Hooten Young at Davidoff Tampa

Davidoff of Geneva in Tampa, FL is notorious for throwing wonderful community events for both whiskey enthusiasts and cigar smokers (and those who enjoy both).

Their latest event we attended was in collaboration with Hooten Young Whiskey, a company formed from an idea over cigars on a cold winter evening.

Formed by Delta Force Master Sergeant, Norm Hooten, and Tim Young, the company seeks to bring a master-level experience to everything they pursue.

The concept of Hooten Young is, quite simply put, honor.

Honor for those who have come before. Honor for those who have sacrificed. Honor for their stories. Honor for those who keep their stories alive.

The brand’s message is to slow down, enjoy the bonds forming with those around you, and carry on the stories and spirit of those who can no longer tell their own story.

We here at Whiskey Culture understand how important stories are to our history. They define us, shape our legacies and history, and give us pause to think about how we want to live our lives as a basis for those who will eventually tell our stories.

And, to see a brand focusing so intensely on that single and undeniable reality is something genuinely compelling.

We were able to meet the owners, Norm, and Tim, and they have a love for life and whiskey that is clear and apparent.

They conduct themselves authentically within the scope of their brand, sharing stories and listening to others just as much or more than they shared them (even though it was their event).

The pours we tried were delicious.

Twelve-year aged whiskey out of Indiana should immediately perk the ears of most whiskey-lovers. And we’ll be darned if it isn’t well justified.

The pours carry with them a subtly and complexity that you might not expect for something twelve years old.

Sure, the traditional wooded profile is there, but so many subtle flavors (like lilac, candied orange, and spiced caramel) break through the veil and show up center stage.

To see a whiskey this old still command a flavor balance between bold and subtle like that, even at the higher proof of their barrel-proof entry, is extraordinary.

With that, we’d like to close with a thank you to Davidoff of Geneva for hosting the event, and to Tim and Norm for coming to Tampa and showing us a good evening.

Cheers!

Devil’s River – “Beef & Leaf” SB

Quick Stats:

Distiller: Devil’s River Distillery

Spirit: Straight Bourbon

Aged: NAS (Minimum 2 yrs)

Price: Around $49.99

Proof: 128

Devil’s River Website

Davidoff Tampa Website

Bern’s Steak House Website

About The Distillery
“Exceptionally pure water. That’s what makes Devils River Whiskey the decorated, smooth small batch whiskey you enjoy today. Legendary Texas Ranger, John Coffee Hays, named this powerful waterway the ‘Devils River’ in 1840, and from his ingenuity, our namesake was born. The naturally-filtered limestone spring water is considered the purest water in Texas. The iron-free, sweet spring water is ideal for crafting an unrivaled Sinfully Smooth Whiskey. It’s purity unmasks all the delightful nuances we worked tirelessly to emphasize in every sip. Here’s to living a life that’s never short of extraordinary. Devils River Whiskey.”

About The Bottle
“Devils River Bourbon is high-rye Whiskey. Dialing back on the corn and doubling up on the rye, our bourbon has that wonderful “bite” that high-rye whiskeys are celebrated for. Experience a bold start followed by a medley of oak, honey, and caramel that lead to a warm and sweet sinfully smooth finish.”

Spirit of The Oak – 60 Second Review

Tampa Distillery Looking For Local Support in FedEx Grant Giveaway

FedEx is giving away three grants to small businesses ranging from $50,000 to $15,000 for first through third place winners, and Dark Door Spirits is looking to hit it big.

Their brand centers around the mysterious, focusing on unique expressions you can’t find other places. They focus on in-house spirits production and making unique expressions, like their Oatmeal Cookie Whiskey or Demeter Gin releases.

Much of what they are doing breaks the mold on what you might expect from a traditional pour, focusing on highlighting unique combinations and accentuating otherwise overlooked ingredients.

Dark Door Spirits has been heavily engaging in its local community by hosting various events and highlighting other local small businesses and artists. These local events have been breathing life back into a scene that has lain mostly dormant since March of 2020.

Bourbon and gin blending experiences, comedy nights, hot yoga, cocktail classes, and full-moon markets are just some of the fun they’ve injected back into Tampa Bay, and people have been itching for them to expand their offerings.

After supporting their community, they’re looking for support from their community to help them win additional funding to expand their brand.

The voting takes place from March 10 – 24, and you can vote once per day. To vote for Dark Door Spirits, click here and help them continue bringing quality spirits and fun events to Tampa Bay!

You can also check out their website here to find out more about the distillery and see what events they have coming up!

Wilderness Trail – Family Reserve Rye SB

Quick Stats:

Distiller: Wilderness Trail Distillery

Spirit: Kentucky Straight Rye

Aged: 4yr 4mo

Price: Around $54.99

Proof: 107

Wilderness Trail Website

Davidoff Tampa Website

Bern’s Steak House Website

About The Distillery
“In 2006, our journey began with a passion for creating the finest whiskeys in the world. We are fortunate to be nestled in the rolling hills of Historically Bold Danville, Kentucky, the birthplace of Kentucky, and also being exposed to the Kentucky Bourbon industry for generations while growing up. In fact, Shane’s family has been distilling in Kentucky since the 1940s when his grandmother, Doris Ballard, met his grandfather, Hubert Ballard, at the Kentucky River Distillery when they were 14 and 16 years old. Doris Ballard went on to retire from Stitzel-Weller after a more than 50 year career in the industry. This type of family history provides a lot of our influences today, including some special yeast strains.”

About The Bottle
“Our three-grain recipe is 56 percent rye, 33 percent corn and 11 percent malted barley. Our rye mash bill is one we created for a broader balance of flavor to offset the typical high ryes commonly found. We use Kentucky-grown Heritage rye from our local KY Proud farm. We enter the new, air-dried #4 char, 53-gallon barrels at 100 proof and 105 proof for our Rye Whiskey and age until maturity in our barrelhouse. We age our Rye Whiskeys on the upper floors of our rickhouses for a minimum of 4 years with regular expressions expected to be between 6 and 8 years of age.”

Wilderness Trail – Family Reserve Bourbon SB

Quick Stats:

Distiller: Wilderness Trail Distillery

Spirit: Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Aged: 5yr 7mo

Price: Around $54.99

Proof: 117

Wilderness Trail Website

Davidoff Tampa Website

Bern’s Steak House Website

About The Distillery
“In 2006, our journey began with a passion for creating the finest whiskeys in the world. We are fortunate to be nestled in the rolling hills of Historically Bold Danville, Kentucky, the birthplace of Kentucky, and also being exposed to the Kentucky Bourbon industry for generations while growing up. In fact, Shane’s family has been distilling in Kentucky since the 1940s when his grandmother, Doris Ballard, met his grandfather, Hubert Ballard, at the Kentucky River Distillery when they were 14 and 16 years old. Doris Ballard went on to retire from Stitzel-Weller after a more than 50 year career in the industry. This type of family history provides a lot of our influences today, including some special yeast strains.”

About The Bottle
“Our Small Batch release mash bill is 64 percent corn, 24 percent rye and 12 percent malted barley using our yeast strains. We entered the cooper select, toasted and #4 char barrel at 110 proof after coming off the still around 137 proof. All of our whiskeys are aged and matured on our 168-acre campus inside any one of our six rickhouses. We have more than 100,000 barrels aging onsite.”

Whiskey Culture Magazine – Issue #5

Hooten Young 12 Year

Quick Stats:

Distiller: Hooten Young Distillery

Spirit: American Whiskey

Aged: 12 Years

Price: Around $64.99

Proof: 92

Hooten Young Website


About The Distillery
“Bonded by decades of friendship with Tim Young, Hooten Young American Whiskey was discovered by Master Sommelier George Miliotes. Miliotes brings his renowned expertise to Hooten Young, as one of only 268 Master Sommeliers in the world.”

About The Bottle
“Hooten Young was crafted to help folks slow down, bond with the people around them, and remember those who are no longer here. Rare distillation and barrel aging practices, coupled with over a decade’s rest, have produced an American Whiskey with notes of maple, vanilla, ripe apple and a long smooth finish.

The whiskey is aged 12 years and made with a mash bill of 99% corn and 1% barley. The spirit was distilled to 189 proof, barreled at 140 proof, and then bottled at 92 proof from second fill barrels.”

Koval Bourbon – Single Barrel Corona & Lueken’s

Quick Stats:

Distiller: Koval Distillery

Spirit: Chicago Bourbon

Aged: NAS (at least 2 years)

Price: Around $59.99

Proof: 110

Koval Website

Davidoff Tampa Website

About The Distillery
“Established in 2008, KOVAL produces organic whiskey, liqueurs and specialty spirits in Chicago’s first distillery since the mid-1800s. Founders Robert and Sonat Birnecker, chose to leave their academic careers to bring the distilling traditions of Robert’s Austrian family to America. In making this decision, they vowed to make organic spirits from scratch (avoiding the common industry practice of purchasing and bottling pre-made spirits) and to change the way people understand whiskey by creating a new, signature style – using only the “heart” cut of the distillate – affording a brighter, cleaner take on whiskey.”

About The Bottle
“With a mash bill of 51% corn and 49% millet, KOVAL Bourbon offers a drinking experience that is balanced, approachable, and unparalleled. The unusual grain combination provides notes of mango chutney and vanilla on the palate, with a peppery caramel finish.”

WhistlePig 12 Year – Whiskey Tribunal 2020 Pick

Quick Stats:

  • Distiller: WhistlePig Distillery
  • Spirit: Canadian Rye Whiskey
  • Aged: 12 years
  • Price: Around $124.99
  • Proof: 86
  • WhistlePig Website
  • Davidoff Tampa Website

    About The Distillery & Bottle: 
  • “WhistlePig was founded in 2010 with a single goal in mind: create the world’s finest rye whiskeys. Located in a 150-year-old renovated dairy barn, WhistlePig’s distillery is the culmination of five diligent years. Opened in 2015, we distill 7 days a week in our unique copper pot still designed by world-renowned Master Distiller Dave Pickerell.” 
  • “This 12 year-old Rye Whiskey is a marriage of whiskeys that have been finished in Port, French Sauternes, and Madeira casks. We’ve taken the elements that are most quintessential in an American rye, boldness and character, and fused them with the elegance and grace of a fine single malt scotch.”