Category: Bourbon

2015 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch

Distillery – Four Roses
ABV – 54.25%
AGE – NAS but the release notes from Four Roses say the youngest bourbon is 11 Years old

Perhaps I’m bit late throwing my hat in the ring on this one, but oh well. In anticipation of this year’s release, I decided to revisit this and give it a proper review.

One of the things I really appreciate about Four Roses Bourbon is the complete transparency in their mashbill. For those of you new to this word, that means the combination of grain used to create the whiskey. The Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch releases are… Continue reading

’15 & ’16 Michter’s 10 year Bourbon

As the 2016 versions start to trickle into stock in California, it’s always fun to compare the previous expressions. Tonight I matched up a 2015 vs. a 2016 Michter’s 10 year bourbon. I’ll start this off by saying it’s almost unfair to compare the two because the 2015 has been open and resting for almost a full year, however, I’m gonna do it anyways!
The nose was almost indistinguishable between the two. Both had hints of spring meadow freshness and an underlying nutty scent. Interestingly enough, the 2015 seemed to be a bit stronger on the nose.
It’s weird when I say this, but there is definitely a hint of soap on the fore of the 2015. Not in the bad way like when you said a bad word as a kid and your mom shoved a bar of Ivory in your mouth, but in the freshly brushed teeth sort of way. The 2016 is very different in the mouth, giving off much more heat (this could be due to the 2015 breathing for a year) and having much more herbal flavors with hints of grass on the finish.
Once you get past the nose, these two are very different bourbons. The ’16 is very in your face and doesn’t mess around while the prior year is much more subtle. If I had to pick a favorite, the ’15 wins. However, both are very good and absolutely worth trying.

*Originally written for Barrels & Drams

Very Old Barton 6 Year Bottled in Bond

We don’t get the Very Old Barton out here in California, so I was sure to pick up a couple bottles when I travelled to Memphis. They have many different proofs, but this is the Bottled in Bond version at 100 proof and aged at 6 years. The price point on this whiskey is extremely affordable, so I was pleasantly surprised to find an enjoyable nose of corn, apple and spice. The nose is very bold and will yield even more flavors of cinnamon and oak if left to open up in the glass for a little while. The initial mouth feel is cool and there is apple on the tip of the tongue. At the back of the tongue there is more cinnamon. The finish is filled with caramel and more spice. There is a bit of tannic on the first few sips but that goes away by your third or fourth sip. The finish is moderate in length and there are some hints of vanilla at the very end. Honestly, for the price point this whiskey is hard to beat. I mean, I had to fly to Memphis to get it, but if this is available to you locally, this should be your daily drinker.

*Originally written for Barrels & Drams

2015 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon

It was my wife’s birthday, so what better night to crack open a bottle of Birthday Bourbon? Although this is unconfirmed, this is supposed to be the standard Old Forester mash bill – 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% barley. This took a while to open up in the glass and on first pour smelled very strongly of alcohol. After allowed to open up, the dram really shone. The nose had hints of campfire and roasting marshmallows. I am trying to avoid a cliché review, but man, did I smell birthday cake. There were also some hints of toffee and wood. On first mouthfeel, the whiskey is cool, filling your mouth with dark fruit and marzipan. If there was a bad part to the whiskey, it’s the finish, unless you’re into this sort of thing like I am: a strong bite, and an astringent flavor permeating the palate that quickly subsides to silky oak. This was such a good pour, I had to have a couple more. Too bad it’s only released once a year, ‘cause this bottle will be gone soon.

*Originally written for Barrels & Drams

Elmer T. Lee

The first thing that stuck out to me about this bourbon was the color. Man, that beautiful, dark amber almost red color is simply stunning. This tells us a little about the age, even if the label doesn’t; you simply don’t get color like this from a young whiskey. On the nose of this bourbon there are a lot of sweet notes. Floral scents, mixed with apricots, give way to a light honey aroma and on a more thorough nosing there is definitely some oaky char that comes through. The initial mouth is very cool and saturates the whole palate. At this point you can really feel the delicateness of this whiskey, which is surprising considering the dark color. Definitely some light corn and more apricot comes through initially, followed by some toffee. There is a little heat if you chew on it for a second, but not enough to call it anything but enjoyable. It finishes with cinnamon and oak. The finish is long and wonderful. Honestly, this may be my favorite bourbon to date.

*Originally written for Barrels & Drams

Barrell Bourbon Batch 005

124.7 proof Aged for 8y 4m

I just picked up this bottle today on its debut in Total Wine stores in California. I’ve heard about this from buddy’s on the east coast for some time and now it’s finally here! The nose on this whiskey is so incredibly complex. I smelled floral scents, with leather and wood, vanilla, chocolate and even some cherry cobbler. No joke, this whiskey is worth the price just to smell it. The taste is just as incredible with a cool fore that gives way to cherry pie and as you swallow cinnamon coats the back of the tongue. The finish is long with flavors of oak and butter and finally, at the very end I got the spiciness I was expecting from this cask strength bourbon. This is easily one of the smoothest bourbons over 120 proof I’ve ever had, but that doesn’t mean that the complexity of the cask strength is lost. They really hit a home run with this one.

Barrell Bourbon Batch 005

Rockhill Farms

The nose is super sweet with hints of plums and bubblegum. I know, right? What are we doing, playing Candyland? Oh no, we are drinking bourbon! If you spend some more time on the nose, hints of tobacco are present too. The palate is very nice with a medium to full mouthfeel. Sweet honey can be found towards the fore of your mouth with hints of fruit at the rear. The finish is long and spicy with hints of oak and vanilla. This is an excellent bourbon. I understand it’s a little bit more pricy in other parts of the country, but we picked this up for $44, making it an incredible value. Although Buffalo Trace products are rarer these days, Rock Hill Farms shouldn’t be too hard to find.

*Originally written for Barrels & Drams

Fighting Cock

Full disclosure, Fighting Cock cost me a whole $13, so you can say I was pleasantly surprised when this rock-n-roll bourbon pleased me down to my little toes. The nose is spicy, with alcohol hiding maple syrup and some herbs smell. The mouthfeel is cool and cinnamon tickles your little tastebuds. There is also some more herb (I’m not good with herbs, maybe cumin?). The finish ends strangely, with wood and dirt. Yea, dirt, but it’s not like when the schoolyard bully used to push your face in the sand… You’ll like this dirt being shoved in your mouth. And for $13 you can like it every night and even mix it into that whiskey sour you’re scared to order in front of your friends. Oh yeah, this whiskey also pairs great with some Led Zepplin.

*Originally written for Barrels & Drams

Stagg Jr. 132 proof

Stagg Jr. has been sitting on my shelf for a month, waiting to be tasted. The nose from afar is very sweet, with floral notes giving way to hints of vanilla and brown sugar. When you really dive in nose deep the high alcohol content clears up your nasal passages right quick. On the palate there is a thick, warm mouthfeel that gives off a lot of heat. Cherry cough syrup brings me back to the days of faking sick to get out of tests, and more brown sugar leaves me longing for some cookies. The finish is long, with campfire smoke mixed with wood and char. This whiskey really opens up with a drop of water, bombarding your nose and mouth with intense cherry. This is not a whiskey for the weak willed; however, it is an excellent dram, and if you can find it, buy two.

*Originally written for Barrels & Drams

Smooth Ambler’s Old Scout 7 Year Bourbon

Smooth Ambler’s Old Scout 7 Year Bourbon comes to us from West Virginia with a mash bill of 60% corn, 36% rye, & 4% malt. The high percentage of rye is ever present on the nose filling the nostrils with floral spice. There was also a very light hint of cherries and apple. The mouth was über spicy, with strong cinnamon giving way to hints of mint gum. The finish didn’t stay long but was easily the best part with tobacco lingering on the tongue. It’s definitely a great whiskey to try, but i think there are better whiskies for the price point.

*Originally written for Barrels & Drams

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