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.



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?


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:

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


Josh Richholt, co-founder of The Well.

Josh Feldman posted to his blog the selections he made, which I voted for in both rounds:

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.


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!


Kentucky Owl Rye Batch 1

Although I wasn’t able to get a bottle at retail, I did snag one from and it is trading for around $200 right now, which is not bad, if it turns out to be a high quality rye.  It’s 110.6 proof, lower than both the Handy and Pikesville, but at 11 years in the barrel, it’s almost double their age.  Distilled in Kentucky, I have no idea where this is originally from… this is my first Kentucky Owl product ever as the Bourbon has been too small of a production and too high of a secondary price.  I did try a dram at Jack Rose and loved it, however, I was about 10 drams into the evening, so who really knows?

On to the review… nice dark color, very inviting.  The nose has evolved quite a bit since I opened it this weekend.  I’m getting candied orange, rock candy, nutmeg, bubble gum, graham crackers and grapefruit rind.  The nose isn’t nearly as hot as the proof would suggest.

The mouthfeel is great, really grippy and bursting with flavor.  I’m really getting the orange and rock candy and spicy notes on the tongue.  The finish goes on for at least two minutes, hard to tell exactly because I keep drinking more before I get to three minutes.

This is a really nice rye.  It is expensive though.  I did a quick side by side analysis vs Thomas Handy, and although good, not quite at THH level.  Is it better than the Pikesville?  Well, it’s different, but it is also 3x more expensive–that hurts it a little bit.  The bottom line is this is a wonderful rye and if you like rye, you should absolutely try to get it and if your budget allows, you should pay up for it in the secondary market.  Pikesville will still be my go-to rye given the cost and availability, but if you are able to grab one of these, you will not be disappointed to add it to your whiskey cabinet.  95/100.


Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Rye NEW RELEASE

The newest release from Michter’s, the Toasted Barrel Finish Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey. I’m seeing a lot of hype on twitter on this one in addition to very high secondary prices. I found this on the very bottom shelf (ironically) of a local store for $79.99, as I wasn’t going to chase it.

Nice golden color, the toasted finish really added a nice color.

When I first opened it the smell was pretty bad but after a few hours it opened up. Candy corn, toasted cinnamon raisin bread, bubble gum and walnuts on the nose.

For 108 proof it’s pretty easy to drink. The mouthfeel is good but not great. The taste is enjoyable. The finish is long and continues nice flavors with limited bitterness. This is a really nice rye.

Is this a whiskey worth chasing and paying 2x or more on the secondary market? Definitely not. If you find it at retail for $79.99 should you buy it? Yes. If you like ryes like I do it’s worth adding to your cabinet, but I would stock up on your bunker. For the price, Pikesville is still the best out there, and for the high end stuff, nothing has yet to be able to touch Handy. Solid juice from Michters, would have preferred to see it at 125 proof though. 92/100.

P.S. I have a couple extra, so if anyone is looking to trade, please DM me @newbourbondrink




Lock Stock & Barrel 16yr Straight Rye Whiskey

I tried the Lock Stock & Barrel 13yr rye last year at a bar and really liked it.  I didn’t review it, but it was definitely a 90+ rating.  When I saw this on the shelf, three more years of age, I jumped on it.  I did some online due diligence and even though this has been aged in new charred oak American barrels (according the the bottle), it apparently is a sourced Canadian whiskey of 100% rye grain mash bill.  107 proof.

The color is an extremely inviting golden amber shimmering whiskey.

There is a sweetness on the nose, crushed rock candy, necco wafers, apple tart, and vanilla.  The nose is not particularly strong though, as I really had to put my nose in there to get the aromas.

The palate is good, medium tannins but low on the coating oils.  The flavors are ok, but not particularly strong and the finish is on the weaker side.

Although I did not give the 13yr a proper review, from what I remember, I enjoyed that one quite a bit better.  For the $150 MSRP, this one is not one I can recommend.  I always compare ryes to Pikesville and I’d much rather have three of those than one of these.  85/100.