BTAC Thomas H Handy 2016

Unlike a lot of bloggers out there, I have yet risen to the level of free BTAC samples; I have to fight and scrape and use the secondary market like the rest of people to get my BTAC. I bought this one on bottle-spot.com (like most of you) for around $300.

The 2016 edition clocks in at 126.2 proof, NAS as always, and forever beautiful in the iconic BTAC bottle. Nice amber color.

Candy corn, rock candy, white pepper, cloves and cinnamon. Not very hot considering the age and proof, but that’s why it’s THH. Smells amazing.

And the taste… Wow. The spices and sweetness come through immediately while firming up a nice grip on the tongue. There is an extremely enjoyable warmness that permeates through your mouth and upper chest creating an absolutely incredible finish. Even after two minutes the flavors are still evolving and improving. This review is without a drop of water; I don’t think it needs it and I won’t even do it because it is just that good.

I’m pretty much obsessed with Handy. The 2014 was one of my favorites of all time and this one is pretty darn close. If you can find one at a reasonable (and I’ll let your budget determine that) price, don’t be afraid to pick it up. And if Buffalo Trace is reading this and wants to add me to next year’s blogger sample list, I won’t say no (please add me to next year’s list–thank you so much). 97.5/100

 

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Orphan Barrel Whoop & Holler

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Perhaps the photo gave it away?  Once you taste this, it will explain everything.  Let’s not waste our times on the history of Orphan Barrel, or that this is just some 28yr old Dickel juice aged somewhere else, or why it’s called American Whiskey instead of Bourbon… I’m going to let other bloggers write about than and instead I’m just going to get into the review…

The color is extremely light, just from looking at it, I would have assumed it was a 2-3 year bourbon.  Very hard to believe this has been aged for 28 years.

The nose has aromas of my bathroom garbage can, used Band-Aids, pine needles and rubber.  The first time I tried it a few weeks ago it was more potent, now, although the smells are the same, they are less pronounced, but nothing better coming through.

The taste, hard to believe, is even worse than the smell.  It is dry, astringent, unappealing, just not good at all.  It has the feeling of being massively over oaked, without any of the positive aspects of oak–pretty amazing feat in itself.  I guess the only redeeming quality of the taste is that I’m getting a slight burnt orange aroma, which is better than the trash I was getting before.  The taste just brings a frown to your face, like you are sucking on a lemon, but a lemon that tastes like trash.  Just gross.

Now… here is the kicker.  I paid $199.99 for this thing.  I actually bought 6 of them for $1200.  I was convinced I was going to flip them and make a killing on it.  Can you imagine how upset I was when I got home and tried it?  For full disclosure, I did list them on bottle-spot and was able to get rid of all of them, after shipping costs, for just a little more than I paid for them, but I feel bad for those people who bought them.  This is just gross.  And the fact that Diageo had the balls to not only put this out on the market, but charge $200 a bottle for it is so bad.  It’s even worse that I bought it for that price.  I keep buying these stupid Orphan Barrels, partially because they tend to go up in value and also because they have such pretty labels and look good on my bar.  Why do I keep doing this to myself?  I hope everyone reads this before they go out and buy another Orphan Barrel ever again… I have just one more thing to say… Diageo: go fuck yourselves.  1/100

BCBS 2016 Happy Black Friday!!

Happy Black Friday!!  BCBS 2016 clocks in at 13.8% abv. Thanks Goose Island.

Aromas are amazing: bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, espresso, licorice jelly beans… Deep and dark flavors. Amazing nose.

Thick mouthfeel, not quite syrupy, but deep and complex and crazy tasty.  The finish is incredible, tons of caramel and vanilla sweetness lingering on and on.

Bourbon County Brand Stout is my favorite part of Black Friday. I hope everyone was able to get some–absolutely worth it. I think 2015 was a touch better for what it’s worth. 96/100.

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Go Visit Garrison Brothers & Single Barrel Amazing

Last weekend was my annual boys weekend with my closest friends from high school. We grew up together and were inseparable, but as we grew up, got married and had kids, and some moved away, it’s increasingly difficult to get together, which is why the annual weekend is such a wonderful thing to do. This year’s destination was Austin, TX, not too far away from Hye, TX, so we decided to take the tour at Garrison Brothers.

I highly recommend the tour, especially if Dan Garrison is going to be there. The tour was informative, a lot of fun and you got to try their white dog, a single barrel, and as much of the flagship you can drink. It was the most fun and laid back tours I’ve ever been on; I can’t encourage people enough to take the trip out there.

We got the opportunity to try one of the single barrels and I was lucky they had extra to buy. This one was barrel number 3824, and was bottle number 2 of only 12 that were left in the cask. I love the lower yielding barrels, while clearly less profitable for the producer, I find they hold unique characteristics and are often more pronounced flavors. Garrison Brothers dips their bottles in wax, and we got to do that for our bottles. Very different than the Makers experience, it takes about four minutes to compete the dipping and drying, not very efficient, but given how small they are, they don’t need to go as fast as Makers does it.

The bourbon is dark, like really dark.  Pretty amazing color for only three years in wood.  Probably has something to do with the yield of only 12 bottles as well.  The nose is rich, but not hot at all.  Liquid caramel, dark french toast brioche, egg nog, all spice, licorice and some pine needles.  On the second sniff, you get a hint of nazelnut coffee, pencil shavings and graphite.  You can tell there is some decent amount of wood in this, but it doesn’t appear that it will be overpowering on the palate.

The taste is awesome.  All the complexity on the nose is coming through on the mouth, in a very balanced way.  The wood tannins integrated very well with the other flavors producing a bourbon that has a very long, warm and enjoyable finish.  If there was one complaint, I would say that this would have been much better if it was barreled at cask strength.  A common complaint I have, which is why I prefer their Cowboy release.

A very unique offering from Garrison Brothers, only one of 12 bottles in existence, and by the time you are reading this, mine will probably be all gone.  Definitely worth taking the trip out there to go visiting them yourself and be sure to see Dan when you are there.  96/100

Johnny Drum Private Stock 101 Proof Gem

Johnny Drum is one of those hidden gems that those in Kentucky know about, but few people outside of the Bluegrass State have been made aware of yet.  It retails for around $32, is aged 15 years and comes from Bardstown, at the Willett Distillery.  It’s a sourced whiskey and I have know idea where the Willett boys find it, but where are you going to get 15 years Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey for around thirty bucks?  I have the sneaky suspicion it’s a blend of stuff they think is not quite good enough for their WFE single barrel program, but still good enough to drink.

The color is a darker golden amber, shows the age without doubt.

There is an earthy aroma on the nose, mushrooms, dried hickory bark, but also baking spices with some brown sugar in the background.  It is an enjoyable nose with minimal heat.

The taste is good.  Upfront you get the richer notes which evolve into the spicy notes afterwards.  The palate is enjoyable and the finish is fairly long.

The is not a particularly complex bourbon, but it is enjoyable with rich notes given to it by the 15 years in the barrel.  It may be the stuff that doesn’t make it into the Willett Family Estate Single Barrel program, but it’s pretty good.  Not to mention the price, which can’t be beat.  It’s better that Forged Oak by a large margin, the only other 15 year bourbon easily available on the market, costing 2-3x (or more if some retailer is ripping you off).  90/100.

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