Boone County Eighteen 33 - 12 Year
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNose - caramel, apples, and varnished oak Palate follows the nose with caramel, vanilla, apples, and baking spices Finish is pleasant but short, with some creamy vanilla and spice
Balcones Texas Rum
Aged Rum — Texas, USATastedReviewing what I believe is the 2017 release, at a near-hazmat proof of 137. Color - really dark, if this was labeled as a Caribbean dark rum you would assume the color was artificially added, but all Balcones sprirts have this color due to the small-barrel aging. Nose - Definitely more oak than molasses. Nothing funky - to the extent it smells like rum it's pretty clean. But mostly you get the barrel here: smoky & woody along with some ethanol/varnish. Palate - Some sweetness and burnt sugar show up initially, but are quickly overwhelmed by bitter dark chocolate and dark-roast coffee. At over 68% ABV the heat is no surprise, but the larger issue is the bitter/astringent finish which pretty much ruins things for me. Some water or ice tames the ABV heat but doesn't really help with the finish. Balcones is really frustrating for me. As a semi-local distillery that takes their craft seriously and releases a lot of interesting products, I really want to like them. Unfortunately they insist on aging everything in small barrels, and I just can't get into the bitter, woody flavor profile this results in.59.0 USD per Bottle
I.W. Harper 15 Year Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTasted this a little while back (not my bottle) so I don't have detailed notes. This one surprised me, not at all what I was expecting from a 15-year old KY bourbon. Sweet and herbal/floral both on the nose and palate, not nearly as much oak influence as I would expect for the age. Mouthfeel was thin, but it had a nice mint-chocolate finish. I think this would have benefited from a higher proof. It's just too thin at 86, and a higher ABV would have balanced the sweetness and hopefully added some complexity. Should make for an easy sipper for anybody new to whiskey, though.
Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Oat Grain Kentucky Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTasted at a friend's a few nights ago (along with several others). Nose - started with chewing tobacco, seasoned wood (but different from the typical bourbon oak note), leather, and baking spices. With some breathing time the tobacco faded and the wood/spices became more prominent. Really unique nose, hard to describe but I liked it. Palate - Followed expectations from the nose, except drier than I expected, without the sweetness that most Woodford expressions tend to have. Some sweetness did show up just before the finish, just not as much as I expected. Mouthfeel was a bit thin. Medium finish was dry but without a lot of bitter tannins. I didn't get the 'oatmeal cookie' flavors that Woodford talks about in their marketing materials, which was a little disappointing because that sounds really good. Overall I liked this a fair bit, it was really unique. A bit drier on the palate than I might prefer, but still enjoyable; and the unique flavor profile was a nice change of pace. At $110-130 I think it's substantially over-priced, unfortunately. I'd probably pay $75-ish for it just due to the uniqueness.
Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedColor - copper brown. A quick swirl shows sparse legs in the glass Nose - maple syrup, vanilla, varnished oak Palate - maple, caramel and baking spices, with a fairly rich mouthfeel for the proof. Finish - pretty quick, some lingering spice but more subdued than I usually get from OF A few drops of water muted the maple/oak on the nose but brought out a hint of dark stone fruit and more vanilla. On the palate, the water brought out more sweetness, with the caramel coming to the front and lingering a bit on the finish. I liked this both ways, although I think the nose was better neat. I'm not really a huge OF fan. I like Statesmen and 1920 OK, but not nearly as much as other brands. To me this 1910 is a bit darker/richer, with the spice softened a bit compared to other OF expressions. For me that's a good thing. People who love 1920 probably won't like it as much due to its lower proof and lacking that bright/spicy character.51.0 USD per Bottle
Wild Turkey Master's Keep Revival
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNose - oak, leather, stone fruit, vanilla Palate - toffee, creamy vanilla, cinnamon, cooked fruit Finish - medium, a bit on the dry side but with some lingering sweetness from the sherry influence. What a I really like about this is the balance between the sweetness, spice and oak. I haven't been a huge fan of some of the other WT expressions I've tried, too much pepper/heat; but for me the sherry finish here smooths out the rough edges without completely taking over. If anything is a bit of a letdown it's the finish, it just doesn't have the richness that some higher-proof bourbons do on the finish. So I have to take a 1/2 star for that and say this is a solid 4.5129.0 USD per Bottle
Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTasting the standard OBSV release (not a barrel select). On the nose - caramel apples, vanilla, chocolate, and a faint whiff of varnish On the palate - sweet and fruity with creamy vanilla up front, before the spice builds into the finish along with some oak and heat. Finish is pleasant but doesn't really linger. Really solid bourbon for the money, looking forward to trying a barrel-proof private selection in the future if I can find one.35.0 USD per Bottle
John J Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon
Bourbon — Virginia, USATastedOak and vanilla on the nose, Palate is dominated by oak with some underlying sweetness, ending with a dry/tannic medium finish. Pretty disappointing given the price. It's by no means terrible, but there are plenty of other options that are not only better but also cheaper.49.0 USD per Bottle
Booker's Bourbon Batch 2016-02 "Annis' Answer"
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTasted in a Canadian glencairn with a chip of ice Nose - caramel, honey roasted nuts, and a hint of leather and spice Palate - sweet up front, with a rich mouth feel followed by nuts and spice. Finish - long, lingering finish of oak and spice, but without the astringent tannic notes. The finish is really nice, probably the high point for me. Surprisingly smooth for the proof It wasn't especially complex, but it finishes on a high note. I'd rate this 4.2570.0 USD per Bottle
Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNo barrel pick, just the standard SiB with the old label. Nose - pretty standard bourbon notes of caramel, vanilla and oaky spice along with some ethanol Taste - Spicy, with cinnamon and baking spices up front with pepper following on mid-palate. Medium finish with lingering heat. Adding an ice cube tamed the heat and spice, bringing out some of the sweetness. Not a standout for me, but solid bourbon especially if you like the 'Kentucky hug' and favor higher proofs.