If whiskey and ice cream have their own official day, Bourbon certainly deserves is own month. Whiskey lovers, this month is yours. To celebrate September as National Bourbon Heritage Month, whiskey expert, Tom Fischer, visited the L.A. area with a whiskey dinner and tasting at both The Church Key in West Hollywood and Sonoma Wine Garden Santa Monica. I had the luxury of attending the event at The Church Key.
Tom Fischer is the founder of BourbonBlog.com and co-founder of the Whiskey Marketing School and Sommelier program in Austin, Texas. To help further whiskey education beyond the school, Fischer hosts his “Why Whiskey” educational tasting tour. The tour consists of a variety of American and international whiskeys allowing guests to taste and learn side-by-side. Fischer partners up with chefs to create both complimentary and whiskey-infused menus.
“Whiskey and spirit enthusiasts asked themselves if there was anything like a sommelier program for whiskey. After realizing he didn’t need any official permission to create a program, he worked with the Wizard Academy to establish the first ever whiskey sommelier school,” Fischer tells me.
As part of these Why Whiskey tastings, Fischer selects a unique lineup including rare whiskeys. He says he wants to ensure guests receive something they typically would not get, but also an introduction to whiskeys that are more accessible.
On this particular night, the Yellowstone Limited Edition 2016 Bourbon was one of the rarest on the line-up. Only 7,000 hand numbered bottles of Yellowstone Limited were released. It is a blend of 7 and 12-year-old Bourbons. Also, I became among the first to taste Highland Park Magnus Scotch Whisky as Fischer is one of the first tastings to offer the new Scotch being released later this month. This intimate evening of excellent whiskey was accompanied with light bites by Chef Ryan Ososky. Among my favorite pairing was the famous Brown Butter Glazed Brioche Doughnuts complimented by the Yellowstone Bourbon. Here are my tasting notes on the rest…
Breckenridge Distiller’s High Proof Blend Bourbon Whiskey – At 105 proof, this whiskey is creamy, with butter and baking spices and a serious warm proof.
** The Breckenridge High Proof Bourbon also stood up to the bold sweet Potato Pierogies with Peach Butter and Aged Gouda.
Macallan 12 Year Double Cask Scotch Whisky – To captivate the American whiskey enthusiast with a Scotch, Macallan uses a blend of European and American oak on this fairly new release.
WhistlePig Old World 12-Year-Old Cask Finished Rye Whiskey – This is a whiskey with wine influence as this rye whiskey was finished in Sauternes, Port, and Madeira used barrels.
Jefferson’s Ocean Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – This is the only whiskey in the world that first ages in a warehouse and then is sent on a boat to pick up the sea influence and agitation that the water provides. It has lovely flavors of salt, iodine, caramelized sugars from the heat of the barrel.
Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey – At less than 4-years-old and made in upstate New York, this young rye speaks wisdom with honey, cinnamon and a delicious Christmas-like warmth.
Stranahan’s Diamond Peak Colorado Whiskey – A Colorado Single Malt with both sweet and smoke that celebrates both the heritage of single malt and American whiskey in one glass. Approachable, “sessionable” and complex.
With the demand for whiskey tastings in California, Fischer says he appears at both establishments and private events throughout the state. Learn more about Tom Fischer and his whiskey tour.