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Axis of Whisky  Musings, reviews & booze from Baldo Oakstave (LA), Thane McDram & J.T. Rickhouse (Chicago). All original pics & reviews. #axisofwhisky

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The Great King Street Artist's Blend was my first Compass Box whisky a few years back, and it opened my eyes to how good a blend can be. Founder and master blender John Glaser calls it "blended Scotch for whisky geeks," which is just about the perfect description.
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In line with Compass Box's usual eye for quality, the Great King Street Artist's Blend is just under 50% malt (an unusually high proportion), and matured in first-fill bourbon, sherry, and new heavily toasted French oak casks. It's 43%, not chill filtered, and priced at an exceedingly reasonable $35-40.
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Gorgeous nose with strong wild honey. Sweet oak, new leather, vanilla tobacco, dried apple. The honey leads the palate too, but is beautifully integrated with the grain whisky backbone - sufficiently mature to add weight & heft. Canned peaches & pears. Surprisingly long finish with sweet leather & tobacco predominant.
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A whisky geek's blended Scotch, a blended Scotch skeptic's blended Scotch...this one can win over just about anybody. Three cheers for Compass Box!
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Here's to the weekend, friends! What are you sipping tonight? -BO
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#compassbox #greatkingstreet #blendedscotch #singlemalt #whisky #whiskyporn #whiskylove #whiskycollection #bars #bestbars #beautifulbooze #booze #spirits #tasty #instagood #cheerstotheweekend #fridaynight #wateroflife #liquidgold#nowdrinking #drinkingnow #bartenders #mixology #cheers #kanpai #salud #nj #slainte

It was a long, practically epically long, journey to get here, but man, was it worth it. The opening night of this event offered tastings of the entire Glenmorangie range, more than a few Ardbegs, and a personal tasting of the Glenmorangie Signet, which will have a full review later on today. Friends, this is all due to you and I'll strive to do you proud in our coverage of the event. Happy Friday and cheers! - TM #glenmorangie #instascotch #instawhiskey #instawhisky #whisky #whiskey #whiskygram #whiskeygram #instadram #instawhisky #instawhiskey #singlemalt #singlemaltwhisky #cheers #slainte #booze #alcohol #hooch #scotland

Happy to be expanding our Kilchoman coverage this sunny #ThirstyThursday with the 6th annual 100% Islay limited edition. Six years old, 50% ABV, $75-80. Matured in first-fill and refill @buffalotrace bourbon barrels.
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Intriguing sweet notes on the nose: cherry wine, sweet hay, chocolate-covered vanilla meringue, lemony malt. Subtle peat.
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The palate's sweet & punctuated with tart berry flavors. The peat rears up, but more peppery than smoky. Very welcome sour/umami note late on, like a hit of wasabi.
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Medium-long finish has raspberry compote, lemon peels, beeriness & cane sugar.
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Kilchoman is only getting better with time, and the 100% Islay line is no exception. (The 2017 edition was just announced, but I have yet to see it in CA.) These usually don't stay on the shelves long, but if you get lucky enough to find one, it won't disappoint.
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Cheers, friends! -BO
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#kilchoman #islay #islaywhisky #singlemalt #singlemaltscotch #liquidgold #nowdrinking #happyhour #scotchyscotchscotch #whiskyfabric #whiskygram #instawhisky #instagood #tasty #drinks #booze #liquor #wateroflife #cheers #slainte #kanpai #losfeliz #losangeles #ca #bartenders

I suspect my bourbon collection is similar to a lot of others. I have a number of reliable bottles that are always open and quickly replenished when emptied with either a backup or a trip to the store if it's still available. Then there are those half full "one and done" bottles that I picked up to try something different, but didn't work out for me. The last set of open bottles and backups are the highly allocated ones and are usually poured when in the company of other bourbon drinkers. ... I have one final special set of bottles that I've held on to for a long time waiting for that special occasion to open and share. Even though that occasion seems to forever be just over the horizon, deep down I know the time will come. This Four Roses 120th Anniversary single barrel release is one of those bottles. ... How do you categorize your collection and what are some of your special bottles that you've been holding on to? Comment below. -JTR

The Axis would be nothing without all of you who have supported us, engaged with us, helped us. So it's only fitting that we invite you guys on one of our greatest adventures yet, because without you, this wouldn't be happening. Starting Thursday, I'll be doing posts, stories, images from Glenmorangie and its work at the British Open. It's nothing that we ever imagined when we started the Axis and this opportunity is due to all of you. Thank you for all you've done for us and join us as we go on this journey with Glenmorangie. - TM #dram #slainte #cheers #hooch #booze #singlemalt #scotch #scotchwhisky #golf #whisky #whiskey #whiskygram #instadram #instawhisky #instawhiskey #instascotch #glenmorangie

I may have discovered the real life version of "the most interesting man in the world" and the book about his two year whisky fueled adventure traveling around the world, A Ramble Round the Globe, is now on my short list of books to read this summer.

Last week I attended the US kickoff of Dewar's Traveling Whisky Emporium road trip that is retracing the steps of one of the most colorful members of the Dewar's founding family, Tommy Dewar. As I enjoyed Dewar's cocktails made by mixologist GN Chan and scotch eggs prepared by chef Michael Voltaggio, I learned more about Tommy's bigger than life personality, his eccentric interest in poultry and his deep passion for adventure. I finished the evening with two of the single malts from the Last Great Malts lineup, the Craigellachie 13 and Aberfeldy 12, and left the event intrigued to learn more about Tommy and his travel journal that was turned into book.
If you're interested in learning more about the Last Great Malts lineup, we have full reviews of the releases on axisofwhisky.com. Also, keep an eye out for the Traveling Whisky Emporium in your city as Dewar's embarks on their modern day ramble around the world. Cheers! -JTR #dewars
#scotcheggclub #scotch #scotchwhisky #singlemalt #whisky #whiskey #craigellachie #aberfeldy #aultmore #thedeveron #royalbrackla #cigars #mixology #bartending #booze #bourbon #chickenbingo #chicago

On occasion, we here at the Axis will stumble into a bottle of something we've never before heard of, let alone tried. The good folks of @robbvices recently sent a lovely manhattan/old fashioned making kit that included the Highspire rye (ABV 45%, $40). Made with 100 percent rye, including 10 percent malted rye, this juice is essentially flash aged through the use of California red wine barrels, into which they place oak staves. The result is a very different rye and while it wasn't one that I was overly thrilled by, I can report that a number of other whiskey friends really dug it.

The nose was a little dust, a litte rye, and a lot of something quite close to my grandfather's old wood shop. The palate has a field of dark berries in which marshmallow pops up. There's also more than a hint of rye grain, spice, and vanilla and while all that sounds intriguing, the whole didn't measure up to the parts. The finish was a medium one, that ended on a vaguely unpleasant sawdust note. Now, all this said, this rye makes an exceptional manhattan and old fashioned. Something about the unusual flavor profile really made it sing in the cocktails for me. Speaking of which, it's practically cocktail time here and I need to get to work. Happy Sunday, friends! - TM #whisky #whiskey #ryewhiskey #rye #whiskygram #whiskeygram #instadram #instawhisky #instawhiskey #booze #alcohol #hooch #cheers #slainte #dram

I have a special weakness with Compass Box whiskies. The Flaming Heart 2015 was my favorite whisky of that year, and I have yet to write a review. I went through an entire Christmas bottle of Peat Monster without writing a review. The problem is that they're so good, and in such a particular way - which I attribute to the blending genius of founder John Glaser - that I get too absorbed in them to take notes. I just want to enjoy.
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But revisiting the Peat Monster, I managed to get my act together. This beauty is a blended malt (also known as a pure malt), meaning it's a mix of single malts, with no grain whisky. The malts come from Laphroaig, Caol Ila, Ardmore, Ledaig & an unnamed Highland distiller. $55-65, 46% ABV.
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The peat is intense, but there are many peatier whiskies on the market. The priority here is on balance & nuance. Nose: lively, fresh, grassy, but w the density & richness that only come from a fair proportion of older malt in the mix. Minimal sweetness. Dark vanilla. Almond flour. Mesquite. Lemongrass. Dry vermouth herbaciousness. I could nose it all night.
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Three kinds of peat intertwine on the palate: briny, toasty, and savory/BBQ. The Laphroaig brings the ashiness & brine; the Caol Ila light lemony fruits, tilting from lemon to lime to grapefruit. Charred pear & watermelon candy later on. The finish is very long, with grapefruit rind, grenadine, white ash & salty sea spray.
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Should be a staple in any peat lover's cabinet. Sure is in mine.
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Cheers to the weekend, friends! -BO
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#compassbox #peatmonster #laphroaig #ardmore #caolila #blendedmalt #puremalt #singlemalt #whisky #whiskyporn #whiskylove #whiskycollection #whiskywithaview #booze #spirits #tasty #instagood #cheerstotheweekend #saturdaynight #wateroflife #liquidgold #nowdrinking #drinkingnow #bartenders #mixology #cheers #kanpai #salud #newjersey #slainte

Celebrating some good news led me, as it so often does, to my local purveyor who, as luck would have it, was holding an end of bin sale. Snagged the last Barton and an old standby in the Old Pulteney. But the Henderson's is the one I'm most intrigued to try. I'll report back soon. Until then, happy Friday, friends! - TM #slainte #cheers #hooch #booze #whisky #whiskey #whiskygram #whiskeygram #whiskycollection #bourbon #instadram #instawhisky #instawhiskey #dram #singlemaltwhisky #scotch #oldpulteney

How's that for timing? These two showed up just minutes apart today: Tom Acitelli's brand-new book on the microdistilling boom, and microdistiller Sugarlands' award-winning Roaming Man Cask Strength Rye. Reviews of both coming soon!
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Happy #ThirstyThursday, friends! -BO
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#whisky #whiskey #rye #booze #books #spirits #dram #tennesseewhiskey #whiskeygram #booksandbooze #instawhiskey #bourbon #whiskeyporn #gentlemen #wateroflife #happyhour #liquidgold #cheers #slainte #kanpai #alcohol #losfeliz #losangeles #californialove #instabooks #whiskeylove #bourbonlove

As we've gone through this Axis of Whisky experience, I continue to be amazed by the stories behind the whiskies. Whether it's a legend of a great uncle once removed who ran a moonshine still for Capone, or the rich history of Islay, most of my favorite pours have a great story behind them. And it's only fitting that the stories should be good, because whisk(e)y is meant to be sipped with friends while you debate and solve the weighty issues of the day.
Dublin's Teeling Distillery gets this as well as anyone. The story behind the distillery and its master distiller, Alex Chasko is a ripping yarn, one that I'll lay out in detail in a future full length piece. But the stories don't matter, if the drink doesn't stand on its own.
And brother, does the Teeling line stand on it's own. I've been drinking the Single Grain (ABV 46%, $40) recently and maybe it's the American Oak and Cab Sav barrels they use to age the juice, but this and the Single Malt stand alongside Green Spot and Yellow Spot in the class photo of great Irish whiskies. The Single Grain has a carmelly nose that offers up vanilla, almonds, and spice around the edges. It's palate is where this one really sings for me. There's a nutty base to it, one that balances out lashes of toffee, vanilla, apricot, and loam. The finish is delightfully sustained and the caramel makes an encore appearance, along with dried apricots and dark cocoa. These guys are doing some great stuff and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. Happy Monday, friends! - TM #instawhiskey #instawhisky #instadram #dram #whisky #whiskey #whiskygram #whiskeygram #irishwhiskey #teelingwhiskey #alcohol #booze #hooch #cheers #slainte

Redbreast is square in middle of the great Irish whiskey revival. Their whole core line is top-notch: 12, Cask Strength, 15, and 21. As single pot still Irish whiskies, they combine malted & unmalted barley, and are matured in a mix of bourbon & sherry casks.
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The Lustau is a no-age-statement (roughly 10-year-old), 46% ABV special edition--and a great one. It's the product of a full year of finishing in first-fill Oloroso sherry casks from Spain's Bodegas Lustau.
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I had the pleasure of trying a tasting kit that included both the standard RB 12 for comparison--and a sample of the Lustau itself. Rare and excellent way to track the exact influence of the finish.
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Let's start with the 12. Nose of green apple, candied pear, marzipan, brown sugar, and birch sap. Palate of pound cake drizzled with orange brandy and vanilla icing. A whiff of white smoke, followed by sweet oak & baking spice. Lemon pith & white pepper carry the sweeter notes to the finish.
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On its own, the Lustau sherry is dry, nutty, sour & mushroomy--but shows up in the RB Lustau quite differently. Added to 12's profile are buttered popcorn on the nose, plus the more usual plum, raisin & fig notes--though the sweetness restrained. More toasted almond now than marzipan. The palate has raisin bars & toasted nuts, pecans & peanuts. The brown sugar notes shade toward maple.
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In sum, the Lustau sherry makes for a brilliant compliment to the RB, adding depth, nuance, and dark fruits while reigning in the sweetness just enough. Great stuff!
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Happy #ThirstyThursday, friends! What are you sipping? - BO
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#redbreast #lustau #sherry #irishwhiskey #whiskey #whisky #instagood #whiskygram #whiskeygram #singlepotstillirishwhiskey #whiskeyporn #whiskyporn #drinks #spirits #booze #liquor #cheers #slainte #kanpai #cheers #cigars #gentlemen #wateroflife #liquidgold #instawhisky #instawhisky #nowdrinking #happyhour

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