Cream of Kentucky Initial Release, Disappointing

Sorry for delay here… I’m releasing it over a year late… I just was hoping that it would get better, and it improved mildly, but not enough… here we go:

Seems like  a lot of bloggers got a free bottle of this one… I bought it on bottle-spot secondary for $160… I guess I’m not getting a lot of love from the free bottle Bourbon Gods these days… But allows my conscious to be clear when I write these reviews.  I never got into it for the free booze anyway…

Bright copper color. Bottle is fairly generic and the plastic wrapper around the top seems cheap to be honest. Juice looks great in the glass.

First crack was heat and a lot of it.

After letting it sit for a while you still get a lot of heat but it’s moderated. Really nutty nose, almond butter, toasted pecans, Reese Peanut Butter cups… afterwards graham crackers and all-spice.

Mouthfeel is ok but not great, it starts out ok but fails to last and the heat is still higher than expected for this level or Proof and age. Finish isn’t particularly long.

This is one of the limited release Bourbons that has come out recently and priced at retail around $160. It just doesn’t deliver. It’s totally average. There are dozens of offerings at half the price that are significantly better. Would have expected more from Mr. Rutledge. 84/100

Controversial take… Little Book… time to give up

Ok… I continue to be a sucker for a pretty bottle in a box. The newest one is Little Book 3. The first version was barely ok, the second was actually ok, but neither were worth the price. Did they learn and make the third one better? No. This is by far the worst….

Nose is ok… pencil shavings, butterscotch and granola. Here is where is departs, once you drink it. The mouthfeel starts being pretty good, but then immediately the heat takes over and dominates everything. This is completely off balance, with heat being the dominant factor.

This is just sad. The mouthfeel is decent and the finish is actually ok after the heat subsides but the heat is just such the dominant factor here. I’m not sure how this passed through QA, but Beam needs to go back to the drawing board on this experiment. Hopefully this is the last Little Book I buy in the store before I try. 75/100.

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Barrell Craft Spirits: BCS 2019 15yr Bourbon Gray Label Release: Best Whiskey of 2019???

Barrell Craft Spirits Gray Label in black box, 15yr Bourbon 2019 release is the follow up to last year’s special release. 2018’s Bourbon won Fred Minnick’s best whiskey of the year in a blind taste, making it very hard for Trip and Joe @ Barrell Bourbon to come up with a worth successor to their, arguably, best release to date.  The year is a blend of Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee and age stated 15yrs (which means there probably is stuff much older in here as well)… On to the review…

Beautiful nose, Milk Duds, cotton candy, and Rolos in the front, all candy and deliciousness. Deeper dive brings out notes of graham cracker s’mores, fresh luxury car seat leather and cracked roasted peanuts. At 106.52 proof you don’t even get a hint of heat even if you stick your nose all the way deep in the glass—almost unheard of.

Perfect balance of oils and tannins and flavor and just enough hug to let you know this is a Bourbon. The mouthfeel perfect coats the entire tongue and the upper sides of the cheeks. The candy and nut flavors rush in and build over time. I’m amazed by the finish here, more than three minutes and never dries off in a bitter note. (The finish might actually be closer to five minutes)

I think this might be the best whiskey I’ve tried this year; it certainly has impressed me more than any of the BTAC line… I didn’t know what to expect after last year. Last year was insane and had so much hype. How could they possibly follow up after that one? Well… they did and I think they even eclipsed it. This Bourbon is phenomenal. MSRP is $250, I’m seeing it on secondary for 300-350… do whatever you can to grab more than one bottle as you will want at least a backup here. 99/100.

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Garrison Brothers Cowboy 2019… Better than BTAC?

2019 Garrison Brothers Cowboy release is a 5 year Texas Bourbon at 137.3 proof. Made from Texas Panhandle White Corn, and blended from three different barrel types, it is a limited release of only 6,440 bottles. The distillery is in Hye, Texas, about an hour outside of Austin, and is a great place to visit for tours.

The bottle is the classic Garrison Brothers bottle but this year it is dipped in Gold wax, a first for them. Dark cowboy color, just like you except from the Cowboy.

Roasted graham crackers, stewed blackberries, dark chocolate dusted over dark roasted espresso beans, butterscotch, Twix, burnt almonds and dark molasses. This is a huge nose with a good heat but certainly doesn’t betray the 137 proof level.

Big mouthfeel. Big flavor. Huge finish. I mean, it’s Texas Bourbon right? There is a big hug but not overwhelming. The mouthfeel has nice oils and tannins but not a crazy amount, it’s well balanced. The taste gives you the dried and stewed fruit with molasses and butterscotch in waves. The finish is about two minutes. This really hits the spot for me.

I’ve always been a big fan of everything Dan Garrison and the team does. I’ve visited the Distillery and attended a dinner in NYC with them as well. Full disclosure, I paid retail for this and for all the things I’ve done with them. I’ve asked for samples, but Dan has always politely refused. It’s ok, it’s worth the price every time! I opened the bottle at a family gathering and it was a polarizing drink. Split down the middle some people loved it and some people hated it. Too hot, too big, too smoky, etc. If you have followed some of the reviews of Garrison Brothers over the years, you will see that as well. It is polarizing to many reviewers. You’ll never see an average review for them. It’s always amazing or not their style. For me, it’s my style. It’s a home run. I like my Bourbon big, uncut, unfiltered and no apologies. Dan and his team, with their Texas swagger, produce a product that just understands my soul–thank you guys. I bought a case of it this year and if I see more I’ll buy it. This is a bottle, if you share a similar palate to me, you are going to want to drink and to have at least a backup in your bunker. They only made 6,440 of these bottles and I already own 0.1% of them… when they are gone, they are gone.

Garrison Brothers: Keep up the good work and I can’t wait until the next big release!

96.5/100 … If I had any critiques, I’d like a little more oily mouthfeel and slightly longer finish. But these are minor issues. I think this release is on par or better than every single BTAC released this year.

Peerless Bourbon 4yr New Release

No intro here… just straight into the review… Color is shiny copper, really inviting.  Gorgeous bottle, beautiful, heavy cap.

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Quick pop of the gold cap, tons of aroma. Necco wafers, Eggo waffles, muted cinnamon sticks, buttered cinnamon raisin toast and toffee ice cream. Heat is muted.

Really nice mouthfeel, hotter than nose implies but not that hot…. spicy taste with allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon dominate the palate. Finish is good but not epic. Drops off after a minute but not in a bad way.

This is one of the best four year Bourbons I’ve ever had. I’m not surprised by that as their young ryes are also awesome. It does feel like to get something epic, it’s going to need another 2-3 years in barrel, but even at four years it’s extremely enjoyable.

Hard to grade as it needs a little more time to show it’s best, but even at four years it is still a solid 93/100. At six to eight years this might be a ninety-eight… and I bet there will be a single barrel that hits a 99.

I can’t wait until they have more age on their products. Check out my other reviews for their rRes which are also great. I also highly recommend you visit their distillery if you ever go to Louisville. It’s great. Full disclosure: I paid retail for this bottle in NYC, but they did send me a rye for free a year ago. I also got a free tasting when I visited early this year. None of which have any bearing on this review. If this sucked, I would have graded this poorly.

Peerless Rye 3yr Review

Peerless Rye 3yr

I really started liking Peerless when I tried their 2yr small batch at WhiskeyFest over a year ago and then even more when I tried some of the single barrels at Jack Rose over the summer. Every one I’ve had has been really good for 2yrs but the potential was always higher. At three years is it complete? We shall see…
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The bottle design is great, unique, good label, nice cork. The color is dark in the bottle, definitely something that looks good on the shelf.  109.1 proof.

Strong nose but not hot.  Baking spices, cotton candy, Skittles, Cow Tail caramel candy and cinnamon sticks.

Gotta love a non-chill filtered barrel proof rye of this caliber… decent heat but enjoyable, enveloping mouthfeel with good spice.

This is the best three year rye I’ve ever had, much like their two year was the best two year I’ve ever had. But the real question is: is it ready? The answer is yes, but with massive upside.  It’s a wonderful rye and one I’m happy to drink regularly.  The cost is around $110, but full disclosure, I got this one for free from the distillery.  At $110 I would still buy this to drink, just like I did with the 2yr. This is a solid 93/100 but my guess is when Peerless hits year five, Thomas H Handy is going to finally have a peer to contend with.

Lot 40 Cask Strength 2018 Release

This is the second year of the Lot 40 Cask Strength Limited release, coming in at 11 years and 58.4% abv after last year’s 12yr and 55%.image2(4)

First note that hit me was candied orange peel when I first opened this bottle. After some air the orange nose is still present but isn’t overpowering as you get follow through aromas of rock candy, Christmas spices, anise and burned brown sugar in butter sauce.

Really big mouth feel and a lot of heat, much more than the nose suggested. To some this might be too hot and spicy but I enjoyed it, but I’d prefer it not be this sharp and jagged; it probably could have used an extra year in bottle.   Maybe last year’s 12 years was the right number? The finish is long but again, pretty hot to start but does end in a nice lingering sweet and spicy completion—the long and non-bitter finish really is the highlight of the dram. Great mouthfeel and very complex.

This is a really enjoyable rye and a wonderful special release from Lot 40 following up from last year’s incredible first edition. However last year’s was so crazy good the anticipation of this one was so high and it just didn’t quite reach last hear. Last year got a 96 and this one is still good but gets 94/100.

Last year was released at C$60, and this one has been increased to C$100. Still worth it at retail, but if you are looking for secondary, try to find Batch 1 instead.

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