Larceny Barrel Proof Batch A121
Bourbon — USATastedNeat. Neck pour. I am not a big fan of Larceny. The only barrel proof I have had is A120, and that was okay. Sometimes it’s just too much emphasis on the cinnamon and spice for me, just off putting. But I saw this at MSRP, and it’s just hard to resist. Much like ECBP last year, each new batch is a chance for something magical. The nose is right in Larcency’s range. Candied walnuts, covered in sugar and cinnamon. Nice, soft wheat, once again though like wheat toast covered in sugar and cinnamon. Doused in powdered sugar as well. There is a nice fruit on this nose too. Medley of berries. Sounds like a pretty killer cheat meal honestly... On the nose, much better than A120. So trending in the right direction. Very creamy and soft up front. Again, sugar and cinnamon light up the tongue. A very nice, soft vanilla escalates into a nice butterscotch but then really takes a turn into the cinnamon and spice. So spicy, like peppery, mixed with an hit of cinnamon. It’s a spice bomb. Tell you what though... every subsequent sips gets better. The spice is less aggressive and the sweetness is coming out. The finish is morphing into this maple syrup. Oh I got it. If you have had chicken and waffles, they cover it in hot sauce and maple syrup. The finish hits me there. That’s an interesting tasting note. Never pulled that out before. So, I am going to be interested to see what people have to say about this batch. I think the spice will be a turn off if you don’t take the time to get acclimated to the spiciness and find the sweetness. I like it quite a bit though. Not in the ECBP range of awesome at all but at MSRP this is a great bottle to enjoy during the cold months.
Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. The nose is exactly what I expected. Roasted peanut brittle. Roasted extra crispy. Some nice vanillas and butterscotch. Graham cracker crust. Slight hint of peach. I like this nose quite a bit. It’s just warm and inviting. Creamy mouth feel despite the low proof. The toasted marshmallow note hits the tongue immediately with its sweetness. Flows nicely into a delicious peanut brittle. Leaves a little vanilla on the finish but more or less drops off immediately. This is delicious. It’s not complex or anything. It’s just peanut brittle with a few roasted marshmallows on top. I’m a fan of this and not sure why it’s decisive. Maybe it’s the finish? At MRSP this is a buy. I would not go over that though.
Maker's Mark Wood Finishing Series 2020
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Opened about 3 months. So I really didn’t care for this on the neck pour. Time to revisit. Additionally, around this time I began realizing a certain food may be messing with my palate if I eat it before I drink whiskey. So clean slate here, giving it the benefit of the doubt. The nose is very oak forward. Little pine in there too. Like being in the woods on a dry summer day. Oak melds a bit with the sweetness creating a dark chocolate. Fresh wheat bread, lots of baking spices. Cinnamon, little clove. There is this odd powdered sugar density. Like it tickles the nose. The longer I sit with it, this deep vanilla is emerging and taking center stage from the oak. Honestly, this is just coming off flat. I recently opened a Maker’s Community Blend that blew me away on the nose. This has no stand out characteristic on the nose. Decent mouth feel. Not creamy not thin. Slightly oily enough to coat. Cinnamon sugar on the tongue, very sweet. Vanilla coming through as well. Mid-palate the vanilla sweetness gives way to a dry, bitter oak. It’s astringent. If I try hard to get passed the bitter oak, I can find a nice chocolate note but it’s not worth the journey to get there. Rich vanilla building in my throat, really lingers. The aftertaste building is actually kinda good. But once again not worth the journey to get there. Okay, I gave it a shot but safe to say this will go down as my least favorite Maker’s release. Ranks below RC6, 46 Cask, or any Private Select I have had. Just can’t understand what they were going for with this release...
Redwood Empire Haystack Needle Double Barrel: Chardonnay Finish
Bourbon — Indiana, California, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. Super excited to try this. My cousin grabbed this for me across the country, never seen a Redwood pick in my area. It’s 12 year MGP, 21% rye then finished in Chardonnay barrels in three to four months. This one is from Westmoreland Liquor. The nose, right off the bat, is incredible. The Chardonnay goes so well with the 12 year MGP. Fresh berries on the nose. Blueberries. Covered in a maple, cinnamon glaze with a graham cracker buttery crust. Toffee and butterscotch sweetness offset by a nice oak presence. Hint of leather and dark cherry. Just too notch. Mouthfeel is perfect. Silky. Cinnamon and cherry dominate the tongue immediately. Vanilla too. This has an immediate flavor punch. Transitions into familiar MGP mid-palate. Butterscotch, graham cracker. Oh it shines on the finish. This is where the finishing elevates this pour. The finish really brings a distinct burst of Chardonnay that is perfectly in balance with the oak and MGP flavors. The Chardonnay is dry and really brightens the direction but then the oak and the MGP sweetness all hit you at once creating a flavor fusion. What a treat! This goes toe to toe with my favorite finished MGP bourbons from Joseph Magnus or Bardstown. It’s incredible.
Maker’s Mark Private Selection The CommUNITY Batch
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. Quite excited to try this! Purchased it in one of my groups 6 weeks ago or more and finally got it in hand. This is essentially a Private Select infinity bottle the way I understand it. A blend of picks from many different restaurants that contributed. The nose is kind of magical... I like it A LOT. Like best Maker’s ever first impression on the nose. Lots of different angles I could take here. Fresh hot buttery rolls. Vanilla and mint. Cinnamon and clove. Chocolate covered pretzels. Hint of floral. Caramel apples. This is straight flavor Tourette’s. I feel like I could just keep spewing combinations of stuff. Amazing nose. Mouth feel is creamy. Initial taste on the tongue is oak mixed with royal vanilla frosting. Lots of cinnamon too. Transitions into an upper cut of chocolate and coffee. Then into cinnamon apples, a granny apple specifically. Finish is chocolate covered salted pretzels. Apple is lingering. Lots of clove on subsequent sips. So many flavors. I’m not actually sure they go together though. The experience is all over the place and there is a lot of sourness and bitterness spikes and build up. It’s a fun ride that I could pick apart for a long long time. Flavor for days. It’s just no cohesive. It’s like three to four different songs all playing as loud as they can go. I like all the songs but they aren’t jiving quite yet. This could open up on. I can’t wait to re-explore this. Top impressive, this is the most rememberable Makers I have had next to RC6.
Castle & Key Restoration Rye (Batch #2)
Rye — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. Batch 2. This bottle design is impressive! For $35, it’s this nice glass with a heavy top, a front plate telling the year of distillation, and a cool neck tag. Honestly, I can’t believe the packaging didn’t Jack the price up $5 buck. Been buying Castle and Key vodka to help support them, but at $35 my expectations for this rye are not high. I am pleased to see the 99 proof. Now that is rye. That is straight rye bread. The most straightforward rye in a rye whiskey. Slight vanilla and very subtle clove and citrus undertones. Not much here. Fresh rye bread. Mouth feel is nice. Not immediately inviting or creamy but not thin either. Spicy on the tongue. Lots of pepper, hint of mint. Transitions into a rye bread punch. Finish brings back the vanilla and hint of orange. The finish once the rye subsides is its best quality. Heavy rye after taste. Strangest rye. It’s essentially just rye bread. No dill. No black licorice. No bourbon qualities or enough sweet to balance. Rye bread. Its disappointing but I won’t write them off on this. Just not a hit out the gate like a New Riff or Peerless or Wilderness Trail.
Jim Beam Distiller's Masterpiece
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Opened two days. This bottle sat on the shelf of my local liquor store for two plus years. After another whiskey drinker told me this was one of his favorite pours of all time, I had my wife get me this bottle for Christmas. The Sherry finish on this thing is nuts. If you told me they straight pour Sherry into the barrels I would believe you. These barrels had to be wet. The Sherry on the nose is just awesome. Straight raspberry and strawberry preserves. Mix that in with the typical Jim Beam nuttiness and all the baking spices and cinnamon and oak and it’s like a peanut butter - jelly sandwich on toast. The oak is the next best element on this nose. The oak is very strong and prevalent but it is also like a young, fresh wood. It almost brightens the whiskey up compared to the Sherry, which is an odd thing to say about oak. The whiskey flavors themselves are more stereotypical Jim Beam. Nutty, cinnamon, etc. The bourbon itself is kind of the weakest element here or at least muted by the competition. The texture is very creamy and the Sherry lights up the tongue on impact. Mid palate is all these delicious berries. It’s a medley of fruits. Cherries, raspberries, strawberries and maybe blueberries. Just delicious. It’s all covered in cinnamon and powdered sugar too. Back of the experience transitions more to the Jim Beam. Nuttiness and caramel. Then the finish is all the fresh oak and vanilla. Again, the oak part of the experience actually lightens the direction of the flavors. Maybe the best Sherry finished bourbon I have ever had. I honestly can’t think of a good competitor for this. As good as the finish is, I do wonder if the actual bourbon behind it compliments the finish or is it being extremely elevated by the finish. The 10 years and oak is really nice but all the flavors outside of the age just take such a backseat. Very impressed though and very happy to have it in the collection.
Weller Full Proof Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Sample. B&B Package pick. I was disappointed in the Full Proof I bought. Not sure if I got a weak barrel or if it’s just good but not great bourbon overall. This sample may help change my mind. Right off the bat, this nose is more impressive. Lots of good, sweet oak. Cinnamon bread. Powdered sugar. Nutmeg. Glazed apples. It’s very crisp and inviting. Nice creamy mouth feel and very pleasant in the tongue. The proof feels tame. It’s almost a chocolate milk. Transitions to an amazing combo of cinnamon bread and cherry preserves. Rich caramel and sweet oak on the finish. Very sweet finish. Okay, now this is really good. This raises the bar a bit for Full Proof for me and confirms my bottle is just not a great barrel.
Elijah Craig 18 Year
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNeat. Neck pour. A friend found me a bottle of EC18! I have had it once at a bar (and I found that pour kinda gross...) but I have not owned my own bottle till now. I’m hoping my experience with higher aged bourbon or the luck of a good single barrel makes this worth the price. Okay my first notes may sound gross but I like it. Old wood, like antique furniture but freshly polished. Salted soft pretzel. It almost has a toasted barrel quality to it. Like a toasted coconut. Vanilla extract. And some leather too. This is dark. Hints of sweetness but mostly just dark and bitter. I like the smell though, like getting addicted to peat. I don’t know why I like it, but I like it and want another huff. Thin but all oily enough to really coat. Dark, bitter cherry up front. Mmm, the sweetness shows up. Mid-palate reminds me of a dense coffee cake that is also dipped into the coffee. The cake, sugar, cinnamon are there but it’s dunked into black coffee which brings the bitterness of the coffee. The finish is all oak and varnish. A toasted barrel sensation lingers and lingers. Very bitter on the finish too and that really grows without the help of water between sips. Huh. Okay I like this. It has many characteristics that are usually turn offs for me (more bitter and very little sweetness to even it out) but I like the Journey this lays out. The oak on this isn’t over oaked, it’s just strong oak. Glad I opened it tonight!
Sagamore Spirit Rye Barrel Select (Cork & Keg)
Rye — USATastedNeat. Neck Pour. Bourbon Junkies Swordfish Oil. The Bourbon Junkies first barrel pick. This is also my first Sagamore experience. This would be tough to identify as a rye blind. Vanilla royal frosting on a lemon cake. Clove and cinnamon for days. The frosting is what dominates and it’s very sweet forward. Decent mouth feel. Not creamy but the edges are really oily keeping it from being thin. Spicy and breast on the tongue. Shows up strong mid-palate and especially the finish. Lemon cake still stands but more of a sweet cream icing. Orange zest. And more cinnamon and sweet cream icing on the finish and it lingers strong. Rye spice builds up on the back end with subsequent sips. This one was so close to letting me down. Nose is kind of bland. Not a lot of flavor up front. But mid-palate to the finish, it really ramps up. The finish especially. Great finish on a rye.