Smooth Operator rates American Whisky
on 7/14/2004 (2)
Armed with a 100 dollar stipend, Smooth Operator writer Mark Motz rates America's famous corn mash elixirs
|Make mine Maker's Mark! Mmmmmmm...! |
My cheapskate editor Kris Steele, normally as tight as size 7 AAA bowling shoes, surprised me with a 100 dollar stipend for the purpose of rating 5 of America's best moderately priced whiskies. Taxes included, of course.
Here's my two cents, which also happens to be all I have left...
Maker's Mark: America's oldest distillery still operating on its original site in Loretto, Kentucky, Maker's Mark is 'expensive, and worth it.' Made from select corn and hard red winter wheat, the master distillers use home bred strains of special yeast and sour mash lovingly fermented in 100 year old cyprus lined tanks. Only pure, iron-free limestone spring water exclusively, no city, well or river water is ever used. Always soft, never biting. I rate Maker's Mark the best.
Elijhah Craig 12 yr old: Shortly after Prohibition ended in the United States, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., was founded in Bardstown, Kentucky by the Shapira family to produce and market Bourbon and premium American whiskeys.
The only 12 year old rated here, and the only one I could find in the 25 dollar range, it does lack the finish of more expensive 12 year olds, but is by far the most complex for the price. For those who like a multiplex of candy flavors and oak and vanilla finish, Elijah Craig is for you.
Knob Creek: Knob Creek, a small batch bourbon distilled by the Jim Beam company, is aged 9 years, and is 100 proof, instead of the standard 80. The longer wood aging imparts a maple syrup aroma and distinct sweetness that is very prominent and impossible to overlook.
For those who enjoy aged cognac and scotch, small batch ultra wood aged whiskies like Knob Creek are the perfect All-American choice.
Jack Daniel's old no. 7: Betcha didn't think a mass produced label would make it here, but it does. The nectar of Lynchburg Tennesee, (population 361), poprietor Lem Motlow carries on the Jack Daniels tradition first inaugurated by Jack Daniels himself in 1866. Drawn from limestone caves flowing at a constant 56 degrees, Jack Daniel's whisky is charcoal mellowed, that is, filtered through charcoal obtained by burning ricks of hardwood right on the Lynchburg premises. I rate Jack fourth to Maker's Mark, Knob Creek and Elijah Craig due to a tiny jagged edge which I attribute to a slightly less refined blend of grains selected by the formers. Nonetheless, still great, always Great American, and also the least expensive.
Basil Hayden's 8 yr old: "Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, Frankfort Kentucky, lightest in body of the small batch bourbon's, dates back to a 1796 recipe that uses higher percentages of rye and barley. The spiciness of the rye marries with the sweetness of the corn for a character unlike any other bourbon. It has a gentle bite and is clean and brief at the finish."
So sez the distiller, I included Basil Hayden's for those who like their whisky a wee bit dry.
Smooth Operator reminds you to drink and surf responsibily
page has been viewed 7057 times