Secondary market on this bad boy is roughly 400/450… This is just a crazy 4x price. “Caskers, are you serious?”
Secondary market on this bad boy is roughly 400/450… This is just a crazy 4x price. “Caskers, are you serious?”
Released at c$300 and was readily available for several weeks at the LCBO, Canadian Club 41yr is the oldest release ever. Bottled at 90 Proof, it is in the same shape squarish bottle from last year.
Pricey? Yes, but it’s 41 years! Imagine the amount of evaporation. So the question is whether it’s the same as last year. You are about to find out.
The nose is much bigger than last year with a sherry bomb coming out and dried figs and baking spices coming through. Much bolder than last year’s release.
The mouthfeel is decent, not overpowering. The heat is mild and the finish moderate. This is an enjoyable whiskey but not epic.
I think I prefer last year’s pure version versus this one which clearly takes advantage of the 9.09% rule and feels like there is a lot of sherry influence. Still wonderful and worth picking up a couple at the LCBO if you were able to. 91/100.
My Review for CC40: https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2018/11/12/canadian-club-40yr-review/
Apparently only 125 cases of Barrell Craft Spirits 25yr Whiskey were ever released so I’m excited to have ever scored one. On secondary market I’ve seen these go for $400-$750, but I have no regrets about opening this one.
It’s a medium amber color in the glass. The nose has the slightest bit of Madeira on the nose but has Twix, dried figs, Raisinettes, rock candy, Necco Wafers and a drop of maple syrup. No heat whatsoever on the nose which is insane given the proof of 111.2.
Wonderful mouthfeel, mostly right down the middle, but tickles every corner of mouth. The tactile feeling actually builds throughout the finish which is so rare. You get the slightest hug, but wow is this a mellow heat whiskey, almost impossible to believe given the cask strength bottling.
This is one of the most unique whiskies I’ve ever tasted, and one of the most rare; so much flavor and great mouthfeel with a finish like I’ve never tasted before. I’m not surprised this one is so highly in demand on the secondary market. We are in rare air here when grading something like this. It’s like when grading BTAC, you look for tiny imperfections to pick out. The only one I can find is that I probably will never find a second bottle because of the limited availability. If you can grab one, just do it; you will not be disappointed. 97/100.
I love the BCS gray label! Here are my other reviews:
I do like a good presentation. The coffin isn’t for Dave but for the pet pig Mortimer. RIP.
Pears, maple syrup, graham crackers and moderate heat permeate the nose. Rich dark color in the glass.
Big mouthfeel, completely covers everything in the mouth. A bit more heat than I would have liked, but mellows quickly into a nice hug. The finish is very long and sweet throughout. Complex flavors of sweetness, dried fruit and spice on the follow through.
This is a lovely whiskey. Is it worth $500 retail though? I also like to run expensive ryes through the Handy test, is it better? The answer is no, but it’s darn close and different. Like all my reviews, price is a factor in my reviews. If this was $100 it might be a contender for whiskey of the year, but at $500, there are too many I’d rather have in the 200-400 range like GTS, THH, BCS gray label and more… it’s still lovely and unique and totally recommended for trying at a bar; only buy it if $500 is no big deal to you. 94.5/100
OK… so I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets this question all the time from friends, family, co-workers, etc…. Usually it starts out like “hey, can you get me some Pappy?”… yes I can, you want a ORVW for $450-$500? “Oh, I though you had the hookup, can you get it for me at retail?” No… I can’t get it for myself at retail… then eventually we just arrive at the Seinfeldian response of “well, why don’t you just tell me what you want to pay…” So, here is my list of the best bottles that are available and can be purchased for under $100 in 2018… I changed some of them from 2017’s list for some reasons including eliminating certain bottles like ETL, RHF, BTAC, Stagg Jr, etc because the MSRP just rarely is the price you see in stores, at least in the Tri-State area… These are in no particular order. I also realize every is going to have a different list here, and please add anything you think should be on here in comments! Happy New Year everyone!!
Buffalo Trace… yes, the original one that retails for $30. It’s the same mashbill that goes into bottles that are 1k’s of dollars in secondary, same distillery. Whether it’s straight or in a cocktail, it’s lovely. Always make sure you have at least one of them on your bar at all times.
Barrell Bourbon Batches… I’ve never had a batch I didn’t like. I’ve had some that I’d LOVED. The only one that was impossible to find was Batch 011, because it won best Bourbon of the Year from San Francisco Wine & Spirits. At least one batch is usually available at my local store, it looks great, a perfect gift and a wonderful drinker. You will not be disappointed.
Foursquare 2004 or 2005… cask strength, usually $60-$90, and yes, it’s a Rum! Aged in Bourbon barrels and others, non-chill filtered, so much flavor. These guys are the real deal.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof… I almost didn’t put this on the list, but it seems like this is more frequent this year and I usually see it on the shelf. I’ve never had a bad one, and I’ve had quite a few good ones. I prefer the old bottle design, but if they are making more of them with the new bottle, I’m OK with that. Last year I had Old Weller Antique on the list, but given I can never find it anymore without texting my local liquor store owner ahead of time, I’m bumping them for ECBP due to 2018’s availability. Should be around $60-$70.
Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Bourbon… didn’t make the cut last year, just squeezed in this year and at $65, a solid member of the list. I find that the first crack is just ok, but if you leave it open for a few months it gets a lot better… if I were to re-rate it, I’d say it’s a solid 92. Worth having on your home bar.
You don’t need to buy Pappy or BTAC to make the people on your list happy! Anything on this list will show you know your whiskey and you care about making your friends and family happy. Happy New Year!
#1 Parker’s Heritage Collection release number 12, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Orange Curacao Barrels. 55% alcohol, 110 proof. Not great. Was hoping it would get better after being opened a while…. I’m still hoping and it’s been a few months. I gave this a 78 out of 100 and I think I was being overly generous. I will re-rate it again after it’s opened for six months, and hopefully it’s better; I’m not optimistic. You gotta give some credit to the secondary market though, it came out at $200-$225 initially and has been crushed, as it should be. Now trading between $100-$120, right where it has been offered at retail. My guess is that is floors at $100 and then in a few years completionists will bid it up a little bit but it will go no-where. Avoid this release, which was by far the worst ever for PHC. Sad too because the story is great.
#2 Weller C.Y.P.B. is a perfectly fine Bourbon. It’s like an average OWA chill filtered pick. But it’s impossible to get, trading around $350 in secondary and it’s just not that great. Opening my bottle was one of the biggest disappointments for me in 2018.
#3 2018 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Sazerac 18. This has routinely been one of my favorite releases of the year and it just came out so flat and bitter this time. I yearn for the tanked juice. What’s crazy here is secondary is still holding in really high. This one is trading like a collectible and not a drinking whiskey clearly. If you own it, sell/trade it now because I’d rather have a WLW+GTS, which I think it close to where it is.
#4 Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye 2009 Distilled special release. I don’t know why I even buy these anymore… the store picks are almost always better, and I’m such a sucker for a special release. They trade lower in secondary and no one likes them. I’m just lucky I only bought one this year. Avoid!
#5 Bad craft distillers who market well like Breckenridge Distillery… I’m picking on these guys, but Hudson (Tuttletown Spirits), Brooklyn Distillery, etc etc all qualify by putting out expensive, bad products, in good marketing packaging. My wife JUST got a bottle of Breckenridge from one of her clients (last year she got Hudson Baby Bourbon) and I wonder why her clients must hate her so much? Prediction for 2019… by the end of the year at least one “major” craft distiller will go bankrupt because people will realize their juice is terrible and overpriced, while you will see some of the good ones rising in popularity and respect.
There is is… 2018’s top disappointments… However there was so much to celebrate in 2018, check out my top 5 list. Or check out last year’s top 5 disappointments….
This year had so many great releases even though the level on social media complaining has hit an all time high… don’t worry, I will be putting out my top 5 disappointments soon… but it’s the holidays so I’m only going to be positive today! Instead of ranking them this year, I’ve decided to go with five different categories and give the overall winner for them… Disagree? Hit me up on twitter @newbourbondrink or facebook @ newbourbondrinker or instagram @steaknbourbon
Best Overall Bourbon: Barrell Craft Spirits 15yr Bourbon Gray Label. For a straight down the middle Bourbon, this one can not be beat. It also edged out everyone else from Fred Minnick’s blind tasting for Forbes’. It got a huge score from me and everyone else. The only downside is the limited case amount. The one thing you can be certain, is if you see any gray label Barrell Craft Spirits product on a shelf, grab it!
Best Wheated Bourbon: William Larue Weller 2018 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. This one was easy, and tied for best overall with BCS, but split out the wheaters. The finish, so long, so good. If you can grab the 2017 or 2018 of WLW BTAC, for any reasonable price at all, pick it up.
Best Rye: Thomas H Handy 2018. Another BTAC, but 2018 was tough for Rye, as the releases we not as strong as 2017. The Lot 40 cask Strength 11yr was not as good as last year’s 12yr and higher priced and lower proof; Kentucky Owl Rye was also good but not quite as good as the first release. THH stood out among it’s peers, but only by a smidge. The secondary prices have continued to creep as well which is annoying for those of us who drink a lot of Handy.
Best Small Bottle Release: Elijah Craig Grenade… it’s a gift shop only release, but readily available on secondary. It trades at close to BTAC levels given it’s only 200ml, but it’s sooooooooo good. Grab one if you are ever in Bardstown, or just lift one on secondary.
Best Rum: Appleton’s Joy 25yr. This was probably the hardest category to rate to be perfectly honest. So many great releases: Foursquare 2004, Foursquare 2005, Barrell Rum Tale of Two Islands, Barrell Craft Spirits Rum Gray Label… all could have taken these honors, but Appleton’s 25yr comes out ahead. Retailing around $220 and still available, this rum has crazy flavors and notes that rival any whiskey. Looks great on the shelf too.
There it is for 2018… it was a great year, so many amazing drams and I look forward to what 2019 brings. Happy New Year!