Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon

Russell's Reserve whiskeys are handpicked by father and son Master Distiller duo, Jimmy and Eddie Russell. Jimmy has recently retired, but these two gents have a combined 90 years of experience in the bourbon industry. Russell's Reserve is known as the higher end, yet readily available line of Wild Turkey products. I think it's worth noting that the Distillery has recently relabeled the majority of their products; I first saw these new Russell's Reserve labels in late 2015, and think they look damn good.  

Details:
110 proof 
Single Barrel #2442, no age statement
MSRP is $49.99  

Nose: Pleasant with a plethora of barrel sweetness. Toffee, cane sugar, vanilla, and toasted oak.  

Taste: A rich, bold burst of rye spice and black pepper linger on the palate. Vanilla, glazed pastries, corn, and toasted oak help mellow out the back end.  

Finish: Medium in length with a slight bite.  

Conclusion: This particular barrel was aged in warehouse H on the 7th floor. Barrels aged in the center section of a warehouse will typically yield a well balanced whiskey, and this bourbon is exactly that; sweet yet spicy, sharp yet smooth. While I enjoyed drinking this neat, the burst of rye and pepper spice also make a great cocktail.  

My Rating: B+ (Very Good)



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Friday, January 22, 2016

Michter's Barrel Strenght Rye Whiskey

In May 2015 Michter's released a single barrel, barrel strength rye whiskey. The rye distillate for these bottles was entered into the barrel at 103 proof, which is much lower than the industry standard. The end product is a whiskey with a rich, smooth, and full body post-aging. 

Details:
Barrel #15C217
109 proof
Price: $65.99

Nose: Aromas of maple syrup, white grape juice, and honey float out of the glass. This is followed by a fresh breeze of cut pine trees and hefty rye spice. 

Taste: Sweet and spicy with mellow herbal undertones. Notes of butterscotch, honey, cinnamon, black pepper, and cedar chips.

Finish: Long and warm, with a dry toasted oak spice.

Conclusion: This is the definition of a honey barrel! If anyone sees barrel 15C217 pick it up and thank me later. This is so delicious I may just go buy another bottle from another barrel. The overall product is so complexed and balanced, I would guess it's about 6-7 years old with a barely legal rye somewhere in the 51-53% range.

My Rating: A (Great) 


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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

In late 2013, Heaven Hill surprised everyone with an uncut, unfiltered version of their 12 year flagship bourbon, Elijah Craig. Known as Elijah Craig Barrel Proof (or more commonly "ECBP"), this bourbon packs a full body and flavor. Lucky for us, Heaven Hill releases ECPB several times a year at a unique proof.

Details:
128 proof, release #7
12 years old
Price: $44.99

Nose: Boston cream donut. Creamy vanilla, ovaltine,  and toasted oak. Fruit notes of apple and plum. 

Taste: A mix of vanilla and coffee ice cream. Sweetness continues with deep notes of brown sugar along with spices of cinnamon, black pepper, and tobacco.  

Finish: Long with a playful heat. Sweet vanilla fades slowly with spice and tobacco.  

Conclusion: Believe it or not, this is the lowest proof release to date. That being said, it's full of flavor and has a deliciously thick mouthfeel. ECPB is proof that great bourbon doesn't have to come at a high price!

My Rating: A (Great) 

 

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Friday, January 1, 2016

Elmer T. Lee Bourbon

Elmer T. Lee joined the George T. Stagg (Buffalo Trace) Distillery in 1949. Working as a maintenance engineer, he quickly rose through the ranks, becoming Plant Manager and Master Distiller. He is credited with introducing the world’s first single-barrel bourbon, Blanton's. After retiring in 1985, he was commemorated with his own single-barrel namesake. He took part in hand selected the barrels of Elmer T. Lee until 2013, when he passed away at the age of 93. While he is no longer with us, his contributions to the bourbon industry will live on forever. 

Details:
90 proof 
Buffalo Trace Mash Bill #2
No Age Statement, rumored 7-10 years old
MSRP is $34.99 

Nose: Initial notes of citrus are followed by sweet aromas of maple, honey and vanilla. This balanced elegantly by a subtle spice and toasted oak.

Taste: Rich and deep. The mouthfeel is extremely chewy. Very sweet with vanilla, caramel, and toffee, but balanced with a gentle mix of rye spice, black pepper, and cinnamon.

Finish: Moderate in length. Smooth, with a sweet and spicy dryness.  

Conclusion: This is honestly a bourbon unlike any other. When compared to other bourbons from Buffalo Trace Mashbill #2- Blantons, Rock Hill Farms, Hancocks Reserve- this is by far my favorite. Elmer T Lee single barrel has a lot of character without the rough edges. It's a delicious bourbon that is also a great value.  

My Rating: A (Great)

 

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Van Winkle Special Reserve "Lot B"

Special Reserve " Lot B" is the 12 year old bourbon from the Van Winkle collection. These wheated bourbons boast a uniquely soft profile with rich, sweet flavors.

Details:
90.4 proof 
12 years old   
MRSP $59.99

Nose: A giant bowl of fresh fruit, with spiced peaches and dried mango. There are delicate notes of sweet wheat, caramel and vanilla spice.

 Taste: Silky smooth with a robust, sweet wheat on the tip of the palate. Peach cobbler, burnt caramel, and black pepper spice mingle gracefully for a delightful flavor.  

Finish: A smooth, quick finish, with a sweet spice and subtle oak. 

Conclusion: An overall wonderful experience. It's a bottle that is frightfully easy to finish with a some friends and  good conversation. It's so smooth and the quick finish will keep you coming back for more. People have asked, "what is the most I would pay for such and such bottle"...and while it is an entirely subjective question, I would spend up to $100 on this one; it's that good!  

My Rating: A (Great)

 

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