Journeyman Distillery – 4 whiskies, reviewed

The Adventurous Spirit:

This bottle is dedicated to the original journeymen: the ones who made the spirit of adventure true. These men took risks and dreamt big; they were entrepreneurs in every sense of the word. With our W.R. whiskey we salute all the journeymen that came before us. [Read more…]

Troy & Sons Oak Reserve whiskey review

This is the last in the series of three whiskies from Troy & Sons, but certainly not the least.  The Oak Reserve is a nice fit between  the true moonshine of Platinum and the more traditional flavor of the Blonde Whiskey.  An almost delicate flavor, there is more complexity than you might expect, from the lighter color and nose.  It’s also 80 proof – to me, that allows more people to try it, that might be hesitant with a higher proof spirit.  Here are my notes – sláinte!

Color: The middle sister in color of the Blonde Whiskey and the Platinum, Oak Reserve is a light golden brown, similar to an Irish whiskey in color.

Nose: Light and pleasant, no burn (which is what I’ve come to expect from Troy & Sons whiskies).  A touch of sweetness, but you know it’s whiskey.

Troy & Sons products

Taste: Like the nose, this whiskey is light and balanced and sits well on my tongue.  No burn, of course, but a gentle warming.  It lingers a little, with a bit of the oak and vanilla coming through nicely.   All my reviews will be from tasting a spirit neat, and for this one, it almost seems a shame to mix it!

ABV: 40% (or 80 proof)

Price point: (online) $39.99

Other notes: This whiskey is made from the same heirloom corn as the Platinum, but is aged in charred oak barrels, which give it the light color and the touch of wood.  If you’re in Asheville – stop in for a tour & tasting, say hi to Troy (if she’s not on the road!) and tell her LikeYourLiquor sent you!

3 out of 3 – nicely done!

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Old World Spirits Goldrun Rye review

I’d heard of Old World Spirits before seeing them at my local BevMo, but didn’t really know too much about them. I decided to take a chance when I saw it in the case – I was in the mood for rye – and I’m glad I did! Old World Spirits Goldrun Rye is made from 100% Organic White North Dakota Rye. You don’t find many ryes that are 100% rye (the rules dictate that they’re at least 51%). OWS’s website notes it’s produced like an Eau de Vie, “..distilled twice in small batches in a unique way that enables us to retain rich yet floral aromas..”. I’d agree – it really is different from the other rye whiskies I’ve had.  It’s versatile as well – everything I did to it worked.  Here are my tasting notes- sláinte!OWS Goldrun Rye_edited

Color: medium golden amber, what I would expect in an American whiskey

Nose: has the sweet/slight burn that has rye written all over it.  Not heavy or overpowering. As you get more familiar with whiskey, you may be able to tell one type of whiskey from another (rye vs. bourbon, etc) simply by smelling them.

Taste:  For a 90 proof spirit and 100% rye no less, this is a very smooth whiskey.  The initial taste is a little sweet, with a bit of burn at the finish.  I’ve tasted more than a few whiskeys recently, but this one made me look at the glass and say, “Wow” – and want to immediately taste it again.

ABV: 45% (or 90 proof)

Price point: $59.99 (in-store at BevMo, SoCal)

Other notes:  I will say I’ve spent some time with this whiskey: neat, with one ice cube, in a lovely cocktail with Art in the Age’s SNAP (which will get its own review, stay tuned, ginger fans!).  This rye is very versatile – it held up well in every way I tried it. I’d say grab it if you have the chance.

2.5 out of 3 – yum!

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Four Kings bourbon review – a whiskey collaboration

When I read about Four Kings Bourbon, I was ridiculously excited.  Granted, I’d only tried 2 of the 4 “kings” at that point, but FEW Spirits and Corsair Artisan Distillery are some of my favorites, hence my excitement. The other two, Mississippi River Distilling and Journeyman Distillery, also deserve a place on my bar I’ve decided! And then I found out the fact that it was only available in Chicago. *sigh* But never fear, social media to the rescue! Twitter has brought me nearly a 1,000 shiny new friends recently, and some of them are in the Windy City.  I will not bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that I soon was expecting a special delivery from William Lorca (@ACubsFan2007 – you should follow him too, maybe he’ll send you stuff!).

You’re probably familiar with collaboration brews by some of the big-name beer guys like Stone Brewing or Dogfish Head.  Four Kings is the first collaboration craft whiskey. Each distillery contributed 30 gallons of their whiskey, it was blended together and aged a little longer to let the flavors come together.  Yes, if you ask the internet, there is a minor scuffle over the label calling it “bourbon” because it’s not technically 51% corn, with the addition of Corsair’s smoked wheat whiskey (so 1/8 of it has a non-bourbon mashbill). Personally, I say I don’t care what you call it, the choice of the smoked whiskey is perfect. Without further adieu, here are my tasting notes- sláinte!

 Color: Darker in the bottle than it is in the glass, it’s still amber once poured.4Kings

Nose: A hint of alcohol, you can smell the sweetness of the corn with a little bit of the oak. The vaguest hint of smoke.

Taste: It has a full flavor up front, with a smokiness that’s evident but not overpowering. A smooth, sweet finish that doesn’t really linger, which for me, isn’t a bad thing. Time for another sip! **Updated: these notes were from when I originally opened the bottle, about 3 weeks ago. Since then, it’s lost some of the smoke, but it still is a very tasty bourbon.

Price point: $49, if you can still find it – ask Binny’s Beverage Depot for some help

ABV: 40% or 80 proof

Other comments: I don’t like corporate buzzwords.  They annoy me. “If we all stay in our swim lanes, then we’re using our core competencies, but we need…” Oh quit.  However. Synergy, or a result greater than the sum of the individual parts, is the only word I can come up with to describe this bourbon. Each one is great on its own, but brought together, creates something different that I don’t think can be done by just a single distiller. Buy it if you can find it!

3 out of 3 – nicely done!

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Gubba Rum, Gold & Silver review

Only about 10% of craft distillers make rum, which makes Gubba Rum even more unique. His rum is made from pure sugar cane juice, not molasses, which gives it a silky, smooth texture. Not only is Gubba Rum tasty, but Steve Gubb is a genuinely nice guy that enjoys sharing his rum. Make sure to read my interview with him, too.  Without further adieu, here are my tasting notes – sláinte!Gubba samples


Color: Crystal clear, even with the natural coconut.

Nose: A hint of alcohol, with the suggestion of sweet, it’s really light on the nose.

Taste: Gubba Silver has a tiny bite at the back of my tongue, that dissipates quickly, leaving behind the taste of coconut.  And you can tell it’s really coconut, and not some flavoring dreamed up in a lab.  It’s the coconut you dream of tasting while reclining on a sandy beach – hopefully with a Gubba rum drink in your hand!  In comparison, it has a relatively low proof, but you certainly wouldn’t confuse it for coconut water.


Color: Light amber, but not completely clear, because of the natural vanilla. I like being able to see proof of the ingredients right in the glass!

Nose: A little sweet, but not cloying in any way, the vanilla is definitely present.

Taste: It has the same bite as the Silver (which is to say, nearly non-existent), but has a slightly fuller mouth feel, which may come from the vanilla beans used to flavor the rum. You can also tell this is real deal, and not a bottle of extract dumped into the rum.  Smooth, sweet and vanilla, I can see Gubba Gold mixing well in a cocktail but not getting lost, and equally at home neat or with a bit of ice.

ABV: 35% or 70 proof

Price point: $22.  On par with other rums, but far ahead in taste!

Overall:  I’d say that these are two tasty entries into the rum chapter of the book of craft spirits.  If you’re feeling creative, help Gubba Rum name their signature drinks! Or just grab some of their rum and mix them up yourself!

2.5 out of 3 – yum!

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Products were provided for my review – the opinions expressed are completely my own.

Troy & Sons Platinum Whiskey Review

Troy & Sons Platinum whiskey is billed as the “first true American Moonshine”, I can believe that this IS the stuff that the moonshiners kept at home, instead of selling down the road.  And likely one of the reasons they didn’t leave home, but I digress. I’m originally from back East – I’ve tried ‘shine.  Apparently I was getting the road ‘shine, because it tasted like roadkill, not matter what fruit floated in it.  But Platinum is lovely – it’s also distinctly different from some of the others I’ve tried that have popped up in recent years.  Here are my notes – sláinte!

Color: Clear as the mountain stream that I’m sure must be somewhere nearby. Troy and Sons

Nose: There is zero burn to the nose of Platinum.  None.  There’s a sweetness that’s very present, but not overpowering.  Some of you may pick up a hint of a tequila smell, which I’ve noticed before in other moonshines.  I also noticed a hint of grape to the sweetness.  All in all, a very intriguing smell.

Taste: The sweet from the nose does carry through, but it has just enough kick that it’s not cloying. Another pleasantly smooth whiskey, which is another unusual characteristic for moonshine.  Troy only uses the hearts of the distillate, which shows. (for more on that, visit Liquor 101).  Overall, a great taste and something that would mix well in a variety of cocktails.  Check out Troy’s suggested recipes.

ABV: 40 (or 80 proof)

Price point: (online) $29.99 Comparable to other moonshines.

Other notes: Troy & Sons Platinum is the only whiskey in the world made with Crooked Creek Corn.  Paired with pure Appalachian spring water, this moonshine….shines. Check it out now!

Three out of three – nicely done!

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Products were provided for my review – the opinions expressed are completely my own.

Willa Vodka review

I will admit that I’ve encountered a vodka or two over the years.  Some better, and some far worse, than others.  When I got into craft liquors and tried vodka, I was happy to find nuances and some actual flavors that come from using organic ingredients. The care that goes into a craft liquor is usually obvious, and Willa Vodka doesn’t disappoint in that respect.  Here are my notes – sláinte!

Color: I’m pretty sure this one goes without saying, right?

Nose: Very faint smell of alcohol, with a touch of sweet.  And when I say “faint”, I had to take a few whiffs to really get a feel for it – which is good!  Vodka is a neutral spirit – it shouldn’t jump out at you before you even taste it.

Taste: I start every review with the chosen spirit neat, so I noticed the legs on the glass first, which is pretty unusual for vodka.  (Legs are basically what stays on the side of the glass after you swirl it around, normally a wine term.) The key brand facts on their website mention an optimum viscosity, which isn’t something I associate with vodka, so I was intrigued.  The taste has pretty much the same amount of burn as the smell – which is to say, almost none.  Very smooth, light finish. Adding the single ice cube (also suggested from their site), it’s actually even smoother, with an almost chocolate finish. 

ABV: 35% (70 proof) It has a slightly lower ABV than its counterparts, along with a slightly lower calorie count. 

Price point: $28. Vodkas that I’d consider drinkable range from $25-$60, so this fits nicely in anyone’s budget. Get your bottle here.

Other notes: Willa Vodka is a versatile spirit.  Smooth and clean, it works on the rocks or would mix well in any of your favorite drinks.  It seems a shame to lose this vodka in a Bloody Mary, but to each his own. For me, a squeeze of a Meyer lemon did nicely (they are sweeter than regular lemons).

This craft spirit has all the great characteristics combined into one glass: it both tastes and smell like something you want to drink. Mix it or not, it works either way.  Price-point makes for an affordable everyday drink and is definitely a good choice for a gift.

2 out of 3 – yum!

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Products were provided for my review – the opinions expressed are completely my own.

Troy & Sons Blonde Whiskey

For those of you (and me, after this sample bottle is gone) that live in a state that doesn’t carry Troy & Sons Blonde Whiskey, I have one word for you: online shipping.  Fine, that was two words, but you get the idea: ship it, ship it now.  I will throw in the “can’t be shipped to every state” disclaimer, but I’d highly suggest checking out the online ordering.  While I prefer my whiskeys neat, not all of them are friendly enough to do that with.  Blonde Whiskey is exactly what the bottle says – A Kinder Spirit.  Approachable and friendly to even the newest whiskey drinker, but with enough character that a seasoned whiskey aficionado will appreciate it. Here are my notes – sláinte!Troy & Sons products

Color: Blonde is a bit of a misnomer – the color in the bottle is a lovely, medium golden brown. Pouring a couple of fingers into a nosing glass, it doesn’t lose any of its color.

Nose: A tiny bit of alcohol at first, you know it’s whiskey.  Hints of sweet, almost bourbon-like. 

Taste: Like the nose, a tiny bit of bite at first (this isn’t juice you’re drinking, it’s whiskey, don’t forget that!).  The middle is so smooth and mellow, a nicely rounded taste of caramel and honey.  It finishes smoothly as well with a bit of vanilla, lingering a bit on the tongue in a good way.  The way that makes you say,  “I want more!”. 

ABV:  40 (or 80 proof)

Price point: (online) $42.99 Comparable to other whiskies in its class and definitely worth it.

Other notes: All of Troy & Sons whiskeys use heirloom grains – wheat and corn varieties that most of the country no longer grows, eschewing these slower growing, flavorful grains in favor of modern hybrids.  I can safely say I’m glad because that means more for Troy & Sons whiskeys! Check it out now!

Final score (out of 3): Nicely done!

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Products were provided for my review – the opinions expressed are completely my own.

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