Ratings System: 0-2: Hard Pass On Pour and Bottle 2-3: Maybe on Pour and Pass on Bottle 3-4: Grab a Pour and Maybe on Bottle 4-5: Buy a bottle All ratings factor in cost

  1. Jefferson's Rye Cognac Cask Finish

    Rye — USA

    Tasted April 16, 2021
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    It's been a while since I have purchased a Jefferson's product. They are known for their experiments and in general poor value with great marketing. For this release, we have the first Rye in 13yrs and their first ever finished Rye! So what we have here is a Straight Kentucky Rye with a "High Rye Mashbill" that is finished in Cognac Barrels for between 8-19 months. As we have come to expect from Jefferson's we get no specific information on source or age. We can speculate that the source is most likely Old Forester as they have been known to source their Rye barrels and they are one of the few "High Rye" Kentucky Rye's. The other is EHT Rye but it's unlikely they are sourcing their barrels. It's bottled at 47% abv and is chill filtered (so is Old Forester Rye). Let's dive into the tasting... Entry is a tad bit thin but flavorful... Intitial notes are apricot, honey and vanilla... Some churros as well... Mid palate features some oak and pepper leading to a big spice filled finish... Definitely a spicy base Rye that is well complemented with this finishing. As it takes off you get some grapey notes that linger. It's a well executed Rye that just a bit thin. I can see why they went with a higher than normal abv (they typically bottle at 45%) but honestly they probably needed to bump to 50%. The only comparable on the market is the Sagamore Cognac Finished Rye which uses a 4 yr old MGP Rye as it's base, finishes it for 8 months and bottled at 50.5% abv. Both are priced around $65 and for me the Sagamore is the superior dram (richer with a thicker mouthfeel). All in all a nice addition to the market but for the money there are plenty of better options out there (Pikesville for $20 less would be my suggestion for a Kentucky Rye).
    65.0 USD per Bottle
  2. Kentucky Owl 10 Year Kentucky Straight Rye (Batch #3)

    Rye — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted April 9, 2021
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    Like most folks I had a strong negative perception of Kentucky Owl before I ever tried any of their products. They are a resurrected brand that's trading off their history, sourcing barrels and slapping very high prices on their products. To make matters worse, in 2017 Stoli purchased the brand and masterminded the very poorly recieved Confiscated Bourbon release. It carries a $125 SRP and was so slow moving that I was able to purchase a bottle for $39.99 at yes, you guessed it Costco! Now in order for a brand like this to gain cult status, it had to have had some great releases. The original Bourbon batches are stuff of legends that led to this status. Then in 2017 they dropped their first Rye release that is now regarded as one of the very best Kentucky Rye's ever released. It came with a relatively reasonable $110 pricetag for an 11 yr 113 proof KY Rye. However, then Stoli did what they do best and doubled the price for the next release, with a lower age statement and lower proof (102). Surprise, it was poorly recieved. I have walked passed this Rye for over a year now and never pulled the trigger. After all supporting a brand that unapologetically fleeces their customers is not something I do knowingly. However, it was getting hard to ignore how positive reviews were from publications I respect and this wonderful Community. So I decided what the heck and pulled the trigger. After all I love a mature, high proof Rye! So what's in the bottle? All we know is that it's sourced from established Kentucky distilleries. They claim it's a blend from multiple sources (though most on line are convinced it's from Old Forester). It's bottled at 114 proof (not cask strength) and non Chill Filtered. It's age stated at 10 yrs, however the master blender claims it contains "much older juice". Enough of the preamble, let's dive in... Entry is rich and very viscous... Rich toffee, honey dipped ginger candy, clove and pepper lead... Cookie dough, cinnamon and an array of spices add on the mid palate... The finish brings fresh cut grass, maple syrup and more spice. OUTSTANDING. What I love about this Rye is it has all the best elements and notes I seek in a Rye. Sweet, Spice and herbal notes with a long and lingering finish. The hype is real. This is an outstanding Rye. $180 is a lot of money, but honestly this one justifies the price. I'll knock off 1/2 a point for value but otherwise there are no real flaws.
    179.0 USD per Bottle
    Total Wine & More
  3. Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye Whisky

    Canadian — Alberta, Canada

    Tasted April 8, 2021
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    I have been looking forward to this Rye for quite a while. I am a big fan of Canadian Rye's bottled at Cask Strength. In fact my 2 favorite Rye's of all time are the Lock Stock 18yr and the Hochstader 16yr (both also sourced from Alberta Distillery). So seeing this release for a reasonable $60 price point seemed like it would be an instant classic. For background this is a 100% Rye Mashbill, bottled at a healthy 66% ABV and is an NAS (however per the Distillery it's at least 5 yrs old). Let's dive into the tasting... Entry is rather restrained with a nice mouthfeel... Initial notes are bunt cake, orange peel, clove and maple syrup... Mid palate adds nutmeg, churros and wood spice.... Finish is pretty lengthy and spice filled with somee heat. It's a lovely dram. A splash of water adds vanilla frosting and candied spice notes. All in all for the $60-$70 price point this is a solid Rye. However, it's definitely a step down from the better Whistle Pig 10 picks and other premium Canadian Rye's. Heck I'd even say the recent Crown 16 yr is a better Rye at around the same price point. Overall, lovely Rye at SRP but please don't over pay or hunt this one!
    60.0 USD per Bottle
    Hi-Time Wine Cellars
  4. William Heavenhill (7th Edition)

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted April 7, 2021
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    Heaven Hill are known for producing some of the very best Kentucky Bourbon and Rye's on the market. More than anything, they are known for providing incredible value for money (Elijah Craig, Evan Williams, Rittenhouse and Pikeville to name a few). They also have the premium priced Parker's Heritage line that annually offers special one of a kind Bourbon and Rye releases for $100+. Whilst these releases carry a premium they often love up to that price tag. Here we have the super premium line from Heaven Hill: "The William Heavenhill line is one of Heaven Hill’s distillery exclusive series that can only be bought in their gift shop. Each iteration is meant to exemplify the abilities of Heaven Hill’s master distillers. For the 7th Edition, Heaven Hill decided to showcase a 12 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon bottled at Cask Strength without filtration" We also know that the batch size was a relatively small 35 barrel batch. It's bottled at 67.2% abv. All barrels were pulled from the 10th floor of Rickhouse 1K, a brick warehouse located at the historic Bernheim distillery. It is a Distillery Shop exclusive and is priced at $250 ($800 secondary). Let's dive into the tasting... The first thing that you notice about this Bourbon is how damn viscous it is... It's oily +1... The initial notes are burnt brown sugar, fresh English toffee, Cinnabons and clove...Mid palate adds rich vanilla bean, pipe tobacco, cinnamon and oak... Finish is endless and spice filled... Any spice you can imagine with a massive Kentucky jug... It lingers... A full 15 minutes later I can still feel the hug and spices... It's wonderful. Adding a splash of cold water really amplifies the toffee and adds Reece's and candied walnuts... Love it neat and with water. Let me be clear, this is a significant step up from even the best ECBP batches in both complexity and mouthfeel. They did a hell of a job selecting "honey barrels" for this release. Now from a value perspective, is it $180 better? That's a tough question. For a Bourbon drinker that hunts ECBP, they will argue this isn't worth it. For the Bourbon drinker that owns multiple bottles at this price point, I am sure they will argue this is a fair value. For me it's definitely super premium but a tad overpriced. However, when you are in the super premium tier, price takes a back seat to experience. Cheers.
    250.0 USD per Bottle
    Heaven Hill Bernheim Distillery
  5. Heaven's Door 10 Year Tennessee Straight Bourbon

    Bourbon — USA

    Tasted April 2, 2021
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    This is one interesting Bourbon. To understand it, we must go into a lengthy back story. Heaven's Door is a Chicago based investment company that decided to enlist Bob Dylan to create a Whiskey brand. Heaven's door is a reference to the Dylan classic Knocking on Heavens Door (which GNR remade into a true classic) and features some of his artwork in the label creation. What about the juice? Well they made the decision to base themselves in TN and source distillate from TN as well. The core brands are decent if inoffensive but this release was their first attempt to crack the premium market. They added a 10 yr age statement, bumped the proof and added some nice packaging. They theb slapped a big $130 price tag on it. Now bare in mind the original release (which is what I am reviewing) was released in 2018. Now armed with this information and the fact that it's "maple charcoal mellowed" we know 100% it's sourced from Cascade Hollow (George Dickel). It's bottled at 100 proof. This gives us a number of releases that we can use to compare against this release and all of them are cheaper. We have the Old Scout 13 yr ($65), Barrell Bourbon Single Barrels 13/14 yr ($100) and of course the Dickel BiB releases ($40). So on the surface without tasting this Bourbon it certainly feels like a cash grab. Based on the source, proof, price point and the use of a celebrity as an attempt to justify the price point. Let's dive into the tasting... Upon entry you are hit with rich toffee, dark chocolate and kiwi... It's rich and has a medium/high viscosity... Mid palate adds oak, tobacco and papaya... The finish is long with wood spices, cocoa, sea salt and vanilla bean. It's really tasty. This is probably one of the best Dickel sourced releases I have had. I have heard of folks pulling tropical fruits from Dickel but this is the first time I have really tasted it. It's legit and reinforces that you should never judge a book by its cover. That said, it's still a poor value, but damn. If you are a Dickel fan, you need to find a bottle or a pour. For everyone else, unless you find on clearance ($70 or less) I'd probably pass.
    100.0 USD per Bottle
  6. Barrell Bourbon Private Release "Bourbon Charity Custom Blend"

    Bourbon — Kentucky/Tennessee/Indiana, USA

    Tasted March 30, 2021
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    For my 500th review I was saving a Bourbon that had a special place for me! For the past few years I have been fortunate enough to work with Distilleries to arrange and pick single barrels for Bourbon Charity that benefit a number of worthy causes. This specific Bourbon program was launched in 2021 and allowed us to pick our very own custom Bourbon Blend never to be replicated. We were one of the very first in the nation to participate in this program. Out of 5 blends presented to us we ended up picking the A40i blend. Below is a breakdown of the components: "A40i is a marriage of Bourbons from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. It is constructed from the following volumetric recipe based on a component age statement: 30% 5 year 30% 9 year 5% 13 year 35% 15 year." ABV is 54.59% (Cask Strength and Non Chill Filtered) Price: $99 with $15/bottle benefiting Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Yield: 154 bottles for $2,310 raised. Let's dive into the tasting... Entry is rich with burnt brown sugar, vanilla, tobacco and clove leading... Mid palate adds some leather and oak with a good dose of dark chocolate.... Finish is long with a good amount of baking spices with some vanilla bean as well. Wonderful. This is a more MGP profile forward Barrell Bourbon ans absent are the typically dominant Dickel notes. Unfortunately we sold out of this release almost instantly but if you are in the Phoenix area you can always find a pour at Phoenix City Grille.
    99.0 USD per Bottle
    Phoenix City Grille
  7. Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted March 24, 2021
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    Going back to an old favorite can be a tricky proposition. You hold on to those initial fond memories and revisiting can often shatter them. I have not tasted this Bourbon for over 3 years! I remember being very impressed with this Bourbon when it was originally released! At that time it was the first Old Forester expression that I was really taken with. Bold, rich, sweet and spicy with big proof. Everything you want in a Bourbon. Over the years I have been on a mission to taste as many Bourbon's (and Whiskey in general) out there and thus never re purchased this bottle untill a few weeks ago. In this time I have become a big Old Forester fan! Everything from the King of Kentucky down to the OF 100. The OF Rye was a fantastic rye entry into the market. Now in 2020 the released barrel proof single barrels to much fanfare. I have now tried 6 different barrels and whilst some are good for the most part they are lacking balance. Either too sweet, too spicy or too boozy. This is where the 1920 really shines. It's a perfect balance of the sweet and spicy notes you get from Old Forester with big proof. It's wonderful. Expect burnt brown sugar, cinnabons, vanilla, dark chocolate, barrel char and wood spice. Look, any Bourbon fan or explorer that doesn't own this bottle, buy it. It's a premium Bourbon that's readily available and a great representation of classic Bourbon. The fact that after 3 years I can buy the newest batch and feel the same is a testament to their consistency.
    54.99 USD per Bottle
  8. Redemption High Rye Bourbon Single Barrel Select

    Bourbon — Bloomington, IN, USA

    Tasted March 22, 2021
    3.75 out of 5 stars
    One of the positive things we can take from the whole Covid experience is the siginicant increase in barrel picks, both in availability and also from Distillers that previously didn't offer them. Redemption has been around for a long time! They are an NDP that sources exclusively from MGP (one of the originals before it was popular). They are well known for their entry level offerings that are solid but clearly young. Due to this, folks often ignore their premium age stated offerings, which offer tremendous value and availability. For example the 10yr High Rye Bourbon is under $100, sits on a shelf and in my opinion beats out Smoke Wagon single barrel picks (and the Desert Jewel). This is there first forray into offering barrel picks and they wisely went with the hugely popular 36% Rye MGP mashbill. Unlike their competition, they chose not to offer it at full Cask strength but rather at 105 proof (About 10-15 proof points below full Cask Strength for a 5 yr MGP Bourbon). The price point is a very reasonable price point. My personal bottle was picked by the fantastic Fox Cigar Bar. Barrel #20-191. Price paid $44. Let's dive into the tasting... Entry is rich and sweet for an MGP High Rye Bourbon... Candy corn, vanilla and ginger snaps lead... Clove and cinnamon join in the party on the mid palate... Toffee and more spice on the medium finish... Clearly a younger Bourbon but we'll executed. For the money, this is an excellent choice. It's not complex, but does hold your attention. Thankfully the red hot notes you get in some of these younger MGP picks (particularly Smooth Ambler) are no where to be found. The down side is the viscosity is not as thick as some of those picks. Overall, this is a solid daily Bourbon that is great neat, on a big rock or in a killer old fashioned!
    44.0 USD per Bottle
    Fox Cigar Bar
  9. Redbreast Small Batch (Batch# B1/19)

    Single Pot Still — Ireland, Ireland

    Tasted March 19, 2021
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    When tasting the fantastic Blue 🔵 the other day I noticed this bottle and inquired about it. The bartender informed me it was just the Redbreast Cask Strength new bottling. Didn't overthink it and since I was excited about the Blue 🔵 I grabbed a pour of that. Later that day I decided to look it up and noticed there was a USA exclusive small batch that was released as a one off and that was the bottle I saw! I made a point to head back the following day to try it whilst the Blue 🔵 was fresh in my mind to compare. Like the Blue 🔵 this is an NAS limited offering from Middleton that we are told includes some old components. Here we have the usual Oloroso and Bourbon cask maturation with the additional finishing in a re-charred Oloroso Butt. The ABV is identical to the Blue 🔵 with both coming in at 58.7%. This one is a bit more expensive with an SRP of $100 versus $85. It's also a whole lot easier to find (I have seen it locally on a shelf for SRP). So who wins the battle of Middleton? Let's dive in... Upon entry you are hit with classic Redbreast notes of vanilla, plums, figs and the addition of rich cream... It's decadent and sweet... Slight spice on the mid palate with more red fruits and toffee... The finish is a medium length additing some wood spices to the rich sweet notes. It's also drinks very well for the proof. Addition of water simply amplifies the sweet notes. For me this is the loser when compared to the Blue 🔵. It's less complex and a bit too sweet for my palate. Honestly, I can't really say it's any better than a decent batch of the regular cask strength offering (and that I can find for around $70 typically). Don't get me wrong, it's good stuff just not something I'd call special or honestly even say is worth $100.
    17.0 USD per Pour
    Fox Cigar Bar
  10. Blue Spot 7 Year Cask Strength Single Pot Still

    Single Pot Still — Ireland

    Tasted March 18, 2021
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    Ok, this is good... Very good! When I first saw all the hype around this release I really had a hard time understanding it. Here we have the lowest age statement of all the spots (I get the Green Spot is an NAS but is generally understood to be in the 10 yr range) and features no special finishing (Oloroso, Bourbon and Madeira Casks). It is however bottled at Cask Strength a healthy 58.7% ABV (not the 59.2% noted in the overview). The SRP is $85 (although good luck finding it at close to that price, if at all!). Now we are told the Madeira component is significantly older than 7 years and we all know high ABV is king these days. So seeing this at my local Whiskey bar I had to try this for myself (even at the pretty steep $25/pour). Let's dive into the tasting. The first thing you notice as you sip it is just how easy it is to drink at full strength. It's also a rich entry with vanilla bean, berries and sweet cinnamon... As you hit the mid palate the proof begins to present itself adding lovely spice to the sweet notes.. the finish is long with pepper, cocoa and dried red fruits... You then get a long hug and finally realize you just had a Cask Strength Whiskey. For me if you can find a bottle in the $100 range, it's an instant buy. I think it may be my favorite Spot of them all (though I would need more time with it to be certain).
    25.0 USD per Pour
    Fox Cigar Bar
Results 1-10 of 505 Tastes