Cyrus Noble Bourbon first appeared in 1871 where it became a favorite amongst San Franciscans and those with gold rush fever, who were thirsty for Kentucky-made whiskey. Little has changed since then amongst Bay Area natives. They're still thirsty for more Kentucky brown water and no matter how much we buy, it's never enough. The Haas Brothers, who have owned the label since 1922, are now bringing it back by sourcing some fine casks from Kentucky and bottling it under their old trademark. This release is a five year old from Heaven Hill and it's a fine one at that. Soft, creamy, and loaded with barrel spice and vanilla, it reminds me of the last Hirsch selection that I loved so much, albeit this one is much less expensive. Should be $25 a bottle and should be in stock tomorrow afternoon!
See you all at 6 PM tonight over at Martin's West where we'll be tasting something from the new Gordon & MacPhail collection, the 1975 Banff! The Diageo-owned distillery's backstock hasn't made an official appearance since 2004 as part of Diageo's Rare Malt series. G&M seem to have some nice barrels in their collection so I'm happy to get the chance to taste tonight. Banff was a Speyside distillery that was closed in 1983, partly demolished in 1985, and then completely gutted by a fire in 1991. Obviously, it will remain a silent distillery. Come out and learn about the rare malts of the Scotch whisky world tonight! Full pours should cost around $6 and that's a fantastic price for a $140 bottle of extinct whisky.
I really like the Gordon & MacPhail palate. They seem to often choose smart casks for their bottlings and that only enhances the reputation of their brand's quality. What I especially like is that some of their bottlings are at 43%, bucking the current trend that believes malt tastes better at 46% (as if that's a magic number). Euan from G&M told me in person that he doesn't understand the fascination with percentages, saying that a whisky tastes best at the level where it tastes best, not necessarily a set ABV. I completely trust that G&M has tried their barrels at both cask strength and with water. If they decide to bottle at 43% then I assume that it tasted better at that proof. The previous releases (Glenlivet, Glen Grant, Rosebank) that were at 43% were fantastic and I assume these will be as well. Can't wait to taste them. Here's what just came in. I had to pre-order them to secure them, so haven't sampled them yet, but the selection is fascinating. A load of distilleries that are closed or rarely available.
1991 Ardmore 16 Year Old Gordon & MacPhail Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $94.99
1976 Banff 28 Year Old Gordon & MacPhail Single Malt Whisky $139.99
1984 Convalmore 22 Year Old Gordon & MacPhail Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $149.99
1975 Glen Albyn 31 Year Old Gordon & MacPhail Single Malt Whisky $195.99
1984 Glenesk 20 Year Old Gordon & MacPhail Single Malt Whisky $139.99