Widow Jane aged 10 years in new American Oak barrels 2020
Bourbon — USATastedTasted in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Neat - Very rich sap and resin, sophisticated oak, mild and slightly tangy blackberry and fudge. Adding a teaspoon of water and . . . This has really opened up the oak and fudge. I’m now getting freshly polished furniture and chocolate. Taste - Neat - Immediately noticing a characteristic I rarely find in bourbon but always love when I do, smokiness. There is a distinctive smoky, meaty quality to the arrival. Quite oaky, but not in a hot or sharp sawdust type of way. There’s a certain semi-sweet, rich, dense, waxy-fatty quality that isn’t quite opened up, adding a teaspoon of water and . . . This has opened up the confection here, as I’m now getting some chocolate fudge, but unfortunately it has also stifled the smokiness. Final thoughts : What an incredible tasty and interesting bourbon. I find myself enjoying this one a bit more neat than with water added. That being said, I recommend trying it both ways to see which you prefer. For those intrigued by idea of smoke in bourbon, I was immediately reminded of Old Tub by Jim Beam. It is certainly much less complex and tends to favor green apple over the more dense wood and fudge flavors found here, but for those that want to find a bourbon with some smoke on a budget, Old Tub is worth checking out. All in all, I’m loving this and totally find it to have earned the hype that surrounds it!
High West A Midwinter Night's Dram Act 8 Scene 5
Rye — Utah, USATastedAssessed in a Glencairn Spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Neat - Definitely noticing the port barrel influences right away, slightly tangy / acidic grape musk, marzipan, shoe polish, rye bread characteristic, orange marmalade and sugary pie crust. Adding a teaspoon of water and . . . A strong oak aroma develops, stewed dark fruits, gentle sawdust and bright vanilla bean pod. Taste - Neat - Quite nippy undiluted, mild tannins, bittered honey, a sort of herbal bitterness coming through and unsweet Luxardo maraschino cherries. Adding a teaspoon of water . . . Speyside scotch resemblances, bittersweet chocolate, black tea and I find myself wanting to reiterate on the prominence of the Luxardo maraschino cherry on the exhale especially. Final thoughts : Definitely the most interesting Rye you’ll ever drink. I think they could’ve aged a bourbon in the same fashion and you’d have gotten a far less complex final product. The inherent savory / spicy characteristics of a rye really temper the sweetness picked up from the time spent in French port casks, and that combination is what makes for the more interesting notes such as shoe polish, black tea and Luxardo maraschino cherries. It’s very reminiscent to me of a good Speyside scotch. Definitely recommend giving this one a try if you’re a seasoned whiskey drinker looking for something unique!
Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTasted in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Neat - Sherry to start, refined sap, mild roasted pecan, sour cherry, tart apple, bubble gum, mild tobacco and notable old leather as it opens up. Adding a teaspoon of water and . . . The tart apple is brought forward with the other notes remaining intact. Brown sugar syrup and mild cinnamon stick. Taste - Neat - Immediately reminded of a high end VSOP / XO Cognac / Brandy, mild sophisticated leather, toasted Demerara sugar and very mild cinnamon stick. Remarkably smooth at 45% drank neat, but let’s add a teaspoon of water and see what happens . . . This rightly increases the cognac / brandy impression. With the softening of the burn, it drinks much gentler as you’d expect from a good cognac or brandy. Final Thoughts - Absolutely incredible. This one earns a place in my top 3 bourbons without a doubt. I’ve encountered bourbons that mimicked notes found in aged dark rums before, but never cognac or brandy. As a fan of those, I find this to be very interesting and engaging, tasting flavors from both the bourbon and brandy spectrums. I do prefer the flavor just a touch better drank neat. Definitely worth buying if you can find it!
Booker's Bourbon Batch 2020-03 "Pigskin Batch"
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTasted in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Neat - Cherry, lightly ashy, some typical Speyside scotch notes, very woody and resinous. Adding a teaspoon of water. . . Cocoa nibs, Wood sap, a certain metallic quality, rock quarry Taste - Neat - Quite hot as to be expected being at true barrel strength. Extremely rich vanilla Custard and Sophisticated wood. Adding a teaspoon of water . . . Buttery, Cherry. Final thoughts - While this is a quite tasty Bourbon, I find it to be a bit lacking in its complexity for being full cask strength. The notes it has, it delivers on very powerfully, but those flavors are also typical and expected.
Weller Antique 107
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTasted in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Neat - Immediately getting an aged rum impression, browned butter, a certain fatty, waxy impression and a small amount of brown sugar. Adding a teaspoon of water . . . This has simplified the smell a bit. Mainly just getting brown sugar now. Taste - Neat - Very buttery, light almond/marzipan/cherry note, figs, heavy date and raisin and aged rum. Adding a teaspoon of water . . . This has thinned the flavor out a bit. Not recommended. Final thoughts - I understand why this is referred to as the “Poor man’s Pappy” and revered so highly. It’s got a lot of the same notes I found in Old Rip Van Winkle 10, particularly in the rum characteristics. I’ve quickly found that none of the Weller expressions benefit from water and are best drank neat. All in all, a fantastic offering and highly recommended.
Weller 12 Year
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTasted in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Neat - Immediately hit with ripe banana, banana bread, pink bubble gum, bittered honey and mint leaf - Adding a teaspoon of water . . . This has brought the aroma down, im only able to detect vanilla and a very distant rye bread note. Taste - Neat - vanilla, strong cordial cherry. Not too terrible complex but quite tasty as it is. Adding a teaspoon of water . . . A mistake. This whiskey becomes quite flat, thin and one dimensional once water is added. I’m only able to detect sweet vanilla with the addition of water. Final thoughts : A quite tasty and decently interesting bourbon when drank neat. This one does not need any water. I was expecting something a bit more deep / developed for being aged 12 years, but, I digress, it is quite good. I WILL say that the hype, price tag and scarcity surrounding it DEFINITELY doesn’t equate to what you’re getting in the bottle, however. 3.75 / 5.00 from me. Worth trying if you aren’t getting scalped on the price!
Old Smuggler Blended Scotch Whisky
Blended — ScotlandTastedAbsolutely horrid. While I realize some choose to pick on budget spirits inherently, I have no problem giving kudos and commendations to cheap spirits that deserve. This is not the case. Extremely chemically, superglue and hot, burning sawdust. This actually ruins a cocktail as well. Absolutely steer clear. Spend a few dollars more, get yourself a bottle of Pig’s Nose, Dewar’s or Dimple Pinch and have an infinitely better experience.
Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTasted on Christmas Day, 2020 in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Nosing neat - Immediately the first impression I get is an insanely rich, Demerara rum. I’m picking up on absolutely gargantuan amounts of brown sugar, dark rum cake, dates, stewed dark fruits, very sophisticated oak (think like the smell of a woodworkers shop, rather than raw wood), mild cinnamon stick, peach tea and butter. Adding two teaspoons of water . . . This has only amplified the nose, as the ethanol vapors are no longer hindering any smell. Huge tawny port wine smells, cognac and rum. Continues to develop, picked up peach cobbler after 15 minutes or so in the glass. Taste - Neat - Maduro cigar tobacco, old leather, heavy yet refined oak, lots of date. Has a finish that goes on forever. Quite hot at 53.5%. Adding two teaspoons of water . . . Marzipan, German stollen (Holiday rum fruit cake), browned butter and a very distant and raw Granny Smith apple. Final thoughts - I consider myself beyond lucky to have won a drawing to purchase this bottle for under $100.00. I expected to be underwhelmed, because how can something live up to a reputation like a Van Winkle bourbon? Alas, this absolutely does. This goes toe-to-toe with a fine Speyside scotch all day. I kept being reminded of the likes of Macallan 18 when I drank this bourbon and continually found myself dumbfounded that a bourbon could taste and smell this way. It goes without saying that I absolutely recommend this whiskey. Easy 5 stars from me.
High West American Prairie Bourbon
Bourbon — Indiana and Kentucky (bottled in Utah), USATastedAroma - Nosing neat, the aroma is very complex and remarkable. I’m picking up on tart blueberry cobbler, green apple, mild sherry notes. As it breathes in the glass, a bit of an earthy cola vibe enters, not unlike root beer. A touch of vanilla is present as well in the form of cream soda. After adding a teaspoon of water, the sherry wine, green apple and tart blueberry notes are brought forward strongly. Very interesting nose on this one. Taste - tasting neat - Rich, brown sugar, mild honey, rum cake. A bit hot. Adding a teaspoon of water . . . Bittered honey, butter and vanilla. Final Thoughts : Quite an interesting bourbon, especially for the price (30.00 at my store). The nose might be the best part of this bourbon. I found that the addition of water made the aroma more interesting, but the flavor less so. Try this one neat and with water side by side and see what your preference is.
Angel's Envy Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Barrels
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTasting in a Glencairn glass with about a teaspoon of water. Aroma : Definitely getting the port cask influence here. Plenty of date, fig, raisin and brown sugar. Very mild black tea leaf, vanilla, rum cake, cordial cherries and medium sweet chocolate. Taste : Darker chocolate, cacao nibs, stronger tea leaf flavors here than in the smell, bordering closer to an English breakfast tea. As I exhale, I catch some sugary date. Final thoughts : What a characterful bourbon. It truly does live up to its reputation in its complexity. I find this as engaging as a nice young Speyside scotch. Real delivery of the port cask influences as advertised. All around very pleased with this one!