American Craft Whiskey Tasting, Jan 30 @ Fairview Heights!

Corsair Ryemaggedon

Thursday, January 30, 7:00pm
@ Randall’s in Fairview Heights

Join Mark from BC Merchants in our Fairview Heights Tasting Room to sample some great Whiskeys from some of America’s leading craft distillers.

Oola’s Waitsburg Bourbon

“Highly Recommended” from the Beverage Tasting Group.

Gold Medal Winner- San Francisco’s World Spirits Competition

Corsair’s Ryemaggedon

American Rye whiskey distilled from malted rye & chocolate rye.

Clyde May’s Conecuh Ridge Alabama-style whiskey!

93 Points- Wine Enthusiast93 Points- The Tasting Panel

Roughstock Bourbon

Montana’s first legal distillery since Prohibition!

We’ll also have Dolin’s Sweet Vermouth and learn how to make the best Manhattan!

Cost for the tasting is $10.00, but Randall’s VIPs can attended for FREE.

Seating is Limited, so please call 618-394-9800 to RSVP

Whiskey Advocate’s Craft Whiskey of 2013

Few-RyeFEW Rye, from Evanston, IL was named Whiskey Advocate’s Craft Whiskey of the Year for 2013.

From Lew Bryson’s review: “Although it’s young, the whiskey is well-made and clean in character, not funky and flawed, which still counts for a lot these days. As I said in my review (an 89 score), “Straightforward rye crisps out of the glass in no-nonsense style; dry grain, sweet grass, and light but insistent anise almost wholly drown out the barrel character.” It’s backed up on the palate, where you’ll get more rye, some tarragon and dry mint spice, and then some oak in the warming finish”

FEW also produces a 3-grain bourbon. Handcrafted in small batches and aged in charred oak barrels, it is a bourbon of uncommon complexity.

Both FEW Rye and Bourbon are available at our Fairview Height’s store.

Jack Daniels Sinatra Select Available in IL

SinatraSelect-Final3_0_0Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select is bottled at 90 proof and gains its rich character from specially crafted “Sinatra Barrels” mingled with our classic Tennessee Whiskey. The Sinatra Barrels are handcrafted with the addition of deep grooves on the inside of the barrel staves. This exposes the whiskey to extra layers of oak which imparts a rich amber color, bold character and a pleasant smokiness, followed by an incredibly smooth vanilla finish. The smooth, bold character of the whiskey embodies the smooth, bold character of the man himself, Frank Sinatra.Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select is bottled at 90 proof and gains its rich character from specially crafted “Sinatra Barrels” mingled with our classic Tennessee Whiskey. The Sinatra Barrels are handcrafted with the addition of deep grooves on the inside of the barrel staves. This exposes the whiskey to extra layers of oak which imparts a rich amber color, bold character and a pleasant smokiness, followed by an incredibly smooth vanilla finish. The smooth, bold character of the whiskey embodies the smooth, bold character of the man himself, Frank Sinatra.

Jack Daniels Sinatra Select was released only to speciality shops in Las Vegas and high-end travel stores late last year. Now it is available from Randall’s in our Fairview Heights store, or available online! Quantities are limited and this is a hot item for the Jack Daniels collector for the holidays. Call us at 618-394-9800 to reserve your bottle today!


Queen Jennie Sorghum Whiskey

queen jennieQueen Jennie Sorghum Whiskey, from Old Sugar Distillery in Wisconsin, is now in stock at our Fairview Heights location. Queen Jennie is made from 100% Wisconsin sorghum.

It is aged in small charred oak barrels from Minnesota.  Less sour than a bourbon and less harsh than a rye, Queen Jennie Sorghum Whiskey has a unique character deserving of its name.

Review From

“Queen Jennie (named after Jennie Justo, a famous female bootlegger that served Madison during Prohibition) would easily pass as rum in a blind tasting. Gold in color, it features a nose of nuts and brown sugar, with only the lightest hint of grain influence. On the palate, more of the same. Vanilla caramel and marshmallow are at play as well, the only hint of whiskeydom being a more forward wood character on the finish than you typically get with well-aged rums.

Is it whiskey? Not as you’re likely to think of it. But is it good? Surprisingly, yeah. Up front it’s silky sweet, but that barrel-focused finish makes you think twice about it. Pour a bit for your rum-obsessed friends and ask them what they think. The puzzled expressions and halting commentary will likely leave them begging for more information… which you may or may not choose to share.”

Scotch Tasting at our Manchester Location

We are happy to welcome Peter Wilkins from International Beverage Company. He will be conducting a Scotch Tasting on Oct 15 starting at 7pm. We will be tasting:
Scottish Leader
Black Bottle
Deanston Virgin
Deanston 12
Bunnahabhain 12
Bunnahabhain 18
Bunnahabhain Toiteach
Bunnahabhain 25
Tobermory 10
Tobermory 15
Ledaig 10
Cost is $5 per person. VIP Members and their guests are free but we do require reservations. Call 636-527-1002 for reservations.


Jefferson 21yo Available in Fairview!

Jefferson’s Presidental Select 21 Year Old Bourbon is now available in limited supply in Fairview Heights!

From the Distiller:

jefferson-s-presidential-select-21-years-old-straight-bourbon-whiskey-kentucky-usa-10465120“Castle Brands is proud to introduce Jefferson’s Presidential Select 21 Year Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey, the latest addition to its line of “Ridiculously Small Batch” whiskies and the Presidential Suite (Jefferson’s Bourbon, Jefferson’s Reserve, Jefferson’s Presidential Select and Jefferson’s Rye). Jefferson’s Presidential Select 21-Year-Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey is aged in new oak barrels for 21 to 24 years and bottled at 94 proof (47% ABV). Inspired by its namesake Founding Father, this mature, complex and exceptionally full-bodied aged Bourbon will be released nationally on April 1, 2013.

“This is precious bourbon since there are very few bottles of this age with this complexity,” says Jefferson’s founder and master blender Trey Zoeller. “This limited release whiskey aged beautifully. Because of the nuanced flavor profile, this Jefferson’s Presidential Select Straight Bourbon Whiskey is sure to become one of our most coveted bottlings.”

Jefferson’s Presidential Select 21-Year-Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey consists of 15 lots of bourbon aged from 21 to 24 years. Bourbon of this age is extremely fragile; Zoeller discovered that these stocks had aged undisturbed for many years in a cooler area of the warehouse, which added further nuance to the spirit’s flavor profile and engendered a later peak. The resulting blend is a uniquely robust and extremely flavorful bourbon with deep, concentrated notes of vanilla, toffee and leather that finishes extraordinarily smoothly. Because of the evaporation that occurred over the aging period, Jefferson’s will have just 2,000 cases to release of this rare, complex spirit that embodies a presidential combination of age, purity and strength.”

Rare Amrut Single Malt in IL

Only 100 bottles of this special commemorative release were sent to the USA, and one of them made their way to our store in Fairview Heights!

Amrut 100 Peated Single Malt Whiskey

amrut-100-peatedThe innovative Indian malt whisky distiller Amrut has come up with another unique offering. Not only is the latest malt matured in unusually small handmade 100 litre casks, but it is bottled at 100 British proof and presented in 100cl bottles. In addition there will only be 100 individually-numbered bottles in each of five countries.

Unsurprisingly Amrut Distilleries Ltd has named this peated single malt whisky Amrut 100.

“We deliberately wanted to produce another expression within the peated single malt category,” explained Ashok Chokalingam of Amrut Distilleries, which has had great success with its Amrut Peated Single Malt Whisky which was first bottled in 2008.

“After the Amrut Peated Single Malt Whisky had been matured in ex-bourbon casks, the whisky was emptied into brand new 100 litre handmade virgin casks,” said Ashok.

The whisky was matured for a further year in the tropical climate of Bangalore. “As the new casks were almost half the size of a bourbon barrel, the extraction process is even faster and the aromas are concentrated in the form of heady vanilla and mocha chocolate integrated with subtle and enjoyable smoke.

“We tried the whisky at different strengths and found that at 100 British proof (57.1%), the balance was awesome. When we looked at the whole process, then the idea of Amrut 100 born. This whisky is bottled at the unusual size of 100cl. As the quantity is limited, we have just an individually-numbered country-specific bottling of 100 bottles per country.”

As the reviews have started to come in, Ashok is pretty sure this latest Amrut single malt will be another perfect collectors’ item.

Jim Murray in his new Whisky Bible 2011 has given 92 points to Amrut 100. He said: “Ironically, though one of the older whiskies to come from this distillery, the nose shows a little bit of youth. A quite different style from Amrut’s other peated offerings and it was obviously intended. Further proof that this distillery has grown not only in stature but confidence.”

Whisky writer, Dominic Roskrow, enjoys Amrut 100’s finish: “The fruit fights back but it’s a savoury whisky, with a spicy chilli conclusion, and utterly unforgettable and irresistible.”

Benny Ingman, President of Carlstad Whisky Connoisseurs, was also impressed by “a very good whisky and the best Amrut ever”. As was Gordon Homer, the creator of the Spirit of Islay website, who said: “This is possibly my favourite Amrut expression… so far… it hits the mark in all the right ways.”


Further information: Amrut 100

¨       Finished in 100 litre handmade virgin casks.

¨       Bottled at 100 British Proof (57.1%)

¨       Bottled in 100cl bottle

¨       Only 100 bottles per country (UK, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands).

Further information: Amrut Distilleries

Amrut Single Malt Whisky from India was launched officially in Glasgow in 2004. Since then its reputation has grown, with its range of innovative whiskies using Indian barley from the Punjab distilled in the tropical garden city of Bangalore at 3000ft.

The distillery is forging a reputation for creating innovative whiskies. In the recently published The Whisky Bible 2011, leading whisky expert, Jim Murray described  Amrut Intermediate Sherry Matured as another “truly outstanding and world class whisky”. Awarding it 96.5 points, he added: “The Intermediate is a whisky of sheer joy, I particularly loved the juxtaposition between the abundant spice and sherry character, another masterful example of distilling, maturation and blending at its very best.”

In The Whisky Bible 2010,  Murray awarded Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky the title of World’s Third Best Whisky with 97 points. Fusion – which brings together two barleys: Indian and Scottish, with the latter being peated – was also named the Best Natural Cask Whisky in the Daily Drams Category at the Malt Maniacs Awards 2009. It picked up the award for the best whisky matured exclusively in “untreated”, regular cask(s) in the category for whiskies with an average street price of up to 50 euros. It was also awarded a silver medal.

This year Amrut has also released Kadhambam. This mixture of Amrut Single Malt Whisky and a small portion of Amrut Peated Single Malt Whisky was  matured  in a variety of casks (ex-Oloroso sherry butts, then ex-Bangalore Blue Brandy casks and finally ex-rum casks). Named after the Tamil word for “mixture”, Kadhambam’s maturation in each case was also a different  length of time. The resulting whisky has been described as having  “enormous complexity”  and  “the most adventurous single malt I have ever tasted”.

Amrut whiskies are now sold widely in Europe (UK, Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Spain), Canada, South Africa, Australia and the United States.

Tasting notes

Gordon Homer
Like the finest orange marmalade in colour, the peat immediately hits you on the nose, very peaty! There’s quite a smokiness to it as well, spices, chocolate, malt and liquorice. There’s also a nice oakiness to it as well. On the palate the peat strikes first, then chocolate, and liquorice, a very nice spiciness to it as well. Very good balance across the palate. A Long and peaty finish, a touch of medicinalness in the peat, Mint humbugs and Fishermans Friends. Really chewy, boy does this finish go on and on and on… Wow! A fantastic Amrut. A peat head’s delight but with the distillery’s traits, I think this is the peatiest Amrut so far.

The 100 is certainly the peatiest Amrut I’ve tasted, the 100 litre virgin casks has added quite a bit of spiciness to the finished malt, very like the Ardbeg Toasted Oak releases. Amrut certainly aren’t sitting on their laurels, coming up with very interesting and very tasty new expressions! This is possibly my favourite Amrut expression… so far… it hits the mark in all the right ways!

Serge Valetin
Colour: amber. Nose: typical young peat from very active oak. Powerful but balanced, fresh, very ‘precise’. Damp ashes and sand, garden bonfire, cut grass, then more marzipan and roasted nuts as well as a little fudge. Quite some mint and a little eucalyptus in the background. Rather more aromatic than, say some peaty Islayers. With water: sweet peat and a lot of nutmeg. A little medicinal. Mouth (neat): very powerful but beautifully fruity and resinous beyond the peat, the pepper and the ginger. Also a little leather but just like the two previous ones, it’s very clean spirit. Gets finally a little more almondy and gingery. With water: perfect peat with a little fudge and always these gingery spices. Finish: long, clean, compact! Peat and sweet spices again. Comments: another perfect example of careful wood monitoring. Modern style but perfect. I mean ‘and’ perfect. SGP:457 – 88 points.

Bert Bruyneel
Nose: very phenolic and loads of medicine, orange, unlike any other peated Amrut I tasted before, could well be an Islay.
Palate: explosive and rather dry again, remains VERY phenolic and a medicine closet, again very a-typical, liquorice, a very pleasant sweetness.
Finish: finish is sweet, phenolic, everlasting, also getting some citrus notes.
Balance: first time I detect this on an Amrut, a really nice peat BOMB, great to end a nice meal.
Score: 86/100.

Dominic Roskrow
Nose: Trademark orange jelly but with raspberry and blackcurrant, some floral notes (violets?) and an undercarpet of dusty peat
Palate: A Goan curry of a taste, with clean rapier sharp chilli spice and bitter fruits, a big, big mouth feel but tingling rather than burning, and some sharp citrus berry fruits in the chilli mix.
Finish: The fruit fights back but it’s a savoury whisky, with a spicy chilli conclusion, and utterly unforgettable and irresistible.

Benny Ingman
Colour: amber/copper
Nose: sweet, quite mellow, peat smoke, some sherry, chocolate, smoked sausage, brown sugar, some similarities with good Japanese whisky
Mouth: sweet, smoky, fruity and especially like a mature red apple, some sherry, very mellow, a fantastic taste
Finish: as the mouth, very heavy and with a good length
Comments: a very good whisky and the best Amrut ever, for me it was much more peat smoke in the mouth than in the nose, a must buy!
Points: 90

New Corsair Seasonals in Illinois

Fairview Heights just received some great new seasonal spirits from Corsair Artisan Distillery!

old_punkPumpkin Spice Moonshine

As the weather begins to get crisper, we figured you should have a spirit specially designed to keep you warm, so we created our Pumpkin Spice Moonshine.

This unusual white dog whiskey is inspired by pumpkin ales. We pot distill malted barley and malted wheat to make a sweet malt whiskey. Next we load our pot still’s vapor basket with ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and pumpkin, then redistill the whiskey to infuse and marry all the flavors.

Pumpkin pie in a glass!!

Tasting Notes: Pie spices come forward first followed by the full sweet flavor of the pumpkin and malt whiskey. Great in a Manhattan.

Vanilla Bean Vodka

We’re proud to use whole bourbon vanilla beans – the best fair trade beans we can find – to give our vodka all the richest, most authentic notes of real vanilla. The resulting spirit is more savory than you may expect (via harris at dresshead store), a terrific match for both sweet and dry drinks. And perfect by itself

Style: Rich, Real Vanilla. Crafted For Cocktails.

Last year’s favorite, Old Punk Whiskey is back as well, joining our already impressive list of artisanal and experimental offerings from Corsair.


Glenfiddich Cask of Dreams

caskofdreamsThis month, Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky celebrates the launch of the 2013 Cask of Dreams Limited Edition Bottling, exclusive for the USA. The release is the second and final installment of a program that began two years ago to honor the rich, inspiring story of William Grant, who in 1887 pinned all his hopes on his dream to create “the best dram in the valley.” More than 125 years later, that dram is considered the best in the world, having received more awards for quality than any other Single Malt Scotch Whisky. As a toast to his pioneering spirit, and that in future pioneers just dreaming their dreams, the 2012 Limited Edition Cask of Dreams is the first release that will feature the names of multiple whisky lovers along with their aspirations on the packaging – an offering that looks to galvanize future pioneers to dream big and to follow their dreams, just like William Grant.

Cask of Dreams is a special marriage of Glenfiddich whiskies taken from a hand-picked selection of American oak barrels holding matured whiskies of a variety of ages, with the youngest at 14 Years Old. This whisky was then decanted into virgin American oak barrels to bring an intense and powerful vanilla sweetness. The casks were closely monitored by Master Distiller Brian Kinsman to ensure a desirable balance of the oak’s vanilla and spice with fruity, floral aromas (by andrell at dh store). The distinctive packaging highlights the cask, reflecting the participation of the thousands who had a hand in making this whisky as well as the Glenfiddich distillery’s commitment to integrity.

Randalls Single Barrel Whiskey Program

We are pleased to announce the arrival of 2 barrels of Knob Creek Single Barrel Whiskey to our Missouri stores. A small band of store managers traveled down to the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont KY and selected 3 barrels of Knob Creek Single Barrel Whiskey. The first 2 have arrived at our Missouri stores and the third is due in our Illinois store shortly.

knob3 copy