- On December 16, 2015
Last minute holiday shopping got you in a panic? Rest your worried head, Zipps has your back. We’ll take a look this week at a few options for the liquor lover in your life.
We start this week with a new local release that has garnered a pretty good buzz about town. The much awaited Far North Roknar Rye whiskey has finally hit shelves. Roknar is 80% Minnesota grown AC Hazlet rye, planted, harvested and distilled all by the same people up at Far North. It spent most of its one year slumbering in 10 gallon new American Oak hit with a level 3 char at The Barrel Mill in Avon, MN. Up to this point, it doesn’t get more Minnesotan than that! For approximately the last month of its aging, Roknar was dumped from the original barrels and finished in a combination of Remy Martin XO and Oloroso sherry casks. The color on it is striking, given its youth, but it is deep and rich. Once again, the packaging from Far North is on point. Simple, straightforward yet powerful. Roknar is a Scandinavian name with the meaning Warrior from the gods, and this bad boy looks tough. Bottled at 95 proof, one would expect there to be some heat, and it is definitely there, but not as overpowering as anticipated. The nose is strong with sweet fruit and holiday spice notes. These same notes move to the palate with a characteristic rye spiciness as well as some drying tannins from the oak. We wouldn’t call it wood-forward, but there is definitely a noticeable presence. The finale is short and sweet, with a fairly dry finish. Great for the American whiskey lover on your gift list! ($39.99)
Scotch is one of the go-to Christmas gift categories. Dad, Grandma, neighbor-you-don’t-know-that-well-but-know-likes-Scotch, it pleases a lot of people. That exact sentiment is what brings us to Auchentoshan 12 year. As one of the last handful of distilleries in the Lowland region, Auchentoshan highlights the light and clean flavor profiles intrinsic to the whisky produced in that area. Pronounced “ock-un-tosh-un”, which translates to “corner of the field”, the distillery is actually located IN Glasgow and triple distills all its whisky. This results in a single malt with a much lighter body than the double distilled cousins produced elsewhere in Scotland. As they are owned by Beam Suntory, Auchentoshan has great access to ex-bourbon casks for aging their product. They choose to exclusively use Maker’s Mark barrels, which itself is a lighter bourbon style comparatively. This, combined with the Oloroso sherry finishing give it a flavor that we find universally appealing. Auchentoshan has an inherent sweetness to their malt that makes it good for beginning connoisseurs, but enough depth to keep a jaded Scotch aficionado entertained. The whisky is light in color, amber with just a hint of bronze. The nose is light and lively, with the spice notes you expect from Oloroso casks. On the palate, it is honeyed and warm. For those afraid of the peat, rejoice for the smoke monster is nowhere to be found. But we have to go back… Spice, nuts, toffee and orange peel, what’s not to love? Auchentoshan has been called the “breakfast whisky” and for good reason! A dram of this with your Cheerios would pair quite nicely! ($47.99)
A curveball to finish up… Plantation Stiggin’s Fancy AKA I didn’t know pineapple rum could taste good. Originally produced last year for Tales of the Cocktail by Maison Ferrand’s president and owner Alexandre Gabriel and all-around liquor guru David Wondrich, the first batch totaled only 600 bottles. David and Alexandre had previously collaborated on a cognac and a curacao, and the third time was once again a charm. They macerate the flesh of ripe Queen Victoria pineapples in Plantation Original Dark rum, as well as steep the rind in Plantation 3 Stars, which is then redistilled. The two resultant rums are blended together and further barreled to comingle. After Tales was over, they had a tiny bit left over which trickled out across the country (looking at you, Robb Jones/Spoon & Stable). The demand for it was so rabid that they decided to expand the production to a much larger scale and release it nationwide. God bless those geniuses, because this stuff is DAMN GOOD! Named after a Dickens character, this is a nod to a classic rum product, actually. The spirit, however, is modern and vibrant. The color is the beautiful tawny brown you’d expect of quality dark rum. The nose is fresh, aromatic and fruity with some Tutti Frutti notes. Sipped neat, it has this plush, rich flavor. Big pineapple notes blended with molasses and brown sugar as well as with a hint of other tropical fruits and hogo. Clearly the best flavored rum in the world and it makes a play for one of the best rums in the market. Great in a daiquiri or simply poured in a glass and then into your salivating mouth. ($29.99)