Whiskey is in a golden era. The brown-booze bull market is propelled by trends that show little sign of abating. Unique barrel finishes are flourishing, High-Ryes are happening and wheated bourbons are bigger than ever. Nearly every month a distiller releases something worthy of your whiskey radar. But with glassware, nothing noteworthy had happened since the tapered mouth of the now ubiquitous Glencairn Crystal was introduced in 2001. That was until a 2015 Kickstarter campaign launched the Norlan Glass. More than 11,000 backers raised $800,000—well over the $75,000—and whiskey drinkers took notice. The glassware is scientifically designed to enhance the nose of fine whiskeys—and, they are stunning. The Norlan Whisky double-walled glass is designed for neat (no ice) pours, and the Rauk Heavy crystal tumbler for chilled spirits.
You want these. norlanglass.com
Race out to find this rye
For whiskey explorers, discovery is the easy part. There is always something that you haven’t tried, but the results are often disappointing. Happening upon Pinhook Rye (Lot 001) was a great find.
Inexplicably labelled “Bourbon N Rye” this 93.5 proof, two-year-old has a 95% rye, and 5% malted barley mash bill. Its sweetness pleasantly offsets its youthful verve. At two years, the color is not surprisingly light and translucent. The nose is soft citrus and toasted oak, and the flavors follow those aromas. The finish lingers in solid cherry with the light spice of a maduro cigar.
The Pinhook name is derived from the rural regional term “pinhooker”—
a small time trader in farm products.
A more contemporary use of “pinhook” refers to a speculator on racing horses—a special meaning for grain traders and racing fans. Be prepared to speculate on price, too. A bottle ranges from $29 in a downtown Memphis liquor store to $48 in Chicago big box stores. But lately, the biggest challenge is finding lot #001. If you do, we recommend that you pony up for it.
— Jeff Joseph