J Mattingly 1845 Single Barrel Ripcord
Bourbon — USATastedNeat. Neck pour. Comes across more like a rum on the nose in many ways. Almond, cinnamon glaze, butterscotch, cherry, chocolate. Lots of rich and deep flavors. Creamy mouth feel. Cinnamon and brown sugar dominate the tongue with butterscotch oozes towards the fringes. It’s almost like eating a box of chocolate in one sitting back to back. Cherry cordial. Butterscotch filled. Cream filled with the almond on top. Each pass is a different chocolate. Chocolate and vanilla linger on the finish for quite awhile. Every once in awhile I get a funky note. It’s not a turn off per se. More distracting and then I try to explore it more trying to place a description on it. I feel like I have gotten this note before in St.Cloud except I actually want to drink it. I enjoyed this one. It was fun to explore and kept me exploring for 30 minutes. I know the rumors and back story about this brand and tried to go into this with an open mind. I’m walking away happy I explored it but also doubting it’s a bourbon I will crave to come back to.
Jefferson's Ocean Aged at Sea Voyage 18 Cask Strength
Bourbon — USATastedNeat. Open bottle for months. I recall a bad first impression of this bottle. It is either hitting me better today in general or something opened up. On the nose, it is very bready and spice forward. Clove, cinnamon, baking spices. There is a hint of char and then behind that you can find the caramels and vanillas. Creamy mouth feel with a ton of sweetness on the tongue. Brown sugar and vanilla. Hint of brine. On the taste it is almost all caramels, raspberries, vanilla, pie crust. Legs bring back that brine. Dries out the mouth a bit more than expected for not being very tannic. Time did this one a lot of favors. It’s delightful. Over priced still, but delightful.
Parker's Heritage Barrel Finished in Orange Curaçao Barrels
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. Oh that is a funky adventure. The orange curaçao punches you in the face. I like it a lot. Though the orange is so loud you can find your way behind it. Peanuts. Caramel, chocolate. Then a hint of oak. The more time you spend with it the orange note begins to meld with a vanilla note too. Like a dreamciscle. Nice creamy mouth feel with overwhelming flavor the moment it hits the tip of the tongue. It’s dreamcicle and oak on the tongue. The taste and finish just match the nose. Peanuts, caramel, barrel spice, oak. It is very tannic. It really dries the mouth. This is a fun experience. That orange is crazy and overwhelming. It’s really delicious. It does dry the mouth to such an extreme that it is a bit off putting. It’s a novelty. A good novelty, but a novelty none the less.
Remus Repeal Reserve Series III Straight Bourbon
Bourbon — Indiana, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. Sharp on the nose. Butterscotch. Caramel. Berries and cream. Hint of almond. The mix of high rye and low rye MGP is messing with me. Smells familiar and then morphs a bit. Milky mouth fell. Heavy spice on the tongue. Cinnamon and barrel. On the taste the MGP butterscotch and vanilla emerge. Those ripe red fruits hit on the finish. Yeah lots of cherry and vanilla on the finish on subsequent drinks. Equally delicious and disappointing. Delicious because it’s MGP and those MGP dessert flavors are in full effect. Disappointing in comparison to other MGP bottles I have around similar years. That isn’t fair though because those other MGP single barrels are $40, $60 or $80 more than this. I think the price is the hurdle. At $50, I’d call this a must buy. At $70-$80, this is probably my first and last Remus Special Reserve.
Michter's US*1 Toasted Barrel Strength Rye
Rye — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. First thing I get is marshmallow. Toasted marshmallow. This is typical for me when it’s a double barreled bourbon. Behind the marshmallow is a lot of bright notes. Vanilla cream. Macadamia nuts. Pound cake. Cinnamon. It’s a decadent dessert. Oh creamy mouth feel and absolutely jaw dropping on the palate. Deep distinct flavors overwhelm the tongue. Maple syrup. Vanilla frosting on a cinnamon roll. That cinnamon roll continues on the finish. Like a Cinnabon from the mall. The vanilla frosting lingers and lingers and ends with that double oak in the after taste. It’s a cinnamon roll bomb to me right now. The vanilla frosting, the cinnamon maple syrup, the cake. Delicious. I was hyped for this purchase and it did not disappoint.
Russell's Reserve 2002 Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. Nose is somewhat brighter than I expected for 16 year WT product. Caramels, bright cherries and some WT nuttiness are the first notes to leap out at me. The fruits on this are surprising intense. Raspberries, cherries and strawberries. A nice vanilla wraps all the fruit together with a nice sweetness. Sitting with it for 20 minutes, the dark notes start coming through. A tremendous amount of baking spices and burnt caramels. Only a hint of oak which is very surprising. Very nice, creamy texture. All that vanilla, red fruits, and cinnamon dominate the tongue. The flavors are surprisingly muted for the initial swallow and then upper cut you with caramel and oak. And more oak. And more oak. And more oak. On subsequent sips, the vanilla sweetness becomes more prevalent but can’t overcome that oak. I can’t believe how the oak was mostly a background note on the nose at first and then just punches you relentlessly in the face in the finish. It’s a fun and interesting experience but I wouldn’t call it delicious. It’s special but not upper echelon. I’ll return to it in a few months and see if it opens up to take it to a truly elite level.
Knob Creek Single Barrel Select 15
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. Gallenstein #22 15.3 years old. I was not expecting a cherry bomb from a knob creek. Amazing blend of oak and cherry. Creamy vanilla. Baking spices. I want to describe the scent as a cherry cheesecake. Quite impressed. Texture is very syrupy. All dark and brown sugar on the tongue. Gives way to that intense cherry bomb and vanilla again. Legs are all oak. Slight hint of the nuttiness but it is really in the background. This might be the best Knob Creek store pick I have had yet. So impressive at only $55 too.
Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. Party Source 9 year pick. Nose is incredible right off the bat. Fruit forward. Strawberries and apples. Oak and caramel. Vanilla. Pie crust. Hint of nuttiness. It’s the fruits that are blowing me away tonight. Nice, oily texture. Strawberries, apple with brown sugar all over the tongue. Oh damn, that’s good. Caramel blast transitions to vanilla and leaves you with the pie crust on the legs. Legs last awhile and transition to a dry peanut. That nutty note is becoming more and more predominant as time goes on. What a great pour. Best Russell’s Reserve pick I have had yet. I might even put this in a blind flight of my favorite 2019 purchases.
WhistlePig PiggyBack Rye
Rye — (bottled in) Vermont, CanadaTastedNeat. Neck pour. Mild on the nose. Rye spice and dill leaning. Hint of apple. Hint of vanilla. Nice texture. Not creamy, not thin. Sweet Apple cider in the tongue. Gosh I like that more than I expected. The apple, cinnamon, vanilla and rye spices are quite balanced and distinctive. Legs are decent, mostly the dill leaning rye elements. I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I do. I heard this was disappointing neat but I dig those apples. I think this is delicious!
Pikesville Straight Rye
Rye — Kentucky, USATastedNeat, neck pour. I like this a lot on the nose. Mild rye, sweet corn, light caramel, apple. Light oak. So inviting for a rye. Viscous and syrupy in texture. Very sweet and light on the tongue. On the taste, rye quickly gives way to a vanilla angel food cake. Oak and caramel come back on the legs. I know this is a barely legal rye which explains the delicious qualities and lack of spice compared to other ryes. This is one of my favorite ryes at this price point for sure.