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!

“No I can’t get you Pappy at MSRP” or another way to show you the top 5 bottles under $100 for 2019

I’m sure every avid Bourbon hunter/collector/drinker gets the same questions I do: “hey man, can you get me the hookup on some Pappy?”  Of course I can, $450 for a Pappy 10yr… “whattttt?”…. I don’t get it at MSRP, I don’t own a store, but I know people who will sell it for secondary (which seems to be 400-500 depending on where you are, if you can get it for less, great, but don’t pay more)… But then people think they can get it for MSRP, good luck with that unless you have a serious hookup, that I certainly don’t have either… After calling a bunch of stores and asking other people, the realization settles in, they ask, well, what can I get for under $100 that is really good too? Every year my list changes, but this year I am recommending these bottles to get, either as value drinks for yourself, or to recommend to your friends for drinkers… I know there will be a lot of disagreement, and I would love to hear your recommendations:

  • Mellow Corn (~$12)… great for cocktails
  • Buffalo Trace (~$25)… hard to beat for the price
  • Elijah Craig Small Batch Single Barrels  (~$35)… great single barrel value
  • Russel’s Reserve 10yr Single Barrels (~$45)… all around solid choice
  • Barrell Craft Spirits Dovetail (~$75)… great sipper, cask strength, finished whiskey

Honorable Mention: ECBP, OWA 107, ETL, Blantons…. but they have been harder to find these days and often trade above $100 in secondary…

What do you think I should have on this list?  Comments welcome!

Garrison Brothers Estacado

It’s good to have friends who live near Hye, TX… thanks to Facebook for making it happen (I wrote this pre-BSM crackdown…).

This one is a special release, 3yr Texas Bourbon, finished in port wine barrels. 107 proof.

Nice dark color as all the Garrison Bros bourbons do… Burned brown sugar, cinnamon stick, ginger snaps, graham crackers, with just the hint of port in the background.

Easy down for Garrison, smooth finish, long and enjoyable. I think some people may love this one the best, as it’s probably the most approachable Garrison Brothers I’ve ever had… but at the same time it’s missing some of the sharper edges and dust that I’ve come to love and expect from Garrison. It’s another excellent release but I think the finish has removed some of the terroir of Hye. 94/100.IMG_4788

JP Wisers Rare Cask Series: Seasoned Oak

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Special release from Canada… came out almost a year ago but I just tried it the other day after grabbing one on my last trip to Canada. 19yrs old rye finished in 48 month old seasoned oak staves. For a really good review, check out Mark Bylok’s piece, link at the bottom.

Spicy nose, cinnamon sticks, rock candy, decent heat but also some pine needles and menthol in the back.

Very unique mouthfeel… oily texture up front and then it tickles the tongue right down the middle. The tannins stick to the center of the tongue and no where else in the mouth which is really interesting. It has both a velvety texture down the middle but a jagged edge along the outside as well. There is decent heat that actually builds up, which is less than ideal. It’s a strange whiskey but so interesting.

Many people talk about balanced whiskies. I’m not sure this one is, but it’s also really good in its own way. This is one of the rare release projects from Wisers and it makes sense. This whiskey has a great up front mouthfeel and tongue tannins but has more heat than it should at the Proof and taste falls off at the end, too early and short of a finish to push it into the higher end. This is one that everyone should try, and worth picking up at the LCBO at retail, but not worth seeking out on secondary. It also is much better after cracking it for a couple days, the first pour was not great. 90/100

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http://whisky.buzz/blog/jp-wisers-seasoned-oak-a-continued-celebration-of-canadian-blends

https://distiller.com/spirits/j-p-wiser-s-seasoned-oak

J.P. Wiser’s Seasoned Oak 19 Year Old

http://www.insearchofelegance.net/blog/2017/6/9/review-jp-wisers-seasoned-oak-canadian-whisky

http://www.canadianwhisky.org/reviews/jp-wisers-seasoned-oak-48.html

J.P. Wiser’s Seasoned Oak

Gooderham & Worts Eleven Souls: A Masterful Blend

This year’s special release Northern Border collection from Gooderham & Worts is a Four Grain Whiskey aged in eleven different types of casks and bottled at 49% abv.

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Nice looking bottle, easy to remove cork and decently medium amber color for a Canadian Whiskey.

Really unique nose, dried peaches, dried cranberry, toffee, Honey Nut Cheerios, graham cracker crust and Christmas cookies. A touch of heat but not too much on the nose.

Very sweet on the palate with just enough warmth to let you know it’s there but smooth enough to know it’s been aged enough. The mouthfeel has lots of grip down the center of the tongue but not over enveloping to start. The finish builds throughout, never dropping or getting bitter. Very enjoyable taste.

Last year’s G&W was enjoyable but not spectacular, I think this year’s may be the best of the lot. Completely different than any other Canadian Whiskey I’ve ever had and I love it. It’s subtle though, not an overpower bomb like Lot 40 Cask Strength was last year nor as epic as Wisers 35, but this is a testament to amazing blenders that can create something epic proving 1+1=3. Well done! 94/100.

Canadian Club 41 Chronicles Review

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Released at c$300 and was readily available for several weeks at the LCBO, Canadian Club 41yr is the oldest release ever. Bottled at 90 Proof, it is in the same shape squarish bottle from last year.

Pricey? Yes, but it’s 41 years! Imagine the amount of evaporation. So the question is whether it’s the same as last year. You are about to find out.

The nose is much bigger than last year with a sherry bomb coming out and dried figs and baking spices coming through. Much bolder than last year’s release.

The mouthfeel is decent, not overpowering. The heat is mild and the finish moderate. This is an enjoyable whiskey but not epic.

I think I prefer last year’s pure version versus this one which clearly takes advantage of the 9.09% rule and feels like there is a lot of sherry influence. Still wonderful and worth picking up a couple at the LCBO if you were able to. 91/100.

My Review for CC40: https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2018/11/12/canadian-club-40yr-review/