Russell's Reserve 2003
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted July 18, 2021Neat. Opened yesterday, so almost the neck pour. I adore this nose. So rich and decadent. The oak is velvety chocolate. Deep, dark cherry. Cinnamon and clove. Vanilla royal icing. Hint of pear. The oak is the main event but it’s surrounded by goodness. Creamy and oily mouthfeel, like melted ice cream. It’s just milk chocolate, melted ice cream. Matches the nose. Deep, dark cherry. Hint of apple. Vanilla and honey notes on the finish. Conflicted on this one. It’s so rich and flavorful, the mouthfeel is a knock out. There is a lack of depth and there is nothing too magical on the palate. It’s just a pleasure to drink it but it isn’t an experience. Looking forward to blinding this against WT 17 (the old Master’s Keep). On first impression, I liked the 17 more than this but we’ll see what the blind shows.
Bardstown Bourbon Co. Fusion Series #5
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted July 17, 2021Neat. Sample. The nose on first impression hit me wrong. Got a wet dog note. Whenever I have a moment like that I assume it’s me and not the whiskey. Take a break, smell my elbow and try to reset. Going back in, there is a mustiness there but it’s not as bad as that first whiff. Chocolate peanut butter cup seems to be the dominate flavor Discover is going for when their own distillate is involved. There is some interesting fresh coconut here. Vanilla pudding pie. Inviting nose but nothing special. Mouthfeel is average, tad watered down feeling. Taste matches the nose. That fresh coconut appears upfront, almost like a coconut milk even. Transitions to the chocolate, hint of nut, ends on a vanilla milk shake. You know, I am going back to the mouthfeel. Initial impression was off, but subsequent sips have a creaminess to it. This is kind of unique. There is a vanilla coconut Silk - milk alternative. This reminds me of sipping on that. Odd description for a bourbon but I dig it. I don’t think I would buy a bottle of this for myself. Something fun to explore once but I don’t anticipate craving it.
Bardstown Bourbon Co. Discovery Series #5
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted July 16, 2021Neat. Sample. I adored Series 2, 3, 4 but the Dickel in this one has me skeptical at the price. I am hit and miss on Dickel, love or hate it pending certain qualities. Super excited to be able to sit down with a 2 ounce sample before I choose to invest. The nose is subtle but there appears to be some depth to it though. Milk chocolate and a slight apricot lead. Royal vanilla icing. Leather, clove and cinnamon. Dark cherry. Salted caramel. Honey and graham crackers. You know, the graham cracker, honey and icing made me think of those old Dunkaroos as a kid. Definitely some nice layers here. May lack cohesion. It’s definitely Dickel but it’s a nice Dickel so far. Mouth feel is a bit thin but oily so it costs nicely. It’s bright and sweet immediately. Honey and green grapes. Transitions into a salted caramel / milk chocolate combo accompanied by a dark cherry. The finish is almost all the Dickel. Oak, leather, chocolate with a hint of the medicinal cherry. Getting a hint of blood orange on subsequent sips on the finish. If this was Dickel 13 year bottled in bond for $40-$50, I would be raving right now. But Discovery 5 at $135, it doesn’t fit the series or the prices. Probably the best Dickel blend I have ever tasted, but I don’t think I love it enough to justify a purchase.
1792 Full Proof Single Barrel Select
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted July 15, 2021Neat. Opened unknown amount of time. Crooked Barrel group pick. Prior to my 20th high school reunion, we visited my friends mom and she pulled out this delicious bottle. When I said how much I liked it, she gave it to me because I was the only person to ever like it. Pretty sure it is just a reaction to the proof because this was great on first impression. Sitting down with it for a more in depth take now. On the nose, this is a fabulous banana nut bread drizzled with a chocolate glaze. I mean it’s just delicious. Perfect balance of cinnamon, walnuts, ripe banana, and bread. Then there is this underlying layer of milk chocolate adding depth and sweetness. The nose is better now than my first impression a few weeks back. So oily and coating on the mouth feel, very nice. All cinnamon and brown sugar up front, transitions into the banana nut bread mid-palate. By the finish, it doesn’t dive down into chocolate though. It actually pulls up and brightens up into this fabulous vanilla and butterscotch. This finish is fantastic. It’s so rich and lasts for a long time. Getting lots of apple to go with the butterscotch on subsequent sips. Wow, what a bottle. I guess the proof was just too high for everyone else that tried this before me because this is the best 1792 product I have had. Full Proof or otherwise. The finish on this is just so so good. I am glad this bottle found a home with someone who will appreciate it.
Russell’s Reserve Private Barrel Selection
Bourbon — Lawrenceburg, KY, USATasted July 10, 2021Neat. Opened two weeks. Mash and Journey Look at the Birdie pick. Warehouse G, 4th floor, 9.5 years. On the nose, I get this blend of caramel, cherry, honey, crescent roll. The oak comes across as leather and tobacco. Underneath the typical Turkey is this very interesting curried lemon grass. It’s a surprising note I have never found in a bourbon before. Very interesting. Great nose overall. Amazing creamy mouthfeel, top notch. Super rich immediately. Honey, cinnamon, brown sugar on the front of the tongue. Mid palate there is this chocolate and vanilla combo, almost like an Oreo. A salted caramel then escalates. The finish has a salted soft pretzel as well. And the finish just keeps going and brings an extra wave of the vanilla back with a hint of cherry. This finish has delicious after shocks. It gets more pronounced and intense on subsequent sips. Always count on Jason for an epic finish. Best finish on any Russel’s I have ever had. Probably the best Russel pick I have had in general. It’s a perfect example of this expression.
Blue Note Bourbon 9 Year
Bourbon — Tennessee, USATasted July 10, 2021Neat. Sample. This pour won a head-to-head blind with a Chattanooga single barrel last night. I capped it and let it sit over night to give the other ounce a proper tasting. So now that I know it’s Dickel, it smells like Dickel. But it is great Dickel! Burnt caramel, medicinal cherry, subtle smokiness. Hints of tobacco and leather. There is some almond too. Blind, I honestly standing doubting myself of this was a whiskey or a rum aged in whiskey barrels. It has these unique elements with the almond, medicinal and smokiness that were throwing me off. It is a nice nose overall. Mouthfeel is honestly thin for the proof. Oily, but thin. It costs just enough and gets out of the way. Mmm, I enjoy this quite a bit on the taste. It’s a cherry cheesecake with a coating of chocolate syrup over the top. The crust is more of a chocolate graham cracker too. Oh, there is some orange zest there too. Oh that orange is taking over on me. Geez. One of the best sources Dickel products I have had, especially for a 9 year single barrel. I wish all Dickel tasted like this. I wonder if it is not charcoal finished. If you know, let me know. I have such a love/hate relationship with Dickel and I don’t understand why yet.
Chattanooga Whiskey Single Barrel
Bourbon — USATasted July 10, 2021Neat. Sample. I tried this last night in a blind and I was not jiving with it. It could have been my palate or something ate/drank last night, so I capped it to give it a more in depth tasting now. The prospect of a Chattanooga single barrel is weird though. I know they are doing some great blending to create the 111 I adore, but always wondered if the sum was better than the parts. On the nose, there is a note I cannot escape. It’s Grippo’s BBQ chips. That is a regional brand so it may not translate but it’s a sweet BBQ rub with a lot of mesquite. Even though it is so dark, there is a youngness to it too. The combo of this and the high malt made me lean Texas even during the blind. There is a deep forest and earthiness to the nose as well. Lacks any dessert sweetness or fruit. Maybe some apple but it faint. I do like it better than last night so glad I took a break from it. Nice syrupy mouthfeel, quite dark on the tongue. Bit of brown sugar and molasses. Wow, that Grippo note is inescapable. It pops mid palate and then dominates the finish too. I’m trying to explore around it but it’s hard. Mmm I just found a nice toasted oak note and but more of that apple. Apple has some salted caramel on it. The malt is really coming through on subsequent sips. Okay! I am finding some depth here versus last night’s first impression. I would say this pour is redeemed, interesting, but if I owned the bottle I would not be grabbing it often. I would be giving it as samples to those who could get nerdy breaking it down too. The BBQ element is more interesting than delicious. I suspect these Single Barrels are going to have extreme ranges and now I want to try another.
Hayner Straight Bourbon
Bourbon — Ohio via Kentucky, USATasted July 9, 2021Neat. Opened one week. My Aunt and Uncle gave me this because they know how much I am into whiskey. To be frank, when they told me it was from a new distillery in Troy OH, my anticipation wasn’t exactly high. I was thinking it was going to be 2 year craft. Nope. It’s frickin’ Bardstown and a Fusion like blend of 3, 4 and 13 year old bourbons. Hot damn what a surprise and what a fun gift! Opened it on the Fourth of July and was excited to try it again. The nose is very flavorful. Walnuts and vanilla are the leading flavors for me. There is a buttered cinnamon toast as well. Very breakfast-y if that makes sense. Hint of espresso. There is a salty brine too. There is this hint of fruit too, I want to say mango. Some fun layers to this, honestly a better impression than the last Fusion batch I had. The mouthfeel is surprisingly oil but the flavors feel watered down on first approach. Some faint caramel and oak but not much else initially. Mid palate it is all nuttiness and chocolate, creamy vanilla on the finish. Mango on the finish as well. Got a nice, but subtle salted caramel on subsequent sips. It’s an easy sipper with some good character. The proof limits it a bit for my preference but if it were a hot summer afternoon, this could hit the spot. If you are around Troy OH, grab a bottle of this.
Hancock's President's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted July 5, 2021Neat. Sample. Never seen this bottle with my own eyes. A friend provided a sample to me to help take it off the “never had” list. On the nose, it can’t get much more cherry forward than this. Getting a nice honey and a buttered cracker, like those Townhouse dinner crackers. Underlying caramel. It’s a very pleasant nose, especially with the over the top cherry. Surprisingly creamy mouthfeel! Taste matched the nose note for note. Honey sweet initially. Transitions straight into that cherry and the volume on that note is turned way way up. And that buttered cracker comes through with a slight hint of pepper on the finish. Cherry has surprising legs to it too, lingered for longer than I would have expected. This is probably a perfect intro whiskey. Inviting, pleasant, easy sipper, no rough edges. I’d only purchase a bottle at retail and I probably wouldn’t drink it myself. It would just be for guests.
Russell's Reserve 13 Year Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted July 3, 2021Neat. Sample. Been excited to dive into this sample. The hype on this bottle is dumb. It’s selling more on secondary than Master Keep, makes no sense. With that said, I get to enjoy this sample thanks to good whiskey friends who spoil me. I won’t own this myself without a lot of luck regardless what I think. On the nose, the oak comes across closer to 15 years honestly. It’s deep and musty. Wow, this is definitely coming across as a higher proof younger brother than the MK BTB 17. Deep cherry, little rye slap across the face. Lemon zest. Cinnamon and clove. Maple syrup. It’s very delightful. The cherry is the stand out aspect on the nose. Very viscous, syrupy grit even on the mouthfeel. Immediate, immense and intense flavors on impact. Cinnamon and sugar mixture, hint of chocolate. Clove again. Mid palate that cherry note is perfect. God. It’s a dark cherry and it’s juicy and over the top. The oak rides along next to it and takes over by the finish. The finish is a blend of oak, pepper and rye with an underlying sweetness left over from the cherry. Getting lots of orange on subsequent sips too. Damn it, I am never getting a bottle of this. This is over the top too good and the hype on this will only get worse. I like this more than I was expecting. The balance of oak, sweetness, fruit and spice is just near perfect. One of the best Turkey products I have had.