Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fountainhead School of Spirits Spring Session Announced

As you may recall, we launched the Fountainhead School of Spirits in February. Classes resume on April 29. The spring session runs through June 3. Classes are held on Tuesday nights in the Barrel Room at Fountainhead, 1970 W. Montrose, on the North Side of Chicago. For more information, call Fountainhead at (773) 697-8204, or visit their web site.

It goes like this. We taste four or five whiskeys. We taste and talk. It lasts about 90 minutes. It is very informal and probably a bit geeky, but also fun. For the spring session, Sean Ludford is teaching the scotch and Irish classes, I'm teaching the American whiskey classes. The links below take you to Brown Paper Tickets, where you can register and pay for your classes.

The room holds about 20 people so classes often sell out. To avoid disappointment, sign up now.

Tuesday, April 29th, Presenter: Sean Ludford, $40 
TITLE: Scotch 150: Intro to Islay
TASTING: 1. Black Bottle 2. Bowmore 12yr 3. Kilchoman Machir Bay 4. Laphroaig 10yr 5. Lagavulin 16yr
DESCRIPTION: We welcome The Beverage Expert, Sean Ludford (, to the Barrel Room to discuss an extraordinary anomaly; a small Atlantic Island that produces whiskies passionately sought after all over the globe. But be advised, it’s not just peat and smoke. Experience a tour around Islay and learn the tasty variations in these beautiful whiskies

Tuesday, May 6th,  Presenter: Sean Ludford, $40 
TITLE: Irish 150: Irish Single Malts Explored
TASTING: 1. Bushmills 10yr 2. Tullamore Dew 12yr 3. Knappogue Castle 12yr 4. Tyrconnel Port Finish 5. Connemara Peated 12yr
DESCRIPTION: Sean’s back to tout the single malt wares of his home country. Let’s get past the bar shots and talk about some serious Irish Malts. The range of these selections is formidable and Sean has mentioned he might have a surprise on hand to enhance the experience. If you haven’t met Sean…that’s a very good thing!

Tuesday, May 13th Presenter: Chuck Cowdery $30
TITLE: American Whiskey 102: The Whiskeys of Four Roses
TASTING: 1. Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon 2. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon 3. Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon 4. Four Roses Single Barrel Fountainhead Selection
DESCRIPTION: Although it is a very old brand, Four Roses Bourbon was not sold in the United States until a decade ago. The Four Roses Distillery is unique because it makes ten different bourbon recipes, all rye-based. The yellow label combines all of them. Small Batch is a mixture of four. Single Barrel is just one. In this session we will taste a variety of these mashbills and yeast strains.

Tuesday, May 20th Presenter: Chuck Cowdery $25
TITLE: North American Whiskey 102: The American Whiskeys of Diageo
TASTING: 1. George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whiskey 2. Bulleit Bourbon 3. Bulleit Rye 4. Crown Royal Black Canadian Whiskey
DESCRIPTION: Diageo, the world’s largest drinks company, has a limited presence in American whiskey. It owns the George Dickel Distillery in Tennessee but its Bulleit whiskeys are contract- produced. Its biggest American whiskey is from north of the border, but has bourbon as an ingredient. This course offers a rich taste of American whiskey geography, moving from Tennessee whiskey to Kentucky bourbon and Indiana rye, and ending in Gimli, Manitoba, with the best-selling Canadian blended whisky.

Tuesday, May 27th Presenter: Chuck Cowdery $30 
TITLE: American Whisky 150: The Whiskeys of Jim Beam-Advanced
TASTING: 1. Jim Beam Black Label Bourbon 2. Old Grand-Dad 3. Basil Hayden Bourbon 4. Maker’s 46 Bourbon 5. Knob Creek Rye
DESCRIPTION: In this session, we taste the step-up versions of the Beam whiskeys from the basic course. The black label is aged twice as long as white, as is Basil Hayden compared to Grand-Dad. Maker’s 46 undergoes a unique wood treatment after aging. Knob Creek Rye shows how the Beam rye recipe changes as the whiskey matures.

Tuesday, June 3rd Presenter: Chuck Cowdery $25
TITLE: American Whiskey 102: The Whiskeys of Brown Forman
TASTING: 1. Jack Daniel’s Old Number 7 Tennessee Whiskey 2. Early Times 354 Bourbon 3. Old Forester Bourbon 4. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
DESCRIPTION: Brown-Forman is America’s largest whiskey producer and is the only one that makes its own barrels. Most of that whiskey is Tennessee’s Jack Daniel’s Old Number 7, which is second only to Johnnie Walker among all whiskeys in the world. Brown-Forman, a Kentucky company, makes bourbon at its two Kentucky distilleries. Its Woodford Reserve distillery is the only major distillery in the U.S. that exclusively uses pot stills. Among other things, this course will explain the real difference between bourbon whiskey and Tennessee whiskey.


Anonymous said...

Considered offering up a "podcast" of the class so others can follow along?

stilldaddy said...

What do you mean Crown Royal Black has bourbon as an ingredient? They ship bourbon up north and blend it in with the rest of the juice?

Chuck Cowdery said...

Indeed they do.