Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2014 (10th Anniversary Edition), reviews Roundstone Rye Cask Proof (batch B12E1), and scores it an 88.5! The review, as these tend to be, is all over the place, like a big happy golden retriever puppy: The rye is chaotic, unexpected, youthful, crazy, and yet, still totally loveable:
A truly huge rye... Through a combination of sheer delicious belligerence and chutzpah has your taste buds swooning. Great fun!
Lew Bryson, in the summer 2014 issue of Whisky Advocate, (re-)reviews Mosby's Spirit, our beautiful unaged rye spirit, and gives it a score of 82:
The second craft rye I'm revisiting. Mosby's is still 100% rye and unaged, but the nose is more fun: some green pear and melon esters in there with the grassy rye spice. It's nicely smooth on the tongue, delivers exactly what the nose promised, plus a shot of fresh-cracked black pepper...and a much longer finish these days. Greatly improved; a good white whisky.
Lew also reviewed the Roundstone Rye Cask Proof (batch B12E1), but he didn't find it as pleasing as we do, scoring it a 77. Being honest, the review disappointed us, especially considering the last review from Whisky Advocate was clamoring for more age, and now that we have it, they consider it over-oaked. We truly struggle to see how a whisky that is less than two years old could be over-oaked in 30 gallon barrels. Anyhow, in the interest of transparency, here is that review, for what it's worth:
Single barrel, cask proof. Strong wood aromas; pencil shavings, hot-sawn oak. Hot and tight, intense wood. There's some interesting stuff around the edges, but the wood's blocking it till some sweetness peeks through at the end. Water helps a little, but not enough. Over-barreled.
M. Carrie Allan, spirits writer for the Washington Post, gave us great coverage in the Food section, announcing the release of our new 92-Proof version of the Roundstone Rye:
Catoctin Creek has been curating the barrels it has tucked away, tasting and selecting a few hundred that seemed to be developing deeper and more interesting flavors, and holding them back to use in this release. As a result, the new rye is not only less diluted, but also, at just under four years in barrel, a bit older than the current Roundstone.
That said, Becky says that many old-school whiskey buffs put too much emphasis on barrel age. “I kind of compare it to taking your dog to a dog show, right?” she says. “When people evaluate a rye whiskey, they want it to taste like other whiskeys they’ve had — the ‘breed standard.’ . . . I like to think the craft distilling movement is trying to bring some new dogs to the show, but the show that’s out there — and I’m just rolling with this metaphor now — is run by the people who are deeply invested in a very old stock style of whiskey.” Many younger craft brands, she says, don’t have very old whiskeys. “But they are amazing whiskeys. They may not be a purebred English mastiff, but it’s an amazing dog in its own right.”
Read her full story, plus a great new recipe with the Roundstone Rye 92, here.
Renée S. Gordon does a travel feature for the Philadelphia Sun, and this time, she turns her sights on Loudoun County, and our deep collection of history, entertainment and gastronomic treasures. Happily, Catoctin Creek gets a call out:
Catoctin Creek Distilling Company is in the heart of Purcellville and is the first legal distillery in Loudoun County since before Prohibition. Owners Becky and Scott Harris create small batch liquors that are entirely handcrafted. They make 40,000 bottles annually including their version of moonshine. Distillery tours and guest bartender events are offered.
Catoctin Creek is another of my “amazing females” sites. Becky Harris, a chemical engineer, is the distiller. She is one of the few in the country and [one of a few] female distiller[s] on the East Coast.
[Corrections noted above are our own.]
Read the full story, here.
E-man Booze (follow him on Twitter at @emanbooze) does a pretty hilarious, but very insightful review on Roundstone Rye. Check it out, y'all:
Nice coverage for the distillery in the regional holiday gift guides.
The Loudoun Times Mirror highlighted our gift baskets, each of which is put together by Emily to show off each spirit in its own unique way. For example, the Mosby's gift basket has all the fixin's needed (minus the fresh lemons and soda) for a Colonel Langdon cocktail.
Northern Virginia Magazine suggests you get yourself on over to visit our distillery store for the holidays! We couldn't agree more!
Thank you, Nycci Nellis, for the wonderful holiday shout-out on WTOP radio! She's recommending some Catoctin Creek brandy for holiday gift giving! We couldn't agree more!
Listen here: 20131125-WTOP.mp3
We continued to impress with our weekend of whisky! Farrah Skeiky writes a really nice piece that comes to the heart of what we do. We are much more than just making whisky. What we seek to create is a local food movement that integrates every step of the process, from farmers and vintners, to us, the processor/distiller, to the table itself and the great restaurants and resorts that get top-notch, locally sourced food. Of course, Farrah puts it much more elegantly than I can:
After you cut through any and all talking points politicians use about small businesses being the heart of America’s economy, a trip like this makes you realize that it’s unironically true. The main street distillery has used its partnerships to shift the community focus onto eating (and drinking) locally, uses part of their tasting room as a gift shop featuring local craft vendors (like Gordys!), some of which use Roundstone Rye to create their wares, and turns the spotlight onto the potential that Loudon County has always had as well as inspiring that potential in others who want to invest in their town and themselves.
Read the full story, here.
Nevin Martell does a nice little feature piece on Catoctin Creek in the Capitol File magazine. Funny too, because the photo shows Becky and I doing "distillery stuff". In this case, we're filling a barrel (with water for the photos), neverminding that we (a) never fill barrels by hand, and (b) would never do so in our fine church-clothes frippery. No matter, the article is fun and informative! Nevin writes:
The duo loves collaborating, working with nearby vintners and orchardists to source wine grapes, pears, peaches, and apples for their limited-edition brandies. But the core of their business focuses on producing their three kosher, certified-eco-ganic signature sippers: Roundstone rye whiskey; Watershed gin; and Mosby’s Spirit, an unaged white whiskey.
Read more, here.
Alex Benedetto and Jean Schindler, both of Cloture Club, were among the lucky DC area food press that were invited for a private weekend tour of Loudoun County, hosted by yours truly. We wined 'em, we dined 'em, we fed 'em, and we toured 'em. Mostly we were just bragging... bragging about the bounteous and beautiful county in which we live. They were suitably impressed:
While this was obviously an amazing foodie weekend, even more inspiring was the collaboration between the many business owners we met. DC may have a dynamic restaurant scene, but Loudoun County’s story is far more intricate -- and sustainable. Let’s just say that Loudoun has arrived on the foodie map.
Read the full story here. For Jean Schindler's lovely photos, check the Flickr set here. A nd here are the links to our wonderful partners for the weekend:
Photo courtesy Jean Schindler and used with permission.
Janine Latus writes a very informative and entertaining piece in Distinction magazine about three popular Virginia craft distilleries, with beautiful photography by Rich-Joseph Facun. She writes:
There is a smell and a taste to the air in a distillery, of smoke, farmer’s grain and something akin to molasses, plus the yeasty sourness of beer and the nuttiness of toasted barley, and the richness of whiskey breathing in and out of oak.
It’s a Virginia tradition, whiskey. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson made it, and sipped it on their verandas as they helped shape the New World. James Madison was known to down a pint a day, and the average colonist consumed 5 gallons of spirits a year. Lest that sound shocking, that’s about 1½ drinks a day. Not healthy, perhaps, but not enough to leave them incoherent and stumbling, either.
Read the entire story, here.
Scott and Emily were invited back to appear on Foodie and the Beast on Federal News Radio:
From fine dining to irresistible junk foods, top chefs to up-and-comers you haven't heard of (yet!), foie gras, fish fingers, and much more, no sip of wine, no morsel of food or food gossip goes untouched, as David and Nycci Nellis give you the inside dish on the hottest restaurants and bistros, the freshest ingredients and the finest tipples on the scene.
Other guests for the hour were Capital Kambucha, Union Kitchen, and Farmland Feast.
It was a great show! You can hear the show on their site, here, or download the podcast, here.