Monday, May 16, 2016

E.H. Taylor Seasoned Wood Bourbon

The latest E. H. Taylor bourbon has just been released in limited quantities!  I was excited to get my hands on this as it's the first wheated bourbon in the E.H Taylor collection. In addition, seasoned wood is unique as it refers to a proprietary process used to season the staves before they were crafted into barrels.

-Bottled in Bond, press release states "aged for well over a decade"
-100 proof 
-Price: $69

Nose: Sweet caramel and vanilla cake wrapped in a soft wheat bouquet. It's a very delicate aroma, packed with citrus notes, spicy clove, bl
ack pepper, and charred oak.  

Taste: Sweet upfront with a bright mid palate bursting with caramel, butterscotch, and orange peel. The body is soft, yet it's complexity is enhanced by a backbone of spices, predominantly clove, cinnamon, black pepper, and oak.

Finish: Shorter than anticipated with an aftertaste of spice and wood. 

Conclusion: Every time one of these limited bourbons is announced, a cloud of hype is formed and the internet is abuzz with anticipation. All in all, this is your standard Buffalo Trace wheater with additional layers of depth and complexity; it's a very good bourbon that easily met my expectations.

My Rating:  B+ (Very Good)

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Blanton's Straight From The Barrel

The Blanton's product line (Buffalo Trace Distillery) consists of four different bourbons. Domestically we can get our hands on the flagship, single barrel bottle. In international markets however- including some cruise destinations- there are three other options which are not available in the United States. While on a cruise stop in Grand Cayman, my brother-in-law stumbled across a few of these international bottles. We wanted to hold onto these for special occasions, and decided to pick Blanton's straight from the barrel as  our 100th Bourbon Brothers video review. I want to say thanks to all my readers (and watchers for those of you who subscribe to our Youtube channel) for the support; enjoy the review, and here's to 100 more!

-2013 release, barrel 184
-No Age Statement
-130.9 proof 
-Price: $50

Nose: Wow. Upfront is an intense foundation of brown sugar, fortified by a bold fudge and vanilla-icing
sweetness. Multiple layers of baking spices and toasted oak construct a mouth-watering aroma.

Taste: Immediately you are met by a deep and robust profile; there is a sweet tobacco backbone which transitions from start to finish. Brown sugar, leather, toasted oak. It's complexity is heightened by the never-ending layers of spice- cinnamon, clove, and black pepper.

Finish: This bourbon stays in your chest for a long, long time. It's enticingly smooth, with sweet tobacco and toasted oak.

Conclusion: This is one hell of a bourbon- the fact that it can only be purchased internationally in a damn shame. If you live overseas or are lucky enough to stumble across a bottle, pick one up and thank yourself later.

My Rating:  A (Great)

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

W.L. Weller 12 Year Bourbon

Early bourbon pioneer William Larue Weller is credited as the first distiller to use wheat in their bourbon mash in replace of rye. Buffalo Trace uses the same wheated mashbill to create all of their wheated whiskey. When my wife and I visited the Distillery, we got to taste the wheated white dog right off the still; it was good, but let's see what effect 12 years in a barrel will give us.

-Buffalo Trace wheated mash bill
-12 years old
-90 proof 
-Price: $28

Nose: Pleasant with a lot of rich vanilla, sweet tobacco, candied caramel, and oak. 

Taste: A soft, silky mouth feel that starts with a sweet and creamy vanilla,. This is followed fiercely by cinnamon candies and tobacco spice. The mid palate is absorbed with wheat and ample amounts of barrel char. The notes all seem to have a sweet tinge to them. 

Finish: Fairly quick with a sweet, dry tobacco.

Conclusion: This bourbon shares many characteristics with Van Winkle Lot B, which makes sense as they use the same mash bill, same proof, and same age. One can say this is Lot B that didn’t make the cut; for that I'll call it Pappy Lite. In all seriousness this is very good bourbon; I just wish I lived in a world where it's not impossible to find.

My Rating:  B+ (Very Good)

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Willett Family Estate 11 Year Bourbon

The Willett Distillery in Bardstown produces a variety of nice products. Their Willett Family Estate line is more or less a gift shop/Distillery only release of exclusively sourced whiskey. The downside of the WFE line is the price; you are you are paying for the limited release factor. That being said, these are very quality products and are usually worth seeking out. 

-Barrel 1681, bottle 99/158
-11 years old
-117.2 proof 
-Price: $110

Nose: Sweet with initials whiffs of vanilla cream
and fudge. Powdered sugar toasted bread, and cinnamon spice balance a very bold yet elegant aroma. 

The flavors on the nose culminate into a french-toast style note on the palate. It's complex, with a strong herbal presence, baking spices, and vanilla flavored tobacco on the back end.
Finish: Warming with hard-candied sweetness and spiced tobacco.
A friendly heat lays in your chest for a long time. 

Conclusion: This is a smooth and complex bourbon. It balances most of the flavor spectrumsweet, spicy, and herbal notes combine for an enjoyable drink. In addition to the juice, I must say I love the labeling/packaging.
If you are on the bourbon trail, make sure to stick your head in the gift shop early in the morning and you may get lucky.

My Rating:  B+ (Very Good)

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Old Scout TEN bourbon

Smooth Ambler Spirits Company is a craft distillery located in Maxwelton, West Virginia.  While they distill a variety of spirits, they also source a significant amount of the whiskey they sell. They refer this sourcing as "scouting", thus all the whiskey they source is labeled under the sub-brand "Old Scout". The label on Old Scout TEN states it is at least 10 years old, suggesting it is certainly some type of blend.

-2013 release, batch 14  
-10 years old
-100 proof 
-Price: $50

Nose: Whip cream and salted caramel create the base of this bouquet. Peanuts, coffee
bean, and leather also surface for a pleasant aroma. 

Taste: Sweet corn unfolds into a heavy nutty-vanilla note on the palate. Toasted oak combines with a significant earthy tone and a unique clay note. 

Finish: Medium in length with a sweet barrel char finish. 

Conclusion: This is a difficult bottle to find in my area so when I saw it at MSRP I picked it up immediately. Unfortunately, Old Scout TEN fell short of my expectations. It's smooth and the flavors are bold, however the overall taste doesn't  do it for me. It's not bad by any stretch, but at $50 a bottle, there are many other bourbons I would recommend. 

My Rating:  C (Decent)

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