Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Heritage Barrel (2019 Release)
Tennessee — Tennessee, USATastedThe nose is at first, surprisingly ester- and ethanol-forward. After a moment it is dominated by extremely overripe, mushy bananas, Nilla Wafers, butterscotch pudding, and something a bit like pear skins. Almost too sweet on the nose. The palate is also extremely sweet, though overall quite pleasant. It is immediately evocative of classic banana pudding, coming out as more Nilla Wafers, whipped cream,banana cream pie, and melted vanilla ice cream. On a second sip, there’s an element that reminds me of slightly overcooked butter cookies and dulce de leche. The finish is quite short, with a burst of cinnamon and baked apple, and a lingering note of fresh apples, vanilla, and browned butter. Good but wayyyy too sweet. Definitely the best Jack Daniel’s that I’ve had (still haven’t tried the barrel proof), but a bit more sweet and friendly then I typically prefer. Overall the flavor and experience is uniquely distinct from being a classic bourbon (yes I know it’s a TN whiskey). Fortunately it shies away from the classic Jack Daniel’s banana peel notes, offering a rich, tasty, entry level offering for those that want to spend a little more on a premium product without going full bore on a barrel proof offering. Still just a little too sweet for my preferences.75.0 USD per Bottle
Kentucky Owl Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Batch #8)
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedThe nose falls somewhere on the spectrum between old dusty leather, a deep, dark caramel, buttercream frosting, and freshly baked blueberry pie. Well damn. I was really hoping this wasn’t going to be that good. The palate is similar, coming across like Riesen chocolate caramels, burnt sugars, and a heavy hit of vanilla, allspice, and toasted walnuts. There’s also a note that reminds me of a slightly overcooked blueberry pie, where the filling has bubbled through the crust and overcooked slightly. The palate, while delicious, doesn’t quite match up to the promise of the nose, which is really the star here. The finish is long and spicy. Surprisingly hot even for its 121 proof, but laden with baking spices, caramel, and barrel char. After a moment though it transitions into toasted marshmallow, campfire, and slightly burned pie crust. A long amazing finish. A delicious pour, though perhaps not worth the $300 asking price. Definitely worth trying in a bar though.39.0 USD per Pour
Booker's 30th Anniversary Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedDamn. Another one that I almost wish wasn’t so good, given it’s complete lack of availability. The nose is full of intense, rich caramel, rye spice, roasted peanuts, and barrel char. There’s also a slight underlying note of stewed apples, and pralines. The palate is incredibly complex, opening into creme brûlée, espresso, honey roasted peanuts, dark chocolate, and the slightest hint of peanut butter cups. While quite oaky, the oaky tones are perfectly balanced, presenting as toasted sugars and black coffee, with the slight bitterness perfectly complementing the sweet sugared notes present throughout. There is a slight, but quite pleasant astringency rolling into a rich, nutty, toasty, caramel filled finish and a warm Kentucky hug. Truly phenomenal.
St. George Baller Single Malt Whisky
American Single Malt — California, USATastedI was really excited about this one having heard many good things. The nose on the Baller is extremely unique. There are surprising notes of lychee, black tea, very light vanilla, and a background note of fireplace ash. The palate is where this whiskey really takes a hard left turn. The lychee notes on the nose come through again, but are quickly overwhelmed by a strange savory note landing somewhere between that savory Japanese rice tea, dried seaweed, and stale Bud Light. The ashy notes are rather dominant here as well. Rather than the rich smoky notes of a nice Islay scotch, the ashy palate comes across like an old ash tray, again with those strange stale beer notes. Like the smell of a slightly sketchy night club right around closing time. The finish is straight seaweed and cigar ash. I love a good savory, smoky whiskey but the Baller, while interesting, does not agree with my palate in any way shape or form. Definitely try this before you buy it.65.0 USD per Bottle
The Glenlivet 14 Year Cognac Cask Selection
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedThe nose on this one, although pleasant, is surprisingly flat. There are notes of candied lemon, honey, honeysuckle, golden raisins, and a surprising herbal character somewhere in the neighborhood of mint and tarragon. The palate is immediately sweet and floral as you’d expect from any Glenlivet. While initially it comes across very similarly to the Glenlivet 12, with heavily honeyed, floral notes, the cognac casks begin to make their presence known here with some interesting notes of cooked raisins, light baking spice, and a bit of buttery shortbread cookies. The finish however is where this whisky really shines. The immediate impression is of English toffee, roasted nuts, lemon drop candies, and a particular rancio note that I’ve come to associate with a well aged Armagnac. This dram doesn’t blow me away, but for around $40-$50 per bottle, it’s quite a respectable pour.15.0 USD per Pour
Doc Swinson's Bourbon Single Barrel
Bourbon — Washington , USATastedIn short, this is Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream in bourbon form. The nose is overwhelming saturated with notes of roasted peanut and peanut butter, with hints of salted caramel, circus peanuts, milk chocolate, and a light yeasty note. The palate keeps riding with the peanut tones, but reinforces the chocolate and caramel notes, while introducing something along the lines of a slightly burned, yogurt covered pretzel. The finish is short and dominated by an intense vanilla extract note along with lightly burnt sugars. Overall quite pleasant and a good buy for the money, but nothing life changing here. This bottling is sourced from TN (tastes like a good representation of Dickel, without the funk and minerality), aged 12 years, and bottled at cask strength, which for this bottle comes in at 51.3% ABV.59.99 USD per Bottle
Four Roses 130th Anniversary Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon (2018)
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedThis one has been a bit of unicorn for me. Finally tracked down a pour. The nose in this whiskey is at once recognizable as Four Roses, but with a good deal more depth and richness than usual. Loads of caramel, vanilla, toasted coconut, graham cracker, and toasted marshmallow meet with the typical notes of rye spice, mashed bananas, and a touch of acetone. The palate is something like buttered popcorn, more toasted coconut, toasted hazelnuts, milk chocolate, and a pleasant hit of barrel spice and rye. The finish is long and warm, bringing out all of the wood sugars, heavy vanilla, and a hit of musty oak. Not sure it’s worth the secondary price, but quite tasty.30.0 USD per Pour
Whistlepig The Boss Hog V: The Spirit of Mauve
Rye — (bottled in Vermont), USATastedThe nose is immediately a punch of baked apples, cloves, a bit of toffee, and just a hint of rye grassiness in the background. The palate starts out like it’s going to be sweet and friendly. This is immediately followed by a backhand to the face as the friendly notes of apple, caramel, and rye spice are superseded by a deep fiery burn, and unfortunately a strong ethanol note. Overall extremely tasty, extremely hot, and extremely overpriced. I’d pay $125-150 for a bottle, but certainly not $400-600.
Elijah Craig 23 Year Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedIn a nutshell, this is what the Rhetoric bourbons wish they tasted like. Tremendously oaky, yet somehow still balanced. The nose and the palate are pretty much identical with strong oak, toasted pecans, honey, vanilla, rich caramel, brown sugar, and straight up butter. The finish is a bit short, but leaves traces of wood sugars, vanilla, and, you guessed it, more delicious oak.
Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedWell damn. The nose is like pralines and cream ice cream, with toffee, caramel, freshly baked blondies, oak, oak, and more delicious oak. There’s also a note something like leaves in the Fall. Incredibly balanced and somehow not too oaky. The palate brings toasted candied pecans into focus, with a rich caramel, and a heavy toasted oak presence. The oaky tones almost remind me of the Rhetoric 24, but without the notes of the lumber department at Home Depot. There’s also a pleasant spice balancing out a modest sweetness. Much like the nose, the palate shows incredible balance and complexity. One flavor just flows into the next. The finish, which goes on for ages, is straight dark caramel, vanilla, and more oaky oakness. Oak. Damn this is good. $50 USD for a 1 oz pour