Little Book Batch 002 Noe Easy Way

Last year’s release of Little Book Batch 001 was a solid release but priced appropriately at retail that it didn’t make much of a splash on the secondary. Seems that I liked it more than the average consumer, giving it a 92/100 (Batch 001 Link). It had lots of complex spiciness with a good finish but was on the hotter side—not uncommon with Booker products. This edition is totally different. 8yr Kentucky Straight Rye, 13yr Canadian Rye and a 40yr old Canadian corn whiskey. 118 Proof, uncut, unfiltered. For those hoping for a big Kentucky Bourbon, they may be disappointed, but anyone who had last year’s Northern Border Collection releases (Link 1 and Link 2) will know better.

Side by side you can see the color difference. Batch one has the copper notes, while Batch 002 has a softer, lighter, amber tone. The bottle and box look great.

The nose is moderately hot, spice coming through, rock candy, candy corn and some light caramel. The taste is really good, lots of all-spice, enjoyable wood hints and a really long finish. Easily two minutes or more ending with a nice Kentucky hug, but more moderate than the nose would imply.

Batch Two, Noe Easy Way, is a very good follow through from Batch 001. Given the 40yr juice in this I could also see it trading up in the secondary. It’s very good and absolutely worth adding to your collection. 94/100.

 

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Kentucky Owl Rye Batch 2, Disappointing Follow-up…

Kentucky Owl Rye Batch 1 was one of my favorite whiskies of last year, and my second favorite rye, next to Lot 40 Cask Strength 12yr. Batch 1 came out strong and the secondary ran up quickly to 200-250 before people realized that tens of thousands of bottles were released and eventually MSRP came all the way down to $110 and it was easy to get everywhere. At the $110 price, it was a no brainer to buy 6 or more and become a daily drinker (I still have 3 left in my bunker). Batch 2 has come out with an MSRP of $180, which is what I paid for this one. I’ve seen secondary offers in the 200-250 range, but I expect this to drop to the MSRP level extremely quickly.

The bottle looks the same, but the top doesn’t have the fake tax stamp and has a slightly different enclosure. This one is slightly less proof as well, but from afar, they look the same.

The nose is good, candied orange peel, NECCO Wafers, honeysuckle, rose petals, brown sugar, ginger snaps and cherry pie. Not too hot.

The candied flavors come in strong on the palate and the mouthfeel is good, but a little thin, as it fails to coat all over as much as I wanted. The finish is medium long but does fade to bitter at the end, far sooner than I hoped.

Batch 2 is a decent, but given the sky high expectations, mildly disappointing follow up to Batch 1; the original is better. The nose and palate are similar with the strong candied orange peel, but the main difference is the mouthfeel, which is superior in the original. The heat is equal, even though this is lower proof. The price increase of more than 50% doesn’t help it either. Worth picking up a bottle, especially if you liked the first one, but certainly not one worthy of stocking up on given the price. 90/100

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Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye 2018 Limited Release

Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye 2018 Limited Release. Barrelled in 2009, bottled at 119.6 Proof.

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The last two Knob Creek special releases were exceptionally disappointing and I promised not to buy more than one this year. I still have the last few in my bunker because no one wants to buy or trade for them. This year the price is half and no fancy wood box.

The nose is rock candy, heat, band aid, pencils and cinnamon toast. It’s not particularly exciting.

It’s very spicy and the mouthfeel is initially ok but turns hot and bitter quickly. This isn’t one of those sweet and spicy ryes that evolves, it just goes flat.

Knob Creek has gone three in a row for disappointing people with their limited releases. The price is good for a 9yr Cask strength rye, except that it’s just not that great. I’m proud to admit I learned my lesson and only bought one this time around. Next year I won’t buy more than one, but I’ll still buy a bottle so I can warn everyone else not to buy it. For better tasting and better value ryes, buy Pikesville or Barrell Rye. 81/100

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/top-5-disappointments-of-2016-in-bourbon/

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2018/02/17/top-5-disappointments-in-bourbon-in-2017/

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/4-new-releases-from-barrell-bourbon/

https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/pikesville-rye-2-of-the-year/

Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey is Horrible

Quick review because I just can’t stand this.

The bottle is cool and the color is dark. That’s where the compliments end.

The nose is menthol, medicinal, pine needles and bandaids.

For 46% abv it’s really hot and not in a good way. Bitter flavors and medicinal. Really unenjoyable.

This is one of the worst ryes I’ve ever had and can’t believe it’s priced around $50. Barely acceptable in a cocktail.  Avoid at all costs… 15/100.

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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?

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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

WhistlePig Farmstock 001: #NeverAgain

Because I was so disappointed by this WhistlePig product, I am going to do this review in short form.  It’s not worth going into all the details because I will never try it again.

Crop 001
86 Proof
Blend of three ryes, details on back of bottle
Light straw color

Medicinal nose, some rock candy, pine needles, and a touch of citrus.

The mouthfeel is exceptionally disappointing, thin, more heat than expected for an 86 Proof Rye. It’s bitter, medicinal and dries the mouth out. Has notes of young malt as well which I just hate. This is by far the worst WhistlePig product I’ve ever tasted.

I love their Boss Hog… not sure if I agree with San Francisco Spirits that it’s the best whiskey of the year, but then again, I didn’t actually get to try that specific barrel. Given how expensive this is, I’m giving it an even worse score. I’m very worried about their ability to produce quality products once their Canadian stock runs out. Stick to their sources whiskies for now and avoid Farmstock like the plague! 64/100

Beast Masters Club Dusty Battle Tons of Fun

I was lucky enough to buy a ticket and attend the Beast Masters Club dusty battle between the Josh’s:

Josh Feldman of http://www.cooperedtot.com/

VS

Josh Richholt, co-founder of The Well. http://www.thewellbrooklyn.com/

Josh Feldman posted to his blog the selections he made, which I voted for in both rounds: http://www.cooperedtot.com/2017/10/updated-actual-selections-for.html

Josh R’s picks we both excellent, but to pull out a Pre-Prohibition era Rye and then the epic Beam was just outstanding… The crowd voted against me for the first round, going with the Bourbon De Luxe (a classic National Distillers 70’s piece), but went with me for the second round, voting the 1955 Beam glass decanter, which also ended up taking the night.  The Wild Turkey 101 Decanter was pretty awesome too though! There were lots of side drinks and by the end I think we were all way past the tasting phase.

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I didn’t take tasting notes on anything because I just wanted to enjoy the moment.  But each was unique in their own way and wonderful.  I am not sure I would spring to buy a bottle of any of them however, as the secondary prices have gone through the roof.  The quality of juice these days, despite what many people say, is better and more consistent that it was in the past.  But to be able to taste something like this, from 100 years ago, is something I couldn’t pass up!

Big thanks for Ben and Steve from Beast Masters Club for hosting such an awesome evening and I hope they do it again soon!

http://beastmastersclub.com/

http://beastmastersclub.com/events/beastmastersclublive1027