Whiskey and His Word: Stress Management, Week 2

Last week, we shared the Lord’s word focused on stress management as well as sharing the complex flavors and experience of the Bull Run Distillery’s single malt whiskey. If you did not get a chance to read last week’s blog, be sure to check it out at The Whiskey Lover’s Whiskey and His Word: Stress Management, week 1. This week we continue diving in by sharing the notes and fragrances of the Westland Distillery’s 2016 Peat Week single malt whiskey. My wife, The Whiskey Lover’s wife, asked me, “why did you choose to share this whiskey?” As I think about it, the experience from the whiskey I chose last week with the focus on stress management, is the fact that stress is our response to PERCIEVED dangers. Well, my experience of getting to go for a weekend with my wife to try and find these whiskeys helps me realize that all the “things” leading up to that weekend that I felt stressed about, was only my perception. I only perceived things at work as stress and that God blessed me with the opportunity to spend time with my other half sharing in something God has blessed us with, in moderation and control.


This weeks whiskey is an excellent Pacific Northwest style representation of what many people think of like a Scotch. However, Westland is at the forefront of sharing and creating a very distinct American Single Malt using grains and resources from the Northwest that is helping solidify the growing field of the American Single Malt Whiskey. In fact, check out the most recent video post from local Seattle based King 5 news on Westland’s latest award. Let’s dig in and see what Westland is sharing with us today.

The Whiskey

peat weak 1

Image via Westland.com

Westland Distillery, 2016 Peat Week American Single Malt Whiskey

ABV: 50% (100 proof)

Distillery Description: “Dive into the mystical waters of peating malt with a simple incantation. “Ekkeri, akai-ri, u kair-an. Fillissin, follasy. Then marvel at the twisted and miraculous alchemy of the Rom that marries smoke and whiskey. Come with questions and leave with even more. Learn what there is to know and embrace the truth of what is unknowable.”

Color: A lighter almost straw yellow color with reflections of a light gold amber off of the Glencairn glass when swirled.

Smell: On first smell, you get the ester like and medicinal smell that comes from the drying of the barley with the local Northwest peat moss. Beyond that, you start to pick up baked banana bread that is heavy in those overripe bananas you remember sitting on the countertop of grandmas house. Shortly after, you begin to pick up an almost methol reflection that ends with a rich, earthy, and smoke like aromas on the nose.

Taste: This is a savory and sweet profile surrounded by robust, but not overdone smoke and spice. This almost spiced grain gives of what is described as a grilled tropical fruit profile that contains hints of the astringent-like patterns from the smoked peat. A delicate, yet at the same time robust profile that can be broken down into many things, but standing out are a sweet, fruity, grilled smoke palate with hints of honey and vanilla lingering on the end.

His Word and Who God is

1 Peter 2:21-24

21 For to this, you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed.

1 peter 24

As we continue, last week we focused on the reading of 1 Samuel 18:6-11 and talked about stress as a perceived danger. Perceived danger much like how the Lord’s anointed King Saul felt about David and the loss of his throne which was not the case at all.

This week we focus on 1 Peter 2:21-24. Through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, our God experienced stress on a firsthand basis. You need to remember that Jesus came to earth for us and to save us from our sin and although perfect, still endured the same problems we face and even constant actual threats on his life in an almost daily basis. Our Lord met these stressful circumstances on numerous occasions, but all these were minor in comparison to the stress He endured from Gethsemane to the cross.

To what resources did Jesus turn during this ordeal? Turn to 1 Peter 2:21-24 to observe Christ’s response to stress and suffering, a real model for us to emulate! So remember that when all life’s “little things” or in some cases “major things” come at us, remember that we must press into Jesus much as Jesus did into his Father. True salvation, answers, and strength come from God and God alone, not any earthly thing that we tend to try and find relief with.

stress 2

next week, we will be diving into God’s word with stress and “who I am.” If you are just joining me on the several week journeys with God and sharing a dram, please follow me and my blog at The Whiskey Lover.

Dear Lord, heavenly father. We come to you this day to give thanks and glory to what you have given up for us along with your word and promise. We will face daily challenges, whether small or large that will want to create stress for us. Let us remember that you faced it all before us and beat it. We have no hope in anything this world provides, but in what you have already done for us and for that I am grateful. May we remember as a model and in obedience, when the devil or sin tries to cause fear and stress in us, we now that you are and will always be there no matter what to help up in this journey. It will not be easy, but we can rest that with our trust and faith in you, we will overcome because you have already overcome. We thank you and pray this in your Holy Name, Jesus Christ, Amen.


If you would like to reach out to me for any reason, perhaps you are facing stress and need somebody to encourage you this day, you have thoughts or feedback to share with us on this journey, or have some great recommendation for a shared dram, please do not hesitate to contact me or share a positive comment.


Whiskey and His Word: Stress Management, Week 1

my whiskey

This weeks whiskey that we will be sharing will be a Pacific Northwest, American single malt whiskey. If you remember, a single malt is a single grain whiskey distilled from 100% malted barley and goes from mash to bottle in a single distillery. The Bull Run Distillery single malt whiskey is this weeks focus and emphasis.


The Bull Run Distillery is a small craft distillery located in Portland Oregon. With barley sourced from the Klamath Basin of Oregon, this whiskey is an expression of the combination of grain, wood, time, and home. The grain of a single malt whiskey creates a very bold and distinct flavor profile that small whiskey distillers are venturing and sharing in America and especially the Pacific Northwest areas. You see, the Pacific Northwest different seasons and climates create great opportunities for the grains to reflect in whiskeys that many other areas do not get the opportunity to have. So a little bit about the Bull Run single malt whiskey. If you would like to find out more about the Whiskey Lover’s trip with the Whiskey Lover to Portland in which we were able to discover this great spirit and distillery, please check the blog out at The Whiskey Lover or The Whiskey Lover’s wife.

  • Color: The whiskey reflects that of a ripe apricot color that balls between an orange and dark gold color.
  • Nose: This whiskey release smells that are rich and toasty with hints of cocoa, malty cereal, butter, and green apples.
  • Taste: Being a single malt that is aged 4 years in a new charred oak barrel, the notes of dark caramel, vanilla, light smoke, and shortbread stand out. This whiskey has a medium length flavor with a peppery end and notes of tobacco and wet cigar that is very herbaceous and menthol.

His Word

1 Samual 18: 6 – 11

When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands,
    and David his tens of thousands.”

Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.

10 The next day an evil[a] spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11 and he hurled it, saying to himself,“I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.


stress 1

Stress can be defined as “The response of the sympathetic nervous system to a perceived or actual threat or the way our body reacts to perceived or actual danger. Blood pressure rising, muscles strength increase, we are ready to fight or fly. It is in essence, our reaction to danger whether it be real or imagined.

If you think about what happened to King Saul after David had killed Goliath, sensing that David was a threat to his position. overcome with rage at what he perceived as a danger to his throne and position, he hurled a spear at David, who barely escaped.

stress 3

David had no intention of overthrowing the king or use his popularity to ease Saul out of power. One of Saul’s shortcomings as a leader was his inability to deal constructively with his perceptions of danger. It was that weakness, not David that undermined his mental health as well as the stability f his throne. Effective leaders learn how to manage stress, both their own and that of the team that they lead.

What would have been a more constructive way for Saul to have dealt with the perceived danger? How do you deal with stress?

stress 2.png

Follow me and join me next time, we will be looking at stress management and who God is.

“Dear Lord, heavenly father, we come to you in thanks for your Word and promise to all of us. You said to not fear that you have conquered this world, and we can rejoice that no matter what stress we may face, you faced it first and died for us upon the cross so we would not be a slave to sin or the stresses of this world. I pray that as we enter the next week, we can reflect that we do not have to respond to stress in a way that destroys us, that we can conquer stress and sin with Your strength. That we take a step back and realize that sometimes what we perceive as a danger or stress is not that at all, many times is a blessing that we can grow and come closer to you with it. We pray this in your holy name, Jesus Christ Amen.

Single Malt Gems of the Pacific Northwest: Valentines Weekend


The Whiskey Lover’s Wife and The Whiskey Lover

Every year for the past several years since my mother passed and left us, my wife always makes sure to do something special that weekend as it was the anniversary when she died. This year, was no different and my wife who also is known by her blog, The Whiskey Lover’s Wife took me for an overnight trip to Portland, Oregon. Why Portland you ask? Well, I as the Whiskey Lover, have a passion for everything whiskey, and right now it is to find and share the hidden gems of the Pacific Northwest with distinguished American single malt whiskeys as well as other whiskeys and spirits that join us along the way.

When a person thinks of a single malt whiskey, it is almost likey reflected with Scotch whiskey. Well, that may be true, but we have some great little craft distilleries doing some great things in our backyard. Having a region that offers so many different seasons and agricultural terrains, it will be a long time before we ever tap it all. These aspects are how it affects the different complex flavors and profiles you find in a whiskey.

If you want to find out more about the excursion it’self along from the perspective of The Whiskey Lover’s Wife and the experience and interactions, then please shoot on over and check her blog out at The Whiskey Lover’s Wife.


The Whiskey Lover’s Wife and kids

The two different family blogs are one of the reasons we do our blogs to give you two different perspectives to help the experience. I as The Whiskey Lover will be focusing more so on the whiskey itself for those whiskey enthusiasts.

On to our first stop after a semi-short drive of about an hour and a half to the city of Portland. My wife purchased a Groupon to a little distillery called Vinn distillery located at 222 SE Avenue in Portland. I did not do any research but come to realize that this is a smaller family owned business that focuses creating Chinese based spirits with an “ancient” family recipe. The main spirit made by Vinn Distillery is a spirit called Baiju, pronounced as “bye-joe.” Baijiu is considered a vodka spirit but is a rice-based spirit that creates a very earthy sweet flavor profile that stands on the front end of the palate and is very pronounced. What is interesting is this rice-based spirits, is produced to 80 proof and is distilled in a pot still which leaves a lot of the flavor, unlike vodkas that are distilled many times to take away any character you may find establishing a high proof mixer.

What get’s very interesting about this trip, was that the story is one day, the family found an unused 53-gallon virgin oak barrel. They thought, what if we aged it in this barrel? Well, what you have technically is rice or “grain” based spirit that is distilled to at least 80 proof (86 proof to be exact) and aged in an oak barrel for over a year. That is a grain whiskey, a grain whiskey that I have never had, but a grain whiskey none the less. So what did it come out as tasting? Here you go folks, my breakdown of the Vinn Distillery grain (rice) whiskey.



Vinn Distillery: Rice-based whiskey
Batch # 9
Bottle #292
43% ABV / 86  Proof

  • Color: At first sight, the yellow is a little more pronounced and is surrounded by a golden amber that stems from the aging in a new oak barrel.
  • Nose: Definitely a slight nosing with a sweet smell. The whiskey has a sweet smell that does not stand out like bourbon and corn, but a lingering sweet aroma with some grassy or grain components.
  • Taste: This whiskey is a “soft” flavor profile that unlike many whiskeys that are more pronounced through the sip is balanced from the front to the back for the entire taste. The flavor profile does not change from the front to the back which many may like or not depending on their palates. The slightest of “bite” you would expect from lower level alcohol like perhaps 60 proof but is evident in the 86 proof spirit. You get the slight vanilla and caramel from the barrel and rye like profile that seems to stand out. It is not spicy or as dry as rye, but the flavors are evidence. This whiskey also tastes much like a bourbon would, but the sweet and oily components you get from a bourbon are not present.


The second distillery we visited was the Eastside Distillery. This distillery located at 1512 Southeast 7th Avenue in Portland, had a plethora of spirits to offer. I did not take any home and will not necessarily be providing a tasting breakdown this time. Eleven different spirits were being offered, which for me was a lot. It was a mix of several rum-based spirits and then bourbon based spirits and blended bourbons with one high proof of 111 rye whiskey. Honestly, it was a nice visit, however with so many different spirits all over the place, it was tough to have time to break down and experience each one and the intricacies that they had. I am sure that many of them had terrific flavor profiles to offer, but I could not get the time to break down each one sipping out of the little plastic cups they provided.

To me, I just could not get into the story and soul of the spirits like I could some of the other places. Again, I feel I would owe it to select a few of their products to break down and analyze, but this visit was not going to provide that, as well as the tasting room host, was newer. The host was friendly and had more knowledge than many other places, but it takes a while to honestly get to know and share the experience that is the whiskey and spirits you are representing.

That evening, I found out why my wife books at the hotel we stayed that night. Attached to the hotel was a bar and restaurant known as Swine. Swine was a moonshine and whiskey bar. Packed to the brim that night, we found a spot. We sat and got to admire the walls covered with both world and local whiskeys. So many that I wouldn’t even know what to try. When I am in a place like this, I usually like to venture into the cocktails as at


Swank and Swine, Moonshine and Whiskey Bar Image from swankandswine.com

distilleries, my focus in whiskey neat to truly experience the flavors, body, and experience of the whiskey. What would the cocktails of choice be tonight? Well, my first and always is, is either the Manhatten or in this case, their version of a Manhatten. This drink was entitled the Ellis Island. The Ellis Island was their upscale version of a Manhatten that used what Old Foresters, Amaro Nardini, and Angostura Bitters in a rock glass with one giant ice cube.


This cocktail was an excellent version of the perfect Manhatten. The bitters were of an outstanding quality which gave it that “bitter” flavor profile that was unique, as well as the Amaro Nardini with, was a delicious version of sweet vermouth that reintroduced the sweetness to the bourbon and created an experience. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to any person making their way through Portland.

The next day, we were off to our last two distilleries before we made our way home. The first one of the day and I will go ahead and venture to say, my favorite of the trip and one of my top five distilleries I have visited so far. My wife and I hopped in the Jeep and ventured our way to the Bull Run Distillery located at 2259 NW Quimby St. in Portland. I was very excited to visit as this is one of the places that is currently producing a single malt whiskey. Bull Run creates several high-quality whiskeys and spirits, but the single malt is the one that brought in this taster.

The Bull Run Distillery head Distiller was a gentleman that was one of the founders of the House Spirits Distillery and their Westward single malt whiskey. Some of the spirits that my wife and I got to taste was started off with their Medoyeff vodka which is a vodka that is only distilled once keeping much of the flavor profile from the mash in it and making good sipping or cocktail vodka. We then tried a couple of spirits such as their barrel aged Starka and Aquavit. There were many different whiskeys is the base of their focus including a straight bourbon whiskey, American whiskey, a pinot barrel finished whiskey, a Chinato barrel finished straight bourbon (which I gladly left with a bottle) and a single malt whiskey (which was the focus of my trip.)

I will be sharing my tasting notes on two of the whiskey’s I left with which included the Chinato barrel finished straight bourbon and the American single malt whiskey. Both were fantastic and excellent in many different ways. I will start with the Chinato barrel aged straight bourbon whiskey. So what is straight bourbon and what does it mean to age in Chinato? Well, a straight bourbon implies that it is a spirit that uses at least 51% corn in the mash bill, it distills to at least 80 proof, and it ages for at least 2 years in a brand new oak barrel. The liquid that comes from that barrel and enters the bottle becomes a straight bourbon. Well, take that whiskey and age it in a Chinato barrel and you get ready to go Manhatten if you think about it. Chinato is a type of vermouth that is a split between sweet vermouth and a quinquina which is a type of wine. The whole idea with a Manhatten is that the reintroduction of sugars from the sweet vermouth and addition of bitters to adding the complex flavors to it is the makeup of a Manhattan. This bourbon has that slight Manhatten sweet complexity, and when you add a few drops of their barrel aged bitters, you get awesomeness. Here is my breakdown of the Chinato aged Straight Bourbon Whiskey from the Bull Run Distillery.


Chinato Barrel Finished Straight Bourbon Whiskey


Bull Run Distillery; Chinato Barrel Finished Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Batch # 003
Bottle # 0245
45% ABV / 90 proof
Distillery description: “If you enjoy a good Manhatten, you’ll love our Chinato Barrell Aged Bourbon with its rich flavor, and notes of ripe fruit flavor, and notes of ripe fruit and spice. The barrels come to use compliments of our friends at Cana’s Feast Winery in Carlton, Oregon, where they were used to age their beautiful Chinato D’Erbetti – Italian-style sweet vermouth.”

  • Color: Dark mahogany with amber like reflections off of the Glencairn glass.
  • Smell: Spicy and fruity smell from the glass. Sweet wine type smell reminiscent of sherry finished whiskey, but much lighter with hints of overripe orchard fruit. Slight smokey and tobacco-like aromas that come from a bourbon aged new oak barrel and baking spices.
  • Taste: The initial coating of the tongue is balanced from the front of the tongue to the back. On the front of the palate you get the sweetness coming from the finishing in the Chinato barrel with complexities behind it of the vanilla, caramel, and baking spices you find with a bourbon. As the taste lingers to the back of the tongue, the fruitiness of overripe or cinnamon baked fruit occurs. This taste transition turns into the traditional tobacco and leather profile on the back end but does not overwhelm the almost Manhatten based pattern.

I have not had a whiskey like this before, and the main reason I enjoy a Manhatten is how the traditional cocktail takes a spirit such as rye or bourbon and re-introduces the sugar to it from the vermouth and adding bitter notes from the bitters. This whiskey creates a cocktail that produces a flavor transition from three ingredients to enjoy. This spirit does a great job creating that sense and experience in a single spirit. The Chinato finished bourbon is one to keep on hand at all times. I can not wait to go back and learn more about it.

To end my blog, I will be sharing the last bottle that I came home with and one that I set out to try and share. This bottle would be the American single malt whiskey from the Bull Run Distillery. Before I share it, I will tell you that this blog is just a tip of the iceberg that I would like to share. I want to briefly share this experience and a few of the unique and exceptional whiskeys and spirits that we tried. My wife from The Whiskey Lover’s Wife can honestly tell the story of the experience itself so much more than I can. I genuinely emphasize that you go over and check out her blog at The Whiskey Lover’s Wife. Part of whiskey tasting is the whiskey, of course, however, the people you meet, the experiences you create, and the memories that develop and finish the story of it all. I will be coming back to many of these places and sharing so much more as many times, they are like onions with many layers and you get something new every time.




Bull Run American Single Malt Whiskey


Bull Run Distillery: Oregon Single Malt Whiskey
Bath # 002
Bottle # 00558
44.58% ABV / 89.70 proof
Distillery description: “Pot distilled with 100% malted barley from the Klamath basin and water from the Bull Run watershed, then aged four years in Amerian oak, the spirits in this bottle continue the long history of whiskey making in American by embracing the pioneer spirit of Oregon.”

  • Color: Light yellow golden hues with a little amber at the center of the rolling spirit from the glass.
  • Smell: slight cereal and malty aroma that comes through the sweet smell that comes from the malted barley. Hints of the vanilla and caramel come out at the end from being aged in a new oak barrel. The sweet smell is slightly fruity that associate with similar lowland single malt whiskeys from Scottland.
  • Taste: The front of the taste surges with a traditional malt whiskey with cereal and malt flavors from the front and initial sip of whiskey. Sweet orchard fruit of apricot, peach, and overripe apple are prevalent on the front end that is subtle and soft initially. The neat thing is that traditional single malts not being aged in new barrels which this whiskey being done as such produces a significant transition from the front to back. As the whiskey moves from the front to the back, you get the “bite” which is what you want and not a “burn” from alcohol. This “bite” comes from the aging and environment of the barrel. You get a light smokey and spicey back end from the tannins of the barrel and interacting with the softness of the malted barley.

This whiskey is an excellent American single malt whiskey produced in our backyard of the Pacific Northwest. With so many regions and environments, we have people that can do so much with whiskey in the Washington and Oregon areas.

I hope you enjoyed finding out a little more about the great whiskeys in our backyard. Again, my focus is finding and sharing these gems with all of you while emphasizing the flavor profiles and complexities behind the spirits. With these trips and tasting, my wife shares the personal side of the experience and all the little nuances that go together to create an authentic experience. Please check out her blog on this trip at The Whiskey Lover’s wife and join us next time as we share the passion, art, and science of everything whiskey.


Want to find out more and join us on our great whiskey experiences

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Great whiskeys and spirits from Portland, Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest


Jewels of the Pacific Northwest: Snowshoeing And Whiskey Are Just a Few

Where we live in Centralia, although has its ups and downs, will say I have learned to appreciate the many positives of living where we do. We are located in a centrally located part of Washington known as Centralia. What makes this place a great location? Well, the fact that you can decide the morning of and head many different locations centralia_wawithin a days drive and experience everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer. In less than two hours you can head to the ocean and play at the beach for the day, head to the mountain and go skiing or snowshoeing like we just did, you can be in the big city of Seattle, or head to Portland, and even head over the Cascade Mountains and be in the desert. Oh, and did I mention all the great Pacific Northwest Distilleries that are located right in our backyard? That will be my future project of visiting and sharing all the American single malts being produced in the Pacific Northwest (stay tuned!!).

Just over MLK weekend, the family decided to go snowshoeing as we did not get a lot of chances to go this year. We headed to the White Pass Nordic Center located next to Mount Rainier at White Pass to make sure we got at least one trip in this year. There we spent just over three hours hiking the Nordic trails of White Pass around Leech Lake. If you would like to hear about the day from the family perspective, please read about it at my wife’s blog, The Whiskey Lovers Wife, you won’t be sorry you did, it just rounds out the experience.



Also, Lane himself has gotten into the spirit of sharing his adventures as he recently received some equipment from Santa over Christmas in order to start his new vlog series entitled, “The Lane That Leads The Way.” This is a series in which Lane will share his many adventures and knowledge on video games and share with others. Much like I am doing with my passion around the experience of whiskey at The Whiskey Lover and my wife’s adventures from the perspective of all the places whiskey takes us as a family at The Whiskey Lover’s Wife. Check out Lane’s first vlog adventure on his youtube channel and subscribe to see what this little whiskey lover is going next in The Lane That Leads The Way.

With that being said, this is The Whiskey Lover’s Blog, so what would that be without some type of review, commentary, or story around the reason I started this. Just the other day, I was cleaning out my cabinet and came across a bottle of a whiskey called counter balance whiskeyCounterbalance whiskey from the 2 Bar distillery located in the Seattle Sodo district. This week, I did a video review of this limited product that unfortunately you can not get any longer but wanted to share this unique product as it also represents the great things that are coming out of our Pacific Northwest. This week is a video blog reviewing this great whiskey from the collaboration of the people at 2 Bar Distillery and the CounterbalanceBrewing in Seattle.


Please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as my family and I take you on many great adventures sharing the science, art, and passion around everything whiskey.

Blackfish Distillery: Family Focused and Loving It

What Will We Do Today?

As we (my wife and I) wake up from sleeping in a little bit on our Winter vacation as we are both educators, my wife Stacie being a PE teacher of seventeen years and myself, a principal in a small Northwest Community of Morton, we lay in bed wondering what to do. Well, she actually already planned on snowshoeing. However, I must have had other plans because I was not pushing that all so much if you know what I mean. I scroll through my smartphone thinking of what how I can get my passion for whisk(e)y out to others more and then come across a small google review of a place known as the Blackfish Distillery (https://www.blackfishdistillery.com/).

I have been to many and researched quite a few of the local distilleries, but this one has not crossed my radar, and I thought to myself, “Auburn is not too far, let’s do it,” and of course my wife (www.thewhiskeyloverswife.com) was all for supporting me and my passion. So we were off, with the boys in the back of the 2012 Prius. One boy with his throw on clothes and snow boots just barely making in the car and the other dressed to the brim with his old fashion hat, coat, slacks, and dress shoes ready to make an impression on whatever life brings him.

Where is this place?

After spending more time in traffic as than we planned, but all worth it as that time is still quality time with the family as compared to so many other choices such as sitting around and watching television and playing video games. Then we find it, tucked away


Blackfish Distillery storefront

off the West Valley Highway in a local industrial site. Most likely because the distillery is there as well as the tasting room and so an ample space is needed to support that type of industry is needed. Scrolled across the front of the tasting room and a parked van outside stated that we were at the Blackfish Distillery. 

Come on In!

So we step inside, and we see a very lovely decorated tasting room, a smaller one compared to others, but you can tell a lot of care of planning went in for a specific look. Everything from the bottles of spirits that they offer, to decorations of an almost vintage type look supporting the t-shirts and items that were also for sale. In the back, we notice a gentleman that greets us and asks us how we were doing. Of course, just kind of share that we were interested in the experience of the Blackfish Distillery. With an excitement and no hesitation he pulls us to the back and introduces us to his two children working that day one that has a degree in astrophysics that focuses on the science and math part and the other son that is the English major and focuses on the story of the Black Fish Distillery.

He introduced himself as Michael and seems to hit it off with our oldest Luke as he was wearing the same old time hat and coat as him, however, Michael’s was from Dublin, Ireland, but nice. We explain that this is more than just tasting alcohol, this is a family


Copper pot still at Blackfish Distillery

thing as the youngest, Lane, wants to be a brewer and explains the connection to the old Tumwater Brewery. I think Michael was just struck by the two youngest boys as throughout the tour he continued to connect some of the stories of him and his boys growing up and “building” things and those experiences. During this whole time it felt like just an old-fashioned get together with some friends and family. As we got to hear first hand the journey of the family and distillery and as well as the intricate parts from the constructed pot still purchased online from a man in Spain to the continuing growing column stills that his son continues to make taller for the high proof spirits. I will leave more of the family part to my wife and her blog at www.thewhiskeyloverswife.com.


The Spirits of Black Fish Distillery

As we finish up the good time talking and visiting, we move on to one of my favorite parts of the tour. At this time I get to sample some of the spirits that the distillery produces as well as hear some of the tasting notes. I was pretty set on focusing on the whiskey productions. However, we did try some of their liquors such as the coffee and chocolate which were fantastic. The coffee and chocolate being made from local coffee and chocolate as well were so exciting and tasty. I, myself, do not drink liquors that all that much, but if my wife likes it, then that says a lot as the whiskey lover’s wife. We start out with their unaged whiskey also known as “white dog” or “white lightning.” My wife

Black Fish spirits

Blackfish spirits produced

throws out there, “moonshine?” as Michaels replies, “well if we were making it illegally and not paying taxes” as we all chuckle. For a 110 proof spirit, it was deceptively smooth with a 70% corn, 25% malted barley, and 5% chocolate barley. The chocolate barley is the only grain that is shipped from Scotland. This produces a lovely, but balanced white whiskey with the barley and if you sip it, then you get the mildest chocolate profile at the end which makes it great for cocktails. Michaels adds a little sweet tea to show how when adding sugar back into a whiskey then it brings up the flavor profiles that are distilled out and that is what makes a great cocktail. We then move on to the aged bourbon whiskey. The aged bourbon is the white whiskey mash bill but then aged in a new American oak barrel for two years that when tasted adds the other notes in an aged whiskey such as the vanilla, caramel, toffee, etc. Lastly, the bottle that I am going to review is the Doc. Brewer’s rye aged whiskey.


Rye collection picture from http://www.blackfishdistillery.com

Blackfish Distillery Doc Brewer’s Rye Whiskey

Mash Bill: 70% malted rye, 30% malted barley (malted means they add moisture so it


Malted Rye

started to sprout and releases the sugars and enzymes)

Color: Dark amber almost brown color like caramelized sugar on fruit

Smell (with a few drops of water (to open up): Initial smell of overripe fruit and vanilla and heavy baking spices. Contains a distinct rye smell that is hard to describe that is almost musty and spicy smelling. When left in a glass overnight, there is a little residue when not cleaned that is a powerful chocolate smell.

baking spices

Baking Spices

Taste (with a few drops of water to open up): Spicey flavor on the front of the tongue and dissipates through the back. taste of clove spices and pepper. Strong vanilla and sugar with slight citrus tones when water is added. The taste starts out strong and becomes balanced towards the end of the

nosing 6


palate. Do get some bitter leather and tobacco flavors as well as vanilla from the new American oak barrel that it is aged in.


Final Thought: A fine rye whiskey, in terms of local craft whiskeys, I would say one of the better ones I have had. I enjoy it alone, but I could see it making a really good traditional Manhatten. Definitely worth the drive and visit as well as picking up a bottle to share with your friends and family.

I would like to thank Michael Gifford from the Blackfish Distillery for taking us in and sharing what great things you and your family are doing for us in the Northwest!


Whiskey family with the owner Michael Gifford

Join me on my whisk(e)y adventures on Facebook or Twitter


Visit Blackfish Distillery

420 37th St NW Suite A

Auburn, WA 98001




Whiskey and His Word: Self-Discipline part 2

Happy Christmas Eve everyone! As my family and I wake up, we have been taking care of the youngest so he hopefully does not have to continue battling this fever of 103 during Christmas. As suncadiahe continues to battle this fever getting ready for the family festivities, I would like to take some time to review a new whiskey while I continue focusing on God’s word and share with you.

Just recently, my family and I took a little family vacation for a night over to Roslyn, Washington to the Suncadia resort. While there we played in the snow, went sledding, ice skating, swimming, ate out and even visited the new Heritage Distillery tasting room that just recently opened in Roslyn. Their main flagship building is currently located in Gig Harbor and they continue to produce some great additions to the American Whiskey line, as well as putting Washington on the map for their select whiskey brands.

So which whiskey will I be sharing with you this day as I dive into the Lord’s Word with skatingyou and share this passion and art? Well, Heritage has just released what they call their Old Fashioned Ready from their Dual Barrel collection. What does that mean you may be wondering? Well, Heritage tends to do what they call finish aging some of their whiskeys. So they primary age it in a select barrel which tends to produce a large part of the flavor in aged whiskey then they take it and age it in another type of barrel to add distinct flavor profiles and complexes for a short amount of time. This is NOT blending, if that is what you are thinking. Blending is when they take multiple aged spirits and mix them for a balanced flavor, this is aging them in two district barrels for a designated amount of time.


Whiskey: Old Fashioned Ready Rye Whiskey Finished in Orange Extract Barrel


Notes: This is a Rye whiskey made up of 95% rye and 5% malted barley. The grains come orange extractfrom Washington state and a private farm in Eastern Washington owned by a close friend of the business. They age the whiskey in an American Oak barrel for about 2 years and then they transfer it to a second barrel that previously aged orange extract for a couple of months.


Smell: You get a light cereal smell from the 5% malted barley, but you get the traditional very sweet and almost bitter smell you only get from a rye whiskey. However, the citrus and orange aromas come off of that through the entire smell, but not to the point of orange rindthinking you have orange juice, but the smell of an orange rind that has been peeled and is delicate and soft which is nice.

Color: When poured into a nice Glencairn glass, you see a soft yellow to gold color on the whiskey. When swirled the legs on the whiskey are a little larger and take a slight second longer to run showing the 46% alcohol by volume that you would expect.

Taste: You get the American Oak on the front end as you can taste the peppery notes that come from the oak tannins, but is not heavy or lingering at all on the sip and goes nicely from the front of the tongue to the back through the entire taste. The kind of nice whiskey pepper you like from American whiskeys. You get the vanilla from the American oak and a slight buttery tone on the middle of the palate and again, it is not strong in the vanilla orangefront, middle, or end, but a nice balance through the entire taste. It is like a spiced orange as well from the spice of the rye and the orange tones that are not super heavy, but nicely balanced and hidden through the sip. You get the citrus tones with vanilla and of course some of the leathery tobacco from whiskey barrels.

A fine whiskey by itself with the citrus notes, but does make a good whiskey for simple cocktails in which you want the whiskey to stand out. You can take various versions of the old-fashioned such as they recommend that you would like a nice whiskey with orange citrus notes to stand out and enjoy. If you are interested in finding a bottle, you should do it by visiting one of the Heritage’s beautiful tasting rooms, because it is more than just a whiskey, it is an experience. It is meeting the people and talking with them and sharing in something that they take much pride in and definitely is a passion and art too. You can find various locations at http://heritagedistilling.com/.

Word: Jeremiah 18:1-12

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted,10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

11 “Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ 12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’”

Last time, I talked and focused on Corinthians 9:24-27 in which the focus was on the Apostle Paul comparing and talking about our spiritual journey to training for a race and competition. Today, I continue to build on the idea and concept of self-discipline in Jeremiah 18: 1-12. As we talk about self-discipline we focus on it and who God is. Over claythe years of recorded history, there have been many people in leadership roles whether placed their both others or by themselves that have not always demonstrated what you and I would call….moral restraint which has proven to result in some pretty disastrous results that we may still remember until this day. However, how good it is to know and be reassured that the ultimate power behind all things is of God Who demonstrates patience and mercy toward humanity even when it is our own faults we are in this mess, but his grace is so much more than our faults and errors.

In this passage, a message from God comes to Jeremiah as he visits a potter’s house. There he sees how the potter forms the clay jar and how when it becomes marred and destroyed the potter uses that to continue building it up into a beautiful piece in the final product. God explains to Jeremiah that he does the same with his people as the potter does with this clay in order to bring about his great masterpiece. It is so easy to continue in our ways and think how easy it is for us and then blame God when it does not work out. We lean on our own ways and most of the time those ways are sinful and wrong and God does not want that for us so He can and uses circumstances and patience to continue leading us and building us up for his glory and plan.

Do you want a perfect example of self-discipline? Look to God, Who is compassionate, gracious and slow to anger. His perfect patience and forbearance are evidence through the Scriptures and exemplify the essence of perfect self-discipline. How hard is it for us potter and the claywhen our children fight, argue, don’t listen, break rules, and question us that we lose our temper and respond to anger and control. God does not do that with us, His willingness to endure and to forgive our frequent acts of disobedience is nothing short of amazing.

Think about how you can reflect on this kind of self-discipline in your dealings with others and remember that we will always fall short as we are merely humans, but in the focusing on God and His Word, we grow closer to Him each day and His Will. As you reflect on your self-discipline remember what God’s is like and try to show that to others as you grow in the Lord.

Lord, I pray that this day as we enter Christmas and remember what you did by sending your only Son to save us and bring salvation, not because we did anything to earn it, but because you loved us first and the most and continue to do so. As we fall short, help us remember that we can always come to do to forgive us and help us grow closer to you and follow your example of self-discipline. Lord, please allow us to follow your example this day and week with others and for others as You have for us. I love you and pray this in your name Jesus, Amen.

Please continue joining me at https://thewhiskeylover.com/ as well as my wife at https://thewhiskeyloverswife.com/ as we continue to share our passion, love, experiences, and so much more with you and as they say in Scotland, Slainte!


Whisky and His Word: Self-Discipline

My wife asked me what my passion was the other day. This was probably stemming from the fact that I am one of those “weekend warriors” or “next best thing” type people trying to find those passions and past times that make us all feel…..well…..fulfilled. It has been a long time since I wrote my last blog on my passion for whiskey and I just miss it, as well as the deeper part of sharing something I love with others. Other than of course my family, what do I love? When I think of all the time I spend with my family and when I am not with my family other than my job and career and a leader of teachers and students of a very small 7-12 school in Washington State, I love the experiences that come with my “whiskey adventures” and I love God. God first, of course, and with that, all else falls into place.

So, here I go putting the pieces back into place with God at the top…WHISKEY AND HIS WORD. Now I know that there are many out there that would say, “wait a minute, the Word looks down on alcohol…..” Does it? And we can take anything out of context. With God, it is not about the religion, but the relationship that He desires with us. Not the ceremonies, the rituals, the good works we try to do to earn His love. It is all about us loving Him because He loved us first and saved us. Well, I don’t drink whiskey to simply drink; I experience it because of the great things that come with it like the memories, experiences, people, passion, art, science, and love. Just like a pretty good relationship, I would think. So even though I spend time daily talking with God and learning how to be in a better relationship with Him and embrace His love and word, I am going to carve out time Wednesday afternoons when I get home from a long day to thank God, enjoy a small dram of some sort of whiskey, giving thanks to Him and diving into some study of His word with focus on leadership. As I am a leader, I want to learn how to be a Godly leader as I share a dram with God diving into His word.

Whisky: Old Pulteney 12

old pultney 12

Tonight’s dram will a 12-year-old Old Pulteney. Where is Old Pulteney? Old Pulteney is what some call a sailers scotch located in the very high part of the Highlands of Scotland. Up past the Islay areas and Highlands. Not one of the many distilleries I got

old pultney map

to visit when my family and I visited just this last summer, but one that I will visit for next time. I will break down three main parts of each whisky I share with you to get a better idea of not just the taste, but the whole experience. Remember, whisky is an experience, not just a drink. It is about the emotions, memories, and experiences that it creates and brings up.

ColorFor a 12-year-old, it is a very dark amber color. It makes me think of that stuff that the mosquito was stuck in for millions of years from the Movie Jurassic Park. You know….the tree sap stuff.

Nosemmmm…I guess I would explain this as an almost salty and sweet like baked fruit. 

TasteNot a super complex Scotch whisky, but bitter on the front with citrus type notes. Kind of like when you nibble into a lemon rind and it has those bitter notes. However, it has a leathery taste that tends to creep off the tongue, not too quick or too slow. Then you start to find other complex notes like some type of caramel vanilla creme brulee that is overcooked. I also think of an overripe orchard fruit and a really salty apricot. 

creme brulee              over ripe appricot      lemon rind

Word: 1 Corinthians 9:24 – 27

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

When many of us think about our spiritual life, we don’t always think about the hard work and dedication it takes to follow the example Christ left for us. This scripture does not just talk about our instant thought of “sports” but, it tries to make a connection on what it takes to prepare and participate in challenging activities. The dedication it takes to focus on and develop our spiritual lives that form the core of our character is just as important and just as difficult, but meaningful and satisfying.

I think of this connection of the teamwork, determination, and sacrifice it takes to “run the race” or train ourselves for a goal. It takes those same characteristics to train for our “race” of developing our spiritual habits for God. Just like the focus and dedication to learning the art and science to whisky can be translated over to the dedication and focus in preparation in athletics to compete at the highest level. Well, more importantly, it takes that daily sacrifice to die to our flesh and sin and to pick up the cross daily for God and give that same effort, dedication, sacrifice, and determination for Him.


Paul knew this and what that sacrifice looked like as he tried to reflect this example left by Jesus for Him. Just like a runner and boxer spend the time to develop their physical stamina to run the race or to take and deliver the blows needed, Paul trained his spiritual gifts, skills, and habits to run the race for God.

What does your race look like? Just like seasons, your race may be uphill at times, downhill, in the sand, or on the rocks, but it is the race still the same. Lean on God and give Him your sacrifice, dedication, and teamwork and allow Him to help you and carry you through as well. There are different parts of your life that are part of the race for 1 CorGod from your physical fitness, to balancing work and home life, financial and personal accountability, to time dedication to God and His Word and promise to you. Train it and remember that is is not just a race and trying to beat others, but the way we train and run the race is what is important.

I hope God’s word helps you this week as I pray it helps and focuses me to run the good race for God.

Dear heavenly Father, I pray for all those out there to find that dedication, focus, sacrifice, and teamwork to train their spiritual habits and gifts you have blessed them with. The race will not always be easy, but you are there God with us every step of the way and I pray we remember that. God, it is not a race to beat others, but to become the racers you planned us to be and that every day we learn what that is and help others in their race. I pray this week that we are open to feel and see our race, support others in theirs, and to thank You every step of the way. Amen.

Have a good week and as they say in Scottland with a friend or loved one over a nice dram…..SLAINTE



An Afternoon in The Emerald City, Hot Chocolate Run, and some Copperworks Single Malt!

It is a real blessing when you can pick up and create an experience with your family just in your back yard. My wife has always been one to make an adventure out of just about anything. Sometimes it is easy to complain and be a little stubborn when you just want to hide away for the weekend and take the easy path. However, deep down it is great to have your other half that can and wants to create something out of nothing for our family. Hence, our little excursion to the Emerald city or Seattle where she gets ready to battle with the Hot Chocolate run early that Sunday morning.

The family checking in for the Emerald City Hot Chocolate Run

It is always a little stressful as I drive from my rural setting of the country and visit the urban city and try to navigate the tight overcrowded spaces with people darting from every nook and cranny that I did not even know existed. However, that cloud eventually passes and of course my wife is determined to support me with insuring that we find and visit one of the distilleries that we could not navigate to find last time, the Copperworks Distillery. This is a local craft distillery that is based out of Seattle that takes pride in its spirits including their single malt whiskey which I was excited to try with a tasting.


Copperworks distillery was founded by two gentleman with a passion that started with beer and brewing. Owners Jason Parker and Micah Nutt set up in a prime location along the Seattle water front as Washington craft distilling explodes with other great distilleries down the road such as Westland, 2 bar, Oola, and many others. I, myself, am excited to see, try and even use this opportunity to prep as in early April I will sign up to take a class to learn all about their whiskey and blend my own bottle from four of their own cask whiskeys. That will be another blog all in its own, wait to hear all about that great experience.

We found it, with the android and Google map in hand, the four if us trot hand in hand finding the large copper sign on the side of the building and wondering, “how did we miss this in the first place?” Well, what ever the reason, we have found it and I will get thirty minutes to just experience as my family joins me in my passion. Well, actually, the boys play games on the phone and my wife takes pictures for my blog and web site. Thanks babe, aka the whiskey lovers wife. Which I am sure a tandem blog from her eyes will be out shortly after this weekend.

The Whiskey Lover and the Whiskey Lover’s Wife

I enter and you can just imagine what a beautiful building. As you come up the steps and enter the building, it is basic yet beautiful with fine wood and spirit decor. Several pub height tables with padded stools around them. Through all the glass you see several large copper stills and a beautiful spirit sage. As Luke mentions how cool those are and big like they are from Scotland, I remind him that those are actually from Scotland and when we go this July he will get to see many that are even bigger. A beautiful sight as several people on the other side are getting tours from one of the owners.

At the end of the narrow room stands a large wooden bar front and behind is covered with a display of their spirits and the many awards and medals hanging off of them. I approach the bar and the gentleman is busy sharing the art of their four main spirits of a vodka, gin, cask aged gin, and finally the aged whiskey which I came to try. I am very excited at this time as the several people enjoy hanging out talking with the host.

I make my way through three very tasty spirits of vodka and gin finally to get to the whiskey or, their flagship spirit. An American single malt from grain to bottle in this very distillery. Not a replica of a scotch, but an American single malt with Washington and American aspects, characteristics, and spirit all of its own. I am poured a small dram and as I swirl and listen to the gentleman share the process that went into this batch I bring it to my nose. Instantly I get a real clean fruit layered aroma of citrus u

Nosing whiskey adds to the experience

undertones and very crisp. I then sip and as it sits on my tongue, I get some vanilla and toffee, but not too much as it is not aged in a brand new American oak barrel and not aged for a super long time. Very balanced from front to end of the palate. You get some vanilla with a little leather, but very strong with the fruit of apricot and pear from start to finish. A shorter finish, but balanced and not containing a lot of that peppery bite you would expect. More on the fruit and herbal side with notes that makes a great sipping whiskey that I would fear to mix and lose those flavors, however would make a great old-fashioned that is sweet and balanced.



So then as I take the provided dropper of water and add two drops to my whiskey and swirl a couple of times, a rush of herbal flowers and fruit laidened notes just rush out. I smell again before putting on my tongue and a whole new tasting experience opens up for me. Wow, a fine single malt whiskey that is being produced with love and passion. The whiskey alone would have been great, however the experience to listen and watch others enjoy create something special. To have my wife support my passion and my boys be by my side, it is not just a drink, but an experience that I will remember.

Adding water opens up the aromas and flavors of whiskey

I highly recommend if you have not been to Copperworks in the Emerald City of Seatttle, please do. I will be joining them in April to nose, sample and blend my own bottle and can not wait to talk with the owners and share my product with you. Many think, “how is drinking a hobby or passion” and do not realize the other life changing aspects that go into the art of whiskey from picking and mashing the grain and distilling to the bottling, sampling, and sharing of the spirit with others. Thank you for joining me at The Whiskey Lover and Aqua Vitae Tasting and hope that you continue to follow me and my wife at The Whiskey Lover’s Wife.

Going home with a bottle of Copperworks whiskey

The Whiskey Lover, Episode 1. Koval Single Barrel Bourbon.

What makes up a bourbon? Well, I will tell you and more as I present episode 1 of the Whiskey Lover’s video blog (vlog). I have had this whiskey club box just sitting silently on my whiskey cabinet. It sits there just waiting and wanting to be sampled and shared with you! This is the first and only online whiskey club (Flaviur) that I am actually a part of, however I will not be digging into the Merritt of this club itself, but simply breaking down one of three samples that they have sent me.flabiur

See, you pay a certain amount ($60) every quarter and they send you samples based on your personakovall preferences. In this case I selected bourbon and american whiskey. You have no idea what you are going to get, and some would argue that is part of the fun. Of the three samples I will be sharing my tasting notes on the Koval single barrel bourbon which is an organic distillery based out of the city of Chicago. So please join me and watch my video as I share my nosing and tasting notes of this small organic distilleries attempt at an American bourbon!


You can also see my posts and videos by following my on my Aqua Vitae Facebook or on my Aqua Vitae Twitter.

If the Video has difficulty loading and buffering, please click my wevideo link to go directly to this video. Thank you.

The Whiskey Lover, Episode 1. Koval Single Barrel Bourbon.

What is Nosing of Whiskey?

More Than Just A Sipnosing-1

When I was starting to learn everything about the wide world of whiskey, one area that I was very insecure and did not have much knowledge to say about was the nosing or smelling of notes in whisky. Well it does make sense that in order to dig down and understand and enjoy a dram of whiskey, no matter what type, is that fact that our noses play an important role in the experience.

Even science breaks down some aspects for us that create a wonderful tasting experience. When we smell something, our brain sends messages that in return help us begin anticipating that wonderful item. Well, when we start anticipating such as Maslow’s dog every time the bell rang, our brain reaction is to begin creating saliva that coats our tongues. This saliva actually enhances and increases our ability to taste which in return helps us identify flavors that we enjoy. Bam…there you have it.

“I remember the smell of the fresh apple pie and cobbler that my mom would cook.

cinnamon, sugar, sweet and tart apples.

It filled the room with smells and memories of growing up. 

I forgot how much I loved these smells until they were gone.”

Studies show us that 90% of what we taste is actually smell. Now it is connecting with me. When I am taking a shot of the cheapest alcohol I can buy, I am not looking for something that is going to smell and taste good, and in return trigger memories and experience from my past. I am looking for something that I can chug down plugging my nose and ice-cold. Well, college is over my friends. Whiskey is more than that and it deserves and seeks to share all the great treasures it hides. So how do we do it? How do I nose a whiskey and not look like a fool? Let’s start.

What do I drink Whiskey Out Of?

Well, the answer to that is anything really. However, are you looking to shoot some cheap stuff down or are you looking to expand your knowledge and experience with what whiskey has to offer you? If it is of the lather then there are some things you might want to stick to. If you go to a higher end or more established distillery and tasting then you might notice they tend to use these small little glasses that are pear or tulip shaped. Those are called Glencairn glasses. You might see very small what appear to be wine glasses or even regular type wine glasses. Those all work great. I prefer the Glencairn and as you wonder why, let me share a few reasons.

  • The are wider at the bottom which allows the person drinking to be able to look at the whiskey and get oxygen to it. You can see the fine color from a light gold to a straw yellow or even orange and amber depending on the aging and barrels.NOSING 8.jpg
  • The tulip shape allows the drinker to put their nose over the rim as it funnels the aromas to your nose getting all those major notes and primary aromas.
  • It allows you to swirl the whiskey, not that it is like wine and the chemical make up changes when oxygen is added, but to allow you to swirl and cause evaporation which in return will help release a few notes that are complex in the whisky.

So, I understand when you go to a tasting and you might see the little plastic cups you would see samplenosing-7s in. They are cheap and easy, however, it really does change the whiskey when you can smell and experience using one of your God-given senses which you have for a reason. You can use tumbler glasses or even a regular mug, however, if you really want to experience a
whiskey try to use a Glencairn, wine or sherry glass. They are built to push the aromas to the drinker and enhance the experience.

It’s In My Glass, What Should I Be Smelling?

We are moving along our nosing journey friends and now comes the really intimidating part. Heck, I would sit there and watch the cooking network or listen to an experiences chef just break apart these smells and flavors and just wonder, “how in the world did they get that flavor, it’s not even in the recipe?” I myself, I am not going to sit here and say that I have had this fantastic, complex, and world renown palate since birth. In fact, my pallet is not very good at all, however it has grown and become trained and is increasing my love of whiskey every time.

When I was younger eating Top Ramen, French Toast, and my parent’s SH%$ on a shingle, it was about being full not enjoying my meal. As I grew up, it was about getting drunk, not enjoying alcohol as a social experience. Today, it is about enjoying everything my meals and drinks have to offer with others as much as possible.

There are 32 primary aromas and many times depending on the whiskey, were it is from, what grain (corn, wheat, barley, or rye), and how it is aged or not aged will give you different notes.

Imagine this, you bring the glass up to your nose, take several smaller whiffs almost as if you are meeting someone for the first time. On whiff one, “hello?“, whiff two “how are you?“, whiff three “just fine and thank you.” giving you time to get that first impression. Building that relationship and enjoying the conversation. Then you begin to ask yourself….What are those smells?

I almost smell a smoke….could this be from the charred barrel that it aged three years in? 

I think that is vanilla or caramel…..this must be that it is from a new american oak jut full of vanilla tannin (chemicals in oak that taste like vanilla)

I smell fruit, almost like dried fruit and cherries….since the scotch whiskey was aged in a Cherry Cask (distilled wine) you would think aha!!

nosing-5We all get those first impressions and sometimes we smell different things just as much as we taste different things. That’s alright and that is what makes this experience with others so much better. The smelling of whiskey whether it be by yourself or with others, should be an experience that is ENGAGING, INTRIGUING, AND POSITIVE.

As you pour that dram of whiskey for the first time, let it set in the glass to open up. Remember it has been sitting in a cask and bottle for perhaps a long time. Let it open up and get ready to let your senses have an experience.

Somebody Said Something About Water?

With whisky you might have heard people ask for their glass in different ways. Some like it neat (just the whiskey alone by itself in that glass), or perhaps on the rocks (added to a single large cube or cubes of ice) and with water (with just a drop or two of water and whiskey)

Although this is affects how the whiskey tastes, it affects the smells and aromas and I will share why many like their with a splash of distilled bottled water at room temperature. What does the water do you might be thinking?

In whiskey there are molecule in it, specifically two called esters and aldehydes. These components create complex flavor and smells and science will kick in. I am just wondering why this was never taught in my chemistry 101 glass, I may have done a lot better than the “C” that I earned during college. When you add water, it disrupts these molecules and causes them to spread apart. When those molecules spread apart, it then releases more

aromas. They either become stronger or allows you to find some of those hard more complex smells and tastes. Get this, when that person gets a whiskey and wants it on ice, did you know that the cold from the ice will cause those molecules to huddle together like two frozen people lost in the snow? That causes those smells and flavors to be more dulled and hard to experience. This would be great for the cheap stuff I guess.


It is really great, next time try this little practice. Take a smell of that dram of whiskey and get those notes and impressions. Then add a drop or two of distilled room temperature water and then take it back up to your nose and……….it is a world of difference. Who knew that a little water would do this?

Taking That First Step

So, take that first step and understanding how nosing, enjoying, and connecting with the specific notes and aromas that whisky has to offer.

nosing-2As I share my experiences and what I have learned with you, I hope that you begin to understand and enjoy everything whiskey has to offer than just alcohol.

Sometimes, it is simple taking a risk and finding a bottle of Scotch or other whiskey and practicing and learning. Although it is much more enjoyable with others, it is pretty darn fun and great alone as well.

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