Jack Rose Part 2: Old Heaven Hill Wheater & Old Bernheim

Kentucky Crest 10yr 1950s bottling by Bernheim 103 proof
Golden color, with charcoal bits; I love charcoal bits. Classic bourbon nose, with some dried apricot fruit as well.  A touch hotter than expected but really nice. Mouthfeel is average and finish is moderate. Really nice but not one you need to mortgage the house for.  As the night went on, the aroma got better and better with vanilla and baking spices really coming through. 92/100

Old Fitzgerald 1849 Heaven Hill 1990s juice
Dull straw yellow coloring. Classic wheater nose, sweet and bready.  Easy down, no heat, enjoyable but not overly complex. Not sure what the hype is on these bottles. As the night continued the aroma stayed the same and did not improve.  88/100

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Holiday Sample Party: Willett Family Estate Single Barrels WFE Rated

I’ve been trading and collecting samples of lots of different whiskies for a while, especially Willett Family Estate single barrels.  It got to the point when I had too many to drink alone, but I also don’t feel like writing up a full review for a single sample is warranted due to the potential of contamination in a sample.  My brother in law is a big bourbon fan as well, so we tried them all together and gave individual ratings.  The notes are from me.

Willett Family Estate 12yr #751: Nice standard butterscotch and caramel nose, graham crackers. GREAT mouthfeel, sharp, enjoyable, long finish.  I wish I had a whole bottle of this.  94/100   Brian’s Score: 90/100

Willett Family Estate 13yr #780: Very strong nose, maple syrup, much hotter and bolder than the previous sample.  Tons of brown sugar and vanilla on the nose too.  Thick, juicy and spicy palate but finishes in a bitter note. Very different than the previous one.  93/100    Brian’s Score: 94/100

Willett Family Estate 9yr #7174:  Sweet rock candy, Reeses Pieces and vanilla with some pretty strong heat.  Palate is a lot of heat as well, ok mouthfeel, sweet but not overly complex.  87/100     Brian’s Score: 81/100

Willett Family Estate 14yr #2366: Nice nose, caramel and s’mores.  Tannic with oak on the palate but without solid oils leaving it bitter and astringent on the finish.  After a solid nose, the taste is disappointing.  86/100     Brian’s Score: 80/100

Eagle Rare 17 2010 Vintage: Forest Floor, Leather, mushroom, candied walnuts, stewed pears and apple sauce with cinnamon on the nose.  The palate is equally complex with all the nose coming through in an extremely mellow way.  No heat at all, easy down.  Finish is very good.  96/100   Brian’s Score: 92/100 (he also said the nose was better than the taste)

Barrell Bourbon New Years 2017: Reeses Pieces, caramel, Twix, very nutty nose.  GREAT mouthfeel, thick and chewy, nice oils, very comple.  Moderate heat with an amazing finish.  This is a bottle that I am going to hunt and hunt and hunt until I find it and then I’ll do a very proper review.  96-97/100   Brian’s Score: 95/100

2012 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon: Classic OFBB nose with mushrooms, nuttiness, caramel with weight, but hotter than this year’s release.  The palate is less exciting than the nose, but with a bit more bitterness than I would prefer.  Overall better than the overage OFBB.  89/100   Brian’s Score: 94/100

Old Charter 10 (Old Label): Butterscotch, cedar, oak, sour cherries.  This mouthfeel, underwhelming sour finish.  79/100   Brian’s Score: 81/100

Booker’s 25th Anniversary: Hot nose, caramel, butterscotch, ginger snaps.  Amazing mouthfeel, less hot on palate than expected but still classically Booker’s hot.  Long, long and incredible finish. 96/100   Brian’s Score: 92/100 (too hot)

1993 Old Grand Dad (National Distillers): Different than the OGD 114 I had tonight, more vanille, brown sugar, stewed pears, green apple, very mellow nose.  Super smooth, very nice taste, mouthfeel ok but low proof and chill filtering take out a lot of the complexity.  Wish this was cask strength.  93/100      Brian’s Score:  90/100

 

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Four Roses Gift Shop Elliott’s Pick OBSF

Part of my Kentucky trip took me to the gift shop at Four Roses. I actually didn’t open this up until very recently and after I had already tried the Elliott’s Select, but after trying it I had to open this up as soon as possible.

This private single barrel is an OBSF, 50.3% abv, aged 11yrs and 7 months, from warehouse GW and is barrel # 81-1H.

Medium heat on the nose, dried grass, graham crackers, cloves, cracked walnuts and a hint of raspberry jam. Initially I’m a little disappointed by the nose compared to this year’s Elliott’s Select.

The taste is better and so is the mouthfeel. There’s a lot of spiciness on the palate that I was completely missing on the nose. It really tickles your tongue.  The tannins and oil nicely balance out the mouthfeel.

Overall this is a solid single barrel but not even close to the Elliott’s Select. The finish is quite long but it lacks some of the sweet notes that the other had. 87/100.

 

PHC10: Parker’s Heritage Collection #10: 24yr Bourbon

Another one of the epic releases for the year, exploding in price on bottle-spot… and I had to have it so I could share my thoughts with my readers.  I wish I bought it at retail, but unfortunately I paid up for it… was it worth it?

It has a beautiful dark, root beer-esque color too it.  But is it too dark?  We shall see…

Really rich and powerful nose… stewed berries, cocoa, leather, pencil shavings, cigar box, toasted marshmallows and Twix.  So much going on in the nose and really nice… you can smell wood but the wood is not overpowering, which is tough to do on a 24yr Bourbon.  Mild heat on the nose.`

The taste is great… all those flavors on the nose come out in the palate, heat only on the way down, and the finish is long and it improves as it dissipates.  The mouthfeel is ok, but a little thinned out, and I’m a little surprised that it’s not chill filtered.  I had to wait three minutes before the second sip because the finish was going on and on.

It’s amazing comparing this to Old Blowhard… this really nails it while Old Blowhard is the epitome of everything wrong with an old overoaked whiskey.

This is a very special whiskey.  It’s not going to be for everyone’s style, and it will be in even less people’s budgets, but it’s a great Bourbon from Heaven Hill.  I’ve seen it trade online for between $400 and $600 and I think it will probably settle down somewhere in the $450 area at the end of the day.  It’s my third favorite 2016 release this year so far (behind FRSB Elliot’s Select and Barrell Whiskey 002), but by far the most expensive.  I’ll be savouring this one for a while.  96/100

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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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NBA Finals, CEHT Straight Rye

It’s the NBA finals tonight so I decided to pull out the CEHT Straight Rye Bottled in Bond. Colonel E.H. Taylor is one of the renowned Buffalo Trace brands, coming out with several very limited editions in addition to their highly allocated normal line which includes their straight rye. I’ve been drinking a lot of rye recently, mostly Thomas H Handy (another BT product and part of the annual BTAC release) and Pikesville, the new release from Heaven Hill. I’m hoping the Taylor rye lives up to its allocated hype.

The packaging of all the Colonel Taylor whiskeys are gorgeous–this is no exception. The tube is great, the mock tax stamp looks classic and the label is always a looker. The color is medium amber.

The nose is hot, which is standard for the CEHT line, and not surprising for a 100 proof whiskey. I get notes of rock candy, candy corn, buttered raisin bagel and cinnamon sticks.

The palate has some of the heat from the nose and some of the flavors but the mouthfeel is thin, tannins are lacking and the finish is moderate at best. It’s enjoyable to drink but is just lacking complexity and is missing the finish that I was expecting.

If you find one of these bottles at retail price on the shelf I would still buy it, but mostly because it is so hard to find (read: trade bait), but in terms of drinking there are better options out there. I pulled my Pikesville off the shelf for a quick comparison: even though the proof is ten higher, the nose is more interesting, the taste is better and smoother, the finish is substantially longer and it is cheaper. If you are looking for a great rye, buy Thomas H Handy.  But if you can’t find it or don’t want to pay $300 secondary market costs, buy the Pikesville Rye, it is better in pretty much every way and it costs less. I also pulled out my Sazerac and I think I actually prefer it to the Taylor as well and it is basically 1/3 the price. CEHT Straight Rye is fine to drink, but there are so many better options out there at better price points. 86/100.

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ECBP 139.4 #11 Elijiah Craig’s Best to Date? Thank you Heaven Hill

Elijiah Craig Barrell Proof Bourbon (ECBP) is a staple on my bar, but one that I have ignored for a while–and that was a mistake. The 128 proof, #7 release, was the first piece ever on my blog and it is long overdue to review another one. Today I am imbibing the 139.4 proof, which is release #11 and the second highest proof they have ever done.  Earlier in the evening I was drinking EHTBP, and when I poured this one I couldn’t believe how much darker the color and deeper the aroma was…. On to the review…

Deep and dark tawny port color.

On the nose had rich flavors of butterscotch, buttered popcorn, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Raisin Bran and maple syrup–also getting some of those tawny notes that the color alludes to.  Just a big and bold nose: some heat but less than expected given the high proof.

The first taste is fantastic. The chewy flavors are coming through and the wood tannins on the tongue are there but not as thick as I would like. If anyone has ever tried a Sam Adams Utopias before, there are some similar tastes and smells–which is very good. There is a nice warmth traveling through my body but it isn’t harsh at all. The finish isn’t as long as I expected given all the complexity upfront, but it’s quite an experience.  Very solid palate.

You have to give it to Heaven Hill because ECBP is still one of the few well priced cask strength bourbons out there. Their newest release is the best one that I have tried to date. If you see it on the shelf for a reasonable price, grab a couple and you won’t be disappointed. The only thing that prevents this from going from a great to an epic bourbon is the lack of extended finish. Worth every penny though. 94/100.

 

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