BTEC Organic 6 Grain Whiskey

Free sample from Buffalo Trace for this review. I don’t even think they read this blog so you can rest assured that what I taste is what I am writing about.

The color is on the lighter side, but I read it was new charred oak barrels and could be legally called Bourbon.

The nose is really nice. Candy corn, brown sugar covered cooked baby carrots, rice crispy treats, Golden Grahams and stone dust. It’s intriguing and not too hot.

The mouthfeel is good despite the 90 proof. It’s a little hotter in the throat than the nose would have lead me to believe. The taste isn’t as sweet as the nose either but it is interesting and the finish is long. This is very enjoyable but is quite different than most whiskies. The taste is focused on the back center of the tongue, unlike any other whiskey I can remember. The second taste comes through hot again and starts in the front of the tongue and migrates to the back again. It has a vegetable sensation to the flavor.

I’ve always been a fan of the BTEC series. Even if I don’t like the whiskey, I love that Buffalo Trace is putting out stuff that we can try of different experiments. This one is good but not one I expect them to make into a regular product. If you can buy it at MSRP you absolutely should pick it up! I wouldn’t go chasing it on the secondary for over $100 though… The 4 Grain is much better.. less is more. 89/100

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For the New Bourbon Drinker, Top 5 Whiskies to Try

Bourbonmania has hit new highs. Some people say it’s a bubble. I’m not quite ready to say that because I believe Bourbon was ignored for far too long and only now are the masses actually recognizing appreciating it. We have years before this bubble bursts and the quality and quantity will keep getting better and better for the foreseeable future.

Everyone newbie wants to get the newest BTAC, FRSBLE, or OFBB released. To be honest, it’s not just the newbies who want them–it’s all of us. But the difference between the newbies and the old timers to this hobby, is that the older group has already tried it all and realizes that some things are worth the hunt (or paying up on secondary) and some things aren’t;  what is or what isn’t is purely based on your personal preference, not a review or a bloggers piece. Personally I love the Cask strength bourbons and the high proof ryes. Pappy, OFBB, Michter’s wax capsule releases and ER17 are great, but if I come across them at retail I’ll trade them for GTS, THH or FRSBLE any day.

Today I’m putting out my top five whiskies for the “new bourbon drinker”…. These are the ones that I’m happy to drink any day of the week and are readily available.  You won’t find the unicorns on this list, but these are the whiskies that if you want to start the hobby, go for these.

#1 Buffalo Trace: yes the one that costs $20 in your retail store. This may be one of the most overlooked and undervalued whiskies in the world. Yes it’s lower proof than I like but it has the flavor, the mouthfeel, and for goodness sakes, it’s $19!!! It’s the same mashbill as some of their releases that secondary for hundreds of dollars. This is the Bourbon I serve people to see if they like Bourbon or not. It’s just that simple. (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/buffalo-trace-yes-the-standard-one-with-the-buffalo-one-yes-its-very-very-good/)

#2 Pikesville Rye: thank Heaven for Heaven Hill and their high proof 6yr rye. Spicy and amazing in every way and best of all you can usually find it for between $50-$60. When I don’t feel like I deserve a pour of Handy (which is my favorite, but too expensive to make this list), Pikesville comes in a close second. Just an amazing product. (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/pikesville-rye-2-of-the-year/)

#3 Just when you though I was going to go all cheap on you and only mass produced products, I’m going to throw you for a loop. Barrell Bourbon, any batch, is #3 for all new bourbon drinkers. Unlike most limited release, Cask strength, Bourbon releases, this one can usually be found and retailers aren’t jacking up the prices on it. Retails for between $70-$90 for a regular batch and $10 more for a single barrel release, Barrel is worth every penny. As a sourced whiskey, Barrell finds the best of the best and bottles it at cask strength to provide the consumer with the purest Bourbon you can get. I’ve never been disappointed, and more often blown away by what they come out with on a regular basis. I’ve never missed a release, and some of them I’ve stockpiled because I know once they are gone they are gone for good. (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/newest-barrell-bourbon-batch-is-a-home-run-011/)

#4 Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style. Although I wasn’t a huge fan when I first opened it, after sitting for a month or two it really mellows out but keeps the nice spice and strong mouthfeel. By far the best of the series, this one is still pretty readily available at around $60.  Although my review makes it sound just ok, I would revise it up a point or two after airing it out for several months.  (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/12/21/old-forester-1920-very-good-not-great/)

#5 Blanton’s. The Original Single barrel Bourbon. This is most people’s gateway to great Bourbon, and I was no different. Still pretty readily available and looks great on the shelf. I’ve never been disappointed by any Blanton’s I’ve ever had. If you are overseas and can get the Straight From the Barrel, it’s even better and totally worth snagging. (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/4-bottle-blantons-tasting/)

I really wanted to put OGD114 on this list, but you can never find it. I also wanted to put Mellow Corn on it, but again, almost every store is sold out of it. Part of the criteria for making the list was being readily available and not trading for silly prices on the secondary, which is why ETL, which is amazing, obviously got cut.

Anyway… I hope people like the list and learn from it. Happy to answer any questions on DM on twitter or on the comment section of the blog. Happy drinking!

P.S. Yes this is my top shelf, and you won’t find most of these on this list, but if anyone wants to come by I’m happy to pour any of them for my readers!

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http://www.barrellbourbon.com

http://www.buffalotrace.com

https://www.blantonsbourbon.com/

https://www.oldforester.com/

http://www.pikesvillerye.com/

BTEC Entry Proof Experiment

I love the BTEC collection, even if I don’t love each of the individual whiskeys. The fact they are experimenting and letting us try them is pretty cool. I’m not in love with the costs either, but the market has dictated most of high prices.  Not to give this one away, but this experiment is one of my absolute favorites when it comes to the results.

The BTEC is about entry level proof into the barrel, 105 vs 125 using the BT rye bourbon mash #2 and aged for 13.25 years.

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Both look equally golden Amber in color.

105: a bit hot on the nose initially, but butterscotch, lemongrass, peach pits, cinnamon, allspice and oak come through in the second whif.

125: surprisingly not hot on the nose, it’s sweeter with toasted raisin bread, butter cornbread, cracked walnut and baking spices. The nose on this one seems far more developed and approachable.

105: enjoyable initial taste, although thin mouthfeel and quickly drops off with a slightly sour aftertaste with just warmth remaining.

125: even more enjoyable initial taste, with a medium mouthfeel that continues for much longer and does not give a sour aftertaste. The finish is moderate and there is a much more balanced flavor, feel and warmth profile that the 105 entry point is missing.

There isn’t even a comparison here and it’s shocking to believe these started as the same, with everything identical expect for the entry proof into the barrel. The 105 proof is an incomplete and lacking bourbon, while the 125 is very enjoyable. A bit expensive for a 375ml, but good to know how important entry proof is into a barrel, and it’s no wonder that most distillers fill their barrels at the legal maximum.  Great experiment and worth trying side by side to see.

105:  83/100
125:  91/100

BTEC Infrared Light Experiment

I’ve tried a lot of Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection bourbons over the years, but I haven’t rated as many as I should have.  I will try to do better about that going forward.  The most recent BTEC release is the infrared light barrel aging experiment.  It’s a higher rye recipe as well, so it’s harder to do an apples to apples comparison vs the standard Buffalo Trace, but I used it as a test subject anyway.  I tasted it after pouring it immediately, then again after an hour and then once more after adding water.

The standard buffalo on the cover Buffalo Trace: https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/buffalo-trace-yes-the-standard-one-with-the-buffalo-one-yes-its-very-very-good/

15 minute BTEC: good nose, a touch of peanut butter, wheat thins, raisin bread, decent heat.  The finish is ok, a touch sour, not very complex or interesting.

30 minute BTEC: similar but distinctively different nose, not as much peanut butter, more cedar.  The palate is dryer, but also has that sour note.  Equally disappointing.

After sitting for two hours:

BT Standard: better, more vanilla and cinnamon, more enjoyable.

15m BTEC: baking spices and smoother, nicer finish, it needed the air.

30m BTEC: sweeter nose, enjoyable finish.

After adding several drops of reverse osmosis water:

15m: very floral, perfumed and vanilla, the water really released hidden flavors.

30m: same as the 15m but even more.  Water is the key here.

I’ll be honest, when I first tried this experiment, I did not like it.  But after giving it air and water it really came out.  But I’ll be honest, I couldn’t tell any significant difference between the infrared light treatment or not.  Just another solid whiskey from Buffalo Trace.  I don’t think it’s worth investing in given the high prices of the BTEC series.  87/100 each.

 

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