Friday, December 12, 2014

Woodford Reserve Sonoma-Cutrer Finish

When Woodford Reserve announced the release of their 2014 Master's Collection- a straight bourbon whiskey finished in red wine barrels- I was left feeling frustrated (why not another experimental rye, hyperaged bourbon, or barrel proof?). Previous experiences with whiskeys such as Angels Envy and High Wests' Mid Winter Nights Dram (both similarly finished in wine barrels)  have left me with poor impressions and a bad taste in my mouth. Nonetheless, I am a Woodford Reserve fanboy at heart, and when my brother-in-law told me he had gotten his hands on a bottle of this Sonoma-Cutrer finish, I was excited and hoped that this whiskey would be different. 

Fully matured Woodford Reserve bourbon finished in sonoma-cutrer pinot noir barrels 
90.4 proof 

Color: Deep red

Nose: A blast of red fruits in the form of cherries, raspberries, and blackberries. In addition to some burnt caramel and oak, there is a heavy dose of baking spices in the form of clove and cinnamon.  

Taste: Consistent with the nose, this is an extremely fruit forward whiskey. Fruit punch, cherries, raspberries, and blackberries. Underneath are layers of spice and oak sweetness. 

 Finish: Medium in length (though quicker than anticipated), with a warm, fruity and oaky character. 

Conclusion: I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and character of this whiskey. The fruit and spice characters compliment the other nicely to combine for a  complex, warming, and fruit forward experience. My hat goes off to Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris, as he hit the nail on the head with this release. 

My Rating: 8.6 (Very Good) 

Bourbon Brothers Video Review: 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year

Happy December Everyone! Today we have another hot ticket item for review- Pappy Van Winkle 15, Family Reserve bourbon. There are currently six different PVW whiskies (five bourbons and one rye). All PVW bourbons use wheat in the mash bill (instead of rye). The whiskey used to be produced at the Stizel-Weller Factory but is currently made at Buffalo Trace.  Julian Van Winkle III is the current company President, and his grandfather "Pappy" is the man smoking that nice looking cigar on the label. 

15 years old
107 proof
Wheated mash bill

Color: Deep Mahogany 

Nose: Vanilla ice cream and burnt sugars initially float out of the glass. Buttered popcorn, cocoa powder, and a slight nuttiness follow suit. A healthy dose of toasted oak, along with a slight pepper spice, combine for what I can only imagine will be a unique and well-rounded bourbon. 

Taste: At 107 proof, PVW 15 boasts a rich, chewy mouthfeel. Caramel popcorn, toffee, and  marshmallow blend elegantly on the tip of the tongue. On the mid palate, there is graham cracker, cloves, black pepper, and freshly rolled tobacco. 

 Finish: A medium, full-bodied, yet mellow finish. Sweet spice and heavy, dry tobacco linger. 

Conclusion: This bourbon makes me want to sit by a campfire and light up a cigar with great friends. The sweet tobacco finish is the highlight of this bourbon as it makes you want to come back for another glass. At MSRP, it's surely worth every penny- if you can find it! 

My Rating: 8.9 (Very Good) 

Bourbon Brothers Video Review: 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary

On this snowy, Thanksgiving day, what better way to celebrate the start of the holiday season than with a Wild Turkey! This bottle of Diamond Anniversary pays tribute to Jimmy Russell's 60 years at the Wild Turkey Distillery. As the longest active Master Distiller in North America, Jimmy has forgotten more about bourbon than most of us have ever learned.

A blend of 13 and 16 year old bourbon barrels
91 proof
$125 750ml

Color: Golden Amber

Nose: Caramel and vanilla sweetness up front along with a light, citrus-orange zest.  It's an elegant and complex nose with a floral bouquet, black pepper spice, and toasted oak rising from the glass. 

Taste: Initial sweetness that transitions to a thick and spicy mouthfeel. It's well balanced with honey, vanilla, brown sugars, cayenne and black pepper.

 Finish: A medium finish with a delicate sweetness, rye spice, and mature oak.

Conclusion: This is hands down the best Wild Turkey bourbon I have ever tasted. Jimmy's son Eddie hand selected and blended this bourbon and it makes me really excited for his future releases. Diamond Anniversary bourbon is a very drinkable whiskey that hits all the high points of what you'd expect from a great bourbon. When I bought the bottle, I was initially disappointed that it was not 101 proof (come on, WT 101 is THE brand), but this certainly exceeds my expectations. 

My Rating: 9.2 (Great) 

Bourbon Brothers Review: 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bomberger's Blend of American Straight Whiskies

Today I am delighted to share my review of a special, limited release from Bomberger's Distillery. This blend of American straight whiskies- courtesy of Dick Stoll, the Master Distiller for Pennsylvania's Mitcher's- was released to support the construction of a brand new Bomberger's Distillery in Lancaster County. As the Nation's oldest distillery [dating back to 1753], Bomberger's was a catalyst for the growth of whiskey distilling to a large scale industry.

Batch 1, bottle #1339
86 proof
An 89/11 percent blend of 2 year bourbon (75% corn, 21% rye, 4% malt) and 3 year McKenzie rye whiskey

Color: Yellow gold

Nose: "Yes, I have room for dessert"! Chocolate covered cherries in a glass. Semi-sweet chocolate. Thick butter, corn and baking spices create a rich, dessert like aroma. 

Taste: Similar to the nose, many sweet notes initially grace the palate; sweet corn, chocolate, cherries, buttercream. Rye spice sneaks into the flavor profile to add depth to a already uniquely complex whiskey. 

 Finish: Fairly quick and smooth with subtle notes of buttercream sweetness, rye and pepper spice with the faintest amount of oak.

Conclusion: This blend of straight American whiskies is an excellent example of an ole style whiskey. It's very drinkable and makes me want to come back for another glass (and then another)! At such a young age, many of the barrel flavors that we know and love are curtailed, but overall a good whiskey that is certainly worth a try! 

My Rating: 83 (Good)

Video Review:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jefferson's Ocean

Calling all Captains, Pirates and Scalleywags! Thanks for checking in for another Blundon Bourbon review- today we are drinking Jefferon's Ocean, aged at sea. This whiskey is a great example of how the environment can affect the taste of whiskey.

Voyage [batch] 3
90 proof
Aged 6-8 years in a traditional rick house;
then aged for 6 months at sea, stopping at 5 different continents and crossing the equator 4 times.

Color: Bronze

Nose: Brown sugar splashes out of the glass and brings with it a general airiness for a very unique bouquet. Waves of toffee, raisins, and sea salt quickly permeate the glass. A healthy dose of cinnamon and aged rum create a delicate aroma.

Taste: Salted caramel, rum raisin ice cream, and oak create the base of the palate. Baking spices float on the mid palate with salty brine to combine for an extremely unqiue flavor profile.

 Finish: The sweet notes fade quickly, but you are left with an everlasting dry and salty mouth-feel.

Conclusion: It's a very interesting dram. A general saltiness stays with you from start to finish. I love bourbon with character and I can only think this hits the mark for what Master Blender Trey Zoller was hoping to accomplish- I'm really glad I experienced it. That being said, a bit too satly for my taste; and for the price, I will not seek out voyage #4.

My Rating: 85 (Very Good)

Video Review: