The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2015

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Page 83 of 120

Troy & Sons Platinum Whiskey "Heirloom Moonshine" Heirloom Crooked Creek Corn from North Carolina is the key to this 80-proof white whiskey. The nose is sweet and saturated with grain and vanilla pudding notes. The soft, generous, slathering wash of vanilla continues on the tongue, with corn flakes and pie crust structure and a touch of white pepper to perk things up. 90 ASHEVILLE DISTILLING/BLUE RIDGE SPIRITS Troy & Sons Oak Reserve 818 Whiskey "Heirloom Corn" Troy & Sons' Crooked Creek Corn almost became extinct around 1840, but the grain from Western North Carolina made it into this intriguing 80-proofer. The nose speaks to an antique cedar chest, orange rind and baked biscuits fresh out of the oven. The burnt sugar zips on the front of the tongue with a layer of black pepper and tobacco–a dusty, smooth finish powered by cherry smoke. 91 ASHEVILLE DISTILLING/BLUE RIDGE SPIRITS Blonde Whiskey Labeled on the bottle as "A Kinder Spirit," is crafted by a woman. This 80-proof blend of Carolina-native sweet white corn and heirloom Turkey Red wheat offers a nurturing nosing of orange peel warmed by caramel. From first sip, the liquid is pliable on the tongue, lifted by notes of vanilla, papaya, white pepper and honeyed melon. Determined and directed, the finish is straightforward with an enduring caress on the palate. 95 ASHEVILLE DISTILLING/BLUE RIDGE SPIRITS Yellow Rose Blended Whiskey Texas-made, the petal goes to the mettle from the start. Rich caramel and redwood tones are sumptuous on the nose, delving into dark chocolate and tropical fruit territory. The first sip grabs you with mocha-dark cherry, lush and deep. The hand-crafted, small batch beauty finishes with round, woodsy heather and a touch of mountain brush. Complex. 94 Y ELLOW ROSE DISTILLING/ BLUE RIDGE SPIRITS Yellow Rose Straight Rye Whiskey Hand selected, blended and bottled in Texas, this flower blooms on the nose. Jasmine, sandalwood and patchouli meld with coco- nut, orange melon and cedar closet. Dots of caraway zip across the tongue, softened by a toffee-coffee-mocha charm. The finish is luxurious, a slow purr of perfume. 95 YELLOW ROSE DISTILLING/ BLUE RIDGE SPIRITS Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey This emerging artisan distillery in Houston scores again with Outlaw. Recipient of a Double Gold medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, it's hand-made and pot dis- tilled and bottled at 92 proof. Dark amber in hue, the sweet tobacco espresso notes are gunning for attention on the nose. Mango and orange rind are lifted from the glass and a drape of white peppered caramel steals the palate. It sure holds up: this deperado is structured, assertive and draws you in, and you can take this outlaw to the bank. 94 YELLOW ROSE DISTILLING/ BLUE RIDGE SPIRITS august 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  83 do not see a product line like that in small distilleries very often." With an eye for unique and promis- ing brands, Carreras and his VP of Sales, Rene Armas, look to help build talented brands into spirit success stories: "Smaller distilleries and even medium-sized brands can make great products, but don't always know how to market themselves, manage the distributor programs and do all the day-to-day business it takes to build the brands. This is the expertise Blue Ridge Spirits brings. We know what it takes to build brands and can help brands and distillers by doing their day-to-day sales and marketing. We can grow any quality brands by giving them the correct plans and execution needed for success." Carreras offers more than confi- dence, however, with over 40 years of industry experience between him and Armas, whom he credits as a true fighter for the Blue Ridge spirits. "I knew I needed someone with the same passion for brand building that I have, and Rene is relentless," comments Carreras. "He is not afraid to break through obstacles, and we both have countless long-term industry relation- ships, which is very helpful for a small company, and will help grow Blue Ridge Spirits in the future. With the Yellow Rose and Asheville Distilling Company brands already experiencing growth and success through their partnership with Blue Ridge, Carreras and Armas have their eyes on the future: "We will continue to expand our product line," comments Carreras, "and we've been in talks about producing our own brands and other joint ventures from brands and distributors looking to partner with us in more states." As they continue to grow, Carreras knows that it is industry expertise that will continue to propel Blue Ridge forward. "We have credibility in that we have had multiple successes in the past in an industry where it can be very difficult to succeed. That is something many companies look for in their part- ners, and that is where we can deliver. The future for Blue Ridge Spirits is very bright, and I am excited that this is just the beginning." Blue Ridge Spirits Tasting Notes by Meridith May

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