Tag Archives: News

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%)

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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!

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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.


The Dragon’s Drink of Choice

Bruce Lee

So, today’s burning question:  What would Bruce Lee drink (that is if he were a drinking man at all)?

Well, if you’re Diageo/Johnnie Walker, the answer is obviously Johnnie Walker Blue Label:

Hmmmm…the kung-fu fans are upset because they argue that Bruce Lee wasn’t a drinker and the whisky fans are upset because it’s Diageo, and well, they can’t do anything without upsetting the whisky world. But I’m more upset because there’s nooo waaay Bruce Lee would use the phrase “Game Changer.”


USA Ardbog Day | Ardbeg

The USA celebration of Ardbeg day kicks off tomorrow (May 28th) in Denver, Chicago, and Decatur, GA.  The festivities continue through the states until June 1st, find out if they’re rolling through your town and sign up:

USA Ardbog Day | Ardbeg.

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