Bourbon classes begin as soon as you pick up your
books bottles. If you’ve ever tried our Maker’s Mark Private Select barrels, then you already know about the 5 different staves available for creating your own unique expression of Maker’s Mark. Since the beginning of this program, we’ve always wanted to do single stave expressions so everyone could sate their academic thirsts. Good things do happen in 2020 and we were finally able to land single barrels of each stave. Buy your favorite stave or all 5 and create your own version of Maker’s Mark. By the end of the course you will be able to identify the different flavors oak impart to the soft wheated Maker’s Mark Whisky. Pass or fail you’re sure to enjoy this very special course in bourbon blending as you make your mark in this oak stave study.
We’ve been talking up the quality of the whiskies coming from the Huber family’s Starlight Distillery for several years now, and our latest handpicks are the best whiskies we have EVER had from them. If you’re a fan of full proof and full-flavored bourbon and rye do yourself a favor and check these out.
Aged 4 1/2 years in a craft distiller’s #1 char barrel from Independent Stave. On the nose, baked peach with wintergreen sprig, vanilla lanolin, dried orange, caramel candy, cinnamon sticks and oak. On the palate the menagerie of flavors from the nose are present, clove becomes more noticeable as cherry arrives on the back end with dried citrus and wintergreen over a bed of vanilla. The finish is long and complex with orchard fruit giving way to oak spice before cherry, citrus and wintergreen surge for the finale. A dynamic rye.
This rye aged for 4 1/2 years in a heavily toasted and #1 charred barrel from Independent Stave. The nose is pleasant and layered with wintergreen and marshmallow, buttery toffee, dried red apple, vanilla wafer, cinnamon candy and oak spice. On the palate, orchard fruit and wintergreen arrive balanced in a crescendo as vanilla, toffee, and cinnamon percolate underneath. The finish is long and enjoyable as fruit fades into spicy hot cinnamon candy. An absolute joy to drink neat.
This bourbon was aged 4 1/2 years in a #3 charred barrel from Kelvin Cooperage. Peach and cherry greet the nose with toffee bar, cinnamon powder and clove. On the palate, cherry and baked peach with cinnamon, toffee, vanilla candy, cinnamon candy, coconut and soft toasted oak. The finish is long and pleasant with fruit persisting and outlasting oak spice. Another amazing bourbon from Huber’s Starlight Distillery.
On a late winter roadtrip the Whiskey Hotline stopped at the most prolific distiller of American Whiskies. We weren’t in Kentucky, we’re talking about the Indiana workhorse situated in Lawrenceburg. You won’t find it on any distillery trail, or even widely advertised. However, you’ve already had products produced by them and bottled as some of your favorite daily drinkers. This year they really let us dig deep into the vast inventory of bourbons and ryes they have gracefully aging in their massive brick warehouses, and we came home with 12 barrels, 6 each of bourbon and rye.
Chicagoans are particular and passionate about their traditions, one of which is enjoying a shot and a beer at the corner tavern. Haymarket crafted a beer in honor of this beloved institution. It’s nothing too fancy, just an honest lager that’s easy to knock back. 2020 has been a strange year, but as we continue to adapt and persevere, there’s still one handshake we can embrace– the Chicago Handshake, a shot of Jeppson’s Malort and an ice-cold beer.
6 Pack of 12oz Cans
Shimmering gold in color, with a beautiful crown of white foam, Chicago Tavern Beer drinks like a classic German Dortmunder. Unfamiliar? Offering more body than a Pilsner, but not quite as sweet as a Helles, it’s a lesser known lager that deserves your attention. Medium in body, this is well balanced and refreshing, leaving the palate thirsty for another.
6 Pack of 50ml Bottles
If you’ve never tasted Jeppson’s Malort, you haven’t truly lived. This bracingly bitter beverage is beloved by a loyal cult of devotees, who delight in the masses’ inability to stomach it. Malort is once again proudly made right here in Chicago, and we sat down with CH Distillery founder Tremaine Atkinson to talk about the mystique of Malort. Check it out here and enjoy a Chicago Handshake while you listen.
Our newest handpicked single casks from Teeling have arrived and we have a rare opportunity to let the whiskey lovers get a peek behind the curtain of our barrel selection process.
Acacia wood has been a staple in the wine industry for many years where it imparts body and texture with minimal tannin. Soft floral tones, spiced orchard fruits, toasted oak and honey mingle throughout the layered nose. Soft and mouth-coating on the palate. There’s a surge of toffee and vanilla that adds depth to the ripe pears, cinnamon apples and sweet wood notes. The sweet and spicy balance continues into the finish that just goes on and on. A rich and elegant single malt.
We love Madeira wine and Madeira cask whiskies so this was an obvious choice. The roasted and tropical fruits abound on the nose, grilled pineapple, orange oil, vanilla candies and toasted malt. Soft and expansive mouthfeel, highlighting the rich and ripe fruits. Caramel, vanilla, and bright citrus slowly creep across the palate. The finish turns a bit spicier but maintains the citrus character for an incredibly long and rewarding drinking experience.
Peerless distillery isn’t the biggest in Kentucky, but what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality. We’re honored to present our first barrel selections from this wonderful new grain to glass distillery. Founder Corky Taylor’s ancestors have been making bourbon since the 1860’s, and he and his son Carson have built upon that legacy with their distillery in Louisville, even keeping the original DSP number, KY-50. Their whiskies are strictly sweet mash, non-chillfiltered and bottled at barrel strength. We have two barrels of amazing bourbon, and one barrel of maybe the most fun rye whiskey that you might ever have the opportunity to taste.
Soft and gently sweet toasted oak, baked apples, and vanilla on the nose. Robust and rich on the palate, the sweet fruits do the heavy lifting at first but oak and cinnamon slowly build before a crescendo of caramel takes over. The finish is layered and lingering with a mild spicy heat.
Our second barrel shows a darker character on the nose. Brown sugar, a whiff of smoke, toasted coconut, and rickhouse wood. Soft but full bodied, the palate shows more caramel, sweet corn, and oak spices. The spice is in charge of the finish before sweet corn creeps in to make a drawn out and balanced bourbon.
This barrel certainly has no peers. Absinthe is not a subtle spirit, and immediately that aroma leaps from the glass. Unmistakable herbal anise but also sweet and doughy rye as well as ripe orange and cherries. Fat and chewy mouthfeel with sweet vanilla and oak giving balance to all the spice. The finish is just incredible, endless waves of sweet licorice candy, citrus, baking spices and stone fruits. A Sazerac cocktail made easy.
Some 7,000 miles separate an Ohio distillery from the battlefields of Afghanistan. But some warriors-turned-whiskey producers are on a mission to bridge these two worlds with the release of Horse Soldier, our Whiskies of the Week. The American Freedom Distillery was founded by former Green Berets who were part of the famed “Horse Soldiers,” the earliest troops on the ground in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. In our judgement, the bourbon is on course to become as fabled as the audacious story it seeks to honor of Special Forces riding to war on horseback against the Taliban. These whiskies were made at a partner distillery in Columbus, OH and are crafted from a wheated mashbill for a soft and sweet profile.
On the nose cornmeal, vanilla sauce, caramel wafer, peach jelly, dried apple and a shot of powdered cinnamon. Sweet corn steals the show on the palate with gobs of butterscotch candy, baked peach, vanilla cream and clove. The finish is long and pleasant with fruit and oak fading slowly together.
Vanilla jumps on the nose with caramel corn, sweet spices, and a background of baked apple and peach. On the palate, vanilla and caramel candy, more baked apple with clove and anise and sweet oak. The finish is pleasantly round with baked orchard fruits and vanilla candy fading into oak spice slowly.
A gorgeous and fruit filled nose of fresh sliced red apples, baked peach, caramel sauce, vanilla, toasted oak, and anise. On the palate baked apple and peach lead before a wave of cardamom and clove surge into vanilla cream and caramel candy. The finish is lovely with fruit fading into oak spice before sweeter vanilla and caramel flavors return and linger. Gorgeous stuff.
Thanks to our nearly 20 year relationship with the Signatory Whisky Company, we were able to select some of their very best casks as our own without our usual dive into the depths of their warehouses. The first half of these 2020 picks just arrived and as usual they are non-chillfiltered and bottled at natural cask strength. Each are an authentic single malt Scotch experience to be savored.
Aged in a charred wine hogshead and 57.4% abv. A gorgeous nose with robust banana bread dough, red apple compote, red grape, vanilla-butterscotch bar, lemon zest and clove. On the palate, the wine flavors are unmistakable, but not overpowering. Thick and rich mouthfeel, plenty of grape, but red berries and baked tropical fruit as well with lingering baking spices. The finish is really special, lengthy and loaded with flavor that dances and fades slowly and highlights the tropical notes with a sweet brown sugar. The age says 9 but may as well be twice that with the complexity found in this dram.
The nose is soft and buttery with lovely floral undertones, light grassy notes, vanilla paraffin, citrus blossom, cinnamon, and white pepper. On the palate, buttered apple and pear slices with citrus blossom, clove, and anise. An incredibly layered and complex palate. The finish is long and evolving with the initial orchard fruit character slowly turning more confectionary with toffee, vanilla oak and dried apricot lingering. Complex and dangerously drinkable at 57.7% abv.
Matured in a bourbon barrel and 58.8% abv. Fresh and welcoming on the nose. Vanilla spiked red berry, ripe lemon, herbal candies, and a light touch of heather. On the palate, baked tropical fruit leads before oak spice arrives in a crescendo with cinnamon bark and vanilla candy. The finish is lovely with sweet and spice fading slowly together across waves of gentle oak, caramel and baked apples. A soft and gorgeous whisky, even at the high proof.
Signatory Bunnahabhain Staoisha Heavily Peated 5 year old Dechar/Rechar Hogshead #10757 Binny's Handpicked
Another lovely peat-bomb, this one aged in a de-charred and re-charred hogshead. The nose indeed reveals a large dose of peat, but gorgeous amounts of caramel cream, sea spray, and baked orchard fruits percolate underneath. The palate is rich and peaty up front with caramel sauce, coconut flake, baked orchard pear, and cinnamon candy. The finish is quite persistent with peat leading from start to finish as waves of caramel soaked orchard fruits and cinnamon candy dance underneath. Quite the Islay delight, and amazingly balanced at 59.7% abv.
Time to get excited rum fans, Bacardi has finally brought their outstanding “Facundo” line of rums to Illinois. The Facundo Collection is made of select aged rums, sourced from the Bahamas, which have long been available only to Bacardi family member’s as their personal library of blends. With hundreds of rums in this family stock these blends were created to show what fine sipping rums can be, on par with the world’s great Single Malts and Cognacs.
This silver rum was aged up to 8 years. The nose is soft and pleasant showing flavors of molasses, vanilla bean, grilled pineapple, and lightly grassy sugar cane. The palate is lush and textured with dark molasses and cane with slowly building tropical fruits and vanilla. The finish is clean, and well rounded with ripe tropical notes lingering. A wonderful white rum for mixing or sipping neat.
10 to 12 year old dark rums make up this blend. That wonderful maturity is squarely displayed on the nose showing raisin, plum, leather, pipe tobacco, and chocolate toffee. On the palate, dark stewed fruits and molasses mingle in harmony with pleasant oak spice, leather, and tobacco providing balance and depth. The finish is long and well-structured with dark stewed fruits persisting as oak fades slowly. A gorgeous sipper.
Exquisito highlights youth and maturity, combining rums aged 7 to 23 years. The nose is indeed exquisite, with dark chocolate, brown sugar and toffee over grilled pineapple, vanilla and toasted coconut with layers of raisins, plum and allspice. The palate reveals ripe plum and raisin with white chocolate, leather bound books, vanilla syrup, and oak char. The finish is long and absolutely gorgeous with spice and fruit fading away in unison with waves of vanilla, caramel bananas and toffee. Incredibly complex and layered.
The oldest blend of the Facundo line featuring 23 year old rums. Complex and thickly layered, the nose shows macadamia nuts, peach, fresh plum, pluots, hard toffee candy, milk chocolate, cocoa powder, cinnamon bark, and clove. On the palate, dark chocolate and allspice intertwine nicely with honeyed grape, raisin, toffee, and soft oak. The finish is long and layered with banana, vanilla, sweet toasted oak, chocolate and brown sugar in a balanced dance that lingers endlessly. A rum to sip and contemplate.
Looking for something BIG? Look no further than George Dickel 12 1.75L, the Whiskey Hotline's favorite option when it comes to Tennessee whiskey. A favorably priced classic that drinks like a luxury sipper. The bold flavors of bourbon are all there, balanced by the supple sweetness of Tennessee whiskey. If you haven’t tried Tennessee whiskey, this is the place to start.
The corn heavy (80%) mashbill is obvious on the nose, with sweet corn pudding, vanilla, butter, and a touch of citrus rounding things out. Oak and spice take a more prominent role on the taste with baking spice and vanilla up front and notes of dried fruit and leather providing balance. The finish is long and fat with highlights of vanilla, dried cherries, cinnamon and a touch of spicy oak. There isn’t a better whisky in the store at $30 for a 1.75 liter.
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.
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.