Blended — ScotlandReviewed February 22, 2024 (edited February 23, 2024)Oh Boy. When you can get a bottle of this swill + a bottle of EH Taylor Small Batch for $10 LESS than the bottle of Taylor Small Batch alone.... you know this stuff ain't gonna be good. So why do I insist on doing this to myself? Let's get this going. The nose smells like rubbing alcohol, musty prunes and grape jelly for some reason. Already, the relatively young age statement is evident in the nose, this stuff smells like it's going to pack of a wallop of astringency. Shockingly... and this is maybe the best thing I will say about this blended whiskey, it isn't that astringent or offensive. It kind of just tastes like a watered down mediocre blend. Which... is probably exactly what it is. The front of the taste is.. well.. nothing really. Maybe some of the musty prune but hard to pick up. As the taste reaches mid, the alcohol burn makes your tongue and mouth tingle. Again, very difficult to pick up much taste but I'm getting a flat Dr. Pepper vibe from this stuff. The finish turns oddly sour. Like post corn syrup sour. You know that weird sour after taste you get after drinking Coca Cola? That kind of sour. Do yourself a favor. If you happen to get a bottle of this stuff for free ( or even get PAID to take a bottle ) just use the contents for something other than drinking.
Maker's Mark Cellar Aged (2023 Release)
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed January 22, 2024 (edited January 23, 2024)Oh boy. Ever since Cellar Aged was announced, I searched every bar I could find, high and low for a taste. I couldn't justify the prices this bottle was going for in my area. Alas, that taste was never to be. And then I got a notification from a global whiskey distributor that they had bottles available for about $200 less than market value local to me. Yes, that still makes this a ridiculously pricey bottle... but I gave in. After all, I'm a bit of a Maker's Mark fanboy having previously collected every edition of their now defunct Wood Finishing Series. The nose is quite heavenly. It reminds me of the first time I caught a whiff of RC6 and realized that Maker's Mark could be so much more than Maker's 46. It's bold from the proof but deliciously sweet. Caramel syrup drizzled over Monkey Bread ( do you remember eating this as a kid? ). Maple Syrup and vanilla bean carry the sweet nose but wait.... do I detect some spiciness? Besides the cinnamon from the Monkey Bread, some very faint baking spice hides somewhere behind all of the viscous sweet. That viscosity carries into the palate. First thing you notice is just how tongue coating and oily the mouth feel of this bourbon is. Delicious caramel syrup drapes that cinnamon sweet, sticky Monkey Bread on the nose. Dark cherries make an appearance somewhere mid palate and as the taste goes down, the back of the taste introduces some cinnamon spice to the party. Or perhaps it stuck around from the front of the taste to the back. As the finish comes on, that spice stays but ushers in drier flavors such as leather and charred oak. It's a long lasting finish with an emphasis on the sweet cinnamon heat that's stayed all the way from the nose to the tail end of the finish. Bravo to Maker's Mark for this one. Boo to all of the gougers who are selling this bottle for quadruple MSRP. If you get a chance to try this Bourbon, please do. You might think you know Maker's Mark, but this bottle will challenge that notion. A nearly perfect bourbon.
Blended American Whiskey — USAReviewed January 21, 2024 (edited January 22, 2024)There's been some online buzz surrounding this new blended whiskey offering from Buffalo Trace. Obtainable, affordable... but is it any good? The nose is pretty light, which is ok. Many fine whiskies I've tried... have light noses. However, of what you CAN smell..... there is a bit more concern there. There is vanilla, cream and tannic oak but more importantly there is an odd underlying smell of sharpie marker there, too. Yikes, not a great start. The taste is rather light, as well but pretty sweet. Some sweet caramel with candy corn hit the palate. There might be a hint of baking spices before the finish rolls on through, but the light taste really makes it a bit hard to tell. The finish is short and not oily. An interesting backdrop of rye spices mingle with some vanilla before dissipating into nothingness. There is oddly the aftertaste one can get from sweetened corn syrup like what you find in coca cola. Yeah... I don't know about this one. Proof that not everything Buffalo Trace is gold: Traveller Whiskey just doesn't quite cut the mustard for me.
Oban 18 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed January 2, 2024 (edited January 3, 2024)I received a rather lovely bottle of Oban 18 year for Christmas from a friend and neighbor. A surprising gift, considering that he is not a whiskey man himself. The nose is bright and vibrant with citrus shining past all else. There's some sweet orange jam with honey, prunes and a very faint, interesting water biscuit thing going on in the background. As you take in the sip, tannic oak opens up with some apples and tongue tingling spice reminiscent of a hot toddy. This whiskey is very very dry, with flavors of leather coming out on the back half of the palate. There's also a tiny bit of dried seaweed there... almost peat smoke in quality but not quite there. As the spice and tongue pricking subsides and amongst the remnants of the dry back of the taste, some sweetness finds its way back on the finish in the form of honey and raisins but it isn't strong. Not nearly as strong as the palate. It is however; quite long and satisfying. There's a bit too much spice and dryness going on here for me but I prefer sweet and oily whiskies. I guess that's why I am inherently a bourbon man myself. That said, it's an interesting and definitely unique selection.
Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon Batch C923
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed December 24, 2023 (edited December 26, 2023)You know, I've never actually tried a Larceny Barrel Proof release before and have always heard good things. I had the chance to snag up a bottle at MSRP while I was buying a bottle of Stagg 23b and decided to jump on it. Wow... it this stuff really 126 proof? The nose certainly doesn't smell like it. Throughout the nose is a underlying spicy hit of cinnamon. Tickles the nose ever so slightly. But on top of that cinnamon is brown sugar, lemon peels some leather and slightly charred, damp wood ( think: campfire the morning after ). The taste opens with salted caramel. There's a really interesting thick mouthfeel with some saltiness mixed in with the sweet. The spicy cinnamon carries a theme throughout but there's definitely some yummy honey roasted nuts and brown sugar in there too. The more you drink, the more that spice opens up and devours your palate so enjoy that first sip ever so carefully. At the start of the finish an odd fruity tartness lies in waiting. Tastes like under ripened cherries, but its hardly noticeable past the spicy cinnamon, dry leather and oak tannins. The proof makes itself known on the finish, as the tummy warming drink fills you with fiery proof heat. Yeah this one is a solid sipper full stop, not just for its proof. If you can find a bottle at MSRP, I'd swoop it up because it is quite the bargain.
Stagg barrel proof batch 23b
Bourbon — Kentucky , USAReviewed December 24, 2023 (edited February 3, 2024)I'm always rather weary of Stagg. Albeit not the most popular opinion, I've now tasted 2 different batches ( 18 and 22b ) and found them both to be a bit too hot to really be amongst the best. By chance I was offered a bottle of 23b for the incredibly modest price of $99 and I was all too happy to pick this up. Maybe third time's a charm? Although the nose does smell a bit hot, much like 22b; this particular batch doesn't smell nearly as hot as 127.8 proof would suggest. Vanilla and toffee are gentle and sweet at first but end up pushing towards bittersweet chocolate toward mid nose. A little kick of rye spice and some tannic oak turn that nose quite dry. The taste explodes with baking spices and tongue tingle. The proof is noticeable in burn only but there isn't a sinus clearing ethanol hit. Right about mid taste some of that dark chocolate mixes in with the baking spices and actually, is quite appropriate as a holiday dram. There's a bit of rye bread quality about this mid taste, an interesting touch to the background of spiciness. The finish is decidedly dry and spicy. That baking spice bomb from the taste never really fades away but on the finish, some tannic oak joins the party. The finish is actually quite long and oily. Some may like this long and drying type of finish but I'm not a huge fan ( what can I say, I have a sweet tooth when it comes to bourbon ). This doesn't feel quite as potent as the last Stagg I tried, 22b. And by the proof, it isn't far off ( 130 vs 127.8 ) but I think its how that proof is delivered. This feels a bit more polished than 22b but I'd still really love to try a Stagg that is less spice and more sweet.
Rye — Kentucky, USAReviewed December 20, 2023 (edited December 26, 2023)I'm not a rye fan, not in the least bit. But I will concede that in a lot of mixed drinks ( most of which are sweet ), a spicier rye would certainly shine. I had initially purchased Smoke Wagon's Uncut, Unfiltered for the task but realized that is quite a good bourbon on its own and felt it would be a shame to waste it in mixed drinks. Enter - Sazerac Rye. A classic that I've never had due to my aversions to Rye. Of course - if I'm to use this in mixed drinks... surely I have to give it a taste on its own, no? Interestingly, the nose doesn't combo punch you with spice. Cherries, orange pith and some darker pitted fruit ( perhaps plums ) mix together with charred oak, rye spice and beeswax. Caramel appears for a very brief moment on the initial taste and then comes the surprisingly sweet and fruity flavors. Cherries and orange pith come back strong from the nose but there is a slight underlying vanilla quality about this. There's some dryness going on here, too - toward the back of the taste with some tannic oak. The finish shines with rye spice and the traditional herbaceous flavors that come with it. An interesting sweet licorice thing happens right before chocolate and cherries take center stage. There's a little bit of tongue tingle in the form of peppercorns. The finish is pretty dry, despite the sweet/fruity hit mid finish. You know something? I don't hate it. Actually this really wipes the floor with some other sub $40 bottles I know of let alone sub $20. Its just fine neat but I have a feeling it will make a very tasty cocktail.
Smoke Wagon Uncut Unfiltered Bourbon
Bourbon — Indiana (bottled in Nevada), USAReviewed December 19, 2023 (edited January 21, 2024)In the quest to search for a higher Rye bourbon to make drinks with ( although I now realize, Smoke Wagon Uncut Unfiltered is probably a bit too nice to mix ), I decided to pick up a bottle of this stuff that a buddy of mine swears by. I had a taste last night, without really stopping to write down notes and I was mightily impressed... Although there is an underlying ethanol hit from the proof, there is some pleasantly sweet caramel on the nose with some herbaceous rye spice and orange pith. Smells like it will be mostly dry and spicy with a little sweetness. What an insanely unique taste this is. It opens with sweet and innocent caramel but is almost immediately engulfed in bittersweet dark chocolate and cherries. The rye hits full strength about mid palate; leather and tannic oak packs a bitter wallop along with some tongue prickling pepper and as these flavors fade toward the finish, that herbaceous rye spice stays. The finish is decidedly dry. Leather and tannic oak finish this rather enjoyable if not slightly hectic and conflicted bourbon. You know, its unique for sure without being offensive. That's HARD to pull off in the world of bourbon. I'd say this is well worth the price of admission for such a unique drink.
Mi Familia Flores Extra Anejo Cristalino Tequila
Tequila Extra Añejo — MexicoReviewed December 14, 2023 (edited December 15, 2023)What an interesting tequila this is. I'm composing these tasting notes along side my tasting notes on Mi Familia Flores' standard Anejo. And it is almost like they are two different tequilas completely. The nose on this Anejo Cristalino is pretty devoid of that familiar agave scent but instead you get a super interesting vanilla pound cake thing going on with maybe some lemon buttercream? But its so faint and so delicate, you can hardly even smell anything at all. The taste is just as interesting as the nose. Luckily, the subtle nature of the nose doesn't carry into the taste and this tequila is full of character. Vanilla and butterscotch kick off the sweetness but some agave is thrown in with spicy cinnamon red hots and some interesting herbal eucalyptus. There's definitely some tongue tingle from the cinnamon as you move toward the finish. The finish keeps the sweetness. There's a vanilla coke thing going here - vanilla with some tongue fizz from the cinnamon that's long gone but has left a signature tongue tingle. Boy this one is very enjoyable too although I'd say the Reposado Cristalino is, so far; my favorite of the bunch. Makes me want to collect them all and try em out.
Mi Familia Flores Reposado Cristalino
Tequila Reposado — MexicoReviewed December 14, 2023 (edited December 15, 2023)You know... I've grown quite fond of the Mi Familia Flores tequila line up. Some die hard tequila snobs turn up their nose at me when I tell them that, but I appreciate the sweet tastes from their Anejo and Extra Anejo albeit they might lean a little TOO heavy in the realm of sweet. These Cristalino tequilas are really quite intriguing to me, especially because I am just starting to venture into the world of tequilas. So I picked up a Reposado Cristalino and an Anejo Cristalino to enjoy. The clear color make my brain think I'm drinking a Blanco which brings back my early 20s and Hornitos ( gag ). Let's just gloss over that, shall we? The agave aroma on the nose is much more prevalent than their Anejo and Extra Anejo offerings but not sharp like a Blanco. Smelling past the agave scent, you pick up a little butterscotch and some sweeter baking spice like nutmeg and cinnamon. There's a wee bit of juicy and zesty orange candy. I think the taste of this Reposado Cristalino strikes the balance between sweet, clean and vibrant beautifully. Where the Extra Anejo was TOO sweet and the Anejo was just a tad on the sweet side, this Reposado Cristalino is, by comparison; bright and vibrant. Deliciously sweet caramel, vanilla and butterscotch open the taste as is the norm for Familia Flores selections. Some fiery black pepper shoots some spice right up the middle of your tongue as that taste nears mid. Some honey, cloves and cinnamon join the fun with your tongue still tingling from the pepper spice as it all leads towards the finish. The finish on this is sweet, maybe a little too sweet still. Sugary bubble gum and agave syrup join a faint tart citrusy flavor. The underlying sweetness and citrus qualities remind me of orange soda, sans fizz. Unlike many Reposados I've tried in the past, this one is distinctly lacking flavors that would be imparted by wood cask aging. And I think that's partly to do with the filtration method to create this Cristalino. But this is indeed a delightfully sweet and spicy Tequila I would whole heartedly recommend to anyone looking to break into tequila.