Showing posts with label Bourbon review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bourbon review. Show all posts

Jim Beam Devil's Cut Review


Country: USA
Brand: Jim Beam Devil's Cut 
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: NAS but aged for at least 6 Years
ABV: 45%
Colour: Golden Caramel

Nose: Sweet Grains, Deep Oak, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Lemon, Butterscotch, Coconut, Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar, Orange, Cherry - and Peach Liqueur.  

Taste: Sweet start quickly gets Rough with Orange and Earthy Oak, Vanilla and Nutmeg, Butterscotch and slightly bitter Grains. Wood Spices are quite present. You can certainly feel the higher ABV.

Finish: Burn Baby Burn, Devil's Inferno was a hit for the Trammps in the Seventies. Okay, it was Disco Inferno and yes, I'm exaggerating, but there's quite some Fire in this Whiskey with Nutmeg, Ginger, Grains, Orange and Oak.

I added a few drops of Water and immediately the Spices on the Nose are toned down in favour of the Vanilla and Fruity Flavours. On the Palate and in the Finish however Bitter Oak and Wood Spice start to dominate. You can Nose it both with - and without Water but I prefer to sip it neat or with some Ice.   

Rating:  82.5

Nose:  21 - Taste:  20.5- Finish:  20.5 - Overall: 20.5


General Remarks: According to the Distillery, the Devil's Cut (released in early 2011) is a Blend of the standard Mash Bill 6 Years Beam, matured in virgin Oak Barrels and  " Barrel-Treated Extract Bourbon", Bourbon residue extracted from dumped barrels. Some water is inserted in the barrel that is subsequently shaken for half an hour. The liquid is drained off and used to dilute the final product instead of using regular spring water. Master Distiller Fred Noe invented the product and the name.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion: This is seriously potent stuff. Much rougher than the standard expressions White and Black 6. It certainly tastes nice on Ice but so does White and that's a lot cheaper. At around US$ 27,- I don't see myself sipping this Bourbon on a regular basis. But it's certainly something else when compared to the standard Beams because of the deep Oak and Wood Spices and it's nice for a change every once in a while. The Angel's Share might be lost forever but the Devil's Cut has been recovered. Thanks to Fred Noe!

Jan van den Ende                                                               October 23, 2012

Woodford Reserve Review


Image result for woodford reserve 43,2%

Country: USA
Brand: Woodford Reserve
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Age: NAS (Probably at least 6 years)
Alcohol: 43.2%Colour: Shiny Dark Amber

Nose: The Nose is a bit different from the Bourbons I’ve tasted so far. It’s Kentucky Straight alright but with references to Scotch and Irish Whisk(e)y. Of course there are the immediate Vanilla and Sweet Corn impressions but there’s also a very strong presence of Oak and Oranges and Spices like Nutmeg and Ginger. Additionally I find Mint, Fruit and Honey tones. This Nose needs some patience but will reward you!

Taste: A combination of Fruit, Toffee, Oak, Maple Syrup, slightly Bitter Grain, Orange, Ginger and Mint. I wouldn’t call this an extremely smooth whiskey! If you’re in to Sweet Bourbons, this might not be your call.

Finish: Strong and Dry with Oak, Rye, Black Pepper, Ginger and Nutmeg.

I added a couple of drops of Water and the Nose becomes more mellow with Sweet Corn, Honey, Vanilla and Oranges in the lead. Palate and Finish do not seem to benefit a lot from the additional water but I would surely advise you to experiment a bit with a couple of drops.

Rating:  80 

Nose: 21– Taste: 20– Finish: 19– Overall: 20


General Remarks: Elijah Pepper started distilling whiskey on the banks of Glenn’s Creek in 1812. Today, the facility is the oldest operational Distillery in Kentucky. The Whiskey produced here is triple distilled in copper pot stills imported from Scotland. The Master Distiller (Chris Morris) selects the matured charred White Oak barrels from this Distillery and vats them with selected barrels from the Brown-Forman stocks to produce the Woodford Reserve. The Mash Bill consists of 72% Corn, 18% Rye and 10% Malted Barley. Today I tasted bottle 07602 from Batch 293. The Woodford Reserve is bottled by Labrot & Graham Distillers Company of Versailles, Kentucky.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion: This Bourbon is certainly different from the ones I tasted so far. It starts with the Nose that has some clear references to Scotch and Irish whisk(e)y. On the Palate and in the Finish you will find the Woodford quite Woody and Spicy. I won’t go so far as to call it harsh but I certainly don’t consider it to be very smooth either. If you like your Bourbon Sweet as Honey, the Woodford Reserve would not be your obvious choice. But if you like it Rough and Woody, this might just be what you’re looking for!

Jan van den Ende                                                         September 30, 2012

Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Review



Country: USA
Brand: Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey
Type: Honey Liqueur
Age:  NAS
Alcohol: 35%

Colour: Yellow Hay/Straw

Nose: It’s Sweet but not quite as Sweet as I would have thought it to be. You can still smell the Old # 7 here. I also had expected to get a lot of Honey upfront but instead my first impressions are Maple Syrup, Spices (Pepper and Cinnamon), Vanilla and Charred Oak. At the borders of the glass I get Bananas. I think I’m getting Honey as well but it’s a bit Sugary and, well, artificial.

Taste: Very Sweet and Syrupy with Cinnamon, Tangerines, Oak and Sugared Honey. I miss a bit of balance here. You can drink it neat if you like.

Finish: Bittersweet with Maple Syrup, Vanilla, light Spices and Cocoa Powder.

With a couple of drops of water, the Nose becomes more restrained but not in an unpleasant way. I get Sweet Corn, Oak, Apple-Pie and Buttered Toast. Palate and Finish don’t change a lot and just get watered down. I did get a bit of Cherries in the Finish. I smelled the empty glass after a while and the Honey was much clearer at that point. Interesting that! I would suggest that the people at Jack Daniels have another look at how to optimise the infusion process. But then again, who am I to suggest that!

On the Rocks, the Honey develops better on the Nose and smells less artificial. The Palate is much less Sugary and it becomes highly drinkable with a touch of Honey and Cherries. Drinkable to a point where it can become dangerous! It does have 35% Alcohol in the end. My advice to you is clear. Drink Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey on the Rocks or mix it in your favourite cocktail. Cheers!

Rating 76.5 

Nose: 20 – Taste: 19 – Finish: 18.5 – Overall: 19

General Remarks: The Jack Daniels Distillery is located in Lynchburg (Tennessee). It was indeed founded by a man called Jack Daniel in 1866 and it stayed in the family until 1956 when it was bought by Brown Forman from Kentucky.
The Tennessee Honey was released in early 2011.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion: I had expected a bit more of this. The combination does not work out that well for me. And that’s not the fault of the Old # 7 although the 35% Alcohol is on the weak side of course. But it’s the Honey that I found wanting. On the Nose it’s hardly there and on the Palate and Finish it has an artificial feeling to it. On the Rocks, this liqueur is highly drinkable though!

Jan van den Ende                                                       September 17, 2012

Jack Daniels Single Barrel Review



Country: USA
Brand: Jack Daniels Single Barrel
Type: Whiskey (Tennessee)
Age:  NAS (Usually over 4 Years)
Alcohol: 47%

Colour: Deep Reddish/Full Gold

Nose: Sweet Corn, Maple Syrup, Charred Oak, Vanilla, Spice (White Pepper), Acetone, Banana, Furniture Wax and Butter. A bit of Alcohol is present what can be expected when bottled at 47%. The Nose is a more mature version of the Old # 7. After a while I get additional fruit (Peach). Quite nice. Need a little time to open up.

Taste: Cinnamon, Rye, White Pepper, Charred Wood, Vanilla, Toffee, Cigar Box, Cherries and Licorice.

Finish: Quite long. Dry, Spicy and Sour with Lemon, Licorice, Walnuts and Rye. Bit of Maple Syrup is the only sweet component.

I added a couple of drops of water to the whiskey that suppressed the Alcohol and the White Pepper on the Nose. It becomes sweeter and mellow with more Cinnamon, Maple Syrup, Sweet Corn and Caramel. Taste and Finish just mellow down a bit. You can certainly experiment with a little water here.

Rating   82   

Nose: 21.5 – Taste: 20 – Finish: 20– Overall: 20.5


General Remarks: The Jack Daniels Distillery is located in Lynchburg (Tennessee). It was indeed founded by a man called Jack Daniel in 1866 and it stayed in the family until 1956 when it was bought by Brown Forman from Kentucky.  

The Single Barrels that are chosen for this expression are selected from the uppermost floors of the warehouses located on the hills surrounding the distillery. During the year these floors endure extremes in temperature resulting in very aromatic and smooth whiskeys. Each bottle is hand–labeled and marked with the number of the Barrel, the Rick and the date of bottling. In this case I’m tasting bottle # II-5199 from Rick # L-2 that was bottled on the 13th of October 2011. The mash bill for this whiskey consists of Corn, Barley and Rye.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Very Good

Conclusion: I found this Single Barrel to be in line with the general taste pattern of the Old # 7. It’s a bit more mature and polished than # 7 but not too smooth like the Gentleman Jack. It certainly benefits from the higher Alcohol percentage of 47%. If the Old # 7 would be bottled with the same percentage, it would be very difficult to tell them apart in a blind tasting session. Having said that, the nose of this Single Barrel was more interesting and mature than both Old # 7 and Gentleman Jack. The Peach tone was very convincing. And the colour is really beautiful. And it tastes great with Ice thanks to the 47% Alcohol. Is it worth all the extra money? I don’t think so. Despite the very nice bottle and packaging. In the end, I think that’s a compliment to the producers of Jack Daniels. It means that they have a very adequate standard expression with the Old # 7.


Jan van den Ende                                                           September 10, 2012


Jim Beam Red Stag Review



Country: USA
Brand: Jim Beam Red Stag
Type: Straight Bourbon Infused with Natural Flavors
Region: Kentucky
Age: 4 Years
Alcohol: 40%

General Remarks: The Beam/Noe Family and more specifically Jacob Beam started making Bourbon in 1795. The Name Jim Beam was given to this Bourbon in Honor of James B. Beam who rebuilt the Distillery after the end of the Prohibition. Since 2011 the Brand is owned by Beam Inc., Chicago. Several founding-family successors are still active in the company. The most known products are of course the White and the Black Label. In 2009, the Distillery, located in Clermont, Frankfort, Kentucky, also started the production of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (Basically Jim Beam White Label) infused with natural flavors under the name Red Stag. There are three varieties, Black Cherry, Honey Tea and Cinnamon Spiced. The producers are aiming at younger consumers who might otherwise not get in contact with Bourbon as they are used to drink cocktails or sweet liquors. Red Stag sells for around US$ 22, - per 750 ml bottle.

The name Red Stag refers to the majestic elks, led by proud Red Stags that roamed the Kentucky Mountains in the time J.Beam started producing Bourbon. Unfortunately they were hunted down to extinction but were re-introduced in 1997. Now large herds exist again, especially east of Montana.

I- Red Stag – Black Cherry

Colour: Deep Gold

Nose: Very pleasant. The Sweet Corn, Oak, Vanilla and Cinnamon combine well with the Maraschino type Cherry flavor. Very fruity and not too Sweet. Hints of white Coconut meat. There is some slightly harsh Alcohol popping up from time to time. Still, this dram is very well balanced on the Nose.

Taste: Very, Very Sweet. Spicy Vanilla (Cinnamon and Nutmeg) with warm Cherry topping. Sweet Grains, Oak and Honey. This tastes much more like Cherry Liquor than as Bourbon. Not as balanced as the Nose promises. This is too sweet to drink neat in my opinion.

Finish: Quite Long. Sugared Cherries and Orange Peel, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

I added a few drops of water. Unfortunately, the Nose loses its balanced intensity. The Palate remains too Sweet and the Finish just waters down. Better Nose this one neat. Finally I threw in some ice cubes and that does the trick. It’s still very sweet of course but quite enjoyable although images of Cherry-flavoured cough syrup did pop up from time to time.

Rating:  81  (Whisk(e)y-Liquor Rating)

Nose: 22 -Taste: 19 – Finish: 19.5 – Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Too Sweet

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion: Excellent well-balanced Nose. Too sweet to drink neat or even with a bit of water. More like a Cherry Liquor infused with Bourbon than the other way around. Better drink this on the Rocks or in Cocktails.


II- Red Stag – Honey Tea


Colour: Amber/Gold


Nose: Sweet Corn, Oak, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Light Honey and a touch of Cherries and Green Tea. Some Alcohol around. This still smells like a Jim Beam Bourbon with some flavors added. Not bad but not spectacular. I had expected a stronger presence of Honey on the Nose.

Taste: Very Sweet. Syrupy. Sugar leading the way rather than Honey. Spices are there as well with Cinnamon in the forefront. Tea is more present now. Bit of Honey and Cherries. It does not taste like Bourbon anymore and it fails to impress me as a Honey-Tea-Bourbon Liquor. It’s a bit of a mess actually.

Finish: Sugary Sweet with Cherries and Tea.

I added a few drops of water but that just waters things down. In fact it enhances the Artificial character of some of the infused ingredients. The Nose gets a bit more Sweet Corn and Vanilla. On the Rocks it gets a bit better though not completely satisfying.

Rating:  74.5  (Whisk(e)y Liquor Rating)

Nose: 20 -Taste: 18 – Finish: 18 – Overall: 18.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Below Expectations.

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Okay

Conclusion: The Nose is quite Jim Beam Bourbon with only a light presence of Honey. Not as well balanced as the Black Cherry Nose. The Palate and Finish fail to impress me. Again, I can’t find a good Balance. It might have its use as a basis for Cocktails but I’m not at all an expert in that field. So, to round it up, it’s drinkable but I don’t see me buying a full bottle of this.


III- Red Stag – Spiced with Cinnamon

Colour: Golden

Nose: There are more wafts of Alcohol to deal with than in the other two Stags. This needs opening up. Quite strong Spices, slightly artificial Cinnamon, Oak and a bit of Mint as in a Mojito Cocktail. I get some Apple (Pie) as well and Cherry. The Nose is less Sweet than I would have expected. It stills smells like a Whisky but more like a young Grain Whisky than a Sweet Corn Bourbon.  

Taste: Very Sweet and Syrupy. Spice, Cinnamon and Cherry. Jim Beam White Label is still there in the background. This dram can be savoured neat. On the Palate this is less complex than the Black Cherries but much better balanced than the Honey Tea.

Finish: Warm Cinnamon and Cherry.

I added a few drops of water. On the Nose, the Cinnamon and Cherry flavors are more dominant versus the Oak and Mint. On the Palate, the water tames the Hot Spices a bit but it kills the Finish. Still, it pays of to experiment a bit.

Rating:   79.5  (Whisk(e)y Liquor Rating)

Nose: 20 - Taste: 20 – Finish: 19 – Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Quite Nice

Conclusion: Instinctively I would have thought that the Cinnamon Spiced Stag would be the best of the three as Cinnamon is a common flavor to be found in whiskies and Bourbons. It certainly is the best balanced of the three and the best hybrid between a Bourbon and a Liquor. It’s also the only one of the three that can be savoured neat. But although it easily beats the Honey Tea and it’s probably the only one of the three I would drink on the Rocks from time to time, I found it less complex than the Black Cherries Stag, especially on the Nose.

Final Conclusion: In the end the Black Cherry scored slightly higher than the Cinnamon Spiced because of its more complex features. The Cinnamon however will be the Crowd Pleaser in my opinion as it is very easy to sip, especially on the Rocks. It’s easy to get drunk on this stuff as you hardly sense the Alcohol. Beware of that! The Honey Tea scored clearly lower as it lacks balance and purpose. All three are better savoured on the Rocks or in your favourite Cocktails. I can also imagine sprinkling some Cinnamon or Cherries Red Stag over some Vanilla ice cream!

Jim Beam Red Stag is hardly comparable to Whiskey or Bourbon. Most of the time it smells and tastes as a Liquor infused with Bourbon rather than a Bourbon infused with flavors. But I think that’s exactly the point behind this product. Whiskey and Bourbon drinkers are not targeted here. It’s those large herds of guys and, especially, girls that can’t stand whiskey or Bourbon but love sweet stuff and Alcohol and will be slowly but surely drawn into the world of Whiskey and (Jim Beam) Bourbon. Just follow the Red Stag!

Jan van den Ende                                                                 August 24, 2012



Jack Daniels Gentleman Jack Review


Country: USA
Brand: Jack Daniels Gentleman Jack
Type: Whiskey (Tennessee)
Age:  Around 5 Years
Alcohol: 40%

Colour: Golden Amber

Nose: Sweet Corn Syrup, Vanilla, Charred Oak, Butter, Fruit (Think of Pineapple, Cherries and Banana). There’s some Alcohol but not too much. A hint of Furniture Wax. Bit of Burnt Sugar as well. Quite a restrained nose really.

Taste: Not at all as Sweet as expected after the Nose. A bit watery but very smooth. Toasted Grain, Licorice, Oak, White Pepper.

Finish: Quite a bit of Licorice. Very short bite on the tongue. Slightly bitter Walnuts. Some Lemon, Apple, Oak, and Cinnamon.

I added a few drops of water to the whiskey that brought more Sweet Grain, Honey and Pineapple to the Nose. But on the palate it waters down quickly so better drink it without water although I got some extra cherries in the Finish. Well, just try it out and see what it brings you.


Rating 80,5


Nose: 20,5 – Taste: 20 – Finish: 20 – Overall: 20
General Remarks: The Jack Daniels Distillery is located in Lynchburg (Tennessee). It was indeed founded by a man called Jack Daniel in 1866 and it stayed in the family until 1956 when it was bought 
by Brown Forman from Kentucky. Gentleman Jack was introduced in 1988 and is Charcoal-Mellowed twice, once before it goes into the barrel and a second time after full maturation. In this way, it is unique.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion: I rate the Gentleman Jack slightly higher than the regular Old no.7. It’s more refined on the Nose and it certainly tastes better on the Rocks. But straight, its double Charcoal Mellowing leaves it smooth but also quite uneventful, almost boring. I don’t think it’s worth the extra bucks. For much less you can get a large range of good Bourbons.

Jan van den Ende                                                                      May 20, 2012


Wild Turkey 101 Review

Country: USA
Brand: Wild Turkey
Type: Bourbon (Kentucky)
Age: 8 Years
Alcohol: 50,5%

Colour: Gold

Nose:  Very Nice. Sweet (Dried Fruits), Vanilla, Malt. There’s something else there but I can’t define it. Could be Leather.

Taste: This is not for beginners!! A full body overwhelms you with Malt, Caramel, Vanilla (Crème Brulee) Oak and Spices (Cinnamon). Great stuff!

Finish: The finish is spicy (Pepper) and quite dry. Slightly bitter at the end and then suddenly some Vanilla returns.

Rating:  86 

Nose: 22 – Taste: 21 – Finish: 22 – Overall: 21

General Remarks:  Nice generous Sweet and Innocent Nose followed by lots of heat and Pepper. I miss a bit of balance here. Still a great Bourbon. I added a few drops of water to the Bourbon that brought some dried fruit (Plums) to the nose and some sweetness to the finish. However, the finish also seemed to burn a bit more and the alcohol became clearer. Interesting to try it out both neat and with some water.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:  This should not be your first glass of Kentucky Straight Bourbon. It could easily scare you off. Some ice cubes might help out!

Jan van den Ende                                                          September 2, 2011