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Archives for : September2017

2017 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Review

First off, thanks to the fine folks at BT for a sample set of this year’s Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (a.k.a. BTAC, a.k.a. that other hard as hell whiskey to obtain besides Pappy).

Second, this review is not going to be fancy, or wordy, or much of anything except the details you want.  I ain’t got time for much else.  I’ve got a house renovation project, a ransomware webinar for like 7 people, I just got stuff to do.  I’m not even putting pictures in here, just some stock photo I used last year.

On with the part you came to see…

Thomas Handy

Every review of Handy always starts with, “who doesn’t love a Handy”.  I have been a Thomas Handy fan since I first learned that they were the easiest BTAC to get.  I’ve had at least 1 bottle every year, and have a 15 and 16 still open.  I need to be in that certain mood to have a Handy pour, that mood where I am just feeling a buzz and had a bad day and I’m ready to jump off the plank into the sea of tom foolery.  Both times I tried the sample of 2017, I tried it as my first pour of the night.  And both times the fiery flames of stomach acid visited me with such haste I would have sworn I drank lava.  After you get past the Kentucky hug, or in this case, bearhug from pre-Terminator Arnold, it settles down into the Handy I have come to love.  You really have to have a taste for Handy, the unassumed and unknowing will not like it and will probably feel an unrelenting burn for a long time after a sip.  But I enjoy it.  The young, barrel proof rye is full of spice and heat, but after an intense rush it really smooths out nicely.  An ice cube or two, and a little time really improve the overall experience.  This year’s version very much reminds me of ’15 and ’16, and consistency is always a good thing.  B+

 

William Larue Weller

WLW as it is referred to has a strong fanbase when it comes to BTAC.  WLW is preferred by many over Stagg for it’s wheated mashbill, though it comes in a bit younger than Stagg.  This year, WLW is just over 12 years old, essentially making it a barrel proof Weller 12.  I’ll be honest, WLW has never really done it for me.  I’ve never had any of the really older WLW, just the newer stuff since 2014, and it’s never been my favorite.  It’s probably the coolest bottle of the BTAC, but that’s where it stops for me.  Same thing this year.  It has a great nose, I just get a whole lot of alcohol taste, very little sweetness, and an almost bitter, unpleasant finish.  Still not a fan.  C

 

George T Stagg

People were very excited to hear that suddenly this year there was 900k bottles of GTS.  Seriously it’s like all the sudden Augustus Gloop jumped into Willy Wonka’s bourbon river and released it all downstream to the public.  It reminds me of the Mad Max remake last year when they turned on all the water in the valley and all the thirsty people drank.  And if I had a dollar for every Oprah “You get a Stagg, You get a Stagg” meme, I would have like 8 bucks.  You will be pleased to know Stagg is pleasing this year.  I did one of those little “mmm” noises each time I sipped it, like I was approving the Stagg to all the ghosts sitting around me watching me.  It’s strong but doesn’t drink hot like WLW and Handy.  It’s got a great finish of caramel and oak.  Very drinkable at 129.2 proof.  A solid drinker again.  B+/A-

 

Eagle Rare 17

As excited as people were to hear how much Stagg there was, they were also bummed to hear that there were only 7 bottles available of ER17 this year.  I mean seriously, the barrels had 92% evaporation.  The angels didn’t just take their share, they plugged in hair dryers and went to work on these barrels every night, reducing them to slivers of whiskey.  And it seriously sucks because this is probably my favorite one this year.  It’s just so damn good.  Oaky perfection this year, reminds me of 2013.  Sure it’s only 90 proof, I get why people reject this one too, but it’s just so easily drinkable, it’s like caramel syrup.  To the 7 of you who end up getting a bottle, and the 2 of those that actually open their bottle, I do hope you enjoy it.  A+

 

Sazerac 18

Like every great novel, the end has the biggest surprise.  As you may know, Sazerac 18 has been my favorite pour since I first tried it in 2014.  I have been through 5 bottles since then, and I have a few still stashed away.  Every time someone who is new to the bourbon/rye world comes over, that’s my last pour for them.  Seriously, it’s my drink of choice, and it hasn’t changed in years.  Last year was the first year that BT used new distill for Saz 18, as the previous 10 or so years all came from a tanked version.  I was very disappointed last year and thought the Saz 18 wasn’t just average, it was actually bad.  I was so bummed I rejected my friend’s offer to try from his bottle that he opened from last year.  Fast forward to this year, and we learn that the Saz 18 this year was tanked from last year’s new distill.  I was bummed again.  Then I tried this years sample.  Damnit if it’s not delicious again.  It doesn’t have the same finish as the tanked stuff, but it’s so much better than the sample I had last year, that I wonder what I even had.  I actually wonder if I got something other than Saz 18.  Everyone who tried my sample agreed, it didn’t even taste like rye.  I am befuddled, but alas, this years Saz 18 is quite good.  Again with the finish, it fades faster, but it’s still got a great smooth taste, a little of that apple caramel flavor with a little bit of oak at the end.  I’m a fan again.  A-

 

Death, taxes, BTAC is worth seeking out.  I know we hate the hunt, we hate the price gouging on the secondary market and the crappy liquor stores near beach locations, but these really are some of the best whiskey’s you can find today, if you can find them.

2017 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Review

The Fall bourbon season always begins with Old Forester Birthday Bourbon.  Every time I see that bottle, it makes me think of Queen singing, “Fat Bottomed Bottles you make the rocky world go round”.  The bottle design is two things:  1)  It’s unique and from a pouring/display/coolness perspective it’s pretty awesome.  2)  It’s unique and from a storing multiple bottles perspective, it sucks.  Seriously the thing takes up so much room in a whiskey cabinet and in shelves, plastic bins, etc, that you really can’t keep too many of them.  But going back to the coolness, it’s unique design is what makes it so sought after.  It really is a beautiful bottle, despite it’s ba-donka donk.  And I swear these days OFBB has become as hard to get as Pappy.  The buzz over this bottle has been strong in Atlanta for weeks now.  Thankfully I got to try it before I bought it thanks to the fine folks at Brown-Forman.

2017 OFBB

Gotta be honest here, I’ve been drinking out of plastic cups for the past 6 weeks.  We have been renovating our kitchen and family room, and I stupidly packed up every glass I had in the house during the reno.  Not that I really care what I drink from, but I’ve learned you really can’t get much of a nose when drinking from plastic.  Everything smells the same if you take a big enough whiff.  Same thing applies here, it smells good, I just can’t pick up anything specifically

This year’s OFBB has 2 proofs, 96, and 95.6.  It’s normally bottled at 96, but they had some issue with proof and some of the bottles are 95.6.  My sample was 96 proof, but I’m in GA which is getting 95.6, so I’ll be interested to see if there is a difference.  What I can tell you is that the 96 is delicious.

At 96 proof, it’s a thicker than I expected, with a bold and spicy oak flavor that I absolutely love in a bourbon.  It’s not too spicy and not too hot, in fact, it’s pretty much perfect with just enough sweetness of caramel to balance it out.  It reminds me of something else that I have had, but I can’t really place what it is, I just know that I like it.  I had a few pours, each time I enjoyed it a little more.   That opinion was shared by two of my friends.  I love to share samples to make sure I’m not crazy, and they both agreed with me that it’s a hit this year.

The finish to me dropped off quicker than I wanted, but one of my friends let me know that it had a much better finish when he drank it last night from an actual bottle with an actual glass.  I’ll have to add the finish to the nose category as a consequence of drinking bourbon like I’m still in college.

The retail price on the OFBB this year is $89.99.  Although the release has been getting slight price increases every year, I still feel like it’s a good bargain when you start to look at all the releases in the Fall.  At retail, this is a must buy.  Nice work BF.  Can’t wait to try it in an actual glass.

Michter’s announces 1st release ever of Toasted Barrel Rye.

Michter’s Distillery Offers First Release of US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Rye

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky., September 6, 2017 — This month Michter’s Distillery is releasing a limited amount of US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Rye for the first time.

“This innovative release is the culmination of two years of maturation research conducted by our Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann and our Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson,” said Michter’s President Joseph J. Magliocco. “The result of their work is a uniquely flavorful rye that we are very proud of.”

Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Rye is made by taking Michter’s US*1 Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Rye at barrel strength and then aging it for an additional period in a second custom-made barrel. This second barrel is assembled from 24-month air dried wood and then toasted but not charred. The toasting profile was specifically designed to enhance the spice character in the rye while adding hints of dark toast and smoke. Because Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Rye is a barrel strength product, the proof varies a bit from barrel to barrel. The average barrel proof for the toasted rye barrels bottled for this release is 108.6.

 Master of Maturation Wilson commented, “It is remarkable how much simply finishing our rye in a uniquely toasted barrel can further enhance depth and complexity.” Master Distiller Heilmann agreed and remarked, “I love good rye, and this one is terrific.”

Michter’s has a rich and long legacy of offering traditional American whiskeys of uncompromising quality. With each offering aged to its peak maturity, Michter’s highly acclaimed portfolio includes single barrel rye, small batch bourbon, single barrel bourbon, American whiskey, and sour mash whiskey.

Because Michter’s does not have adequate stocks to meet demand for its items, the release will be on a limited basis. The suggested retail price of Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Rye is $75 for a 750ml bottle in the U.S. For more information, please visit www.michters.com, and follow us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.