Jack Daniel's Triple Mash
Blended American Whiskey — Tennessee, USATasted June 22, 2022Nose: Banana nut, chocolate cherry sugars, lemon grass. Loaded with banana cola nut on the front side and some familiar JD brown sugars on the way out, this is actually quite a concoction.. other than the really fantastic single barrel JD rye, nothing from JD comes close to the triple mash. This is of course technically a rye, as it's 60% rye mash, the remainder of corn and malt is probably really the key, as it just doesn't stand out as a rye, but a sweet and tasty jumble of rye and whiskey. Outside of the traditional JD purists, I can't imagine anyone not finding this a better or at least, far more interesting whiskey than what JD traditionally offers. It's much more enticing than the new, straight bonded JD, and represents a real continuation and improvement in the JD rye lineup. Either someone at JD is looking ahead and see's a future of rye and mash blends or they simply rolled the dice and got lucky, no matter props to JD for producing something that the average bourbon muckaluck should be happy to have in hand, a new product from a familiar name, that isn't short changed on age or hastily thrown together. Well done Jack Daniels Distillery. Cheers!
Jack Daniel's Bonded Tennessee Whiskey
Tennessee — Tennessee, USATasted May 9, 2022First of all a fifth is 757 milliliters or 752 depending on who you ask, so they're obviously not talking about the traditional 1/5 packaging that some of us olds grew up with, back when standard Jack was 86 proof. I know the legacy editions have been 700 ml in the past, so this is not new. Right off an interesting aspect is a bit of the iron water on the nose, the one normally associated with all things Dickel, seems to have got through the filters in Lynchburg. Certainly less pronounced than Dickel, but it's there however feint. The nose also offers up some traditional sour(mash) the part I personally like best. The high corn sugar is evident and early, just as you would expect, the char residue taste that is so distinctly JD, is a bit less in your face. Oh it still has that rough edge of char on the way down. The shorter cutting to 100proof is easily noticed with the extra corn syrup sugars and I find it a bit mellower on the finish, maybe a by product of some extra aging. This is a bit reminiscent of the JD Century offering. As only a rare imbiber of Jack, at least outside of the barrel rye which I will drink daily as it's really that good, this is clearly an improvement over standard and legacy edition Jack, the real question is,, "minor improvement" or "major upgrade". One thing I would insist on is this upgrades the JD line up, much like their Rye editions did. Cheers!
Peg Leg Porker 12 Year Tennessee Straight Bourbon
Bourbon — Tennessee, USATasted April 18, 2022Seems like every other person I talk to returning from Vegas mentions Peg Leg Porker with a fond recent, but somewhat cloudy memory. Imagine that. I decided to head down to the local cigar bar and waterhole and order up one of these, not sure how they got it as I've been told it's out of stock for some time now. Right off the top this is some Dickel juice. It has that distinct nose note of vitamins(iron) that all Dickel juice seems to have. It seems a little warmer and sweeter than some of the aged BiB Dickel releases, and yes a little smokey too, not sure if this is "real" smoke or the liquid kind added, (If I have a headache in an hour I'll know). I like this finish, it takes that big pronounced corn sweetness and mellows it a bit and also rounds it out with some barrel sugars, maples and such, almost a cured sugar ham sweet note, which might have been the plan all along given the name. It's a pretty good rendition of Dickel whiskey and if you like said product, esp the 12ish year releases seen of late, you'll probably like this too. Cheers!
Pinhook Bourbon Heist
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted March 22, 2022My first foray into the Pinhook brand, found this modest priced pint bottle on a trip through Kentucky. Honey spice cake nose, hints of clove, caramel and vanilla. This nose is a winner, (by a nose). Not quite as rich as the nose but at the front I get a good healthy corn sugar dose with some barrel oak bits and really a rich finish for a younger dram. The light amber color is somewhat representative of the profile it has some nice notes but not as many as some of the well known heavy weight players in the field. The finish is pleasant and only the tiniest of bitter notes blend in with the warm spice sugars. This Castle and Key juice is certainly a well crafted mash. I like what they have done here as the proof(96) is right in the sweet spot for delivering flavor without pounding your taste buds. If this is Pinhooks entry level bourbon, sign me up for more.
Benchmark Small Batch Bourbon (90 Proof)
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted October 30, 2021So this Benchmark series tasting run has been a fun ride, but now, unfortunately, the fun is over. The Small Batch, unlike it's pricier, higher proof shelf mates, will be where we draw the line on this group being a good, reasonable knock off of a better label, and the point where we've landed. This is just basically the Buffalo bottle juice in a Benchmark bottle. Nothing really to see here unless you are some gullible noob that thinks the BT namesake bottle is some great thing. This average BT juice is likely straight from the Buffalo barrels and nothing different, if you need some Buffalo Trace to mix with your coke, this bottle will suffice for you. I see no reason to bother with reviewing standard fare Buffalo Trace yet again, already been there, done that. I will say "hats off" to BT/Sazarac for the nice series and the nice juice you can get from this line, I think the 3(Full Proof,Single Barrel and Bottle and Bond) are all worthy and admirable offerings that you probably shouldn't overlook. I just have zero feeling toward the basic Benchmark and BT bottles, as they are the mix w/ cola and drink average stuff that warrants no real notice. I'm unlikely to bother reviewing the Top Shelf now as it's almost certainly to be another Benchmark/BT rickhouse barrel that just isn't anything special. After all it is the lowest proof and lowest msrp. But it was a fun respite from the normal sturm and drang grind of Saz/BT allocation madness. Cheers!
Benchmark Single Barrel Bourbon (95 Proof)
Bourbon — Kentucky , USATasted October 28, 2021Round 3 for the Benchmark series, and the single barrel is up, a nice lite sweet nose of cinnamon honey on toast. The proof holds up for some of the corn sugars and legs on the glass. This may wind up being my favorite of the Benchmark expressions. Yep, up front indeed is the honey toast and litely dusted cinnamon, it's a very lively and balanced expression, more of sugars and very slight barrel wood notes reveal through the middle, this is some extremely drinkable bourbon. I'm going to say this is more like an EH Taylor than any other BT line, it certainly is more refined than the Stagg-Full proof and less sweet than the Eagle Rare-BiB. It's starting to add up now, they raided the better rickhouses for some younger juice that would layout a great spread and bring some real value to those who recognize what the Benchmark team is doing. So far its: Stagg(jr): Full Proof Eagle Rare: Bottle in Bond EH Taylor: Single Barrel So this is turning out to be a fun experiment brought to us by Buffalo Trace, perhaps a small token of apology for the failure of the BTAC line this year. Either way I'm going to be stocking up on more of these Benchmark series, and stay tuned for the Top Shelf-Small Batch finally's!! Cheers!
Benchmark Full Proof Bourbon (125 Proof)
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted October 27, 2021So after trying the BiB and deciding it to be a worthy, if low end, "poor man's Eagle Rare", next in line for me is the full proof. Off the top there is a load of richness, it shouts high proof from the nose, more of the sweet caramel vanilla in this than the cherry centric BiB. Hints of dry rye and barrell. A very inviting nose indeed. All that sugar comes rushing in at the front along with a great deal of the heat you should expect with the proof, very in your face with the high corn notes, a bit Stagg Juniourish? I can't argue. The bite of Stagg Jr certainly comes to mind. Through the middle comes the harsher notes, but cinnamon and barrell tannin are there. The finish isn't lasting and surprisingly mellow for the short rough ride you get. In fact this does remind me a lot of Stagg Jr, much more so than any other BT product, obviously it's the same mash, and if it isn't from that line I'd be highly surprised. Considering this runs well under half the price of what a Stagg Jr typically gets in demand markets these days, this is certainly another "deal" in the Benchmark special release line, and depending on your affinity of the short Stagg bottle, will appeal to you in kind. As a fan of the stout little bottle, I'm going to be socking a few of these away, just for when I feel like some Stagg on a not so special occasion. Another good effort from BT, hoping this becomes a trend. Cheers!26.0 USD per Bottle
Benchmark Bonded Bourbon (100 Proof)
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted October 14, 2021Starts with a rich cherry nose, in fact the cherry is more prevalent than just about any BT product I've consumed to date. Hints of cola, cinnamon and corn sugars, it's not refined but it is bourbon. At the front the cherry indeed hangs in there, the richness of a nice sweet cornbread and cola are the meat of this juice, and that cola nut hangs in through the finish. It isn't complex but it is rich and pretty good even though the finish doesn't come off as anything special. The 4 years and 100 proof are just enough to give it a true heavy weight booze feel and makes a somewhat similar(Evan BiB) seem harsh in comparison. This blows standard Benchmark out of the water and makes Buffalo Trace namesake bourbon seem pretty pedestrian too. Finally a Benchmark label product I can enjoy. I'd give it higher marks if it was bit more refined or complex but for a BiB under 25 dollars this really makes the BT distillery seem like they actually care about us for a change. The typical BT fan should certainly pick this up and even if doesn't appeal to you the way it has to me, you've at least got a cheaper bottle you can make some really nice cocktails out of. Talk about a poor mans Eagle Rare.. Definite recommend. Cheers!22.0 USD per Bottle
Bomberger’s Declaration 2020
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted September 22, 2021Nose: Rich warm spiced apple pie leads, followed with cinnamon and hints of caramel and barrel toast. Front: Bursting sugars, brown and soft, arrive first, then the proof heat with the char and deep leathery oak notes, the sugars give way to some stout creamy textures and just a slight tannin hint. Finishes with sweet cinnamon heat. There is something distinct about Michters and whatever it is, you can detect it in this dram. I like what they've done here, it's very hardy without being overpowering, certainly showing some aging process. This sample was gifted by a friend as I have yet to see the full bottle of this in person. I think it's going to be one of those unicorns if you go looking for it, but if you so happen to luck across it, at a bar or shop, you will definitely want to try and obtain. Again it has a bit of that Michters 10 year, SiB, profile though it's certainly different enough to say it's not the same. Here's to well crafted bourbon. Cheers!
Bardstown Bourbon Co. Discovery Series #4
Bourbon — USATasted August 12, 2021Managed to snag a 100 ml sample of this, not having the bottle in front of me is a bit irksome, but considering it was free, well, let's see what we can see. Lot's of sweet cherry-vanilla and caramel notes, sort of like a sweet Four Roses SB limited and Woodford Double oak combo, just a bit of root beer tone, not as hot-spicy as I would have guessed for the rye, but this is an extremely promising nose. Up front comes the great sugar combo, and wouldn't you know it, the rye spice is right behind, I do note something of a cola aspect in the middle probably a result of the well aged rye portion, but it's a very pleasant and well thought out balance. The sugars are less apparent on the finish with a bit of a warm cinnamon toast lingering at the end. While it is warm like the proof would suggest, I don't get any rough edges of an under aged juice, the aging of the source is readily apparent as even at the high proof it is fantastically pleasant heat going down. This is my first foray into the Bardstown line, and it did not disappoint! The flavors are really kind of astounding, reminds me of a good Old Fitz with an even sweeter front end and a bit more sugar complexity. If you can find it (and at a reasonable price) this is an easy recommend. Cheers!