Mora’s Pappy Van Winkle Contest!

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Pappy Van Winkle – if you love Kentucky bourbon, that name sends a shiver up your spine.Pappy Van Winkle 15 and 20-year whiskeys are famed, highly-sought-after whiskeys with a huge cult following. They’re in extremely limited supply and are nearly impossible to find on the market. They’re basically whiskey unicorns – you’ve heard that they exist, but very few have seen them in the wild.

Why are they so awesome? Well, they’re aged for a really long time. They’re exquisitely made. And they’re absolutely delicious – some say the best bourbon on the planet.This unicorn of whiskey comes with a big price tag (anywhere from $1300-1900+ online).

Lucky for you, Mora’s has our hands on ONE bottle of 15 year and ONE bottle of 20 year and is giving you the chance to buy them at a huge discount!
— you can buy 1 bottle of Pappy’s 15 year for $650 (avg online price is $1300)
— you can buy 1 bottle of Pappy’s 20 for $1000 (avg online price is $1900)


Mora’s September Bourbon of the Month Club: Noah’s Mill

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Noah’s Mill
Small Batch Bourbon, 114.3 Proof
Kentucky Straight Bourbon

The Distillery: “…In the beginning of 1936, the Willett Distilling Company produced its first batch of 300 bushels (~30 barrels) on March 17th, 1936. The newly barreled whiskey was stored in one of the eight warehouses, each capable of holding between 5,000-6,000 barrels (Total capacity 48,623 barrels). The warehouses were built on some of the highest ground in the county, assuring that a fresh breeze would aid in the maturation of the whiskey. Five years after the foundation of the Willett Distilling Company Lambert retired from the Max Selliger & Co. to manage his farm and oversee the distilling process.  The Willett Distilling Company continued to operate until the early 1980’s. The Willett’s had made their mark on the Bourbon industry and it was now time for them to retire. On July 1, 1984, Even G. Kulsveen (pronounced Evan), a native of Hamar, Norway, and son-in-law to Thompson Willett, purchased the property from the Willett’s and formed Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. Even Kulsveen continues to operate at the facility to this day.” -The Distillery

The Whiskey: “The bourbon is crafting by marrying together no more than twenty casks of Kentucky bourbon, each of which has its own unique characteristics and flavor profile. In contrast to most small batch bourbons, the casks used to craft Noah’s Mill have varying mashbills – while some casks are composed of bourbons that use rye as a secondary grain, others are composed of bourbons that use wheat as a secondary grain. The varying recipes – the percentage of rye and wheat used also varies among the casks – results in a layered bourbon that has a virtually unparalleled depth and complexity. After the casks of bourbon have been allowed to mature for up to 20 years, small batches of the bourbon are bottled at 114.30 proof.” –Caskers, online

91 Points Whiskey Bible, 2008 5th Edition
“Nose-23 Points; Taste-20 Points; Finish-21 Points; Balance-24 Points. This is one of Kentucky’s most complex whiskies by far. Small grains, big heart.” –Jim Murray

Mora’s September Bourbon of the Month Club: Temperance Trader Straight Bourbon

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Temperance Trader Straight Bourbon
Bull Run Distilling Company
Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 86.66 Proof
Portland, Oregon


The Distillery: “In the spring of 2010, acclaimed Portland distiller, Lee Medoff, and business partner and chief enthusiast, Patrick Bernards, founded Bull Run Distilling Company along with a few trustworthy friends. What began as a ‘what if’ conversation between gentlemen one evening over cocktails evolved into a full-on crusade (as things sometimes do when spirits are involved). A couple aspirin, hundreds of hours and an emptied bank account later, Bull Run Distilling Company turned from a whiskey-infused dream into a reality.

“The name ‘Bull Run’ dates back to the days of the first settlers on the Oregon Trail. As the story goes, back in the 1850’s, cattle belonging to pioneers crossing the Cascade mountain range broke loose in the area now known as Bull Run. The untamed livestock escaped into the dense forests to live, and local inhabitants would catch a glimpse of them every now and again, running along the grassy shorelines of the river and lake to graze and drink. Locals thus began referring to the watering holes as Bull Run River and Bull Run Lake. One hundred and fifty years later in a charming 1950’s warehouse in Northwest Portland, distillation begins with this immaculately clean water. The water is what makes Bull Run’s spirits so special — arguably the purest water source in the country, it imparts a soft, rich mouthfeel that’s impossible to duplicate outside of Oregon.” -Bull Run Distilling

The Whiskey: “Temperance Trader Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a sourced bourbon made from a mashbill composed of 65% corn, 25% rye and 10% malted barley. After the bourbon is aged for a minimum of four years (although a number of barrels are aged 6 years or more) in 53-gallon, charred American oak barrels, Medoff hand-selects fewer than a dozen barrels to blend together. ‘I’m looking for that perfect combination of sweet and spicy,’ he says. ‘We already have a lot of rye in the bourbon, which helps counter the flavor of the sweet corn, but I’m looking to get that perfect balance.”

“After selecting a handful of barrels, the casks are married together and bottled at cask strength. As a result, Temperance Trader Barrel Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey has an aroma of vanilla, smoke and spices that gives way to notes of roasted corn, honeyed oak and cinnamon on the palate. The finish is slightly sweet, with hints of oak, dried fruits and chocolate.” –The Distillery


August 2015: Bourbon Club Selection From Craft Midwest Distillery, Koval Bourbon

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 Koval SIngle Barrel Bourbon Whiskey


Koval Distillery  Single Barrel Bourbon, 94 Proof,  Chicago, Illinois

The Distillery: “Established in 2008, Koval is the first craft distillery within Chicago’s city limits since Prohibition. We source all of our grains, fruits, herbs, and flowers from the surrounding Midwest region, and we make all of our spirits in house, entirely from scratch – from mashing to distilling, bottling to boxing. Our founders, Robert and Sonat Birnecker, gave up academic careers to bring the distilling traditions of Robert’s Austrian grandfather to America. They vowed to create a sustainable family business with high quality and organic products. Koval features small batch spirits distilled from 100% organic grain. Everything we make is certified organic and kosher, and we are darn proud of it.”


“Robert is one of America’s top distilling experts, an internationally-renowned consultant, and the creator of the most unique spirits in America. An Austrian native, Robert grew up helping his grandparents at their award-winning distillery and winery and later received a certificate from Austria’s leading university program for distilling technology, Höhere Bundeslehranstalt und Bundesamt für Wein- und Obstbau Klosterneuburg. He also honed his skills working with Europe’s foremost spirits expert, Dr. Klaus Hagmann, developing fermentation techniques for craft distilleries. Robert is a key lecturer at Siebel Institutes’ distilling courses and teaches over 150 prospective distillers a year in his own workshops. Robert’s technical expertise and creativity have garnered Koval national and international spirits awards. His decision to distill was born out of his love of traditional crafts and the pride of a small family business, both of which exemplify the real American dream.”

“We started with five single-grain white whiskeys: Rye, Oat, Wheat, Millet, and Spelt. In 2010, we debuted our aged whiskey, Lion’s Pride, aged in two distinct styles. No artificial coloring, no chill filtering – only the pure heart cut of the distillate with beautiful amber hues from nothing but the barrel and time. Our lineup also includes several brandies and six liqueurs: Chrysanthemum Honey, Coffee, Ginger, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, and Rose Hip.”

“The name Koval is Yiddish for ‘blacksmith,’ but the word also refers to a ‘black sheep’ or someone who does something unexpected or out of the ordinary. Sonat’s great-grandfather earned Koval as his nickname when, at the ripe old age of 17, he surprised his family and emigrated from Vienna to Chicago in the early 1900s. Coincidentally, the surname of Robert’s grandfather (at whose side Robert learned the art of distilling) is Schmid – German for ‘smith.’ Sonat and Robert chose the name Koval to honor both men – and to reflect their own extraordinary decision to give up comfortable jobs in DC, relocate to Chicago, and build a family business from the ground up.” -The Distillery


The Still: “Koval distills with a custom-built potstill handcrafted in Germany by Kothe Destillationstechnik. Kothe specially engineers each still with solid quality and energy-saving components that meet the particular needs of each distiller. Our potstill, specifically made for the production of whiskey and brandy, has an elongated whiskey helmet, a special distillation column and a unique bubblecap construction that provides greater surface area for the spirits to develop aroma and flavor. The smooth, unhammered copper potstill – combined with the dedication and savoir faire of our distillers – guarantees high quality and aromatic distillates.” -The Distillery

The Whiskey: “KOVAL Distillery’s organic, single barrel bourbon has the requisite mash bill of at least 51% corn, but instead of the usual rye or wheat supplement, they have included one of the main cereals of Asia and Africa. Millet is a gluten-free ancient sustenance grain, and like corn, has a history of working in the spirits industry, albeit in Nepal, where it has long been celebrated as a libation of choice.”

“Tucked away in a charred new American oak barrel to age, millet and corn learn to complement each other, neither taking the lead. Out of the bottle, this duet opens with notes of mango chutney, while the millet renders a soft whisper of vanilla throughout. Then harmonizing, the grains sing with the sweetness of apricot custard. This pair finishes with peppery caramel, a diminuendo into a wisp of clove-spiked tobacco lingering on the tongue.” – The Distillery

Mora’s July Bourbon of the Month Club Selection From Bib & Tucker, Small Batch 6 Year Old Bourbon

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Bib & Tucker  Small Batch 6 Year Old Bourbon , 92 Proof,  Sonoma, California

The Bottler: “When creating Bib & Tucker, we were mindful of the heritage of fine, American bourbon whiskey that has been crafted in our country for generations,’ said August Sebastiani, President of 35 Maple Street Spirits, a division of The Other Guys, ‘We were inspired by that tradition every step of the way in creating, making and blending it, which like all of our spirits is made in small lots and packaged by hand. We are committed to craftsmanship, quality and authenticity, and it shows in the glass.’”

“35 Maple Street Spirits is a craft spirits company founded in 2011, and a division of The Other Guys wine company, family-owned and based in Sonoma, California. August Sebastiani, who leads The Other Guys, is a member of the Sebastiani Family that has been making wine in Sonoma for more than 115 years. The 35 Maple Street Spirits portfolio includes Uncle Val’s Gin, Masterson’s Whiskey, Kirk and Sweeney Rum and Bib & Tucker Bourbon – spirits of craftsmanship, tradition, quality and commitment.”
–Chilled Magazine, online

The Process: “Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey is crafted from a mash of 70% corn, 26% rye, and 4% malted barley. The grains, which were harvested in late 2006 and early 2007, were distilled twice – first through a column still and then through an old fashioned copper pot still. Following distillation, the bourbon was matured in No. 1 charred American white oak barrels for a minimum of six years (the average age of the bourbon is actually 7.5 years, however).” -Caskers, online

The Name: “During America’s rough and tumble early days, the term “bib & tucker” was used to describe your finest attire, the kind you’d wear to a wedding or special dance.  Along those same lines of thinking, we’re putting forth our finest.  Bib & Tucker is… crafted with a sense of dedication that can only come when you know you’re making something truly special.” –The Distillery

Distillery Tasting Notes
Aroma: Bib & Tucker leads with a strong vanilla scent along with
fresh cut sweet grass, wet stone and old leather-bound books.
Taste: With a smooth entry, the bourbon is nicely balanced with a
hint of sweetness. It fulfills the promise of its nose before evolving into a warm, lightly crisp, spicy sensation.
Finish: Bib & Tucker lingers in the mouth with a complex, yet
balanced chestnutty taste.

96 Points from The Tasting Panel

“The six-year-aged bourbon has a nose of antiques, new saddle leather, chamomile-soaked butterscotch drops, and warm cinnamon-kissed cedar.”

Mora’s June Bourbon of the Month Club Selection From Wild Turkey, Russell’s Reserve Small Batch Single Barrel Bourbon

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Wild Turkey Russell’s Reserve Small Batch Single Barrel, 110 Proof,  Lawrenceberg, Kentucky

The Distillery: “Wild Turkey has over 150 years of spirits heritage. Austin Nichols began operations in 1855 as a wholesale grocer specializing in the sale of teas, coffees and spirits. In 1869, the Ripy family founded a distillery on what is now known as Wild Turkey Hill in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky; Austin Nichols purchased the distillery in 1971.”

“Master Distiller and Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Famer Jimmy Russell started at Wild Turkey in 1954 where he followed in his grandfather’s and father’s footsteps in the bourbon distillery business. His son Eddie Russell now follows his footsteps, but is creating a legacy all his own. Also elected to the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame, he has worked at Wild Turkey for more than three decades and currently acts as Associate Distiller next to his dad.” -The Distillery

The Whiskey: “What makes Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel unique is not only its high proof, but the fact that the whiskey bypasses the chill-filtration process. Chill-filtration is a common process whereby the whiskey is chilled at temperatures below freezing and is passed through an absorption filter thus removing fatty acids and other flavor contributors such as esters and proteins.  By avoiding the chill-filtration process, the whiskey is bottled with more flavor compounds and a deeper color which is denoted by an impressive haze when ice or chilled water is added.”

“Every expression of Russell’s Reserve – both the Bourbon and rye Whiskey – is matured in only the deepest number 4 or ‘alligator’ charred American white oak barrels to ensure the richest flavor and color. Jimmy and Eddie insist on this char level and are among only a handful of whiskey distillers who use it.”

“‘This is Bourbon at its best,’ declares Jimmy Russell, Master Distiller.’ What is incredibly special about the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel is that each barrel has its own personality, but still captures the rich, creamy toffee vanilla style of Russell’s Reserve. This bottling celebrates what we love about Russell’s Reserve, but takes it to another level.” —The Distillery

Tasting Notes from The Whiskey Jug, 2013 

Color: Dark Caramel

Nose: Caramel and dark fruit leap out of the bottle with toffee and vanilla coming hand-in-hand right behind. Oak and rye fill in the background with some well placed contributions from cinnamon, red licorice and mint. Very complex, including: burnt sugar, butterscotch, browned butter and bruleed pastry. This is astoundingly rich.

Palate:  Dark fruit, caramel and an entire rack of baking spices start things off. Wood comes right behind with rye in tow while toffee and vanilla, still holding hands, come skipping through. Dark honey, corn, pink peppercorns and mint fill in the rest of the taste. Like the aroma, this has an insanely rich and complex flavor.
Brilliantly balanced with the strong rye and wood keeping the menagerie of sweet flavors in check. A thick full body that’s warm, syrupy and feels heavy on the tongue with just the right amount of burn to keep things interesting.

Finish: Wood, toffee, caramel, rye, dark fruit, vanilla and mint slowly fade to a warm sweet wood on a pleasantly long finish.

90 Points Wine Enthusiast July 2013
“A word of warning: don’t drink this straight. Don’t even try. At 110 proof, it can be downright painful. But with proper dilution, this Bourbon is still rich and deep flavored. Maturation time in dark “alligator char” barrels yields hazelnut, oak and toffee seasoned with nutmeg and clove.” – Kara Newman

Mora’s May Bourbon of the Month Club Selection From Jefferson’s Reserve, Very Small Batch Bourbon

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Jefferson’s Reserve Very Small Batch Bourbon, 90.2 Proof, Kentucky

The Distillery: “Founded in 1997, Jefferson’s is the brainchild of Trey Zoeller and his father Chet, a famed bourbon historian. They were continuing a family tradition that goes back to Trey’s 8th generation grandmother who was arrested in 1799 for the “production and sales of spirituous liquors.” To personify the brand, they chose Thomas Jefferson — known for his curiosity and experimental spirit. This is a mindset to which Trey has dedicated himself, pushing the boundaries of the definition of bourbon. Upholding tradition, yet always discovering new possibilities.” – The Distillery

“The principal author of the Declaration of Independence and one of the most illustrious founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson was elected the third President of the United States in 1800… After Jefferson retired from public office in 1815, he often tended to the garden that he had cultivated at his Monticello estate. At the time, it was customary for wealthy farmers, including Jefferson, to make their own garden spirits. Each farmer’s spirits were unique and reflected their personal tastes and the local terroir of their farm. Jefferson’s Reserve Very Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey is crafted by Chet and Trey Zoeller in honor of Jefferson and his experimental nature. While the Zoellers were inspired by Jefferson, their own roots can be traced back for generations deep into Kentucky’s bourbon history.” -Caskers, online

The Process: “We make our bourbon in small batches, ridiculously small batches. This enables us to showcase the different flavors that result from the wood in each barrel, as in the case of single barrel bourbons. We maintain the consistency that is found in small batch bottling… Creating very uncommon bourbon is a journey. We seek out new and aged barrels of bourbon from established distilleries that have perfected their art over hundreds of years. Then we do some old-fashioned experimenting, building balance and adding complexity through different selection, agitation and environmental processes until we find the taste Jefferson’s is known for.” –The Distillery

The Whisky: “Our flagship bourbon is where we define the Jefferson’s taste: big and bold with hints of spice, toffee and leather. The Reserve is the perfect marriage of four different recipes of bourbon, one of which is an elder statesman. The result is bourbon that, like Thomas Jefferson, is sophisticated, complex and unforgettable.” –Jefferson’s Bourbon

“A blend of three Bourbons, aged up to 20 years (though presumably the bulk of the spirit is considerably younger). There’s much more refinement here, more sophistication and nuance. The nose is a bit racy with a little cinnamon character and classic vanilla notes. The body: Ample sweetness but not overdone, more of a creme brulee character with some melted caramels thrown in for good measure. The higher alcohol gives it a better body, with a lovely and slightly smoldering finish that hints at roasted marshmallows. It all comes together, inviting repeated and sustained sipping.” -Drinkhacker, online

Tasting Notes by The Chaps at Master of Malt 

Nose: Gentle, dried fruits, hay, warming, hints of spice, cream,
vanilla. Lovely sweetness.
Palate: Very summery, light and supple bourbon which offers good,
clean delivery, pleasant sweetness, hints of cigar leaf, pepper and toffee.
Finish: Long finish, with good oak integration, a little sweetness
and dry spice lingers.

Won a Gold Medal for Exceptional Bourbon Whiskey from the Beverage Testing Institute in 2012!


Mora’s April Bourbon of the Month Club Selection From Wathen’s, Old Medley 12 Year Old Bourbon

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Wathen’s Old Medley 12 Year Old Bourbon, 86.8 Proof, Kentucky Straight Bourbon

The Distillery: “The Wathen-Medley family has been distilling premium bourbon for 8 generations, beginning more than 100 years before prohibition. When the 21st amendment was ratified in the winter of 1933, Thomas Aquinas Medley began distilling and releasing unaged spirits to get started, much like the whiskey producers of today. Thomas Aquinas Medley first produced bourbon and sold it as a 30 day old spirit. This was a far cry from his aged bourbons of pre-prohibition, but people were ecstatic! Next came a 60 day bourbon. And so it went until sufficient reserves had been built and a sufficiently aged bourbon could be offered.”

“After Thomas Medley’s death in 1940, the next generation of Wathen-Medleys boys stepped up to bat. They realized that within their warehouse where their whiskey matured, were ‘sweet spots’ that created a more superb bourbon than the rest. While much of their whiskey was sold in bulk to larger whiskey houses, R. Wathen-Medley ‘cherry picked’ these single barrels of superior quality and branded them under the family name, Wathen’s Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon to signify how personally he believed in the barrels he was choosing for his personal use.”

“In the late 1990’s, Wathen Medley’s son Charles W. Medley, a 7th generation Kentucky Bourbon distiller, and his son Samuel Wathen Medley, formed Charles W. Medley Distillery and rejuvenated Wathen Medley’s personal brand, Wathen’s Kentucky Bourbon, as a tribute to their late father and grandfather. The father and son team produce Wathen’s Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon and the recently released Old Medley.” –The Supplier

The Bourbon: “Because of its additional maturity, Old Medley takes on notes of cocoa, caramel and pipe tobacco, with a smooth, sweet finish. Production is a mere 2500 cases annually making Old Medley a truly limited spirit… Old Medley has the same mash bill as its younger brother Wathen’s Single Barrel, but clocks in at 43.4% ABV. The aromas soar from the glass with charred oak, honey and vanilla nuances. Old Medley covers the palate with an oily texture loaded with candied pecans and caramel flavors on the long, classy finish. Very smooth and very serious. [Meant] For lovers of Stagg, Pappy Van Winkle, and other rare American whiskeys. The name and the recipe have risen from the ashes of American history and [have been] put back in bottle nearly a century later. The recipe remains unaltered although the Old Medley of today has had the opportunity to mature to its full potential.” –The Supplier

Mora’s March Bourbon of the Month Club Selection From Black Dirt, Bourbon Whiskey

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Black Dirt Bourbon Whiskey, 90 Proof, Warwick, New York

The Distillery: “Nineteen years ago, up in the Hudson Valley’s famous orchard country, Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery was born when a fruit-growing family found themselves with a bumper crop of apples. In an effort to capture the perishable abundance, they experimented with hard cider and fruit Eaux-de-vie. New Yorkers drank it up, and soon the family was as focused on fermentation as on farming. Now the brand’s latest bottles—arguably their best yet—are named not for the trees but for the soil in which they grow.”

“The new label is called Black Dirt Distillery, a terroir reference to the dark, famously fertile soil left behind by receding glaciers 12,000 years ago. Today the ‘Black Dirt’ region covers 22 square miles in Orange County and the soil—picture chocolate cake—is prized for the produce it yields. But while black dirt is famed for growing onions, any Greenmarket shopper can tell you it’s also particularly kind to corn. Which got the folks at Warwick Winery and Distillery thinking about a whole new spirit: bourbon.”

“Warwick had received a license to distill fruit in 2002, but each winter, after the frenzy of the post-season distillation of fruit Eaux-de-vie and apple brandy, its stills tended to lie idle. When their license changed to permit a broader range of products, whiskey was suddenly a possibility. They christened their new spirit Black Dirt Bourbon and the first run was a runaway hit. Three hundred cases, or about 1,800 bottles, sold out in a scant five weeks, mostly to Manhattan bars and retailers. It’s easy to see why the stuff sold out so quickly!” -Kara Newman, Edible Manhattan (January 2013)

“Black Dirt Distillery’s co-founders and managing partners, Jason Grizzanti and Jeremy Kidde, are not new to the distilling business. Both Grizzanti and Kidde have been making and selling distilled spirits since 2002, with the Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery. Over the last decade they have produced and distributed a number of award winning brandies and liqueurs under the American Fruits brand, in addition to their critically acclaimed Warwick gin, and recently introduced the Black Dirt line of bourbon and applejack.” —The Distillery

The Bourbon:  Black Dirt Bourbon has a mashbill of 80% corn, 12% malted barley, and 8% rye.  It is aged for at least three years in charred American oak barrels.  It is bottled and labeled by hand.

Review by Drink
“For those searching for a less sweet bourbon, this is for you. Very toasty up front with robust cereal notes, malted chocolate and espresso. The touch of rye in the mash bill adds a tickle of spice rack on the back palate without making it too hot. Finishes with a subtle charcoal smoke.” -Amanda Schuster