I drove my chevy to the levee but the levee was dry.. and them good ole boys were drinkin whiskey and rye..
Sazerac Straight Rye
Rye — Kentucky, USATastedNose: Understated with mild ginger and lemongrass mixed in with the orange clove rye spices, I find this combo often in well made and reasonably aged ryes, (see Russells 6 year). Smooth and inviting. Up front is notable light sweetness but not for long, the dry rye quickly takes hold and the infusion of spices reveal themselves, some dill and thick leathery notes join the typical peppery clove. This is a very enjoyable straight drinking rye and as so often is the case, notable for the quality of what it lacks(harshness, bitter or green tendencies) that are so inherit in the low quality industry offerings. Definitely hard to find but worth the effort. (ending part 1)
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedWell I promised something better for the next review and here we are with an all around classic. Classic name, label, heritage and distillery. The Distiller notes seem pretty accurate. This is definitely something better. Off the top the nose opens up with a heavy spiced rum-raisin cake, with a little time the rich caramel-brown sugars also arrive. Just a hint of the family "sour" style fermented mash flora is tucked under neath. For me the trademark Beam peanut shell note is absent, and not really missed, still the nose on this will in no way disappoint anyone who is a fan of original heavy, sweet Kentucky bourbon. If that's not enough for you, it's 107 proof and barely carries a trace of ethanol to tingle the nose hairs. Up front I get a wallop of sweet, dank sugar and spice, spiciness like an extra bit of the rye was left in for good measure. Through the middle some dried red fruit notes join in and the noted sour mash dryness quickly shakes off the early sweetness. The remainder is a trail of some spice and nut shells (I still don't get peanut) woods and nibs. It is a bit of a menagerie of traditional bourbon whiskey character, well balanced and acted out. You could almost picture Tennessee Williams sipping on this while scripting a classic play with visions of glass horses dancing in his head while working his old south drama. Baker's 107 is Americana and Americana is Baker's, it is why we love the tradition imparted by the finest of the genre. Occasionally found under the 50$ mark, I would say it's the equal of many bottles at twice the price. Liting up a Romeo & Juliet House of Capulet, just because... Cheers!51.0 USD per Bottle
Devil's River Barrel Strength
Bourbon — Texas, USA, USATastedNose: Weak for a "barrel strength", if I didn't know better would say this might be White Label Beam or Green Label Evan, maybe just a bit more than that but certainly not much. This really reminded me of some of the young bourbons I've tried from some local distilleries. No real age or sign of craftsmanship. Stuff made with the best intentions yet rendered nearly undrinkable by any standard of what constitutes "good whiskey", probably severely under aged and green and with little redeeming qualities. Even though this stuff is priced considerably lower than the average boutique brand, it STILL cannot deliver and thus you would be advised to just grab a bottle of Old Charter, Old Grandad or Ancient Age in it's stead. If you somehow wind up with a bottle of this, just stash it away for that inevitable "company" drinker who is just going to slosh coke and sour mix in it anyway. Two dogs in a row for me and I promise the next review will be something worthy of your time.
George Dickel TABASCO Brand Barrel Finish
Flavored Whiskey — Tennessee, USATastedOk you bought yourself a bottle of Dickel Tobasco finish, what next? Well here's a thought. Chicken Wing Sauce. Maybe some pork rib rub? Truthfully the nose on this is a bit intriguing although I would say the funk of the tobasco pretty much turns it off for me, I could see some folks going for this though. The taste is another story, the sweet Dickel flavor base with the bold hot spice isn't a winner for me. This reminds me a bit of the Wild Turkey American Honey with Ghost Pepper. Not a fan of that either. Or the even worse Bird Dog Jalapeno Honey that might just be the worst thing I've ever tasted out of a "whiskey bottle". So spice up those chicken wings on the grill or maybe help out your constipated dog by forcing this down it's throat, either way I can't be accused of being a "Dickel Homer" now. Unless you just love the unexplainable weird flavors, serious NO GO on the red label Dickel.
Clyde May's Alabama Style Whiskey
Flavored Whiskey — USATastedIt seems this standard entry from Clyde Mays has no age statement. Conecuh Ridge Distillery certainly gets style points for this labeling, their bottles are not short on ornamental print. Stephanie's notes seem fairly accurate on this 85 proof table whiskey, I found at the local bar. The nose on this is strong with notes of mint, anise, dill, ginger perhaps just a hint of sweet apple cinnamon, if you didn't know otherwise you might think this was a 'flavored' product. On the palate very little sweetness, the dryest of vanilla but no caramel sugars appear. Indeed the entire profile is a dry but somewhat traditional whiskey with just some hints of warm spice and bits of corn sugars popping up on the way out. Not a big finish at all but also not unpleasant or acrid with tannins, it seems relatively smooth. Some barrel nibs finalize the experience. Well nobody ever said Alabama was the "other" whiskey state, but this isn't a bad representation at all, however it is unfortunate that the rather hefty nose of spices are all but missing in the actual taste. Again for an entry level not bad but nothing special either. Until I get a try of the bourbon and barrel versions for comparison, this is neither a home run or a swing and a miss, I'd say more a safe base hit. Definitely a try before you buy a bottle recommendation.
Basil Hayden's Dark Rye
Other Whiskey — Multiple CountriesTastedUpon organizing a small 'finished rye' tasting I realized I wouldn't make it to Kentucky to pick up my rye of choice, so pinch hitting for Woodfords Wine Cask finished rye today is non other than Basil Haydens Dark(port added) Rye. The other contenders, Angels Envy Rum Finished, High Wests Midwinter Act 7 (port finished), (we had a no show for James Pepper). So how did the pedestrian Basil Hayden match up to these heavy hitters? Choice by nose complexity, character and quality. 1 Basil Hayden 2 Angels Envy 3 Midwinters By taste: Tie: Angels Envy - Basil Hayden 3rd Midwinters The group agreed that the overall sweetness and rich character added by Basils port matched up to Rum factor in the Angels with the later winning in the "sweet" category while the Basils had just a bit more character in deep richness. Midwinters came in last as the finish was mild to subdued and really just notable. In over all value the relative msrp's again found Basil just edging out the much higher priced Angels while the Midwinters again lagged. Overall rich rye's, hot chilli and good cigars were consumed in good spirits for what went over as a good head to head taste off and somewhat surprisingly little Basil punched well over it's weight to take the event. We all were somewhat amazed the Basil Hayden could deliver at that level, esp with a pair like the Angels Envy and Midwinters in the house. For me the richness of the port addition made it an easy winner and if the "finish" technique is of questionable fairness in comparison at the end of the day it's the taste that counts. With the Angels Envy being about 10 dollars more than the High West, it was a unanimous 2nd in value and nose to nose in quality of drink with Basils. That alone is some serious recommendation for what Basil Hayden is doing with it's dark rye addition. Rye drinkers who desire a real change up in sweet richness should give serious consideration to this dark and spicy blend.45.0 USD per Bottle
The Macallan Edition No. 5
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedPour tasting of this, extremely flavorful nose, considerably rich with varied red fruits, currant, raisins and mild mid spices, I thought the balance was spot on and well done. The malt comes in late and subdued with only the mildest hints of smoke, making this a nice drink for those not into heavy peat. The varied cask smoothness was notable and the combined output just seems to work well. Yes the legendary Macallan smooth finish is alive and present here. I've only tried the No. 4 (previous edition) so not much to go on by comparison but I found the No. 5 more varied in notes and overall more satisfying and interesting. These bottles always seem to be a bit pricey which is of course part of the planned limited availability but I wouldn't hesitate to grab one if found on the low range of the price scale.99.0 USD per Bottle
Barrell Bourbon Batch 017
Bourbon — (bottled in) Kentucky, USATastedA big nose of caramel iced spice cake and rum nut raisins carry this with some ethanol fumes, not quite as refined as some of the well known older drams but rich and appealing reminding somewhat of a Bookers or EC BP. A bit lighter amber in color than I would have expected, leaves nice small droplets coating the glass. Front, delicious dark brown sugars lead the way, a rich currant-rum note comes in strong, the dried fruits are also apparent as it tapers down easy with some vanilla cola-nut action, this is a pretty good presentation of some seriously well aged bourbon trail barrels. Some classic barrel flavor reminiscent of Heaven Hill or Suntori-Beam, are just barely noticeable, but I get very little in the wood/tobacco range. Finishes light and smooth, only well aged hooch above 100 proof is capable of this kind of ending. This is indeed "the good stuff", a great rendition and reminder of the high proof classics. I managed to pick this bottle up at a store I frequent for a much better than msrp price, as these bottles tend to run at and above the 80 dollar mark in my neck of the woods. Yes, i would say it's easily worth it though I can accept alternate opinions about that point. Bookers, EHTaylor and so forth at that price point are one reason I can see different views on this, but if you see it for less than 70$ you should pull the trigger and by all means have a slug at your local watering hole. Kudos to the Barrell Bourbon Team on this batch.
Yamato Special Edition Cask Strength
Other Whiskey — Japan, USATastedTried a slug of this at a local, just wanting to give another Japanese product the rundown. The squarish dimpled (IWHarper like) bottle is unmistakable with the large Yamato under lined in red. This is intriguing stuff, if about what I was expecting. Nose: Dry fruit forward,, tart pear and crisp apple, slight sweet hints like a honey dew nectar with some warmer spices as well. No hints of malt yet, yep, that's what I was hoping for. Front: Ah there's the malt, knew it, but that's ok as the dry fruit holds up and keeps pace, here is where the Eastern influence takes over and we find small nibs of barrel and garden herb with florals, the sugars are mild as this is a dry note work, the spectrum is very agreeable but unfortunately not for long. The middle is very swift to give way to a finish of nice dry black pepper and salt, warm not hot, fading out. For a cask strength this seems entirely mild and pleasant and while the malt is obvious this one carries the variety I like not found in the pure malts ala Nikka, which I find bland and not worthy of review. Some youngish juice probably belies the NAS as it seems a little thin, yet blended well enough to hide any glaring deficiencies. No idea on the cost so rated purely on taste. Cheers!
Redemption High Rye Bourbon
Bourbon — Indiana , USATastedFound this at a good price (21$$) so elected to get the bottle(proof=92, batch 119) as a high rye bourbon this falls in line with my recent samplings of hi corn ryes, hi rye-corn etc. Totally by accident of course(wink wink). Ryan's front page notes seem pretty spot on, yes the "cinnamon, anise, clove" rye influence opens up quickly and the late subtle "undertones of fennel, dill and mint" eventually arrive. The complexity and variety for a "youngin" is fairly impressive, and the base bourbon stays put to the back ground so to speak. Not completely unlike the Old Forester Rye also found at a noteworthy price point as well, there are some interesting rye-corn-malt notes at play in Redemption High Rye that I think totally redeems it in the face of other, pricier, "genteel" ryes and bourbon-rye treatments. Yes it's Indiana "heartland" rye whiskey and no that should not automatically scare you away. The fat cork cap bottle is also a nice touch that I always enjoy pouring from, and neat, w/ water or drafted into a OF, Manhattan, Derby or Sidecar look for this bottle at a good price and you won't have gone wrong. Cheers!21.0 USD per Bottle