Woodford Reserve Barrel Finished Rye
Rye — Kentucky, USATastedNose: Butterscotch Vanilla Charred meats Brown sugar Marjoram Dried Marshmallow Rye spice (allspice, fennel) Taste: Very wood heavy Sweet tea Melted caramel Taste is extremely offputting. It is like drinking sugar water that has had freshly-toasted wood chips sitting in it for a week. I'm glad Woodford performs these experiments, but I think this one belongs in the vault.
American Single Malt — Sante Fe, USATastedCask strength Colkegan Nose: Leather Butterscotch Caramel Dates Mesquite smoke Light tobacco (i.e., Connecticut) Taste: Some brine Pepper Tobacco Vanilla Mesquite A really great sipping whiskey. The cask strength really brings out the intense barrel notes. The mesquite notes are more prominent in the nose, but hover around in the taste. Love the New Mexican whiskey, and this is my favorite of the 3 Colkegan offerings (2 others to follow, hopefully).
Port Charlotte 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedNose: Cereals, malt syrup (if you've ever brewed beer) Golden raisins Toffee Pears in syrup Baked apples Pepper (pink?) Sweet smoke Thyme Taste: Toffee and cereal notes come through. Distiller.com's review mentions "aggressive phenols". I love scotch and peaty scotch, but my wallet isn't deep enough to try them a lot, and I'd say that "aggressive phenols" describes the fistful of flavor, in which I'm having a hard time picking out individual notes. Maybe a little grassy? Slight brine. Flavor rides into the sunset on an oak tannin note. Overall a really awesome whiskey. Wish a little more of the sweetness teased by the nose showed up in the taste, but that's really a nit pick.
Old Forester Single Barrel Bourbon 90 Proof
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedOregon selection. Nose: Slightly nutty Heavy, rich oak tones Particularly vanilla Fall spices (PSL) Light herbal aroma, eucalyptus? Taste: Immediately hit with herbal note that quickly subsides to a mellow caramel sweetness Turns to sharp tannins, but eventually settles to a chocolate flavor Not bad, but not really inspiring. Disappointing as a single barrel selection. I don't know who in the state of Oregon picked this, but they did a poor job.
Stranahan’s Single Malt Whiskey: Single Barrel, Cask Strength
American Single Malt — Colorado, USATastedBatch 20, Staff Pick Nose: Cherries Dark Fruit (Plums) Bitter herbs Cinnamon Red apple Vanilla Taste: Chocolate Espresso Nutty Very rich, like a hard candy caramel Light oakiness Basically Stranahan's on steroids. Taste is a surprise based on the aroma. Very delicious, wish I could get it from somewhere other than the distillery.
W.L. Weller Special Reserve
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNose: Cinnamon Other baking spices Caramel Herbal tea Navajo tea Taste: Surprisingly spicy given the lack of rye, but not like a rye spice, more like sweet herbs Lingering, slightly artificial, aftertaste that coats the top and back of the tongue. A little bit of barrel tannin Overall a solid ~$25 bourbon if you can find it for that price, but please don't spend more than $40 on it, it's not worth that much. It has that nice wheater smell, taste, and mouthfeel that I can't clearly and specifically describe (creamy? like melted softserve?).
Courvoisier VS Cognac
Cognac — Cognac, FranceTastedNose: Blueberry syrup Caramel Apricot Canned pear syrup Palate: Light fruitiness, mostly the apricot and pear Offputting bitterness that eventually turns into a tannin-like aftertaste I'm not experienced with brandy, so take with a grain of salt. I'm not terribly impressed with this. It noses young and tastes artificial. Not complex. I wouldn't turn down a free glass, and it's just interesting enough to pique my curiosity to brandy, but for $30 I'll buy a bottle of Bushmills Black Bush and pocket the remaining $3.
Evan Williams 1783 Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNose: Nuttiness, like almonds and walnuts Caramel Very faint herbal note Black tea Palate: Slightly peppery, evolving into an oakiness, then a long barrel tannin finish A little oily My ratings take cost into account, and for the price this is an okay bourbon, but EWBiB is about the same price and 10x better. I expect a cheap bourbon to basically be a rough picture of bourbon, and this does not fit the bill.
Koval Single Barrel Oat
Other Whiskey — Illinois, USATastedNose: Herbs, primarily thyme and marjoram Oak char (i.e., brown sugar, toasted marshmallow) Faint black pepper Caramel Taste: Baking spices Potpourri Creamy and rich, like coffee ice cream Tanniny finish The nose on this whiskey is truly exquisite. If my house smelled like this whiskey I'd be in heaven. The taste is good, but doesn't measure up to the nose. Nevertheless, this is a Koval product I'd probably buy again. Odd that my favorite Koval choices have been the Oat and Millet whiskey.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon Batch C918
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedNose: Intense Syrup (brown rice) Nutty Dark Cherry Hay or dustiness? Palate: Intense pepperiness on front of palate Gives way to chocolate note I find in standard ECSmB Finishes with a slightly tanniny oakiness on back of palate Caramel Brown sugar A complete barrel proof selection, though extremely intense.