Monday, September 18, 2017

Dry Fly Cask Strength Straight Wheat Whiskey

Dry Fly Distilling is a small operation located in Eastern Washington.  Their grain to glass mission thrives on working with local family farms and sourcing local grains within 30 miles of their facility. Dry Fly preaches quality and transparency, which is not to be taken for granted in the current market; one saturated with obscure, misleading, and questionably labeled brands popping up overnight. In addition to distilling whiskey, they produce a variety of spirits, including vodka, gin, and rum.

Age: 3 years old
Proof: 120 proof
​​Price: $34.99 for a 375ml bottle
Mashbill: 100% white wheat

​​Nose: Sweet with a pronounced bouquet of red jelly jam and citrus. It's buttery with an underlying aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg spice.

Taste: Loud with an slight burn. Sweetness smacks the palate with caramel apples, maple, and a candied spice. The citrus is subtle and cut short by undertones of sharp wheat grain.

Finish: Long and warming with a grainy aftertaste.

Conclusion: Dry Fly Cask Strength Wheat Whiskey has quite the bite to it. The flavors are loud and bold- maybe too much so. The sweet flavors are inviting, but at three years old, the wheat grains are free to manhandle ones taste buds. Adding a few drops of water is necessary when enjoyed neat. 

Rating: C (Decent)

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Barrell Bourbon Batch 012

I've noticed a lot of excitement surrounding Barrell Bourbon and their products on social media lately. It's been almost two years since my last Barrell Bourbon review (batch 005), and it's been a pleasure to watch this company grow year after year. As if curating sought after bourbon wasn't hard enough, they're also selling rum, rye and American whiskey now! Batch 012 is their most recent Bourbon release. Distilled and aged in Tennessee, Batch 012 was crafted in Kentucky and bottled at cask strength.

Age: 9 years
Proof: 108.5 proof
​​Price: $89.99
Mash bill: 70% corn, 25% rye, 5% malted barley

​​Nose: Waves of rye spice with a splash of cinnamon and nutmeg. It's rich with sweet corn, chocolate covered raisins, and red fruits.  

Taste: The mouthfeel is chewy and rich. It leads with pepper spice, cinnamon, and raisin bread. The spice is balanced by a gentle sweetness. I taste cornflakes, whip cream, and milk chocolate.

Finish: Rye spice align with toasted oak. Smooth, yet warming. 

Conclusion: The flavors in Batch 012 blend together elegantly. In my opinion, there's nothing better than cask strength bourbon; this has a deep, cask strength character which, hands down, exceeds expectations. It seems they are sourcing bourbon that is more mature and well rounded these days, which is great. I'm looking forward to more nice delicious releases from Barrell Bourbon in the future!

Rating: B+ (Very Good)

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Blanton's Special Reserve Bourbon

Blanton's Special Reserve is one of the many export only bourbons offered by Buffalo Trace. Luckily, it is easily found overseas; whenever I've been on a cruise ship or in an international airport, I see these in duty free shops collecting dust. Similar to the other Blanton's products, Special Reserve is a single barrel bourbon with no age statement. Bottled at 80 proof, it's considered to be the low end of the Blanton's product line. 

-Proof: 80
-Age: NAS
-Price: $49

Nose: Fluffy vanilla, apples, and caramel. Slight spice and a fair amount of oak.  

Taste: Watery mouthfeel. The oak cuts heavy into the palate and lingers from start to finish. The other flavors are less distinguishable, I taste vanilla jelly beans, caramel apples, and a hint of rye spice. That being said, it's surprisingly flavorful for an 80 proof bourbon.
Finish: Quick and dry with a fading wood note.
Conclusion: Blanton's Special Reserve is one of, if not the best, 80 proof bourbons I've ever had. It's fairly balanced and boasts deep oak notes usually found in older bourbons. It's still my least favorite of the Blanton's bunch, but not by much! 

Rating: B (Good)

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Monday, July 31, 2017

WhistlePig Boss Hog: The Independent

The third edition of WhistlePig Boss Hog: The Independent, hit shelves summer of 2016. As with all Boss Hog releases, it's extremely limited, and the price reflects its scarcity. The Independent is the first rye whiskey ever finished in Hogshead barrels. These things are huge, 250 liter scotch casks refitted with American oak heads; guaranteed to lend characteristics of Scotch not found with previous releases. 

-Proof: 120.1
-100% rye 
-Age: 14 years
-Price: $299
-From Barrel #8 of 30

Nose: Warm and enticing with initial waves of deep spice, pine trees, and tobacco. It's well balanced with a slight sweetness, a mixture of vanilla and caramel. 

Taste: Upfront is this delicious mint with a refreshing blast of tea leaves. It's incredibly spicy, with rye, black pepper, cinnamon, and oak. The mouth-feel is thick, with a unique and pungent smoke.
Finish: Warm and mouthwatering. The spice and smoky notes fade slowly into tobacco and oak.

Conclusion: This is a fantastic whiskey! The finish with the Hogshead barrel adds a subtle Scotch smoke which provide  additional layers of flavor. I don't enjoy spending an exorbitant amount on a single bottle, but for Boss Hog: The Independent, I suggest you treat yourself.

Rating: A (Great!)

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Lagavulin 16 Single Malt Scotch

I’m usually behind the curve as it relates to pop culture. I recently finished watching Parks and Recreation, an American political comedy which aired from 2009-2015 on NBC. It’s a great show with a variety of captivating personalities.  One of my favorites, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), embodies a burly man in local government- he loves breakfast, privacy, and whisky. Lagavulin 16 is his drink of choice, so much so that he keeps a bottle under his office desk. He is a frequent drinker and is often sharing a dram among coworkers. I don’t have much experience with Scotch, but after Nick did an AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit a while back, citing he drinks Lavagulin in his personal life, I wanted to give it a try.  

-Port Ellen, Isle of Islay
-86 proof
-Aged 16 years
-Price: $79

Nose: A heavy wood smoke embraces you immediately. Caramel candies and dried fruits float from the glass, and are followed by lighter notes of leather and tobacco.

Taste: Pungent and smoky. The mouthful is thick with flavors of peat, caramel, orange glaze, and crisp sea salt.

Finish: Medium in length with a crisp, bonfire smokiness.

Conclusion: The Lavagulin Distillery is located on the coast of the small Scottish island Islay [eye-la].  Aging the barrels there provides the whisky with intense flavors of crisp salt and a peaty smoke. While this is incredibly different from bourbon, it’s always nice to step outside ones comfort zone. As the great Ron Swanson once said, "put some alcohol in your mouth, to block the words from coming out".

My Rating:  B+ (Very Good)