Barrell Craft Spirits Releases 18yr Whiskey Line…

I haven’t been this excited for a whiskey release in a long time because Barrell products are usually available, the price is reasonable and they are delicious.  I live for BTAC, but my wallet does not… nice to be able to get something really special for $100 or so… what is completely insane about these releases is that this is eighteen years old! WOW!  And I’m hearing most retailers are going to be selling this for around $99.99 as well (no price gouging!).  I found out the codes on the bottles, what they mean in terms of finishes as well, which is listed below.  Apparently there is going to be a bunch of Kentucky 18yr single barrels and then 18yr finished whiskey.  I need every single one of them!!!

  • AH01 – KY Whiskey Finished in a Sauternes Barrel
  • AH02 – KY Whiskey finished in a Tokaji Barrel
  • AH03 – KY Whiskey finished in a Washington State Ice Wine Barrel
  • AH04 – KY Whiskey finished in a Jamaican Rum Cask
  • AH05 – KY Whiskey finished in a Sicilian Amaro Cask
  • AH06 – KY Whiskey finished in a Pedro Ximenez Sherry Barrel
  • AH07 – KY Whiskey finished in a Oloroso Sherry Barrel
  • AH08 – KY Whiskey finished in a Malmsey Madeira Barrel
  • AH09 – KY Whiskey finished in a Ratafia de Champagne Barrel
  • AH10 – KY Whiskey finished in a Ruby Port Barrel
  • AH11 – KY Whiskey finished in a Gewurztraminer Ice Wine Barrel
  • AH12 – KY Whiskey finished in a New York State Ice Wine Barrel
  • AH13 – KY Whiskey finished in a German Ice Wine Barrel
  • AH14 – KY Whiskey finished in a Calvados Cask
  • AH15 – KY Whiskey finished in an Apricot Brandy Barrel
  • AH16 – KY Whiskey finished in a Jamaican Rum Cask
  • AH17 – KY Whiskey finished in a Pear Brandy Cask
  • AH18 – KY Whiskey finished in an Armagnac Cask
  • AH19 – KY Whiskey finished in an Armagnac Cask
  • AH20 – KY Whiskey finished in a Pear Brandy Cask
  • AH21 – KY Whiskey finished in a Rhum Agricole Cask
  • AH22 – KY Whiskey finished in an Indiana Rye Barrel
  • AH23 – KY Whiskey finished in an Islay Single Malt Scotch Cask
  • AH24 – KY Whiskey finished in a Pedro Ximenez Sherry Barrel

Here is one website you can buy some of them… I wish I had the cheat sheet to where you can buy each one of these, but if I did, I’d need to buy them first 🙂

Update:  they have put some of the stores selling them on this link:

https://www.barrellbourbon.com/privatereleasewhiskey

 

Newbourbondrinker’s Top 5 Whiskies of 2019!

Here are my top 5 whiskies/bourbons of 2019!  This year I decided to do a little something different… Instead of ranking them by my previous scores, I decided to do a little blind tasting of them… here are the contenders, with links to the reviews:

So I had my wife pour these 5 into Glencairn glasses, and to mix it up a little bit, we also put in four others just as decoys: an OWA SB NCF store pick, a Buffalo Trace SB store pick, Barrell Bourbon batch 022 and OGD 114.  Instead of giving you the play by play, here is how they all ended up:

  1. BCS 2019
  2. Cowboy 2019
  3. Barrell Bourbon Batch 022
  4. GTS 2019
  5. OWA SB NCF
  6. Cornerstone Rye
  7. Buffalo Trace SB
  8. Wiser’s 23yr
  9. OGD 114

The Top 4 were close together, but BCS took the title, while the bottom four were a bit back.  Nice to see one of the “decoys” make it into the top 5 and beat 3 of the other contenders.  The value pick clearly is BB022, edging out GTS and being much cheaper… and everyone knows that if you can snag a great store pick OWA SB NCF, that’s always worth snagging as many as you can–unfortunately those are harder and harder to get at MSRP, but even at double, still worth it for the right pick.

I’m so sorry it took so long to put out this blog, but first quarter has been a little crazy, and now that we are all working from home, I have a little more time to catch up with older posts that were partially written and actually follow through with this blind tasting!

Just released from Buffalo Trace…. Weller Single Barrel Bourbon

Welcome to the next bottle of Bourbon you will never find at retail…. I bet it will be good, just not worth the hype… but we will see!  Full press release below….

BUFFALO TRACE DISTILLERY

RELEASING WELLER SINGLE BARREL BOURBON

New Addition to Wheated Bourbon Line to be Annual Release

FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (May 19, 2020) A Weller Single Barrel offering is the latest addition in the storied Weller bourbon line from Buffalo Trace Distillery.  Bottled at 97 proof, the Weller Single Barrel will be an annual release, starting this Summer.

“Many of our Weller fans have been asking for a single barrel bourbon for quite a while, and we’ve planned for this addition for a number of years, so we’re excited to be able to make this happen, said Joshua Steely, marketing manager, bourbon. “Our rye bourbon mash bill has a variety of options, like Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Stagg Jr. George T. Stagg and E.H. Taylor, Jr. bourbons, so it’s nice to be able to offer some variety in our wheated bourbon mash bill as well.”

            Tasting notes for the new expression describe the new Weller Single Barrel as having a nose of cherry and mint, fading to vanilla.  Caramel and baking spices with hints of cocoa explode on the palate, with a finish of cinnamon, coffee, and a hint of pepper.

            Weller Single Barrel joins the Weller line up of Weller Special Reserve, Weller Antique 107, Weller 12 years old, Weller Full Proof, Weller Craft Your Perfect Bourbon, and William Larue Weller, which is part of the Antique Collection, released each fall.

The Weller Single Barrel will be available starting in June this year, and although the offering will be limited, it will be released once per year.  The packaging will contain a cork stopper, like the Weller Full Proof Bourbon released last year.  Suggested retail pricing is $49.99.

About Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery is an American family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery’s rich tradition dates back to 1773 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee.  Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational Distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is a National Historic Landmark as well as is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won 35 distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Its Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain Bourbon was named World Whiskey of the Year by “Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2018” and its William Larue Weller and Thomas H. Handy Sazerac were named 2nd and 3rd finest whiskeys in the world, respectively, in the “Jim Murray Whiskey Bible 2020.”  Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 1,000 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies. To learn more about Buffalo Trace Distillery visit www.buffalotracedistillery.com.  To download images from Buffalo Trace Distillery visit http://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/media

George Remus Volstead 100th Anniversary 14yr MPG

Really nice bottle, beautiful presentation bottle and case. Apparently only 6,000 released. It’s a 14yr MGP Bourbon at $200, it has to be great right?

IMG_7348(1)

I actually paid $235 with tax on this one, wasn’t $200 in my store, but close enough.

When I first cracked it open it smelled woody and tasted woody. There wasn’t much else as the wood overpowered everything. I let it sit a while and tried it again. Air does wonderful things to a fresh cracked whiskey.

You still are getting solid wood notes but graham crackers, toasted marshmallows, dried figs and black currant.

The mouthfeel is ok but lacks an oily enjoyment and the wood tannins overpower everything else. The finish is shorter than I hoped and there is more heat than the nose indicates.

I don’t know who the blender is at George Remus but it seems sad to waste such amazing juice on this product. It could have been given to a master blender to produce something truly special, worthy of this packaging. The heavy gold cap is especially nice though…. It’s still good, but not worth chasing. Initial grade: 84/100… after leaving it open for several months it opened up and the regrade is 88/100.

If you are a huge MGP fan, you are going to want to own this and you might think it’s a 90-92/100, but this is not an epic pour, and there are so many better MGP products out there.

Cream of Kentucky Initial Release, Disappointing

Sorry for delay here… I’m releasing it over a year late… I just was hoping that it would get better, and it improved mildly, but not enough… here we go:

Seems like  a lot of bloggers got a free bottle of this one… I bought it on bottle-spot secondary for $160… I guess I’m not getting a lot of love from the free bottle Bourbon Gods these days… But allows my conscious to be clear when I write these reviews.  I never got into it for the free booze anyway…

Bright copper color. Bottle is fairly generic and the plastic wrapper around the top seems cheap to be honest. Juice looks great in the glass.

First crack was heat and a lot of it.

After letting it sit for a while you still get a lot of heat but it’s moderated. Really nutty nose, almond butter, toasted pecans, Reese Peanut Butter cups… afterwards graham crackers and all-spice.

Mouthfeel is ok but not great, it starts out ok but fails to last and the heat is still higher than expected for this level or Proof and age. Finish isn’t particularly long.

This is one of the limited release Bourbons that has come out recently and priced at retail around $160. It just doesn’t deliver. It’s totally average. There are dozens of offerings at half the price that are significantly better. Would have expected more from Mr. Rutledge. 84/100

Top 5 Disappointing Bourbons in 2019

Every year there are more and more “special releases” which some are actually special… and a lot are not… there are also more and more bloggers and podcasts about Bourbon… we are at an all time high of Boubon commentary and releases… a lot of that is positive, some not so much.  I just wanted to put together a few of  what I thought were the biggest disappointments of the year…

The Fall of BSM and Bottle-Spot…  These were the two biggest secondary sites for trading.  There are so many haters out there about flippers, but the truth is that sometimes you can’t get the bottle you want, but you can find some bottles you don’t, so you trade them.  Losing these sites was disappointing for Bourbon overall.

St. Cloud… this was literally the worst thing I tasted all year.  I did a whole interview with the founder, really enjoyed it, was writing up a huge piece… and then I tried it.  It was disgusting.  I didn’t publish the piece because I felt bad about it, but at $100 a bottle for 2 year juice that is barely quaffable, I had to mention it here.  Happy to discuss privately more details.

Parker’s Heritage Collection Rye Heavy Char gets PHC on the list two years in a row…  A lot of people really liked it, I really didn’t.  I didn’t even write a review on this one because I was so disappointed by it.  Hopefully they come up with something better this year!

Kentucky Owl Confiscated… worst thing ever from Kentucky Owl.  Use in a cocktail only.  Their batch Bourbons and Ryes are awesome.  This felt like a money grab from their new owners.  Amazing to see this trade up in secondary the moment it came out, and then crater to below where Costco was offering it… definitely hurt the brand as well as you now see all the Bourbon batches sitting on the shelves and trading under MSRP too.  The Rye remains the bright spot, but I hear they are done at batch 3?

Cream of Kentucky… Too hot.  Expected more out of Jim Rutledge.  It’s hard to charge $120-$150 for a bottle that just has this much heat on it.  Would be reasonable at $40.  Another review that is still stuck in my drafts that will probably never get out…

Again… I’m sure people will threadshit all over this post.  These are my opinions only.  Enjoy.

Saint Cloud Bourbon Disaster

Nose initially is painful. Nail polish, Pine Lysol, very medicinal. You really need to stick around to try to get any secondary aromas of enjoyment, and I just couldn’t. It’s 120 proof and you can feel every one of them. Total nostril scorcher.

It’s also hot on the palate too. Nothing hiding this Proof here. The mouthfeel is ok as you can tell it’s non-chill filtered and the finish does go on for a while but only the heat and bitterness. I never get a hint of butterscotch or caramel or anything enjoyable. This is clearly an extremely young Whiskey.

I put it aside and tried again later but I still was getting medicinal notes and heat. It hadn’t evolved in the bottle.

I feel bad about this. I really dislike this whiskey and I’ve had some that were too young but saw potential. I don’t see it here. Peerless is a great example of a good young whiskey that you can tell will get better and better. I’m not sure where this is contract distilled from, but it tastes medium to low end and I just don’t see how this is going to evolve into something much better unless something drastically changes. Ray seems like a nice enough guy who is passionate about his product, but it’s just not my cup of tea. I paid around $100 for this and I can’t recommend it to anyone for any reason. 50/100.