Kavalan Port Finish Concertmaster

Extremely quick review….

Medium Amber

Hard to describe nose, but enjoyable. Burnt orange peel, tawny notes from the port finish, cinnamon, old leather couch… Not much heat.

Good mouthfeel. Medium finish with citrus notes and sweet port aroma. The heat is enjoyable and smooth.

Adding a little water brings out some nutty aromas but doesn’t do much for the palate or finish. Recommend this one neat.

My first whiskey from Taiwan, pretty bottle but not cheap at all. A lot of hype on this name, and I’ll try to track down their higher end ones at a bar. Quite enjoyable but not going to be one I recommend given the price point. 86/100.

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Elijah Craig 18 Barrel 4339 Review

EC18 Single Barrel #4339 bottled 2/4/17 review… this is one of the best values out there in Bourbon world, but how did this single barrel stack up?

Mushroom, forest floor, hints of butterscotch, and a medicinal undertone on the nose, following up with cedar woodiness.

Good mouthfeel, but not amazing due to chill filtering, however the taste builds up nicely with toffee in the background and overwhelming umami sensory experience.

It’s not the best EC18 I’ve had, but it’s solid and hard to beat for a 18yr Bourbon.  92/100

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Four Roses Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

This is a review I wrote a long time ago… but never uploaded… I’m in the middle of a Four Roses kick, so I thought I would do it now:

Four Roses Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Barrel No. 34-5T, warehouse DN, 50% abv, purchased at Morrell’s in NYC about a year ago.

Watching the Patriots Sunday Night Football, and needed something to drink…

Beautiful medium dark amber color.

Roasted brown sugar slow cooked yams, peanut butter s’mores, graham crackers and maple syrup flavored cereal. Even at 50% abv, very nice, easy to sniff nose.

Nice palate feel, not too hot at all, all the flavors are coming in on the tongue… It feels like it’s was a little too filtered, because I am looking for more in the mouth, and I’m not getting it. It’s very tasty and enjoyable, and the finish is pretty decent too. I made the mistake of having the 2014 FRLESB an hour before which is an epic dram, and although this is very solid, it doesn’t make it to the upper echelon.

For the price, this is certainly a very solid bottle.  I don’t know which recipe this is, which I’m a little bummed about, but it’s good. I think Four Roses makes an excellent product, and highly recommend checking out their higher end products. 88/100.

 

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I never should have opened my Weller C.Y.P.B.

This Bourbon probably has more hype on it than any one this year… Buffalo Trace’s Weller “Craft Your Perfect Bourbon.” Based on a poll, BT gave the public the choice of the mashbill, the age, the proof to choose their perfect Weller expression.  Reminiscent of Ann Rand’s novel The Fountainhead, this committee expression of a Bourbon came out just like the committee decisions in the book.

Before I go to the review, is this a good bourbon?  Yes, it’s ok.  Weller makes lovely Bourbons, and some of the single barrel, NCF Antique 107s are some of the best values out there.  This one has a lot of similarity of a mix of Reserve and Antique, with a secondary value in between them and the daddy, William Larue Weller.

Notes: Good notes of butterscotch, vanilla, graham crackers, fresh biscuits and Twizzlers.  Medium heat on the nose.

Palate: The palate is far more bitter than the nose would indicate in addition to being much hotter.  The mouthfeel is disappointing and the finish is short ending really bitter.  The nose indicates sweet and complex, but the palate just falls flat.

Conclusion: If this was $30, it would be just fine.  However, NCF Weller Antique 107 Bourbons are universally better than this one–in fact I’ve never had a NCF Antique 107 that wasn’t significantly better than this.  I paid $150 from my local retailer and he knew he was giving me a good deal, if I was going to flip it.  But I opened it and we both had a couple pours and we both decided that it was just ok.  I incorporate price into my ratings, so given it’s a $250-300 secondary market Bourbon, I’m giving it an 80/100.

 

If you want to try it first, try buying a sample first: https://bottle-spot.com/classifieds/category/317/Whisky/listings/65772/Weller-CYPB-Samples-Try-before-you-buy.html

Elmer T Lee is not a $150 Bourbon

Confession: I have bought and bunkered lots of Elmer T Lee over the years.  I once went into a store that had 12 for $35 each and I bought all 12.  I knew the secondary was double that, and I love to drink it, so I bought it for trading and drinking.

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However… ETL is not a $150 Bourbon.  Maybe it should be $75?  Maybe $100?  For some crazy reason I’m seeing it listed for north of $100 recently on secondary sites, but doesn’t seem to be trading above there.  It’s nuts when you go to a store and see if for $150 or more, because at those levels, the owner better like it, because no sane person will pay that.

One of my local stores (Grapes), sent this email around advertising ETL for $149.99, the same price of Rhetoric… but we aren’t going to open that can of worms.

ETL is great.  But it’s only marginally better than the regular Buffalo Trace.  I’m just venting, mostly because I can’t find it anymore at a reasonable price, but I’m probably just part of the problem anyway.

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/

More Obnoxious Liquor Stores Part II + one surprising good one

Sometimes when I have a lot of free time I’ll just go for a long walk in New York City and stop at every liquor store along my walk.  It’s good exercise, nice to be outside, and I like trying new neighborhoods that I’ve never been in (or haven’t visited in years since I move to the suburbs), so I try new stores.  Last night I went for a long walk up through the Upper East Side and hit up a bunch of stores, and three stood out.  The first two, well, just see the photos, you’ll understand.  The third one, as I got closer to Harlem was surprisingly good and worth checking out.  There were dozens of others that just didn’t have much but were not worthy of making the blog, either positively or negatively.

Big Apple Wine & Spirits: 1408 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021…. Weller Reserve for $109, Thomas Handy for $699… come on guys.  Plus the guy at the front was extremely obnoxious.  Avoid this place.

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Manhattan Wine Xchange 1079 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10065: Weller 12 for $299, Kentucky Owl Rye for $269, Handy 500, Stagg 850… Why bother?

Crown Wine & Liquor 1587 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028: This place was surprisingly good.  I picked up a ECBP B517 for retail as well as a Hirsch 20yr American Whiskey (from IL, so it probably stinks, but I’ve never seen it before on the shelf) for $99.99.  They had a Handy way in the back on the top of the shelf for $350, which is high, but for NYC, not obnoxiously high, so I passed on it.  I did offer them $250 cash, but the manager wasn’t there so the guy at the front didn’t know what to do.  They were fine, the selection was good, and the prices reasonable.