Opinions Regarding Virginia's Catoctin Creek Distillery Whiskies?
Has anyone out there tried either Catoctin Creek's "Roundstone Rye" or their "Mosby's Spirit"?
Products from this fairly new Virginia distillery have begun appearing in the DC metro area and are priced at approximately $40 a bottle.
Are they worth the price? Any opinions appreciated.
I was one of the judges in the American Distilling Institute (ADI, the artisanal distillers trade organization) 2010 whiskey competition last Spring. It was a blind judging, with some of the top whiskey experts and artisanal spirits experts and distillers as judges. (Chuck Cowdery was on our panel, besides myself, and eleven others.)
Mosby's got a bronze in the "Un-Aged Whiskey" category. (By the way, the un-aged whiskey category outscored any of the aged whiskies by 20%)
I know the distiller at Catoctin Creek and he works very hard to make premium products. Whether it's worth the price is up to you. I always support our artisanal distillers.
Just got this email:
Catoctin Creek Goes to New York, Comes Back with Two Silver Medals
New York, NY, November 22, 2010 - Catoctin Creek Distilling Company has been awarded two silver medals in the 2010 New York International Spirits Competition. Catoctin Creek Organic Roundstone Rye won silver in the category of aged craft spirit less than two years and under $40, and Catoctin Creek Organic Mosby's Spirit won silver in unaged craft spirit under $40.
The New York International Spirits Competition, which welcomed 187 submissions from 28 countries in 47 categories had only 1 Double Gold, 13 Golds, 36 Silver and 45 Bronze Medals. This was the first major international spirits competition to be judged solely by members of the trade who have purchasing power through their stores, bars, distribution networks and their resulting ability to make a direct impact on brand sales. Held at the Brandy Library earlier this month this year's judging panel included buyers from the top retail stores, restaurant and bar owners, distributors and importers who all donated their time and palates without hesitation or compensation.
"We are thrilled to be receiving these awards," said founder and distiller Becky Harris. "We work really hard on our spirits, and it is very nice to know that others like them too." Ms. Harris is the master distiller at Catoctin Creek, a family run "mom and pop" operation she and her husband, Scott Harris, started in 2009.
Catoctin Creek Distilling Company is the first distillery in Loudoun County Virginia since before prohibition. Certified organic and kosher, Catoctin Creek produces high quality spirits and liqueurs: rye whisky and gin from organic sources, brandy from Virginia wines, and seasonal specialty liqueurs. At Catoctin Creek, high quality and organic spirits and liqueurs are our passion. For more information, contact us at www.catoctincreek.com or 37251C East Richardson Lane, Purcellville, VA 20132. Tel: 540-751-8404.
For more information about the New York International Spirits Competition, see http://nyispiritscompetition.com/?p=165.
I would honestly say that about 75% of the artisanal distilleries in North America are putting out great products.
And the rest are mediocre or putting out crap. Of these, some don't know better. Some don't have the skills. Some don't care.
As a consultant to the artisanal distillers trade organization, administrator for the online distillers discussion forum, and a judge, I get to try most of them. I am usually very pleased.
I was blown away last spring in the ADI artisanal whiskey judging. Not by the aged whiskeys, but by the 'white' unaged ones. Out of I think 9-10 entrants, all but one were excellent. The other was terrible.
One thing that bothers me about these competitions is that the results do not reveal who entered. Reading a list of winners, DG through bronze, is not particularly informative if you don't know who didn't make the cut.
If, for example, MyFavorite London Dry, isn't on the podium, I want to know if they were even in the race. If they were, well, then the gin rankings mean something relative to my tastes. But if they weren't, I have no idea how the medal winners stack up in the judges' view versus what is my current favorite, or more to the point, to a known standard. I'd be much more eager to try something that beats out known contenders than to try something that may have scored well but only against some swill.
Seems to me a simple list of who was in the competition would make these things much more useful to the consumer. But, of course, they're not for the consumer, are they?
re: Gustavo Glenmorangie
In a professional judging, each spirit is judged on it's own merits for that category. They aren't compared to each other. It's actually very difficult to judge on this level. Some spirits that an individual may like, may actually be poor representatives of that category. So giving a list might not be the best thing in this type of situation, without the full, attached notes, of what each judge thought of each spirit, as it fitted into the category.