Jack Rose: Old Fitzgerald BIB Stitzel Weller

Old Fitzgerald BIB Stitzel Weller:
Golden hue–just like expected. Baking spices, vanilla, heat is more than expected, creme brûlée and graham crackers.  If you were expecting me to orgasm at this point, unfortunately, you will be disappointed. The mouthfeel is good but nothing special. The taste is good, but again, not life altering. It’s solid but to be honest the finish very quickly turns bitter and isn’t that exciting. It’s similar to the Old Crow dusty in terms of enjoyment. The difference is the mouthfeel is slightly better but the bitterness on the finish is significantly worse. There is no Fucking way these bottles are worth even remotely close to what they go on the secondary market. I’m torn on how to rate this. If price was not a factor I would rate it two points lower than the dusty Old Crow, but my system takes price into account. 84/100.

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Top 5 Drams of the Year 2016

Another year gone by and I’ve read so many negative stories, yet, there were some pretty awesome bourbons released this year.  Overall the prices have gone up, but you can still find bargains and making friends with your local retailer has never been more important… onto the list!

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#1 2016’s Buffalo Trace Thomas H Handy 126.2 proof 97.5/100  secondary price: $300 (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/btac-thomas-h-handy-2016/)  This was my favorite of the BTAC releases, with a close second being GTS, but THH is far easier to get your hands on and better price giving it the edge.  Handy may be the BTAC that is least respected, but time and time again it is my favorite release.

#2 2016 Release Four Roses Elliott’s Select OESK 52.9% abv 91/100 secondary price $225 (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/08/15/four-roses-elliotts-select/)  There was a lot of worry when Jim Rutledge retired from Four Roses, but when Brent Elliott came out with this bottle immediately afterwards, all fears were assuaged.  In fact, this bottle was substantially better than the 2016 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition release, although not quite as good as last year’s winner, the 2015 FRSBLE.  I think we can all sleep soundly knowing that Four Roses is in good hands.

3# Barrell Bourbon New Years 2017 retail price $99.99 (for now!) (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/happy-new-year-barrell-bourbon-2017/)  Another top award for this up and comer.  This is their first true marriage release of 4 different barrels from Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, and once again blows the competition away.  Grab a few while you still can as the first release of this bad boy probably will be worth a lot of money in the near future…. keep your eye

#4 Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Bourbon #438 119.8 proof 96/100 $120 @ gift shop (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/willett-family-estate-single-barrel-bourbon-438-holy-moley/)  This was one of the bottles I was lucky enough to buy when I visited Willett in January of 2016.  This was a honey barrel if I’ve ever tasted one.  If you are ever able to get some of this, don’t hesitate!

#5 Garrison Brothers Single Barrel Bourbon #3824 97 proof 96/100 $100 retail price (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/go-visit-garrison-brothers-single-barrel-amazing/) Garrison Brothers consistently puts out a great product.  I also visited their distillery this year and really enjoyed meeting Dan and the team.  Very excited to see the 2017 Cowboy Bourbon when it is released next year!

There were so many that almost made the cut… I tried a couple rums this year that were really good including one from Balcones (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/balcones-texas-rum-special-release-batch-15-1-63-9-abv/) and another from Barrell (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/barrell-rum-batch-001-7yr-jamaican-pot-still-rum/).  Barrell’s Whiskey 002 was another one that almost made the cut, but after careful consideration I preferred the New Years (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/barrell-whiskey-002-magical-sherry-cask-finish/).  Most lists have Booker’s Rye on their top 5, and although it is a good whiskey, it’s just too hot and expensive and does not deserve to make it in my very humble opinion (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/bookers-rye/).  PHC 10yr was also hotly debated, and I thought it was extremely good, but given the price, just not quite worthy vs the Garrison or the WFE (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/phc10-parkers-heritage-collection-10-24yr-bourbon/).

I’ll have my top five disappointments in the world of bourbon coming up soon… thanks again for a great 2016 to everyone who reads this blog.  Readership has gone up 5x and I hope to continue that trend into 2017.  I’d love to hear what your top 5 of the year were?  Happy New Year!

http://www.barrellbourbon.com/  http://www.garrisonbros.com/  http://www.kentuckybourbonwhiskey.com/  http://fourrosesbourbon.com/  https://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/

Christmas Stocking Stuffer Alert! Fred Minnick’s New Book

There are a ton of new bourbon books out there in the last couple years… most of them either rehash previous stories, or are bad tasting books.  Every once in a while a really good book comes out that has new material, written well, and is worthy of a spot on my bookshelf.  Bourbon: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth and an American Whiskey, by Fred Minick, is the newest book that fits these requirements.  For everyone who is looking for that great gift for their bourbon lover, and you don’t want to buy them BTAC, this is a great choice.

Minnicks’s book travels back to the beginning of bourbon, but doesn’t rehash the b.s. stories that marketing departments have tried to convince us are gospel.  He goes into primary sources to report the facts instead of just repeating what you can see on wikipedia.  From the writing it is also clear that Minnick just doesn’t know a lot about bourbon, but drinks a lot of it too.  His expertise comes through in a non-pretentious fashion throughout the book making it perfect for both the so-called bourbon expert, as well as the neophyte.

I can’t recommend this book enough for your Xmas stocking stuffer.  Fred… if you are reading this, I’d love to do a quick phone interview with you if you have time in the near future.  Thanks!

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Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond

Sometimes when you go on vacation and forget to bring any good bourbon, you just buy the best thing the local store has. I’ve been on a lower shelf kick recently and I’ve never actually tried this one so the stars aligned for me to review this for you today.

Old Fitzgerald is an iconic brand which back in the day was produced by the Stitzel-Weller Distillery but now is in the Heaven Hill stable of brands. This is a wheated bourbon and one of the cheapest ones out there–I paid $18 for it.

Hot yet sweet nose: oak, almonds, vanilla and cloves. Secondary notes of baked bread and caramel. In the very back I get some nail polish and car seat, just enough to not want you to stick your nose in the glass too deep.

The palate is more enjoyable than I expected, but not over the top. The taste is less hot than I anticipated and the mouthfeel is fairly enjoyable but the taste wasn’t as good as the nose. Some spicy notes are there but the sweet and complex flavors are lacking. The finish is moderate.

For $18 it’s hard to argue that it’s a bad deal but it’s certainly not going to knock your socks off either. I’m certainly going to drink this down over the next year or so but it won’t be my first or even fourth dram of the night…  It’s like a common Pokemon lingering around… you still are going to catch it and enjoy it, but you aren’t going to be too excited about it either. 86/100.
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Mellow Corn: Must have for all bars….

I like to drink…

If you are reading this blog, you probably like to drink as well.  There is nothing wrong with enjoying imbibing bourbon, rye, American Whiskey, red wine, white wine, or anything else, in moderation and in a little more than moderation and maybe quite a bit more than moderation.

I’ll be honest, occasionally I drink a little too much.  When I do, I try not to drink my top shelf stuff, in fact I have an entire system about what to drink, and when.  But I have found that there is only one thing to drink when I have had way too much on the very very bottom shelf that still is enjoyable… Mellow Corn.

What’s nuts is that it is REALLY hard to find Mellow Corn.  It’s a bottled in bond corn whiskey, made in America, that costs between $11-$15.  Fucking cheap AND bottled in bond???  Fact.

We all have been in that moment, some of us are there every single night, some of us are there several nights a week, and some of us lie and say we are only drunk a few times a month….  Mellow corn is the perfect drink for once you have already had several drinks.  But for your first drink of the night, it actually is pretty good as well….

Now……… if you are sober, how does it taste?  Great question…..

Light golden straw colored…hot nose as expected, but also sweet toasted, buttered cornbread flavors.  Nice palate, has some good grit and oils, warm all the way down.  It’s not overly complex, but has a good taste and a decent finish.

I can’t believe that there exists a product that is Bottled in Bond, drinkable and only costs around $12.  If price wasn’t a consideration it’s probably mid 80’s at best, but given how cheap it is, it gets a few bonus points.  If you see this in the store: BUY IT.  Thank you Heaven Hill!  90/100.

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