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

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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/

 

BCS Whiskey 25yr Gray Label

Apparently only 125 cases of Barrell Craft Spirits 25yr Whiskey were ever released so I’m excited to have ever scored one. On secondary market I’ve seen these go for $400-$750, but I have no regrets about opening this one.

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It’s a medium amber color in the glass. The nose has the slightest bit of Madeira on the nose but has Twix, dried figs, Raisinettes, rock candy, Necco Wafers and a drop of maple syrup. No heat whatsoever on the nose which is insane given the proof of 111.2.

Wonderful mouthfeel, mostly right down the middle, but tickles every corner of mouth. The tactile feeling actually builds throughout the finish which is so rare. You get the slightest hug, but wow is this a mellow heat whiskey, almost impossible to believe given the cask strength bottling.

This is one of the most unique whiskies I’ve ever tasted, and one of the most rare; so much flavor and great mouthfeel with a finish like I’ve never tasted before. I’m not surprised this one is so highly in demand on the secondary market. We are in rare air here when grading something like this. It’s like when grading BTAC, you look for tiny imperfections to pick out. The only one I can find is that I probably will never find a second bottle because of the limited availability. If you can grab one, just do it; you will not be disappointed. 97/100.

I love the BCS gray label! Here are my other reviews:

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2018/12/22/barrell-craft-spirits-bourbon-fred-minnicks-number-1-of-the-year-reviewed/

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2018/12/24/barrell-craft-spirits-rye-gray-label-unicorn/

Quick Review: Boss Hog V

I do like a good presentation. The coffin isn’t for Dave but for the pet pig Mortimer. RIP.

Pears, maple syrup, graham crackers and moderate heat permeate the nose. Rich dark color in the glass.

Big mouthfeel, completely covers everything in the mouth. A bit more heat than I would have liked, but mellows quickly into a nice hug. The finish is very long and sweet throughout. Complex flavors of sweetness, dried fruit and spice on the follow through.

This is a lovely whiskey.  Is it worth $500 retail though? I also like to run expensive ryes through the Handy test, is it better?  The answer is no, but it’s darn close and different. Like all my reviews, price is a factor in my reviews.  If this was $100 it might be a contender for whiskey of the year, but at $500, there are too many I’d rather have in the 200-400 range like GTS, THH, BCS gray label and more… it’s still lovely and unique and totally recommended for trying at a bar; only buy it if $500 is no big deal to you. 94.5/100

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Newbourbondrinker’s 2018 Top 5

This year had so many great releases even though the level on social media complaining has hit an all time high… don’t worry, I will be putting out my top 5 disappointments soon… but it’s the holidays so I’m only going to be positive today!  Instead of ranking them this year, I’ve decided to go with five different categories and give the overall winner for them… Disagree?  Hit me up on twitter @newbourbondrink or facebook @ newbourbondrinker or instagram @steaknbourbon

Best Overall Bourbon: Barrell Craft Spirits 15yr Bourbon Gray Label.  For a straight down the middle Bourbon, this one can not be beat.  It also edged out everyone else from Fred Minnick’s blind tasting for Forbes’.  It got a huge score from me and everyone else.  The only downside is the limited case amount.  The one thing you can be certain, is if you see any gray label Barrell Craft Spirits product on a shelf, grab it!

Best Wheated Bourbon: William Larue Weller 2018 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.  This one was easy, and tied for best overall with BCS, but split out the wheaters.  The finish, so long, so good.  If you can grab the 2017 or 2018 of WLW BTAC, for any reasonable price at all, pick it up.

Best Rye: Thomas H Handy 2018.  Another BTAC, but 2018 was tough for Rye, as the releases we not as strong as 2017.  The Lot 40 cask Strength 11yr was not as good as last year’s 12yr and higher priced and lower proof; Kentucky Owl Rye was also good but not quite as good as the first release.  THH stood out among it’s peers, but only by a smidge.  The secondary prices have continued to creep as well which is annoying for those of us who drink a lot of Handy.

Best Small Bottle Release: Elijah Craig Grenade… it’s a gift shop only release, but readily available on secondary.  It trades at close to BTAC levels given it’s only 200ml, but it’s sooooooooo good.  Grab one if you are ever in Bardstown, or just lift one on secondary.

Best Rum: Appleton’s Joy 25yr.  This was probably the hardest category to rate to be perfectly honest.  So many great releases: Foursquare 2004, Foursquare 2005, Barrell Rum Tale of Two Islands, Barrell Craft Spirits Rum Gray Label… all could have taken these honors, but Appleton’s 25yr comes out ahead.  Retailing around $220 and still available, this rum has crazy flavors and notes that rival any whiskey.  Looks great on the shelf too.

There it is for 2018… it was a great year, so many amazing drams and I look forward to what 2019 brings.  Happy New Year!