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

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Old Scout Straight Rye Whiskey (8 yo)

Smooth Ambler Spirits Company is a craft distillery located in Maxwelton, West Virginia. They produce a variety of handmade spirits, but the majority of the whiskey they sell is sourced from LDI in Indiana. They refer to the sourcing of their whiskey as "scouting", thus all the whiskey they source is labeled under the sub-brand "Old Scout". This bottle of Old Scout rye is aged for 8 years and bottled at a cask strength of 126.8 proof. 

Color: Dark garnet

Nose: It's a tidal wave of sweetness and spice. Thick caramel lifts out of the glass with notes of dried fruits and a grape flavored icy pop. The rye spice is bold, with mint, black pepper, and toasted oak. 

Taste: This is a complex whiskey with a thick and a chewy mouthfeel. Caramel candies and charred barrel sweetness flood the palate. Grape soda, fresh baked rye bread, black pepper, and oak wrap you up in a nice warm blanket. 

Finish: Rye spice and oak absorb into the tongue for a warm and toasty finish.  

Conclusion: It's sweet, spicy, and well-balanced. I love the cask strength offering, and the 8 years in the barrel add a depth that you normally don't get from younger ryes. For $50, you'd be hard pressed to find another rye with such character. 

My Rating: 8.8 (Very Good)

Bourbon Brothers Review: 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

High West Whiskey Son of Bourye

Hi friends, Happy National Bourbon Heritage Month! Lets celebrate with a review! Today, I am drinking Son of Bourye, a very good whiskey from High West Distillery. These guys are located out in Park City, Utah, and are known for producing blends of straight whiskeys. 

DetailsA blend of a 5 year old bourbon and a 2 year old rye. Bottled at 92 proof.

Color: Light Amber 

Nose: A rye heavy nose, filled with mint leaves, pine trees, and delicious baking spices. Sweet vanilla and caramel delicately float out of the glass. Cinnamon and oak lay under the sweetness. Each note is as vibrant as it is young, and it's making my mouth water. 

Taste: Thick honey with figs and apricots immediately sparking on the palate. Sweet notes of fruit (cherries), caramel, and vanilla play tag in a garden of green herbs. Rye spice builds as the whiskey absorbs into the tongue, growing stronger by the second with hints of cinnamon and oak on the back-burner.   

Finish: Citrus and caramel combine with the youthful rye for a nice medium finish. 

Conclusion: At 92 proof, I was expecting to be fairly disappointed by the lower ABV. Not today; the delicious balance of sweetness and spice leaves me satisfied and wanting another glass (don't mind me!). With a price tag around 40-50 dollars, this is a very good pour. Stay tuned for more High West whiskey reviews in the future. 

My Rating: 8.8 (Very Good)

Video Review: 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Featherbone Bourbon

In 2010, the Journeyman Distillery was built from a renovated 19th century factory located in Three Oaks, Michigan. The factory was previously owned by businessman E.K. Warren, who built an empire with a product called the Featherbone (an innovative process which revolutionized the way women's corsets were made). E.K. Warren was also known for being a stanch prohibitionist. Legend has it that he bought up all the liquor licenses in the county pre-prohibition, to put an end to drinking. The folks at Journeyman Distillery have named their bourbon after Warren's famous product, and they love the irony that their whiskey is now being made at the historic factory.

All of the grains used at the distillery are USDA organic and more or less local. Most bourbons use corn, barley, rye OR wheat in their mashbill, but Featherbone Bourbon uses all four: 70% corn, 20% wheat, with a "dash of rye and a bit of malted barley". It is bottled at 90 proof with no age statement. Do some research and you will find the whiskey is aged for one year in new, charred 15-gallon white oak barrels from Minnesota.

Color: Bright amber 

Nose: Corn, granny smith apples, vanilla, caramel toffee, baking spices.

Taste: For a 90 proof whiskey, this has a nice chewy mouthfeel. Sour apples coat the tongue with waves of vanilla sweetness opening up the palate. These give way to a spicy rye punch. 

Finish:  A strong tobacco note lingers for a medium-long finish. 

Conclusion: Before I wrap up this review, I'd like to thank the fine folks at Journeyman Distillery for providing me with this sample of Featherbone Bourbon. It is the first craft bourbon I've had that uses corn, wheat, rye and barley; the grains play off and balance each other fairly well for a unique pour. Keep a look out for Journeyman Distillery and their products at your local pub, they are definitely worth a try! 

My Rating: 8.1 (Good) 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jim Beam Signature 12 Year Bourbon

Jim Beam has joined the recent craft craze by releasing an "ultra premium" craft bourbon that has been aged for 12 years and blended from hand selected barrels. Bottled at 86 proof, it comes with an MRSP of $40. 

Color: Caramelized honey 

Nose: Cinnamon and spice rise from the glass for a pleasant and warming nose. Sweet vanilla and caramel follow. At the bottom of the glass, there lay some heavy oak and a typical Jim Beam yeast note. 

Taste: (Neat from a Glencarin Glass) Vanilla and caramel candies coat the palate with a light and oily mouthfeel. Yellow cake and dark fruits (cherries) join the party with a peppery spice and woody backbone. 

Finish: Quick with a bit of spice and a lot of wood.

Conclusion: This is a giant step up from Jim Beam's flagship product, White Label. A lot of great things went into making this bourbon, but Jim Beam dropped the ball on one of my most important aspects: 86 proof...really? The lower ABV allows only for a light and subtle flavor profile which isn't enough to balance the oak you get from a 12 year bourbon. It's a drinkable whiskey that Jim Beam fans are sure to enjoy, but even if purchased at a discount, I think i'll keep this out of my regular lineup. 

My Rating- 8.1 (Good)

Video Review: