Old Forester Single Barrel Bourbon Barrel Strength
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted April 2, 2021I am normally indifferent on Old Forester, but upon trying this bottle at my brother's house I felt I needed to review it. Nose is sweet brown sugar, but at 130 proof there is definitely some ethanol coming through. After allowing some setting time this lightens, but is still present. First sip is a flavor explosion. I am surprised this is an OF bottle. Maybe this is why people chase the Birthday bottles all over. Caramel and brown sugar are on overload on the front end. There is some intense cinnamon heat in the middle that peaks and then starts to fade. The finish builds off the cinnamon and brings some soft vanilla notes. Interestingly this one is hot in the middle, but there is almost no heat going down. Overall this is a really great bottle. I would not chase an OF product, but I will gladly buy one of these on the spot. From the sound of things this will be more limited as a single barrel so it may not be out there everywhere. Grab one if you see it and you will be glad you did!80.0 USD per Bottle
Maker's Mark Wood Finishing Series 2021 FAE-01
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted March 28, 2021Ever since the first entry to the Wood Finishing releases (RC6) I have been a fan. These tend to always be the cream of the stave finishes (although you can find some extremely good private store picks out there). I'm not going to waste anymore time talking this one up since I am eager to dive in. Nose is subtly sweet. Let's call this Bananas Fosteresque with light hints of banana, cinnamon, vanilla, and a touch of brown sugar. There is a slight bit of ethanol here, but overall quite enticing. First sip is a little underwhelming to be quite honest. There is some brown sugar here and what is almost a burnt caramel on the edges. I am also getting a little more of a habanero burn on this pour. The biggest oddity here is the fairly short and unremarkable finish. That pepper heat comes on mid sip then just sort of flames out. There is a slight linger of caramel, but nothing really to write home about. Overall this would be a nice store pick, but does not hit the mark laid down by the first two releases. I immediately bought backups of the first two releases, but I won't be doing that with this one. I would rather have a pour of 46 Cask Strength over this one. A bit of a let down here, but based on previous track record it won't dissuade me from purchasing the next in line. Worth a one time pick up, bit not nearly on par with the earlier drams.60.0 USD per Bottle
Grand Mayan Ultra Aged
Tequila Extra Añejo — Jalisco, MexicoTasted March 13, 2021Well I don't love tequila. I have had a few extra anejos that have changed my tune at times (hello Adictivo and Avion 44), but in general it's not my jam. This one was highly recommended by a local shop keep and my wife does like tequila so let's see if this one works out. Nose is agave, but in a sweet way without the off putting scent of the younger bottles. We are off to a promising start. First sip is different for sure. This has some nice sweetness to it, but there is an almost burnt caramel harshness on the edges. I am finding it almost a bit medicinal and not entirely pleasant. Well my lovely wife has stated she could drink the sh... out of this. For me I think she would need to. I wanted to enjoy this one as it looked and smelled better than so many other tequilas. Unfortunately it falls short of the really nice offerings have tried and just doesn't do the trick for me.80.0 USD per Bottle
Teitessa Single Grain Japanese Whisky
Single Grain — Japanese , JapanTasted March 13, 2021My brother treated me to a pour of this limited Japanese offering. 1000 bottles released globally make it a one time opportunity I was privileged to share. At 30 years this is my oldest age trial to date. Nose is definitely butterscotch forward with a hint of icing. I am getting a little more ethanol than I might have expected from this age, but it was a fresh crack so that might open up. First sip is really smooth. There is nothing harsh about this pour. Definitely some sweet marzipan and almond cookie notes. As the sweetness fades there is a very faint citrus taste before the slow sweet finish. The close isn't overpowering, but lingers on your tongue a bit before fading away. Let me start by saying I had no idea what to expect from this having nothing aside from the Dewars 27 to compare it to. Overall this was really a great glass. I am not always a huge Japanese Whisky fan, but this definitely holds up well. At the price point this is something special to share, but I am not positive I would grab one for myself after having the opportunity to try. If you love Japanese this is probably a must buy and I definitely recommend. If you are just a casual drinker this is probably one to leave for the connoisseurs.
Garrison Brothers Single Barrel Bourbon, Barrel Proof
Bourbon — Texas, USA, USATasted March 12, 2021I have heard high praise on Garrison bottles so when a friend was heading to Florida on vacation I asked him to check out the local Total Wine. He returned with a store pick BP for me which wasn't ideal since it was pricey without much info, but I'm glad to have one to taste and share. Nose is... well first let's talk about this color... this dram just looks sexy with its dark amber tone. Not sure if it is the mash, the barrel, or some black magic, but it's damn pretty. Now back to the nose... vanilla and caramel tend to pop out here for me. Honestly it's almost like a vanilla Coke. Surprisingly there is not a heavy ethanol presence despite the 120 proof point. First sip is pretty hot from the start and that corn comes through off the bat. There is a sudden rush of flavor after that initial habanero heat that floods you with caramel, brown sugar, and cinnamon warmth. As the sun sets the barrel char starts to take the stage and you get some real toasting (maybe this should be a breakfast pour with it's maple syrup French toast notes). The closing just lingers a bit with that soft cinnamon heat before finally fading away. So I have heard the debates out of Kentucky and Tennessee that no one else can make great whiskey. It's too hot in Texas, there's not enough fluctuations in climate and temp, etc. Fortunately I don't buy it after trying whiskeys from a number of places that have been excellent. This is a really good bottle. At $150 it needs to be better for me though. The burn on the front end might send many drinkers to find some ice (which is great if that's how you like to sip). The middle and finish save this dram for me. I definitely want to grab the double barrel version and maybe a bottle of Cowboy, but at this price the value isn't there for me to be seeking out another of the single barrels.150.0 USD per Bottle
George Dickel Tennessee Single Barrel 15 Year
Tennessee — Tennessee, USATasted March 10, 2021Had this bottle brought back to my state by a friend since many of the Dickel bottles don't make it to Michigan. Have heard good things on this one and eager to try so let's go... Nose is quite sweet on this. Caramel and brown sugar with a hint of roasted peanuts. It's really quite a nice start. First sip sweet from the start with a brown sugar intro. This morphs quickly to a toasted caramel with some gentle cinnamon heat. As this fades those roasted peanuts make their entrance. Then things get interesting as a second wave of cinnamon heat comes on and carrys you to the finish line. I was hoping for a nice pour and this didn't disappoint, but the complexity was unexpected. Maybe it was all that barrel time, but this one breaks away from your standard whiskey with that wonderful cinnamon peanut finish. Very glad to add this to my collection and an excellent bottle at its price point. I probably give this an extra quarter point for value. Grab one if you see it.65.0 USD per Bottle
Redbreast Small Batch (2021)
Single Pot Still — Ireland, IrelandTasted March 9, 2021Redbreast and the Spots generally set the standard in the Irish category for me personally. I had to make a tough call here as I was offered Blue Spot or this bottle. Based on the rarity factor I rolled the dice on this one so let's see if I picked right... Nose is sweet. Honey and maybe a touch of clover. For a cask strength offering there is surprisingly little alcohol on the nose. First sip is fairly complex. Honey, golden raisins, and a touch of cinnamon come to mind immediately. There is a very nice soft burn that develops midway, but for a cask strength it is quite mild. The finish is where the Sherry comes on strong with hints of sweet wine and red berries drift away. While I am sure the Blue Spot is lovely I am quite happy I picked this bottle. Overall the flavors are excellent and each sip seems to unlock more flavor. This is definitely not a dram to rush through. I would not hesitate to grab one if I see it again and I highly suggest you do the same!100.0 USD per Bottle
Blended — Indiana/Tennessee , USATasted February 28, 2021Another day another Barrell... every time a new Barrell label hits the shelf in my local shop I say I am not going to get sucked in, but who am I kidding? Barrell has become a favorite of mine and I have yet to be disappointed despite the somewhat high standard price point. Nose on this is truly a treat. Some nice base vanilla, but swirls of the rum and port casks create an enticing preface to the dram. First sip is so damn good! This is like drinking Halloween... starts with those little cinnamon red hots, some lovely caramel comes rolling in, followed by some red berry gummies. The pour closes with a soft cinnamon caramel apple sweet burn that slowly fades. There is quite a bit going on here and it is pretty special. This will not be everyone's idea of whiskey perfection, but it comes pretty close for me. This may be the best Barrell I have had so far and that says a lot. Don't let this one sit on the shelf if you see it. You will thank me later.100.0 USD per Bottle
Teeling Single Grain Whiskey
Single Grain — IrelandTasted February 20, 2021This is sample number three from the Teeling Trinity Pack. The single malt was a bit messy and the small batch was a sweet recovery, but still not one I would seek out. Let's see how the third lands. Nose is faintly sweet. The corn is obvious, but there is also a lingering maple syrup quality. First sip definitely brings more to the table than the lithe Trinity Pack offerings. There is predominantly sweet corn and honey in this one. A gentle warming cinnamon burn fades to a sweet marzipan finish. Overall this is a really nice dram. Unlike the rest of the Trinity sampler I would grab a bottle of this one to keep around. A little different than your general Irish Whiskey, but I like the variety.
Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey
Blended — IrelandTasted February 20, 2021Taste number two in my Teeling sampler pack. The single malt was underwhelming, but I am keeping an open mind on the next two pours. Nose on this is very sweet. Can definitely sense the Rum barrel finish on this one. It's actually so dominant you don't get much else on the nose. First sip is very light. Light sugar (the Rum finish is very prominent) and honey notes across the tongue with almost no burn. This one is pretty straight forward with not a ton of complexity, but sometimes that isn't a bad thing. Overall this is a very pleasant dram. Not a ton going on, but mellow and sweet focused. This is an excellent choice for your friends that are new to Whiskeys and prefer a sweeter edge.