Thursday, January 29, 2015

Russell's Reserve 10 Year

Russell's Reserve is a line of whiskies created for the 50th Anniversary of famed Master Distiller Jimmy Russell. These small batch barrels are hand selected by Eddie Russell (Jimmy's son), who was recently announced as the new Master Distiller for Wild Turkey.

90 proof
10 years old 
Taken from the center cut of Wild Turkey rickhouses 

Color: Bright Amber

Nose: Not too many complex flavors, however the few that are present are rich and robust. Sweetness is the first thing you notice. Distinctive rye spice and oak round out the sweetness for a very balanced nose.

Taste: Delicate yet full flavored; initial brown sugar sweetness combines with toffee and vanilla.  This transitions to a dry and peppery mid palate.
Finish: Fairly smooth and medium in length; sweet tobacco with a spicy rye kick.

Conclusion: The Russell's Reserve line is amongst the higher end Wild Turkey products available, and at $35 for a 10 year bourbon, this whiskey is a steal. 

My Rating: B+ (Very Good)

Bourbon Brothers Review:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Basil Hayden's Bourbon

Today for review I've got another whiskey from Jim Beam's Small Batch Bourbon Collection. Back in the day, Basil Hayden's was aged for 8 years, but unfortunately these days, age statements are dropping like flies.

80 proof
No Age Statement- "Artfully Aged"
High Rye Mash bill 

Color: Brand New Penny

Nose: A light sweetness with vanilla, brown sugar and cherries. There is a slight nuttiest present, but the usual Jim Beam yeast is masked by the high rye. Toasted oak with cinnamon potpourri hold everything together. The nose is hands down my favorite part of this whiskey.

Taste: The high rye mash bill really leaves a brash mark on the palate, along with a heavy, nutty influence. Grape nuts, almonds, nutmeg, subtle oak. There is an initial sweetness but it is crisp and vanishes before it can be appreciated. 

Finish: Smooth, but short in length with peppery spice and a dash of cinnamon potpourri. 

Conclusion: The nose got me really excited but I was slightly let down by the taste. For 80 proof, there is a nice bouquet of subtle flavors to be found. While not my preference , this wouldn't be a bad bottle for a new whiskey drinker to start his journey. 

[Sidebar: I don't often speak about bottle appearance, but I really hate the paper poncho and metal/wooden belt thing Basil Hayden's has going for it. I think a first grade student could design better packaging.]

My Rating: C (Decent)

Bourbon Brothers Review: 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sazerac 18 Rye Whiskey

I think everyone knows my love for Buffalo Trace distillery knows no bounds. In my opinion, the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (released every fall) is the best whiskey available to this world. Today I am enjoying Sazerac 18, the only aged rye in the BTAC (Thomas H Handy is the other rye, but is a 6 year, barrel proof expression). 

2014 release 
90 proof
18 years old, distilled spring 1985, stored in metal vats. 
Large/Small/Finish Grain: Minnesota rye, corn, barley. 

Color: Deep Amber

Nose: Sugar cookies and caramel fudge must be jammed into the bottom of my glass because this nose is sweet! Mint floats out of the glass along with rye spice, leather, and a very healthy dose of aged oak. 

Taste: Starts with an extremely refreshing mint. Cherries and vanilla cream touch the tip of my tongue to create a rich, complex sweetness. Molasses, allspice, and rye transition onto the mid palate and are followed by rolled tobacco and aged oak. 

Finish: Long and dry with mint, spice, and oak. 

Conclusion: 18 years in the wood makes for a very smooth and mellow whiskey. At 90 proof, I was pleasantly surprised at how chewy and thick the mouthfeel was. Every aspect of this whiskey is a win; unfortunately for all of us, its incredibly difficult to find. 

My Rating: A (Great)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

American Barrels Bourbon

American Barrels is a brand new company based out of Fort Myers, FL. The whiskey is distilled in Charleston, SC, then refined using a unique filtering process. I am no scientist, so I'm going to share the word for word description the company founder provided me.

"..the whiskey is filtered through an ultra sonic refinement system that removes minor alcohols and impurities from the whiskey at a molecular level resulting in a smoother drink with a mature taste profile." 

Anyways, the first the I noticed about this whiskey was the unique bottle design (America, fuck yea!). Time to see if the juice is worth its weight in shogun shells. 

Less than 2 years old
90 proof
Mash bill: 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley 

Color: Rustic Gold

Nose: An initial blast of butterscotch popcorn followed by creamy vanilla and slight spice. 

This is obviously a very young whiskey. Grain forward with butterscotch sweetness on the tip of the tongue. Baking spices (predominantly cinnamon) spread throughout the mid palate.

 Finish: Short and crisp. Rye spice with a breath of ethanol. 

Conclusion: Sadly, the bottle may just be the best part of this whiskey; the shotgun shell design coupled with the "don't tread on me" engraved snake and dog tags perfectly embodies the spirit of a true American. The palate is ... unique but reveals an extremely young, unfinished whiskey. 

My Rating: D (Poor) 

Bourbon Brothers Video Review: