Here at cigars.com we are putting a strong focus on pairing guides. We really enjoy finding new and creative ways to enjoy the premium smokes that we sell on our site. With this in mind we used the IPCPR in Vegas this year to gain access to an awesome place called The Whisky Attic. How this came about was interesting we were looking for the top whiskey bars in Las Vegas to visit. The idea was to add more whiskeys under our belt that we could suggest for pairings. Our team while searching stumbled upon a site that recommended Whisky Attic as the place to go for the greatest whisky collection in America! We all turned our heads in shock at this statement but upon further investigation of pictures and reviews we were very interested in going. This place has a super unique approach there is no buying bottles or drinks in the place it’s not a bar at all. When you visit their site you will find you have to buy a ticket to a tasting. They have five different classes/tastings the first is World of Whisky, then Bourbons of Lore, followed by Luxury Scotch, Gems of the Emerald Isles, and finally The Zen of Japan. We made the decision at cigars.com to take the Bourbons of Lore class. We booked this ticket for the first night we landed in Las Vegas we needed to be fresh and ready to do some tastings. Also by the end of the week you will have smoked many cigars potentially burning out your pallet. Two weeks prior all of us were trying to guess what we were going to experience at this magical place. All of us were drinking bourbon trying to prepare our palates for what was coming. Once we arrived in Vegas we had the opening night party for Macanudo Inspirado White & Black. I had the conversation with the group saying let’s not smoke here so we can go to this thing completely fresh. We all agreed had some food and then headed over for our class and tasting.
We arrived at the Whisky Attic location which is 10 minutes off the strip in an industrial office area. We were then greeted by JD it was late 9:00pm and it turns out we were the only ones who booked this time slot so we got a very intimate class. Upon entry into the office is a nice lounge area with some cool whisky related art on the walls. Then they open the doors to the Whisky Collection at which point your jaw drops to the floor. This collection is everything you have ever dreamed of if you are a whisky fan. I could never list everything that they have but I can tell you if you are in search of they probably have it. This includes every Pappy, every Antique collection from Buffalo Trace, and every Willet Family Reserve. The first thing they offer in the class is Whisky 101 seminar covering various styles and their origins. They then move to Whiskey 102 covering the history of bourbon from its humble roots through today. JD is extremely well versed in these subjects and goes in depth with some rich facts and cool stories. After this he then starts to make flavor profile assessments for everyone in the group. Then hand picks the 7 whisky’s you will be sampling. Based on our assessments we managed to get an extra tasting because a certain style needed to be tried. JD keeps all the whisky’s he pulls behind the bar so you do not know what you are getting to try. He then explains a very special way of tasting the whisky. This method is coined as CSTEM. I cannot go into details but will tell you this part of the class alone is worth the price you pay. The 8 whisky’s we got to taste were as follows.
Prichard’s Double Chocolate Bourbon Whiskey
Don’t let the name fool you, but this Bourbon from Prichard’s Distillery in Tennessee the Double Chocolate Bourbon packs a punch especially at 90 proof, while receiving a superb 90 point rating. The initial taste has a subtle chocolate note, not too sweet for those who may not prefer a sweeter beverage, but as you take a deep breath and let the flavors settle onto your pallet you really receive a nice balance of chocolate, spice and everything nice.
Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey (Single Barrel hand selected by Master Distiller Donnis Todd Barrel #1)
This beaut of a Bourbon was hand-picked for the Whiskey Attic, and boy did not disappoint. You also did not mis-read, but yes Barrel #1…I’ll let that sink in like the caramel and vanilla notes with a hint of spice, but yes it’s the 1st Barrel! Hand-picked in Hye, Texas where the Garrison Brother Distillery resides, and also believed to be the 1st legal distillery to come out of Texas, yes, the saying is true everything is bigger in Texas, especially with a proof of 94.
Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Bourbon 4 Years old Barrel #1297 115.6 Proof
For all you Bourbon enthusiasts this is a must try. Willet Family Estate Single Barrel is a unique bourbon in many regards, 1) the label exists for the sole purpose of the Willet family’s private barrel selection program and every bottle you have (if you have more than 1, reach out I won’t mind trying..again) is one of a kind. 2) You’re talking about a nice strong bourbon at 115.6 proof and cask strength. This has a beautiful amber color for a 4 year aged bourbon with a bit of a citrus candied nose. Your palate will be taking for a ride of flavor with a sweet caramelized malty tone followed by a kick of spice such as cinnamon and black pepper. This is a bold rye, and worth every penny.
Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style
Back during Prohibition this bourbon received a federal license to continue to distill Old Forester for medicinal purposes, which proves the strength behind this Kentucky Bourbon. Old Forester 1920 Prohibition is bottled at 115 proof with a dark amber color in glass. This has a strong cherry or fruity flavor if you will, and as it travels down your mouth you will experience some caramel notes.
Bookers 25 Birthday Bourbon
This limited edition and limited bottling of this Booker’s is for lack of a better word, incredible. Not only because this is a rare bottle or because of the high rating 96 to be exact, but this tastes like you’re eating apple pie, and I love apple pie. What’s more American than bourbon and apple pie? This bourbon is aged anywhere from 9-11 years and has a beautiful rich and smoky profile aged in new, charred American white oak barrels. If you ever get your hands on this bourbon, enjoy my friends.
Jefferson’s Presidential Select 17 Year
If you have your hands on this bottle, I’m sure it’s in the back of your cabinet just waiting to come out on that special occasion. I love the bottling of this product as they really want you to see the beautiful caramel color of the bourbon, hook line and sink ‘er….Never have to tempt me with a good time, but tempt me you must as the aftertaste of this bourbon may linger for a bit, not in a bad way, but it’s there to remind you of just how smooth this is as there’s barely any bite. Overall taste provides you with butterscotch, vanilla and hint of buttery notes. Cheers!
The Yamazaki 12 year Single Malt Japanese Whisky
Let me tell you, I was really looking forward to this tasting as I have not had a Japanese Whisky, and this is becoming a very popular trend in the whisky world and boyyyyyy this did not disappoint. This was the first marketed Japanese whisky on the market back in 1984 and has been pumping out excellence since. This has a smooth and soft taste for your palate with a good balance between sweet and spicey notes followed by a bit of a citrus finish for an excellent balance of flavor.
A Midwinter Nights Dram Act 27 Scene 1195
This blend of straight rye whiskeys finished in French oak and port barrels has a very unique flavor almost minty, and you can feel the presence of the port barrels with each sip. Now imagine you are sitting on your couch during the holidays, maybe there’s snow falling outside and frigid temperatures. So you decide to get the fireplace burning, and all you need is a glass of something almost anything to keep you warm. Well what you’re filling in the glass is this Midwinter Nights Dram. Just under 100 proof at 98.6 this is not an everyday pour as you want to savor each sip, each glass.