Bourbon Scotch By Nino Marchetti / April 27, 2015 With the WhiskeyTown USA festival fast approaching May 8th and 9th at NW 17th Ave and Front Ave in Portland, we thought it might be good to take some time to point out to you a small selection of the over 200 whiskies which will be available during the event. While there’s no doubt you’ll enjoy the ones we’ve mentioned here in partnership with the festival’s organizers, you’ll also find great enjoyment exploring the vast range of other offerings, be it bourbon, Scotch or otherwise, from the huge range of distilleries and whiskey brands who are being poured.Jefferson’s Ocean: Jefferson’s Bourbon by itself is a popular and tasty whiskey, there is no doubt. What happens though when you take barrels of this bourbon, put it in the cargo hold of a ship and send it on a slow voyage around the world, complete with stops in five different continents and multiple trips across the equator? You have one heck of a story to learn about as you sip this ocean aged whiskey that’s been influenced by a bunch of additional considerations it wouldn’t otherwise be touched by were it still landlocked in an aging warehouse.Lagavulin 16:This award winning Scotch heralds from a distillery in Scotland’s Islay region that’s been around since the early 1800s. The Lagavulin 16 year old is strong on the peat smoke essence one expects of whisky from this part of Scotland, it is a 43% ABV bottling that is highly sought after by drinkers and considered a big, meaty Scotch you’ll quickly realize informs your palate of why whiskey from this part of the world is so highly regarded.McMenamins Hogshead Whiskey:Oregon’s young whiskey scene is anchored by a few older disitlleries, including the Edgefield operation that’s attached to the famous McMenamains brewpub chain. Its flagship whiskey is Hogshead, loosely described as an American single malt. This 92 proof spirit is pure pot distilled from 100 percent malted barley, and described as being more of a Northwest original, crafted “with only a passing nod to the great Scotch, Irish and bourbon distillers.”Compass Box Hedonism:Compass Box Whisky is considered one of Scotland’s more top notch independent whisky bottlers, creating unique blends from a large range of Scottish distilleries it gets single malt Scotch from. Hedonism is different beast however, a blending of eight to 15 different casks of grain whisky, which brings focus onto a Scotch type not known as well as single malts. It is aged in first fill American oak barrels, resulting in flavors which include vanilla and toffee.Mortlach Rare Old:The Mortlach distillery is known for being the first legal distillery in Dufftown, the capital of Scotland’s Speyside whisky powerhouse region. It has a nickname of the “Beast of Dufftown” because its Scotch heralds back to a time which whisky was more hearty. The Rare Old offering is certainly no exception in this regard, as it is a non-age statement release which comes in a very slick bottle and boasts a strong balance between sweetness and dryness in its flavor profile.Macallan Rare Cask:Macallan is considered among the elite of Scottish distilleries, particularly know for its heavy use of ex-sherry casks in the aging of its whisky. In the line ups of Scotch it produces, the well regarded 1824 series hosts a unique bottling known as Rare Cask. Rare indeed is this offering, drawn from less than one percent of the sherry casks being used to age whisky at this distillery. The mahogany colored spirit, bottled at 43 percent, has among its flavors that of rich dried fruits. It is best served with a drop of water to open it up even more.Eagle Rare:Eagle Rare bourbon, produced by Buffalo Trace, is a premium American whiskey offering typically aged for around a decade before being bottled. It is often single barrel in design, meaning there’s a bit of a uniquely different flavor from barrel to barrel, while other times some barrels are married together for bottling. It is one very well received in awards competitions, and especially for those who get the rare treat of being able to find a bottle of its older 17 year old sibling, a bourbon worth slow sipping as you relax from a long day.Angel’s Envy Rye:Angel’s Envy is known primarily for being a well regarded bourbon label, but of late they’ve also been making waves in the world of rye whiskey with their Rye expression. The 100 proof rye whiskey is allowed finish their maturation in former rum barrels for up to a year and a half, resulting in a very smooth spirit that finishes both sweet and dry. It is good for sipping, though you can enjoy it as part of a cocktail also if you like.