Showing posts with label Kentucky Straight Bourbon Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kentucky Straight Bourbon Review. Show all posts

Booker's the Barrel Review


“Great Balls of Fire”

Whisky Review # 657

Country: USA
Brand: Booker's Bourbon Batch # 2015-02 The Barrel (True Barrel Series)
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Age: 6-8 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 63.7%
Maturation: New Charred American White Oak Barrels 
Filtration: No  
Price Range: Around US$ 75 (October 2017)
Buying Advice: 😈 Hotter than Hell! I dare you to try it! Good Stuff! 

Colour: Deep Amber with shades of Orange (Natural Colour)

Nose: Sweet and Pleasant despite the high ABV. At first I get the familiar combination of Glue, Acetone, Vanilla, Orange, Caramel and Banana. It might not be everybody's cup of Tea but I find it rather addictive. A sort of Guilty Pleasure if you know what I mean! After a while In also find Fresh Peach, Corn Syrup, Milky Way Bar, Dusty Road, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, a mix of Dried Fruits and Nuts, Floral tones, Menthol, Charred Oak and hints of Leather, Aniseed and Tobacco. From time to time I pick up some Dark Red Fruit Aromas as well but it's hard to pinpoint them.      

Palate: Wow! This is not for the Faint of Heart! Extremely strong delivery thanks to the high ABV. I'm usually not a fan of adding Water but in this case it's almost mandatory. My eyes started crying a bit. Not from sadness though as I quite like the Palate of this Booker's. It roughly follows the Nose with Vanilla, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit and Nuts, Banana, Cherry, Acetone, Glue, Orange, Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Menthol, Aniseed, Herbs, Salted Peanuts and hints of Leather, Resin and Tobacco.

Finish: Middle-Long but quite Powerful. The Alcohol is really strong. Quite Tannic as well. Mainly Sweet but with a few Bitter - and Sour notes as well. I find Vanilla, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Acetone, Glue, Milky Way Bars, Sweet Corn, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper, Aniseed, Licorice, Menthol, Orange and Grapefruit Juice. Hints of Leather, Dried Herbs and Tobacco. Dry in the end. 

Drinking Advice:
I advise you to add a little Water in this case. You won't change the general Aroma and Flavour profile and it makes it easier to enjoy this Booker's.

Rating: 86 

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5


General Remarks:

Booker's Bourbon is part of Jim Beam's Small Batch collection and is named after Booker Noe, the former Master Distiller. It was first released to the general public in 1992. Each barrel selected for Booker's is aged in the centre of the rack houses where temperature and humidity are ideal. Booker's is Unfiltered and bottled at Cask Strength.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: This is what good Bourbon is all about. When you take a small sip you can easily imagine those old black and white Cowboy movies where the hero would enter a saloon and demand a shot! When I'm perfectly honest I would have preferred a slightly lower ABV of around 55% as the heat nearly gets out of control at almost 64%. I normally drink my Whisky or Bourbon neat but in this case I advise you to add a little Water. Other than that I really liked this Booker's. If you're not into Bourbon at all this is certainly not the way to start your voyage. But if you are a seasoned Glue and Acetone addict you will love this Booker's. It's Hot, it's Strong, it kicks like a wild mule and it gives no quarter. It's not at all complex but it's well-made and there's an authentic feel to it that I love. It's not cheap but it's well worth the ride. Rollin', Rollin', Rollin', Rawhide! 

Jan van den Ende                                                                 October 24, 2017

W.L. Weller 12 Years Review


“Pappy Van Weller”

Whisky Review # 626

Country: USA
Brand: W.L. Weller
Type: Kentucky Straight Wheated Bourbon Whiskey
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 45%
Maturation: Charred New American White Oak Barrels     
Price Range: US$ 25-35 in the USA (July 2017). An average US$ 100 elsewhere. 
Buying Advice:😄 You should buy it if you can get it under 35 US Dollars. No need too spend more. Go for Maker's Mark as an affordable alternative!

Colour: Bronze with a shade of Red (Natural Colour)

Nose: Sweet and Pleasant. Reminds me of Maker's Mark. Thick layers of Sweet Corn, Vanilla and Caramel. It clearly misses the punch of the Rye but it's quite nice in its own right. I also find Toasted Oak, Buttered Toast, Banana, slightly Sour Blackberry-flavoured Yogurt, Freshly Baked Apple Pie, Honey Nuts Cereals,  Peach Jam, Cinnamon, Ginger, Fresh Mint, Sugared Almonds, Acetone and a few traces of Orange, Dirt Road, Rum and Leather. Not overly complicated but quite delicious! Could smell this for hours!

Palate: Medium-Sweet with a few Sour, Herbal and Spicy notes. I find Sugared Cereals, Buttered Toast, Toasted Oak, Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Caffe Latte, Rum, Orange-Flavoured Chocolate, Toasted Nuts, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Dirt Road, Fresh Mint, Aniseed, Honey Nuts and Herbal Tea. A bit of Tutti-Frutti Bubble Gum after a while. It's not bad but it's a lot less Sweet than you would expect after the Nose. A bit disappointing quite frankly!   

Finish: Bitter-Sweet, Herbal and quite Dry in the end with Honey Nuts, Toasted Oak, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Orange-Flavoured Dark Chocolate, Blackberry Muffins, Dried Herbs, Leather, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Rum and Herbal Tea. The Alcohol and something that reminds me of Varnish spoil the fun a bit in this department. A bit too dry for my taste as well. This is the weaker part of this Bourbon.

Drinking Advice:
No Need to add Water to the Weller 12 Years. It's quite nice over Ice as well but you should at least Nose it neat!

Rating: 86

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21.5


General Remarks:

The W.L. Weller 12 years is produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, owned by Sazerac Company Inc. The Mash Bill is undisclosed but is said to be the same recipe as the Van Winkle Lot B. The only difference seems to be that hand picked barrels are used for the Van Winkle. Therefore, the W.L. Weller 12 Years is very often called the "Poor Man's Van Winkle". As a result, prices have increased dramatically over the last few years, mostly in the secondary market. Corn is of course the main grain used for this Bourbon but it is followed by Wheat rather than Rye. A little Malted Barley completes the Mash Bill. William Larue Weller was said to be the first American distiller that used Wheat in the Mash Bill.

Drinking Experience: Good. Great Nose!

Conclusion:

It's quite amazing that such a nice Wheated Bourbon is available at around 30  US Dollars. If you can find it at that price of course. And that's not at all easy depending on where you live. On the Internet I've seen prices in the 75-100 US dollar range. Don't spend that kind of money though. Go for Maker's Mark in that case. But at an average 30 US Dollars, the W.L. Weller 12 Years is a must buy! If only for the Nose! If you like Sweet Bourbons, you will love this Nose! As so often, Palate and Finish can't maintain the same high level. They are not as Sweet as the Nose would let you to believe and the Finish is really too dry. At least in my opinion. Still, at 30 US Dollars this would certainly be my every day Wheat Bourbon if I could find it in Brazil. Unfortunately I've never seen it around here. Not even in the Duty Free Shop at the Sao Paulo airport. I'll have to stick to my Maker's Mark for the time being! 

Jan van den Ende                                                                        July 24, 2017

Buffalo Trace Distillery

Eagle Rare 10 Years Review


“And I Dream I’m an Eagle”

Country: USA
Brand: Eagle Rare
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Small Batch Whiskey 
Age: 10 Years
ABV: 45%
Whisky Review # 561

Colour: Copper with a touch of Orange.

Nose: Much Sweeter than the 17 years I tasted sometime ago. Less Oak as well. I find Sweet Corn, Apple Strudel sprinkled with Powder Sugar and Cinnamon, Buttered Toast, Toasted Nuts, Honey, Syrup, Vanilla, Caramel, Orange, Oak Char, Cocoa Powder, Banana Bread Dough, Acetone, Sweet Popcorn and a sprinkle of Nutmeg. It's a relatively Light nose and most of the Aromas are not
very pronounced. It's okay but it doesn't invite you to smell for a long time. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.  

Taste: The Delivery is a little Thin despite the adequate ABV. It's mostly Bitter-Sweet and it gets quite Dry towards the end. It's also more Spicy than you would expect after Nosing. I find Sweet Corn, Vanilla, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Buttered Toast, Orange, light Honey, Toasted Nuts, Cocoa Powder, Licorice, Pepper, Winter Spices, light Rye, Charred Oak and Dried Herbs.

Finish: Middle-Long, Bitter Sweet and quite Dry towards the end. The Oak is much more noticeable by now. I find Sweet Corn, Toffee, Tutti Frutti Bubble Gum, Acetone, light Rye, light Honey, Cherry Flavoured Cough Drops, Oak Char and a sprinkle of Cinnamon, Pepper, Cardamom and Dried Herbs.

The Eagle Rare 10 Whiskey does not improve with added Water. You do get a little extra Banana Ice Cream on the Palate. Otherwise it becomes too Thin.

Rating: 83 

Nose: 20.5 – Taste: 20.5 – Finish: 21 – Overall: 21


General Remarks: Eagle Rare is one of the many Whiskey Brands produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. Today, this Distillery is owned by the Sazerac Company. Eagle Rare uses the Buffalo Trace # 1 Low Rye Mash Bill. Until recently it was sold as a Single Cask Whiskey. The ABV was lowered to 90 Proof (45% ABV) in 2005. It's mostly sold in the 25-40 US Dollar range.  

Drinking Experience Neat: Good but nothing special. 

Conclusion: There's nothing really wrong with this Eagle Rare 10 Years Whiskey but perhaps for the fact that it's a little Light and Thin on respectively Nose and Palate. It's perfectly drinkable, both Neat and on the Rocks and it's got a good Price/Quality ratio. It just completely misses the "Wow" factor. You will have forgotten all about it the moment you have finished your glass. It's also quite different from its 17 Year old brother. It is more comparable to the Standard Four Roses Bourbon. In short, a good day-to-day Bourbon but nothing really special.    

Jan van den Ende                                                             September 26, 2016

Buffalo Trace Distillery

Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Review


    “Saddle Your Horses”

Country: USA
Brand: Bulleit Frontier Whiskey
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 
Age: NAS (Said to be around 6 Years)
ABV: 45%

Colour: Light Copper with a dash of Orange.

Nose: The first impressions include Artificially Fruit-Flavoured Bubblegum and Glue. That's not a great start and I decide to give the Bulleit more time in the glass. After an additional hour or so I put my curious nose to work again. The extra air contact certainly helped although hints of the above mentioned Aromas are still there. But I also find Sweet Corn, Vanilla, Charred Oak, Toffee, Sweet Red Apples, light Corn Syrup, Sugar coated Nuts, Orange, Cinnamon, Fresh Mint and some Floral tones I can't quite place. It's Sweet but not overly so thanks to the relatively high Rye content. After a while I get images of saddling a horse. It might be Leather but it's not just that. Odd! The Alcohol is not fully integrated.

Taste: The Delivery, while Hot Sharp and Spicy, is nevertheless a bit on the Thin side. The Rye is very noticeable though and the overall Flavour profile is Bitter- Sweet and Spicy. I find Sweet Corn, Vanilla, Caramel, light Syrup, Charred Oak,
Orange, Sugared Nuts, Red Apple, Cinnamon, Pepper, light Menthol and hints of Leather, Bitter Chocolate and Floral Soap. 

Finish: Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet. Dry towards the end. The Rye Spices are quite evident as well as the Cherries and the slightly Metallic Alcohol Burn. I also find Sweet Corn, Charred Oak, light Menthol, Toffee, Dusty Road, Vanilla, Floral Soap, Sugared Nuts and Orange Liqueur.

The Bulleit Frontier Whiskey does not improve with added Water.  

Rating: 84.5 

Nose: 22 – Taste: 21 – Finish: 20.5 – Overall: 21



General Remarks: The original Bulleit was distilled between 1830 and 1860 by Augustus Bulleit. Only in 1987 the Brand was revived by Thomas E. Bulleit Jr., a great-great-grandson of Augustus. The new mash bill consists of Corn (68%), Rye (28%) and Malted Barley (4%). A Bulleit Distillery does not exist. At least until 2010 the Spirit was produced at the Four Roses Distillery. But Diageo, the owner of the Bulleit Brand since 2010, sold Four Roses to the Kirin Group. It's likely that at least a large part of the Spirit used for Bulleit is still produced at Four Roses but no one knows for sure. In the future, Bulleit will be produced in the new Diageo distillery that is being constructed in Shelbyville , Kentucky as we speak. Production is expected to start still this year. What we do know for sure is that all Bulleit Whiskey matures in the old Stitzel-Weller warehouses in Louisville. The Bulleit Frontier Whiskey is priced between 25 and 45 US Dollars, depending on where you live (February 2016).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good. I would love to see it a little Sweeter but I'm afraid they won't change the Mash Bill just for me!

Bulleit 40% ABV

In 2008, Bulleit was launched in the UK market. It was bottled at a lower ABV of 40% however. I tasted a sample that I bought at Master of Malt. As Bulleit is produced in relatively Small Batches, the quality may vary of course. Fact is I did not like it a lot. I'm not sure if it was just this sample but I got lots of Young Oak, Varnish, Alcohol and Cooked Vegetables on the Nose. On the Palate and in the Finish it was Thin, Dusty, Metallic and Mineral without pleasant Aromas. Like I said, it may have been just a bad Sample or a bad Batch. To avoid any risks however I would advise you to go for the 90 Proof only.  

Conclusion: A decent everyday Bourbon, especially if you like Rye Whiskey. Just be sure to give it some time in the glass when you have just opened your bottle for the first time. The Nose is the best part of the Bulleit and I'm still wondering why I got images of Saddling a horse! On the other hand, Whiskey and Horses were a common sight in the Wild Wild West! On the Palate and in the Finish the Bulleit is Bitter-Sweet, Spicy and a little Hot & Sharp. And there are a couple of slightly Artificial Aromas and Flavours that I don't care for too much. However, if my notes are in line with your preferred Bourbon profile you can't go wrong with Bulleit, especially when you can buy it at around 25 bucks. However, if you, like me, prefer your everyday Bourbon a little Sweeter I would like to recommend Wild Turkey 101 or Maker's Mark. 

Jan van den Ende                                                              February 18, 2016

Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit Review



“Classy But Expensive”

Country: USA
Brand: Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit
Type: Single Cask Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 
Age: NAS (Said To Be around 9 Years)
ABV: 50.5 %
Sample provided by Derek from the USA. Many Thanks!

Colour: Golden Amber with a touch of Orange.

Nose: Very Sweet and Seductive with Toffee, Butterscotch, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Maple Syrup, Papaya Cream, Banana, Cherry, Citrus Peel, Blackberry Jam, Toasted Almonds, Rye, Charred Oak, Mint, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and hints of Milk Chocolate and Bounty Bars. It's similar to the 101 Proof but it's got a bit more Depth, Oak and Spices. The Alcohol is quite strong. Still, a very pleasant Nose!

Taste: Sour-Sweet, Spicy and Creamy with Charred Oak, Corn Syrup, Rye, Caramel, Butterscotch, Brown Sugar, Cherry, Blackberry, Nuts, Pepper, Mint, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and hints of Orange-Flavoured Dark Chocolate and Leather. Light to Medium Alcohol Bite.

Finish: Quite Long. Sweet at first but Dry and slightly Sour later on with Cherry, Blackberry, Charred Oak, Resin, Corn Syrup, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Lemon Zest, Nuts, Pepper, Nutmeg, Mint and a hint of Leather.   

With a bit of Water the Nose loses a bit of its intensity. Brown Sugar, Maple Syrup, Charred Oak and Milk Chocolate start to dominate. But Palate and Finish mellow down considerably without giving up too much of the Flavours. I would advise you to add a bit of Water. It makes it easier to fully enjoy the Kentucky Spirit.

Rating: 87  

Nose: 22.5 – Taste: 21.5  – Finish: 21.5 – Overall: 21.5

Derek's Bottle and the Sample!

General Remarks: Wild Turkey is produced in Lawrenceburg Kentucky. Nowadays the Brand is owned by the Campari Group. The distillery produces the 81 Proof, the 101 Proof, the Single Barrel Kentucky Spirit at 101 Proof, Russell's Reserve 10 Years named after Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, Rare Breed a blend of 6, 8 and 12 old Wild Turkey at 108.4 Proof, a Rye Whiskey  made with 65% Rye, 23 % Corn and 12% Barley and a Honey Liqueur by the name of American Honey. The Kentucky Spirit I'm reviewing today is the Single Barrel version of the 101 Proof. It was bottled on the 8th of April 2011 and matured in Barrel # 28 from Warehouse E, Rick # 42. It is said that Master Distiller Jimmy Russell personally selects the Barrels that will be used for this expression.The Mash Bill consists of Corn (75%), Rye (13%) and Barley (12%). On average it costs around 50 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: I like Wild Turkey Bourbons in general. Especially on the Nose. I find it difficult to stop Nosing them! The Kentucky Spirit is no exception to the rule. The combination of Fruit, Grain and Spices is hard to resist. The Bounty Bar note is very nice as well. Palate and Finish can't quite keep up with the Nose. Lots of Charred Oak, Spices and slightly Sour Cherries and Blackberries. Still good mind you but I would have liked to see a bit more Fruity Sweetness here. In summing it up, I find that the Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit is a good but not sensational Single Cask Bourbon. It's got a bit more Depth than the 101 Proof but not enough to justify the considerable price difference. Also, please bear in mind that Single Cask Spirits will vary from Cask to Cask. 

Jan van den Ende                                                           December 9, 2014

Jefferson's Presidential Select 18 Years Review



Country: USA
Brand: Jefferson's Presidential Select
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 
Age: 18 Years
ABV: 47 %
Sample Provided By: Derek, USA. Many Thanks!  
Date: 19/01/2014

Colour: Deep Amber with Tones of Orange and Brown

Nose: Give it sufficient time to breathe! Good balance between Sweet, Spicy and Woody Aromas. The Alcohol is nicely integrated. I find Custard/Vanilla, Sweet Grain, Warm Pancakes with Golden Syrup and a sprinkle of Orange Liqueur, Oak, Resin, Candied Nuts, Caramel, Wax, light Acetone, Cinnamon and Pepper.

Palate: Sweet and Spicy with Toffee/Caramel/Butterscotch, slightly Bitter Oak, Resin, Roasted Nuts, Cocoa Powder, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cloves and Ginger.

Finish: Middle-Long, Sweet at first but Dry towards the end with Toffee, Butter, slightly Bitter Oak, Pine Resin, Cherries, Creamy Vanilla, Pepper, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

Water does not improve the Jefferson's Presidential Select 18 Years.

Rating: 87

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21.5  - Overall: 21.5

Derek's Bottle and the Sample!

General Remarks: McLain and Kyne Distillers Ltd is a Blending Company or NDP (Non Distiller Producer) based in Louisville, Kentucky. McLain was founded by Chet Zoeller but was bought by Castle Brands in 2006. They specialise in Small Batch Bourbons of roughly between 8 and 12 barrels bought from various Kentucky Distillers. Their main Brand Name is Jefferson's. Currently the following expressions are marketed: Jefferson's Bourbon, Jefferson's Rye, Jefferson's Reserve, Jefferson's Presidential Select, Jefferson's Ocean and the Chef's Collaboration. The Presidential Select 18 years I am tasting today was distilled from Wheat in the fall of 1991. The sample I received was taken out of bottle # 0824 of Batch # 18. The spirit aged in Stitzel-Weller Barrels from the distillery of the same name that was mothballed in 1992 by owners Diageo. But in 2013 Diageo announced they would re-start production at the Louisville based plant. Considering the above, it is most likely that our today's Whiskey has been distilled at the Stitzel-Weller distillery that is also well known for the famous Pappy van Winkle Brand. Jefferson Reserve Presidential Select 18 Years is sold at roughly between 100 and 125 US Dollars.


Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: The Jefferson Reserve Presidential Select 18 years is certainly an above average Bourbon. The Nose is the best part in my opinion. There I find the Balance, Richness and Salutary Peace that comes with old age. But on the Palate and, to a lesser extent, in the Finish I find this Bourbon a bit Nervous, too Spicy perhaps and with a slight Woody Bitterness. I do like the Creamy Vanilla Note in the Finish though. Almost like Ice Cream. A good Bourbon therefore and highly drinkable given its high age. But I'm not sure I would want to spend 125 Bucks on this Jefferson Reserve PE 18 years.

Jan van den Ende                                                       January 2014