What’s your Holiday Poison?

Rye whiskies

One recent afternoon, there were 3 men representing 3 generations of Kentucky clan, who has been in the distillery industry for over half the century, sitting at a restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. There was Jimmy Russel, a legendary distiller; Eddie Russell, his son and a veteran distiller himself; and Bruce Russell, the 26-year-old son of Eddie and a new addition to their firm.

When their drinks arrived at their table, Eddie Russell introduced each of their poison. “Bourbon! Bourbon!” he said as he pointed to his and his father’s glass. Finally, when he gave his son’s poison, he said, “Rye!”

What was his point? What once was an old man’s drink, Rye Whiskey is now a young person’s drink!

“I’ve always preferred rye. I don’t really have a big sweet tooth. It’s dry and spicy. In my opinion, it’s a lot more complex,” said Bruce Russell during an interview. “Unlike Dad and Jimmy, I really enjoy cocktails. Not just bourbon on the rocks.”

As families reunite this month, they may feel a little disconnected. Thus, if they opt for rye during the holiday gatherings, the benefit is greater. First and foremost, the whiskey drink is a versatile choice for various kinds of drinks, classic, and modern. Second, if what you’re after is an old-fashioned American holidays, you can’t go wrong rye.

The comeback of rye isn’t new to the scene anymore. Whisky — by definition, it is distilled from a minimum of 52% rye — has long been recovering for about a decade already. But what is amazing is that rye has continued to become more popular over the years. This interesting trend may become a long-term adjustment in the drinking habits among Americans.

“There’s a cultural shift that’s happening. The American palate is moving from sweet to savory. That means a move from bourbon to rye. And there’s also a movement toward taste being important. And that means a shift from vodka to rye,” says Dave Pickerell, a distiller who has been influential in many popular new rye brands, such as WhistlePig and Hillrock.

A trade group, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, released a study last August showing that the sales of rye had significantly increased from 2009 to 2014, rising to over 561,000 9-liter cases from more than 88,000.

Rye whiskies

Rye Whiskies this Festive Cheer. Image: www.advicesisters.com

When American Whiskey bar opened in Manhattan last 2013, they predicted that healthy rye sales would  help them succeed in the industry. They weren’t exactly sure how much though.

“There’s the change we anticipated, and the change that has actually happened. We thought people would drink rye — mainly overproof rye and in cocktails. What I’m seeing more of is people ordering expressions neat, with one rock at the most,” says Kevin Hooshangi, a part-owner of the bar.

Today, we can now see a lot of brands available in the market. Some of the famous ryes were produced by micro-distilleries that responded to the purist bartenders’ desire to create classic cocktails, such as the manhattan and old-fashioned drinks with rye.

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Fine Irish Whiskies

Teeling 21-year-old Vintage Reserve

When you go inside the liquor store, you get overwhelmed with the many choices of whiskies you can find. Choosing what whisky to buy can be very difficult as you need to consider a lot of things like the atmosphere, your personality, your preferences, as well as your experiences. To help you decide, we gathered a list of top whiskies for you to choose from.

Tyrconnell Madeira Finish

The Tyrconnell Madeira Finish is warm, smooth and fruity. At 10 years, it was aged in a bourbon cask for 9 years and finished for 3 months in Madeira cask. It is one of their famous series of port and sherry cask finishes. But what makes this bottle unique is its sweet and malty flavor!

Palace Bar Fourth Estate Single Malt

The Palace Bar Fourth Estate Single Malt is a flavorful whisky that comes in a variety of ages (up to 21 years). “Palace Bar” is a popular bar during the Victorian era located at Dublin’s Fleet Street. It was a common practice for bars years ago to bottle their own whiskies and keep them in their cellar. Today, however, it’s difficult to imagine for this practice to ever return because of marketing and premiumization. The bar recently produced and released about 1,000 bottles with varying ages.

Teeling 21-year-old Vintage Reserve

This is a wonderful whisky! And since it is only limited to 5,000 bottles, it is one of the nicest liquors to collect. The wide range of Teeling whiskies is extremely popular in Dick Macks. This whisky was initially aged in bourbon barrels and finished in Sauternes wine casks. It gives a smoky flavor that eventually changes to a slightly fruity taste.

Teeling 21-year-old Vintage Reserve

Teeling Vintage Reserve Single Malt 21 Years. By www.whiskykritikerna.se

Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey

This type of whisky is wonderfully blended, distinctively finished off from inrum barrels. The additional aging gives some delicious tropical fruit tastes with a hint of sweetness! Some people recommend drinking it neat or on the rocks!

Irishman Single Malt

Irishman is produced by Walsh’s distillery. They’ve been around for a few years now; however, they are currently setting up their own distillery located in Carlow. The Irishman is a classic Irish Malt that has been aged in oak bourbon and oloroso sherry casks which gave exceptional flavor and complexity. Each batch of production was only limited to about 6,000 bottles. It is highly recommended to those who are beginners to drinking whisky because of its very smooth blend.

Mitchell & Son Green Spot Pot Still Whisky

Like the other whiskies, it is also limited; most of which were sold in the home market. The Green Spot is well-loved by critics. It has a fruity flavor (a mix of both red and green apples) with a hint of honey and a nice touch of toastiness.

Power’s John’s Lane Release, 12-year-old Pot Still Whisky

This whisky has a rich, smooth texture with a touch of spiciness and citrus fruity flavor. It is aged in a bourbon and oloroso sherry casks and it was named after the first distillery where it was produced (which has, unfortunately, closed).

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The Aged Iowa Legendary Rye to be Made Available at Liquor Stores

Iowa Legendary Rye

Rich Eggers has been making a name in the alcohol industry for years now. If you’ve heard about the rumors, it was said that he learned a top secret recipe from his older brother, who was trained by their deceased, boot-legging neighbor who had been making whiskies ever since Prohibition.

The local’s product of Caroll, Iowa became very popular that his wife got scared and struck him a deal: become legit or stop making whiskies. Fortunately for us, his passion for liquors prevailed. Today, customers can see the Iowa Legendary Rye in various liquor stores all over Iowa. The first ever product of the company even made its way to different retailers in Chicago, Omaha, and even Washington, D.C.

Aged Whiskies

In approximately 18 to 24 months, the company’s first batch of aged whiskies will be made available at the shelves of many liquor stores. For the meantime, the Iowa Legendary Rye is selling the very popular un-aged white whisky. Its smooth flavor makes it ideal for almost all varieties of cocktail recipes. You can try a number of tasteful infusions that were created by Eggers and Lisa Chase, his wife. Flavors have ranged from the savory bloody to the sweet Pink Lemonade, Cinnamon Bun, Peach, and the classic Rock-and-Rye. You can see a lot of their famous recipes on their Facebook page as a way of giving back to their fans. You might want to try and experiment in your home.

Iowa Legendary Rye

Iowa Legendary Rye. Image (c): iowalegendaryrye.com

Legendary Rye Distills in Iowa Only

The owners of the Legendary Rye pledged that they will only be distilling in Iowa, and they only have a little national ambition.

Eggers, 54, who works during daytime at the service department of a local Ford Dealership, said, “I’m not out to make a million dollars. If I can make $30,000 to $40,000 a year and work for myself and have everybody like it, I’ll be tickled.”

Currently, Iowa has 11 micro-distilleries that operate all over the state, according to Robert Bailey, the spokesman of the Alcoholic Beverages Division of the State. The State law caps each of them to produce 500,000 gallons each year.

The Legendary Rye is planning to barrel-age their whiskies anywhere between two to five years in a garage. The barrels are said to be from Minnesota, while the bottles will come from New York.

Chase and Eggers started to put up the brand a year ago. They got approved from the city, state, and federal governments. According to Chase, the only significant hurdle is the federal clearance of their labels.

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Chivas Regal Releases a Collectible in Hong Kong

Chivas Regal The Icon

As they’re taking over Foxglove for 4 days, Chivas Regal introduced their newest addition to their variety, the Icon, in Hong Kong. Collin Scott, the master blender, held a blending session for trade and consumers.

After the release of The Icon in UK during the summer, Chivas tapped into the Asian market of luxury whiskies and only released a few bottles. They want to make sure that The Icon remains a collectible and an unforgettable blend.

The Icon is a blend of honey, vanilla, and dark chocolate which are balanced out by hazelnut. It has a distinctive long finish like that of the original Chivas.

As described by Scott, the Icon is “the embodiment of craftsmanship and tradition”. There were 1,500 bottles of “the Icon” released around the world with only 10 available in Asia. This variety is a mix of over 20 whisky blends from various distilleries, which include Glen Keith in Speyside, Longmorn in Moray, and Strathisla in the Highlands.

Chivas Regal The Icon

Colin Scott introduces the Icon to the Asia market. Photo: www.thedrinksbusiness.com

The Icon is only available through private order for HK$28,800 with only limited quantities sold at Duty Free in the airport of Hong Kong.

“The Icon is a truly exquisite blend — perfectly smooth with an intense concentration of sumptuous flavours that develop into an exceptionally long, lingering finish. I am proud to present this luxurious expression of Chivas Regal house style in Hong Kong, offering our guests a unique immersive glimpse into the world of Chivas Regal,” Colin Scott said.

According to the Global Ambassador for Chivas Regal, Darren Hosie, The Icon used some of the rarest whiskies that don’t exist anymore.

The Chivas Masters of 2016 also commenced with 7 Hong Kong bartenders combining cocktails utilizing Chivas Regal 12. These bartenders are contending to be able to compete in the finals which will be held in Shanghai, China in June 2016.


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Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky Targets 450,000 KM of Safe Drives Home Worldwide during the Holidays

McLaren Honda Test Driver Stoffel Vandoorne, Johnnie Walker(R) Global Responsible Drinking Ambassador Mika Häkkinen pictured with his Caparo T1 supercar and the lesser-seen McLaren 570S supercar, alongside fellow F1 World Champions and McLaren Honda drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso at London's Westminster Parliament buildings. (PRNewsFoto/Johnnie Walker)

Formula 1 stars Mika Hakkinen, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, takes the initiative to launch the Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky’s call for global responsible drinking.

This holiday season, what do you think is the best gift you could wish or give to a friend? Well, a safe ride home will be one of the best choices.

With the holiday season starting to bloom, hanging out with friends and relatives becomes a constant scenario. Thus, Johnnie Walker, which is the world’s number one Scotch whisky aims to encourage people to pledge to never drink and drive in order to make sure that they get home safely.

As a start of this holiday festive regarding responsible drinking campaign, a 450,000 KM of safe drive towards home around the world is promise by the world’s leading Scotch whisky, Johnnie Walker. It includes the cities of Madrid, Sao Paulo and Edinburgh.

McLaren Honda Test Driver Stoffel Vandoorne, Johnnie Walker(R) Global Responsible Drinking Ambassador Mika Häkkinen pictured with his Caparo T1 supercar and the lesser-seen McLaren 570S supercar, alongside fellow F1 World Champions and McLaren Honda drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso at London's Westminster Parliament buildings. (PRNewsFoto/Johnnie Walker)

McLaren Honda Test Driver Stoffel Vandoorne, Johnnie Walker(R) Global Responsible Drinking Ambassador Mika Häkkinen pictured with his Caparo T1 supercar and the lesser-seen McLaren 570S supercar, alongside fellow F1 World Champions and McLaren Honda drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso at London’s Westminster Parliament buildings. (PRNewsFoto/Johnnie Walker)

To those who are interested and would want to participate in responsible drinking towards a safe drive home they need to make a commitment by signing through “Join the Pact “. This year some people will have the opportunity to move forward and experience the season of giving. This is through nominating a friend for a safe ride home and this will start in London.

In order to encourage more people to participate in the campaign, three formula 1 worlds champions like, Mika Hakkinen, Fernando Alonso and McLaren Honda’s Jenson Button has gone behind the wheels together with McLaren Honda Test Driver Stoffel Vandoorne at a “Driving Spectacular” at London’s Wembley Park.

These personalities has got behind the wheels in order to support the “never drink and drive” campaign. Along with sending such message is the promotion of the new Join the Pact film which is joined by Mika Hakkinen, which is the Johnnie walker Global Responsible Drinking Ambassador.

Also present in the event was the Johnnie Walker Global Brand Director, Guy Escolme which said that they are delighted with the Formula 1 champions, Mike, Fernando, Stoffel and Jenson for participating in the event.

Formula 1 is considered as the most progressive and exciting sports in the world and is proven to be repeatedly. The good thing about this sport is that when you put a lot of passion, commitment as well as your love for this circuit you will surely come a long way.

Over 400 million people are a fan of the formula 1 race all over the world, thus, for almost 10 years; we are reaching a lot of audience with our responsible drinking call. This has been possible through our partnership with McLaren Honda. More and more people are now considering the “Join the Pact” to never drink and drive campaign.

During the event, Mika Hakkinen said that the holiday season is a time where friends and families celebrate the season and share gifts. This is a perfect time to throw parties and reunions. Thus we want to encourage those people who are planning to drink alcohol in the party to never bring their cars with them.

Hakkinen also said, “I strongly urge everyone to Join The Pact to never drink and drive. Some of those who make the commitment this year will be able to thank their friends with the gift of a safe ride home, thanks to a partnership between Johnnie Walker and UBER in the UK and other transport partners across the world.”

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Introducing the New Grant’s Ale Finish Blended Whisky

Grant’s Ale Cask Finish Blended Whisky

William Grant & Sons, a whisky company form Scotland, is popular for its luxury single malt brands, such as the Glenfiddich and Balvenie. It also has the third largest blended Scotch label in the world, the Grant’s. They will be introducing a new whisky to its American market under the Grant’s label.

Their new variety, Grant’s Ale Cask Finish Blended Whisky, was kept for 4 months in barrels that had previously undisclosed ale. Brian Kinsman, the master blender of Grant’s, partnered with a small Scottish brewing company to utilize their ale casks for the production of this new whisky. After the maturation process, the bottle gives drinkers a distinctively creamy, malty, and honey flavor.

Grant’s Ale Cask Finish Blended Whisky

Grant’s produces blended Scotch whisky at low Low LOW prices!! Photo by maltmileage.com

“I thoroughly enjoy working with different finishes on our blended whiskies — it’s a fascinating process to monitor the evolution as the casks work their magic on the liquid. We have the end result in mid as we craft all our whiskies but there is something special about adding the final touch with an interesting finish. The resulting flavor of the whisky is so reminiscent of the liquid previously held in the cask, it takes the drinker’s palate on a really remarkable journey,” Kinsman said in a statement.

According to Rob Allanson, the Global Ambassador for Grant, the Grant Ale Cask shows the blending skills and innovation pedigree that were handed down by Master Blenders for generations. There is currently no blended Scotch available in the market that was finished in ale casks. He added that they’re proud to be known for being the producer of a unique and award-winning whisky.

The Grant’s Ale Cask Finish has been awarded with a silver medal during the Global Scotch Whisky Masters 2015. It is available today in the selected local markets in 750 ml bottles.

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The Etiquette for Drinkers

good whiskey

Parks and Recreation’s fictional character, Ron Swanson, is a whisky drinking champion. He’s the type of man who understand the importance of a good scotch and the solitude that one can feel when drinking sweet, fiery nectar even when you’re alone.

The Drinking Etiquette

good whiskey

Nick Offerman Enjoying Fine Whiskey By The Fire. Image credits to sobadsogood.com

We can learn a lot about drinking etiquette from Nick Offerman’s 45-minute video on the finer things you enjoy with whiskey. This includes being able to sit quietly, be comfortable, and just let time pass by; all of us could learn something from that. Ron Swanson, his alter ego, also gives some great lessons on drinking which we can benefit from hearing — but in this case, reading.

  • When you are having your alone time and you’re enjoying a fine drink, like scotch, it is absolutely necessary to remove all unwanted distractions. Note that you don’t have to destroy your phone. All you need to do is to turn it off or put it on silent mode… or place it far from you, preferably out of earshot.
  • Be content with spending time alone with no one but yourself. We all need sometime alone every now and then; what is more enjoyable than having a scotch in hand in the solitude of your favorite “hiding place”.
  • Stick to your budget. When drinking liquor, stick to the brand that suits your budget so you won’t have money problems later on.
  • There are no rule books. Thus, there is no incorrect way of consuming alcohol. You can drink it from a glass, a jar, a bottle, or a can; whichever you are comfortable drinking from. Live the dream!
  • There are limitations, however. You don’t need to act all fancy, inhaling alcohol in some way. Alcohol is meant to be drunk, not smelled!
  • Thank yourself for doing something good and show yourself some love. Remember, you deserve this.
  • As soon as you have drunk a certain amount of alcohol, you might feel like you want to start dancing to the beat of any music. Go for it! Dance like nobody’s watching!
  • If you’ve reach a certain point, you might want to call it a night! Can’t seem to recognize the song playing? Wearing something that isn’t yours? It might be time for you to go bed.
  • Be aware about your alcohol consumption. Count the bottles or glasses you’ve drank.
  • Don’t waste your time on regrets!

Pour yourself a fine drink! Enjoy the solitude of your own company!

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SKYY Vodka Launches a Campaign with Limited Edition Holiday Collection


SKYY Vodka, the American-made vodka, is gearing itself up for the holidays. Only available during the holiday season, the famous cobalt blue SKYY bottles will be packaged in blue and white Fair Isle knit sweaters. Its special packaging makes it an ideal gift for hosts of Christmas parties and dinners this year.

The holiday bottle is included in the 360-degree marketing campaign, called “Let’s Holidayy”, that showcases the existing holiday traditions. SKYY will making the cities look festive with their knotted sweater spectaculars. A knitting needle armed crew will be in New York to create many large-scale pieces that are inspired by the holiday bottles. The event will happen live at the Chelsea Market, which will be displayed for the entire month of December.  There will also be sweater festive installations at some of the popular places in New York, such as the Meatpacking District and Union Square.


Skyy Vodka Sweater. Photo: brandingforum.org

Aside from New York City, SKYY will also transform other major cities with holiday sweater parties at various premise accounts and influencer events complete with their ugly sweater pieces. Meanwhile in Boston and downtown Chicago, their bus shelters will be decorated with cobalt blue knitted graffiti. In San Francisco, on the other hand, transit buses will be hustled up from the winter chill as they promote responsible drinking.

“The SKYY brand possesses the innovative and progressive spirit of California, where it was first created, so we’re always looking to invent new experiences like “Let’s Holidayy” for our consumers. Ugly sweaters have become a big pop culture trend, with people theming entire parties around them, and vodka is the number spirit consumed during the holidays. It was a natural fit to combine the two,” says the Vice President of Marketing at Campari America, Mr. Umberto Luchini.

Otis Florence (the global ambassador for SKYY), Anne Sage (a DIY lifestyle expert from The City Sage), and Ashley McLaughlin (a DIY lifestyle expert from Edible Perspective) created a holiday collection of flavorful recipes for cocktails to promote holiday spirit. They used SKYY Vodka, SKYY Infusions Blood Orange, and SKYY Infusions Coastal Cranberry that will surely be popular among holiday drinkers!

Since its launch, the SKYY Infusions Coastal Cranberry has been the talk of the town because of its tangy taste and rich color. It captured the essence of cranberry, which has a dry, alluring aroma, and very lively taste that is both sweet and tart.

“A vodka cranberry or a vodka cranberry with a splash of soda are two of the most popular cocktails ordered by consumers in the US today. SKYY Infusion Coastal Cranberry easily recreates that same experience at the bar without the calories of cranberry juice,” said Umberto Luchini.

The famous vodka brand will be hosting a private launch event in New York City with popular DJ entertainment and charity partner Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS in celebration of the launch of the Let’s Holidayy campaign and the first and limited edition SKYY Holiday Sweater Bottle… of course; the theme for the party will be ugly holiday sweaters!

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Alcohol Poisoning in Russia Left 8 Dead and Many Hospitalized

whisky jack daniels

There have been thirty people from Krasnoyarsk, a city in Siberia, rushed to the hospital and 8 have died from consuming toxic alcohol. According to some reports, the poisonous whisky had about 60% of extremely toxic methyl alcohol that can cause blindness and death when taken by humans.

“It can accumulate in the nervous system causing Parkinson’s-like symptoms — uncontrollable tremors, rigidity and paucity of movement. Part of your brain ceases to respond as it should,” says Dr. Sarah Jarvis.

Hospitals have long been admitting poisoning victims since November 21 and they fear there will still be more of them. According to hospital doctors, many of these victims belong in the middle class rather than the homeless or marginalized, who are usually the victims of extreme alcohol poisoning.

The Krasnoyarsk police said that the toxic bottles were purchased online for a very low price (250-300 roubles per bottle or $3.75 to $4.50), which makes it attractive to most consumers. They were packaged with “realistic labels” that can easily fool ordinary consumers.

Two Russian men, 25 and 29 years old, have been detained by the police and are under interrogation in order to find out who manufactured the poisonous alcohol and, whether or not, it had been shipped to other cities in Russia.

whisky jack daniels

How to verify the authenticity of the alcohol. By hybridtechcar.com

“We are co-operating with the Russian authorities as they investigate the incident. The best way for consumers to protect themselves from such counterfeit product is to buy from reputable retail stores,” says Phil Lynch, the director of corporate communications of Jack Daniel’s, to the Daily Star Online.

According to Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee, this incident suggest that there are criminal groups operating in Russia that are the cause of these deaths and are perfectly aware of the consequences. They also won’t rule out the possibility that the alcohol was smuggled from abroad.

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What You Should Know About Whiskeys

bourbon whiskey

A freshly distilled Glenlivet in 1964 would have been clear and have tasted cereal-rich, slightly smoky, brightly fruity, and a bit solvent-like. However, it needed time to mellow down in a barrel.

More than 50 years later, the liquor is now deep amber in color without the hint of its smoky aroma. The fruity notes have become richer; there are caramel, chocolate, honey, and toffee characteristics; and there’s a hint of tannic dryness. Most of the initial alcohol has evaporated in the barrel, which left only 100 bottles available in the market.

How Whisky is made

Like any other spirit, whisky is influenced by its environment — the type of barrel, the charring in the interior, as well as the place where the barrel is stored. Over the course of time, these factors make a huge impact on the color, feel, and flavor of the whisky. And although we don’t have an idea about the magic of aging a barrel, we do know that it is extremely significant.

By law, bourbon must be aged in an unused, charred wood barrel; meanwhile, Scotch whisky is aged in barrels that have been previously used for bourbon or sherry. While bourbon is being aged in American oak barrels; Scotch whisky is often aged in European oak.

Barrels are usually toasted in Europe and charred in the US before it is used to age whiskies. The charring will serve as filters of the spirit as it partially removes flavors that are undesirable to the taste — it works just like water filters work at home.

bourbon whiskey

Whiskey is a fantastic beverage to sip, shoot, or enjoy with coke, but do you really know everything about your favorite adult beverage?. Image from guys.world

How Barrels affect the Flavor

The wood used in the Barrel adds flavor to the whisky: lignin adds vanilla and marzipan-like flavors; while lactone gives butter coconut flavor. Lignin and lactones constitute the major part of what is called the “wood flavor”.

The wood spice, on the other hand, is composed of another set of compounds. The tannins give an astringent flavor — they can also be found in teas and walnuts, giving a similarly dry mouth feel. Tannins extract the sweet butterscotch taste of whiskeys over time, making it taste more like an old wet log.

Finally, the smoke flavors of whisky are measured by the amount of phenols. Despite being associated with campfire smoke, phenols that are aged in a whisky barrel don’t blow away during windy days; but, rather transform there.

Bryan Davis of Lost Distillery said, “The longer you age, the more the phenols bond with other things in the solution to form new compounds like phenylated carboxylic esters, which tend to taste like honey. In a way, you trade smoke for honey.”

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