HazMat Release from Barrell Craft Spirits!! 13yr Canadian Rye. Unicorn Alert!!

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.

Shave and a haircut. Four quick reviews.

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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.

Canadian Club 41 Chronicles Review

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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/

 

Quick Review: Boss Hog V

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

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Newbourbondrinker’s 2018 Top 5

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!

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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