Baker's Small Batch Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted January 25, 20223.0 stars - Good; 1.0 oz hotel pour Tastes like pie (cherry, apple) a la mode with peanut butter ice cream. Dash of cinnamon.
Blanton's Original Single Barrel
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted January 25, 20223.5 stars - Very good. 1.0 oz pour; hotel bar Soft and sweet. Energy is a fluffy pillow and warm comforter. Vanilla, gentle oak, wheat bread.
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted January 9, 20223.5 stars - Very Good; 750 ml bottle Do people actually like hot tubs, beach vacations, or sex in the shower? After much anticipation, I find the experience to be a bit of a letdown. Is the idea better than the reality? A pleasant fantasy to make it through the humdrum of normal workaday life. So many of the whisky reviewers I follow gave this a top rating. Am I missing some hedonistic gene? This is a good and unique whisky. No question. But so are Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban and Nectar D’Or. For $45 and $65 respectively. I bought this for $205 and it is now $280 locally. I would rate all three was equally good. Supposedly this contains some very old whiskey, but this tastes 12-15 years old to me. The bottle and box look like they belong to a $500 bottle. As a craft beer guy, many of the chocolate stout and porter notes are familiar. Which begs the question, why is malt not a bigger part of the Scotch discussion? Beer is all about the malt: pale, Pilsner, Vienna, Munich, caramel, crystal, brown, chocolate. This is the number one ingredient in Scotch and gets virtually no billing or discussion. Why? This seems like a missed opportunity to add intrigue, originality, and excitement.205.0 USD per Bottle
Compass Box Orchard House
Blended Malt — ScotlandTasted January 9, 20223.0 Stars - Good; 750 ml bottle Four more years! Four more years! The apple does not fall far from the Johnnie Walker tree. This is a well made and distinctive blend with ample amounts of Linkwood and Clynelish. It is one thing to understand where the market is going. It is something else to capitalize on the changing environment. Well aged, high quality, affordable whiskey is now hard to source. This is new make, 1st full bourbon barrels, aged by Compass Box approximately 8 years. This flavor profile fits in nicely with their portfolio of Spice Tree, Peat Monster, and Story of a Spaniard. However, I wish this was 4 years older with the same $60 price point as those other three. Aroma and flavor is overripe fruit, almost like a five day old fruit salad of apples, pears, pineapple and grapes. Crazy easy to drink for 46% ABV. Young notes are small and well hidden. If there is a higher aged, special edition of this whiskey, I would buy it in a second.44.0 USD per Bottle
Willett Family Estate Bottled Rye 4 Year
Rye — Kentucky, USATasted January 1, 20225.0 stars - Exceptional, 750 ml bottle The king of botanical ryes. I love the botanical ryes. Anything that grows in a garden, I love in rye whiskey: mint, rosemary, dill, green pepper, chives, oregano, etc. This tastes like Swedish rye bread with an herby butter spread. Rich, oily, fresh. It also has the black licorice, root beer and old library books element found in Rowan’s Creek and Noah’s Mill. I absolutely love it. This is unique to Willet and I hope it never changes. This is in the same space as WhistlePig 10 yr, High West Rendezvous Rye and Double Rye, and 95% MGP. It is my favorite of the bunch. I was lucky enough to buy two bottles from my local liquor store via their allocated bottle raffle. I gave one to my next door neighbor since he is a Willet super fan.54.0 USD per Bottle
Cragganmore 12 Year
Peated Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTasted January 1, 20223.5 stars - 200 ml bottle, gift set The bottle reads: “The best of Speyside…an elegant, sophisticated Speyside with the most complex aroma of any malt.” Which is marketing speak for: “Kiss my Cragganass.” Bravado aside, the aroma is excellent and this is surprisingly good. The finish is a little over oaked and slightly astringent. Honey, vanilla, little doses of citrus, smoke, malt. Aroma pairs well with the taste. Clearly well crafted. I am a bit baffled on why this is $70-85 USD a bottle locally. I give an edge to Johnnie Walker Green and Clynelish 14 yr. Both are in this flavor profile, and are a better dram with a lower cost of ownership.
Michter's 10 Year Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Rye (2018 Release)
Rye — Kentucky, USATasted December 12, 20214.0 Stars - Excellent; 20 ml sample This is from a 2019 premium tasting at my local mom & pop liquor store. Rather than sell or raffle allocated bottles, they organized a tasting so the maximum number of people could try these gems. Aroma is oak and caramel. Taste is butter, oak, and some drying tannins that hit mid palate. Super well crafted bourbon. I have not tried to research where this was sourced. It shared some similarities with some really good Heaven Hill products. Also reminds me a little bit of Belle Meade cask strength.
Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond 11 Year (Spring 2018)
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted December 12, 20215.0 Stars - Unbelievably Good; 20 ml sample This was an absolute flashbulb moment. I will always remember where I was when I tried this whiskey. This is from a 2019 premium tasting at my local mom & pop liquor store. Rather than sell or raffle allocated bottles, they organized a tasting so the maximum number of people could try these gems. Super stand-up approach. Aroma is slightly floral. Taste is a wonderful potpourri of sweet, spicy, leather, and cracked pepper. Finish is long, spicy and smoky. I never knew whiskey could be like this.
Kentucky Owl Confiscated Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted December 12, 20211.0 Star - Poor; 20 ml sample Confiscated is the exact right name for this whiskey. That is how your wallet will feel after purchasing. This review is from a 2019 tasting. At the time I had never heard of Kentucky Owl. Aroma was nice, sweet and buttery. Palate was poor, thin and hot. Reminded me of George Dickel #12, lots of corn and some sharp notes with no depth. Ok. Well, this must be all new distillery, right? Young and amateur. Then I found out this was $120 a bottle. Then I found out this was sourced. I can feel my anger rising. Despite the awesome reviews on other Kentucky Owl products (especially the rye), this has turned me off the brand forever.120.0 USD per Bottle
Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted December 4, 2021Holy batch variation, Batman. I’ve enjoyed several bottles of Elijah Craig. Normally, I rate 4 stars for the sum of the experience: juice, bottle, Heaven Hill DNA, marketing, availability and price. There is always some batch variation. However, this bottle was completely off profile. Like four standard deviations off. Drank the bottle slowly over a couple months; oxidation didn’t change it. Tastes like drinking Evan Williams Black while chewing Juicy Fruit gum. Super mellow finish. No heat, no oak, no spice. Different, but not bad.27.0 USD per Bottle