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Las Vegas hosts Wine Spectator Grand Tour 2024, Eve Bushman Reports Back!

Eve Bushman‘s Wine Spectator Grand Tour 2024 Las Vegas

Last Saturday night, at Resorts World Las Vegas, Eddie and I covered our very first Wine Spectator Grand Tour tasting!

Eyeballing this one for a while, as all the wines scored 90 points or greater – any 90-point and up wine awarded blind by Wine Spectator means a lot in my opinion – and there were 235 wineries represented!

Las Vegas hosts Wine Spectator Grand Tour 2024, Eve Bushman Reports Back!

Las Vegas hosts Wine Spectator Grand Tour 2024, Eve Bushman Reports Back!

I had some California favorites I wanted to try, and of course dozens from around the world.

But, knowing me, covering the event was going to take most of my time and I would be lucky to hit up just so many tables, with that in mind these were my favorite wines and their numerical scores:

Vina Almaviva Puento Alto 2021, 96.  

Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Benchland Select 2019, 91.

Bodega Catena Zapata Nicolas Catena Zapata Mendoza 2009 (Cab and Malbec), 94.

Cesare Amarone Valpolicella Classico, 2018, 91.

Louis Roederer Brut Champagne Collection 244 NV, 93.

Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Signature 2019, 93.

Charles Heidsieck Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne, NV, 93.

Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Family Reserve 2019, 94.

Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2021, 94.

Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District 2021, 94.

Croft Vintage Port 2017, 97.

Cuvaison Pinot Noir Napa Valley Los Carneros Small Lot Spire 2021, 92.

Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Signature 2018, 92.

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2021, 92.

Frank Family Chardonnay Carneros 2021, 92.

Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Kathryn Hall 2016, 96.

Laurent-Perrier Brut Rose Champagne Cuvee NV, 92.

Marques de Caceres Rioja Gaudium Reserva 2018, 91.

Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale Velvet Glove 2019, 94.

Pasqua Amarone Della Valpolicella Mai Dire Mai 2013, 91.

Pio Cesare Barbaresco 2019, 93.

Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2019, 91.

Roederer Estate Brut Rose Anderson Valley L’Ermitage 2015, 93.

Sandeman Tawny Port 20 Year Old NV, 92.

Schramsberg Vineyard Brut Rose North Coast 2020, 93.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District S.L.V. 2018, 94.

Taub Family Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Beckstoffer Vyds Georges III 2019, 93.

Tensley Syrah Santa Barbara County OGT 2021, 94.

Torbreck Grenache Barossa Valley Hillside Vineyard 2021, 93.

Trimbach Riesling Alsace Frederic Emile 2016, 94.

Vina Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Vineyard 2021, 96.

Vina Montes Purple Angel Colchagua Valley 2020, 93.

Yalumba Cabernet-Shiraz South Australia The Caley 2018, 95.

Zenato Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2018, 92.

Event Notes

You can get there 30 minutes or so in advance to check in, get your wrist band and wine glass voucher.

Lots of people lined up to get in, but once the clocked chimed the appointed hour, we were in the large tasting room within minutes.

The dining room had plenty of seating, with different food options – Italian and Mexican – and a dessert table. We went for the pasta, carbo-loading for our stamina, which we enjoyed after the first hour.

Bathrooms were close by, plenty of water stations, pour out buckets and if there was a line at a table you could just go to the next one.

IMHO there is no reason to wait at a particular table at this event as you know everything they are offering is a top-scoring wine. The winery representatives were extremely knowledgeable about their wines.

View the wineries that participated here.

Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in the first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Proof Awards, Cellarmasters, LA Wine Competition, Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards.

You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.

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Global Art lovers take notice as Jérôme Peschard Launches Art Exhibition at the Sofitel Saigon Plaza in Ho Chi Minh City

Jérôme Peschard Launches Art Exhibition at the Sofitel Saigon Plaza in Ho Chi Minh City

For the past 60 years, Sofitel Hotels & Resorts has epitomised the essence of French art de vivre across the globe. As 2024 heralds its Diamond Jubilee, commemorated with a series of exclusive events at Sofitel properties worldwide, Sofitel Saigon Plaza, the paragon of French hospitality in Ho Chi Minh City, proudly inaugurated an extraordinary celebration of art.

From Left- Betty Qiffe Pallard, Consul General Daniël Stork of the Netherlands to Vietnam, Nykky Do and Milena Padula- Spouse of Consul General of Italy to Vietnam / photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

On the evening of June 21st, the Sofitel Saigon Plaza was the scene of a glittering event, marking the launch of a collaboration with the internationally renowned French Pop Artist, Jérôme Peschard.

French Pop Artist Jérôme Peschard Portrait / photo courtesy of Stephane Thierry

French Pop Artist Jérôme Peschard Portrait / photo courtesy of Stephane Thierry

The hotel’s lobby served as an elegant backdrop for an array of Peschard’s stunning oil paintings on recycled corrugated metal, showcasing his inspiration from French Indochina.

From Left- Tracie May, Milena Padula- Wife of Consul General of Italy to Vietnam, Sofitel Saigon Plaza Hotel Manager Alistair Minty, Lindsay Nutley, Consul General of Australia to Vietnam Sarah Hooper, Simon Pugh and Michael Hooper // photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

The event attracted an illustrious group of attendees, including Mrs. Sarah Hooper, Consul General of Australia to Vietnam; Mr. Daniël Stork, Consul General of the Netherlands to Vietnam; Mrs. Milena Padula, spouse of Italian Consul General Enrico Padula; and Mrs. Lê Hạnh, CEO of TVHub Vietnam. Distinguished guests also included Michelin Starred Chef/Owner Peter Cong Franklin of Ănăn Saigon, totalling one hundred and thirty of Ho Chi Minh’s leading tastemakers.

photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

Guests enjoyed a selection of exquisite canapés, fine wines, and champagne while admiring Peschard’s captivating works. Adding to the allure, music by DJ Edge Pamute filled the space, and trendsetters Tracie May and Nykky Domodelled custom-embroidered Áo Dài, the national costume of Vietnam, designed by Peschard and couturière Giao Basson. A pop-up retail store showcasing Peschard’s merchandise collection also opened to the public, featuring a curated selection of home decor, limited edition numbered and artist-signed lacquer replicas of paintings, and an array of gift items. Both the boutique and the art exhibit will grace the Sofitel Saigon Plaza throughout the summer, concluding in early September.

photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

This premier event highlighted the vibrant intersection of art, culture, and gastronomy, celebrating a unique fusion that will enchant visitors throughout the season, encapsulating Sofitel Hotel and Resort’s world of prestige and luxury.

photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

“I’m deeply grateful to Sofitel Saigon Plaza for granting me such a fantastic platform to showcase my art. Although I am French, my heart is Vietnamese, and I’m thrilled to share my homage to Vietnam with their guests and visitors during the 60th Anniversary celebration of Sofitel Hotels and Resorts.” – Jérôme Peschard

“Marking 60 years of exceptional hospitality, we take pride in being a part of a legacy that consistently sets the standard for excellence in Asia, providing a unique experience for all modern travellers to explore Ho Chi Minh City through a French-inspired perspective.” – Mario Mendis, GM, Sofitel Saigon Plaza

ABOUT SOFITEL SAIGON PLAZA:

Sofitel Saigon Plaza harmonises the sophistication of French art de vivre with the vibrancy of local Vietnamese culture, delivering a luxury hospitality experience enriched by genuine heartfelt service. Conveniently located in a tranquil enclave on Le Duan Boulevard, Sofitel Saigon Plaza places you in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s business, cultural, and shopping district. The hotel boasts 286 rooms and suites adorned with refined décor and deluxe amenities, a fitness centre featuring advanced exercise equipment, and an outdoor swimming pool with breathtaking city views. Sofitel Saigon Plaza also features five dining establishments serving local and French cuisine, seven polished meeting rooms, and an opulent ballroom equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, making it the ideal destination for business, leisure, meetings, and gatherings.

ABOUT JÉRÔME PESCHARD:

Dubbed the “Gauguin of Vietnam,” Jérôme Peschard is a self-taught artist whose work reflects a life richly lived and creatively charged. His art bridges the past with the present, blending East and West, while drawing profound inspiration from his adopted home of Vietnam. Characterised by the use of oil on rusted corrugated iron sheets salvaged from local construction sites, his pieces reflect the very essence of Saigon – its history, development, people, culture, and vibrant spirit. Peschard’s unique fusion of Western pop art with Asian influences, inspired by comic book legend Jack Kirby and modern art icons like Basquiat and Warhol, continues to evolve as he explores new themes in his storytelling. In the dynamic energy of Vietnam, Peschard not only found his place in the world, but also his distinctive artistic identity.

Vegas Loves Darius! 3-Time Grammy Winner Raises $715K for St. Jude at Annual Ryman Concert; Brings All-Time Total to $4.3M+

Darius Rucker Raises $715K for St. Jude at Annual Ryman Concert; Brings All-Time Total to $4.3M+

Nearly two decades after first visiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® where he was immediately inspired to pledge his support, CMA Humanitarian of the Year Darius Rucker continues to give back, surpassing the $4.3 million mark with this year’s 15th annual “Darius and Friends” benefit concert on Monday night, June 3, which was paired with a corresponding celebrity golf tournament yesterday, June 4.


FlavRReport.com on YouTube

FlavRReport.com on YouTube


This year’s event alone raised an all-time high of $715,000 for the cause.

Sold out well in advance despite the three-time GRAMMY winner’s famous friends not being revealed until they took the stage, the unofficial kickoff to CMA Fest praised by the Tennessean for offering “multiple servings of the country music industry’s past, present, and future for an essential cause” featured dozens of hit songs and beloved covers by Rucker as well as his surprise guests Ingrid Andress, Dan + Shay, Jamey Johnson, Chase Matthew and Shane Profitt.



Rucker was also joined by his Hootie & the Blowfish bandmate Mark Bryan fresh off opening weekend of the group’s Summer Camp with Trucks Tour.

After a live auction and donation round which added thousands to the fundraising tally, Rucker kicked off the main event with a trio of hits – “Have A Good Time” off new album Carolyn’s Boy, his 10th and most recent No. 1 hit “Beers and Sunshine” and chart-topping “For The First Time” – before introducing the first friend of the evening as rising star Chase Matthew took the stage to perform Gold-certified “Love You Again,” Platinum-certified “County Line” and a cover of his upcoming tourmate Jason Aldean’s chart topper, “She’s Country,” earning a the newcomer a standing ovation at the Mother Church.

GRAMMY Award-winning duo Dan + Shay also thrilled the packed house

GRAMMY Award-winning duo Dan + Shay also thrilled the packed house with their hits “Speechless” and “Tequila,” plus the title track to their latest album, “Bigger Houses,” while Billboard Rookie of the Month Shane Profitt wowed the Ryman audience with top 15 hit “How It Oughta Be” and “Better Off Fishin’.”

As is customary at the annual event, Rucker also returned to the stage between each guest set, treating fans to hits ranging from his Platinum-certified country breakout “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” and Double Platinum-certified No. 1 “Alright” to current single “Never Been Over,” with the multi-genre star branching out from his own catalog for rousing versions of  Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison,” Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It” and TLC’s “Waterfalls.”

Hootie & the Blowfish bandmate Mark Bryan also joined him for fan-favorites “Only Wanna Be With You” and “Hold My Hand,” offering a taste of what to expect on the road this summer.

Ingrid Andress made a rare live appearance

Ingrid Andress made a rare live appearance during a hiatus from touring to offer a well-received take on John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” plus her chart-topping hit “More Hearts Than Mine” and a solo version of her Sam Hunt duet, “Wishful Drinking,” while Jamey Johnson offered yet another standout moment with an evocative performance of his emotional hit “In Color” as well as “Give It Away,” the No. 1 hit he penned for George Strait, with Rucker then joining him for a stirring duet of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”

Closing out the memorable evening, the host of the night owned the stage one final time as the show ended according to tradition, with Rucker joined by the sold-out Ryman crowd for a “Wagon Wheel” singalong, the feel-good energy throughout the auditorium symbolic of the night as a whole.

This year’s milestone fundraising event adds yet another successful page to the decade-plus history of “Darius and Friends.” Prior guests have included Lauren Alaina, Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Jelly Roll, Charles Kelley of Lady A, Ashley McBryde, A.J. McLean of the Backstreet Boys, Megan Moroney, Brad Paisley, Kenny Rogers and Tommy Thayer of KISS, among many others.

The annual fundraising event, made possible with support from generous sponsors AMD, CDW and The Law Office of Jennifer McCoy, helps ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – so they can focus on helping their child live.

This year’s “Darius and Friends” event adds to an exciting season for the multi-time Diamond-certified superstar, who recently released a reimagined duet version of his Carolyn’s Boy album standout “Never Been Over” featuring Jennifer Nettles. On May 28 he released his first book, a memoir titled “Life’s Too Short” that explores the story of his life through the lens of the music that defined it, and tickets to the Hootie & the Blowfish Summer Camp with Trucks Tour are on sale now HERE.

For more information, visit DariusRucker.com and follow on social media @DariusRucker.

About Darius Rucker
Rucker first achieved multi-Platinum status in the music industry as lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the GRAMMY Award-winning band Hootie & the Blowfish, who have sold more than 25 million albums worldwide including their Double Diamond-certified (21x Platinum) debut Cracked Rear View, which remains among the top 10 best-selling studio albums of all time.

Since releasing his first Country album in 2008, Rucker has earned a whole new legion of fans with four No. 1 albums on the Billboard Country chart plus 10 No. 1 singles at Country radio and 11 Gold, Platinum or multi-Platinum certified hits. Rucker was inducted as a Grand Ole Opry member in 2012 and in 2014 he won his third career GRAMMY Award for Best Solo Country Performance with his Diamond-certified (11x Platinum) version of “Wagon Wheel,” one of the top five best-selling Country songs of all time.

His brand-new album Carolyn’s Boy is available everywhere now along with current single “Never Been Over,” recently re-released as a duet with Sugarland vocalist Jennifer Nettles. His first book, a memoir titled “Learn to Live” available everywhere now via Dey Street Books.

As a lifelong philanthropist, Rucker co-chaired the capital campaign that generated $150 million to help build the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in his hometown of Charleston, S.C. and has raised over $4.3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through his annual Darius & Friends benefit concert and golf tournament.

In addition, Rucker has advocated for over 200 charitable causes supporting public education and junior golf programs in South Carolina through the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation and serves as a National Chair for the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, Tenn. Rucker is also an avid sports fan, with his Darius Rucker Collection by Fanatics line of NFL, MLB and NCAA apparel available at Fanatics.com, and he is part of the Music City Baseball investment group working to bring an MLB team to Tennessee in addition to serving as a partner at the MGC Sports & Entertainment agency.

About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.

It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. When St. Jude opened in 1962, childhood cancer was largely considered incurable. Since then, St. Jude has helped push the overall survival rate from 20% to more than 80%, and it won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes to help doctors and researchers at local hospitals and cancer centers around the world improve the quality of treatment and care for even more children. Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live.

Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Support the St. Jude mission by donating at stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on TwitterInstagram, LinkedIn and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.

Bourbon-lover Ultimate Weekend Trip? Fredericksburg Virginia Bed & Breakfast with a Twist, Owen King from Ironclad Distillery shares Delicious Details

Love Tasting Bourbons? This Fredericksburg Virginia Bed & Breakfast Might Be Your Dream Visit, Owen King from Ironclad Distillery shares Delicious Details

Ironclad Inn is the first B & B & B – Bed & Breakfast & Bourbon Tasting Room.

Ironclad Inn is the first B & B & B – Bed & Breakfast & Bourbon Tasting Room

Ironclad Inn is the first B & B & B – Bed & Breakfast & Bourbon Tasting Room

Today’s conversation with Distiller Owen King from Ironclad Distillery has been edited for length and clarity.  For the full, un-edited conversation, visit our YouTube channel here.

 

Owen King, Ironclad Distillery

Owen King, Ironclad Distillery

Joe Winger: 

A lot of really cool things are happening right now. I want to jump into your tasting room, the distillery, we’ll get into bourbon tastings in a few minutes.

But first and foremost, what’s the most important thing with Ironclad right now for you?

Owen King: 

The most important thing about Ironclad for me right now is the same thing it’s always been, trying to make the best bourbon we can

The other thing is spreading the word about our bed and breakfast; and bourbon. It’s a bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg that when you’re there, you can drink bourbon.

Ironclad's famous Old Fashioned cocktail

Ironclad’s famous Old Fashioned cocktail

We make a lot of old fashions there and we always have all these leftover oranges. Now the perfect thing is in the morning you have fresh squeezed orange juice from our [leftover] old fashions.

It’s really working double duty now.

Besides that I just love the fact that we can now expand our distillery up to Fredericksburg. So we can have more people try our bourbon and enjoy our bourbon, which is the goal.

Joe Winger: 

Getting to know you before you jump into Ironclad, I want to use the word “were”, you were a football player and cooking changed your life.

Tell us more about your cooking. Was there a special dish that enhanced your life?

Owen King: 

I’m Italian. So obviously with the Italian genes, we share our love through food. Growing up I cooked a lot.

When I went to college [I cooked] for my teammates.  I’d make dinner for everyone. So when we decided to open the bourbon distillery, I figured, I know how to cook. I think I could probably figure out how to make bourbon. 

I know flavors. I know how things go well together. I think I have a pretty decent palette. 

So putting all those things together to make a great bourbon was the goal. 

Food is one of those things where you never stop improving. I feel the same about bourbon.


FlavRReport.com on YouTube

FlavRReport.com on YouTube


 

Joe Winger: 

Is there a favorite dish?

Owen King: 

Breaded chicken cutlets and spaghetti.

That is how it started. Then I was like “I really like cheese.”  Maybe I could put cheese in with the breadcrumbs and then do that. Then I started expanding.  Chicken Parm.  Making my own sauce.  Thinking I could add something here to make that better.

It’s the same way I look at bourbon.

Thinking, “I like what this person’s doing. Let me see what they’re doing. I can build off that to make it work on my own.”

Creating my own recipes, going from there, just continually tweaking little things here and there.

We’ll make a 5% difference, maybe a 10% difference.

Joe Winger: 

Ironclad Distillery is in Newport News, Virginia. The bed and breakfast Ironclad Inn is in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

For most people when we think of bourbon, we don’t always think of Virginia as the first choice. What would surprise us most about coming down to Virginia for a bourbon tasting and staying the night?

Ironclad Distillery

Ironclad Distillery

Owen King: 

If you’re coming down to Virginia, you have to remember Virginia is the birthplace of American spirits. The first place spirits were made in the new colonies, in the new world, was here in Virginia. 

The first corn liquor which would eventually become bourbon, was made in Virginia.

You can also talk about Elijah Craig, who was from Fairfax County, Virginia, before he moved out to Kentucky. 

On top of that, Kentucky wasn’t a state until 1793. Evan Williams was doing distillation in 1783, and at that point Kentucky was still Virginia. 

The birthplace of bourbon is right here in Virginia.

I’ve been to Kentucky a lot. They talk about the birthplace of bourbon being there in Kentucky.

Maybe the territory it’s in was Kentucky, but it was still Virginia at the time.

Whenever someone comes by, I can tell them the history of actual bourbon, where you’re gonna get the whole story, not just the fantasized story that you get in Kentucky.

Joe Winger: 

I’m incredibly glad you just shared that.

Let’s talk about The Ironclad Bed and Breakfast now. The bourbon tasting room, the event space.

Owen King: 

We wanted to spread our bourbon out around the state. We’ve always really liked Fredericksburg. It’s a beautiful town. It’s got a ton of history to it.

Nothing goes better with bourbon than a good story.

So we can always tell our history while drinking. So with our bed and breakfast, we looked at what the bigger guys were doing. A lot of them were starting to have these places where you could stay [the night] and get an experience to go along with it.

We really wanted to spread our Ironclad experience. 

We have a tasting room. It’s beautifully decorated by my sister. We’ve got a bottle shop where you can pick up pretty much every one of our bourbons that are available. We’ve got a bar so you can try it from our seasonal cocktail menus where we change it five times a year.

We have a winter, a fall, a spring, summer [menu].Then a holiday menu as well. 

No matter what time of year you’re there, you’re trying something that’s going to go well seasonally.  

Everyone likes seasonal drinks.  You don’t want to drink in the fall, what you’d drink in the summer.

We always have an old fashioned and it’s a damn good old fashioned. 

Then we also have an event space. We have weddings. We’ve had 50th birthday parties. 

Ironclad Inn wedding and special events

Ironclad Inn wedding and special events

We’ve had any event that you want to tie into with our bourbon or just if you want a beautiful event space in a building that was built in 1793 we have that as a great option. 

It’s a really cool spot that you can go and see and experience.

It’s something we want to share, our love for bourbon with everyone.

Whether you’re here in Newport News or in Fredericksburg, you’ll get a King family member there to tell you our story and tell you all about our bourbon and show you around.

Ironclad Bottled-in-Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Ironclad Bottled-in-Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Joe Winger: 

Outstanding.  Let’s get to the tasty part now.  You have several amazing bottles.  When someone comes to your tasting room this weekend, what should they be looking forward to? 

Owen King: 

We do a few bottle releases that are once a year for us. One of my favorites. 

A five year, three barrel blend of three 30 gallon barrels. Bottle of Bond.

The history alone is one of my favorite things to talk about.  In 1897 the federal government stepped in because there was people dying from drinking bad whiskey.

They stepped in to “certify” everything in there.

“If you bottle it at four years old and at 100 proof, we will claim that this is a bottle and bond bourbon certified” by the federal government that it is safe to drink.

That story alone is one of my favorites of bourbon lore. 

We just want to make sure that we do that every year that we can.

It’s absolutely one of my favorite bourbons. It’s our four grain mash bill. 70% corn 10% wheat, 10% rye, 10% malted barley. 

So with the corn and the wheat, it adds a nice sweetness to it. But then the rye is there to kind of balance that whole thing out.  Before it gets [to be] a very sweet bourbon, it balances out, a little baking spice, maybe even some clove, maybe a little black pepper.

It balances it out to be a nice, rounded bourbon.

Ironclad Sweeter Creations Maple Syrup Cask

Ironclad Sweeter Creations Maple Syrup Cask

Joe Winger:

Let’s move on to your Maple Syrup Cask

Owen King: 

Absolutely delicious. But this is a cast finish, not a flavored bourbon.  So we’re not adding maple syrup to it. People who drink it might think it’s going to be super sweet and not going to like it. Because they don’t like maple syrup.

This is my version of drinking maple syrup responsibly and not getting diabetes. 

After we empty our barrels, we give them to a maple syrup producer in upstate New York.  He’ll age his maple syrup using our bourbon barrels. 

By doing that through transference, there’s about a gallon of bourbon stuck in the staves of the wood. So when he puts a new liquid in there, that maple syrup is going to absorb into the wood and that bourbon is going to come back out.

Now his maple syrup is picking up that beautiful bourbon flavor and we are picking up all that maple syrup flavor into the wood. 

When he brings those barrels back down to us, we put our aged bourbon back in there and we let him finish in there for about three to six months. 

After we take the bourbon out, it’s now got this beautiful, mild sweetness, but it’s got that hint of maple syrup at the end.

I always say, I don’t want it to be maple syrup with a hint of bourbon. I want it to be bourbon with a hint of maple syrup, which I think it absolutely is.

Ironclad Missouri Toasted Oak Cask

Ironclad Missouri Toasted Oak Cask

Joe Winger: 

The maple syrup is so subtle, almost a tertiary flavor to it. 

Moving on to the Missouri Toasted Oak Cask.

Owen King: 

This is a double oak bourbon.  With double oaking, what you’re going to do is exactly how it sounds. 

You’re going to go from one new charred oak barrel. But instead of a second new charred oak barrel, we’re going to go to a lightly toasted barrel.

So my analogy for this is you’re sitting at a campfire and you’ve got a marshmallow. You’re roasting your marshmallow over the flame and it gets burnt. It catches on fire. So now you’ve got that roasted marshmallow where you’re still gonna eat it because it’s a roasted marshmallow.

So you eat it and it’s still sweet. But it’s got that sort of maybe a bitter acrid note just cause you burnt those sugars. You haven’t toasted them. 

Now you take another marshmallow.  You’re a little more patient this time.  You’re going to stick it down in the coals and you’ll slowly rotate it until you’ve got that perfectly golden brown marshmallow. 

When you taste it, it’s now twice as sweet because you just caramelize those sugars as opposed to burning them. 

It’s the same with a charred oak barrel to a toasted oak barrel.  With that charring of those oaks, you’re gonna you’re still gonna have that sweetness.  We’re amplifying that sweetness with the toasting of the oak. 

With this one you get those softer vanilla flavors like toasted marshmallow. You get a cookie dough flavor,  maybe it’s raw cookie dough without the chocolate chips.

Joe Winger: 

That’s amazing. mmIs there an extra bottle when I come down there, I’m in the tasting room, another good bottle we should ask for?

Owen King: 

Another one that we have right now that is a very limited run.   Very small release is our blueberry mead cask finish

We give our barrels to a meadery in Williamsburg, Virginia and they make this blueberry honey mead.  So now they have this bourbon barrel aged blueberry mead. And when they’re done with them, they give them back to us. 

You’re not necessarily overwhelmed with [a] heavy blueberry flavor but it opens up to this really nice fruitiness and then like a fermented honey flavor on the front end. 

It’s so unique, but it’s great neat on the rocks.

Joe Winger: 

If we come down for the weekend, we visit the distillery in Newport News. What’s a tour like? 

Owen King: 

If people aren’t the biggest bourbon drinker, I want you to walk away saying, “Okay, I found something that is made with bourbon that I like.”

We are a distillery that only makes bourbon. 

I want to make sure that everyone who comes here has something they can enjoy.  This isn’t an uppity bourbon bar.

I want someone to come and be able to say,  I’m not the biggest bourbon fan. What kind of cocktails do you have?” We always have a cocktail on every single menu that’s open for everyone. 

Everyone’s going to love it and whether you’re a big bourbon fan or not.  We just really want to be accommodating. We want to be a fun place for everyone to hang out. 

We want to tell our story, the history of the Ironclad ships.  Go through our distillery tour, we’ll show you that. If you want to know the history of Fredericksburg, or the history of What the bed and breakfast is we’ll tell you that.

Nothing pairs better with bourbon than a good story. And we really care about spreading that word.

Joe Winger: 

Whether it’s a romantic getaway, a weekend getaway, why choose your bed and breakfast instead of a hotel?

Owen King: 

While we’ve only had it a short time.  But we’ve been adding things here and there. You’re going to get a fresh orange juice in the morning, made with the oranges that we used for our old fashions [last night]. 

We have our barrel aged maple syrup for your pancakes.  So you’re going to have that maple syrup with a hint of bourbon. 

Ironclad Inn

Ironclad Inn

We really drive home that it’s a bed breakfast and bourbon experience. Get immersed in the bourbon culture.  That’s our goal.

Joe Winger: 

Any favorite bourbon and food pairings?

Owen King: 

Bourbon’s wonderful for food pairings.  

We’ve gone from pasta pairings to pizza pairings.  Anything that’s fatty is a perfect pairing.  Pork belly with a cherry reduction over top of it with one of our bourbons straight 

We have this bourbon cream, Buzz’s Bourbon Cream, where it’s made with our small batch bourbon that’s infused with coffee beans, cacao nibs, and vanilla beans. That one over vanilla ice cream is perfection. 

You’re adding a little booze, some coffee, a little bit of chocolate.

You take a bite and all of a sudden you had three scoops and it’s gone 30 seconds later.

Joe Winger: 

What’s the best way to learn more about Ironclad Distillery and Ironclad Inn?

Owen King: 

We have our website at ironcladdistillery.com. All of our social media Facebook and Instagram