Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Jack Daniel's Barrel Proof Single Barrel Whiskey

I can't believe it's taken me this long to review a Jack Daniels whiskey! While I spent my early years in Memphis, becoming familiar with good ole Jack, I must confess it has never been something near and dear to my heart. When I heard Brown-Forman had plans to release a single barrel, barrel proof product, I was all in. 

Jack Daniels is labeled as a Tennessee whiskey, meaning it must be a straight bourbon whiskey produced in the State of Tennessee. What makes Jack Daniels unique (from most Kentucky bourbons) is the use of the Lincoln County process. This is a method by which the whiskey is filtered using columns of sugar maple charcoal. It gives Jack Daniels (and most other Tennessee whiskey) that unique, sweet, and almost artificial flavor.

No Age Statement
Barrel: 16-0486
132.7 proof
Price: $65

Nose: I'd never thought a 130+ proof whiskey could remind me of my childhood, but this is a walk down memory lane; it literally smells like Bubblicious gum and Coke! It's a very vibrant nose, packed with a heavy cola influence, artificial sugars, vanilla bean, caramel, sweet corn, and barrel char.

Taste: The soda influence dominates the palate.  Dr. Pepper spices, cherry syrup, and cola. Tons of sweetness; every flavor seems to have a sugar tinge added to it. The bubble gum note remains vibrant, and is followed by a a hot spice.

Finish: A very long finish full of sugar and barrel char. 

Conclusion: If you are a fan of Jack & Coke cocktails then will really enjoy drinking this neat. It's a super sweet whiskey with bold character. I'm personally not a huge Jack Daniels fan, but this is hands down their best whiskey to date. I will enjoy the bottle, but I won’t keep it stocked behind the bar.

My Rating:  B (Good)

Bourbon Brothers Review:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Maker's Mark 46 Cask Strength Bourbon

Maker's Mark 46 was the first bourbon I reviewed for The Blundon Bourbon Review! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was ecstatic when I heard they were making a cask strength version. This is currently only available in the Distillery gift shop, however, it will no doubt follow suit and get released nationally within the months to come. The process for 46 includes adding French oak staves into the barrel before aging for an additional 10x weeks. This is done only during the winter months (less interaction with the barrel), which adds a sweet complexity not found in the regular Maker's Mark bourbon.

Finished with Oak Staves
No Age Statement
110.8 proof
$40 / 375ml

Nose: Up front lays an intense, sweet spice. Red hot candies and cinnamon. It opens into waves of sweetness; lots of maple! Coffee ice cream, butter, and cherries combine for a mouthwatering aroma.

Taste: This first expresses itself as an extremely sweet bourbon with maple, butterscotch, and bubblegum...then comes the spice! The thick mouth feel prolongs bold flavors of tobacco, red hots, and cinnamon.

Finish: Long and complex with a nice balance of sweet and spice. Butterscotch, cinnamon, and tobacco linger for a delicious finish.

 Conclusion: Even as a cask strength expression, this is more robust than I anticipated. It has the most kick out of any Maker's Mark bourbons; while its more on the sweeter side, if you are a fan of the brand, you will enjoy this. I look forward to buying a 750ml when it's released nationally.

My Rating:  B+ (Very Good)

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Blood Oath Pact No. 2 Bourbon

This is the second annual release of Blood Oath Bourbon.  Similar to the first, it’s a blended bourbon of three different whiskeys, and is a onetime limited release. I'm typing limited with a smirk on my face because there are about 22k bottles available.

-Blend consists of the following:
-7 year rye bourbon finished in port barrels
-11  year wheated bourbon
-11 year rye bourbon
-98.6 proof (human body temperature)
-Price: $99

Nose: Pact No. 2 boasts a nutty aroma with a sweet tinge. Plenty of vanilla, with dried fruits, cherries, and cocoa powder.

Taste: Bursting with red fruit sweetness, it’s velvety and soft. It’s a nice mixture of sweet corn, vanilla cream, peanuts, and black pepper.  The spice intensifies toward the end. 

Finish: Longer than anticipated. Mellow vanilla lingers with a backbone of spice and oak. 

Conclusion: Blood Oath Pact No. 2 is good bourbon. I'm normally not a fan of port barrel finished whiskey, but as this was only the case for 1/3 of the blend, I found it rather enjoyable. At $99, it's 10 bucks more than Pact No. 1. I hope this trend doesn't continue in years to come. The marketing is amazing, but don't let it fool you.

My Rating:  B (Good)
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Monday, June 13, 2016

E.H. Taylor Rye Whiskey

Recently I've been delving into the world of E.H. Taylor whisky. It's a nice world indeed, and if you have never taken a trip, I suggest you pack your bags and get spontaneous. Today for review, I'm enjoying E.H. Taylor Straight Rye. Buffalo Trace uses a unique mashbill for this whiskey, consisting of a vast majority of rye with some corn! I was very surprised to learn this as all other Buffalo Trace rye -i.e. Sazerac 18 and Baby Saz- contain a significant amount of corn. 

-At least 4 years old
-100 proof 
-Price: $70

Nose: Herbs and fresh mint pop at front of the nose. Fresh dill, some black pepper, and rye spice combine for a vivacious aroma.

Taste: Waves of spice crash on the tip of the palate. Mint and caramel follow, with a subtle sweetness fading in and out. There is a decent dose of green/herbal notes. The flavors all seem vibrant and fresh. A lengthy, savory, and spicy backbone combines for a nice depth. 

Finish: Medium in length with more of that dominant spice.

With such a high rye content, this tastes similar to the typical Monongahela Rye being mass produced in Indiana, except it's way better. I will say, this took some time to open up. It is by no means a cheap whiskey, and I was dead set on giving this a "B" rating until I worked my way into the bottle.

My Rating:  B+ (Very Good)

Bourbon Brothers Review:

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bulleit Barrel Strength Bourbon

This is a brand new whiskey from Bulleit Distillery which is limited and currently only sold in Kentucky. My brother in law picked this up at the distillery gift shop earlier this year during his second stent on the bourbon trail.

-No Age Statement
-119 proof 
-Price: $50

Nose: Immediately you smell a brown sugar and cinnamon note. The typical caramel and vanilla sweetness follows. There is a subtle spice lurking in the background as well. Nothing too complex; at cask strength you are predominantly getting those heavy barrel components.

Taste: Extremely smooth- this doesn't drink like a barrel proof bourbon. On the tip of the tongue is a nice marshmallow sweetness. It's fairly nutty, with graham cracker and pepper spice to balance it all out.

Finish: Medium in length with slight spice and oak.

Conclusion: This is a very smooth and drinkable bourbon. I'm just surprised this is barrel proof; the flavors aren't extremely bold or exciting. I do enjoy this more than the flagship, 90 proof Bulleit bourbon. It's a solid whiskey but the price tag makes me think twice about buying another bottle.

My Rating:  B (Good)

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