Glenfiddich 14 Year Bourbon Barrel Reserve
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedLight golden and medium body. The nose is like apple cider, a pungent floral honey and cereal notes in the back. Warm oak and tannins linger in the background. Palate on the front is pretty typical Glenfiddich - dry, sun-dried oak, slight ethanol burn. The back of the mouth picks up the vanilla and cream brûlée’ from the ex-bourbon barrels. All together still a single malt scotch with a faint amount of bourbon influence for me. Not enough to draw away a bourbon drinker I’m afraid. I’d like to believe the ex-bourbon is more of a four roses like influence with some sour and spice. That said, still not enough comes through to make me think “bourbon!” The finish is floral and relatively short and dry for me. As a Glinfiddich fan I say it’s a keeper but pour this for the single malt crowd. Anyone hoping for a rich, caramel, spicy dram will be left disappointed.Lexington
Johnnie Walker Double Black
Peated Blend — ScotlandTastedThis was a gift from a friend who knows I like (understatement) bourbon. He himself isn’t a whisk(e)y afficianido. I’m not sure he knew what he was buying for me the it’s the thought that counts. I long opened it and stashed it in the back of the shelf, waiting to revisit it. This tasting was done under the influence of the man flu... mostly for medicinal purposes. Yellow-golden in color with medium-light body. The nose is peat, peat, Oceanside bar-b-q and a bit of pungent sweetness (reminds me of dark agave) with floral and leather notes pulling things oddly together. Makes the sinuses feel better so far. There’s a tingle on the tongue with lots of smoke and charcoal up front - not spice so much, maybe ethanol? The back of the tongue picks up bitter orange, oak and the agave-like sweetness again. The finish is dry and short. Would I buy it myself? No. Will I sleep better tonight? Only time will tell but all signs point toward yes.
I.W. Harper 15 Year Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNose is predominant with oak - vanilla, raisins, Christmas fruitcake in the background. The palate is smooth with a powdered sugar sweetness, barrel char and dried fruits. The body is disappointingly light and I can only imagine a barrel proof version. There is still a finish of charred oak and sun dried tobacco. For the price I wish the proof was higher. I miss the thicker body of da Noah’s Mill (now NAS but previously 15y age statement). Loses a half star for value but still a fine bourbon. I suppose the smooth light finish broaden its appeal but if IW Harper is listening I’d gladly give $125 for a barrel strength rendition.80.0 USD per Bottle
Booker's Bourbon Batch 2017-03 "Front Porch Batch"
Bourbon — Kentucky , USATastedPer the usual Bookers, the color is a nice medium amber. Straight out of the bottle the nose is a little bit astringent. When allowed to rest for a minute notes of oak and toffee come out. There may also be a bit of bitter orange and some leather in there. The palate is rich and warm. It is incredibly smooth on the front end with lots of mid pallet space and some burn going down. Toffee, butter scotch and tobacco predominate with a delicious dose of spice to balance it out. Another sip and the toasted oak becomes very apparent rather than being overpowering in anyway seems to be balanced with the other flavors. The finish is long and sweet with caramel and apple pie flavors coming to mind. The heat sticks around as a mild linger and is enjoyable after the third sip. This is a whiskey that has begs you to drink more of it and see what other flavors come out of it. With the surge of craft distilleries, overpriced allocated bottles and other me-too Bourbon showing up in the market for $70-80 this is still a true standout (and thank God still on most every shelf). Rich, rich, rich. I love this whiskey.65.0 USD per BottleLexington
Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey
Wheat Whiskey — Kentucky, USATastedHere goes, hoping for a little bit more characters than the Woodford wheated whiskey. The body is pretty thin and the legs are pretty quick. Color is a medium amber. The nose honestly doesn’t offer me much. I might get a little lightly toasted oak and green apple. The first sip is pretty smooth, but also pretty bland. The flavor is almost bittersweet in a way. The second sip brings around a little bit more leather and caramel with maybe a little bit of raisin in the background? Still no burn, and no spice as one might expect with a wheated whiskey. In ways it reminds me of the Weller special reserve without the aroma and taste of ripe banana sweetness (instead more dry leather). Honestly, I would take the woodford wheated whiskey over this one any day. Although Woodford wheat lacks complexity, it has a more pleasant and consistently smooth finish. Maybe my taste buds were just built for rye, but so far outside of larceny and Weller 12 (as different as they are similar) I’m just having a hard time finding the sweetness and oak that I want out of a wheat-based whiskey.
Johnny Drum Private Stock Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedSecond go around. I feel like the body may be a little bit heavier and the legs just a little bit slower in the glass than I noticed before. Nose was again a bit dusty and astringent at first but opening up I do feel like I appreciate more cherries and leather. There may be a little bit of baked apple pie behind it as well. The palate definitely has some quick sweetness that is washed away with burn and a little toffee. Two drops of water does something to bring about maple pecan pancakes, but doesn’t do much to change the pallet. I really wanted to like this one. I have high hopes to find a wheated bourbon that isn’t such a pain in the ass to hunt down. Sadly I don’t think this is the one.
Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve 9 Year
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedThis particular bottle was purchased early 2019 from Liquor Barn in Lexington. The plaque states to be a 14yr barrel rather than the 9yr on the printed label. Bottle has been opened twice since then and put back due to the bear-spray like sensation it left me with. The color is dark amber but the nose is a little off putting for me but likely not for all - roast peanuts and toffee. There is also some warm vanilla and pepper - and ethanol astringency. The fumes make my eyes water if I get close enough to the glass... I’m thinking 120+ proof if that’s possible. Oh the burn!!! White pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg? Leather whip to the face. Vanilla in the background. I don’t think I should breathe near open flame. Looking back at the legs they practically don’t move. By this point some of the toffee and vanilla are coming back up my sinuses and the oak and leather sit on the back of my tongue. 2 drops of water - a move I rarely take. Vanilla toffee bomb! Now we’re talking. The burn is still there but more balanced with the oak and leather notes. I’ve never had Stagg Jr but I can’t help but wonder if these are similar... time to hunt.
The Macallan 12 Year Sherry Oak Cask
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedThe color is an amber orange and the legs are slow to appear and slow to walk down. The nose is just fantastic and can be appreciated from a foot away from the glass. There are apricots, raisins, toast and cereal malt all playing back-and-forth at the same time. The power is so incredibly smooth. There’s a balance of oak, Honey and dried fruits. A little bit of salty ocean spray comes across on the backend along with a subtle warmth but never a burn or a bite. There is definitely more whiskey than Sherry. I can’t help but feel a bit undeserving of this dram. The pallet is so incredibly smooth and full of Honey, Oak and dried fruits.
Suntory Whisky Toki
Blended — JapanTastedFor someone who is largely a bourbon drinker this just comes across is totally different. First of all the color is a pale straw. I was surprised how much the nose hits me a foot away from the glass as pale as it is! It may just be a mental association between the pale color and apple juice but that is absolutely the first thing to hit my nose. Bringing it a little closer I almost get an Apple cider vinegar. There is also quite a bit of sweet malt, something like I would expect from an Irish whiskey. Sniffing and I seem to pick up something like new oak. I don’t get much in the way of anything nutty, earthy or spicy. The pallet has a tingle of a burn but is largely overwhelmed by malty sweetness. Mouth feel is pretty thin and the finish the short and dry. Now back at the nose I wonder if I pick up a little bit of heather and honey, but I could just totally making this up. The second sip is smoother, with a little bit more of the honey sweetness coming across as well as maybe raisins or dried fruit. I don’t get much in the way of oak the first few sips but as I continue to drink on I feel like towards the end of the pallet maybe I pick up the Japanese oak? Do I enjoy it? Absolutely! Would I jump up and shout “this is Japanese!” Doubtful. Regardless I will enjoy finishing this bottle.35.0 USD per BottleLexington
Maker's Mark Wood Finishing Series 2019 RC6
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedLong awaited for a Kentucky boy... supposedly has been available at the distillery in Loretto for a month or so but this one showed up on a local shelf and promptly followed me home. Warm, amber color in a glencarin. The nose is rich and sweet with maple, butterscotch, orange peel, tobacco and toasted oak. There’s really not a hint of alcohol. Here goes... spice forward! Cinnamon and the sensation of licking pop rocks. It’s not a smooth wheater by any means. The second sip is of course smoother with more vanilla, butterscotch and oak coming through with hints of allspice before a short dry finish. Overall really pleasant. Sitting here moments afterword I peel like I’ve licked a cedar plank. There’s still a bit of tingle going on between the tongue and roof of my mouth and a maple sweetness from the throat and back if my nose. This is one I will have to put head to head with cask strength makers, which I recall having a much thicker mouth feel and more caramel sweetness. This may be a bit more balanced, and I really don’t want a higher proof out of it. There’s never an ethanol aroma but the chest certainly feels the proof. In summary - like eating maple pecan pancakes at a fall bonfire as the leaves crackle under foot of those running about. Happy Autumn bourbon fans.60.0 USD per BottleLexington