Monday, July 14, 2014

Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select

Hi guys, hope everyone is having a wonderful July thus far. Today I will be reviewing Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select. This is batch 832, bottle 8802. No age statement on the label; bottled at 45.2% ABV. Woodford Reserve is produced by Labrot & Graham (Brown-Forman). Distiller's Select has a Mash bill of 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malted barley.

Color: Honey Amber

Nose: I  young and flirtatious nose. 
Maple syrup jumps out of the glass along with notes of cherries, dried fruit and bubblegum. After some time I'm able to pick up vanilla and banana. A nice leathery oak spice is also present.

Taste: Cherries, citrus, and maple initially coat the tongue with a nice chewy mouthfeel. Cinnamon, toffee, and pepper spark my palate. Tannin and oak have a strong influence here but balance the sweeter notes.

Finish: A medium, smooth finish with little burn. Tobacco and oak linger.

Conclusion: This is a good starter bourbon for those looking for a straightforward bourbon experience. It's drinkable neat and makes for a nice cocktail.  The flavors create the stereotypical bourbon profile that can turn a first time drinker into an enthusiast. I will often order this at a bar as it's something that is always available and a pour I can enjoy drinking. With that being said, at $40/bottle, there are other alternatives which I would recommend.

Rating: 8.4 
(Good) 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mixer Review: Eli Mason Syrups

Today I am mixing it up and doing something a little different. Before my next bourbon review, I want to talk about a new product: Eli Mason Syrups. These "spirit-forward" mixers are handmade in Nashville, TN. 

I recently attended a friend’s bourbon tasting. When I initially got my invitation, I meticulously started to pick out which bourbons I wanted to share. After I made my selections, I began thinking about what started my passion for whiskey: the Old Fashioned Cocktail. Reminisces for a moment with me if you will; my first Old Fashioned was during my college years at a hotel bar called the Imperial in Chestertown, MD. I was never a whiskey drinker before this, but I quickly fell in love with the drink and the flavors that came with it- the sweet caramelized sugars, the citrus, the fig, the bitters- simply delicious! Lucky for me, the Imperial also had a fairly exhaustive whiskey menu. I began branching out during my return visits and after experiencing straight bourbon neat, I never looked back. 

With these memories rekindled, I started to think that if there are any new whiskey drinkers present, a cocktail may be a great way to introduce them to whiskey rather than starting with a straight up pour. This lead me to bring along two types of Eli Mason syrups which I recently acquired- Old Fashioned and Mint Julep (pictured).

After formalities and a few drams, we cracked open the syrups and went to town. These were a hit! Eli Mason syrups are easy to mix; in most cases, as stated on the packaging, the recipe is two parts whiskey, 1 part Eli Mason syrup. Eli Mason syrups are perfect for parties/gatherings. It took seconds to mix up and there was no mess afterwards to attend to.

 Let me state the obvious: nothing beats the taste of a cocktail with the real/raw ingredients. Also, if you have the time, its a lot of fun to grab all the individual ingredients (sugar cube, bitters, cherry, etc.) and find what creation taste best to you. That being said, Eli Mason syrups taste very good, and while an Eli Mason Old Fashioned wasn’t quiet as charming as my Old Fashioned at the Imperial, it certainly holds a candle to many drinks that  I’ve ordered out while at a bar.  With summer in full swing, I recommend you give these syrups a try for your next get together! Its a great way to introduce the classics to a wider audience. Find more information, visit http://elimason.com

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Woodford Reserve: New Cask Rye vs Aged Cask Rye

Welcome back to the Blundon Bourbon Review! Today we're doing a comparison review of the 2012 Woodford Reserve Masters Collection. Both are 100% Rye and bottled at 92.4 proof with no age statement.The difference, is that one is aged in a new charred oak barrel while the other is aged in a barrel that has already been used. I love this 2012 release as it shows the significant impact that a barrel has on the aging process.

Color:
New Cask: Golden Brown
Aged Cask: Clear Straw

Nose:
New Cask: Evergreen, mint, vanilla, caramel, nutmeg, honey, chocolate, apples. Love this nose!
Aged Cask: Much more subtle. Citrus, vanilla, caramel, hay and grass.  Still quite enjoyable.

Taste:
New Cask:  Wintergreen, berries, chocolate, baking spices, cinnamon, oak. The rye is present but it doesn’t bite you. 
Aged Cask: Much more grain forward than the Aged Cask. The rye is lighter; earthy tones such as grass are very prevalent. It's still smooth, and the oak note is more subtle. Still very enjoyable.

Finish: For being 92.4 proof, both of these Ryes have a fairly long finish. 
New Cask:  Sweet vanilla and caramel linger along with a strong rye and oak presence.
Aged Cask:  Mint and evergreen linger with slight oak. 

Conclusion: I love this release because it's an experimental release that is not your typical rye. If the New Cask Rye was a part of Woodford Reserve’s regular production lineup it would certainly be something I would keep stocked in my home bar. It is extremely smooth; its full body and unique notes of berries, chocolate, wintergreen, and rye make for an excellent whiskey. The Aged Cask, while more subtle and grain forward, is also quite enjoyable (however not something I would buy regularly). 

Rating
New Cask: 9.0 (Great)
Aged Cask: 8.6 (Very Good)

Video Review:  


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Barrell Bourbon Batch 001


Tonight I'm excited to review the first product from Barrell Bourbon: Batch 001. I had a great conversation with Joe, the founder of Barrell Bourbon and we discussed our mutual passion for barrel proof whiskey as well as his new company. Joe informed me that every batch they bottle will be different from the previous, and that the company thrives on that freedom. These folks are certainly passionate about small batch bourbon.

Batch 001 was distilled in TN and aged in KY. The mash bill for this bourbon is 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley. Aged in new charred oak barrels for 5 years and bottled at 121.6 proof. 


Color: Golden amber- you can see slight barrel char sediment which really gives this juice added character.

Nose: The initial whiff is extremely inviting. Vanilla, honey, orange peel, baked cherry pie, caramel, walnuts, cinnamon, rye spice. 

Taste: The mouthfeel is thick and coats my tongue graciously.  Burnt sugars, maple syrup, applesauce, citrus, cinnamon toast crunch, vanilla, nutmeg, sugar cookies, black pepper. A nice balance of sweet and spicy.

Finish: A long, complex, and warming finish with oak char and rye spice.

Conclusion: These folks at Barrell Bourbon have delivered a fine small batch whiskey. I really enjoyed this neat, as the 121.6 proof is, in my opinion, the perfect sweet spot. It provides the bold flavors you hope to expect from barrel proof bourbon without being too hot (like most 130-140 proofers). The flavors are robust and the long finish leaves me wanting more. I certainly recommend this to all bourbon drinkers and look forward to tasting their future offerings.

More information can be found at there website: www.barrellbourbon.com

My rating: 9.0 (Great)


Video Review:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Cody Road Bourbon

Cody Road is a bourbon named after William “Buffalo Bill” Cody and made in Leclaire, Iowa, by the Mississippi River Distilling Company. The mash contains 70% corn, 20% wheat, and 10% unmalted barley An interesting fact about this bourbon is that it is aged (for 1 year) in 30 gallon oak barrels- almost half the size of a traditional whiskey barrel. This is batch #1, bottle #361 (2014) and it is bottled at 90 proof. 

Color: Light Straw

Nose:  Not typical of your average bourbon. There are heavy barley notes which is reminiscent of a single malt whiskey. Peat, corn, light vanilla, and caramel apples jump out of the glencarin glass. There is a final wave of agave which reminds me of drinking bad tequila during my college days.  Being honest, i'm not a big fan of this nose. 

Taste: The caramel on the nose breaks free and tastes just like a Werther's Original candy chew. Scotch like qualities continue to throw me off- is this really a bourbon or is someone pranking me right now? Peat, toffee, and a hint of oak form the back end of the palate. Still not impressed. 

Finish: Medium finish. Peat, caramel, smoke, little burn. 


Conclusion: Certainly not your typical bourbon. The unmalted barley really threw me off and had me checking the label to see if it was really a bourbon. While it was only aged for one year, the 30 gallon barrel did bring out more oak then expected. I would not recommend this to any bourbon lover, but if you are a scotch fan at heart, than this is for you. While this bourbon wasn't my cup of tea, the Mississippi River Distilling Company just opened in 2010, and I do look forward to tasting some of there other products in the future. 


My Rating: 6.5 (Poor)

Video Review: