The new decade has so far been more of the same for the Whiskey Hotline and our never-ending mission to bring you the world’s greatest spirits with many barrels tasted and few chosen as Binny’s handpicks. This week we welcome in 2 new barrels of tequila, and we couldn’t be more excited. El Tesoro has long been one of our favorites for its clean, unadulterated agave notes and rich, complex flavor. These are reposado tequila in its purest form, a perfect balance of agave and oak. At El Tesoro the mature agaves are cooked and then crushed with the traditional tahona (a small replica of which is on the closures of these bottles) before spending a brief rest in ex-bourbon barrels. The tequila genius of master distiller Carlos Camarena is on full display in these two new selections. In the depths of winter, we all could use a brief escape to warmer weather…even if it’s only in a glass.
The nose is robust and welcoming with fresh lime, roasted agave, orange blossom and black pepper. On the palate, lush roasted agave flavors mingle with citrus, honey and tropical fruits with white pepper and soft waves of anise to balance. The finish is rich and beautiful with sweet and spice fading away slowly together.
On the nose, spice leads the way with bright white pepper along with vegetal agave flavors, lime pith and a subtle whiff of baked orange. On the palate, tropical fruits and citrus take over with a round underbelly of roasted agave, cinnamon, agave nectar and a bit more of that white pepper. The finish is soft and gorgeous with sweeter flavors outlasting the spicier elements.
El Tesoro has recently introduced a new tequila to the lineup as well, a gorgeous extra anejo. Extra anejo tequilas must be aged in oak barrels for 3 years or more. El Tesoro of course is not the minimum but made from barrels aged 4 to 5 years. Typically, we would see the sweeter and rounder agave notes become muted from this amount of time in a barrel. However, we see a master at work as wood and agave intertwine without oppressing the sumptuous roast agave flavors we love so much in El Tesoro.
On the nose, roasted agave with freshly roasted arabica coffee beans, buttered toffee and cardamom meld perfectly into a luxurious and inviting aroma. The palate highlights the expected roasted agave flavors but they are braced by darker notes of cacao nib. Citrus come next with lime pith followed by toasted oak spice and cinnamon sticks. The finish is glorious with agave lingering alongside pleasant oak flavors and bittersweet chocolate. A perfect candidate for sipping neat.
The Whiskey Hotline has been touting the merits of that other Tennessee whiskey for years and we were glad to see it finally get deserving praise from Whisky Advocate magazine last month. One of the staples in our own home bars is George Dickel No. 8, a smooth, balanced and versatile sipper. While supplies last you can experience this classic yourself for just $19.99 for a 1.75 liter bottle.
A fruit-forward nose of apples and pears with butterscotch, vanilla cream, cocoa powder, red berry and a subtle whiff of anise. On the palate pear nectar, baked apple, caramel sauce, vanilla candy and toffee all layered together with a soft dose of spice. The finish is smooth and mellow with sweeter fruit flavors slowly fading away. A perfect choice as your daily drinker.
2019 was a remarkable year for the Binny’s Handpicked Barrel program with over 250 barrels arriving throughout the year from bourbons and ryes to single malts, tequila and Cognacs. The last to arrive are also some of the Whiskey Hotline’s favorites. A barrel each of bourbon and rye from two of the old guard of the craft distilling movement, Huber’s Starlight and Long Island Spirits.
On the nose sweet and floral corn notes mingle with vanilla blossom, ripe pear, caramel wafer, cardamom and black peppercorn. On the palate oak spice leads with baked orchard fruits and vanilla underneath giving balance. The mouthfeel is soft and lush and highlights the sweeter corn and caramel notes. The finish is long and peppery with fruit fading into spice.
The expected, and robust, rye spice notes jump on the nose but there is a strong balance of vanilla cream, butter toffee, and citrus backing it up. On the palate waves of citrus candy alongside wintergreen with caramel and butterscotch lingering. The finish is gorgeous as sweeter citrus flavors fade into rye spice before transitioning into a caramel and cinnamon duet.
Gorgeous notes of peach blossoms mingle with fresh sliced apple, vanilla bean, toffee and sweet spices. On the palate berry tart, baked apple and peach, vanilla bean, and cinnamon candy layer beautifully. The finish is just stellar with round, sweet fruit notes fading slowly into drier oak spice flavors. A stunning bourbon.
The nose screams rye, loads of wintergreen and herbal mint, backed by a gorgeous floral malted barley flavor with chocolate malt, vanilla lanolin and cinnamon spice floating underneath. The fruity, floral and robust malted barley shines through on the palate with waves of rye spice and sweeter vanilla, toffee and cinnamon candy flavors. The finish is a wonder of wintergreen fading into sweeter grain and toasted oak flavors with a kiss of spice.
This past June we were offered the unique opportunity of a day in the blending lab at the MGP Distillery in Lawrenceburg, IN to construct our own blends of Rossville Union rye. In fact, Binny’s is the only retailer who actually constructed our own blends of Rossville Union for the Barrel Select program. MGP is famous for their bold and spicy rye whiskies, which are created from several mashbills. We used a 51% rye, 44% corn and 5% malted barley whiskey, a barley heavy 51% rye and 49% malted barley blend and the notable and famous 95% rye and 5% malted barley whiskey. The 51% rye, 49% malted barley mashbill, which adds bright fruit and sweet cereal grain flavors to the blend, is not used in any other Rossville rye. For the purposes of the blend breakdown we’ll call these mashbills A, B and C.
Rossville Union Master Crafted Rye Binny's Batch #1
10% A / 30% B / 60% C
On the nose, pleasantly minty with buttered cereal grains, apricot blossoms and orange pith. On the palate fat caramel sauce and a floral vanilla mingle with mint and wintergreen with a splash of clove. On the finish, rye spice and caramel with vanilla syrup and oak spice. Classic rye character with a nice oak balance.
Rossville Union Master Crafted Rye Binny's Batch #2
10% A / 20% B / 70% C
The nose shows brighter notes of candied orange segments and wintergreen in a honeyed citrus brine with buttered toast and baking spice. The fruit continues on the full bodied palate with dehydrated peach and orange with wintergreen, clove, and browned butter. The finish fades from candied citrus into drier spice and wintergreen. A gorgeous rye.
Rossville Union Master Crafted Rye Binny's Batch #3
45% A / 40% B / 15% C
On the nose cooked grains are in charge with rye spice in the background with some sweet notes of toffee, vanilla butter, dill and oak spice. On the palate sweet cooked grain, butter, red berry, dill, and cinnamon powder. On the finish subtle rye spice, red berry candies, vanilla wafer, and caramel drift into clove. Fat, round, and easy.
Rossville Union Master Crafted Rye Binny's Batch #4
35% A / 50% B / 15% C
A sweet dose of vanilla lanolin on the nose with orange hard candies, spearmint, warm pastry dough and cinnamon candy. On the palate rich waves of dark stewed fruits and butterscotch arrive with a splash of spearmint, caramel wafer, vanilla bean, and cinnamon sticks. On the finish the waves of fruit fade into rye and oak spice before wintergreen steals the show with unflappable persistence. Wow. World class goodness.
On the nose, spice leads with cardamom and anise and a touch of minty wintergreen. Succulently ripe peach lingers beneath along with baked pear, vanilla candies, toffee bar, and white flowers. On the palate, dark cacao nibs and black tea with peach and pear, roasted marshmallow, caramel sauce, rye spice, and clove. On the finish sweet and spice mingle nicely with red berry and wintergreen fading into oak spice. Another classic from Barrell Craft Spirits.
This year’s New Year Bourbon batch is a blend of 5 and 10 year old whiskies from Tennessee, Indiana, New York, Kentucky and Texas. The nose is initially sweet and fruit forward with citrus peel, peaches, and dried fruit but leather and cinnamon creep up behind. The round, rich and chewy palate shows those gorgeous ripe fruit notes layered over caramel and brown sugar. The finish lingers with sweet fruit, buttered biscuits and a kiss of peppery spice. This is pretty much everything we’d want in a bourbon.
A real treat for the sherry lovers and one of the most limited single malt releases we’ve seen this year. Luckily this one isn’t all sherry, the Craigellachie held up well to this second fill barrel. Still, it is unmistakably sherry matured with loads of plum, raisin, and chestnut on the nose with a touch of toffee and spice. All the while, classic savory Craigellachie percolates beneath. The full bodied, almost meaty Craigellachie explodes on the palate in waves of fruit, baking spice and sweet grain before a finish that is appropriately lengthy and complex. A wonderfully lush and layered whisky.
Darker in nature than the typical Irish whiskey with a rich and roasty nuttiness, but there are sweeter notes backing this up on the nose with honeysuckle and pear, caramel candy, and grilled pineapple. On the taste, tropical fruits with a rich layer of flavor provided by the chestnut barrel, surprisingly reminiscent of some older sherried scotches. Layers of dark fruit, leather, oak and baking spices. The finish is of course nutty with lingering tropical fruits and a splash of spice. Really remarkable stuff.
Introducing the newest member of our Clark & Sheffield family, Small Batch Bourbon. Clark & Sheffield Small Batch bourbon hails from Sazerac’s Bardstown, KY distillery and is 5 years old and 90 proof. A versatile whiskey equally at home on the rocks or in your favorite cocktail and is maybe the best deal in our ever-expanding bourbon aisle. A gentle and flavorful sipper, and a full flavored but budget priced mixer, this bourbon does it all. At only $24.99 for a 1.75 liter this is our new home bar staple.
Cherries, brown sugar, pepper and vanilla are all layered throughout the robust nose. The soft and round palate brings a touch more sweetness with strong vanilla, caramelized sugars and sweet corn. Cinnamon and clove build gradually giving balance to the sweeter flavors throughout the long finish.