When drinking with whiskey grand master Dave Scheurich, it’s important to keep in mind the four “C”s: color (dark amber denotes longer aging), clarity (no grains or visible imperfections), caramel (to gauge its sweetness) and char (feel the burn).
Those self-imposed guidelines came in handy February 19 during a tasting of the soon-to-be-released Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #2 at Jos A. Magnus & Co.
Scheurich, founder and former distiller of Woodford Reserve, now advises clients as part of his latest venture, High Spirits Enterprise. During this Speaker Series event, Scheurich guided nearly three dozen attendees through the history of whiskey, pouring forth about the scent, mouthfeel and finish of offerings ranging from a traditional Magnus bourbon to a Murray Hill Club blended whiskey.
The star of the show, however, was the exclusive Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #2. The spirit delivered flavors of toffee, tobacco and smoke. It didn’t burn as much as the first Magnus bourbon, displaying much deeper, darker undertones. The new addition, which is scheduled for release in limited supply (approximately 500 bottles) later this month, is 108.7 proof.
In addition to talking shop, Scheurich fielded questions from the crowd. He shared some thoughts on Pappy Van Winkle (he is not impressed) and how the climate in D.C. affects local whiskey producers. Magnus COO Matt Witzig, who was also on hand at the event, said that the unseasonably warm temperatures have actually been great for the barrels currently on hand.
The current product line features whiskey developed by MGP in Indiana and then aged in Kentucky before being brought up to D.C. for final maturation in Ivy City. According to a Magnus aide, the company continues to build up its locally sourced inventory — spirits distilled from Virginia grains — roughly two barrels at a time. Those selections will spend the next five to six years soaking up wood before bottling.