Friday, October 24, 2014

William Laure Weller 2014

Born in 1825, William L Weller was a distilling pioneer and credited for being the first distiller to use wheat (grain) in the mashbill instead of rye. He is also remembered for his strong believe in the aging of whiskey- to this day no Weller bourbon is younger than seven years of age. 

Only 39 hand-picked barrels were selected for the 2014 release of William Laure Weller. It is the only wheated bourbon in the Buffalo Trace Antique collection. 

I try to hold BTAC bottles for special occasions and as many of you know, my wife and I have been training for the Baltimore Half Marathon since February. Oct 18th was race day and we completed the half and had a great time. We celebrating this accomplishment by opening this great bourbon. 

140.2 proof
12 years and 3 months old
Buffalo Trace wheated mashbill

Color: Mahogany 

Nose: Burnt sugars, sweet vanilla, black cherry, plums, dark chocolate, molasses, toffee, pipe tobacco.

Taste: The heat is the first thing you notice and at 140 proof, it's got an extremely chewy mouthfeel. Red hots up front followed by vanilla, toffee, dark fruits and molasses on the mid palate. Toasted oak and aged leather on the back end.

Finish: Long, rich and hot. It seems to linger forever as sweet, spicy candy with notes of tobacco and oak.

Conclusion: Yes it's hot, but it's delicious!  I have two rules in life: never pay a cover fee to get into a bar and always drink your whiskey neat. Today I have found an exception to my second rule. At 140 proof, the alcohol detracts from the taste, so adding a few drops of filtered water per ounce is a must. All in all, a great whiskey; the nose is robust, the mouthfeel is thick, and the finish will stay with you forever.

My Rating: 94* (Great) 

*3 drops of filtered water per ounce added

Video Review: Coming soon! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Autumn is such a great time of the year; leaves begin to tumble and a faint chill sneaks its way into the air. Mid October means bourbon hunting season is in full effect with annual and limited releases, barrel proof offerings, aged ryes, etc! 

While this season just started for most, it is already one for the record books for the Blundon Bourbon Review in regards to Buffalo Trace. Maryland was the first state to receive its allocation of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC), and luckily for me, I got my hands on a complete 2014 set. Before I start to review some of those gems, I wanted to share my comments on their flagship product. 

90 proof
No Age statement
Mashbill #1 (low rye)

Color: Bright amber

Nose: Creamy vanilla, cinnamon sticks, roasted sweet corn, cherry pie, molasses. 

Taste: Delicate sweetness up front with brown sugar and caramel. It's moderately spicy and ends with bitter oak. 

Finish: Medium in length with spice and oak.  

Conclusion: This is the flagship product for Buffalo Trace. It's my favorite distillery and I have yet to try a product of theirs that I did not enjoy. This is a well balanced bourbon with a nice depth to it. At $25 a bottle, Buffalo Trace is a very good everyday sipper that can also mix for an awesome cocktail. 

My Rating: 86 (Very Good) 

Video Review

Monday, October 6, 2014

Barrell Bourbon Batch 002

Today we are drinking the second release from Barrell Bourbon. These guys aren't distillers, but rather producers out of New York, NY. Batch 002 is blended from whiskey distilled in TN and later bottled in KY. Batch 002 hit shelves August of 2014 and is similar to Batch 001 in many respects; while slightly lower in proof, it shares the same mash bill and age statement. 

Bottle #431
70% corn, 25% rye, 5% malted barley
5 years old
117.8 proof

Color: Dark Amber

Nose: Intense cream of corn flows heavily through the nose. Vanilla jellybean, rye, and pecans waft from my glass but are quickly overtaken by thick leather and heavy oak. 

Taste: While slightly lower in proof than Batch 001, the heat found in Batch 002 is without a doubt more abrasive. Buttered corn dominates the front palate with a nutty presence on the mid palate. Rye spice starts to dominate and is followed by a healthy dose of toasted oak. 

 Finish: My favorite part of any barrel proof bourbon is the lingering and warming finish. At 117.8 proof,  Batch 002 has a fairly long and dry finish with notes of rye spice and toasted oak. 

Conclusion: This is a good whiskey with a thick mouthfeel and bold flavors. That being said, Batch 002 is less complex than its predecessor and is a bit more abrasive in terms of heat and rye spice on the palate. Keep a look out for this limited release as well as future whiskeys from Barrell Bourbon.

 My Rating: 8.3  (Good)

Video Review

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Jefferson's Straight Rye Whiskey

Today we have my second whiskey review from the good ole folks at Jefferson's. As of late, I've been enjoying aged ryes, so I was excited to finally pop the cork on this bottle. Before I get started, I want to briefly explain the term "straight whiskey". Straight whiskey may be deemed as such when 1) it is aged for two years in charred oak barrels and 2) at least 51% of the mash bill used in distillation contains one specific grain; it just so happens that Jefferson's straight rye whiskey is 100% rye (don't get confused and think that it has to be 100% of a particular grain). The term not only applies to rye, but all styles of whiskey, whether that be bourbon, wheat whiskey, malt whiskey, etc. 

100% rye 
Aged for 10 years
Bottled at 94 proof 

Color: Dim honey

Tidal waves of rye spice splash out of the glass. An abundance of fresh mint leaves and burnt sugar are vibrant and easily identified. Barrel sweetness, baking spices, and hefty oak balance the aroma for a very pleasant nose.

Taste: Sticky mint leaves upfront along with rye spice make for a nice chewy mouthfeel. Thick caramel and vanilla are ever present as a result of 10 years in the barrel. Sea-salt and herbal greens are dominant on the mid palate with oak on the back end.

Finish: A warming, medium length finish of herbal greens and oak.

Conclusion: A few months ago I reviewed my first Jefferson's product and I talked about how they source there whiskey rather than distill it; I don't want to reiterate that information, but I do want to point out that through some research I have read that Jefferson's straight rye whiskey is sourced from Canadian rye (of course Jefferson's has not confirmed this). Regardless, at a $40 price tag, you aren't going to find too many other ryes aged for this long and of this quality- it is certainly worth a try.

My Rating: 8.5 (Very Good)

Video Review

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Barterhouse Bourbon

Barterhouse bourbon was the first release -currently of three- from the Orphan Barrel Distilling Company, which is owned by spirits giant Diageo. Stocks of this whiskey are said to have been distilled at Bernheim Distillery yet stored at the famed Stitzel-Weller facility. Each orphan barrel is hand bottled in Tullahoma, TN (George Dickle).

Mashbill is 86% corn, 8% barley, 6% rye
20 years old
90.2 proof
Bottle #36959

Color: Sweet maple syrup

Nose: Dessert in a bottle; honey'd vanilla floats out of the glencarin with rich notes reminiscent of creme brûlée.  Nutty peanuts, red hot candies, and a slight spice appear after the sweeter notes. At the bottom of the glass notes of saw dust and a musty, dry oak appear, which is the tell-tale sign of a hyper aged whiskey. 

Taste: Hard caramel, sugar in the raw, honey, and creamy vanilla splash the tip of my tongue. Peanuts shells crumble on the mid palate and the whole experience is quickly dried out by a very rustic oak. 

Finish: Smooth and mellow; the finish may be my favorite part of this bourbon. A little brown sugar with lots of dry, aged oak hold onto the tongue for a calming, medium length finish. 

Conclusion: At 20 years old, Barterhouse is a prime example of how age can affect the taste of a whiskey. Even at 90 proof and a lighter mouthfeel, it's loaded with depth and character. That being said, it's certainly not what I would call "well-balanced"! I'm glad I picked this up - even at $80 a bottle- it's a great opportunity to try a hyper aged bourbon. However, if given the opportunity, I don't think I would re-stock it in my home bar. 

My Rating: 8.4 (Good)

Video Review