Pot Still

Review: Novo Fogo Silver Cachaca by Jason Hambrey

Novo Fogo 1.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
1 Year in Steel Tanks
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller El Dorado (Guyana)

Cachaca is a spirit produced in gin from fermented sugarcane juice. This is similar to rum in that it is a sugarcane product, but distinct from rum in that it is not made from molasses, rather, unprocessed sugarcane juice. Novo Fogo is a prime example of cachaca, and is made from certified organic sugarcane in a carbon-negative distillery. The sugarcane juice is fermented for 18 hours before being distilled in a copper pot still and then aged for 1 year in steel tanks.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: Distilled in 2006

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

This is night and day compared to most white rums. The nose here is very heavy – I expect it turns many off but I love it. I have very limited experience with cachaca – but this is closer to a whisky new make than a white rum, to me. Banana, a rich vegetal character – I do get sugarcane and sauteed cilantro – but also roasted root vegetables and spicy sprouted greens. It’s quite a bit different, but I really like it and it continues to grow on me. The palate is lightly sweet, with some arugula, brown sugar, and terrific herbal notes. Lightly sweet. The finish is quite light and clean, as one might expect for a clean spirit.

It makes a really nice caipirinha, one of my favourite cocktails. The bitterness of the lime perfectly matches the big character of this spirit. It is also nice in a daiquiri, in a small proportion (~1/4 oz) of the spirit with the rest remaining white rum. It adds lots of complexity there.

It mixes really well.

Assessment: Highly recommended.


Review: Woodford Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Woodford Rye 2.jpg
ABV
45.2%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
53% Rye, plus corn and malt
Distiller Woodford Reserve (Versailles, Kentucky)

Generally, I’m not the biggest fan of woodford bourbons. I don’t dislike them, but I find the body isn’t big enough for the level of oak in them - but others would disagree, and many of my friends love the stuff. However, I quite like their new straight malt and straight wheat whiskies particularly for their uniqueness. So, I thought it was about time to try their rye - which I hear good things about and has made its way up to Canada relatively recently.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: 0331

  • Bottling Code: L038911530

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose is very dynamic, and complex. Candied fruit, oak, grain, honey, potpourri, rich toasted oak, multigrain flour, baking spice, lilac, cinnamon, hibiscus tea, black tea. Gorgeous complexity, and well balanced between grain and oak (NB – I find the woodford bourbon not as balanced). Even a touch of that really nice vegetal characteristic of rye (pot stills do some good work on rye!).

The palate is oaky, but full of baking spice, pepper, oak, dried apricot, vanilla, spice, dark chocolate, and pepper. It still has a really nice rich corn body. Awesome!  The finish has oak, cinnamon, lilac, dried apricot, chocolate, orange peel and clove.

It’s hard not to have a few of these…I think I’ve found a new favourite American rye to add to Rendezvous and Bulleit.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very High. Great price, really good whisky.


Review: Woodford Reserve Oat Grain Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Woodford Reserve.

Image courtesy of Woodford Reserve.

ABV
45.2%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
N/A (corn, oat, rye)
Distiller Woodford Reserve (Versailles, Kentucky)

This year’s Master’s Collection - Woodford Reserve’s annual special release - came in two forms. First was a bourbon matured in wood exclusively from the Ozarks, and the second is this - a Bourbon where the secondary grain to corn is oat, rather than the typical rye (or wheat). I’ve had some oat whiskies before, but never in a bourbon - this should prove interesting.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose is rich in caramel, toasted almond, and toasted oak, but also walnut, grits, white pepper, old oak, apple, jalapeno bagels, sweet white oak, vanilla, and dried orange peel.

The palate has apple juice, purple mulberries, rye porridge, and dried fruit. The mulberry character is very interesting. Oak balances the whole thing, and there is a light dried floral characteristic (i.e. potpourri) and some dried orange peel. A bit oily and raw in places.

The finish is bready, with rich caramel, oak, rice pudding, and hibiscus. Very easy to drink, and quite enjoyable. I’d love to see more oat bourbon.

I tried this alongside Woodford’s new straight wheat and malt whiskies. I quite like both of those compared to this.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, based on $130 USD.


Review: Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Woodford Reserve.

Image courtesy of Woodford Reserve.

ABV
45.2%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
52% Wheat, 20% Malted Barley, 20% Corn, 8% Rye
Distiller Woodford Reserve (Versailles, Kentucky)

Wheat is a hard grain to work with (flavour wise it can be pretty bland) - although I quite enjoy a few whiskies like Bernheim or Last Mountain’s wheat whisky. But…I can’t help but try it out and I like that Woodford has been doing lots of experimentation in the last little while. And, they’ve put together quite the whisky - a rare four grain mashbill which features malt as the second biggest grain contributor to the recipe (alongside corn). Now that is getting interesting!


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose is very fruity, oaky, and sweet. It actually reminds me of some of the sweet hefeweizen. Banana, oak, orange peel, dried cherry, black pepper, caramel, and fresh coconut water. With water, it really opens up to show all of the fruit. The nose is rich and dessert-like. The palate is quite oaky – but with lots of spices – cinnamon and lots of clove, alongside toasted oak, vanilla, and cream of wheat. The finish is sweet and oaky, with banana cream pie, caramel, vanilla, toasted almond, and more orange peel. Toasted oak really comes out in the finish and there is a decent amount of tannin.

Nice whisky! A really nice take on Woodford. I often find I don’t like the oak balance in Woodford, but some friends of mine love it and might like this release even more than me – so if you like Woodford, I think this is a great variation.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High. This is a great price for this.


Review: Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Malt Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Image provided courtesy of Woodford Reserve.

Image provided courtesy of Woodford Reserve.

ABV
45.2%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
~51% Malted Barley, 47% Corn, 2% Rye
Distiller Woodford Reserve (Versailles, Kentucky)

I don’t get to try many straight malts, so I’m always eager here! This is special, too, since it’s a malted barley focused mashbill rather than a single malt aged in new oak (as many distilleries in the USA are doing).


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose has freshly sawn lumber, vanilla, and – indeed – a fruity malty character! It provides a very rich middle to the nose, with lots of toffee, stone fruits, and nut characteristics. The Canadian in me thinks this would make awesome blending liquid…very intriguing. Toffee, toasted almond, green grape, dried rice, gooseberry, and baking spices. It is very complex, and very interesting to nose. I love it!

The palate has smoked meat, gooseberry, oak, and baking spice. It falls a bit flat, compared to the nose – but still has amazing complexity and umami-type characteristics. Tannins build their way into the finish, which is slightly acidic and has toffee, toasted almonds, green grape, coconut, and wet, old oak.

The nose is incredible – absolutely. The palate is still good, and very interesting – but it’s hard to compete with the nose. Nonetheless, although this might not be the best woodford I have – it’s probably my favourite for the sake of uniqueness.

This makes me think the straight malt category is worth some extra exploration…

Very Highly Recommended (19% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). From a critical taste perspective, this falls into my lower category but it straddes the categories. But, this is so unique that I would recommend it at this level, nonetheless…

Value: High. This is a great price for this.