May 29, 2014

C2H5OH Review Corner

The Centennial State is arguably the top micro brew state in the Union. The Refugee does not have visibility into the other 49 states, but it seems that the "micro" thing has also taken hold across the state in the realm of distilled spirits, specifically whiskeys. Daveco Liquors, named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest liquor store, is just five miles from The Refugee's house (and within shouting distance of several blog brethren); Daveco has a nice section of Colorado whiskeys. It just seemed like a really good idea for The Refugee to sample every one made in Colorado and report on them to Three Sourcers. So, prepare to grab one of JK's recommended readings and settle in with a wee dram.

First, The Refugee must explain his impeccable review credentials and methodology. He is specifically qualified to review whiskeys because he has two key attributes: a tongue and a keyboard. Oh, yeah - and a third thing - a credit card to pay for the stuff. For methodology, he puts a nice two-ounce pour over four ice cubes (made with filtered water) - never any extra water or other additives. If you've gotta mix it, then it can't be good. Of course, one sample is not enough. One must drink at least half the bottle (no, not in one sitting) to appreciate how the taste evolves over time. Just as there are different varieties of beers, there are different varieties of whiskeys. The Refugee does not try to categorize them for comparison, but just to make note of the variety. Whiskeys are evaluated based on five taste characteristics: smokiness, bitterness, sourness, astringency and taste strength. (Astringency is to whiskey as hoppiness is to beer.)

For a first review subject, The Refugee chose 303 Whiskey from Boulder Distillery. Interestingly, 303 (presumably named for the Denver/Boulder area code) is made from potatoes, not corn or grain as most whiskeys are. There is considerable debate in online discussion forums as to the authenticity of a potato-based whiskey. To The Refugee, it looks and tastes like whiskey, so he'll leave the labeling purity to others.

303 is a lighter color than many other whiskeys. It is packaged is a very plain bottle with a boring label, perhaps testimony that the makers are distillers and not marketers. Nevertheless, the bottle contents are a decent drink. Astringency, the first thing that hits your tongue with any whiskey, is moderate in 303. It's a little stronger than The Refugee cares for, but not so much that it interferes with tasting the drink. 303 has virtually no bitterness and very little sourness; in fact, it finishes with a bit of a sweet note. It's taste strength is rather nondescript: while pleasing enough, it does not leave you looking forward to the next glass. Nevertheless, The Refugee's impression of 303 improved over time. It gets better as you get deeper into the glass and the bottle.

At under $30 a bottle, 303 is a satisfactory drink and worth a try. Three tumblers.

Next up: Tincup Whiskey.

Food and Wine Posted by Boulder Refugee at May 29, 2014 4:35 PM

303 seems a popular product name these days. And there is some congruity in a distilled spirit made from fermented potatoes being produced in the People's Democratic Republic of Boulder.

I appreciate the new column, and eagerly anticipate the next installment. I just unsealed my third bottle of Tincup since discovering it, also at Daveco, last year. Spoiler alert: It leaves me looking forward to the next glass.

Posted by: johngalt at May 29, 2014 7:25 PM

I eagerly await the series as well!

Stuck for weeks in the land of the greatest beer (sorry, lads, that's Britain) while on the Atkins Diet! I tried to transfer my affection to Scotch. My benefactor/CEO did a great job on your third point, covering the check. But he told my companions, out of earshot, that I lacked the discipline to sip and was poorly suited to the pastime.

Well, I was never a natural bike rider or hockey player either. But I always tried to compensate with enthusiasm -- and did the same for Scotch.

I question the rocks. Of course, in the UK you cannot buy ice for a million quid but don't you have to try it neat?

Posted by: jk at May 29, 2014 7:52 PM

I wonder what the sage of the British Isles considers "disciplined sipping?" No more than 1 ounce per hour? Maybe two? You weren't shooting the stuff were you?

Posted by: johngalt at May 30, 2014 5:55 PM

"Give every tooth a taste" was the buzzphrase.

RAH would like me; sipping, small bites, and moderation really are not my strong suits.

Posted by: Jk at May 30, 2014 6:10 PM

OK, a neat sipping will be added to the test. At least one glass will be had neat.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 30, 2014 6:12 PM

Sorry to add to your workload.

Posted by: Jk at May 30, 2014 10:14 PM | What do you think? [6]