Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Smooth Ambler Contradiction

Smooth Ambler's Contradiction is a blend of two straight bourbons. The majority of the blend (73%) is a 9 year, high rye bourbon; the rest (27%) is a 2 year, wheated bourbon. The rye is distilled at MGP in Indiana while the 2 year wheater is produced by Smooth Ambler themselves in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

Smooth Ambler recently announced they are having trouble keeping up with supply and demand for their sourced whiskies. They are “taking a break” by suspending their private barrel program in 2017. I wonder if this will affect future releases of Contradiction or other sourced blends going forward. On a brighter note, they also announced an upcoming release of their very own 5-6 year old wheated whiskey (available in the gift shop only).

Details:
-100 proof
-Batch 2
-Price: $49

Nose: Sweet wheat, cinnamon powder, and rye bread. A grainy element exists in the aroma but is masked by a sharp pepper spice.


Taste: A swirl of sweetness, fruit, and spice. Red-hot candies sweeten up the palate, followed by notes of Hawaiian sweet rolls, mint, and oak.

Finish: Medium with a fading sweetness smothered by black pepper spice.

Conclusion:  This has to be one of the most appropriately named whiskies I’ve ever tasted. Elements of both the younger wheat bourbon and the older rye bourbon play opposing roles which adds a unique complexity to the spirit; at times it’s sweet and grainy, and at times it’s sharp and spicy. If you find this at a reasonable price it’s a fun experiment bourbon, but I would be contradicting myself if I picked up another bottle in the near future.

My Rating:  B (Good) 

Follow @Blundon_Bourbon


Bourbon Brothers: 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style Bourbon

1920 Prohibition Style is the third expression in the Old Forester Whiskey Row Series. Old Forester was one of six distilleries granted a permit to continue distillation during Prohibition. Intentionally bottled at 115 proof, this expression commemorates that time in history.

 Details:
-115 proof
-No Age Statement
-Price: $59


Nose: A mixture of sweet and spicy notes accompanied by cherry preserves. Cinnamon toast, vanilla wafers, and an intense seasoned oak spice

 
Taste: Sharp with a thick mouthfeel. Vanilla cake, tootsie rolls, and chocolate covered cherries. These sweeter notes quickly fade from the dominating spice. Cinnamon and black pepper rule the palate along with a healthy dose of toasted oak

  
Finish: Spicy with a crisp, clean exit. 

Conclusion:  This is one of the better new bourbons released in 2016.  It's well balanced and the higher proof lets the flavors shine. It's my favorite expression in the Whiskey Row release, and more importantly, it's well worth the retail price. 

My Rating:  B+ (Very Good) 

Follow @Blundon_Bourbon


Bourbon Brothers: 
 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

E.H. Taylor Single Barrel Bourbon

When I see E.H. Taylor bourbons, the first thing that comes to mind is the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897. As an early bourbon pioneer, Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor was an advocate of higher standards in the bourbon industry and Buffalo Trace has honored him with this fine line of whiskeys. As other reviews of the brand can attest, I have yet to try a disappointing E.H. Taylor product, and I have high expectations for this single barrel expression.

 Details:
-100 proof
-No Age Statement
-Price: $55


Nose: The mixtures of scents epitomize that of a milk chocolate candy bar. There’s a heavy caramel, cream, and toffee influence. The aroma is complex, yet balanced. It's nutty, and has layers of black pepper and dusty oak.


Taste: Initial blasts of caramel are joined by marshmallow fluff and peanuts. A sharp, rye spice sparks the mid palate and is backed with leather and oak tannins.  

Finish: Medium in length with a balanced sweet, yet spicy dryness.

Conclusion:  I like to call E.H. Taylor whiskey “good stuff” bourbon, because it’s always good stuff. This Single Barrel fits right between the Small Batch and Barrel Proof offerings in terms on quality. The flavors fuse together well without overpowering one another. At the price, it’s hard to find many better options.

My Rating:  B+ (Very Good) 


Follow @Blundon_Bourbon

Bourbon Brothers Review: 

 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Abraham Bowman Wheat Bourbon

Smith Bowman Distillery is a quaint little operation located in Fredericksburg, VA. They produce a variety of spirits, and release multiple rare whiskies each year; past rare releases have been a barrel proof, a coffee flavored, and a high rye whiskey. They recently released their 14th rare release, a wheat bourbon, in March 2016.

Details:

-Bottle #1377
-Wheated mashbill
-94 proof
-11 years old
-Price: $70

Nose: A culmination of flavors reminiscent of a vanilla ice cream float. This is followed by a hint of corn and a brush of baking spices.
 

Taste: Creamy with caramel chews, vanilla, and cinnamon. Fresh baked wheat bread, a slight spice, and a tinge of saltiness

Finish: Extremely quick with a dry saltiness and toasted oak.

Conclusion:
This is a nice bourbon but it didn't meet my expectations. At $70, you're paying for the rarity and not the quality of juice inside the bottle. The wheat is expressed more as a bread-heavy note rather than a sweet spice. It's unique but not what I was expecting from a wheat bourbon. It's worth a try, but not a buy...cheers

My Rating:  B (Good)
 

Bourbon Brothers Review:

Thursday, November 17, 2016

1838 Style White Corn Bourbon

1838 Style White Corn is the 10th release (fall 2015) in the Woodford Reserve Masters Collection series. These limited offerings haven't been known to blow our socks off, but as a Woodford Reserve fan, I'm always interested in tasting them. This particular release uses white corn instead of the typical yellow corn, allowing for a sharper whiskey with a slightly lighter body. 

Details:  
-No Age Statement
-90.4 proof

-Price: $99
Nose: Delicate with a distinct kettle corn note. It’s sweetened with vanilla syrup, cocoa powder, and apples. There is a slight saltiness to it along with a hint of cinnamon spice.

Taste:
Kettle corn and malt-grain sweetness.  Salt water taffy has a major influence on the palate, followed by a subtle white pepper and smoke flavor.

Finish:
Medium in length with lingering grain sweetness.

Conclusion:
Cats out of the bag that I’ve always been a Woodford Reserve fan. All of their whiskey shares a uniquely identifiable and enjoyable profile, so spending $100 on an annual Master’s Collection bottle isn’t going to ruffle my feathers. However, if you are trying to find the next best bang for your buck bourbon, you may want to pass on 1838 Style White Corn. It delivers with the unique Woodford profile, but its more one dimensional and lighter than Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select.  I don’t recommend investing in a bottle, rather find it at a bar or get your hands on a sample; it’s absolutely worth trying. 

My Rating:  B (Good)

Follow @Blundon_Bourbon

Bourbon Brothers Review: