Flavored Whiskey — USATastedNeat. Neck pour. Why not kick off 4th of July weekend with a super serious whiskey review of Screwball. Never had this before but it seemed like a great bottle to enjoy this holiday weekend. The nose at first reminds me of artificial butter smothered all over microwave popcorn. It also reminds me of Buttered Popcorn Jelly Bellies! Texture is super oily like the syrup you pump into coffee drinks. The flavor again is Buttered Popcorn Jelly Bellies. This is delicious and dangerous. It too rich to drink more than a pour or two in a sitting. I think this is also the first whiskey my wife has ever truly liked. Maybe a gateway to some Jim Beam? Fun stuff.
Horse Soldier Barrel Strength
Bourbon — Columbus, Ohio, USATastedNeat. Sample. Last time I tried this I was not impressed. Time to see if this second sample is any different. On the nose, bit hot with alcohol. Nail polish and Playdoh. It’s not off putting. Vanilla frosting. Just not a nose I enjoy. Geez, nail polish again on the tongue. Fresh cut grass. Caramel apple, but the apple isn’t ripe. Just not a fan of this one.
High West American Prairie Barrel Select
Blended American Whiskey — Utah , USATastedNeat. Sample. Finished 1.5 years in Armagnac barrels. Honestly I never heard of Armagnac before 2020 and now I can’t escape it! Bardstown blew my mind a month ago and now I find Armagnac finishes in other brands. This is so rich and dense on the nose. A deep, heavy glaze like a reduction or even and ice wine. The Armagnac influence is so strong and in your face. Equally amazing and off putting in a strange way. Next to the glaze is this heavy plum from the finish. As you dig, the familiar caramels and even butterscotch emerge with an enticing sweetness. Texture is rich and oily just as the nose eluded. It’s heavy and dark on the tongue with a sweet stone fruit. Oh but it brightens up in a hurry and really packs a punch. Orange peel sourness transitions to vanilla and caramels. But the caramels accelerate into rock candy sweetness. A surprising amount of oak remains on the legs. Couples with cherry cola. I’m all over the place on this one. Ran out of the sample trying to pick apart this ride. Really like Armagnac finishes. I’d buy this one if I ever found it.
Glen Scotia 15 Year
Single Malt — Campbeltown, ScotlandTastedNeat. Sample. The color on this one is quite darker than the other samples I am enjoying tonight. On the nose, this is dark, heavy and savory. Hint of oak, almost pretzel M&M even. So salty. There is some nice brightness though. Like a sea breeze. I wouldn’t say a fruit. Almost like stewed and glaze carrots. Bit bitter initially on the taste like a dark unsweetened chocolate. Opens up with some tremendous bourbon flavors. Sea salt caramel glaze on soft pretzels. Get some nice cinnamon apples on the legs. A savory and rewarding pour. What I like the most is that the sweetness is there but in the background. It’s delicious though and makes you want to hunt down it’s Source. A very enjoyable journey.
Deanston Highland Single Malt Stout Cask Finish
Single Malt — Highland, ScotlandTastedNeat. Sample. This is a fun one. I have given up beer the last two years but I had some fun times with Dragon’s Milk. When you don’t know a beer is high ABV and the restaurant gives you a (few) 16 oz. pour, the evening gets interesting. On the nose the stout influence is in the back and only hinted at slightly. Up front there is a nice sweetness, apples, lemon and meringue. That stout lingers like a low bass note, in the background but you can feel it. Sweetness again on the palate, really refreshing. The fruits darken you a bit pears and berries. Bit of leather and chocolate. The chocolate lingers. Really connecting with that stout the longer I sit with it. Quite a refreshing pour. It’s mostly light and sweet but the stout finish gives it some dark dynamics on the taste and finish. The after taste is just like drinking Dragon’s Milk which I find funny because the color on this one is so light. Really enjoyed it.
New Riff Single Barrel Barrel Proof Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNeck pour. Riff in the force. This is a private pick done by a local enthusiast. He was kind enough to give me two bottles of his barrel. It’s a cool bottle with an etched lightsaber on the side. It’s been a while since I opened a new bottle of this so excited to officially review his pick. The nose is interesting. It hits a different range of flavors than the Party Source picks I am used to. Tobacco leaves, apricot, salty caramel, toffee, black pepper, and a hint of honey. Gosh this nose has a lot of depth. On the nose, it’s a step up from other single barrels I have had. It just has this ride of bright and dark flavors on each approach. Nice, thick and rich texture. Caramel, cinnamon apple on the tongue, very sweet. Oh man. This is a good pick. Starts out chocolate and butterscotch, transitions back to the apple and cinnamon. But then ends back at the chocolate. It’s a very nice milk chocolate too. Rich, creamy and sweet. Damn. Geez. I am a bit of a New Riff fan boy but I like this barrel quite a bit. It’s a really good pick, rich and crisp. You can smell the youngness but it’s this sweet tobacco leaf that actually has an interesting dynamic. This pick is a little over 4 years. Just makes me more excited for the day that New Riff releases 6 year or 8 year barrels. If Wilderness Trail can do it, why not New Riff?
Down Home Toasted Barrel Finish
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. Toasted barrel MGP! I love toasted barrel finished bourbon and never seen a toasted barrel MGP until today. I’m guessing this is 5 to 7 year MGP based on the price ($69). The color is nice and dark due to the extra barrel but not Woodford Double Oaked or 1920 dark. Looks like a 12 year MGP. On the nose, it is stereotypical 5 year MGP. I’d equate it to Mic Drop 3.0. There is a young MGP green note that dominates more than I like. Getting behind it, there is a nice butterscotch, chocolate and nutmeg. Blind, I don’t think I would call this a toasted barrel finish. The toasted marshmallow I get on other toasted products is there but very faint. I don’t think it spent too long in that second barrel, maybe three months. There is a really nice buttery and flaky pastry crust as I spend more time with it. The green note is becoming more Apple than just young whiskey as I sit with it longer too. I think the finishing took off the edges and spikiness of young MGP that I don’t enjoy, but I don’t think it added new dynamics based on the nose. Oh, great texture. So oily and creamy. I know this one isn’t chilled filtered because there are so many floating barrel chunks in my glass. Cinnamon apple sweetness up front. And that Apple really comes out punching as it starts out so bright. But it darkens slowly. Butterscotch comes back and transitions into some nice salted light chocolate. The legs are really good. Toasted marshmallow emerges and leaves a nice lingering MGP cherry note. Okay, this one won me over by the end. The youngness on the nose was an initial turn off and the toasted barrel finish is just a subtle addition to the experience, but the flavors are there on the taste and finish. Starting at Apple, transition to the desert flavors and ending on cherry is unique for a MGP too. I would love to try an older toasted MGP that spends more time in the second barrel. As it stands with this bottle, the toasted barrel made a young MGP much better but this isn’t the 1920 MGP I hoped it would be. Still a good value for MGP at the price.
Wild Turkey Master's Keep Bottled in Bond 17 Year
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. Super excited about this pour. I love the original 17 Master Keep and despite its low proof it is oily and packed with flavor. So what would a 17 year 100 proof taste like? It has to be ever better I’d imagine. Holy crap. Amazing. It’s aged is felt immediately with dark notes of oak and dark chocolate. But it surprisingly lightens up with vanilla and pears. A delightful hard candy caramel. That sweet oak is the main event though. It is oak, leather, tobacco all at once. Type of nose I could spend all night enjoying. Texture is creamy but less oily than expected. Cherry cola up front. Such a rich cherry too. Transitions into chocolate mouse but brightens up again into the inside of a cherry cordial. The legs are then dark and saturated in that oak. These legs. They last and evolve for minutes to come. Back and forth between the vanilla and the oak. It’s an amazing bourbon. It’s on the verge of being over oaked,but it doesn’t go all the way and the oak remains it’s most amazing note in the nose and legs. I intend to compare this to Russell’s 2002 but top of mind it is a far superior pour.
Michter's US*1 Single Barrel Straight Rye
Rye — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. This rye was my gateway rye. I loved it so much but I never bought another bottle for over a year. Recently did a tasting and bought a new bottle. This nose is so flavorful for 84 proof. Nice vanilla scone. Almond drizzle. Hit of black pepper. Dash of cherry and chocolate. Quite a dynamic nose when you consider it is a low proof rye. Mouth feel is watery and the initial flavors are muted. Mostly just vanilla sweetness. Transitions to a nice strawberry and ends with that vanilla scone. Quite simple but still very inviting. Ryes are so dynamic. Those red berries on the nose and taste are unique for a rye. It’s sweet, inviting, smooth, but still flavorful. I’d still call this my favorite gateway rye.
Little Book Chapter 02: Noe Simple Task
Other Whiskey — Multiple CountriesTastedNeat. Opened over a year. I haven’t had this in a long time, fun one to revisit. The nose is so bright and delicate. It’s lemon pine and floral. The rye notes are very delicate. Hint of vanilla and mint. Hint of walnut. I would equate this to a cask strength Canadian Whiskey more than anything. Mouth feel is creamy, oily, and coating. Quite pleasant. Very sweet up front. Oh geez, I like this more now than I remembered. It’s definitely a different side of the flavor wheel. The sweetness up front is just a delicate vanilla, almost sugar water. But it blossoms so beautifully. The vanilla transition into a lemon cello and then into a lemon cupcake. Caramel frosting then emerges. It darkens on the legs with a nice oak finish. Sitting with it for a bit, the rye on the nose is taking the center stage. The rye is coming out more on the taste too but blending well with the lemon aspects. Okay, my memory of this one and the current experience do not match. I remember liking it but also equating it to a lemon cleaning product. Maybe the air time served it well because the chemical aspects of the lemon notes have blossomed into lemon cello and lemon cupcakes. It’s really fun. I think this one gets a raw deal on other reviews I have read.