Woodford Master’s Collection Batch Proof

IMG_0834

Ok…. not sure if Cask strength warrants being an annual special release but I’ll try it anyway.  I also realize that I’ve been accused of being extremely negative recently… I can’t help if I’ve been reviewing or posting about stuff that I don’t like in a row.  Hopefully soon I’ll try something new that I really like.

Bottle looks good and color is attractive.

Cherry wood notes with graham crackers, Twix, dried peach pits, cinnamon sticks and marshmellows. Pretty soft nose for a 125 Proof bourbon.

Decent heat. Enjoyable mouthfeel. Finish is medium. Although nothing special is jumping out. Everything is above average here but not too much above average.

It’s an enjoyable Whiskey. I paid $139.99 for it and I’m pretty confident stating that it’s not worth that.  Every release from ECBP and Barrell Bourbon have been more enjoyable and cost almost half of this. I realize this is a limited release, but everything these days feels like a limited release. Let’s be clear, it is enjoyable and I recommend you get a dram at a bar to try it, but I don’t think it’s anything special that you need to buy a whole bottle. 85/100

Advertisements

Elijah Craig Grenade… I need more!!!

Attention: if anyone is taking a trip to visit Heaven Hill and doesn’t want to buy their one bottle allocation of Elijah Craig Barrel Select 125 Proof “Grenade” please buy it anyway and I will buy it from you at a premium. Yes; it’s that good. Ok, I kind of jumped the gun on the review here, but I’d appreciate you still reading.

IMG_1993

Nice deep amber, cooper color in the grenade barrel 200ml bottle.

Cinnamon sticks, graham crackers, butterscotch, s’mores, vanilla, marzipan and whipped cream. Heat but not too much.

Amazing mouthfeel, complex flavors from the nose, strong Kentucky hug but not overheated. The finish is long and keeps going for over two minutes.

This is so good and the only complaint is that it only comes in a 200ml bottle. I wish they sold these outside of the gift shop. Delicious! 97/100.

Northern Border Collection II: Lot 40 Cask Strength

Part II of my reviews of the Northern Border Collection: Lot 40 Cask Strength 12yr 55% abv. This is the one I’ve been most excited about as I’ve had samples from my friend Mark Bylok—and who doesn’t like a aged high proof rye?

IMG_0067

Copper/dark amber color just reaching out. Sweet, inviting nose of rock candy, cracked pepper, vanilla, baking spices, maple syrup and Christmas trees.

Seriously good on the palate. Coats everything, tingles the tongue, enjoyable but not overpowering warmth and a finish that keeps going on. Sweet and spicy flavors keep going and don’t drop off. The finish is epic… worth leaving in your mouth for a few seconds to get the full flavors before swallowing to realize the total potential.

This is a special whiskey. I am 1/3 through bottle number 2,251 of 4,968. This is better than this year’s Thomas H Handy, but not as good as 2014, 2015 or 2016. It’s in the upper echelons of ryes and deserves to be. I think this is similar but a touch better than the Kentucky Owl rye release. If you can snag one of these for less than 3x retail, it’s worth it. I hope they release it again next year. 96/100.

For a more in depth review, check out Mark Bylok’s Piece: http://whisky.buzz/blog/lot-no-40-100-rye-cask-strength-12-year-old-review

http://whisky.buzz/blog/the-insider-story-of-the-evolving-lot-no-40-canadian-rye-whisky

http://whisky.buzz/blog/eager-for-lot-no-40-cask-strength-heres-your-best-bet-on-getting-a-bottle

http://www.canadianwhisky.org/reviews/lot-no-40-cask-strength-55.html

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/product/lot-no-40-cask-strength-canadian-whisky/541326#.Wko7tYVh-Qs

Quick Angel’s Envy Cask Strength 2015 Review: Strong PASS

I’ve never been a huge fan of the AECS, I thought the 2014 was ok, but I’ll give 2015 a whirl. Sickly sweet port nose, and a ton of heat. The taste is dominated by heat as well with some raisins, plums and menthol. This is extremely bad value for the price but I wouldn’t buy it if it was 1/4 the cost, which was $179.99.

The 2015 was much worse than the 2014 and another massive disappointment… just because it’s cask strength, limited edition and in an expensive box, doesn’t make it great.  It just makes it expensive.  The port finish on this is so poor, it seems like now that they sold the company, they aren’t even trying anymore.  78/100.

IMG_1087

Wild Turkey Rare Breed

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Wild Turkey’s Rare Breed from friends in the bourbon community, yet for some reason I never tried it… until now.  Widely available, barrel proof, uncut, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey… what’s not to love?

Nice looking bottle, medium amber color.

Hot nose, ginger snap cookies, baking spices, dried orange peels, cooked mushrooms and forest floor.

Enjoyable mouthfeel.  Light tannins, medium oils, totally enveloping.  The heat is still strong, yet the finish is medium length but dries out and becomes slightly bitter.

For a cask strength bourbon, it’s certainly hard to find one under $50 (at least now that Booker’s is going up in price).  But from the ones that are readily available on the shelves, like Booker’s Barrell Bourbon, single Barrel Four Roses, Rare Breed falls short of them.  I’m not sure why so many people get excited about this, but maybe it’s because they haven’t tried the other cask strength ones on the market?  Rare Breed gets extra points for the price, but once this bottle is gone, I won’t be replacing it.  84/100.

img_0368

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.

 

Barrell Bourbon Batch 008

I’ve reviewed the offerings from Barrell Craft Spirits a few times on this blog and I am consistently impressed by all of their whiskeys.  My preference for whiskey is bourbon, specifically cask strength.  I also love having private single barrels or different batches, where I get to try a new permutation of the distiller or blenders vision each time, instead of exactly the same thing each time.  Every year BTAC comes out with something slightly different and yet still awesome.  The problem is that it’s nearly impossible to get at a reasonable price and paying $500+ a bottle is just not doable for an everyday drinker.  WFE used to be reasonable, but secondary prices on the good ones have skyrocketed.  Even EH Taylor barrel proof is getting hard to find, but I find them to be too hot anyway.  That’s why I love Barrell Bourbon so much: it’s great, it’s cask strength, and it’s available (for now) so you don’t need to pay through the nose in the secondary market and feel bad about drinking it every day.

Now on to BB-8… the newest release and the oldest bourbon they have released thus far.  Classic looking bottle, great dark amber color.

The nose is very complex, with chunky peanut butter, light tobacco leaves, butterscotch, anise, hints of buttered popcorn and some hickory lump charcoal in the background.  Very inviting and not at all hot, especially considering it is 132.8 proof.

Captivatingly smooth, yet still spicy and sharp with some good tannins and clearly a non-chill filtered bottling.  Good oils and weight provide a very long finish and warm follow through.  If I had to guess I would have thought this was closer to 100 proof given the lack of upfront heat.  Very well done.

This is the reason I’m so glad I have found Barrell Bourbon, it saves me to much money by buying these great batches and not overpaying for BTAC or other highly priced, impossibly allocated Bourbons.  Batch 008 gets a solid 95/100.

Can’t wait for batch 009, I heard it’s going to be over 10yrs old!!!!

http://www.barrellbourbon.com

http://www.barrellbourbon.com/batch-008

IMG_9657