Sharing a Glass

The Whiskey Gentlemen was founded on curiosity and a desire to share what we learn. That spirit and sentiment persist to this day. As we investigate as many avenues of interest in whiskey as we can find, we have uncovered some unexpected treasures.

I could easily be talking simply about some of the many amazing drams we’ve had or the events we’ve attended, but that would fall far short of our experience.

What we’ve found is something that goes beyond the product itself – a community of producers and enthusiasts that revel in new production techniques, inventive flavor profiles, clever cocktails, secret stashes, prized finds and the fun in just sharing a drink among friends.

The social aspect of participating in the whiskey culture has been among the most rewarding discoveries in the journey, as we realize the connections that would otherwise not be made.  As we add more Gents to the group, we look forward to expanding on that circle of interest and sharing recent finds such as those below.

The Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch release Colonel EH Taylorfrom the Buffalo Trace distillery is bottled at a potent 100 proof and was the recipient of two awards (Gold and Double Gold metal) in 2015 according to the maker’s website.

A generous pour of this delicious bourbon debuted its way into my glass at a relative’s house and represents yet another fine addition to Buffalo Trace’s repertoire of quality products.

Whether in a cocktail, with a bit of water or poured over an ice cube to level out the higher alcohol content, this bourbon makes a flavorful and satisfying beverage.

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Winter, Whiskey and Writing

The blog has been quiet for several months, but the Whiskey Gents have been far from idle. As the winter weather approaches, the time has come to crack open a bottle from the season’s collection, pour a glass, pull up a chair, and start writing down where we’ve been.

The summer and early autumn months provided us with opportunities to share among friends and family a couple bottles of bourbon and whisky, such as:

  • Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • Edward & Mackie Craigellachie Speyside Single Malt Scotch (13 year)
  • The Hakushu Single Malt Japanese Whisky (12 year)
  • Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye (2016 Whisky of the Year, per Jim Murray, author of The Whisky Bible)

These and several other simple events punctuated the months leading up to what we’ve come to appreciate as whiskey season.  Beginning in October every year, as the food truck and beer sampling events wind down, a flurry of whiskey tastings and similar events come blowing in to warm our hearts and sustain us through winter.

In addition, the Gents have happily welcomed some newcomers to the group who have been attending events with the originators of our club. Upcoming articles will cover these (as well as yet unplanned) WGOC events!

  • Fox River Distillery tour
  • Greenbar Craft Distillery tour
  • Clyde May’s Alabama Style Whiskey
  • Desserts and Drams at Drumbar
  • River North Whiskey Festival

We look forward to sharing with our readers and members all the activities that allow us to partake in the learning and enjoyment of long established and brand new whiskeys / whiskies.

Several new articles will be posted in the next couple weeks.  Follow us on twitter to be notified of each one!


What Goes into a Blood Oath?

The Whiskey Gentlemen of Chicago made this April’s outing an occasion to sample Blood Oath Kentucky Straight Bourbon at The Berkshire Room located at 15 E. Ohio Street in Chicago. Creator John Rempe’s hand-blended and bottled bourbon enjoyed a lively launch in the comfortable and classy lounge, where we were able to learn how this very limited release was conceived. We were pleased to accept the invitation to attend the tasting event and for the complimentary samples provided on which to base our review.

Rempe is the Director of Corporate Research and Development at Luxco, a company based in St. Louis that produces, imports and markets a variety of spirits. And while vodka, tequila and cordials are part of Luxco’s portfolio, it should come as no surprise that the Gents were primarily interested in the never-to-be-repeated Blood Oath release, Continue reading

Hop, Skip, Jump to HopScotch!

Leading into the close of 2013, the winter was just getting started when the Whiskey Gentlemen headed out to explore a bar with a tantalizingly playful moniker in Franklin Park, a stone’s throw from O’Hare Airport and Rosemont.

Selected Spirits:

  • Lagavulin 16 year
  • Oban and Glenmorangie Signet – revisited

Winter’s arctic blasts were not yet on the Chicago doorstep when the Gents crossed the threshold into one of Franklin Park’s newest bars.  Situated at 9743 Franklin Ave just two minutes’ walk from the town’s Metra station, HopScotch offers what its name implies: a selection of craft beers (hops) and a generously stocked menu of Scotch, among other choices of bourbon and whiskey.  Beer fanatics will keep coming back for a rotating selection of 100 wonderfully unique brews, two dozen on tap at any time, not to mention a kitchen with an outstanding selection of better than average burgers, pasta and “sharables” – single or double servings of homemade appetizers.

We, however, were primarily in it for – you guessed it – the whiskey, and HopScotch did not disappoint.  In fact, HopScotch may quite possibly become the Whiskey Gentlemen of Chicago’s new home bar and/or meeting place of choice.  Continue reading

Summer hiatus is over

Thanks to Bridge House Tavern, Emporium Arcade Bar and Rockit Burger Bar for the invitations for tastings and other events! The Gents had an informal reunion in October after a summer hiatus and we’re getting back into the rhythm of whiskey events. We’re pleased to receive the invites via twitter and our blog page, and we look forward to attending events all around the city. We can’t make them all, but we love to know what’s happening. Check our twitter @WGchicago for tweets about events and tastings!

Inside the Mind of a Dragon

The Gents head to Dragon Ranch and speak with Arturo Gomez, president of Rockit Ranch Productions for their December 2012 outing.

Selected Spirits:

  • Dragon Whip Wheat Whiskey
  • White Dragon Moonshine

With a flair for fusion and an eye on emergent trends, Arturo Gomez, along with partners Billy Dec & Brad Young of Rockit Ranch Productions, launched Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ five months ago and has since seen his innovative restaurant idea boom.

Gomez has cooked up a unique dining and drinking experience by merging ingredients from diverse sources such as Southern barbeque, Chicago nightlife, Asian cuisine, and his own whiskey palate – and he chose an excellent location to fire up the grill.

Sitting just a few blocks north of the Chicago River at 441 N Clark Street, the Dragon Ranch is in the company of high-quality restaurants, nightclubs and lounges of River North. Inside the venue’s doors, the décor blends the feel of a barbeque picnic with that of a refined sushi bar. How?

Exposed brick interior walls and neutral colors provide a warm, inviting atmosphere. The bench-style seating at the dining tables have a “talk-to-your-neighbor” friendliness, but the wood of the benches and bar stools is polished smooth, adding class and sophistication.

We (four Gents) arrived just prior to our prescribed time, and after only a moment we were seated at a table near the middle of the restaurant. We perused the menus for a few minutes when a whiskey bento box appeared at our table. Our waiter described its contents and then introduced us to Gomez, who sat down and went into greater detail as he discussed the development of this relatively new establishment.

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