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P.O. Box 2301
Estes Park, Co 80517

The 2016 Windows to the West Art Show and Sale convenes more than 50 of the country's top contemporary Western heritage artists in one of the most beautiful mountain settings in America at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.  The three-day sale and exhibition in Estes Park, Colorado, June 3-5, showcases more than 200 new pieces of art, with rich opportunities to meet the artists and discuss their unique depictions of Western landscapes, wildlife and traditional Western American life.  Windows to the West is a charitable benefit event sponsored by the Estes Park Western Heritage Foundation.

Art & Whiskey Gathering -- Blog

In this blog, I will try to lay the groundwork for the Art & Whiskey Gathering that we are holding at the 2016 Windows to the West art show and sale.  We will explore the fascinating traditions, distilling methods, varietal complexities, and culinary pairings that enrich the enjoyment of fine whiskeys.  I hope you will share your experiences and questions so that together we can savor the distiller's art while we browse the magnificent creative works by world-class artists in our 2016 Windows to the West  art sale and exhibition. Description of this blog

About this blog

Howell Wright

The world of whiskey is changing and changing dramatically every day. This is true with the big distilleries like Beam Suntory, with offerings from the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Scotland, and Japan. It is also true with the smaller craft distilleries popping up all over the U.S.

My interest is primarily in the craft distilleries in my home state of Colorado. Colorado has long been known for its truly outstanding craft beers.  Now the state is becoming known for its fine whiskeys. Already brands like Stranahan’s and Breckenridge are being noticed nationally and others are chasing them to the top. 

I would like to start a discussion in this blog primarily about Colorado whiskey. I would like to explore the fascinating history of whiskey in Colorado, current distilling methods, varietal complexities, and culinary pairings that enrich the enjoyment of fine whiskeys. To facilitate this, over the next several months I will be visiting Colorado distilleries and reporting on what I see and taste.

To make this a discussion, however, I need your input: Ask any and as many questions as you can. If I do not know the answer (which may frequently be the case), I will take the time and effort to find someone who does know the answer. Also, if you are a Colorado whiskey producer, or a white spirit producer moving toward producing a brown variety, please send me information and I will plan a visit.

While committed primarily to reporting about Colorado whiskeys, I'll also try to keep readers up to date about significant happenings--and interesting tidbits--in the broader whiskey world. Reader input is also encouraged.

Tasting Notes

If you have done much reading about whiskey you no doubt have the concept of Nose, Palate, and Finish. In our discussions, these terms will come up frequently and frequently they can be intimidating and discouraging. Just remember that pro noses have been trained for years to discern the difference between dry cork and copper. Royal jelly and pulled pork may be an easier sniff for most of us but when someone says that “the scent of floor polish comes out of the glass first” and then they drink the whiskey, just walk away!

Right off the bat I want to let you know that I am just an old cowboy who has had the pleasure of enjoying good whiskey for a lot of years.  I am not a David Broom, Dominic Roskrow, David Wishart or Michael Jackson (may he RIP).  I unfortunately do not have the palate or olfactory senses of these gentlemen, and if I talk of “Tasting Notes” you can guess, except in a few exceptions, that I got them from the distillery.  Also, if I do mention something like “the flavor profile contains notes of smoke and there is an oily finish,” run the other way!  You may want to remember that I am also an old U.S. Marine and my context for smoke and oil is different than that of most folks.

Bottom line is that you need to go back into your past and remember the smells and flavors that bring a smile to your face.  Hone those memories and think about them as you sample new whiskeys.  Develop your own list of descriptive terms and when you use these terms in relation to the whiskey in your glass, let the smile come forward.

A quick word about “finish” is appropriate.  When you hold a whiskey in your mouth and let it roll around over your tongue and slowly fade down your throat, the sensation you get is the finish. If you cough, shiver or recoil, the finish may not be to your liken'.  But some folks like their whiskey to burn all the way down and peal their toenails back. That’s one of the really great things about whiskey--there is something for everyone.

I look forward to visiting with you over the coming months. Let's compare notes. In the meantime, ENJOY YOUR WHISKEY AND PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY!

“Keep the Wind to your back and a smile on your face.”