George Remus: MGP’s Straight Bourbon Whiskey Brand

Let’s clear this up at the beginning: MGP makes great products. I’m sick and tired of people saying how they look down on MGP sources whiskies. Everyone hates a liar, but you gotta love a good MGP whiskey. Interesting enough, I wouldn’t consider this a sourced whiskey because MGP now owns this brand as of November 2016.

George Remus is the legendary bootlegger from Prohibition leading to the eponymous brand. The whiskey is not age stated, only that is is at least four years old. Nice color in the bottle with the cool tax strip across the top.

The nose is enjoyable with vanilla, pine needles, candy corn, rock candy and white flowers. Not much heat on the nose.

The mouthfeel is quite enjoyable and the heat is moderate but still coats the chest nicely. Reminds me of a lot of a combination of previous MGP ryes and Bourbons. Moderately complex with the flavors coming through and the finish is longer than expected. This is solid.

A good showing from George Remus and although I don’t know the age I wouldn’t be surprised if this was closer to 5.5 years and chosen from good barrels. At $44.99 it’s also pretty reasonable although I’d rather them come out with a cask strength version. A cask strength version with a couple more years on it could score 4-5 points higher easily. Still, it’s still solid: 91/100.

That’s to George Remus for proving the sample for this review.

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http://georgeremus.com/

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Rum Curious: Foursquare 2006

After reading Fred’s book I bought this overseas and I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I paid. Go out and buy Fred’s book, it’s great and will give you so much info you can’t find online. I’ll leave the details of this to Fred’s book on page 108-109. Needless to say Foursquare is an unbelievable producer of great rums.

Amazing Rum smell. Coconut, anise, white floral notes, peach pits, orange peel, rose water.

Amazing mouthfeel. Moderate heat, so much lower than expected for this Proof level. Finish just goes on and on.

Fred has this at 100 points, doesn’t score quite that high for me but it is the best Rum I’ve ever had. Hard for me to grade this as I’m much more a bourbon fan–but it is pretty epic. 98/100.

 

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Jack Rose Trip Part 1: JPS Rye 25yr

I made my way down to Jack Rose recently with some friends and had the great opportunity to meet with Bill Thomas.  If you haven’t been to Jack Rose, please do yourself a favor and get down there and get drunk.  It’s a wonderful place for those who love whiskey, especially Bourbon.  With almost 3,000 open bottles, it’s the place to try all those unicorns you can’t find or afford to get a bottle on your own.  Over the next few weeks I will be posting quick reviews of all the bourbons I tried… enjoy!

First up…. Jefferson’s Presidential Select 25yr Rye batch 1 86 proof: Initial impressions are that it looks far too light to be 25yrs old. Nice candy nose, but doesn’t smell 25yrs old, a touch of candy corn and rock candy.  The taste also is very hard to believe this is 25yrs old, has a spicy fresh taste to it like a much younger rye.  Upon further review of the bottle, I now know why this doesn’t feel/look/smell or taste like a 25 year old rye… because it’s Canadian!  It says “North American Rye” which you would never say, unless it’s Canada.  I bet this is Alberta Distillery, but I don’t know for sure.  I will say this, this is way better than CC20 or any of the other old ones I’ve had from Canada.  25yrs old, and not over oaked because of the used barrels; very nice and enjoyable.  93/100

 

 

WhiskyLive 2017

I went with some friends last week to WhiskyLive 2017 in NYC.  I didn’t use my “press credentials” to get in, rather I bought VIP tickets (at a discount 6 months ago). VIP basically was supposed to get you entry 30 minutes early, access to a special lounge and a higher end crystal glass.  Well, the line got all screwed up and even though I got there early, I didn’t get in until almost 6pm. The glass was weird and I think I’d rather have the normal glass. And to top it off the VIP lounge didn’t have anything special in it–literally they were serving Evan Williams 2008 Single Barrel, a $22 Bourbon and some awful Widow Jane swill.

However, enough complaining and venting… but seriously, next year, the line situation needs to be fixed and they need to get a few more epic bottles in the VIP lounge.

I am very glad that I went for three reasons though. First and most importantly, Four Roses brought Brent Elliott up for the event and I got to meet the man himself. He is awesome and I plan on having an interview with him in the coming weeks: stay tuned!  They also were pouring FRSBLE2016, and while I do have several bottles of it at home, it was really nice to see a special pour.  Very few producers did that, so a real special thanks to Four Roses for stepping up and bringing their best.

The second reason I was glad to go was to see the upcoming releases from Barrell Bourbon. Joe Beatrice was there pouring Whiskey 003 and the new Bourbon 009, 010 and even 011. They also had some New Years Bourbon which they were nice enough to give double pours when I asked nicely–thanks guys!!!  (The New Years Bourbon should have been in the VIP lounge as it was better than pretty much every other one there)  I can’t say enough good things about the Barrell guys, they bought tons of bottles so everyone could try as much as they wanted, no severely limiting the pours like some other people did…

The third reason I am glad I went was to try to new Michters 10yr Rye.  It was good. But it wasn’t great. If I find any this season I will be trading it for something else because I wasn’t overly impressed. I tried it three times. It was enjoyable but the finish just wasn’t enough to make me need it. It’s probably a 90 +/- but certainly not a top 10.  They also were really stingy with the pouts: yes, I’m talking about you Kenny Ng!!!!! (exceptionally stingy pours matter in this situation, and I doubt they ran out because it was still there 2 hours into the event).

Anyway, WhiskyLive was a fun event, but not as well done as WhiskyFest was in the Fall.  I am glad I went for the reasons above and it was amazing to meet Brent and great to see Joe and try both of their whiskeys. But to be honest, the rest of the booths just didn’t do it for me: too many low end whiskeys and bad craft distillers or generic Scotches that I’ve already had. I hate to be “that guy” but if people are expected to return, they need to have something unique and new each time–I’m not sure I will be going back for 2018 unless they really step up their game. And of course… they really need to figure out the entrance better… at least the weather was nice, but it could have been below zero with all of us waiting outside.

Thanks everyone for reading my venting!

BCBS 2016 Happy Black Friday!!

Happy Black Friday!!  BCBS 2016 clocks in at 13.8% abv. Thanks Goose Island.

Aromas are amazing: bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, espresso, licorice jelly beans… Deep and dark flavors. Amazing nose.

Thick mouthfeel, not quite syrupy, but deep and complex and crazy tasty.  The finish is incredible, tons of caramel and vanilla sweetness lingering on and on.

Bourbon County Brand Stout is my favorite part of Black Friday. I hope everyone was able to get some–absolutely worth it. I think 2015 was a touch better for what it’s worth. 96/100.

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Go Visit Garrison Brothers & Single Barrel Amazing

Last weekend was my annual boys weekend with my closest friends from high school. We grew up together and were inseparable, but as we grew up, got married and had kids, and some moved away, it’s increasingly difficult to get together, which is why the annual weekend is such a wonderful thing to do. This year’s destination was Austin, TX, not too far away from Hye, TX, so we decided to take the tour at Garrison Brothers.

I highly recommend the tour, especially if Dan Garrison is going to be there. The tour was informative, a lot of fun and you got to try their white dog, a single barrel, and as much of the flagship you can drink. It was the most fun and laid back tours I’ve ever been on; I can’t encourage people enough to take the trip out there.

We got the opportunity to try one of the single barrels and I was lucky they had extra to buy. This one was barrel number 3824, and was bottle number 2 of only 12 that were left in the cask. I love the lower yielding barrels, while clearly less profitable for the producer, I find they hold unique characteristics and are often more pronounced flavors. Garrison Brothers dips their bottles in wax, and we got to do that for our bottles. Very different than the Makers experience, it takes about four minutes to compete the dipping and drying, not very efficient, but given how small they are, they don’t need to go as fast as Makers does it.

The bourbon is dark, like really dark.  Pretty amazing color for only three years in wood.  Probably has something to do with the yield of only 12 bottles as well.  The nose is rich, but not hot at all.  Liquid caramel, dark french toast brioche, egg nog, all spice, licorice and some pine needles.  On the second sniff, you get a hint of nazelnut coffee, pencil shavings and graphite.  You can tell there is some decent amount of wood in this, but it doesn’t appear that it will be overpowering on the palate.

The taste is awesome.  All the complexity on the nose is coming through on the mouth, in a very balanced way.  The wood tannins integrated very well with the other flavors producing a bourbon that has a very long, warm and enjoyable finish.  If there was one complaint, I would say that this would have been much better if it was barreled at cask strength.  A common complaint I have, which is why I prefer their Cowboy release.

A very unique offering from Garrison Brothers, only one of 12 bottles in existence, and by the time you are reading this, mine will probably be all gone.  Definitely worth taking the trip out there to go visiting them yourself and be sure to see Dan when you are there.  96/100

Shame! Shame! NYC Central Cellars Wine & Spirits Shame!

One of my big peeves is egregiously overcharging for whiskey (defined by significantly over secondary prices).  It’s just so annoying and I avoid those stores.  Today’s example is the new store that just opened in New York City in Grand Central Terminal: Central Cellars Wine & Spirits.  The old place, which also was a rip off, closed a few months ago and they have been working on refurbishing this new store and it just opened this week.

A picture tells a thousand words:

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Yes, Pikesville Rye is a great whiskey, but it’s also available and not a limited release.  I was able to pick up a six pack for $52 a bottle, but if someone wants to charge, $60 or even $75, I don’t think that’s a problem.  But at $125, it will not sell and will just be  a constant reminder of what a rip off the store is.

The rent is probably very high, but if you don’t sell anything, you won’t make any money.  I don’t see these guys lasting either and I don’t think we should support them.  Shame on your Central Cellars Wine & Spirits!

Here is my original Pikesville review:  https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/pikesville-rye-2-of-the-year/