Thursday, August 25, 2016

Whistle Pig, The Boss Hog: The Spirit of Mortimer

In addition to their flagship 10 year whiskey, Whistle Pig also produces annual, limited edition whiskeys. This is the second rendition of Boss Hog, named Spirit of Mortimer.  Released in 2014, it pays tribute to the distillery mascot, Mortimer, who had recently passed away. His spirit indeed lives on, atop the bottle in the form of a heavy pewter top


- 100% rye, single barrel
-Barrel #10

-13 years old
-119 proof
-Price: $199

Nose: Spicy with an aroma of pine trees, pepper, and oregano, emphasized by delicate sweet notes of caramel, vanilla, and maple.

Taste: Creamy with a lively entry of vanilla jellybeans and caramel. It's extremely bright with a delicious pine tree presence. Waves of spice absorb onto the palate, with notes of  anise, black pepper, and tannin.

Finish: Rich and balanced. A sweet spice and oak tannin lingers for a long, mouth watering experience.

Conclusion: The Spirit of  Mortimer will indeed live on, as this will always have a place in my heart. From nose to finish, it's a well balanced, complex, and delicious rye whiskey. No doubt it exceeded my much so that I've started looking for another bottle! 

My Rating:  A (Great) 

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Knob Creek 11 Year Bourbon

Knob Creek is a Jim Beam brand with a variety of small batch whiskies. In the last few years, Knob Creek has expanded their portfolio to include a rye whiskey, some single barrel offerings, and most recently an older, limited edition release small batch bourbon. The bottle I have today is a store select pick from one of my local liquor stores in Baltimore County. In the past, Knob Creek store picks have always been 9 years old. When I saw this was aged for 2 additional years, I was ecstatic.

-11 years old
-120 proof
-Price: $45

Nose: Burnt sugars and vanilla pudding float out of the glass. Corn and cherries are present but fairly subtle. Savory notes trail the sweetness, with pepper spice, green herbs, and oak.

Taste: Upfront lays a burnt caramel sweetness, followed by a decent amount of green herbs, cinnamon, and rye spice on the mid palate. 

Finish: Medium in length with a gentle spice and toasted oak.

Conclusion: This bourbon exceeded my expectations! The additional two year's gives this a robust, well rounded profile and cuts down on the typical Jim beam yeast that we have grown accustomed to with the Knob Creek 9 year. If this were aged for another year or two,  it may just fall in the "A" rating range- it's almost there! If your local liquor store is involved in single barrel programs, don't sleep on them; in my experience, it's usually the best bang for your buck whiskey available.

My Rating:  B+ (Very Good) 

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Jack Daniel's Barrel Proof Single Barrel Whiskey

I can't believe it's taken me this long to review a Jack Daniels whiskey! While I spent my early years in Memphis, becoming familiar with good ole Jack, I must confess it has never been something near and dear to my heart. When I heard Brown-Forman had plans to release a single barrel, barrel proof product, I was all in. 

Jack Daniels is labeled as a Tennessee whiskey, meaning it must be a straight bourbon whiskey produced in the State of Tennessee. What makes Jack Daniels unique (from most Kentucky bourbons) is the use of the Lincoln County process. This is a method by which the whiskey is filtered using columns of sugar maple charcoal. It gives Jack Daniels (and most other Tennessee whiskey) that unique, sweet, and almost artificial flavor.

No Age Statement
Barrel: 16-0486
132.7 proof
Price: $65

Nose: I'd never thought a 130+ proof whiskey could remind me of my childhood, but this is a walk down memory lane; it literally smells like Bubblicious gum and Coke! It's a very vibrant nose, packed with a heavy cola influence, artificial sugars, vanilla bean, caramel, sweet corn, and barrel char.

Taste: The soda influence dominates the palate.  Dr. Pepper spices, cherry syrup, and cola. Tons of sweetness; every flavor seems to have a sugar tinge added to it. The bubble gum note remains vibrant, and is followed by a a hot spice.

Finish: A very long finish full of sugar and barrel char. 

Conclusion: If you are a fan of Jack & Coke cocktails then will really enjoy drinking this neat. It's a super sweet whiskey with bold character. I'm personally not a huge Jack Daniels fan, but this is hands down their best whiskey to date. I will enjoy the bottle, but I won’t keep it stocked behind the bar.

My Rating:  B (Good)

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Maker's Mark 46 Cask Strength Bourbon

Maker's Mark 46 was the first bourbon I reviewed for The Blundon Bourbon Review! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was ecstatic when I heard they were making a cask strength version. This is currently only available in the Distillery gift shop, however, it will no doubt follow suit and get released nationally within the months to come. The process for 46 includes adding French oak staves into the barrel before aging for an additional 10x weeks. This is done only during the winter months (less interaction with the barrel), which adds a sweet complexity not found in the regular Maker's Mark bourbon.

Finished with Oak Staves
No Age Statement
110.8 proof
$40 / 375ml

Nose: Up front lays an intense, sweet spice. Red hot candies and cinnamon. It opens into waves of sweetness; lots of maple! Coffee ice cream, butter, and cherries combine for a mouthwatering aroma.

Taste: This first expresses itself as an extremely sweet bourbon with maple, butterscotch, and bubblegum...then comes the spice! The thick mouth feel prolongs bold flavors of tobacco, red hots, and cinnamon.

Finish: Long and complex with a nice balance of sweet and spice. Butterscotch, cinnamon, and tobacco linger for a delicious finish.

 Conclusion: Even as a cask strength expression, this is more robust than I anticipated. It has the most kick out of any Maker's Mark bourbons; while its more on the sweeter side, if you are a fan of the brand, you will enjoy this. I look forward to buying a 750ml when it's released nationally.

My Rating:  B+ (Very Good)

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Blood Oath Pact No. 2 Bourbon

This is the second annual release of Blood Oath Bourbon.  Similar to the first, it’s a blended bourbon of three different whiskeys, and is a onetime limited release. I'm typing limited with a smirk on my face because there are about 22k bottles available.

-Blend consists of the following:
-7 year rye bourbon finished in port barrels
-11  year wheated bourbon
-11 year rye bourbon
-98.6 proof (human body temperature)
-Price: $99

Nose: Pact No. 2 boasts a nutty aroma with a sweet tinge. Plenty of vanilla, with dried fruits, cherries, and cocoa powder.

Taste: Bursting with red fruit sweetness, it’s velvety and soft. It’s a nice mixture of sweet corn, vanilla cream, peanuts, and black pepper.  The spice intensifies toward the end. 

Finish: Longer than anticipated. Mellow vanilla lingers with a backbone of spice and oak. 

Conclusion: Blood Oath Pact No. 2 is good bourbon. I'm normally not a fan of port barrel finished whiskey, but as this was only the case for 1/3 of the blend, I found it rather enjoyable. At $99, it's 10 bucks more than Pact No. 1. I hope this trend doesn't continue in years to come. The marketing is amazing, but don't let it fool you.

My Rating:  B (Good)
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