Welcome to Episode #8 of The Whisky Guy Podcast, featuring Jason and Joshua of the Single Cask Nation!
It’s Whisky Wednesday – Time for a dram
Published Dec 23, 2015
In this episode of The Whisky Guy Podcast:
Weather you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Omisoka, Bodhi Day, Winter Solstice or Festivus, I raise my glass to you this holiday season. If you’re still looking for a holiday gift, this episode features a discount code for the Whisky Jewbilee (produced by the Single Cask Nation) happening in Seattle in 2016, or listen to podcast episode #6 with George from the Chelsea Wine Vault for a list of bang-for-your-buck whiskies.
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Interview with Joshua and Jason of the Single Cask Nation
Joshua Hatton and Jason Johnstone-Yellin are co-founders of the Single Cask Nation, who met through their mutual passion for blogging about whisk(e)y. The company is an independent bottler of whiskies from around the world available to their members.
- Josh’s history:
- Initially got into whisky through his synagogue
- First taste was Lagavulin 16
- Got more out of whisky than just being sent to a ‘happy place’
- Informal tastings were the gateway
- Jason’s history:
- Initially got into whisky at University through a Finnish friend
- Grew up in Scotland with exclusively blended whiskies
- Glenfiddich, Highland Park and Laphroaig were the gateways after a tasting in the University’s club
- Started his own whisky society after moving to Spokane, WA
- Began blogging about whisky after wanting a personal record of the whiskies he was tasting
- Single Cask Nation is a private club that allows members to purchase bottles directly
- Blogging was a large part of the origin of the partnership that became the Single Cask Nation
- Josh decided to blaze his own trail and start the Single Cask Nation after a seemingly impossible climb and possibilities of being taken away from his family for long periods of time made him reconsider that goal
- Josh reached out to Jason as a partner in the venture, along with a 3rd partner – Seth
- Single Cask Nation puts out several bottlings per year, and most sell out quickly
- Jason’s blog contains ~300 whiskies, but his personal notes include 2,500-3000 whiskies
- Jason believes in tasting a whisky with charity in mind; there’s always something nice to say about a whisky
- Josh’s tasting process:
- Must be in the right mood; there’s no reason to try if you’re in the wrong mood
- In his ‘happy zone’ – next to his wife on the couch watching TV
- Starts with a ‘reference whisky’ – a whisky that he knows well enough that he knows if his palate is working
- Pour into the glass, then spend time with it – appreciating it
- Getting to know a whisky “is like getting to know a person”
- Looks for notes on the bottle about maturation notes; types of casks, etc
- Learned the process on his own
- No rocks glass – too open and the aromas escape
- A white wine glass works in a pinch
- Puffs air into the glass if it’s too ‘hot’ to wipe away the strong alcohol vapors
- Only pours a little into the glass
- Noses for a bit – 15 minutes+
- Doesn’t begin taking notes till the 2-3 sip
- Won’t add water if it doesn’t need it
- Jason’s tasting process:
- Similar to Joshua, but not next to his wife – more solitude
- Appreciates color, then takes a few sips before taking notes
- Likes to focus on texture
- Takes 90 minutes to 2 hours for a tasting
- Tries to connect flavors to the distillery and previous bottlings from it
- I watched them taste and they had very similar processes, that included closing their eyes and ‘chewing’ the whisky
- Josh: ‘By limiting one sense (sight) you heighten your other senses’
- Josh looks for a bottle’s story, not just the distillery and why choices were made to get into the bottle
- A single cask bottling has to tell you the whole story – it has to have a beginning, middle and end
- Catoctin Creek Distillery reached out to the Single Cask Nation for a unique bottling, which was a yes or no decision
- When choosing a bottle for the Single Cask Nation:
- Sit down with 2-5, maybe 10 samples
- Must pass the nose test first
- Must tell a story – something special that speaks from the glass
- Tasting – Important that a whisky is drinkable from the bottle without diluting
- Glen Elgin 18 made the cut because it was ‘elegant and confident’ – a great ‘end of the night’ whisky
- Catoctin Creek 2 made the cut when the group tasted it and the unanimous response was “What do we have here?” A ‘large and in charge’ whisky. Jason likes high rye mash bills, and this whisky is a 100% rye. Bottled at 61.5% ABV
- Membership in the Single Cask Nation starts at $36
- Learn more about the Single Cask Nation by visiting the website – SingleCaskNation.com
- The owners of the company are very accessible – Joshua@SingleCaskNation.com – Jason@SingleCaskNation.com
Whisky Jewbilee Seattle
March 8, 2016 in Seattle – Tickets are on sale now! Normally $95, but use discount code “EBGTW216” before Dec 31, 2015 to save 5% with an additional 5% if you tweet about the event at checkout. Learn more on the Whisky Jewbilee Event Page. I’ll be there recording for episode #14 of the podcast which will launch after the event.
The Whisky Guy is listener supported. Thank you Carsten, the newest Patron of the whisky guy. Each episode of the podcast takes over 20 hours to produce and costs over $1,000. By becoming a Patron, you help keep the Whisky Guy on the air, free and ad-free. Learn more about becoming a patron at TheWhiskyGuy.com/ThankYou.
Tasting Notes: Russell’s Reserve 10
When you subscribe to The Whisky Guy newsletter, you’ll receive a link to download a free copy of How to Taste Whisky – an eBook by The Whisky Guy with step-by-step instructions on how to get the most from a whisky tasting experience. I use that process every time I evaluate a whisky, including Russell’s Reserve 10 year. **Disclosure: I’ve worked as a paid ambassador for Wild Turkey / Russell’s Reserve as recently as 2012.
- Package/Appearance: The bottle is striking, but it’s the liquid inside that grabs my attention. Great color, and velvety texture.
- Nose: Big vanilla with spicy caramel, cherries and clove, also candle wax and pine needles
- Taste: Surprisingly soft and approachable. Burnt toffee still with big vanilla and blanched almonds
- Finish: Long and warm – great as an ingredient in cocktails or for cooking
- Diluted: Nougat, and very soft on the palate with a much shorter finish
- Part of the Wild Turkey family – $40, 45% ABV
- Overall rating: Second Shelf
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Next time on The Whisky Guy Podcast…
Episode #9 of the Whisky Guy Podcast will wrap up the tasting with George Grant from the Glenfarclas distillery, talking about higher marques and more stories from Scotland. Look for more videos on the Whisky Guy YouTube channel in the meantime.