Friday, November 20, 2015

Yellowstone Limited Edition Bourbon

In December of 2014, spirit giant Luxco acquired a 50% equity position in Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky. Limestone Branch has been operated jointly by the two companies and Yellowstone bourbon is the first product released since the partnership. It is important to note that the product is a blend of three sourced bourbons, of which, only 6,000 bottles were produced. 

105 proof
Blend consists of the following:
-A wheated bourbon aged 7 years
-A high rye bourbon aged 7 years
-A high rye bourbon aged 12 years
Price- $105.99

Nose: Cheesecake, cinnamon, salted caramel, graham crackers.  

Taste: Sweet hard candies, red hots upfront, followed by spice cake with vanilla icing, honey, rye spice, subtle salt, and toasted oak.

Sweet spice with a warming oak. 

 This is a sweet yet spicy bourbon. It's mellow, but at 105 proof boasts a thick mouthfeel with rich flavors. I know people will ask, so let me mention this now- Yellowstone bourbon barrels were selected by Limestone branch President and Distiller, Steve Beam; it is not the same juice as Blood Oath. At a $105 price tag, its not the greatest bang for your buck, but as it is truly a limited release, I recommend you give this a try. Lastly, shout out to David Cole for another amazing bottle design. 

My Rating: B+ (Very Good) 

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Woodford Reserve Rye

When I first heard Woodford Reserve was adding rye whiskey as a permanent addition to their portfolio I was ecstatic. Its been well documented that they have been experimenting with rye whiskey for a while now and I thought to myself, if it was anything like the 2011 Masters Collection new cask rye, we would all be in for quite a treat. This whiskey was first released early 2015 and I had to reach out to an out of state friend to pick me up a bottle since it is currently only available in select markets.

Mashbill: 53% rye, 33% corn, and 14% malt
90.4 proof
No Age Statement

Nose: Starts off spicy, with heavy rye grain and black pepper. Crème brûlée, pear, apple, and cedar lurk in the background.  

Taste: Vanilla cream, green apple taffy, honey, with  cinnamon toast crunch, mint, rye and black pepper spice.

Finish: Medium in length with a sweet spice.  

While this is nothing like the 2012 Master's Collection Rye, this whiskey is delicious in its own right. It took a few pours to open up, but quickly became a favorite among the bottles I had open. If you are a Woodford Reserve fan like me, its a must try with a friendly price tag around $38. 

My Rating: 
B+ (Very Good) 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

John J. Bowman Virginia Straight Bourbon

A. Smith Bowman Distillery is an extremely small operation located in Fredericksburg, VA. They produce a variety of spirits, most notably their single barrel bourbon. While speaking with a tour guide during my first visit, I connected the dots on why I like this stuff so much; A. Smith Bowman receives double distilled bourbon mash from Buffalo Trace. They then distill the mash again and age it in Fredericksburg. A. Smith Bowman also stores the whiskey in a unique way; the barrels are stacked upright 2x2 on pallets. As they are such a small operation, this eliminates the need to turn/rotate the barrel and also allows for easy maneuvering of the barrels using a forklift.

Single Barrel
100 proof
No Age Statement
Price- $49.90

Nose: Loud with a savory bouquet of flavors. Toffee, mixed nuts, cinnamon sticks, and leather. 

Taste: Initial sweetness on the palate followed by a delicious and chewy spice. Candied pecans, black pepper, cinnamon/nutmeg, creamed corn, and charred oak.  

Finish: Smooth, long, and dry, with lingering toffee dipped oak. 

Conclusion: I was pleasantly surprised with this bourbon. The proof allows for a bold yet elegant bouquet on the nose and the taste follows suit. This is well balanced bourbon with a smooth finish. Slightly overpriced for an everyday sipper, but certainly something I will enjoy on occasion.
My Rating: B+ (Very Good)  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Barrell Bourbon Batch 005

The fifth bourbon expression from Barrell Bourbon has hit the shelves just in time for the Fall season. As the days are getting shorter and colder along the east coast, what better way to stay warm [and happy] than with cask strength bourbon!

8 years 3 months
124.7 proof
Bottle #299

Nose: Initial waves of egg custard, sweet corn and fudge, quickly followed by spice, peanuts, and oak.

Taste: Sweet from start to finish; almond nougat, cornbread, vanilla bean, Captain Crunch cereal, and tobacco.

Finish: Dry and warming with  hints of toffee and a slight spice. The slight heat is expected given the proof and adds a depth of personality.  

Conclusion: Batch 005 is a good whiskey curated from from the people at Barrell Bourbon. It's a fairly sweet expression but has a decent complexity of robust flavors that blend together nicely. Keep a look out for this on the shelves, its certainly worth a try! 

My Rating: B (Good)

Monday, September 14, 2015

2015 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

Below is the Blundon Bourbon review for each 2015 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Whiskey, as well as some detailed information provided in Buffalo Trace's Press Release sent out earlier this week. As always, these whiskeys will be gone before you know it, so good luck to all my whiskey lovers out there this year! Happy Hunting!

2015 Sazerac Rye 18
90 proof
18 years and 2 months old
4,011 total bottles 

Nose: Sugar cookies and raspberries. Mint floats out of the glass along with rye spice, leather, and a very healthy dose of aged oak.
Taste: Thick, chewy mouthfeel with vanilla cream, molasses, allspice and oak.
Finish: Long and dry... it seems to last forever..simply delicious. 

Rating: A

This is the last release of Sazerac Rye 18 that was vatted in stainless steel tanks to prevent further aging. Next year’s batch will be comprised of whiskey that is currently aging in the warehouse. If I was only able to get my hands on one BTAC bottle this year, I would choose Sazerac for this reason alone.

2015 Thomas H. Handy Rye
126.9 proof
6 years and 2 months old
10,825 total bottles 

Nose: Fresh baked macadamia nut cookies, red apples, cherries and baking spices.  
Taste: An initial wave of sweetness, reminiscent of a fruit roll up!  Figs, clove, and allspice.
Finish: Warming, the sweetness prevails after the burst of spice settles for a long, sweet finish.  

Rating: A

2015 George T Stagg Bourbon
138.2 proof
15 years and 1 month old
5,321 total bottles 

Nose: Chocolate covered cherries, molasses, rolled tobacco, maple syrup. 
Taste: Fudge, tobacco, vanilla, espresso, and charred oak.
Finish: Long and warming with an elegant, floral finish. 

Rating: A+

2015 Eagle Rare Bourbon
90 proof
17 year old
3,406 total bottles 

Nose: Tobacco, charred oak, caramel, vanilla, and toasted marshmallow.

Taste: An initial sweetness reminiscent of a Boston cream doughnut. This is short lived and overthrown by oak and tobacco.
Finish: Medium in length, piled high with charred wood chips. 

Rating: B+

2015 William Larue Weller Bourbon
134.6 proof
12 years and 3 months old
7,780 total bottles
Nose: Fresh honey-wheat bread. Burnt sugars, sweet vanilla, dark fruits, and thick layers of baking spices.
Taste: Extremely chewy, with red hots from start to finish. Vanilla, dark fruits, molasses, sweet spices, and toasted oak.
Finish: Long with a slight heat. Red hots. 

Rating: A+

In conclusion, these 2015 BTAC bottles are all delicious whiskeys; I would be excited to get my hands on any one of them. As with the nature of these whiskeys being so difficult to find, and at a suggested retail of $80 (though we all know many stores may charge in excess of $100), I hope the information I've provided will help guide your choice on which whiskeys to buy if you are so lucky enough to be given a choice! Here are the Blundon Bouron Review 2015 ranking:

1st: William Larue Weller
2nd: George T Stagg
3rd: Sazerac Rye 18
4th: Thomas H Handy
5th: Eagle Rare