Category Archives: News

St. Patrick’s Day and Irish Whiskey

Chicago - St. Patricks Day

© 2014 Anderson Design Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Buy this ready-to-hang gallery print at:

From our headquarters in Chicago:  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

If you are looking for something to drink this weekend other than cheap green beer, what better time is there to try some Irish whiskey? Irish whiskey is typically distilled three times, this helps to soften the taste which makes it easier to drink. But, this also lightens the character a little by stripping out some of the compounds that impart distinct flavors in whiskey. So, if you are looking to drink something that’s more Velvet Glove than Whiskey Hammer, here are a few suggestions:

  • Redbreast 12 Year: Creamy and a little spicy, this has become a popular choice for whiskey nerds looking for a whiskey from the Emerald Isle.
  • Connemara Peated: The only peated whiskey from Ireland, this has a great deep smoky nose, while maintaining a soft honey sweetness.
  • Bushmills 16 Year: Having been aged in three different types of barrels imparted this whiskey with some complex flavors, from fruity peaches and plums to raisins and honey.
  • Teeling – Small Batch: A new brand from the family that started the Cooley distillery in Ireland, this blend spent some time aging in a rum barrel and has a good multi-faceted flavors like nuts and caramel with a hint of coastal sea-spray.
  • Greenore 8 Year: Probably the lightest of the bunch, but still has whiskey character with dry oak and black pepper spice faintly lingering in the background.

Have a great holiday, drink safely, and Slainté!

Thanks to Dawn at Anderson Design Group.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Craft Whiskey of the Year 2013

Whiskey Advocate Magazine announced their “Craft Whiskey of the Year” award today. The winner is Evanston, IL based FEW Spirits’ Rye. The distillery which is only a few (sorry couldn’t resist) years old and was started by Master Distiller Paul Hletko who had a tough road ahead of him. Evanston was the stronghold of the Temperence Movement that eventually lead to Prohibition being enacted in 1920, and has historically followed Frances Elizabeth Willard’s attitude toward alcohol. Starting the distillery meant changing nearly 100 years of laws before he could begin tackling the issues of running a new business.

A well deserved accolade for one of the next generations great craft distilleries, well done guys!

For the curious we’ve rerun of our review of the excellent FEW Rye (and for the thirsty you can pick up a bottle yourself online from Caskers):

FEW Rye Taste Profile
Stats – 46.5% alcohol, Evanston, IL
Price – $65
Color – Reddish amber
Nose – Spicy and fiery
Palate – A distillery opening in the early haven of the temperance movement is big news, and even better news is that FEW is incredibly talented. A good dose of cinnamon and spice in this rye. It’s still a little sweet and surprisingly rich. The richness builds all the way through this drink while the heat fades for a pleasingly sweet finish. One of the best ryes on the market, track this one down if you like your rye tame and civilized.


  1. Hudson Manhattan Rye (88%)
  2. Journeyman Ravenswood Rye (86%)
  3. Sazerac Straight Rye (85%)

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Washington D.C.

In case you find yourself visiting the nation’s capitol looking for a way to fill the void that the Shut-Down of the monuments has left in your schedule, we highly recommend you find your way up to 18th Street NW.  In the Adams Morgan neighborhood of DC is one of the best whiskey bars you’ll find stateside, or anywhere really.  With a staggering array of Scotch and American whiskeys on hand Jack Rose is sure to please even the most demanding of whiskey snobs (ourselves included).

But the telephone book sized menu of varieties available is just the start, the staff here are better trained than NASA astronauts and just look at this place, it’s the Library of Congress with booze instead of books. So whether you are looking for good conversation, good food, or that impossibly good and impossible to find drink, this is whiskey nerdvana.

Special thanks to Roberto, Harvey, and Arleigh at Jack Rose for sharing their time and knowledge.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Whiskey by the Numbers

Nothing gets whiskey nerds more excited than numbers.  We are surrounded by rankings, reviews, point scales, and questions about how many years a particular whiskey spent aging in what type of barrel.  If you spend more than 10 minutes talking about your favorite drink with anyone from the aforementioned clan of whiskey nerds, you will probably hear on average 25 facts or figures that are numeric in nature. About half of them will be true, almost none will be interesting to the casual whiskey drinker.

These conversations are typically as interesting as hearing about your coworker’s fantasy-team draft picks and how Robert Griffin III is pulling down their odds of repeating their reign as office champion.

In full disclosure, I am a whiskey nerd.  I enjoy discussing the nuances of aging strategies and new distillery openings. But, rather than droning on with no-one-could-possibly-know-as-much-as-me sermonizing, we try to use these numbers and figures to help others navigate the vast choices available today. Namely, we try to find whiskeys with similar taste profiles. This allows us to make suggestions of whiskeys that taste like your current favorite drink.

On this site, we end each review with three choices of alternatives for the over 100 whiskeys we’ve reviewed. Using numeric and statistical tools we have split these whiskeys into 5 teams with similar tastes.

Whiskey Arcs

The diagram is a visual summary of what we’ve been working on, showing our top three picks for any whiskey being connected by arcs.  The weight of that arc is determined by the similarity of the two whiskeys being connected, the thicker and heavier the line, the stronger the similarity. The size of the dot for each whiskey is determined by how many other whiskeys link to it (like its popularity, or similarity) and the color for each dot comes from what team it belongs to.

It’s a big world, drink it in!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


2013 World Whiskies Awards

Whisky Magazine publisihed the results of their 2013 World Whikies Awards.

Among the winners are:

Glenkinchie 12 Year for “Best Lowland Single Malt” and Springbank 10 Year for “Best Campbeltown Single Malt 12 Years and Under.”


And in case you were wondering, Ardbeg Galileo took top honors as “World’s Best Single Malt Whiskey” and George T. Stagg won as “World’s Best North American Whiskey.”


You can read the rest of the results here.