2017’s Top 5 Bourbons & Whiskies Under $100

I’m using the secondary prices (which are very close to MSRP for these picks) for this list as nothing bothers me more than someone saying at $89.99 MSRP Sazerac 18 is their favorite bottle under $100.  Get real guys!  The secondary market is here to say and you might as well just get used to it. Also… only two here are actually Bourbons, I have one rum, one rye and one corn whiskey… but who’s really counting?

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Barrell Bourbon is the winner here, although it is the most expensive of this list.  Usually retailing for around $80, they consistently beat out bottles that you can’t touch on the secondary for 2-4x the price.  While they still are priced under $100, stock up. MSRP $80.

Pikesville is my favorite rye under $100.  115 proof, delicious.  Thank you Heaven Hill!  Second year in a row it continues to be available, awesome and affordable.  MSRP $60.

Foursquare Rum 2004 Exceptional Cask Selection… Exceptional Cask Selection Mark III Single Blended Rum aged 11 years in ex-Bourbon casks, distilled in 2004, released in 2015.  It’s full proof, 59%.  Thanks for Fred Minnick for tipping me off to this one.  Yes, it’s not a Bourbon, but it’s aged in ex-Bourbon casks and is just as delicious. Order one today! MSRP $60.

Old Weller Antique 107 Store Pick Non-Chill Filtered.  Make friends with your local liquor store owner.  Beg them to get a bottle of OWA NCF, ask to buy 4 of them when they come in.  Best $35 you can spend.  MSRP $35.

Mellow Corn.  I’m sorry, you may think I’m nuts by putting this on the list, but for $9.99, bottled in bond, again, thank you Heaven Hill.  This is my go-to after I’m three sheets to the wind and shouldn’t be touching the top shelf stuff, because it holds up and still has a good taste. MSRP $9.99.

Honorable mention goes to Old Forester 1920 Prohibition.  It should have been the number five on the list, but I just couldn’t help myself by putting on Mellow Corn instead.

Agree?  Disagree?  Continue the discussion on my Twitter @newbourbondrink or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/newbourbondrinker/

 

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/newest-barrell-bourbon-batch-is-a-home-run-011/

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/08/15/mellow-corn-must-have-for-all-bars/

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/old-weller-antique-ninety-9-single-barrel/

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/pikesville-rye-2-of-the-year/

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/4-new-releases-from-barrell-bourbon/

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/barrell-bourbon-lucky-013/

http://www.heavenhill.com  http://www.barrellbourbon.com  https://www.rumsixtysix.comfoursquare-rum-distillery.html/

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Orphan Barrel Entrapment

en·trap·ment
inˈtrapmənt,enˈtrapmənt/
noun
noun: entrapment; plural noun: entrapments
  1. the state of being caught in or as in a trap.
    “the feeling of entrapment grows as the roads close and the power goes out”
    • the action of tricking someone into committing a crime in order to secure their prosecution.
      “his style of investigation constitutes entrapment”

admiral-ackbar-its-a-trap

The title of the bottle pretty much tells you everything you need to know… you are basically being tricked into buying this because it has a big 25 on it.  Despite the fact that we know we are being entrapped by Diageo, we still overpay for the bottle anyway… on to the review:

Diageo’s Orphan Barrel Entrapment is the newest release and is a 25yr Canadian Rye from most likely Gimli, but could be Waterloo given they were distilling up to 1992  (Update: I have read online that it is in fact from Gimli).  They had admitted it is Crown Royal and decided to release it in this line instead of a special Crown Royal release or blend it into their normal product.

Extremely light colored. If it were Bourbon I’d guess it was six months old but it’s 25yrs old aged in used wood. The wood is probably so used there is nothing left to be absorbed into the distillate—I doubt the barrels were even reconditioned or recharred.

The nose is classic Canadian Rye, and that’s because it is. It’s Crown Royal and it’s smells just like their low end brand. Vanilla, Christmas tree and candy corn. Doesn’t smell like it’s been aged a lot. Reminds me a lot of older Canadian Club dusties that are easy to find, cheap and enjoyable.

The initial flavor is quite nice, smooth, sweet with vanilla and sugar candy and goes down easily. However there is no friendly heat, the mouthfeel is as thin as it can get and the finish ends before you know it. The taste is enjoyable but not complex.

Unlike some previous Orphan Barrel releases, this is totally drinkable. However it drinks well for a $40 bottle, not a MSRP $150 (I actually paid $199.99 plus tax because that was the only place around me that had it). I have several 70’s and 80’s dusty Canadian Clubs that taste better and I got for significantly cheaper. Prices affect ratings and this one is definitely not one you need to get but if you can find a pour for a reasonable price, maybe worth trying one glass.  DO NOT PAY UP ON SECONDARY FOR THIS! 86/100

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WhistlePig Farmstock 001: #NeverAgain

Because I was so disappointed by this WhistlePig product, I am going to do this review in short form.  It’s not worth going into all the details because I will never try it again.

Crop 001
86 Proof
Blend of three ryes, details on back of bottle
Light straw color

Medicinal nose, some rock candy, pine needles, and a touch of citrus.

The mouthfeel is exceptionally disappointing, thin, more heat than expected for an 86 Proof Rye. It’s bitter, medicinal and dries the mouth out. Has notes of young malt as well which I just hate. This is by far the worst WhistlePig product I’ve ever tasted.

I love their Boss Hog… not sure if I agree with San Francisco Spirits that it’s the best whiskey of the year, but then again, I didn’t actually get to try that specific barrel. Given how expensive this is, I’m giving it an even worse score. I’m very worried about their ability to produce quality products once their Canadian stock runs out. Stick to their sources whiskies for now and avoid Farmstock like the plague! 64/100

Canadian Club 20yr: LCBO Pickup

I rated a different 20yr Canadian Rye a couple days ago, (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/ninety-decades-of-richness-20-canadian-rye-whisky/) and this was the other bottle I bought from the LCBO.  This is a “Limited Edition” yet my bottle was number 301,802… so I’m not sure if by limited they mean less than a million bottles?  That’s not particularly limited to me… but what do I know?   Anyway, on to the review…

CC20 is a 80 proof Canadian Rye whiskey, which a dark amber color.  Much darker than the Nintey Rye I tasted a couple days ago, even though it had a higher proof.  The nose has mint, menthol, eucalyptus, graham crackers, and vanilla with medium heat.

Even though this is only 80 proof, there is a decent balance here with the spices, flavors and just enough heat to make it enjoyable.  There is a very smooth sweetness on it, that brings out the best of the Canadian Club, but with overlays of just enough complexity to make it a sipper rather than a mixer.  The finish is moderate, but the mouthfeel is lacking due to the low proof and chil filtering.

This one certainly is better than the Nintey rye from the other day, but one wonders what could have been if it was bottled at 120 proof instead of 80 without any chill filtering.  This could have been a really amazing rye if that was the case.  But in classic Canadian fashion, they water it down and screw it up.  Sorry, eh?  86/100.

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Ninety: Decades of Richness 20 Canadian Rye Whisky

I picked this bottle up at the LCBO the last time I was in Toronto.  Ninety proof, 20yr Canadian rye whisky: what’s not to like?  And it was pretty cheap, I don’t remember the exact price, but converted back to USD, it ended up being around $40-50 or so.  Hard to find anything 20yrs that cheap.  And it said “Ultra Premium” on the bottle, ooooooooohhh… on to the review.

The color is pretty pale, not unexpected for Canadian whisky which typically uses multiple time used bourbon barrels.  The nose is light with stone fruit, baked apples, allspice, vanilla, Necco wafers and baked bread.  Very little heat and the nose is subtle.

The taste is enjoyable, getting flavors from the nose, but the finish isn’t very long and it’s not terribly complex.  There is some light heat on the chest which is good, but the chill filtering takes out most of the mouthfeel leaving me with a thin finish.

Is this worth $50?  Probably.  But would I buy it again?  No.  It’s good, but for a 20yr old rye, I just expected more.  Pikesville Rye, which is only 6yrs old, blows this away from every possible perspective.  I’m going to review the Canadian Club 20 in the next day or so, we’ll see which is better.  This one is an 83/100.

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