Jefferson’s Groth

I’ve always enjoyed Jefferson’s–never blown away but never unhappy. I have traded/begged/hunted for some of the older ones, but I thought I’d try the Groth which is pretty much available everywhere. (Will the person on bottle-spot who is trying to sell it for more please stop??)

Finished whiskeys have been incredibly en vogue recently, but not all of them are good. I’m going into this one with an open mind.

Baking spices, plums, green apple, rubber and raspberries. Interesting and fruity nose.

Palate is enjoyable, smooth and uncomplicated. The oak and wine from the finish certainly are coming through–but I’m not sure it’s just changing the flavor or improving. Enjoyable experience.

This is a hard one. I enjoy it but I prefer the classic bourbon notes that have been pushed to the back burner on this one. If it was $30, I would be a 90+ score, but given it usually goes for $80-$90 it’s hard to justify the price. Buy a dram at the bar, but not worth adding to the collection. 86/100.


Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond

Sometimes when you go on vacation and forget to bring any good bourbon, you just buy the best thing the local store has. I’ve been on a lower shelf kick recently and I’ve never actually tried this one so the stars aligned for me to review this for you today.

Old Fitzgerald is an iconic brand which back in the day was produced by the Stitzel-Weller Distillery but now is in the Heaven Hill stable of brands. This is a wheated bourbon and one of the cheapest ones out there–I paid $18 for it.

Hot yet sweet nose: oak, almonds, vanilla and cloves. Secondary notes of baked bread and caramel. In the very back I get some nail polish and car seat, just enough to not want you to stick your nose in the glass too deep.

The palate is more enjoyable than I expected, but not over the top. The taste is less hot than I anticipated and the mouthfeel is fairly enjoyable but the taste wasn’t as good as the nose. Some spicy notes are there but the sweet and complex flavors are lacking. The finish is moderate.

For $18 it’s hard to argue that it’s a bad deal but it’s certainly not going to knock your socks off either. I’m certainly going to drink this down over the next year or so but it won’t be my first or even fourth dram of the night…  It’s like a common Pokemon lingering around… you still are going to catch it and enjoy it, but you aren’t going to be too excited about it either. 86/100.

BTEC Entry Proof Experiment

I love the BTEC collection, even if I don’t love each of the individual whiskeys. The fact they are experimenting and letting us try them is pretty cool. I’m not in love with the costs either, but the market has dictated most of high prices.  Not to give this one away, but this experiment is one of my absolute favorites when it comes to the results.

The BTEC is about entry level proof into the barrel, 105 vs 125 using the BT rye bourbon mash #2 and aged for 13.25 years.


Both look equally golden Amber in color.

105: a bit hot on the nose initially, but butterscotch, lemongrass, peach pits, cinnamon, allspice and oak come through in the second whif.

125: surprisingly not hot on the nose, it’s sweeter with toasted raisin bread, butter cornbread, cracked walnut and baking spices. The nose on this one seems far more developed and approachable.

105: enjoyable initial taste, although thin mouthfeel and quickly drops off with a slightly sour aftertaste with just warmth remaining.

125: even more enjoyable initial taste, with a medium mouthfeel that continues for much longer and does not give a sour aftertaste. The finish is moderate and there is a much more balanced flavor, feel and warmth profile that the 105 entry point is missing.

There isn’t even a comparison here and it’s shocking to believe these started as the same, with everything identical expect for the entry proof into the barrel. The 105 proof is an incomplete and lacking bourbon, while the 125 is very enjoyable. A bit expensive for a 375ml, but good to know how important entry proof is into a barrel, and it’s no wonder that most distillers fill their barrels at the legal maximum.  Great experiment and worth trying side by side to see.

105:  83/100
125:  91/100

Shame! Shame! NYC Central Cellars Wine & Spirits Shame!

One of my big peeves is egregiously overcharging for whiskey (defined by significantly over secondary prices).  It’s just so annoying and I avoid those stores.  Today’s example is the new store that just opened in New York City in Grand Central Terminal: Central Cellars Wine & Spirits.  The old place, which also was a rip off, closed a few months ago and they have been working on refurbishing this new store and it just opened this week.

A picture tells a thousand words:


Yes, Pikesville Rye is a great whiskey, but it’s also available and not a limited release.  I was able to pick up a six pack for $52 a bottle, but if someone wants to charge, $60 or even $75, I don’t think that’s a problem.  But at $125, it will not sell and will just be  a constant reminder of what a rip off the store is.

The rent is probably very high, but if you don’t sell anything, you won’t make any money.  I don’t see these guys lasting either and I don’t think we should support them.  Shame on your Central Cellars Wine & Spirits!

Here is my original Pikesville review:

Jefferson’s Straight Rye Whiskey 10yr UK

I haven’t seen this whiskey in the US for a long time, which I have heard was due to the contract supplier for the Jefferson’s Rye ending their deal abruptly.  So when I saw this available on the shelves on a business trip to London I jumped on it.  700ml instead of 750ml, but everything is the same compared to the US edition.  Cost GBP 50 (approximately $65).

Looks great in the bottle, the classic Jefferson’s shape, a nice medium amber color.

Candy corn jumps on the nose, cotton candy, rock candy, just a complete sweet tooth.  Reminds me very much of a lot of some of the Whistle Pigs or Canadian rye’s I’ve had in the past.

The taste is very smooth, with a nice mouthfeel, with some really nice spicy notes on the follow through.  Lots of that rock candy sweetness, with a solid spicy follow through.  Enjoyable finish.

Gotta say, this is a nice little rye.  Not overly complex, but very enjoyable.  If this was bottled at cask strength it would most likely rate higher with more complexity.  I wish this was more readily available in the US.  92/100.


Ancient Age 80 Dusty

I love me a good dusty.  I traded for this one as part of a larger trade as a throw in.  Ancient Age Straight Kentucky Bourbon 80 proof, most likely from the 1970’s, with the tax stamp.  Ancient Age is one of the Buffalo Trace brands.

Vanilla, cloves, mushrooms, butterscotch, caramel, nutmeg and allspice.  Almost no heat at all.

The taste is ok, with all the elements from the nose coming through, but all on a very weak level.  The flavors are not strong, and the mouthfeel is very thin.  It’s enjoyable but it’s not complex.  The finish is quick turning slightly bitter at the end.

I love a good dusty, but this one isn’t one worth seeking out.  Nice to try to cross off my list.  80/100.


3yr Rye Distilled, Aged & Bottled by The Willett Distillery

I’ve been drinking a lot of really great sourced whiskey from Willett over the past several years.  Their products contain some of the best juice in the world and bottled it at cask strength–just the way I like it.  My hope is that Drew & Co have taken the same skills in sourcing, blending and bottling into the distilling world for their rye.  It’s in the same beautiful Willett Family Estate bottle we all love, green capsule for the rye.

This bottle is bottled at 112.6 proof.

Medium light amber color.

Sweet candy nose, a bit hot with menthol but not overwhelming.  Cotton candy, rock candy, and a touch of peppermint are the stronger notes, with a hint of apples and cedar on the back.

The initial taste is ok, but not as good as I expected.  Some of the notes on the nose come through in the palate, but the mouthfeel is thin and the follow through lacks good flavor, only bitterness and heat.  The only enjoyment in this dram is the very first moment, because after that, it all goes away.

This rye is very disappointing.  For all the amazing products I’ve had from Willett, this is the worst one so far.  Maybe it’s because it’s only three years old?  I don’t know… I’ve had some very good 3yr ryes before and ones that I knew had a lot of potential, but I don’t know about this one.  I’m hoping this might have been a one-off occurence, but I won’t be trying any young Willett products for a while…  if anyone wants a sample, I’m happy to send one.  82/100.