Buy This Book! Bourbon Justice by Brian Haara

How many Bourbon books have come out in the last few years?  The answer is too many… how many good books have been released in the last few years?  Not too many is the answer.  Just like every week portends a new “special release” Bourbon, there are very few actually worth buying if you want to drink them.  Fellow blogger Brian Haara is one of the exceptions to the glut of books out there.  He actually has done real research, has a quality product, very good writing, and it’s an enjoyable read.

Unlike so many books out there that just are a bunch of poorly written reviews sandwiched between enough text to warrant a book, Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America actually digs into the law cases behind Bourbon, and presents the information in a very enjoyable read.  Who knew that reading about law cases could actually be interesting?  If I had one complaint, I just wish he wrote more.  This book is not just a bunch of his blogs put into a book like some people have done.

On a shelf that has too many Bourbon books on it, Brian’s book will be placed in a position of honor.  Congrats to Brian making the leap from blogger to legitimate author, joining Minnick and Cowdery.  Buy Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America for yourself and for all your whiskey buddies for the holidays!

What else is worth reading for your list?  If you haven’t read these books, be sure to pick them up too:

Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey

Bourbon: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of an American Whiskey

Bourbon Curious: A Simple Tasting Guide for the Savvy Drinker

Bourbon, Strange

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I never should have opened my Weller C.Y.P.B.

This Bourbon probably has more hype on it than any one this year… Buffalo Trace’s Weller “Craft Your Perfect Bourbon.” Based on a poll, BT gave the public the choice of the mashbill, the age, the proof to choose their perfect Weller expression.  Reminiscent of Ann Rand’s novel The Fountainhead, this committee expression of a Bourbon came out just like the committee decisions in the book.

Before I go to the review, is this a good bourbon?  Yes, it’s ok.  Weller makes lovely Bourbons, and some of the single barrel, NCF Antique 107s are some of the best values out there.  This one has a lot of similarity of a mix of Reserve and Antique, with a secondary value in between them and the daddy, William Larue Weller.

Notes: Good notes of butterscotch, vanilla, graham crackers, fresh biscuits and Twizzlers.  Medium heat on the nose.

Palate: The palate is far more bitter than the nose would indicate in addition to being much hotter.  The mouthfeel is disappointing and the finish is short ending really bitter.  The nose indicates sweet and complex, but the palate just falls flat.

Conclusion: If this was $30, it would be just fine.  However, NCF Weller Antique 107 Bourbons are universally better than this one–in fact I’ve never had a NCF Antique 107 that wasn’t significantly better than this.  I paid $150 from my local retailer and he knew he was giving me a good deal, if I was going to flip it.  But I opened it and we both had a couple pours and we both decided that it was just ok.  I incorporate price into my ratings, so given it’s a $250-300 secondary market Bourbon, I’m giving it an 80/100.

 

If you want to try it first, try buying a sample first: https://bottle-spot.com/classifieds/category/317/Whisky/listings/65772/Weller-CYPB-Samples-Try-before-you-buy.html

Quick Bar Review: Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit Barrel 8

Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit Barrel 8 warehouse G rick 43, 50.5% abv.

Definitely Turkey. Spicy nose with cinnamon and vanilla and allspice. Decent heat but not overpowering.

Good mouthfeel but nothing crazy. Necco and Cinnamon Toast Crunch on the finish. Finish is nice but not too long.

Solid dram. Worth getting at a bar but not for the collection. 85/100.

 

Little Book Batch 002 Noe Easy Way

Last year’s release of Little Book Batch 001 was a solid release but priced appropriately at retail that it didn’t make much of a splash on the secondary. Seems that I liked it more than the average consumer, giving it a 92/100 (Batch 001 Link). It had lots of complex spiciness with a good finish but was on the hotter side—not uncommon with Booker products. This edition is totally different. 8yr Kentucky Straight Rye, 13yr Canadian Rye and a 40yr old Canadian corn whiskey. 118 Proof, uncut, unfiltered. For those hoping for a big Kentucky Bourbon, they may be disappointed, but anyone who had last year’s Northern Border Collection releases (Link 1 and Link 2) will know better.

Side by side you can see the color difference. Batch one has the copper notes, while Batch 002 has a softer, lighter, amber tone. The bottle and box look great.

The nose is moderately hot, spice coming through, rock candy, candy corn and some light caramel. The taste is really good, lots of all-spice, enjoyable wood hints and a really long finish. Easily two minutes or more ending with a nice Kentucky hug, but more moderate than the nose would imply.

Batch Two, Noe Easy Way, is a very good follow through from Batch 001. Given the 40yr juice in this I could also see it trading up in the secondary. It’s very good and absolutely worth adding to your collection. 94/100.

 

Woodford Master’s Collection Batch Proof

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Ok…. not sure if Cask strength warrants being an annual special release but I’ll try it anyway.  I also realize that I’ve been accused of being extremely negative recently… I can’t help if I’ve been reviewing or posting about stuff that I don’t like in a row.  Hopefully soon I’ll try something new that I really like.

Bottle looks good and color is attractive.

Cherry wood notes with graham crackers, Twix, dried peach pits, cinnamon sticks and marshmellows. Pretty soft nose for a 125 Proof bourbon.

Decent heat. Enjoyable mouthfeel. Finish is medium. Although nothing special is jumping out. Everything is above average here but not too much above average.

It’s an enjoyable Whiskey. I paid $139.99 for it and I’m pretty confident stating that it’s not worth that.  Every release from ECBP and Barrell Bourbon have been more enjoyable and cost almost half of this. I realize this is a limited release, but everything these days feels like a limited release. Let’s be clear, it is enjoyable and I recommend you get a dram at a bar to try it, but I don’t think it’s anything special that you need to buy a whole bottle. 85/100

2018 KBS Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout

I love this stuff… I love to drink it, I love to cook with it.  Today I smoked ribs in my Big Green Egg and finished them in aluminum foil with half a bottle of KBS.  Makes a perfect crust around the dry rub.

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Drinking this one out of a brandy snifter.  Notes of chocolate, coffee, vanilla with just a hint of Bourbon in the background.  The head pours heavy and the foam is the best part.  Absolutely incredible, like the foam of a latte, just nuts.  The stout itself is delightful, but I was hoping it would be a bit thicker.  It’s a great pour though.  I was lucky to get several 4 packs and will be enjoying this over the next decade.  95/100

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Shame on you Bobby Van’s!

It was a long day and I needed a drink.  I headed to the Bobby Van’s in New York City just north of Grand Central (nearest to 46th and Park) and I scanned the bar for a dram of choice.  You don’t often see Old Rip 10yr on the shelf, so I asked the bartender how much?  $130 a pour (plus tax and tip).  Are you serious?  I realize there are a few Wall Street banks a 7 iron away, but those days are over.  This is a complete joke.  Shame on you Bobby Van’s!