A Muddled Thought

Month: January, 2010

Not Your Average Glass Of… Partida Tequila

While we’ve written about Partida Elegante before in both an overview of Partida’s Product line as well as inclusion in our Father’s Day Gift Guide, we felt leaving it out of an article on unique spirits, just wouldn’t be fair.

Partida Elegante is quite simply one of the most impressive tequila’s you’ll find yourself coming across. Partida Elegante starts with 100% blue agave that’s harvested from Partida’s own private fields. This agave is then baked in stainless steel ovens to release the sugars that after fermenting for a period of 36-40 hours transform(by process of fermentation) into the spirit known as tequila. This unaged tequila is placed in American Oak Barrels that were previously used to age Jack Daniels whiskey. The tequila sits in these barrels for a period ranging from 36-40 months. When the distiller deems it ready, thus is born Partida Elegante, Extra Anejo. With a limit of about 1200 bottles, this is one of those spirits that is truly one of a kind and worth tracking down for a sip or two.

Partida Elegante is a truly phenomenal spirit that seduces the palate from the start with aromas of sweet pristine agave so mesmerizing that they instantly conjure images of the sun setting in Mexico over the fields of Jalisco.

Upon further inspection bouquets of cocoa, caramel and espresso overwhelm the brain.
Taking that first sip is an experience in itself. Those aromas of agave that poured out earlier , now engulf the palate, as does a caramel that reminds one of candied apples, and specks of dried cherries, that’s followed up by cocoa that is ever so slightly caressed by cinnamon. Flavors of sweet vanilla ice cream, and burnt orange decided to show themselves towards my last few sips.

With a spirit, much less a tequila this well crafted, you find yourself picking new flavors and nuances with each sip.

A tequila that’s $350 a bottle is not something that is common, even in these days of high-end and handcrafted spirits. Partida Elegante is thagift you give to spirit enthusiast or bartender who just got married, the bottle you open when celebrating a major life changing event or something you share on a weekend with your closest friends. If you can find one of the 1220 bottles available throughout the world, and you have the opportunity to purchase this incredible spirit, do so. Save it for a special occasion, and when that day comes, know you have a spirit worth of such an occasion.

Partida Elegante Extra Añejo

Not Your Average Glass Of… Buffalo Trace

We now come to look at two products from the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Known for their namesake product, Buffalo Trace Bourbon is also part of the same family of distilleries that puts out Sazerac Rye, the line of Van Winkle bourbons and ryes, and the incredibly well rated George T. Stagg bourbon.

While the standard Buffalo Trace bourbon is known for its impressive taste and its equally impressive price tag of around twenty dollars, up until only few years ago the distillery only offered one version of Buffalo Trace. In 2006, they announced they would begin to release several limited editions of Buffalo Trace known as the Experimental Collection. With each release they’ve chosen to age Buffalo Trace in a variety of different casks. Ranging from French oak casks to a cask that was dried via fire, to a series of bourbons that are “twice barreled”.

This year they released two different vintages that were “twice barreled”. Buffalo Trace’s process of “twice barreling” a bourbon allows the distillery to first age its bourbon in standard American oak barrels and then after a period of eight years and eight months place this spirit in new unused American oak barrels for the aging process to complete.

With two separate bottlings released this year, one from 1997 and one from 1993, and with a limited count of four hundred bottles per release, these two releases were an offering that we had to include in our look at unique spirits.

1993 Experimental:

Aromas of sweet caramel are the first thing that catch your attention as you open the bottle of Buffalo Trace 1993 Experimental. On that first sip the Buffalo Trace 1993 Experimental opens up heavy notes of oak, hints of cinnamon, that are followed up by undertones of tobacco .

1997 Experimental:
As the 1993 experimental did, the 1997 experimental starts with notes of heavy oak. This time followed up by hints of raisins, and espresso. With some water to cut the initial harshness this spirit begins to mellow slightly and reveal a spirit filled with notes of deep caramel, winter spices and ginger. The spirit finishes with a hint of burnt oranges at which time those notes of heavy oak show themselves once again.

Experiments are always an interesting thing. Since you’re trying something for the first time, you could end up with an end result that’s for the better or for the worse. Until the experiment is complete you’ll never know.

With Buffalo Traces two releases this year of double-barrelings, they’ve definitely created a unique end result. Are the heavy oak notes going to be to the liking of everyone’s palate? Absolutely not. Do I respect and appreciate this experiment in its entirety and look forward to what the next experiment holds? Without a doubt the answer to that question is an emphatic yes.

If you’re interested in trying a different take that applies different aging techniques to the traditional Buffalo Trace, these offerings are something that you should seek out.

Not Your Average Glass Of… Dalmore Whisky

A single glass standing alone, the remnants of what was once a great spirit still lingering around the edges of the glass. This glass at one time held a small taste of one of, if not the most magnificent spirit I’ve yet to try, The Dalmore 62 year old bottling. A spirit that’s as magnificent in taste as the history is interesting behind the spirit.

A spirit born in sherry wood casks in August 1880, it has seen its share of movement throughout the decades. After 10 years sitting in its barrel, it was moved to another sherry cask in 1890. The spirit sat here until being relocated to the “Dalmore “4th cask” in 1926. Thirteen years later the spirit was shifted yet again to another barreling circa 1939.

From this point it sat aging elegantly in a barrel, until 1989 when it was relocated to Quarter Cask. In 1999, this particular cask was discovered to be of poor quality and in the year 2000 it was moved move to another cask .

A year later when it turned 62 years of age, it was moved to its final resting place, one final barrel before being bottled.

With only eleven bottles in existence, Dalmore 62 is an extremely rare spirit. One bottle was held onto by the Dalmore distillery, while the other remaining ten bottles were sold to private collectors.

Last year I was given the opportunity to sample this spirit at a special tasting event held by Dalmore at which Richard Paterson, Dalmore’s Master Distiller and a small taste of this incredibly rare spirit was available.

Seeing this as a once in a lifetime opportunity under specific instructions that Richard gave me, I tasted this spirit. My palate was initially greeted with sweet succulent notes of vanilla, before being whisked away and replaced with notes of silky chocolate and playful orange, along with mellow and soft notes of spice.

The Dalmore 62 year ends with a smile, and a glint of luminous joy in the eye .