The BTAC Reviews…. Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2019

Clearly these are all amazing whiskies. I get a lot of negative feedback on how I can possibly grade some of these so low. I take into account prices when I do, so if it’s a secondary $500 bottle but tastes no where near that, the score will suffer. Hate my system or love it, thanks for reading. All clicks are good clicks, right???

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Sazerac 18 / Saz18
Good but subtle nose. very subtle rock candy, subtle hints of mushroom umami, watermellon Jello , #2 pencil shavings, orange clove. Reminds of Saz18 past but less vibrant. Moderate mouthfeel, starts slow but builds up over time. Clove, Skittles and graham crackers on the tongue. The finish is pretty good and doesn’t drop off… it still gives you that 18yr dry dust just in the back of the tongue to let you know it’s the oldest of the bunch. This is one of the better Saz18s from a taste and finish perspective, but the nose is a little lacking. The tanked stuff is still the best. Easy drinker, but still really complex. 95/100. Not going to chase given secondary prices.

William Larue Weller / WLW 128.0
Rich deep nose with moderate heat, spicy ginger snaps, cinnamon raisin toast, allspice, teddy grahams and a touch of Panettone in the background dipped in tawny port. Big mouthfeel, tannins cover all over. The initial taste is a little bitter though which is disappointing. The finish is long but never goes sweet as I hoped it to be. It’s a big wheater, but just comes up short for the Weller name. Nose is better than the taste. I will say that this bottle had been open for three days and I have the feeling of you left it open for a month it might grade much better. 93/100. Not going to chase, last two years were much better.

George T Stagg / GTS 116.9
Crazy sweet and smooth nose. Rare for a Stagg to not give you at least a soft punch in the nostrils. Deep dark butterscotch, Cherry Cola, Juicy Fruit, stewed blackberry currant and a hint of cedar closet. Quick spicy hit up front that melts into an easy velvet caramel blanket over the tongue. Very long finish. The lower proof is noticeable on the diminished heat, especially if you side by side the 144.1. The finish is very long and it’s enjoyable. If people negatively judge and price this based on lower proof I’m happy to buy them… 96.5/100. This one has been the cheapest on secondary the last two years, I’ll try to grab a couple of these.

Thomas H Handy / THH 125.7
Spicy and moderate heat on the nose. Blondies, red hots, cloves, with a hint of vermouth. Biggest and hottest of the initial tastes, a real mouth roof grabber. Lots of the cinnamon red hot flavor with more spice to follow, although it is a little one dimensional for a Handy. Finish is pretty good though. 93/100. Will not chase, the previous releases are much better.

So in terms of my rankings, and I apologize I wasn’t able to try the ER17 this year… but I’m going Stagg, Saz18, WLW, THH. I think I’ll be an outlier but that’s what my palate is telling me. I will also like to say even though my scores are not high, these are still some of the best whiskies on the planet and you should try them if you can.

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Parker’s Heritage Collection 13, 8yr Heavy Charred Rye… collect the series, but don’t open this one.

Let me start off by saying I think Heaven Hill is one of the best distilleries on the planet and all the good work they do for ALS through these releases is amazing.  They are also the best value Bourbon producer out there, and I love going to see them when I visit KY.  I paid secondary for this bottle because I wanted to be one of the first to review it, and I actually haven’t read any reviews on it yet, so I’m going in fresh.

Color is dark, reminds me of the color from a lot of the old 1970’s ceramic decanters…. ominous sign.

Nose is muted with graphite pencil shavings, stale store bought brownies, red Skittles, mini marshmallows and stale ginger snaps. It’s not big, it turns in on itself and isn’t jumping out or exciting.

Not much heat initially but then really heats up the chest. The mouthfeel is not exciting. There are few sweet notes up front and skips the mid palate right to the finish. The finish is really long, but it’s not enjoyable. The finish doesn’t drop off quickly bitter like you might expect, but goes on for several minutes. The problem is the finish is just ok. I’ve never had a multi minute average finish, usually a long finish is a good thing. Very strange.

Parker’s Heritage Collection is one of the favorite releases of the year for many people, yet in recent years it has been controversial.  Frankly, last year was terrible. I loved PHC 11yr, and was happy it wasn’t loved by critics so I was able to grab lots on secondary for cheap (it has since almost doubled since then)… the year before was very expensive MSRP, but was a 24yr Bourbon. I enjoyed it but $399.99 was tough for most. And now we have this one. I think the most important thing we have learned is why most people don’t use heavy char for rye… it’s a failed experiment. This might be interesting if blended with a more youthful spicy rye, but ultimately this just isn’t good. It’s going for around $190 MSRP… when it first came out a couple weeks ago, people were paying $300. Now it’s $225-$250, and soon I think it will go to MSRP and I wouldn’t be surprised if it traded below that. It looks nice sealed on the shelf as a collectible, but this is one you are going to want to keep sealed or not buy at all. If anyone bought a bunch to flip on secondary, I’m sorry, but you’ll be stuck with them for a while. 73/100

I loved the 24yr:

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/phc10-parkers-heritage-collection-10-24yr-bourbon/

Did not like last year’s:

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2018/11/04/i-love-parkers-heritage-collection-i-dont-like-this-release-though/

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Rating Quick Three Samples Mic Drop 3.0, Wild Turkey Cornerstone J. Mattingly Curvey Blonde

It’s been too long since I’ve posted anything. I’m going to try to make up for that in the coming weeks…. going to start tonight with some samples that I’ve been waiting to try… going forward I’m only going to rate samples in ranges, and will only give firm ratings to bottles I own myself and have tried multiple times.

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First up the new Wild Turkey Cornerstone Rye. Dark color, inviting. Not a super strong nose from my glass, no heat at all, cinnamon and spice in the background. Mouthfeel is really nice and super spicy. I definitely need to get a bottle of this to get the full experience. The finish on this went on for more than three minutes—wow this just builds and builds. Really great pour. Estimated rating: 94-97.

Mic Drop 3.0 … new hot release. This one is only 4yrs old, Bourbon from MPG. Light to medium color, as expected for four years. Candy corn, pine, butterscotch like you expect but you can tell it’s too young from the nose with a touch of that bandaid note. The mouthfeel is really good though—gotta love that nonchill filtered MPG. The finish makes up for the less than desirable nose. This is good but would be much better in two years. Estimated rating: 90-92.

J. Mattingly Curvey Blonde. Very light colored. Reminds me of some MPG Light Whiskies that I’ve had before but not quite as good as some of the older ones. Nose is sweet candy corn, cream corn and brown sugar. The taste is decent, mouthfeel is ok but finish drops off a little early. This is ok but certainly not worth chasing. Estimated rating: 86-88.

HazMat Release from Barrell Craft Spirits!! 13yr Canadian Rye. Unicorn Alert!!

Unicorn alert… Single Barrel from Barrell Craft Spirits… 13yr Rye… Barrel L943, bottle #100… this clocks in at a HazMat 145.2 proof.  When I saw this, I grabbed a few… don’t think I’ll ever come across a Barrell HazMat again and I strongly regret not getting enough of the ECBP 140.2 proof back when I could…

Nose… the moment you pop the cork the nose jumps out at you–before even pouring the glass.  You can tell this is Canadian… maple syrup and vanilla rock candy permeates the room.  With the whiskey is the glass I’m also getting Necco wafers, heavy cream, butterscotch and gingerbread houses.  The crazy part is, I’m not getting much burn here on the nose, and this is HazMat!

The mouthfeel is great, completely oily covering the whole mouth.  There is decent heat and you can tell it’s not bottled in bond, but it’s enjoyable and balanced.  There is a strong tannin structure that goes right through the center and the finish builds up momentum with more and more flavor coming through.  This is a two to three minute finish.

In one way this is very different than any of the other Barrell releases I’ve had before… but it’s also consistent with quality and nuance and putting out really good whiskies, straight from the barrel.  If you can find this on the shelf, do not hesitate to grab it (or two or three!).  Finding HazMat whiskies that are good are extremely hard to find, and this is one of them.  Will be something that probably just goes up in value due to scarcity, but if you find them, grab two, so you can still open one.  I will probably open another one once this is gone… It’s worth it!  96/100.

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.

Shave and a haircut. Four quick reviews.

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Old Forester Rye. Super candied nose. Bananas Forester, banana split, skittles, marshmallows, graham crackers. Pretty easy down for 100 Proof. Medium mouthfeel. Nice hug. Finish does go a little bitter at the end though after a minute. Lots of hype here. Very good for $25, but not one I will bunker. 88/100.

1792 Full Proof NCF Single Barrel from 99 Bottles, 125 Proof. This one was around $55, not bad for a Barrel strength whiskey. Nutty, coconut, Necco wafers and waffles. Better mouthfeel and medium heat for the Proof. Mouthfeel builds with intensity in a good way with an enjoyable hug. Caramel and butter comes through at the end. Finish a solid two minutes. I’m generally not a 1792 fan, but this is the best one I’ve ever had. If you like 1792, this is a must get bottle. 92/100.

Barrell Dovetail finished in Dunn Cabernet barrels, 122.9 Proof. Incredible nose, so much going on. Brown sugar, Twix, cassis, totally enveloping. Crazy how easy this goes down for the Proof. I’m loving this Dunn cask finish. Finish 2-3 minutes. This is totally unique and special—tongue completely enveloped with tart cherry and tannic goodness. Glad I grabbed a couple at $80. Seeing it trade double that in secondary. 96/100.

Jefferson’s Presidential Select 16yr Twin Oak. Mixed reviews on this one, but going in unbiased. Strong wood nose but with waves of vanilla and charcoal. For 94 Proof the mouthfeel is better than expected. Interesting tastes but certainly quite a bit of oak. On the good side the finish goes for two minutes and improves instead of bowing out into bitterness. It’s a good Bourbon, but probably not worth the retail price. Worth a try at a bar. 92/100.