About a year ago my collection got a little nuts… I was completely guilty of doing what most beginners do, always buying every new release, every limited edition batch, everything I had not tried before… I had over 100 open bottles, not to mention another 100+ in the bunker… things were getting a little out of hand. I shifted gears–I still looked for the high end limited edition batches, found a couple brands that were always consistent with their batches and single barrels, but I also started to trade samples. It helped me reduce my existing collection while simultaneously enabling me to try all sorts of other limited edition and single barrels that I wouldn’t normally be able to unless I owned a bar. I wholeheartedly recommend everyone do some sample swapping, whether it’s to try new single barrels or before you decide to make a big purchase or just to do some trades for fun… http://www.bottle-spot.com (links below) has some people looking to trade samples and there are other sites as well. Below are some brief reviews based on samples. Thanks for reading!
Willett Family Estate 9yr Bourbon Barrel #1330, 117.6 proof: hot but good nose, with anise and butterscotch. Great mouthfeel, goes down smooth. Maybe a touch medicinal for my taste though… solid WFE single barrel. 88/100.
Willett Family Estate 11yr Bourbon Barrel #774, 128.1 proof: good age on the nose, quite a bit of forest floor, mushrooms, pencil shavings and bone. The palate is very enjoyable, strong tannins, nice spicy taste, long finish. Very enjoyable single barrel, wish I had a whole bottle of this one. 94/100.
Van Brunt Stillhouse Bourbon Lot #20, 84 proof: smells terrible, cheap and medicinal, like a band-aid. So glad I didn’t buy a bottle of this, it’s proofed down too low, not exciting, not interesting and I can’t believe someone actually is buying this. 79/100.
Gooderham & Warts Four Grain Whiskey Blend A-A1129 2016, 88.8 proof: a friend of mine from Toronto was kind enough to share this one with me. It has a very interesting nose, has a sweet rock candy note to it reminescent of some of the MGP ryes I’ve had. The taste is good as well, but I would much rather of had this be cask strength and not proofed down. Overall it’s good, but the proofing down has taken out a of of the complexity–if aged longer and high proof this one could be a real contender. 87/100.
Barrell Bourbon 8.5yr Straight Bourbon Private Retail Single Barrel #20, 120 proof: This is one of the single barrel releases from Barrel Bourbon that was only available in certain retailers in Minnesota that I traded from a local. It has a nice peanut butter Jif nose with toasted raisin bread buttered and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. The palate is awesome, fully coating the tongue with strong tannins. Hot, strong, complex and long finish. I’m going to reach out to my trading partner in MN and see if he can grab me a whole bottle. 94/100.
The Barrell Bourbon and the Willett Family Estate single barrels are both very interesting and I want to continue to try to get more of them… I’ve never had one of either that I didn’t like… If anyone who is reading the blog has either of them, and is looking to trade a sample or a whole bottle, please DM me on Twitter. Thanks for reading!