If you’re tired of sipping the same old Starbucks dark roast with your morning stack of pancakes, Van Gogh Imports has a treat for you.Van Gogh, known for its palette of palate-pleasing flavored vodkas, has gone north of the border to bring back Tap 357, a maple-flavored blended rye whiskey with an 81-proof caffeine-surpassing jolt that will bring sunshine to your morning and sweet dreams to your nightcap.The idea was this: Add a dollop of high-grade maple syrup to the smooth butteriness of barrel-aged rye whiskey to create a drink that kicks whiskey up a notch on that maple tree tap. Tap 357 starts with a blend of Canadian rye that has been aged for three, five, or seven years in bourbon casks. Then master blender Michel Marcil adds a dollop or two of pure “Canada 1/Grade A Light” maple syrup, one of Canada’s more-famous culinary exports.The result is a potent but pleasurable cascade of flavors — sugary maple, toasty grain, buttery wood toast — that tastes good either neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails. It’s a tad sweeter than regular rye, and its mouthfeel is more substantial and silkier. But there is no mistaking the barrel bite of true whiskey in the finish.
This review was taken from the Daily Meal
We have Tap 357 in stock, I know I will try it on my next day off, whenever that will be.
Today I spent some time with Olga Wilen from House Spirits Distillery out of distillers row in Portland Oregon. As you know, my favorite thing to taste is the micro distilled spirits, I believe they are the next growth market. House of Spirits brought in 4 things to taste, White Dog Whiskey, Krogstad Aquavit, Aviation Gin and a Coffee Spirit that is not being released as of yet.
The White Dog Whiskey is a clear whiskey that is made from 100% malted barley and is double distilled and brought down to 100 proof. I believe this is a better mixing whiskey than drinking neat or over the rocks.
Krogstad Aquavit is a take on the Scandinavian spirit that is flavored with caraway seeds and star anise. My take was the star anise was the more pronounced flavor, which I happened to like. Very smooth, seemed to be directed for mixologist, but I could see having it as a digistif.
Aviation Gin was a very nice less heavy-handed juniper style of gin. It would absolutely mix well and I can drink it straight.
Finally I tasted the coffee liquor which I don’t remember the name and since it won’t be release here until May, I guess I can not worry about it. However, it was really good and I don’t drink coffee. Over ice I think it would taste just like an iced coffee with a kick. It is made with Guatemalan coffee and taste almost like a black russian, again another easy mixing drink.
Yesterday I was invited to a lunch starring Milagro Tequila. Present at the luncheon were the owners and founders of Milagro Daniel Schneeweiss and Moy Guindi. They presented six of their 7 offerings. I had not had their tequila before and was very interested in their process and most importantly in the taste. Now everyone knows that if you don’t have a great silver the rest of your line is not going to be good. I am happy to say that the Silver was quite good, bordering on very good. It is by far the best silver I have tasted that is mass produced. Even though they are sold around the world they are able to maintain that craft feel especially when we tasted the barrel select. The Reposado and Anejo are by far the best of the larger tequilas I have had. I would not hesitate to drink any of them, when I mean drink I am speaking about straight maybe over ice.
The 3 barrel selects, Silver, Reposado and Anejo were on totally different level. The Silver retails for 37.99, which is $2 less than Patron. If you did a taste comparison you would never drink anything else again. It is that good of a silver. The Reposado is nice and sublime, beautiful color and nose. That taste was almost velvet, yes a tequila that taste like that. However, I can not adequately find the words to describe the Barrel Select Anejo. I wish I had a cigar because it would have been a perfect accompaniment. There was actually a sweetness that would have gone well with a taste of dark chocolate. This is now my new favorite tequila.
I came in this morning forgetting that I scheduled a tasting first thing this morning. Nothing better than at 10:00 starting to drink, and I get paid for this. Well sometimes it is good, and other times well let’s just say it leaves me wondering how people can buy some of this stuff. Today was a good day.
I started off with Deaths Door; Vodka, Gin and White Whiskey. The vodka is very reminiscent of Ketel One. Nice and smooth but with that alcohol burn at the end like Ketel One. Deaths Door gin really wasn’t very gin tasting. They only use 3 botanicals and the juniper is very understated, I thin it is better for mixing than drinking straight, like I prefer. The White Whiskey was very interesting. There is a heavy wheat nose and feel to the whiskey. I don’t think it is something I could sit and drink straight, but if you were going to make a Manhattan it would mix extremely well.
I also tasted Don Q coconut rum. While the rum flavors are a fad and I am not a huge fan. Every now and again I find one I like. This was one of them. The coconut was from coconut oil and had a very real taste and nose. It was like having a pina colada with only the rum in the glass. The Passionfruit rum was good as well. They are very easy to drink.
Finally the last thing was an 12 year aged rum, DonQ Gran Anejo. Now we are talking. A sipping rum that is smooth has some sweetness but not over powering. Nice rich color, over ice this would be killer.
Great News, we are finally allowed to ship spirits. So, if you ever see any whiskey or spirits that I write about and can’t find them where you live. We can ship it to you. Check out our inventory at buyritewines.com.
Black Grouse is a peated smokey blend by the people who brought us Famous Grouse, the best selling scotch in Scotland. I favorably compare Black Grouse to Johnnie Walker Double Black in both quality of taste and price. In my opinion the Bouble Black is an attempt to give some flavor to a bland whiskey. I feel it is more manufactured than distilled, while Black Grouse has more subtle notes and flavors. Actually I liked it enough that I have a bottle at home, and I don’t drink for pleasure blended scotches.
We just brought in MACKINLAY SHACKELTON replica whiskey into the store. This is the whiskey that kept the expedition warm on those freezing nights. The interesting part is the original whisky was from 1907 so the general tought was that this would be a really heavy peaty whisky that needed to be diluted. In reality it is smooth, with a honey colored body that at 47.3 % it was high enough not to freeze but gentle enough not to burn on the way down. It has a soft, delicate almost elegant nose and such a warming feel that on a cool night, this will be a great drink.
I just did a preview tasting of Cyrus Noble Bourbon. The bourbon was made in Nelson County Kentucky and bottled in California. It has been aged for 5 years in charred American Oak barrels. The tasting notes a very similar as other Bourbons. It is a very limited supply and from a micro distiller, I liked it, compared to Knob Creek or Maker’s Mark. The major difference is that this if 90 proof and doesn’t have that alcohol taste that many do have at that proof.
We should have it in stock in the next couple of weeks.
For those of you who are fans of Pappy Van Winkle, when it comes in, I will announce it on this site, my twitter account and on our Facebook page, just in case you cared.
I had the extreme pleasure of tasting four of the products from Bendistillery, 3 vodkas and a gin. I tasted all 4 warm and then chilled. The 3 vodkas were Crater Lake Vodka, Crater Lake Reserve Vodka and Crater Lake Pepper Vodka (infused with pepper.) On the warm tasting the Reserve was so good I almost didn’t want to chill it because I was afraid the taste would change too much. It was so smooth with absolutely no after taste, that was warm. When I chilled it, the Reserve was every bit as good cold as it was warm. To me the surprising thing was how much I enjoyed the regular vodka. Both warm and cold, the Crater Lake Vodka was smooth and very tasty. I like these style of Vodka no after taste and very smooth. Bendistillery distills their vodka 10 times, if that is what it takes to make a great vodka, more people should be doing it that way.
I also had the Pepper infused vodka that truly has pepper. I am using it right now for a bloody mary. I think it taste great but my wife feels the bloody is missing that horseradish spices. I felt the pepper was just the right amount, not too hot that it took away all flavors, nor to weak that it tasted like a watered down pepper drink.
The Cascade Mountain gin was very good. Even though I think gin has lost it place at the bar, mostly due to the heavily juniper style gins. The Cascade Mountain Gin has hand picked junipers that creates a more subtle aroma and flavor that gins this gin a very soft flavor, making a martini with this will bring back the gin martini.
We will be bringing these into the store once I find them a distributor.
Before the big whiskey tasting tonight at the whiskey guild, I met me with Courtney Ivey, the brand manager, she tasted me on all the products out right now. The vodka was good but that market is really saturated, they have two gins, one a classic london dry gin, the other a more spring gin called Ethereal. It has a strong lavendar flavor, really good. I am not a huge fan of over junipered gins and this hit the spot.
They also have a rum called Ragged Mountin Rum that I really like. It is a nice sipping rum, I haven’t found too many of those yet from the small distillers. The other that I really like was the Berkshire Bourbon. It had a really Kentucky style to it, that went down smooth. I look forward to retasting the BB tonight.
Another cool point was the bottle was different enough to be unique but not so much to be over the top
There is a very limited supply of this new offering from Glennfiddich Cask of Dreams
In 1887, when the spirit flowed into the first cask of Glenfiddich, distillery founder William Grant achieved a lifelong dream. In 2011, the Cask of Dreams has captured and celebrates the hopes and aspirations of people across our country. Twelve casks toured the U.S., and were inscribed with aspirations along the way. They returned to Scotland to be filled with the fruits of the founder’s labor, the “best dram in the valley.” Under the watchful eye of Malt Master Brian Kinsman, these new oak Casks of Dreams impart a uniquely rich, intense flavor to our single malt, creating a rare and personally significant bottling.
We have a limited supply in the store now.