and Traditional Casks).  Arriving as an incredibly special offering from the brewery’s Embrace The Funk series of sour and barrel-aged beers, Maracuyá y Tradicional is a Brettanomyces fermented Golden Strong Ale that has been made with passion fruit and then carefully “aged in Jose Cuervo 100% Blue Agave Tradicional Reposado Tequila casks.”  No one is going to know this beer better than the head of Yazoo’s Embrace The Funk program, so here is how he describes Maracuyá y Tradicional: 

“Working with a legendary 200 year old Tequila producer on this project has been a very fun crossover into merging beer, freshly emptied tequila oak and wild yeasts. The beer has a big bright tropical fruit character that melds so well into the deep smooth character of the tequila casks. There are a lot of layers to this beer, it’s definitely multiple beers in one bottle.”

 

– Brandon Jones, Head of Yazoo’s Sour & Barrel aging program

As an added bonus, this collaborative effort gets another twist now that Yazoo has sent the Wild Ale-seasoned casks back to Jose Cuervo.  The distillery “is currently finishing a version of their 100% Blue Agave tequila in these same casks for a future special release of an Embrace The Funk tequila.”

On April 19, 750ml bottles – with a real wood label – of Maracuyá y Tradicional will be available for purchase in Yazoo’s taproom.  The brewery “will also have 20 (twenty) 1.5L magnum bottles of this one time collaboration available on a first come first serve basis.” In addition to the taproom release, this offering will also see ” limited local distribution.”  You best believe that these bottles will go fast, so do what you can to be at the Yazoo taproom on Wednesday to secure your bottle of Maracuyá y Tradicional.  Prost!

 

Sugarlands Distilling to Offer Piña Colada Moonshine this Summer

SugarlandslogoSugarlands Distilling Company (Gatlinburg, Tennessee) recently announced plans to officially release Piña Colada Moonshine beginning on Monday, May 15.

Piña Colada Moonshine has been created by Sugarlands Distilling to act as the perfect paring for any summertime gathering with friends and family.  This new offering combines the flavors of “fresh pineapple and coconut milk” to trick the mind into believing it has been transported “directly to the sunny beach setting of its dreams.”  Clocking in at 70 proof (35% ABV), Piña Colada Moonshine “is best enjoyed over ice, on an island, or on your own front porch.”  Piña Colada is the latest moonshine to join Sugarlands’ “award-winning line of spirits that has won 20 awards internationally since distillation began in 2014.”

Sugarlands will officially release Piña Colada Moonshine on May 15.  Once released, this offering will be available in 750 ml Mason jars at select liquor stores found within the distribution area of Sugarlands Distilling Company and online at BuySugarlands.com. Prost!

Vital Information for Piña Colada Moonshine from Sugarlands Distilling Company

Release – launching May 15, 2017
Style – Flavored Moonshine
ABV – 35%  (70 proof)
Distribution – Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Minnesota & Indiana
Buy Online – BuySugarlands.com

 

 

Funky Buddha Brewery and Jose Cuervo Collaborate on Mexican Coffee Imperial Stout

FBMexicancoffeebottleFunky Buddha Brewery (Oakland Park, Florida) has announced that they have officially partnered with Jose Cuervo Tequila (Jalisco, Mexico) to create Mexican Coffee Imperial Stout, a limited release collaboration aged in tequila barrels.

The master distillers at Jose Cuervo recently reached out to Funky Buddha with a proposal to age a beer of the brewery’s choice in barrels that once held Tradicional 100% Agave Reposado Tequila.  The only catch to this arrangement was that the brewery had to then return to the ale-seasoned barrels to Jose Cuervo so that they could be re-filled with tequila.

Fully on board with the idea, the brewers at Funky Buddha put their heads together and decided to develop a recipe inspired by the cafe Mexicano, a “warm cocktail that combines coffee and cinnamon with a touch of Tequila and usually topped off with sweet cream.”  Funky Buddha mimicked the flavors of this coffee-based libation by brewing “a bold Imperial Stout . . . with oats, lactose, and roasted malts.”  The beer was then blended with coffee and cinnamon before enjoying an “extended vacation” within the provided tequila barrels.

“The idea to brew a Mexican coffee beer came from the former Miami Dolphins punter, Brandon Fields, as we discussed beers that would be great aged in tequila barrels.”

– Ryan Sentz, Head Brewer and CEO at Funky Buddha Brewery

Although the brewery does not yet have an exact release date, we can expect Mexican Coffee Imperial Stout – and the ale cask finished tequila – to arrive “just in time for Cinco De Mayo.” ** UPDATE** Mexican Coffee Imperial Stout will release in the Funky Buddha taproom at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 30.  There will be some delicious Mexican food specials and extended brewery tour hours for the occasion. Hop on for one of the awesome, educational, and most importantly beer filled tours at Noon, 1, 2, 3, 4 p.m.  **UPDATE**  When it is ready for release, the Funky Buddha taproom will have Mexican Coffee Imperial Stout available in 22 oz. bottles for the price of $25 each (limit of four three bottles per customer).  Shortly after the taproom release, this very limited offering will then enter distribution and be available at select craft beer establishments in Florida.  In addition to the bottle release, Funky Buddha will “also be doing some events with Cuervo at cocktail bars around Florida making a special beer cocktail with the Imperial Stout and tequila.”  More information concerning Mexican Coffee Imperial Stout, its release date, and any collaborative events between Funky Buddha and Jose Cuervo will be available soon.  We will update this post with that information just as soon as we have it, so stay tuned.  Prost!

Orlando Whiskey Festival Returns in May

3rdOWFposterOn Saturday, May 13 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Whiskey & Bizz Events will host their 3rd Annual Orlando Whiskey Festival at Mercedes Benz of Orlando in Maitland (810 N Orlando Ave, Maitland, Florida).

Established as “the first ever Whiskey Festival to hit Central Florida,” the Orlando Whiskey Festival will officially return on May 13 for its third installment.  With a pour list boasting nearly 100 brands spanning from fine single malts to flavored whiskies, this event promises to provide guests with a top tier, educational whiskey experience that also allows them to interact with industry professionals.  In addition to the abundance of amazing whiskies, this event will also feature “gourmet menu selections . . . from some of Orlando’s most popular restaurant groups”, craft beer from Hourglass Brewery, wine, live entertainment, and all net proceeds will benefit the amazing cause of The Lovely Project.  There is a lot to cover when it comes to the 3rd Annual Orlando Whiskey Festival, so let’s break it all down:

The Basics

The Whiskey

This event will feature a pour list of 92 whiskeys.  This will include such distilleries as Angel’s Envy, The Balvenie, Basil Hayden’s, Four Roses Bourbon, Heaven Hill Distillery, Highland Park, Jack Daniel’s, Laphroaig Distillery, Suntory Whisky, Willett Distillery, Woodford Reserve, and many more.  To check out the full list of featured whiskeys, click here.  

The Food & Entertainment

“Menu sampling from some of Orlando’s most popular restaurant groups” will be available during the event.  Participating eateries include the following:

The event will also feature live musical entertainment provided by Mo’mo-Browne.

The Charity

All net proceeds from the Orlando Whiskey Festival will benefit The Lovely Project, “a Non-Profit Organization, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, that exists to empower girls by providing them with tools, education and peer-mentorship for living a purposeful, productive life.”  The Lovely Project’s Mission Statement is as follows:

“Our mission is for every young girl to grow into a woman who will create positive impact on the world around them. The girls we reach in our community have the opportunity to cultivate healthy friendships in a safe, fun environment while being encouraged and mentored. Our vision is for every girl to know that she is Lovely.”

Ticket Information

Tickets to the Orlando Whiskey Festival are available for purchase now (click here to purchase), and tickets will be available online until May 12 (while supplies last).  Tickets are available in the following tiers:

  • General Admission: $95 plus fees – Ticket includes entrance into the festival at 7 p.m., a branded Glencairn official whiskey tasting glass, unlimited tasting of nearly 100 different brands of whiskey, menu sampling from some of Orlando’s most popular restaurant groups, access to an outdoor cigar lounge featuring Drew Estates Cigars, live entertainment from Mo’mo Browne, specialty cocktails prepared by selected whiskey brands, and craft beer from Hourglass Brewery
  • VIP Early Access: $145 plus fees – Ticket includes entrance into the festival one hour early at 6 p.m., a branded Glencairn official whiskey tasting glass, unlimited tasting of nearly 100 different brands of whiskey, menu sampling from some of Orlando’s most popular restaurant groups, access to an outdoor cigar lounge featuring Drew Estates Cigars, live entertainment from Mo’mo Browne, specialty cocktails prepared by selected whiskey brands, and craft beer from Hourglass Brewery

(**NOTE** There is a third ticket option available for purchase on the Eventbrite link provided above.  The “Ultimate Whiskey Dinner Experience” is a separate event scheduled for Friday, May 12 at DoveCote Brasserie.  If you purchase that ticket, it only grants you access to the three-course dinner.  It DOES NOT grant you admission into the Orlando Whiskey Festival. **NOTE**)

If you happen to be in the Orlando area and free on May 13, you may want to consider checking out the Orlando Whiskey Festival.  Not only will you be treated to an incredible evening filled with the finest whiskies, but you will be able to enjoy it all while supporting the very worthy cause of The Lovely Project.  How can you go wrong with that?  Prost!

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Sugarlands Distilling Co. adds Electric Orange to Lineup of Cream Liqueurs

unnamed-3Sugarlands Distilling Company (Gatlinburg, Tennessee) has officially introduced Electric Orange Cream Liqueur as the newest offering in the distillery’s Appalachian Sippin’ Cream series.

Joining “an award-winning line of spirits that has won 20 awards internationally since distillation began in 2014,” Electric Orange Cream Liqueur has officially arrived as the latest release from Sugarland Distilling Company.  Inspired by the orange creamsicles many of us enjoyed in our youth, this new cream liqueur “combines a bright, fresh orange zest with the smooth taste of vanilla cream.”  Weighing in at a reasonable 40 proof, the folks at Sugarlands propose that you enjoy Electric Orange Cream Liqueur straight or used as a mixer in your favorite adults-only float recipe.  Electric Orange joins Butter Pecan Cream Liqueur and Dark Chocolate Coffee Cream Liqueur to comprise Sugarlands Distilling Company’s current lineup of Appalachian Sippin’ Creams.

Electric Orange Cream Liqueur is currently available for purchase now at the Gatlinburg distillery.  If you are not in that area, 750 ml Mason jars of this offering will soon be available in liquor stores found within the distribution area of Sugarlands Distilling Company and online at BuySugarlands.com. Electric Orange Cream Liqueur is sure to be a unique and eye-catching addition to your bar (home or otherwise), so pick up a jar the next time you are at the liquor store to treat yourself and your friends to some delicious new cocktails.  Prost!

Vital Information for Electric Orange Cream Liqueur from Sugarlands Distilling Company

Release – Appalachian Sippin’ Cream, launching February 2017
Style – Cream Liqueur 
ABV – 20% (40 proof)
Distribution – Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Minnesota & Indiana
Buy Online – BuySugarlands.com

Monday Night Brewing and ASW Distillery Collaborate on Scottish-Style Single Malt Whiskey

aswmnbMonday Night Brewing (Atlanta, Georgia) recently announced that they have partnered with ASW Distillery (Atlanta, Georgia) on the creation and release of Monday Night Scottish-Style Single Malt Whiskey.

Although this is the first collaboration spirit created by Monday Night and ASW, the long-standing relationship between these two dates back to when “Monday Night co-founder Joel Iverson lived next door to ASW co-founder Charlie Thompson” before either had their current businesses.  A friendship started innocently when Joel invited Charlie to homebrew tastings, and that bond naturally carried over when they eventually established their respective brewery and distillery.  After co-sponsoring several events in Atlanta together and ASW Distillery sponsoring one of Monday Night’s first anniversary parties, a collaboration project was just the next natural step for the two companies.

This project became a reality just about as soon as Monday Night’s Brewmaster Adam Bishop met ASW’s Head Distiller Justin Manglitz and discovered that they shared an ” adorably obsessive love of all things chemistry and alcohol.”  The two then hatched a plan “to produce a smooth, smoky whiskey.”  The process started with Monday Night brewing up “a mash rich in Cherrywood-smoked malt” – the same malt used in the brewery’s Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale.  Once the mash was taken to ASW, “it was distilled . . . in traditional Scottish-style twin copper pot stills before being transferred into new American white oak quarter casks.”  There it aged until Monday Night and ASW were confident that they had a Scotch-style Whiskey that boasts “a pleasant bite . . . with a smooth, slightly sweet, and delightfully smoky finish.”

Monday Night Scottish-Style Single Malt Whiskey will start hitting Atlanta area shelves in early March.  This offering will be available in 750ml bottles for the “expected retail price of $59” each.  If you feel it necessary to be one of the first to try Monday Night Scottish-Style Single Malt Whiskey, ASW Distillery will be hosting a small release party on Monday, February 27.  Advanced tickets for the party will be available for purchase on Monday Night Brewing’s website beginning on Monday, February 6.  We will be sure to update this post with that ticket link and any further release information once it surfaces.  Stay tuned.  Prost!

 

Tasting Notes – Spirits Edition: Dark Chocolate Coffee Cream Liqueur from Sugarlands Distilling Co.

dccclsugarlandspour1000Tasting Notes wanders back into the realm of spirits this week by partaking in a little Appalachian Sippin’ Cream – Dark Chocolate Coffee Cream Liqueur from Sugarlands Distilling Co. (Gatlinburg, Tennessee).

Since the flavors of chocolate and coffee are commonly found in various beer styles these days, it only seemed natural to do a Tasting Notes crossover featuring this Dark Chocolate Coffee Cream Liqueur.  Sugarlands Distilling Co. created the Appalachian Sippin’ Cream Series to add depth and diversity to their popular and ever-expanding Moonshine lineup.  Just as the name implies, Appalachian Sippin’ Cream – Dark Chocolate Coffee Cream Liqueur has been crafted to be a dessert-style drink that is “rich in cacao and notes of roasted coffee beans.”  Whether consumed straight or in a mixed drink, this offering is meant to be savored as the sweet treat that we all deserve after a long day.  750ml Mason jars of Dark Chocolate Coffee Cream Liqueur and the full Appalachian Sippin’ Cream lineup** are available for purchase online (click here) or at select retailers found in Florida and throughout the rest of Sugarlands Distilling Co.’s distribution area.  That should pretty much cover all the necessary background information, so let’s break out the fancy ice and get to some Tasting Notes!

**If you somehow have an aversion to chocolate and coffee, Sugarlands Distilling Co. also currently produces Appalachian Sippin’ Cream – Butter Pecan Cream Liqueur.**

Tasting Notes for Appalachian Sippin’ Cream – Dark Chocolate Coffee Cream Liqueur from Sugarlands Distilling Co.

Appearance: This liqueur fills the glass with a presentation that is strikingly similar to chocolate milk.  It falls somewhere between dark tan to milk chocolate brown in color.  The liquid is completely opaque and somewhat viscous.  When swirled about, an off white to light tan sheet coats the glass and drops down evenly spaced, slightly darker, streaky legs.

Aroma: As is the case with most liqueurs, the first inhale brings a gentle waft of alcohol.  Fully committed, I leave my nose in the glass and discover rich, indulgent layers of depth with each breath.  Vanilla and whipped cream rise up first, and this easily shifts to a sweet milk chocolate note.  The aromas then deepen to produce tones of dark roasted coffee beans and a touch of bittersweet dark chocolate.  These enchanting aromatics easily convince you to take sip after sip.

Taste: The start of each sip is a comforting reminder of youthful moments spent enjoying an awesome milkshake or a tall glass of chocolate milk after school.  Out of the gate, there is just so much chocolaty goodness.  This naturally opens up to expose qualities of toffee, vanilla, cream and caramel.  The flavor profile extends even further and finishes with fresh brewed coffee and fine dark chocolate.  This is dangerously good.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and silken in texture on the palate.  Each sip coats softly to allow all the flavors the chance to develop and be thoroughly enjoyed.  At just 20% ABV, this liqueur only leaves a suggestion of heat to linger in the throat.  Although sweet, it still avoids being cloying or over the top.  Milk chocolate and vanilla remain as a lasting aftertaste.

Final Thoughts:  If you are a fan of sweet Liqueurs/Cordials and have been looking to try an alternative to offerings like Baileys Original Irish Cream, you may have just found it. Rich, decadent and absolutely loaded with indulgent flavors, Appalachian Sippin’ Cream – Dark Chocolate Coffee Cream Liqueur immediately proved to us that it is an incredibly tasty and versatile addition to any bar (home or otherwise).  This offering was very much enjoyed straight and in coffee – great with brunch or as an after-dinner drink – while taking these notes, but this liqueur’s list of possible uses does not stop there.  You could easily slip some into the mixing bowl to make an adults-only batch of whipped cream to top your coffee, mixed drink, brownies, pie, etc.  Sub it into your favorite chocolate martini recipe to give it a mocha-like twist. Finally, if you are a fan of “Depth Charge” shots, we came up with this Tennessee-themed take on the “Irish Car Bomb” that proved to be quite delicious.  The name is still a work in process, but here’s the recipe:

VOLuntary Takedown 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint of lower ABV, locally produced American Stout or Irish-style Dry Stout (avoid hoppy Stouts) 
  • 1/2 shot of Appalachian Sippin’ Cream – Dark Chocolate Cream Liqueur from Sugarlands Distilling Co.
  • 1/2 shot of Tennessee Whiskey of your choice

Instructions: Fill 1/2 of a sturdy shaker pint glass with your Stout of choice.  Take a standard shot glass and add the Sippin’ Cream and chosen Whiskey (layer the Sippin’ Cream to the bottom of the shot).  Carefully drop the shot into the pint glass and enjoy!

However you choose to enjoy it, it is pretty much a certainty that you will be using several of the following words to describe each sip you take of Appalachian Sippin’ Cream – Dark Chocolate Coffee Cream Liqueur: Luscious. Delightful.  Tempting.  Enticing.  Heavenly.  Ambrosial.  Faced with terms such as those, how could you possibly resist?  Seriously, we highly recommend that you give this offering a try and let us know what you think.  Prost!

Tasting Notes – Spirits Edition: Jameson Caskmates

jamesonpromoA confirmed truth: very few things hit the spot quite like a dram of whiskey after a big holiday meal.  With that in mind, this special edition of Tasting Notes features the craft beer-themed offering from Jameson Irish Whiskey (Dublin, Ireland) simply named Jameson Caskmates.

It is pretty safe to assume that the two beverages that see the most time on bar tops at Irish pubs are fine Irish Whiskeys and really good Irish Dry Stouts.  This being the case, it is kind of odd that there has yet to be a truly thoughtful attempt at bringing these two together.  Well . . . until now.  This all changed when the Master Distiller at Jameson Irish Whiskey and the Master Brewer at Franciscan Well Brewery (Cork, Ireland) sat down together and hatched a plan:

  • Step 1 – Jameson would send the brewery several used whiskey barrels.  The brewers at Franciscan Well would then fill these barrels with their Irish Stout.  Once the beer properly aged and picked up the complex notes of the Irish Whiskey tucked snugly away within the wood, the barrels would then be returned to the distillery.
  • Step 2 – Upon receiving the return shipment of the now Irish Stout-infused barrels, Jameson distillers would fill the casks once again with their classic Original Irish Whiskey.

Since they had never done anything like this before, all the distillers could really do at that point was wait and see what would be the result of this collaborative experiment.  When the aging process was finally completed, they found the whiskey’s “triple-distilled smoothness . . . very much intact” but it had also taken on Stout-influenced notes of “cocoa, coffee and butterscotch.”  The proper introduction of Irish Whiskey and Irish Stout had finally been achieved, and now we all get to enjoy these results in bottles of Jameson Caskmates – Stout Edition.  If you would like a taste of this unique offering, you can find this Stout-infused Whiskey available in 750ml bottles at fine liquor stores and bars across the United States.

Now that we have the story behind Jameson Caskmates covered, it is time to break out the whiskey glasses, sip, relax, and take down a few Tasting Notes.

Tasting Notes for Jameson Caskmates – Stout Edition from Jameson Irish Whiskey

Appearance:  With a pour of two fingers, this whiskey rests in the glass light golden in color with soft hues of brown burnishing the edges.  Although pristine in clarity, the still liquid displays mesmerizing, oily rings when presented with the right angle of light.  With a gentle swirl of the glass, the whiskey leaves lengthy, slick legs behind.

Aroma:  The presence of alcohol soaked grain and hay begin the experience.  Once given a little time to breathe, the aromatics open up and soften to reveal notes of citrus, pear and apple.  The stout-like characteristics are reserved, but they do grab your attention late by lending qualities of cocoa and coffee.  The aroma rounds off with some honey sweetness.

Taste:  Caramelized, bordering on burnt, brown sugar and earthy barley rush the palate to start.  These two notes take on toffee and butterscotch qualities that nicely complement the building stout flavors of roasted malt, coffee and bittersweet dark chocolate.  Slightly nutty, this offering finishes with notes of woodsy, charred oak and creamy vanilla.

Mouthfeel:  Slick in texture, the coating ability of this whiskey quickly grabs the attention of your taste buds.  Sweet on the palate, but far from being overly cloying.  At 80 Proof, any heat here is slow and comforting.  The finish is long, allowing notes of oak, vanilla and cocoa the opportunity to linger.

Final Thoughts:  Jameson Caskmates absolutely comes together as an offering that builds on the experience of Jameson Original.  That being said, craft beer fans need to realize that this is still an Irish Whiskey experience.  It must be noted that we are dealing with a 40% ABV Irish Whiskey here, so boozy notes of fine grain and charred oak do show some aggression at first sip.  When this happens, just slow down, sip gently and really take in the flavors resting on your palate.  If done correctly, you can reach that transcendental moment that reveals the Irish Stout-like notes of coffee, roasted malt, toffee and cocoa.  With a bit of patience, this whiskey will open up and a rush of familiar flavors will surface to absolutely blow your mind.  I had a blast exploring this offering, and I highly suggest that you sit down with a glass of Jameson Caskmates to experience it for yourself.  Prost!