Dark Door Spirits x Whiskey Culture Private Barrel Launches June 26th

Dark Door Spirits in Tampa, FL has been one of our earliest supporters.

That’s why we’re so pleased to announce our partnership with them for Whiskey Culture’s very first private barrel pick!

Our very first private barrel will release on June 26th at Dark Door Spirits from 2-4pm.

The event is family friendly and there will be food, drinks, specials, and prizes! It’ll be a great chance to meet other whiskey enthusiasts in the area and sample some of Dark Door Spirits’ unique expressions as well as learn more about what they’re doing in our community and their upcoming events!

But, we’re sure you want to know more about the bottle as well.

The whiskey is a bourbon distilled here in Tampa by Dark Door Spirits.

The bourbon was then finished in a brown ale barrel used by Calusa brewing (which was originally a Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrel)! The whiskey itself is bottled at cask strength (117 proof).

There will be a limited number of bottles available, as much of the available bottles were purchased during the Whiskey Culture “Reserve Club” pre-order period.

We named it “Brown Butter Bourbon,” due to its rich mouthfeel, nutty and earthy profile, and classic bourbon sweetness.

The nose is a deep roasted caramel, cinnamon spice, and roasted walnut.

The palate has classic bourbon sweetness, initially bright with sweet corn and vanilla spice. There is a nice earthy spice to it and a strong note of toasted walnut and smoked black currant tea.

The finish is smoky and earthy with a nice malty dark beer note, alongside a classic torched oak and tobacco note.

After the event, Dark Door Spirits will be having their full moon dark market.

The full moon dark market brings together some of Tampa’s great artists, crafters, and more for a fun event you won’t want to miss.

The market is family friendly and sure to be fun for all ages.

Come support Tampa’s creatives while enjoying a cocktail made by master mixologist, Shane.

We hope to see you all there!

Why Rabbit Hole Malts Their Secondary Grains

Single malt, malted barley, malt liquor, malted beer.

We’ve heard of these and seen the terms adorned on bottles through endless stretches of liquor-store shelving.

But, what exactly constitutes something being malted? And, why does Rabbit Hole Distillery take the extra time and effort to malt their secondary grains?

Let’s take a look.

The anatomy of a grain before it malts with the bran, endosperm, and germ being displayed to describe the malting process.

Grains are small, hard seeds from specific kinds of grassy plants within the Poaceae family. Also called “cereal grains,” this family consists of some commonly used whiskey grains like: wheat, corn, barley, rye, and millet.

The bran is the outer layer of tough skin that protects the inner parts from from all the bad stuff outside, like contaminants and pests.

The endosperm is the built-in food-supply of the grain, providing it with energy to sprout through carbs, proteins, and minerals.

The germ is the embryo of the grain, and is what will eventually sprout into another grain plant.

Each little grain has everything that it needs to sprout and create new plants. But, it does still need a little help. And grain malters have been using nearly the same method to coax along this natural process for thousands of years.

A picture of grain malted

The malting process that has been historically used, is that grain will be placed into a sack that allows water to pass through, and then they are set in water. Traditionally, the sacks were tied to rocks and left to soak in a mineral rich stream.

When the water permeates the bran and allows the seed to germinate and then sprout, the microstructure of the cell walls begin to break down.

Why is that important?

When these cells break down, it develops enzymes that are incredibly beneficial to fermentation, one of the early steps in the whiskey-making process.

After this process, the grain is kilned, meaning it’s dried down with heated air to stop the growth process and cure the grains, thereby preserving them. This drying process also generates new flavors and colors as the molecular structure of the grains shift.

So, why do distilleries like Rabbit Hole malt their grains in their whiskies?

A GIF of a fermentation tank showing malted grain fermenting before distillation.

Rabbit Hole Distillery focuses on transparency of their process. That’s why they have all their mash bills listed right on their website (you can click here to check them out).

The malting process creates enzymes and alters the flavors of the grains, giving them a deeper, earthier flavor.

As we know, the majority of the flavor that develops with the whiskey comes from the barrel, but there is still a good amount of flavor that comes from the retained oils, chemistry, and leftover flavor from the distillate itself. And, compounded over years, the effects of these subtle shifts magnify into significant differences.

That’s why the whiskey mash bills and recipes still matter.

Rabbit Hole Distillery has taken the time to malting their secondary grains in each of their expressions to bring these deeper and more bold flavors to their whiskey, as well as utilizing the enzymes during fermentation to more fully break down and develop their mash.

Bottles of Rabbit Hole Bourbon and Whiskey. Cavehill, Boxergrail, Herigold, and Dareringer. 4 Four Grain, Rye, and Sherry Finished.

Each of their mash bills take advantage of this process, even though it takes extra time and effort to malt each of the grains.

It’s often the extra care, and the willingness to avoid shortcuts that can separate a good bottle from an exceptional one.

For Rabbit Hole, and owner and master distiller Kaveh Zamanian, shortcuts aren’t an option.

Whiskey is ready when it’s ready, and every step is vital to get the flavor profile, boldness, and drinkability that they envisioned.

High West American Prairie Bourbon New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet SP

Quick Stats:

Distiller: High West Distillery

Spirit: American Prairie Bourbon

Aged: Blended Whiskey from 2 to 13 years of age

Price: $30-45

Proof: Traditionally 92 proof this pick is 100 proof

High West Distillery

About The Distillery:

High West Distillery was founded in 2006 by David Perkins and his wife, Jane. David, a former biochemist, was inspired to open his own distillery after seeing the parallels between the fermentation and distilling process and his own work in biochemistry during a trip to the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky. In 2004, David and his family relocated to Park City, Utah to begin their new venture, where they began distilling in 2007. They chose Park City because of David’s love of the Old West and Utah’s little-known whiskey history.

About The Bottle:
High West Distillery is passionate about the American West’s natural beauty. That’s why we want to raise awareness of one of the most fantastic projects of our time: the American Prairie Reserve in northeastern Montana. This is an amazing effort to assemble the largest wildlife reserve in the lower 48 states. When stepping onto the plains of American Prairie Reserve, it’s easy to imagine the landscape as Lewis and Clark and Native Americans saw it, with thundering herds of bison, racing bands of pronghorn antelope and prairie dog towns dotting the horizon. When complete, the Reserve will be approximately 5,000 square miles; larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Teton National Parks combined.

Beer, Bourbon, BBQ Fest – Tampa 2021

Whiskey Culture’s “Whiskey: A Journey” Event Recap

Kozuba & Sons Distillery in St. Petersburg, Florida is a venue with history.

The Kozuba seeds were planted when Zbigniew “Papa” Kozuba retired and began experimenting with cordials in Poland.

People quickly began requesting his cordials on a larger scale, so, Matthias and Jacob stepped up to the plate to help him turn his passion and hobby into a full-scale business.

In 2014, they decided that the restrictions and monopolization of the spirits industry in Poland was restricting their growth and creative license and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida where they have become a community staple.

It wouldn’t be a reach to say that one of the central themes of their company is “journey.” A journey from working years to retirement. A journey from a hobby to a new business. A journey from Poland to the United States. And a journey to gain local awareness and share their spirits with us.

That’s what this event focused on, a “journey.”

But, it’s a journey that, while often overlooked, stares us right in the face every time we enjoy a pour of our favorite whiskey.

The journey from grain to glass.

The amount of steps, effort, science, and artistry that goes into creating a whiskey we quickly guzzle down can’t be overstated.

So, this particular evening, we took a pause to appreciate and understand the transformative journey in the whiskey distillation process.

We taught a group how judges grade whiskey and the tasting process they go through. We created a “nosing kit” which allowed people to isolate and experience single notes found through the pours. And we worked through the magic of time and age when it comes to maturing the whiskey.

Our new friends tasted whiskey straight from the still, after two-years, six-years, and straight from a seven-year barrel to understand and experience the changes that a barrel of whiskey will undergo over time.

Each of these was paired with a local chocolate that highlighted a single flavor in the whiskey.

Overall, we had a great time sharing our passion with this group, making new friends, and welcoming new members of the #iamwhiskeyculture family!

Orphan Barrel’s New Release: Copper Tongue

Orphan Barrel is coming out with a new expression and it’s old enough to get a driver’s license. Copper Tongue is 16 years aged, 89.8 proof and it received its namesake from the actual reptiles seen basking around the grounds of the facility it’s made in, Cascade Hollow Distillery. Cascade Hollow’s last addition to the Orphan Barrel collection was the 2016 Whoop & Holler. This release is about a decade younger and combines some aspects of both Scottish and American whiskey production.

“Orphan Barrel Copper Tongue brings together traditions from both American and Scotch whiskeys, and the result is a sophisticated straight bourbon that’s surprisingly delicate. With this release, I can’t wait to share this rare whiskey with the world and showcase a bit of the magic that can comes from Cascade Hollow.”

Cascade Hollow Distilling Distiller – Nicole Austin.

As is tradition with Orphan Barrel, this will be a limited release and is dropping in the stores this June. You should be seeing these at around $100 a bottle and jumping off the shelves due to their allocated quantity. Happy Hunting.

E.H. Taylor Small Batch

Quick Stats:

Distiller: Buffalo Trace

Spirit: E.H. Taylor Small Batch

Aged: NAS but it’s Bottled In Bond so it’s at least 4 years old

Price: $40-45

Proof: 100

Buffalo Trace Website

About The Distillery:

For over 200 years, our Distillery has been defined by a dedication to one craft: making fine bourbon whiskey. By honoring tradition and embracing change, Buffalo Trace Distillery has earned its place of leadership among the legendary spirits makers of the world. Take a look at this time honored craft from start to finish.

About The Bottle:
Made by hand, this Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey has been aged inside century old warehouses constructed by E.H. Taylor, Jr.  Barrels are evaluated and selected to create a perfect blend of distinctive character that is like no other. This bourbon is a true sipping bourbon that honors the uncompromising legacy of E.H. Taylor, Jr.

Dark Door Spirits – World’s Best Dad Video Review

Dark Door Spirits – World’s Best Dad Tasting

Laws Whiskey Has A Whiskey For Everyone

Laws Whiskey House out of Denver, Colorado has been making transparent whiskey.

No, we don’t mean “white lighting,” we mean they have been transparent in their distillation process. From showing where every grain is sourced from, to the location of the mineral springs where they get their water, they take pride in knowing they are holding everything out there for their fans to see.

However, they’ve done another great thing for both new and veteran whiskey enthusiasts. One that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

They’ve created a wide line of whiskey offerings that allow whiskey-lovers of all experience-levels and palates to enjoy what they’re producing.

Not only that, but they are also “deconstructing” their flagship whiskey, allowing each grain to stand on its own as well.

As you can see here, they have, for both their bourbon and their rye, three different expressions.

Many craft distilleries will offer two different expressions, at most. And, those are usually something around 90-proof and another either bonded or at cask strength.

Laws, however, wanted three. One standard, one bonded, and one cask strength which allow you explore how the different proofs and ages affect their whiskey over time.

Not just that, but they have Rye, Malt, and Wheat options available, made from the grains that can be found in their “Four Grain Bourbon.”

This is where the “deconstruction” element comes into play. It’s pretty cool seeing how these different whiskies “pick apart” their Four Grain Bourbon by offering whiskies focused around these individual grains.

It’s really cool doing a side-by-side and working through each of the different grain whiskies and then comparing it to the Four Grain. And, for the really adventurous, you can even try blending some of those grain whiskies to experiment and find a combination that really strikes home for you.

The Centennial Wheat is really something special.

It’s got an incredible nose on it, and the wheat is bold and flavorful. It doesn’t take on the typical lighter flavors from the wheat, giving it a complex edge that will satisfy whiskey veterans while still drinking smooth enough to be a great entry point for younger whiskey enthusiasts who may not yet have built a resistance to higher-proof whiskies.

Another cool thing is that if you like the idea of trying all of these different whiskies, but don’t know where to begin, Laws has you covered.

They offer a four pack of minis that you can get by clicking here.

They pack the bourbon, rye, wheat, and malt expressions into a single package and even pair you up with a Laws Whiskey House expert to guide you through your tasting!

This little pack is an excellent opportunity to try each of their expressions and find the one you like as well as experiment picking apart these different grains.

Overall, Laws has created an incredibly approachable whiskey line at various proofs so everyone can find a whiskey on their level. They also have created a wide breadth of different expressions that can not only offer a very cool and interesting way to try different whiskies, but can also help train your palate.