Hoosierland White Lightning

Your boys here at Whiskey on the Rails hail from the great land of corn, basketball and mullets. We are proud to be from Indiana (minus all of the negative press in recent months), but found yet another reason to brag upon The Crossroads of America-other than Michael Jacksons birthplace. The Indiana Whiskey Company is making some rather tasty mild rocket fuel out of South Bend!

We cracked open a bottle of their “Silver Sweet Corn Whiskey” and began to sweat. This unaged beauty is made from 80% Indiana grown corn and is bottled between 80-90 proof (40%-45% ABV). The nose on this is an extremely crisp, clean corn with an underlying grain alcohol aroma. If you are looking for something to warm your belly, look no further! While this bold tasting whiskey is reminiscent of the hooch your grandfather kept in a mason jar, the finish is clean and refreshing. Along with a sweetness that makes you keep going back for more, Indiana Silver Sweet Corn Whiskey has been proven to turn bare chested Justin Bieber fans in to Tom Selleck stunt doubles…..Ladies, you’ve been warned! While we always try to review a whiskey three ways; neat, rocks and mixer, we felt that the Silver Sweet corn was just too strong to add a mixer and agreed that it is a great rocks whiskey.

This variety may not be for beginners, but is definitely a whiskey that needs to be tasted just to pay homage to the old school ways of distilling, adding nothing to the liquor but the bare essential flavor. The Silver Sweet Corn Whiskey earned the 2014 Silver Medal at the World Spirits Competition, Indiana Whiskey Company also makes two other varieties that will be reviewed by us in the very near future! So now that we have bragged about how delicious this whiskey is….comes the bad news. Indiana Whiskey is only for sale in, you guessed it, Indiana. So until then we suggest you come on up to the great state of Indiana, cheer on the Irish and while your in town swing by and get you a bottle of this clear corn deliciousness!

Episode 3 – ColdCock Whiskey Enters The Rails

One thing can be said for the Whiskey On The Rails guys, we aren’t afraid to take a punch when it comes to our whiskey.   Well thanks to Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey, that punch of excitement coming straight at you on the bottle..   BOOM!!!    POW!!!!   Makes you immediately want some of that…   Heck, we went and got some of that for this podcast..  Let me tell you, if you don’t respect this whiskey you might just get Coldcock’d…   Check out this entertaining podcast while we were drinking on the rails..  Train..  Train…   

Check out this episode!

Getting Coldcock On The Rails

When most people buy something, regardless of the product, they are drawn to the marketing of that product.   Whether it is a brand new car, the next best thing or a bottle of whiskey.   It could be the name, it could be the branding or it could be the design..    Regardless, marketing is key for success.. Well marketing is showcased in not only this blog but our podcast recording for Coldcock Whiskey…

What is cooler than matte black?   Nothing…  Whether it is the color of your new car, your new motorcycle or your new bottle of Whiskey..   Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey captures your attention with their bottle..   The logo is what catches your attention next because it is that punch of excitement coming straight at you on the bottle..   BOOM!!!    POW!!!!   Makes you immediately want some of that…   Heck, we went and got some of that for our podcast..   Let me tell you, if you don’t respect this whiskey you might just get Coldcock’d…

Let us start with how we ran across this whiskey to set up our podcast.    We love our local and national music scene..    Every one of those bands look for some great sponsors to back them both on and off the stage.   Over the past couple of years, one of the names that keeps on growing is Coldcock Whiskey..     From national tours like Mayhem Fest to local Indianapolis acts like Rich Hardesty, they are flying the black matte banner..    We have seen those banners popping up all over the city and with the banners come the bottles of whiskey.

Well we took one of those bottles because we wanted to get some of that..    We wanted to be fair like the bulk of our reviews and try them three ways..    Neat, Rocks and Mixed because that is how we do it on the rails..    In our overall podcast review, we mentioned that Coldcock boasts that they have nearly half the sugar of competing shot brands at 70 proofs..   Which we said that before we ever tried it and man we wanted to say, really???  Because when we first tasted the whiskey, that sweetness is all we tasted..  It has that punch of sweet that was almost like a southern sweet tea punching you on the lake…   Which if you don’t know, I am a huge fan of sweet tea so it wasn’t a bad kick start to this whiskey..    This by far isn’t a sipper, so we did what needed to be done and pounded down the whiskey in our awesome GlenCairn Whiskey Glass..      Extremely sweet on the front and really smooth on the back end with no burn at all with the taste..   It was a great shot to take with some really great flavors..

Their website boasts the American bourbon is infused with herbs like green tea and ginger (with some additional flavors) but those were the two items that extremely stood out when trying it..   I really had that ginger taste on the back-end for quite a few minutes..  To me again, isn’t a problem because I like ginger but we already had an idea of what would go great with this as a mixture..  But we aren’t there yet, we wanted to have the whiskey on the rocks..

Adding ice to the drink, and ultimately water, probably was my least favorite way to have this as a drink..   When it comes to my whiskey in general, I love to have it cold..   Fresh out of the freezer is preferred but when you introduce ice and water to this whiskey it really doesn’t add very much value and watering is down almost takes away the smooth flavor from front to the end..    If we would have had some sort of whiskey stones opposed to ice, I think my review might be completely different here but rocks certainly isn’t the way to go to enjoy this whiskey..  Doesn’t give you that punch of fun but maybe more of a slow rocking chair of excitement..

We continue the process and we went with a mixture..  Honestly this is where the drink shines because it is a great compliment to some already favorite mixtures..   While we took some suggestions from their website which one of the drinks was a Cocky Mule..  Which if you haven’t had it you basically are going to take 1 ½ parts of Coldcock Whiskey, fill with ginger beer, ice and a lime wedge in your favorite Moscow Mule Mug.    We tried this right out of the gate and it was a great drink right out of the gate..  However my favorite way of having this was in an Arnold Palmer..  We took some un-sweet tea, lemonade and gave it a strong pour of Coldcock..   Not only did both of the guys agree that this was probably the best way to have it in a mixed drink, we want to submit the suggestion to Coldcock Whiskey as a “Cocky Rail” (drink patent pending).    The biggest problem with the drink was you had to keep making new drinks because they went down so smooth.

At this end of the day, we tried the whiskey and found great ways to enjoy the whiskey.     We liked it cold, we loved it mixed and enjoyed the punch when we got some of that..    Would we keep this whiskey in our bar, yes we would..      We want that black matte bottle with the fist on our shelves so we can challenge the next whiskey drinker to step up and try it..    If you have had it, you know it is great to toast that next band when they are about to take the stage…

So close, yet so far away!

Beam_vs_Williams

In this blog, Rob and I sit down with two bottles of what would seem complete opposites, but they both make the favorite list for the same reason…Pure drinking enjoyment!

The first bottle we cracked open was Evan Williams black label Kentucky Bourbon.  Starting with the exterior, the first thing that one will notice is the distinct similarities to everybody’s old friend Jack Daniels, although Mr. Williams has been tickling folks pallets for a staggering 92 years before JD, it is safe to safe to say he has earned his right to the black label .  A straight to the point black wrap with bold white letters to let you know exactly what you are in store for, while leaving the gimmicks behind. Although bottled in Bardstown, the product is distilled along the beautiful Kentucky Bourbon Trail at Heaven Hill distillery in Louisville, which is responsible for a couple of whiskey’s that will be sampled on our show, including the coveted Elijah Craig Single Barrel.

Evan black label is an 86 proof, 5-7 year aged, medium amber bourbon with a nose that is advertised as “Light, with deep vanilla and mint”.  While Rob was able to pick up on the mint after a couple of sniff tests, it is something that I never experienced. While I have had a longstanding relationship with Evan, the main pickups for me are a light “oakiness” backed up with an even lighter scent of vanilla.  With most of our reviews, we try to test each whiskey 2 or 3 different ways, neat, rocks and when needed, add a mixer.  My personal feeling is that the black label is not a sipping whiskey.  I feel while it makes for an excellent Whiskey and Soda, it is a bit harsher than I prefer for a shot on the rocks.  I understand that a lot of people may disagree with my assessment, but nonetheless, I still have a huge place in my heart for Evan Williams!

Rob and I decided to take a go at this Kentucky favorite with a Cherry Soda mixer.  This flavored Coke was actually grabbed by mistake out the fridge, but fate was on our side that night as this turned out to be the perfect concoction!  The light vanilla and deep hidden caramel notes were really accentuated by this fine mixer, leaving us with a sweet, cherry vanilla glass of goodness.  Note:  Your friends here at Whiskey on the Rails pour very generous drinks and don’t believe in skimping on the good stuff, so with that being said, the harshness that I spoke of earlier still poked its head through the mixer ever so slightly.  By no means is this a bad thing when mixed with Cherry Coke, as it really enhances the flavor and is more of Evan’s little way of reminding you that he will not be buried!

Evan Williams is one of my all-time favorites and will continue to be for many reasons.  The price ranges on a fifth of the black label across the US between $11.29(yes, you read that correctly) and $18.99.  We were able to find this gem in the $12.00 price range, solidifying why it took the crown for “Best Buy Whiskey of the Year” in 2011 at the Annual Malt Advocate Whisky Awards.  Don’t let the price fool you, fact is, Evan Williams a great mixing whiskey made by a great company, the price should just be more of a reason to make this a key piece of your at home bar puzzle.  Having the boys over for poker on a Friday night is not going to affect your bankroll when you start mixing up Evans and Cherry!

Our next stop was another Kentucky Bourbon Trail product, Jim Beams “Pride of the Rack house” Single Barrel Bourbon.  Being the Beam guys we are we couldn’t wait to review this 4-7 year aged, 95 proof bourbon.  The exterior of this bottle screams class and pride from its sleek lines, to the sticker informing you on batch and barrel information, all the way to nicely wrapped cap which has been upgraded from twist off, to cork plug.  With drool forming, we cracked open this beauty and dove in head first.

Upon the initial sniff test, we picked up strong oak and vanilla tones.  The aroma this bourbon puts off should be captured and pumped into every DMV, grocery store and office cubicle; as the world would be a better place!   My booze hound experience has taught me many lessons, and one of them is generally the higher proof a bottle is, usually results with me wincing and gasping for air after drinking it.  This single barrel proved my life’s work entirely wrong.  Like I mentioned before, JBSB comes in at a whopping 95 proof but feels like silk when consumed.

When this hit my lips, I heard angels singing and my mind was at ease.  I have to admit the first sip was purely an oak taste and finish which was enjoyable, but the following drinks were all about the caramel background.  This bourbon deserves the respect of you trying at least one shot neat and then moving to some rocks if needed.  I am sure if I dig in the Kentucky law books I will find that mixing this sweet nectar with anything but good friends and a cigar will result in public shaming and jail time.  Now along with the caramel you are going to pick up the signature Jim Beam corn flavor as well.  The only thing lacking is the “throat hit”.  If you have followed Whiskey on the Rails, you know that I like my whiskey to give me a little burn, not too much, just enough to let me know she cares.  This bourbon is far too smooth and is missing that enjoyable part of whiskey drinking.

This bottle comes in around the $35.00 mark and to me is money well spent.  I mean come on, my only complaint about this bottle was that it was “too smooth”….Who am I kidding, this stuff is amazing!  I have heard other folks say that they don’t feel Jim Beam Single Barrel compares to the complexity and depths of other single barrels on the market, I totally disagree.  Dollar for dollar Beam Single Barrel holds its own, making it the 2015 Gold Medal Winner by the Beverage Testing Institute.    This is a special occasion bottle that is going to please any whiskey drinker.  If you haven’t given this a shot (pun intended) please, make it a point to do so!

Alberta Rye Whisky – Our Starting Point

Every journey has a starting point.   Whether you are taking your first step in a marathon, getting your first set of car keys or trying your first bottle of whiskey, it all begins with that first step.   We have two guys which are driving the train in our blogs and podcasts…   We have two separate paths with our preferences in drinking… However we found we have the same enjoyment for Jim Beam products.

Since this is going to be the “Beam” guy giving his first blog in this series, I want to talk about one of the recent whiskey’s I was introduced to at a recent “whiskey tasting” event.   Now I am sure this is going to get my first strike against fellow whiskey drinkers but I haven’t always been a fan of knocking a few ice cubes into glass and sipping away… I have always been let’s fire up some coke or diet coke and enjoy a mixed cocktail with whiskey…   Yes, I know that isn’t the best way to drink it but after talking with the host of the whiskey tasting, he said it doesn’t matter how you drink it but drinking the way you like it…   However he still gave me the stink eye I was mixing my whiskey but we moved on and started tasting his samples.

One of the six whiskey’s we tried tonight was a whiskey from north of the boarder.   It was a rye entry (which is a Jim Beam product) called Alberta Rye Whiskey.   I haven’t been a huge “rye” fan over the years however with each whiskey I was sampling, I made sure to have a chaser close by so I could finish off all of the samples.    I heard the same thing from the prior four samples from my buddies, oh man this is great, and you won’t need that chaser… By the fourth sample of hearing it, you sort of lose faith in your friends.   However I guess fifth time is the charm because I finally had to agree with them.

I found a whiskey that I could taste and not have every single hair on my arm pop up.   A whiskey that I could slip on and not feel any bite from it.   A whiskey that I could enjoy in the middle of winter or on the lake in the summer… A whiskey that I have no problem tipping my cigar in and enjoying the evening.

Thanks to the wonder of technology, I could quickly check out the details on this Rye… According to their website, a simple bottle of Alberta Rye Whisky – Dark Batch runs with a simple 91 / 8 / 1… What that means it is 91% Rye Whisky, 8% Bourbon and 1% Sherry.   Now that is too many numbers as far as I am concerned, I went with 100%.   100% sure I am going to pick up a bottle of this whiskey on the way home from this event.   100% sure this is going to be ice cold in my freezer so it is ready for any drinking opportunity… 100% sure, I have found a new great gem from Canada.

I started this blog that every journey starts with that first step.   Well this way my first step in writing a blog about my favorite bottle of whiskey in my freezer.   Stay tuned for more blogs because we are willing to take one for the drinking community and find that next gem…

Alberta-Rye-Dark-Batch