Willett Bourbon WFE 11yr #1631 & C18D

Another gift shop purchase, this one brought back from a close friend of mine who was visiting a few months ago. I finally decided to open it a couple weeks ago when I was trying #438 and #9622. It is another 11yr Bourbon bottled at cask strength, 123.6 proof.

Everything Willett sells looks awesome in the bottle and this is no exception. Dark amber with burnt orange hues in the glass.

Underpowered nose with a bit of heat. After reaching deep I’m getting cloves, fresh ginger, white pepper. Compared to the last couple single barrels, this one doesn’t appear to be in the same league.

The mouthfeel initially is more pleasant than expected, with nice oils and well integrated tannis from the non-chill filtered. This bourbon treats you better when you hold it in your mouth for a while rather than quickly swallowing. The clove and wood flavors are good but not as enjoyable as the last few WFEs, yet the mouthfeel and grip almost make up for it. The heat is stronger than the last few as well but well within the acceptable range.

#1631 is a solid release from Willett but certainly will not be entered in the Hall of Fame. The mouthfeel and grip are the most enjoyable parts of it and I continue to appreciate producers who release unique batched cask strength Bourbons and I look forward to trying another one. 88/100.

If anyone has some older single barrels and is looking to trade samples, please reach out to me on Twitter and I’d like to trade.



PS… I was in DC a couple weeks ago for business and tried this one. I was drunk and not in the proper mode to accurately rate it but I would say it safely rates in the 96-99 range… I may have to go back and try it again. Willett C18D.



Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2015

I originally wrote this review several months ago, but resisted publishing it because I thought maybe I was wrong, or that the bourbon needed more time open to show… but I tried it again tonight and I stand by my original conclusions….

So my birthday was last week (October) and I couldn’t find this Bourbon on the shelves anywhere… But I was in a store on Sunday and they had one left in stock. Happy belated birthday to me!  OFBB 2015 is a 100 proof, 12 year whiskey from our friends at Brown-Forman, better known for Jack Daniels, but have been doing even more with their Old Forester brand recently.  Released once a year on September 2nd to celebrate the birthday of George Garvin Brown.  First released in 2002, OFBB has become one of those must have bottles for collectors.

First impressions…. This whiskey is another one of those when first opened smells of dirty mushrooms and nail polish, causing me to let it set for a while. I’m just not sure what it is sometimes that makes new bourbons require aeration, but this isn’t the first and it definitely won’t be the last.

The color is a bright Amber with orange hues.

After the glass had been sitting there for over an hour the smell changed to burnt orange, crushed almonds and wet leaves; the mushroomy smells are still lingering in the background, but fortunately the offensive smells had dissipated.

Good mouthfeel with nice integrated wood tannins. There is a sweet citrusy flavor rather than the normal spicy butterscotch. It has what I can only describe as a high acid profile like certain wines. It’s very different than I expected but not necessarily in a bad way.

I added a few drops of water and it definitely needed it. The nose is fresher and the taste is better.  It still maintains the burnt orange smell and flavor. It’s enjoyable but not my favorite.

Much like my actual birthday, this bourbon wasn’t up to the hype and fairly disappointing. It’s good, it’s just not worth the price or effort.  85/100.



Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Bourbon 12yr #9622

I bought this bottle when I was at the Willett Distillery a couple weeks ago. They have a beautiful facility and I highly recommend everyone visit; they are distilling amazing products there. While I was there I also picked up the 11yr bottle #438 (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/willett-family-estate-single-barrel-bourbon-438-holy-moley/). When I first opened the bottles, 438 blew this one out of the water, but now that it has been a couple weeks I’m coming back to it and reviewing it–I’m glad I waited because it has really evolved.

Willett bottles always look great, this one was bottled at 118.8 proof. Dark amber.

When I opened this a couple weeks ago it was a little stale and rich mushroomy like a lesser Eagle Rare 10 aroma. Now that it has had the chance to open up there are more baking spices coming through and a very mild nose.

The palate is extremely enjoyable with nice oils and grip on the tongue with an enjoyable follow through. It is a complete and complex flavored bourbon.

This isn’t as good as bottle 438, but it’s very good in its own right, especially after being opened for a couple weeks. I love these Willett single barrels and wish I didn’t have to go to the gift shop or trade for them to be able to get them. Those who live nearby are very lucky indeed!  93/100.  I’m excited to see what it will be like in another month–probably will be even better!



Michter’s 10 Bourbon: Good but not Great.

Michter’s has evoked substantial intriguing disagreement online in the blogosphere, including a lot of negative press. I will continue to rate whiskey based purely what’s in the bottle and nothing else. To date, everything I have tried from Michter’s has been quite enjoyable; even their low end stuff is decent. Once you hit wax capsule level, that’s where the high end products begin: the 10yr bourbon wax capsule is the entry level. This review is based on Barrel #15J833.

The 10yr bourbon bottle has a beautiful feminine curves on it with a black wax capsule. I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for a wax capsule. The dark amber color looks great in the bottle.

The nose is sweet with cloves, ginger snaps, cedar bark, stewed butternut squash with brown sugar, pencil eraser and white pepper. It’s not hot at all, but then again it’s only bottled at 94.4 proof.

The palate is smooth but at the same time lacks some of the complexity I would hope to see. Perhaps it’s from the “signature filtration” that removes the oils and tannins I yearned to find, which tends to be present with the barrel proof bourbons. It’s smooth and easy to drink, but it’s a little shallow and missed the finish I expected for a bourbon for which I paid $160.

The 2015 Michter’s 10 Bourbon is enjoyable but it’s a shame it wasn’t bottled at cask strength–if it was, we might have been looking at a truly amazing bourbon. If you like the lower proof, really smooth bourbon, you might think my rating is a little low… but that’s ok, because you didn’t write the review.  92/100.



Boycott this Store in DC

I legitimately hate this store in DC: Wine & Liquors at 1 West Dupont Circle 2012 P St NW Washington, DC.

I love capitalism and charging market rates is something that should be embraced and if everything was priced at market rates, the reliance on the secondary market would be diminished and prices for average person would be lower–simple Econ 101 (don’t tell Bernie Sanders!). Unfortunately we have a lot of silly laws in our country that go back to the prohibition era preventing an efficient market.

Most people who read this blog are used to bourbon hunting and trying to find the deal or the BTAC for the actual retail price… Although I haven’t given up on hunting, and I do still try and occasionally find a steal, the opportunity set these days is substantially smaller.  Most of the time I have built relationships with store owners and managers with which I do a lot of business, and they hook me up.  They still charge me more than the MSRP, but generally less than the bottle-spot prices.  I then either drink it or if I buy multiples, use them to trade for other bottles through friends or on bottle-spot that I haven’t been able to find.

This store however, charges way above any online or bottle-spot pricing I have ever seen.  What’s so infuriating is that they have everything that I want! If they were charging market or even a little bit above market rates, I would be fine with that.  But they are basically taking the highest price online and doubling it.  Please do not buy anything from these a-holes and hopefully they will go out of business and be forced to liquidate all their inventory on bottle-spot at market levels.  I would be happy to sell you anything from my collection at less than they are charging, just to ensure that they don’t make a penny.

They also are quite obnoxious in the store.  Just take a look at the prices from the photos and you will know exactly what I mean.  Sazerac (baby) $80… Heady Topper $30 a can…$129.99 for Bourbon Country Rye…. $299.99 for the BCBC Rare…. $29.99 for a single bottle of KBS… don’t even get me started on their Pappy, ORVW well north of $500–they are too embarrassed to put a price tag on it.




Gifted Horse: Orphan Barrel’s Newest Release

Ok…. Let me be upfront here. I’ve bought every Orphan Barrel release to date and have been largely disappointed by all of them. The only two I have legitimately enjoyed were the Lost Prophet 22yr (overall) and the Forged Oak 15yr (for value).  I picked up this bottle for $59.99.

Gifted Horse is a blend of 17yr and 4yr whiskey. Is the story about the accidental blending true? Probably not but it’s still a fun diddy to put on the side of the bottle.  It’s about 60% 4yr and 40% 17yr.

The color looks about right for the age mix with a medium dark amber hue, and the bottles all look good with a very cool design on the label.  For this release they changed the bottle to have a much larger cap and wider opening–subtle change, but a good one making it look more substantial.

Ginger snaps, mushrooms, chili peppers, plantains and fresh leather. So much going on here. For 115 proof the nose isn’t that hot.

Nice gritty mouthfeel, really bringing out the earthiness on the palate. Heat is extremely manageable, barely even recognizing a cask strength bottling. Enjoyable palate with a decent finish.

The story about accidentally blending a 17yr and a 4yr is probably complete horse shit as opposed to gifted horse. It probably was an over oaked 17yr that when blended with a 4yr was very enjoyable. Whether the blend was on purpose, fated by the stars or a random occurrence, I’m glad they released this batch the the public. 93/100.

Enjoy this release from Diageo and I deem it to be the best value they have released to date.  If you can get it from your local liquor store for $60, it’s definitely worth it.