Jim Beam Distiller's Cut
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted November 18, 2017Note to self. Look for more "cloudy" non-chill filtered bourbons! With the recent controversy regarding the spokesmodel for the Jim Beam label, it is perhaps fitting that Fred Noe has concocted this exceptional offering from one of the original Distilleries that help comprise the Bourbon Trail. The easily recognizable rectangular bottle choice fits the standard black/doubleoak/bond/devilscut JB footprint but dont be fooled by the books cover or the modest price tag. Make noe mistake, this is a RARE offering! Yes I do mean exceptional, as in a masterpiece of sweet wood, oaks and caramels, with understated tones of spice and smoke hints of citrus and burley blend. The nose is a statement of the traditional delightful Beam signature sour mash profile. What I found exceptional beyond the inviting traditional flavors was the silky smooth finish that will have you taking a second look to make sure you are enjoying a true 100 proof libation. The number of bottle in bond strength choices that offer this much in a full bodied flavor profile and can finish with a near perfection of smoothness and consistency in taste are indeed rare. To do so at a price inline with the other Beam standards is both a bold statement to the industry and a fine gift to us bourbon aficionados on this holiday precipice. Easily a 4.5 star merit in quality and value, well done Fred and the Jim Beam distillers.25.0 USD per Bottle
Blanton's Original Single Barrel
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted November 12, 2017The Blantons mystic is well founded, from the thought in bottle design to the care in pouring, its history draws directly to the days Elmer T Lee was plying his trade and perfecting his craft. That care is even evident in the way pourings are dated, for example the bottle in front of me is 9-27-17, Rick #56 Warehouse H Barrel No 1705. Cork L (for the collectors) Nose: Understated with mild vanilla hints of wood sweetness (oak traces) and a touch of carmelized sugar. Let this one roll down the tongue and enjoy the smokey sweetness, the slight hints of citric flavors and various phases of carmels sugars and syrups are tucked inside a warm smoked puff right off the old smoke house where the hams are curing. Warm finish with the oak trace returning still accompanied by smokes and sweet spices, a distinct absence of harshness or unpleasantness of any kind, the sophisticated bourbon enthusiasts will recognize the importance not only of what it is, but what it isn't. Will always have a special place in the heart of any bourbon aficionado and a spot on the bar. Blantons is just another of the great reminders that Bourbon is one of the few, truly great American art forms, that must be protected as our heritage!
Coopers' Craft Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted November 9, 2017This is quite a good value bourbon right off the top, average nose and subdued flavor characteristics are inoffensive to nearly any whiskey drinker and still offering some tartness and hints of carmels and other sweet flavors. No memorable "special" flavoring in the profile just a good stock character that lets you enjoy it. Finish leaves a slight tart(green apple) and mild warmth. Totally drinkable for the average occasion. Typically found in the 20$ range in cities, give it 2.5 for flavor and another .5 for price point value.
Jim Beam Devil's Cut
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted November 5, 2017As many have pointed out, the "woodyness" is extremely in your face with this pouring, which comes as no surprise at all when you read how it was produced. My personal observations are the aforementioned oak, some traditional Beam spice qualities with the full proof heat. It's not bad its just not what a lot of experienced bourbon connoisseurs are out looking to find in a traditional style bourbon. A lot of people seem to have love-hate with this one in they either find the extreme earthy wood notes desireable or not much at all, I've seen a few people begging for this in smaller bottes than the standard 750. One thing is the uniqueness of the process and blend that makes it a "must try" for any adventourous bourbon enthusiest to try what we all imagine is still "hiding" in the barrel after pourings. After all, most drinkers won't be offended by oak and are going to notice some unique hints in the engrained barrel flavorings, though some of that additional flavor is on the rougher side, still, at such a nice price point there just is no reason to not to take this girl out for a spin on the dance floor.
Jim Beam Kentucky Fire
Herbal/Spice Liqueurs — Kentucky, USATasted November 5, 2017First off, it pains me to give ANYTHING that is "fireball" related a 3 star rating, (so i didnt)because truthfully all fireball, sinerator and TNfire is CRAP,, but the offering from Jim Beam is actally a better version of this sickly breed of liquor than you will otherwise find on the shelf. (2 stars for being better than the other fire-rator-ball crap) This one has won blind taste test compares and is less icky sweet and stupidly over cinnamoned than the other "brands". It really is the "tallest pygmy".
Jack Daniel's Tennessee Straight Rye
Rye — Tennessee, USATasted October 27, 2017I like this a lot. It's a good addition to the J.D. lineup and really better than old #7 in many ways. A moderate floral nose with hints of the spiced rye overtones about to be embibed. Mild rye body as expected, nothing strong or harsh, just smooth rye flavors and with powerful banana nut and toasted oat hints as well as spicey proof spirits. There are any number of mixable combos for this one and clear or club soda w/ lemon as the folks at Lynchburg suggest, certianly has merit. This just works really well and is a great if unexpected offering from JD. Update: (reflecting the half star rating) this is a great rye for someone looking for a NON-traditional rye, a sweeter almost bourbon-rye cross, which is something like what Old Forester managed with it's rye offering. Just something to note for those interested in a less than traditional, but interesting rye flavor profile.
Crown Royal XO
Canadian — Manitoba, CanadaTasted October 26, 2017One thing Crown has always been is the benchmark for a "spiced" smooth whiskey if from north of the border,, as far back as I can remember(over 40 years) we always looked at CR as the special SPICEYwhiskey you could count on for a great drink and not make you vomit from some syrupy additive. The folks at Crown Royal have made their cognac cask finish whiskey a dram that lives up to the name in a distinctly spicey but honest flavor, the fact this bottle is often found at the same price as "old blue bags" itself,, given its fine drinking it could easily take a spot in anybodies DAILY drinker row. Great CR traditional taste with the always smooth and easy finish you expect and a hint of congac notes just to add some fun to life. Its just slightly better Crown at the same price as standard so this one gets 4.6 stars for being a magnificent value. If you don't like Crown Royals already nice spicey flavor w/ a tad more complexity and always smooth finish then go drink some "fiarball" swill and leave the good stuff to those with the good sense to appreciate it!
Cask & Crew Rye Whiskey Blend
Other Whiskey — Multiple CountriesTasted October 24, 2017+ .5 for 2.5 stars Nose: understated corn and hints of smoke, the nose may be the least exceptional thing about this blend. Taste: Not sweet or bitter, starts warm and tappers off smoothly. Theres nothing to get overly excited about here yet there is nothing to offend the pallate either. The rye/corn ratio works to make it a mildly interesting flavor but offers no real cumultive boldness. I could certianly imagine the ginger and toffee would be a great addition and work well inside this base blend. As Mary noted it's really quite a smooth product and entirely approachable for the average drinker. Certianly recommended to try along w/ the flavor variants. These Cask & Crew (not including the standard) are FLAVORED whiskeys and should be considered as such.
Knob Creek Small Batch Bourbon (NAS)
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted October 23, 2017This is a rich, hearty bourbon whose full flavor keeps pace w/ it's 100 proof barrel strength bite. It yields mildly complex spicyness with much of the relevant wood/caramel/leather notes of any typical good bourbon category. Maybe not as complex as a top bottle but entirely acceptable vs the price point being had for under 30 a bottle in some areas. Think BT(eaglerare), Larceny and EW single in rich sweetness with a slightly varied spectrum of notes and in the same shelf category. With a superior nose of sweet rich caramel and oak, great mid palate bite of sweet heat and no notable burn and slight spices, smoke and cinnamon on the finish, this is a tempting all around bourbon. Let it roll back on the tongue and enjoy a bit of dank brown sugar and dried red fruit in the mids to complement the oaky earthiness, there is so much here on any bourbon drinkers list of "needs" to make a good rich drinking dram and all for a price barely above Jim Beam White Label. Another great offering from a well respected distillery. Did I mention this is out of Clearmont KY? This may be a "newish" bottle but is from a distiller that knows what the hell they are doing and have been doing it for some while. Highly recommended for the average drinking occasion and good enough to bring out on special occasions as well. 4 stars for great traditional flavor array at a respectably low price.
Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted October 19, 2017This bottle has not lived up to the expectations of the Heaven Hill reputation. Somewhat thin and lacking in the mids, NOT rich with only a mild bourbon sweetness. Heavy carmel and wood notes and not much else with it, mild peppers and tiny bits of cinnamon. Perhaps just a disappointing batch but this reminded more of the thin Evan Williams bond(white) label far more than the better HH offerings in this range like McKenna or Larceny. Mildly spicey, warm with some pepperness left on the palate and a bit hot on the finish, better with a cube than neat. Found the bottle in the low 20's making it an easy buy. 3 stars