About Camp Whiskey

Camp Whiskey is a project committed to bringing together the New York City whiskey community in an informal atmosphere to learn and relax. It is hosted by Jeff Galli (Char No. 4), Jonathan Wingo (The Whiskey Shop) and Gary He (bon vivant).

Inquiries: campwhiskeybrooklyn@gmail.com

Recent Posts

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    Camper Notes For “New Scotch On The Block”

    Here’s what we were up to at Camp last week. We explored the ways in which the established and traditional world of Scotch whisky is staying contemporary in today’s market. Sometimes the idea trumps the spirit, but we must keep moving forward.

    Benriach Organic
    The first fully certified organic single malt , Benromach goes beyond the use of organic barley, and is using virgin oak from sustainable American forests to make this a responsible spirit as well. 

    Kilchoman Vintage 2006
    The first distillery to open its doors on Islay in 124 years is also a bit of a farm distillery. Growing some of its own barley, doing some floor malting, and distilling in small batches in some of scotland’s smallest stills, this newbie is playing it a bit old-school. We also love the return of vintage whisky. Can’t wait for this newbie to grow up.

    Compass Box Flaming Heart 4th release
    What’s more radical than an American bringing back the art and craft of whisky blending in Scotland. John Glasier’s commitment to the use of first-fill barrels, no coloring, and quality curation have helped make blended scotch exciting again. The virgin French oak finishing in this, the 4th release of Flaming Heart, lends a different kind of clove-like spice to this rich and peaty rock n’ roller.

    Glenmorangie Nector D’or
    While it’s not a new whisky, the focus here is on cask finishing and the chemistry involved to create the perfect balance. It is quite remarkable that a distillery making 10,000,000 bottles a year (6% of the single malt market), is able to maintain this level of quality. In this expression, Glenmorangie is able to take advantage of its large corporate parents (Moet Hennesey), who also own Chateau D’Yquem- to provide Sauternes barrels of the highest quality. Going bigger is not necessarily selling out it seems.

    Highland Park Thor

    The trend of “special” or “seasonal” releases from distilleries speaks to the insatiable hunger of the malt market. We are asking for “something special” and this is the answer. Yes, it comes in an oak case that is a stylistic expression of the Viking longboat, and, yes, it is a lot more expensive, but it is also big, bold and delicious—and a little exclusive with 1500 bottles in the US. You need to decide if that’s cool or not. 

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    Camper Notes: On Stills

    We talked a lot about the effect that copper and still shape have on the style and outcome of the spirit. The longer the vapor is in contact with the copper of the still, the less sulfuric and “lighter” it becomes. This is definitely true with Glenmorangie. The necks of their stills are tall and narrow allowing for a lot of conversation between the vapor and copper, and it shows in the fruity, floral whisky they produce. Aberlour on the other hand produces a much meatier and rich spirit. The bulb above the pinched neck on some stills cause the vapor to condense on the cooler outer walls. This reflux allows the spirit to be re-distilled a number of times, removing more impurities. The result is a “cleaner tasting” spirit.

    Stills at Glenmorangie.

    Stills at Auchentoshan.

    Notes: 1 note

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    Camper Notes For “Tour of Scotland”

    Lowlands: Auchentoshan 12 year

    Auchentoshan stands as the only exclusive triple distilled Scotch whisky. This extra step helps to produce a light, fresh, and focused spirit that somehow manages to still have “guts”.  If you liked the Auchentoshen, try Glenfiddich 12 year or Dalmore 12 year next.

    Highlands: Old Pulteney 12 year
    Heavy reflux (like the spirit going through a washing machine. It goes from liquid to gas a number of times, getting lighter and “cleaner” each time), and the use of worm tubs (a devise used to quickly cool the spirit limiting its exposure to copper) help to create a spirit that is fragrant and fruity, but at the same time- somewhat thick.  Or as Hana described the mouth feel, “luscious”.  You might also try Cragganmore 12 or Jura. 

    Islands (Orkney): Highland Park 12 year
    Highland Park achieves such an amazing balance of flavors. They use only the very heart of their distillate (no off flavors), Orkney peat (a softer smokiness) and exclusive sherry cask aging (American and Spanish oak) to create seven regal expressions. Try the 18 year Highland Park next for a real treat, or start exploring Japanese Whisky. The Japanese are really committed to unity and balance.
    Islay: Caol Ila 12
    Islay generally presumes a heavier, smoky spirit. The island peat is full of rich sea and earth flavors that inform the character of the finished product as unmistakably from that place.  Caol Ila manages to deliver on the flavor, but without the heaviness. Balvenie 17 year peated cask or Connemara, a peated Irish Whiskey would be interesting. 

    Speyside: Dailuaine 16
    This rich, sherried malt is one of the main expressions, (along with Caol Ila), that make up the blend for Johnny Walker. It has a meatiness that I find really appealing. Mortlach 16 and Aberlour 16-  or the cask strength A’Bunadh have similar characteristics.

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    Camp Whiskey Fall Edition kicks off next Wednesday, September 26th! Who’s in?

    Camp Whiskey Fall Edition kicks off next Wednesday, September 26th! Who’s in?

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    "My feeling is that craft distillers and the larger, established bourbon distillers (like Buffalo Trace) are approaching barrel size and aging from two different perspectives… What I think Buffalo Trace was attempting to say in their press release was this: aging their whiskey in smaller barrels will not produce ‘traditional-tasting’ bourbon more quickly… you can’t cheat time. If you could, then every damn distiller throughout the world would be using smaller barrels, because the could save billions of dollars. Time is money, after all… Smart craft distillers who have their shit together know how to age whiskey in a small barrel for a short time period and have it taste good. Sometimes really good! Does it taste like traditional bourbon? No, but American whiskey doesn’t have to taste like straight bourbon or straight rye to be good.”

    Notes: 1 note

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    Whiskey has killed more men than bullets, but most men would rather be full of whiskey than bullets.

    — Logan Pearsall Smith

    Notes: 1 note

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    Portrait of the Japanese Whisky class from the Williamsburg location of Camp Whiskey.

    Portrait of the Japanese Whisky class from the Williamsburg location of Camp Whiskey.

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    Week 4: Japanese Whisky and The Pursuit of Perfection

    Styled after Scotch Whisky, Japanese Whisky has long been the whisky world’s best kept secret. That is no longer the case, however. In recent years, Japanese whiskies have picked up a boatload of international awards, often out-dueling their Scottish counterparts. We brought in some rare and innovative bottles that are only available overseas, and tasted them alongside the staple Japanese Whisky available in the States.

    What we tasted:

    • Yamazaki 12 Year
    • Ichiro’s Malt: Chichibu The First
    • Nikka from the barrel
    • Hibiki 17 Year
    • Ichiro’s Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve
    • Nikka Taketsuru 17 Year
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    Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whiskey, and a dog to eat the rare steak.

    — Johnny Carson

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    Kings County Distillery blender Nicole Austin teaches Camp Whiskey attendees about the unique way that she makes whiskey in Brooklyn.

    Kings County Distillery blender Nicole Austin teaches Camp Whiskey attendees about the unique way that she makes whiskey in Brooklyn.