Tastes

Milliardo

In July of 2018 bourbon stole my soul. I have no regrets.

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  1. Jefferson's Reserve Old Rum Cask Finish

    Bourbon — USA

    Tasted
    4.25
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    This is my official deep dive into Jefferson’s. Feel free to skip ahead to the tasting, because there are going to be a bunch of these cheesy intros, all copy/paste. ~~~~~~~~~~ Concept: I walk into a liquor store and see like a billion different Jefferson’s bottles, yet my knowledge of them is minimal. My perception is that I typically don’t care for their stuff, but somehow, before choosing to start this experiment, I already had six different Jefferson’s on my shelf. How did they invade my house? ~~~~~~~~~~ Methodology: Step 1: Jefferson’s Very Small Batch. Patient 0. Where it all started? Never had it, so a damn good place to start. This one was bought specifically for this experiment. Step 2: Jefferson’s VSB vs Jefferson’s Reserve (Very Old Very Small Batch). I already had this one. How did this get in my house? Step 3: Jefferson’s VSB vs Jefferson’s Ocean. Is it a gimmick? Again, how did this get in my house? Step 4: Jefferson’s Ocean standard vs Jefferson’s Ocean wheated mash bill. Repeat house question. Step 5: Finished Jefferson’s. I got rum, Sauternes, and Prichard Hill. Let’s do this. Step 6: Blind taste test with all 7. Hell, throw in Chef’s Collaboration. (Seriously, how?) So there’s 8. Can I pick them out based on steps 1-5? Are there any standout Jefferson’s expressions, or is it all marketing? The stakes are so low, the tension is palpable. ~~~~~~~~~~ Disclaimer: Starting this, I don’t much care for Jefferson’s in general. There’s this weird gummy-bear-ness that I can’t shake. Hoping to find my Jefferson’s product by the time this is over. ~~~~~~~~~~ Finished Jefferson’s , aka “Step 5” I’ve had and reviewed all these separately, so this is less of a tasting note and more of a value/quality comparison tasting for the Old Rum Cask Finish, the Prichard Hill Cabernet Cask Finish, and the Sauternes Cask Finish. For the rum finish: This was pretty low on my list when compared to other rum finishes, but here amongst its brothers, this bourbon stands tall. It’s my favorite of these three, and it’s not close. Comparing it to Blood Oath pact 5 and Borough (two truly unfair fights IMO) made me under-appreciate the things this whiskey does well. My prior rating of this guy was too low, so I’m fixing that here. This truly is a solid expression, and Jefferson’s did well. I will try to keep one of these around, provided it’s available at retail. Tasting notes: Nose has lemon, brine, salt, and faint jelly. Body expands on that jelly adding in sweet cherries. Finish has cinnamon, salt, pepper, and more brine. For the Prichard Hill: I don’t care for this one as much as I did before. I remember getting “almond extract fatigue” from tasting so many damn Cabernet finished whiskeys, and in that context, this was less offensive than some. Now, compared to other finishes, it’s subpar and substantially less enjoyable than the rum finish. It’s funny how relativistic your palate can be. When this bottle dies, I don’t think I will replace it. For the Sauternes finish: From my barrel finish experiment, I learned that Sauternes can be done exceedingly well (OMFG Boone County) and exceedingly poorly (Hillrock). This is somewhere in the middle. By itself, it’s interesting as a slow sipper. But if you go back and forth between this and anything less sickeningly sweet, this genuinely can make your mouth turn. This is tough to drink at times, and even tougher to find value in at its retail price point. Based on my Sauternes finish experiences, I can’t say that these negatives are unique to Jefferson’s, but they are present here. I will not buy this again, and I would politely turn down a free sip from a friend, unless there was nothing else available. ~~~~~~~~~~ One of my burning questions at the start of this was: “how did these end up on my shelf?” For these three, the answer is easy. I did a barrel-finished bracket a while back, and Jefferson’s conveniently managed to fill out a few brackets. And these three aren’t even the full list that are currently sitting at my liquor store. There’s another one, French Oak Cask Finish, that didn’t make the bracket. Regrettably unavailable to me was the Groth Cask Finish, which I’ve heard is amazing. Point is: Jefferson’s is in the conversation for most distinct entries into the barrel finished space, and their availability is remarkable. If your willing to pay up (comparatively speaking) you can find these little bastards everywhere. Overall, I’m impressed with Jefferson’s in this barrel finished space. They’re not the best; my current vote there is Bardstown. They’re not the biggest bang for your buck; I’d put Borough, Isaac Bowman, and Angel’s Envy all above Jefferson’s there. But Jefferson’s has its feelers out there in a bunch of different finishing styles, and I can already tell they’re going to get a few winners overall during their experimentation, this rum finish being one of them.
  2. Jefferson's Ocean Aged at Sea Voyage 19 Special Wheated Mash Bill

    Bourbon — USA

    Tasted
    3.25
    3.25 out of 5 stars
    This is my official deep dive into Jefferson’s. Feel free to skip ahead to the tasting, because there are going to be a bunch of these cheesy intros, all copy/paste. ~~~~~~~~~~ Concept: I walk into a liquor store and see like a billion different Jefferson’s bottles, yet my knowledge of them is minimal. My perception is that I typically don’t care for their stuff, but somehow, before choosing to start this experiment, I already had six different Jefferson’s on my shelf. How did they invade my house? ~~~~~~~~~~ Methodology: Step 1: Jefferson’s Very Small Batch. Patient 0. Where it all started? Never had it, so a damn good place to start. This one was bought specifically for this experiment. Step 2: Jefferson’s VSB vs Jefferson’s Reserve (Very Old Very Small Batch). I already had this one. How did this get in my house? Step 3: Jefferson’s VSB vs Jefferson’s Ocean. Is it a gimmick? Again, how did this get in my house? Step 4: Jefferson’s Ocean standard vs Jefferson’s Ocean wheated mash bill. Repeat house question. Step 5: Finished Jefferson’s. I got rum, Sauternes, and Prichard Hill. Let’s do this. Step 6: Blind taste test with all 7. Hell, throw in Chef’s Collaboration. (Seriously, how?) So there’s 8. Can I pick them out based on steps 1-5? Are there any standout Jefferson’s expressions, or is it all marketing? The stakes are so low, the tension is palpable. ~~~~~~~~~~ Disclaimer: Starting this, I don’t much care for Jefferson’s in general. There’s this weird gummy-bear-ness that I can’t shake. Hoping to find my Jefferson’s product by the time this is over. ~~~~~~~~~~ JO Wheated, aka “Step 4” Voyage 19, for those counting. It’s very interesting that this wheated mashbill contains less rye than the standard Jefferson’s Ocean, because this little guy smells far more strongly of a rye whiskey. It smells salty, briny, and pickled. There’s a hint of jam on that nose, which makes me concerned, but it’s far from the dominant scent. Body delivers on that nose. It’s weird that you can toggle the switch, alternating between syrupy sweet jelly and saltiness, but that is exactly what this calls for you to do. Some sips are so sweet it makes your jaw turn. Others taste dry and bitter with salt. Pickles too. With effort I can force myself to taste the profile I choose, though I can’t quite force both simultaneously. I have to give my tongue a break. If I’m choosing my own jelly adventure, this finish is almost nonexistent. It’s low heat, charred oak flavor. Slightly nutty. Over very quickly. If I’m taking route 10 to rye-city, that brininess really sticks with you on the back of your tongue. It’s salty and bitter, and it lingers. Again, I can choose which finish I want by choosing the body I want to focus on, both flavors and duration. It’s freaking weird. So this is clearly a complex whiskey, but not in the award-winning sense. It’s a true head scratcher. Wheated bourbons just don’t taste like this. If you’ve seen the optical illusion of the gold/blue dress or heard the auditory illusion of yanny/laurel, here’s your gustatory illusion. I can’t see a scenario where I’m reaching for this as a nightcap, because it’s far less pleasant than it is fascinating. Yet I am genuinely excited to inflict this on my friends and see what they taste. I wouldn’t buy this again, but I might buy a future wheated voyage out of curiosity. As for comparing this to voyage 17: such a goal was simply an experimental design flaw born out of ignorance. 17 blows this out of the water, and it isn’t close. When it comes to tasting notes, there’s no more point to comparing 17 to 19 than there is 17 to Booker’s. They are completely different animals. Additionally, this batch does not make me reminisce about a warm sunny day at the beach. The power of suggestion does not compel.
  3. Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea Voyage 17

    Bourbon — USA

    Tasted
    4.5
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    This is my official deep dive into Jefferson’s. Feel free to skip ahead to the tasting, because there are going to be a bunch of these cheesy intros, all copy/paste. ~~~~~~~~~~ Concept: I walk into a liquor store and see like a billion different Jefferson’s bottles, yet my knowledge of them is minimal. My perception is that I typically don’t care for their stuff, but somehow, before choosing to start this experiment, I already had six different Jefferson’s on my shelf. How did they invade my house? ~~~~~~~~~~ Methodology: Step 1: Jefferson’s Very Small Batch. Patient 0. Where it all started? Never had it, so a damn good place to start. This one was bought specifically for this experiment. Step 2: Jefferson’s VSB vs Jefferson’s Reserve (Very Old Very Small Batch). I already had this one. How did this get in my house? Step 3: Jefferson’s VSB vs Jefferson’s Ocean. Is it a gimmick? Again, how did this get in my house? Step 4: Jefferson’s Ocean standard vs Jefferson’s Ocean wheated mash bill. Repeat house question. Step 5: Finished Jefferson’s. I got rum, Sauternes, and Prichard Hill. Let’s do this. Step 6: Blind taste test with all 7. Hell, throw in Chef’s Collaboration. (Seriously, how?) So there’s 8. Can I pick them out based on steps 1-5? Are there any standout Jefferson’s expressions, or is it all marketing? The stakes are so low, the tension is palpable. ~~~~~~~~~~ Disclaimer: Starting this, I don’t much care for Jefferson’s in general. There’s this weird gummy-bear-ness that I can’t shake. Hoping to find my Jefferson’s product by the time this is over. ~~~~~~~~~~ Jefferson’s Ocean, aka “Step 3” Is this a gimmick? This was one of my main questions coming into this experiment. I’ve been drinking this one side by side with Jefferson’s Very Small Batch over multiple days. I don’t have a drinking problem. I’m a scientist. This is voyage 17, for those counting. And holy hell is this dark compared to the VSB. If you really want to compare the noses of these guys, Glencairn is the way to go. They are related, but this one drops the leather and the nuttiness. It’s still very sweet and floral. I’m sticking with honeysuckle as the main takeaway, but there’s caramel and sugar too. Great nose. The body is a different world. While solid for what it aims to do, Jefferson’s VSB is oily and entry level, very bottom-shelven in taste. Just made up a word, and I think I’m gonna keep it. This body is creamy and thick feeling, like milk. The flavors that stand out are simple, but well done. I get salt, caramel, cane sugar, and bitter chocolate. Well presented, very different from VSB, and special. Finish is salty, but when combined with the residual chocolate you get a praline flavor. It’s phenomenal. The VSB cinnamon is there, but that praline note takes the cake for me. Multiple times during this review, I had to make an effort to avoid being that guy. I was tempted on more than one occasion to say “sea salt” instead of “salt.” I weathered that storm. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this really does make me reminisce about trips to the beach. Just sitting here now, at least 5 minutes since my last sip, I lick my lips and it reminds me of what it feels like lick your lips at the end of a long day swimming at the beach. I literally hate myself a bit for typing that just now, I’m just being honest with you fine people. According to their website, this magic is due to the motion of the ocean. Here’s the rub: could you accomplish the same flavors without traveling around in a boat, bumping into rubber duckies? I don’t see why not. I’ve had all these flavors before. Not trying to take away from the value of the product here, just pointing out that this whiskey is a strong performer in an existing flavor profile space. From a tasting note perspective, there’s nothing truly revolutionary here, even though this is a very delicious bourbon. Is there something about this sea-aged process that truly takes your mind back to the ocean, or is it merely the power of suggestion? I honesty don’t know, and I’m pissed off about that. I still strongly dislike most Jefferson’s products I’ve tried. However, I like Jefferson’s VSB. Moreover, I freakin love this. I hate reviews that say, “this tastes like a warm, summer day.” But I’ll be damned if this doesn’t taste like a warm, summer day at the beach. I hate myself so much right now. Nonetheless... so far, this is my Jefferson’s. Is it a gimmick? Who the [email protected]% cares? It’s delicious. They could age a barrel in the trunk of a 2001 Ford Focus for all I care. If it tastes like this, I’m down. Speaking of gimmicks: I liked this drink so much I bought a color-changing rocks glass that says Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea. It turns light blue with ice. I have no regrets. Moreover, this gives me a chance to give notes on the rocks: As expected, ice kills most of the nose. I can still get caramel and salt, with effort. The body has an amazing, even more creamy feel, and milk and chocolate take over. The body is very easy to drink and enjoyable this way. A praline finish is still there, but without the heat. On the rocks is very delicious with this bourbon. Conspicuous problem: since voyage 17 is good, do I need to collect them all? My brain went there, and I immediately shut it down. The answer might be yes, but even though this product line is going to be a new permanent resident of my shelf, I simply don’t care enough to track down earlier voyages. I’m not going to spend my bourbon capital that way, and I don’t think those that do will see return on investment. I’d be interested to hear from a true Jefferson’s fan if I’m wrong there. Regardless, I absolutely will grab future voyages, should they pop up in my local stores. Like Booker’s, I strongly believe that these are made to drink, not hoard.
    80.0 USD per Bottle
  4. Jefferson's Reserve Very Old Bourbon

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted
    3.0
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    This is my official deep dive into Jefferson’s. Feel free to skip ahead to the tasting, because there are going to be a bunch of these cheesy intros, all copy/paste. ~~~~~~~~~~ Concept: I walk into a liquor store and see like a billion different Jefferson’s bottles, yet my knowledge of them is minimal. My perception is that I typically don’t care for their stuff, but somehow, before choosing to start this experiment, I already had six different Jefferson’s on my shelf. How did they invade my house? ~~~~~~~~~~ Methodology: Step 1: Jefferson’s Very Small Batch. Patient 0. Where it all started? Never had it, so a damn good place to start. This one was bought specifically for this experiment. Step 2: Jefferson’s VSB vs Jefferson’s Reserve (Very Old Very Small Batch). I already had this one. How did this get in my house? Step 3: Jefferson’s VSB vs Jefferson’s Ocean. Is it a gimmick? Again, how did this get in my house? Step 4: Jefferson’s Ocean standard vs Jefferson’s Ocean wheated mash bill. Repeat house question. Step 5: Finished Jefferson’s. I got rum, Sauternes, and Prichard Hill. Let’s do this. Step 6: Blind taste test with all 7. Hell, throw in Chef’s Collaboration. (Seriously, how?) So there’s 8. Can I pick them out based on steps 1-5? Are there any standout Jefferson’s expressions, or is it all marketing? The stakes are so low, the tension is palpable. ~~~~~~~~~~ Disclaimer: Starting this, I don’t much care for Jefferson’s in general. There’s this weird gummy-bear-ness that I can’t shake. Hoping to find my Jefferson’s product by the time this is over. ~~~~~~~~~~ Jefferson’s Reserve, aka “Step 2” Okay, so THERE’S the Jefferson’s I recall not liking. I knew it had to be there somewhere. On the nose, there’s some form of jelly. I usually say grape, but it’s more of a raspberry right now. There’s vanilla and oak too, but that jelly is dominant. Body is back to grape jelly. It hits in full force. Midway through the body there’s a mustiness that creeps in. I’d have to call it a dust flavor. Don’t love it, but it’s familiar. I think I’ve had it before in some Elijah Craig variants. It fades away as the dram goes on. There’s a bit of fresh cedar too. Finish is very mild in feel, with a peppery taste and a pleasant tongue burn. Bit of cedar carries through, but the pepper is the main star. So this dram has that grape jelly flavor that I negatively associate with Jefferson’s, but it’s far more palatable than it was in other versions I’ve had previously, particularly the Sauternes finish. I don’t hate this drink, but I do find it very interesting that it’s not as good IMO as the cheaper basic option. It’s also unfortunate for me that so many of these little bastards on my shelf are variants of Jefferson’s Reserve. Assuming the blending is similar before the cask finish, I’m still hoping the cask finishes can tone down that jelly flavor.
  5. Jefferson's Very Small Batch Bourbon

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted
    3.5
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    This is my official deep dive into Jefferson’s. Feel free to skip ahead to the tasting, because there are going to be a bunch of these cheesy intros, all copy/paste. ~~~~~~~~~~ Concept: I walk into a liquor store and see like a billion different Jefferson’s bottles, yet my knowledge of them is minimal. My perception is that I typically don’t care for their stuff, but somehow, before choosing to start this experiment, I already had six different Jefferson’s on my shelf. How did they invade my house? ~~~~~~~~~~ Methodology: Step 1: Jefferson’s Very Small Batch. Patient 0. Never had it, so a damn good place to start. This one was bought specifically for this experiment. Step 2: Jefferson’s VSB vs Jefferson’s Reserve (Very Old Very Small Batch). I already had this one. How did this get in my house? Step 3: Jefferson’s VSB vs Jefferson’s Ocean. Is it a gimmick? Again, how did this get in my house? Step 4: Jefferson’s Ocean standard vs Jefferson’s Ocean wheated mash bill. Repeat house question. Step 5: Finished Jefferson’s. I got rum, Sauternes, and Prichard Hill. Let’s do this. Step 6: Blind taste test with all 7. Hell, throw in Chef’s Collaboration. (Seriously, how?) So there’s 8. Can I pick them out based on steps 1-5? Are there any standout Jefferson’s expressions, or is it all marketing? The stakes are so low, the tension is palpable. ~~~~~~~~~~ Disclaimer: Starting this, I don’t much care for Jefferson’s in general. There’s this weird gummy-bear-ness that I can’t shake. Hoping to find my Jefferson’s product by the time this is over. ~~~~~~~~~~ Jefferson’s Very Small Batch, aka “Step 1” Coming into this experiment, I had a basic understanding of what it meant to be a Jefferson’s product, and the entry level item, the OG Jefferson’s, doesn’t have that juice profile at all. I don’t know what to believe. Nose is nutty. There’s some faint perfume stuff going on, and I can occasionally get a sweet garden scent, like honeysuckle. There’s leather too. Nevertheless, almond is my main takeaway. Very bottom-shelf bourbon standard or better. Solid nose. Body reminds me a lot of Wild Turkey juice, and I mean that as a compliment. It feels very oily, with caramel, leather, and vanilla. Classic notes. Finish hangs onto that leather, introducing a hint of pepper, powdered sugar, and a very bitter mouth feel. There’s some brine too, as I normally get from ryes or high rye bourbons. The finish is the weakest link in this surprisingly good drink, but it’s not slowing me down on this double pour. [email protected]#. This is precisely why you never make blanket statements about whiskey companies. After all this shade I’ve thrown at Jefferson’s over the years, here’s one bottle I had never tried that is solid, and it’s arguably the most entry level item in their portfolio. I don’t care to keep this on my shelf forever, because there’s just too much stuff out there. But I like this, and I wouldn’t shy away from this pour. I’d rather have this than most whiskies I regularly see at an average bar.
  6. Weller Antique 107

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    There are certainly things about this whiskey I don’t understand, and I am seeking your help. But I’ll get into that later. This tasting is of a 2018ish bottle, before the gold cork “upgrade.” I’ll get into that later too. The nose shows a decent amount of oak. I get sour lemon, caramel, grainy bread, sugared walnuts. All very well done. Body is gentle, as you’d expect from a wheated bourbon. There’s sugar, licorice, tea leaves, sweet tarts. Rich orange flavor emerges when trying to recall the lemon from the nose. Big fan of that note. Finish is nutty. There’s cinnamon, sugar, walnuts, grainy bread. Remarkably smooth. Only a mild lingering tongue buzz. Overall, my favorite parts were the orange on the body and the sour, oaky nose. I could do without the licorice and tea leaves here, but overall a very good, enjoyable drink. I’m most impressed by how smooth this is for 107 proof. It goes down like a 90 proof or lower! ——— All that said, I don’t understand this whiskey, and I want to. I understand the flavors, and I understand the quality. I like this whiskey. Here’s what I don’t understand: 1 point higher official rating on Distiller. 0.2 stars higher community rating. Used to be twice the cost of WSR, now thrice. Thrice I tell you! First question: does anyone know why this went from around $45 in my region to around $70? During this time it went from a maroon screw top to a nice gold foil cork, but is there an actual upgrade to the juice? Every source I’ve seen says no. So why on a whim did they up the price on this specific product? Costs more than a Weller 12 year now! Second question: why are there so many rubrics in which this is considered superior to WSR? It has some complexity over WSR for sure but that comes at a cost. As smooth as OWA is, WSR is smoother. The flavors that OWA can hold over WSR’s head aren’t gained without losing some of my favorite WSR notes like tart apple. If you drink them back to back, like I am right now (for science) OWA gains a bitter aftertaste that I don’t care for, and WSR acts like a palate cleanser. If you’re as into this label as I am and have an opinion on this, I’d love to hear it. Cheers!
    45.0 USD per Bottle
  7. Bardstown Bourbon Company Phifer Pavitt Reserve Bourbon

    Bourbon — Tennessee, USA

    Tasted
    4.75
    4.75 out of 5 stars
    Have you ever tried a new whiskey and thought: okay... there goes my whiskey budget for the next month. For me, Bardstown Phifer Pavitt does this for two reasons. Up front, you’re going to drop around $125 on this bottle. But then, after first taste, you realize that eventually you’re going to have to try all those little bastards now. At $125+ retail each, this whiskey and its brothers are aligning themselves with some of the bourbon greats. Think Four Roses SBLE, Old Forrester Birthday, Blanton’s SFTB, Wild Turkey Masters Keep... strong peers. Even with an appropriate level of respect for that list, I must say, holy hell, this little guy delivers. He delivers and thanks you, even if you tip poorly. This was the blind taste-test champion in my red wine division of my barrel finished bourbon bracket. Final rankings here were: 1-Bardstown Phifer Pavitt 2-Hooker’s House 7/21 3-Jefferson’s Reserve Pritchard Hill 4-Slaughterhouse Straight Edge My next step is to find a true favorite barrel-finished bourbon by somehow comparing 5 champions from red wine, white wine, rum, port, and sherry finished brackets. This is going to be one tasty April. About this whiskey: You could read this anywhere, but you’re reading this here, right now, aren’t you? So let me drop a statomic bomb for ya. Juice: TN Straight Bourbon Whiskey Age: 9 year Mashbill: 84 corn, 8 rye, 8 malted barley Initial Proof: 110.2 Finish: Phifer Pavitt Cabernet Sauvignon Finish Duration: 19 months Finished Proof: 107** **That’s right. There’s enough red wine left to actually reduce the proof, despite being in a barrel for 19 months. Think about that... —- The tasting of Bardstown Phifer Pavitt: This smells old. There’s sour notes as if from a high oak exposure, and I get honey, citrus, almond, and tart cherry. I really like this nose. Body certainly delivers on that oak, and the mouth feel is not shy on the heat. If you get past those two barriers, there’s honey, orange, cherry, cane sugar, caramel apples, browned butter, brown sugar, chocolate, almond, cinnamon... basically you name it, it’s there, and it’s delicious. I don’t usually rattle off a billion things like that, but I can’t help it because each sip is bringing something new. This body is fantastically complex, though it is spicy in feel for sure. Finish is sour in mouth feel with a fading sugar and cinnamon note. I could see toffee, cinnamon buns, cinnamon powdered donuts, or any other cinnamon-themed desert. It’s pleasant and leaves you wanting more. —- This whiskey rocked my world. It really is that good. What impressed me most from a technical aspect was that this doesn’t taste like a bourbon that is necessarily cask finished. You can get all those flavors from virgin oak, and since the red wine influence doesn’t strike you over the head at any given point, with no context this could make your pallet think it’s just a standard bourbon whiskey that somehow became complex as hell. They married the native juice to a wine profile perfectly, and they made magic here. What concerns me most is standard bourbon snobbery stuff. It’s hot, even for 107 proof. It’s high oak, in a way that I wouldn’t expect from just 9 years. These things can be off putting, but if you look past those factors, the flavors are nuts. At $125 would I buy another? Wrong question. Correct question is how many can I get away with buying before my wife leaves me. If y’all create a divorce-date pool, I get 10%.
    125.0 USD per Bottle
  8. Hooker's House Bourbon Cohabitation 7/21

    Bourbon — Sonoma, California, USA

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    This is the final round of the red wine finished division of my barrel finished bourbon bracket. This was a blind taste test between Bardstown Pfifer Pavitt and Hooker’s House 7/21. The third blind taste test in these divisions is always my favorite. You’re almost guaranteed at least one stellar bourbon. Tonight, I had two. Bardstown rightly won this fight. It won out on nose, body, finish, and overall enjoyability. I look forward to reviewing it in the near future, because it’s truly special. The tasting of Hooker’s House: The nose is the best part of this whiskey, and it’s not close. There’s honey, lemon, cane sugar, and a hint of oak. Smells just like something I will probably genuinely like. Body is a bet less dynamic than I’d hope. My history with Solera aging is one of incredible noses with lackluster bodies, and this is no different. The body is fine, but it’s a letdown from the complexity suggested by the nose. I get caramel and maple syrup, with a hint of the red wine influence. That red wine note comes in full force on the finish, and that transition really does hit at just the right time. A bit of deep fruits on the finish along with a wonderfully dry mouth feel. This finish is solid. Does this bourbon have redeeming qualities? For sure. Will I enjoy this bottle? Absolutely. Will I ever buy another one? Absolutely not. If your going to charge $125 for your product, you better knock it out of the park, and this one just fails to live up to expectations, particularly when compared to Bardstown. I’m still waiting for someone to provide a sound argument to justify this Solera aging trend. I’ve yet to try one that doesn’t seem to disappoint in some category, and every time I think: why not just make an old batch and a young batch? The stuff I like about this whiskey (like unique complexity hidden behind an oak wall) is often found in older whiskeys. The stuff I don’t like as much (like uninteresting, if not offensive bodies) is often found in younger whiskeys. This Solera aging process at worst can make you fight like hell past an oak wall to get to crap flavors. Hillrock, I’m looking at you. At best (which to date, this is “best in show” for Solera aging) there’s some really provocative note part way through the drink that makes you feel disappointed later on. With this drink, it makes me wonder what could’ve been with a smaller, older batch.
    125.0 USD per Bottle
  9. Straight Edge Bourbon

    Bourbon — Tennessee and Kentucky (Finished and Bottled in California), USA

    Tasted
    3.75
    3.75 out of 5 stars
    This is the red wine finished division of my barrel finished bourbon bracket. This was a blind taste test between Slaughterhouse Straight Edge and Hooker’s House 7/21. Golf claps will be accepted but are not required. Both are good, and value/dollar, this one definitely wins (less than one third the price of a good Hooker’s). But if you have more dollars than sense, the Hooker’s House is where you want to go. Nose for this guy won, but I greatly prefer the body of my Hooker’s. And the finish on my Hooker’s was truly spectacular. In the category of overall enjoyment, I enjoy Hooker’s more. This ends the double entendre section of the review. Next blind taste test will be Hooker’s House v Bardstown. The tasting of Straight Edge: The bottle doesn’t tell you what type of finish this has, and it’s borderline deceptive on the fact that it’s finished at all. You want to assume the best about the distilleries who produce the products you like, but when the front of this bottle has “Straight Edge Bourbon Whiskey” boldly on the front and “finished and bottled by Splinter Group” on the back in tiny letters, it makes you wonder if there was any intent. No, it’s not “straight bourbon whiskey,” and it is finished in Cabernet casks, though you’d have to look it up to know that. If there was intent, I’d discourage against it in the future. It’s a solid product, and a barrel finish done well is something to be proud of, not something to hide on the back of the label. If there was no intent, and y’all just go for the minimalist look, cool. You do you. Nose is intriguing. Much like Boondocks did for port, this nose seems to have been completely dominated by the red wine influence. I like Cabernet so I don’t mind, but it’s strange to sniff this and know you’re in for a bourbon. Body definitely tastes like red wine, but a new flavor creeps in. I raided my wife’s spice cabinet to make sure I was right about this: it’s almond extract. It’s too intense to be a natural almond flavor, and IMHO it’s too intense to be enjoyable. There’s also caramel, yeast, and vanilla, but that almond flavor takes the reigns from about halfway through the body to the end of the finish. That finish makes me want less. There’s cinnamon and sugar, but the almond extract is the main player for sure. I’m finding that the longer I try to hold on the Cabernet flavors onto the body, the shorter I can make the almond on the finish. When done this way, the overall impression of the finish is raw dough for a cinnamon roll. It’s a very gentle drink, with next to no heat throughout. I guarantee you there are people out there who will love this. I can’t say it’s poorly made, but it’s not where I want to be when drinking a bourbon. It’s unique enough that I’d recommend anyone who is into barrel finishes to give it a shot. I’d also say anyone really into Cabernet could use this as a gateway bourbon if needed. If you’re super into almonds for some reason, this has the potential to be your favorite whiskey. I won’t shy away from making this a “man down” in the near future, and I won’t avoid Slaughterhouse‘s other products because I really can taste the talent here. Still, when it comes to Straight Edge, I won’t buy again.
    40.0 USD per Bottle
  10. Jefferson's Reserve Pritchard Hill Cabernet Cask Finish

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted
    4.25
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    This is the red wine finished division of my barrel finished bourbon bracket. This was a blind taste test between Jefferson’s Pritchard Hill and Bardstown Phifer Pavitt. No spellchecking devices were harmed in the making of this review. This was a slaughter. A truly unfair fight. Like Norte Dame v Alabama in a college football championship. Bardstown blew away Jefferson’s in every conceivable category, but unlike Norte Dame football, this wasn’t because Jefferson’s was bad. Bardstown was just truly exceptional. If it doesn’t win overall, I’ll be exceedingly surprised. Bardstown moves on against the winner of Slaughterhouse vs Hooker’s House. And yes, I am quite proud of that dictionally pleasing pairing. I’m literally flexing in my kitchen right now. The tasting of Jefferson’s: After trying the rum and Sauternes finished Jefferson’s reserve variations, I felt confident coming in that the red wine influence in this little guy would be an afterthought, if even detectable. The flavor profile for Jefferson’s reserve is just so damn opinionated, that it would take a lot to overpower it, right? Wrong. The nose is Jeffersonian to be sure. I get grape jelly, red pit fruits, and gummy bears. There is a noticeable difference to this nose however. I’d say someone took the dials on those scents and recalibrated. Synthetic sweetness via gummy bear was toned down, and natural sweetness via cherries and grapes turned up. I very much prefer this nose to that of Jefferson’s Reserve. Body is a bit of a letdown. I was hoping to get a noticeable shift here too, but I couldn’t detect it. If you like Jefferson’s Reserve, you’ll like this body. Overall impression is grape jelly and gummy bears. The finish did not disappoint! The overtly sweet body is completely removed on the first exhale. The dryness from the red wine influence is very noticeable, and I genuinely love it. Unmistakeable Cabernet flavor as well. Delicious. This is my favorite Jefferson’s product to date. Any complaints I have about Jefferson’s Reserve’s flavor profile is toned down, replaced with an influence from red wine which I find genuinely enjoyable. I may not have any Jefferson’s on my shelf in the distant future, but if I do, I’d bet a pinky toe that it’d be this one.
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