In July of 2018 bourbon stole my soul. I have no regrets. Ratings: 0-.75 = Drāno substitute 1-1.75= not worth the calories 2-2.75= only if you’re desperate 3-3.75= decent to enjoyable 4-4.75= good to extremely good 5 = permanent shelf member
Other Whiskey — Multiple CountriesReviewed March 19, 2023Batch 113. Turns out that little number matters, more on that later. Nose is caramel, oats, dust, honeysuckle. Lemon zest. Body is lemon, maple syrup. Honeydew melon. Brine. Tea leaves. Oat milk. Super creamy mouth feel. Finish is chocolate, milk. Very faint cherry. I like this a lot. In fact, a while back this bottle impressed me enough to launch a Blackened collecting spree, which I’m finally getting to drinking through now. In doing so, I wanted to be able to say that for Blackened, the batch number doesn’t matter. Bad news y’all: it really does, at least at this stage in their business model. I’m trying batch 113 back to back with batch 124, and there is a distinct difference. These two batches are as distinct as two different single barrel store picks. On the bright side, if you had a bad experience, there’s always a chance you could find a better batch later. On the flip: you could recommend this to a friend and have them scratching their head in disappointment. Batch 124 isn’t bad, but for me it’s a solid star lower. My approach to Blackened going forward: I will likely always have a bottle tucked away somewhere. It deserves that. I will not continue collecting them. Blackened doesn’t deserve that yet. And I’m not convinced they deserve to sell anything that costs more that $50, but I will wait to try the Blackened/Willett collab before I say that definitively.35.0 USD per Bottle
Rye — Tennessee, USAReviewed March 11, 2023I wanted to try something new, and I have never heard of this distillery nor this whiskey. Much thanks to @ContemplativeFox for the share! Nose is rad. In some ways it smells young: I’m getting sawdust and a mild acetone. But the good stuff is more powerful: I get unwashed strawberries, pine, honey, tangerine. Body is thankfully not young in taste. Fresh flowers, strawberry, grain, and a transition into jalapeño on the end. Finish keeps that jalapeño, and not too much else. Potpourri. Mint. In some ways this tastes like more like a scotch than the ryes I’m used to. It’s pretty soft in terms of flavor intensity, and the bite is very negligible. There’s a pervasive vegetal nature to it, and it gives it an earthly quality from start to finish. When it mixes with sweetness, I get unwashed strawberries. When it mixes with spices, I get jalapeño. Even the mint note is more of a mint herb than a mint candy flavor. It’s fascinating… but I would label this as a rye for single malt drinkers more than a rye for bourbon/rye drinkers. I mean than in both the positive and negative case. Most ryes I’ve had don’t offer this range of notes or even these kinds of notes. But it’s also way softer and lacks the flavor punch I would expect from a rye whiskey.
Boone County Small Batch Bourbon Finished in Oloroso Sherry Cask (Batch 2 - Second Fill)
Bourbon — Indiana, USAReviewed March 6, 2023Nose is red wine, raisins, cherries, brine, sugar, almonds, bit of chocolate. I could see green apple. Great nose. Body is heavy on almonds, with a nitrous mouth feel. The red wine comes back. Cherries, oranges, and sweet cream are there as well. Fruit punch. Finish is honey. Red wine is still there. Bitter coffee note hits on the end. Substantially better than WTMK Revival, which is mustier and more bitter in comparison. More industrial. This tastes cleaner. This may be my new benchmark for how good an Oloroso sherry finish can be.
Bardstown Bourbon Co. Founders KBS Stout Finish
Bourbon — Tennessee, USAReviewed February 21, 2023Nose is musty. There’s brine, honey, citrus. Sugar. Cedar. Caramel. Smells old. Body is bitter, with coffee beans and stout beer on the front end. Sugar and paper hit later (don’t act like you don’t know what paper tastes like.) Finish is heavy on chocolate and maple syrup. Sugar lingers. Mild baking spices. The nose is the champ here. Body is funky, and overall I can’t say I like it. This is another one of those rare misses for Bardstown. I can’t find a way to justify purchasing this bottle. While the stout finish is obvious, I can’t really see a way it adds depth to this whiskey.
High West American Prairie Bourbon
Bourbon — (bottled in Utah), USAReviewed February 11, 2023Nose is maple, sugar, salt, fresh dough. Tangerine. Possibly some watermelon. Strawberry. Yeast. Vanilla. Overall vibe = fruit wine. Body is watermelon, walnuts, more sugar. Orange is there. Strawberry sticks around. Super sweet up front, nutty in the rear. Giggety. Finish is sawdust, bit of cinnamon. Bubble gum. Mint. Bit of the tangerine comes back. There is a temptation when drinking whiskies that have hints of youth to pound them down. This was my intent with this bottle, and I’m glad I gave it the nerd treatment. This was shockingly good, and I don’t know why I undervalued it to date. I think I had mentally labeled High West as a rye brand, and although their ryes are good, I think this beats any of their main-line ryes. To me, this is right up there with Four Roses and 1792 as an affordable, delicious lower shelf bourbon (let’s say: shelf 2 out of 5). Bonus fun fact: this is apparently no longer being bottled as “American Prairie Bourbon” as of January 2023 (if not earlier). The new product, “High West Bourbon” is allegedly the same bourbon with a new label, so of course I bought one and did a side by side. Y’all know how I feel about science. For my bottles, the High West Bourbon is a noticeably inferior product. I would describe it as a flatter, less flavorful version of my American Prairie. However: AP is described as a blend of bourbons up to 13 years in age. A lot can happen in 13 years. I would be willing to accept that a very talented group of whiskey blenders used the same methodology on *similar* stocks of bourbon for both of these blends with the intent of making the same product. The deviation in the two bottles is within the margin of error of reasonable deviation within a product line. I’ve had two different bottles of Rock Hill Farms that were more dissimilar than these two. I buy that these two bourbons are the same product, and I hope that some of the new High West Bourbon blends will be as tasty as this 375 mL American Prairie.
Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed February 6, 2023Nose is apple, sugar, sweet tarts. Cherry. Fantastic nose. You could stop here and be all set. You should stop here and be all set. Body is apple, cherry. Herbal. That herbal note is where it starts going downhill. To expand: twigs, waxy leaves, pollen. Finish is mild baking spices. The cherry here turns to cough syrup. The herbal: mint, formaldehyde. That minty cough syrup sticks around, like peat does on Lagavulin. It’s not great. It shows the same promise as main line Ancient Age, but it gets funky toward the end of the sip. I think that funk is what (with age) BT manages to extract some really great stuff in the mid shelf mashbill 2s, particularly Blanton’s. But at this production level it’s whacked out, and I prefer the purity of the Ancient Age, where you get a cheap version of that good good MB2 without adding in the funky stuff. I am sipping veggie NyQuil.
Old Ripy Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed January 31, 2023My wiser but much-less-well-endowed friend told me that this was the turd in the Whiskey Baron collection punchbowl. (One day I’m just going to start tagging this friend directly. I bet he’d get a kick out of that.) Nose is banana bread, cut grass, roses, lemon, milk. Body is cream, sugar, lemon, orange, caramel apple. There’s something harsh too I’m struggling with figuring out. Closest I can get is orange rind. Finish is gentle. There’s brine, sugar, chocolate. Orange and lemon carries through. This is tasty. I prefer the Bond & Lillards, but I think this one is better than WB Saffell. I’m not sure what a gripe with this one would be, other than the obvious high price for a 375 mL.
Bardstown Bourbon Co. Plantation Rum Finish
Bourbon — USAReviewed January 22, 2023My initial note would have read: “This is rum. Do not buy, unless you want to buy an overpriced rum.” However, I then did the following note-enrichment procedure: 1. Pour bottle into a decanter. 2. Hate contents so strongly that you don’t touch it again for like… 3 months. 3. Decide to kill it over the course of a few days to make room for a new Bardstown product in said decanter. 4. Get really drunk one night playing Rocket League, forget that you haven’t reviewed it yet, and pour last 4 fingers over ice. 5. Immediately realize that you haven’t yet reviewed this on Distiller, and are not of sound mind nor clean palate to be able to make a reasonable review. 6. In a fierce determination to not have to buy another bottle of this, promptly pour back about two ounces into aforementioned decanter. 7. Wait until you’re not hungover. 8. Review whiskey. My methodology may sound strange, but I swear to you that it made a noticeable improvement. Genuinely. Nose is cedar, sourness, mustiness. Not a rum connoisseur but I don’t detect the rum influence on the nose. It’s honestly more reminiscent of Russell’s Reserve or Elijah Craig 18 than of a finished bourbon. Body is: rum. I get tangerine too if I really hunt, but that rum note is everything. Finish is sugar, rum, cinnamon. There’s coconut. There’s no other way to say it: this is a suboptimal product. I think that my accidental dilution and aeration did in fact reduce the bite of that rum finish, but it is still dominant. Bardstown’s finishes aren’t exactly known for subtlety, and I’d argue that nobody errs more strongly on the side of the finishing barrel’s profile (over the base juice) than Bardstown. Most of the time, that’s a blessing. Twice now, it has been… “suboptimal.” This is a step up from Destillare, which… over 2 years later, I haven’t revisited my open bottle once. But this is definitely not their best work, nor is it close to best in genre. Go for Borough (if you can find it), Blood Oath (ditto), or Jefferson’s (totes can find this one) before going for this bottle. BTW: I gotta give it to @pkingmartin… “chalky orange sports drink” is one of those brilliant, non-unlearnable whiskey notes. Once you read that, there is no untasting it. That is my new, overall takeaway from this whiskey, and I’m not hating it one bit.
Koval Single Barrel Four Grain
Other Whiskey — Illinois, USAReviewed January 18, 2023Lunch pour, because: Wednesday. This holds the moniker 4 grain, which I usually don’t care for. Of course, I’ve only had a few of the cheap versions, like Lee W. Sinclair, and given that a friend of mine said this was phenomenal, fingers are crossed. Nose is grainy for sure, and bitter. There’s walnut, nail polish, sawdust, and spearmint. Body is better. Brown sugar, oat. More mint. Finish is… absent. Possibly some cinnamon. This is 100% skippable. It is better than Lee W. Sinclair, and they did a noteworthy job avoiding the water sourcing issue that plagues so many of the distilleries up this way (this is from Chicago). It’s still conspicuously young, it lacks depth, and it makes some very curious flavor profile choices. Not going to order or buy this again.
Bardstown Bourbon Co. West Virginia Great Barrel Company blended Rye
Rye — USAReviewed January 6, 2023This product is finished in infrared toasted cherry oak barrels. I’m sure it’s legitimate, but can we all agree that that sounds like bullshit? Nose is high brine, pickles, salt honey. Sugar, tangerines Body is very hot, with chocolate, cream, sugar, raspberry. Bit of tea. Finish is black pepper. Potpourri. Rose water. Watermelon. A Kentucky chew opens this up a bit. The wood notes are strong, but they seem to be the source of some really delightful floral notes. This is a solid product. Value for price is always a concern when it comes to these guys, but I think this one is on the right side of the line. It’s an incredibly complex rye, and although I made fun of the infrared toasted cherry oak barrel bit, if that’s what adds in the floral notes, then that’s a delightful touch for a rye. I’m all in. Bust out y’all’s lasers.
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