Sunday, September 28, 2014

Jefferson's Straight Rye Whiskey

Today we have my second whiskey review from the good ole folks at Jefferson's. As of late, I've been enjoying aged ryes, so I was excited to finally pop the cork on this bottle. Before I get started, I want to briefly explain the term "straight whiskey". Straight whiskey may be deemed as such when 1) it is aged for two years in charred oak barrels and 2) at least 51% of the mash bill used in distillation contains one specific grain; it just so happens that Jefferson's straight rye whiskey is 100% rye (don't get confused and think that it has to be 100% of a particular grain). The term not only applies to rye, but all styles of whiskey, whether that be bourbon, wheat whiskey, malt whiskey, etc. 

100% rye 
Aged for 10 years
Bottled at 94 proof 

Color: Dim honey

Tidal waves of rye spice splash out of the glass. An abundance of fresh mint leaves and burnt sugar are vibrant and easily identified. Barrel sweetness, baking spices, and hefty oak balance the aroma for a very pleasant nose.

Taste: Sticky mint leaves upfront along with rye spice make for a nice chewy mouthfeel. Thick caramel and vanilla are ever present as a result of 10 years in the barrel. Sea-salt and herbal greens are dominant on the mid palate with oak on the back end.

Finish: A warming, medium length finish of herbal greens and oak.

Conclusion: A few months ago I reviewed my first Jefferson's product and I talked about how they source there whiskey rather than distill it; I don't want to reiterate that information, but I do want to point out that through some research I have read that Jefferson's straight rye whiskey is sourced from Canadian rye (of course Jefferson's has not confirmed this). Regardless, at a $40 price tag, you aren't going to find too many other ryes aged for this long and of this quality- it is certainly worth a try.

My Rating: B+ (Very Good)

Video Review

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: B (Good)

Video Review

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Old Scout Straight Rye Whiskey 8 year

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: B+ (Very Good)

Bourbon Brothers Review: 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

High West Whiskey Son of Bourye

Happy National Bourbon Heritage Month! Lets celebrate with a review! Son of Bourye is one of the many blended whiskeys from High West Distillery out in Park City, Utah.

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 ABV. Not today- the delicious balance of sweetness and spice leaves me satisfied and wanting another glass. 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: B+ (Very Good)

Video Review: