"The true pioneer of civilization is not the newspaper, not religion, not the railroad--but whiskey!" - Mark Twain
Old Forester Single Barrel
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTaste: 1.5 oz neat in Glen Cairn. This is Binny#4294, Floor 4, Warehouse L Nose: (3.75) Sweet Tea and oak with some peppery notes. Definate improvement from the last pick I had. Not complex but very pleasing. The nail polish remover that I hated the last time isn't there this time. Palate: (3.75) Very spicy for an Old Forester at first sip. I get a bit of banana, with more peppery flavors. Buttery mouthfeel and more well rounded. Honestly amazes me that this is the same mashbill and proofed at 90. It is a bit hot but tending to be a rye forward enthusiast I like it. Finish:(3.75) lingers on the palate in a good way. Oaky and drying. This might be a complaint for some but I appreciate some of the rugged woody notes. Fades to a hint of brown sugar. Overall: A perfect study on why different single barrels are not the same. The first one I sampled 3 mos ago left me with question marks. This one left me with a new appreciation. It is not in a league with any of the 4 whiskey rows, but then again it is about $20 less. All in all it is better than the shelf 90 proof, but not the best store pick I have had this year. It is solid but in my opinion an "inbetweener"39.99 USD per Bottle
Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTaste: 1.5 oz. pour (×3!) Neat in glen cairn. Binnys pick #19-00035, floor 4, Rick CN A Nose (5): Juicy fruit gum, cherries, baking spices and just enough ethanol to let you know this is serious. Palate (5): orchard fruit basket, dark plums, red apples, carmel over vanilla nougat. So juicy and vibrant it is like "fresh squeezed." Finish (5) : Hint of fresh squeezed pear juice followed by a spicy cinnamon finish. The Juicy Fruit gum on the nose then lingers for a long after effect. Overall: This is a bourbon that reminds me of why I like bourbon! So well balanced, so many good flavors together in cohesion. It is easy to drink, easy to like, and at 59.99 a no brainer. I have had 5 different Russell's SiB picks in the past 3 years. This one is absolutely the best so far.59.99 USD per Bottle
Michter's US*1 Barrel Strength Kentucky Straight Rye (2019 Release)
Rye — Kentucky, USATastedTaste: 2 oz. neat in glen cairn Nose: (4.75) Chocolate, cherries, toasted buttered rye bread, red apples, cereal bars, and smoke. Super luxurious nose. You smell it, you want to taste it plain and simple. This is rich. Palate (5.0): The apples and brown sugar come through, but then you get a spicy hit. Allspice perhaps? That rich dark chocolate is on the back palate along with the cherry. Reminds me of biting into a chocolate covered cherry cordial. The mouthfeel is buttery, not coating. The legs are thick and slow with this one. Finish: (5.0) Sweet cream butter, chocolate, rye, and a puff of smoke. The cereal bar on the nose comes in. There is some well mannered oak too. Overall: I have waited to rate this one until now. It is such an intense and delicious offering at the get go I didn't want to jump to judgement. The verdict is in.....hands down, if not THE best rye out there. I still cant decide between this or the Cornerstone Rye. They are different but the difference is like trying to choose your favorite car between a classic Corvette or a Shelby GT 500. Different animals, gorgeous in their own right74.99 USD per Bottle
Four Roses Single Barrel Select Binny's OESO
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTaste: 2 oz, neat in Glen Cairn. Nose: (4.5) Full of caramel, and concord grape jam. It is sweet, rich, and full of sweet stewed fruits. Palate: (4.5) Grapes, apples, vanilla, and chewy taffy. There is a sweetness about it but not overdone. The mouthfeel is thick and coating. Finish: (4.25) Finishes for days. The grape jam precludes an almost fig-newton type aftertaste. There is a bit of oak that comes in that lets you know this has some age to it. Overall: This is a great pick! Apparently 11 yrs., 6mos is the perfect time to rest a delicious single barrel OESO. I cant wait to try the other Binny's select picked barrel recipes I got on this release. OBSQ is my next bottle to open once this one is gone. Can't wait to do a side by side comparison and then pick one after sampling blind.74.99 USD per BottleBinny's Beverage Depot
Whip Saw Rye
Rye — USATastedTaste: 1.5 oz neat in Glen Cairn and then 2 drops. Nose (3.0): There is a menthol that hits me, almost like a eucalyptas cough drop which is a bit off putting. I get rye, dill, and green fruit. Not my favorite nose. Taste (3.5) : I get a very raw rye taste, a bit of dill, some chocolate, and tart berries. That menthol lessens its grip, but is still there and is my major complaint. Not sure if it is more menthol now or like chewing rye seeds. More maneageable on the palate then when it overwhelmed my nose a bit. My first sip affirms that this is to be experienced more as a rye "experiment" than a conventional rye whiskey. I knew it going in, no doubts now. The mouthfeel is thicker and coating. It is a full, rich spirit. Finish (3.0): Longer and drier. I get a fresh young wood type flavor that isn't particularly bad but it is not delicious either. The wine barrel finishing is definately present here and I think that is what might save the finish from being a disaster. Overall: I was hoping for something like MWND, but got something closer to Catoctin Creek (which I did not enjoy). There is interesting notes in here, and the wine idea is interesting, but to me the rye is too young. My mind is always open to new finishing as although I tend to like traditional well crafted, aged bourbons and ryes I have really enjoyed some of the finished ones (WT Revival, MWND, Rieger'sto name a few). To me this one just isn't good enough executed rye. When it is as high a rye in the mash as this, it has to be aged well. This just isn't that.
Rieger's Kansas City Whiskey
Other Whiskey — Indiana (bottled in Missouri), USATastedTaste: 1.5 oz neat in glen cairn, then 2 drops spring water. Nose. (4.0): Cherry, grape and vanilla prevail with some nice butterscotch notes. There is a bit of musty barnyard hay or barrel funk like you might get in a Wild Turkey, or a good rum. I really like the nose here. Reminds me alot of Wild Turkey Revival for 1/3 the price. Taste (3.75): Initially this is sweet going in. Cherry and vanilla hit on the front with a bit of sweet cream corn. There is a jam-like quality to this, but then it gets dry. Then comes some baking spices that gives it a tartness. That drying I spoke of gets a little bit more intense as this plays through. Dry red wine lovers will dig it. Finish (3.5): For the proof this has a medium finish. I get the tannic oak, vanilla, and a bit of anise or black licorice trailing off with some smokiness. Overall: This is a very good whiskey given a 39.00 price tag. It is interestingly sweet yet still plays within the bounds of quality spirit and not a cheap bourbon masked by a good sherry. Reminds me so much of Wild Turkey Revival. I put them side by side blind and it was hard for me to discern except the Rieger's dries out quicker and is not as coating. I would definately recommend a bottle. This is one that you bring to a group tasting, don't discuss the blending or lack of provenance (Distilled in Indiana, bottled in Missouri, so I am guessing blended MGPS), and then the group will say, "huh? Where did you get that? It is really good. **Side Note: My sampling was 2017 Collector's Addition. Don't think that changes anything but the label BUT I want to be sure so not to confuse***39.99 USD per Bottle
Booker's Bourbon Batch 2015-03 "The Center Cut"
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTaste: 2 oz pour neat in glen cairn and then 4 drops spring water. Nose: (4.75) It is luscious and seriously Booker's. Let's you know right away that this is going to be a monster pour. Caramel, corn, a bit of maple, oak, apple, and that peanuttiness that comes from quality Jim Beam hits you right in the nose. It isn't a Mike Tyson type I am a brawler and knock you down punch, but more of a Muhammad Ali in his prime type I can dance and then knock you out type of a nose. There is ethanol but once it clears.... hello! Taste: (5.0) peanuts turn to peanut butter with the nice buttery coating. The front palate reminds me of every thing good about a taffy apple. Midway it give up maple syrup, and then the backend is oak. The palate stages like a rocket trip. I say this because it is not necessarilly a flavor bomb, but better. It is all that is good about vanilla, caramel, apple, peanuts, and then musty, tannic oak. There is also a chewiness in this that really makes it interesting. Finish: (5.0) Hugs you, cuddles you and then kicks you in the ass as if to say, "get some." The finish is long, luxurious and like watching Ali finish off an opponent after he ropa-doped him. A barrel proof of this skill belongs on my shelf. Overall: This lives up to the praise. This is what I look for in bourbon! It is strong but not rough. It is polished but not afraid to take it to you. It floats like a butterfly but stings like a bee!. Glad a Minnesota friend got me 2 bottles at $59 because I will not give them up for double.59.0 USD per Bottle
Parker's Heritage Barrel Finished in Orange Curaçao Barrels
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTaste: 2 oz neat in glen cairn, and then 3 drops water. Nose: (2.5) Ethanol, orange rinds and some burnt vanilla. There is a bitterness here that turns me off, but there is enough interest to make me want to keep on pushing to see where this goes. Palate: (2.25) Bitter orange rind here is what I strongly get. Water seems to make the bitterness worse. Tastes how an Old Fashioned would be if no sugar cubes or bar syrup were added, and it was overly dashed with orange bitters. There is no sweetness here whatsoever. Finsh: (2.25) The burn is raw with this one. I do get a bit of vanilla after the orange rind wears off but it tastes like immitation vanilla that you might use for baking. Also I get a bit of soapiness. Overall: Had so much excitement for this one that fell short. I was hoping for a sweet, rich, warming sipper that might be more of a dreamsicle. What I got was more like chewing on a bourbon soaked orange rind. The redeeming quality is that I think with a few sugar cubes (definately no bitters needed), some ice, and some luxardo cherries, this will be an out of the bottle, almost pre-made Old Fashioned...... but an expensive one at that. Walk away from this one.
Four Roses Single Barrel Private Selection Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTaste: 1.5 oz in glen cairn neat. Mine was Binny's pick, OESO 11yrs, 6 mos. Barrel 33-1f, warehouse PN., 105 proof Nose: (4.75) Sweeter side, peanuts, oak, grape jam, caramel. This is rich and luxurious Palate: (5.0) Flavor bomb of rich stewed fruit. Tastes like home made concord grape jam, dark plumbs, and bit o honey. Mouthfeel is rich and juicy as if you actually bit into those fruits. Finish (4.75): Long, grapey, may fool you that it had some type of a sherry cask finish but it didn't. No burn but a beautiful warming. Overall: May be my vote for best single barrel pick of the year. It is that good.74.99 USD per Bottle
Very Old Barton 100 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedOverall: Nose is aweful. Medicinal and grassy. So bad I hesitated to try it. The palatte was better. Lots of rye and pepper and a few sweet notes. I dispute the "very old" nomenclature as this tastes very young. Finish is meh. There is some vanilla but very astrigent