Everything worth buying 20-100% above secondary prices… complete joke. Staff is pretty obnoxious about it too… they know they have good stuff and seem to rather just keep it and make fun of you rather than sell it at secondary prices.
Package arrived a couple days ago and when I opened it I could smell Bourbon… never a good sign. Either something broke or leaked. This one was a leaker. Old Taylor Distillery Company decanter with tax seal intact from around 1970 and age stated four years. I carefully opened it and the pour was only three and a half ounces—85% had evaporated. On the positive side, the seller was fair and we agreed to a refund of around 75% to make up for it… most people in the Bourbon world are good and want to do the right thing, this was a good example of that.
Well… on to the review…
Really dark, not in a good way opaque and cloudy.
Musty basement, wet candy corn, stale graham crackers and chewed pencil. No heat.
Taste is actually better with decent spices and caramel coming through initially with a tickling mouthfeel. It does drop off a little bitter after a minute. There is a touch of enjoyable heat in the chest.
I was excited to buy this and try it but disappointed when it came mostly leaked, but it did force me to open it right away. Decanters are hit and miss in my experience. This one isn’t that bad, but nothing to seek out. 80/100. (I’ll trade/sell you a sample if you want, I still have 2oz left sealed in glass)
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.
Hottest release of the week… everyone on Facebook wants it. Retail is $50-$60, going on secondary this week for around $100. Was higher last week and will be lower next week… in a month or two everyone will have had it and there will be no secondary premium.
Dark liquid in the bottle. Looks good. Darker label with roses embossed on glass in center. Cork and wood stopper. All nice.
Nose is floral, tropical, fruity, piney, eucalyptus and menthol. 104 proof and not too much heat. It’s not very strong but that’s OK.
The taste is average to start but the mouthfeel is above average, decent hug and the finish is long. It’s not overly complex, but it’s enjoyable.
This is a good Bourbon and a nice step up from the base Four Roses. This isn’t close to their FRSBLE, but it doesn’t pretend to be either. At $50 this is worth adding to your collection. Very different profile than OWA, but a competitor. At $50 it’s between some of your entry Bourbons, but below some of the really enjoyable cask strength offerings. Buy at retail, don’t pay up on secondary. 90/100.
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.
I was excited to visit American Whiskey. I was going with clients so I knew I could expense it (within reason). I arrived first and flipped through the book. Big selection and mostly the prices were reasonable.
I get to the BTAC selection. Prices reasonable so I order 5 pours each of WLW, Saz18 and GTS. The waitress leaves for ten to fifteen minutes before coming back saying they are out of all of them and they only have that Handy. I love Handy but it’s not worth the same as the other three but I still order a round. She also didn’t know which vintage, because the profile has varied dramatically from year to year.
On the way to the restroom I run into one of the managers and express my frustration that several of the whiskies I ordered were still listed on the menu. He said it costs too much money to update the menu and that they get BTAC every year so they don’t cross them out or reprint them. I’m thinking to myself…. How much could 100 pieces of printed paper cost? It’s gotta be less than the single round of drinks I ordered first. And they lost 15 minutes of time where I could have ordered again. One round of printing would have been paid for by just me and the extra round of 6x $40 THH’s I bought.
The waitstaff was extremely uninformed about most of the whiskey. The management didn’t seem to care about the patrons or the whiskey.
On the positive note, they do have a pretty decent collection and the prices aren’t crazy. Another pet peeve though… they have several pages that they will do 1oz pours but they refuse to do 1oz pours with others. I even asked to split them for my 6 people but wouldn’t. The bartender didn’t seem to get it. Painful.
Here’s a place with so much potential, decent selection, fair prices, but they fail on so many levels, largely due to laziness. They need to invest in the staff’s knowledge; they need to make the staff care about the customers; they need to have a proper inventory system so time isn’t wasted looking for whisky that no longer exists; they need to update their menus so customers don’t get frustrated (5 of the first 6 things I ordered were gone); they need to let all whiskies do 1oz pours and they need to find a way to make me come back. If I were an owner or manager I would want all these things fixed quickly and the best part is that none of these are insurmountable. It’s a big shame. I’m happy to provide consulting services to them if they want. They are leaving so much money on the table…
On TripAdvisor, I struggled whether to give this place two or three stars. The food was ok but not great, the service was pretty bad, the pricing was decent, the selection was very good but the extreme frustration I had with the menu, poor inventory control and the vast amount of time I wasted waiting for rounds after rounds because they were searching for whiskies that they didn’t know they were out of stock makes me go to a two star rating. I’d do 2.5 if I could but two is fine. Management should take a trip to Jack Rose in DC to see how they should operate their business.