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Review of 2019 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

The world works in mysterious ways. If you had any doubt, consider this. I had not written a blog article on this site in over a year. After my recent trip to Kentucky for Bourbon and Beyond, I got inspired again and wrote a review of Michter’s Toasted Sour Mash. A few days later, a friend of mine had trouble opening a Michter’s 10 Year Rye which has a wax top. The paper guide that helps you break the wax broke off, so I had the brilliant idea to use a steak knife to get the wax off. The knife slipped, cut a nerve, and I ended up having surgery and was in a cast for two weeks. Screw you karma. Anyway, the cast is off and it’s time to finish this review that was almost done before I became unable to type.

I’ve seen and read all the other reviews from my blogger buddies. Some were nice and in depth, others were laughably short, but I can’t really blame the guys who have speaking talent but not writing talent. J/k, love you all. What is interesting to me is that there is quite a bit of disparity this year in terms of the reviews. I tried the samples on 3 different nights. On two of them I had friends with me trying the samples as well. The following is a collection of all of our thoughts:

William Larue Weller (WLW) – I’ll start with the one that everyone agrees is good this year, WLW. I don’t know that it is ever really bad. WLW is barrel proof Weller 12 (as opposed to the slightly misleading Weller Full Proof). This year WLW is 128 proof and 12.5 years old. The nose is weak to me, and I usually feel that way about WLW. Light traces of fruit and cinnamon but mostly an ethanol burn. But after that, it’s delicious. Slight minty burn, very easily drinkable without ice or water, WLW has notes of chocolate and cherries on the palate and a long finish of vanilla and caramel. A winner again this year.

George T. Stagg – It’s disappointing to me this year and all my friends agreed. I find it kind of flat and lacking a bite. The 116.9 proof definitely reflects in this one. It’s got a good nose with notes of clove, caramel, orange peel, but all that it has going for it this year. It’s one dimensional with very little finish. I couldn’t even really discern a tasting note beyond the typical vanilla. Not a fan at all this year.

Saz 18 – Believe it or not, I actually like Saz 18 this year. It has not returned to the tanked perfection, but it is much closer and definitely their best release of Saz 18 post-tank. The nose of the tanked Saz 18 is back in this year’s release, I always describe it as apple with a floral note. It’s soft upfront and has that oaky caramel deliciousness that I love from the tanked release but it falls short of that tanked Saz finish that lasts forever and has just a little bitterness at the end. Even with that finish, I’m still a big fan this year of Saz 18.

Thomas Handy – This one was the big disparity with most of the other reviewers, but to my friends and I, Handy was the best release of the 5 Antiques this year. I am very surprised at the low ratings it got from others. At 125.something proof, it was so incredibly easy to drink without any burn, but still with all the flavor and bite that I love with Handy even without any water. Cinnamon candy, red hots, vanilla, char, butterscotch all mix wonderfully on the palette and finish longer than it should for a 6 year rye. Wonderful this year.

Eagle Rare 17 – Last year ER 17 was bumped up to 101 proof, but I found the 2017 release that was at 90 proof better. Surprisingly I still feel that way this year. ER17 always has a wonderful nose, maybe the best of the set. Butter and oak and caramel dominate on the palette, but then the finish abruptly ends. It’s strange to me how quickly the finish fades for a 17 year old bourbon. There’s also a slightly bitter taste after a few pours that I couldn’t really distinguish. We all agreed, not only was 2017 better, but a really good ER 10 year single barrel might give this one a run for it’s money. An ok bourbon, but nothing more.

A review of Michter’s Toasted Sour Mash

It’s been almost a year since I last wrote in this blog. I needed some time off to focus on important things like drinking without talking. I got inspired to write and talk about bourbon again after my trip to Bourbon and Beyond last weekend. While I finish up the long write up of that event, I wanted to sidetrack and post an actual review of something I got to try in Kentucky and really explored when I got home.

Saturday morning of our trip found me wandering down Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville while my wife did some insane marathon training in the hotel gym. I worked my way down to Old Forester, Peerless, and then back up to Evan Williams and they were all uneventful visits. It was my final stop to Michter’s though that blew me away. In February, Michter’s opened a second distillery directly across from the Louisville Slugger gift shop. It is an impressive site filled with a gift shop, a bar/tasting room, and original copper distilling equipment from the old Michter’s distillery in PA. It is a fully functioning distillery so even if you don’t tour, at least stop in to take in the smell of mashing grains (but more on that later).

At the last minute, I got in touch with Michter’s and asked about a tour. I got into a tour at 11:00 am and brought Blake from Bourbonr along with his wife. We had an amazing tour and a tasting and then made our way up to the 3rd-floor bar/tasting room where we got to try the Michter’s Toasted Sour Mash. The newest release to Michter’s Toasted line features Michter’s US-1 sour mash whiskey finished in toasted barrels. I really liked the pour, but didn’t have enough to write up some notes. I had acquired a bottle from a store here in Atlanta just before heading to Kentucky and I could not wait to open and explore it when I got back.

Michter’s Toasted Sour Mash Whiskey – bottle was bought by me and not provided by Michter’s.

The first time I smelled the Toasted Sour Mash, it reminded me of the mashed grain smell at the distillery. Of all the things that have stayed with me after countless distillery visits, that smell is the one thing I always talk about and long for. Nothing can replace that strong scent of baking sourdough bread and I usually only get it if I smell an empty glass of bourbon the next morning. Michter’s Toasted Sour Mash has that smell, along with some vanilla and honey, for a really fantastic nose.

At 86 proof, there is just enough of a bite to keep it from tasting too mellow. I do wish it was a little higher in proof, mainly because I could drink the entire bottle at once, but it definitely drinks higher than 86 proof. It’s got a little bit of spice and toffee upfront but quickly switches to a nice smoky flavor which I can only assume comes from the additional time spent in the toasted barrel. It fades away nicely with a buttery, caramel flavor and makes you want more.

Summary: A delicious new edition to the lineup for Michter’s. The extra time this whiskey spent in toasted barrels really brings out the sour mash and adds a wonderful smoky flavor. I am a big fan. Solid A on this one.

How to get it: The Fort Nelson location of Michter’s in downtown Louisville has a gift shop that occasionally puts out limited edition releases like the M10 Bourbon and Rye and the Toasted series. If you are in Kentucky, make sure you stop there for a visit, it’s well worth it even if you don’t snag one of these bottles. The tasting room upstairs has almost all of their pours available at affordable prices, so you can at least try some of it.

An Announcement from Subourbia

“Welcome to Subourbia, my new home for Bourbon, Whiskey, and other Spirit reviews.  Hope you enjoy!”

My first blog post on Nov 20th, 2014, a day after my 38th birthday. I had no idea how long I would do this, or why, but after my first few blog entries I knew that I had found something I enjoyed. The next couple of years threw me farther into a hobby than I had ever been thrown before. I started a local whiskey group with some close friends, picked out barrels, traveled to Kentucky, met up with ‘internet friends’ in hotel rooms to drink, joined hundreds of Facebook groups , wrote blog article after blog article, and at some point was invited to join a bourbon podcast round-table. It was a whirlwind, and it was fun.

Fast forward to December of this past year. During our most recent round-table podcast, we went around the group and everyone discussed their accomplishments for 2018. Brian (Sipp’n Corn) had written a book, a great book btw. Kenny and Ryan (Bourbon Pursuit) had welcomed Fred Minnick to their podcasting team and had also launched their own bourbon brand. Blake (Bourbonr) had started his own craft spirits store and Nick, Jordan, and Eric (Breaking Bourbon) are at the top of their game with their blog. Then it was my turn. I couldn’t think of anything I had done in 2018. I’m not sure I had written more than 2 or 3 entries. I had not traveled to Kentucky, hell I wasn’t even sure if I knew what the other guys were talking about when it came to bourbon related news.

It was there that I realized it was no longer fun for me. Writing had slowly become a burden and the lack of new blog entries was something we joked about regularly. Even discussing bourbon wasn’t as fun, I just found myself out of touch with the latest bourbon news and just wanting to criticize bourbon releases. I felt embarrassed to be part of the team of people who were flying high, as I was barely touching the ground. I knew then and there it was time to step away. Not just from the podcast, but from the blog as well. Subourbia was fun until it became a burden, then it just wasn’t fun.

I was proud to be a part of the Bourbon Roundtable, but will no longer be a regular member after Monday. Thank you to the Pursuit team and the great group of guys who tolerated me for so long. I don’t know if I will write any more blog articles, we’ll see how I feel later. For now I just want to drink good bourbon and talk with the good people I have met along the way. I’ll still be most active on Twitter and on Facebook, but just don’t expect too much here. Cheers! – Kerry B.

Inside the mind of a bourbon fanatic…[New Blog Post]

The brain of a bourbon fanatic is wired differently than other people, and unless you are in the hobby, it can be hard to tell why we act or think a certain way.  A lot of our motivation comes from finding bourbon, either on a shelf of our local, in a dusty old liquor store on an abandoned highway, or on the shelf of some new restaurant that has no idea how special the bottle is.  And that motivation drives a lot of our daily thought process that you might think is unusual.  For example:

  1.  Your child has an upcoming sports tournament in some small town out of state.  Everyone is annoyed at the location except for you because you sense the great opportunity to find dusty bourbon in that area and have already begun looking for liquor stores on Google Maps.
  2.  You take a wrong turn on the way to the farmer’s market or some new trendy restaurant and you go through a very seedy area of town.  Your significant other is anxious for you to find your way out, but you are too busy looking side to side for the worst looking liquor store you can spot to mentally map out a return trip.
  3.  You go into a new restaurant with your loved one.  The host is seating your partner while you walk up to the bar to visually scan the bourbon selection.
  4.  A friend mentions they have a work trip in Kentucky next week.  Your first two thoughts are, ‘Are they driving?’ and ‘How close to Bardstown will they be?’.
  5.  You are late leaving work and headed home for dinner.  You pass by a house with an Estate Sale sign.  If you weren’t late you would stop by and see if you can find a liquor cabinet to look through.
  6.  You have planned a family trip to DC.  Everyone else is planning the sequence of museums you will visit but you are too busy figuring out when you will hit Jack Rose.
  7.  Someone plans a lunch meeting on a Wednesday, but you know that is delivery day for 2 of your local stores and it’s November, so you reschedule.
  8.  Your wife orders two boxes from Amazon.  One box is small, so you recycle it.  The other could easily fit 2 bottles for shipping, so you take it down to the basement or the garage.
  9.  The thought of getting a storage unit to hold all your booze has crossed your mind at least once.
  10.  You have a work trip planned and before you bought the plane ticket you arranged to meet up with some online bourbon friends once you are there.
  11.  Beach vacations are tough for bourbon guys.  We need to bring enough bourbon that we don’t get stuck with just 1 or 2 bottles.  Significant others, please don’t get mad when you see how many we end up bringing.
  12.  You see someone in a local bourbon group post a picture of a new barrel pick from a store with a fancy sticker on it.  In your head you call them a complete tater, but then you secretly make plans to drive up to that store as soon as you finish work.

You see, our brains work a little differently than others, so cut us a little slack when we act strangely.  Most of the time we have good intentions….unless we are hiding the credit card statement.

2018 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Review

First off, a big thank you to BT for providing me samples.  Also, I’d like to point out that the samples are glass and are 100 ml this year instead of 50 ml.  I asked if the change was due to me giving them so much grief about small samples and they said yes.  I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to give them grief about it and I’m sure they were just kidding, but I’m taking credit for the sample size change.  You’re welcome.

Here is the fact sheet direct from Breaking Bourbon with bottle estimates, ages, and more relevant info that I’m not going to bother to repeat here.  I’m just getting straight to the point, and I’m kinda lazy.  And Breaking has like 8 guys over there, or something.  Love you Breakies.

Eagle Rare 17

The one antique that everyone is most interested to try this year is the ER 17.  This year the proof went from 90 to 101 in honor of the original proof of Eagle Rare.  This is a permanent change going forward.  I really didn’t even want to try it this year because I know I would love it and I know I’ll never see a bottle at retail.

The higher proof really isn’t noticeable on the nose because I thought it always smelled great at just 90 proof.  To me it’s the perfect bourbon smell, a great mix of oak and sweetness, and it’s the same this year.

And it’s delicious of course.  I don’t really notice a change in heat, but the higher proof definitely enhances what is already a great bourbon.  Vanilla, toffee, and butterscotch and some oak last for awhile on the finish. 

Last year’s release to me was one of the best ER 17 I have had, and this years is just as good if not better.   I bet even at 90 proof it would still be amazing.   Love it.  Wish I didn’t.

Grade – A

 

Sazerac 18

So here’s the deal with Saz 18.  Unless you have been hiding under a rock, the Saz 18 from 2005 to 2015 was the same stuff.  In 2005 there was a large amount of delicious Saz 18 rye and BT didn’t want it to get over oaked so they put it all into steel tanks to halt the aging.  If you look at the stats, the tanked stuff was actually 20.5 year old rye, not 18, which also explains why it was so amazing for so many years.  I am a huge fan of the tanked stuff and I’ve gone through no less than 8 bottles of it.  No rye or bourbon has matched the finish of tanked Saz 18 that I have tried so far.

If the letters BT writes each year regarding Saz 18 are correct, then the 2016-2018 version are all tanked as well from a batch distilled in Spring of 1998.  The odd thing is that the 2016 which was the first year of new distill was very disappointing, but I thought last year’s was actually very close to the tanked distill and a huge improvement over ’16.

Unfortunately this year, Saz 18 is disappointing again.  It’s much lighter than the tanked rye, very thin and the nose almost reminds me of a bourbon and not a rye.

There is some spearmint and wintergreen gum on the palette, and it’s got a little bit of that Saz 18 deliciousness, but it’s still too thin.  The finish fades away quickly, and to me this is the part that is a huge let down over previous year’s Saz 18.

I’m just confused here.  As I said before, 2016 was the first year of new distill and it was disappointing.  As I recall, as a product on it’s own it was disappointing even if you didn’t compare it to the tanked stuff.  Last year, 2017 Saz 18, I thought tasted so much better and so close to the tanked stuff that I thought we were back on the right track.  But this year, it’s disappointing again.  I will say as a stand alone product it is still better than the 2016, but it’s just not close to the tanked perfection.

Harumph.

Grade – C+

 

Thomas Handy

The other rye on the list is also a letdown for me this year.  I haven’t had a pour of Handy in awhile, but I remember how I love the strong minty burn of the young barrel proof rye.  Not this year.

The nose is nice and similar to most years.  It smells like melted red hots soaked in booze.  Who doesn’t love that?  Brings you back to the college days if I remember correctly, but most of the time I don’t remember correctly.

The rest is disappointing.  First sip burned my tongue and throat a little then faded away to nothing.   Over and over on each sip, slight burn in my mouth or throat and then some rye spice, and then nothing.  It’s like it almost wants to be good…and then…it just isn’t.  I’ve tried 3 times now on 3 different nights and I still feel the same way.  Meh.

Grade – C

 

William Larue Weller

People love them some William Larue Weller.  I mean yes it’s essentially barrel proof Weller 12, I get it, and people LOVE barrel proof wheated bourbons.  But the first time I tried WLW 4 years ago, I choked on the first sip and burned my throat for a few days.   Maybe in my mind I just haven’t recovered from it, but WLW is probably my least favorite antique.  Now I will say I had a sample recently of WLW from 2009 or something and it was a whole different ballgame of deliciousness.  But let’s focus on 2018 for now.

It does have a nice smell to it.  Some might go all in with lots of adjectives but I’m just gonna say…. butterscotch candy, peppermint, and burning nostrils from smelling it so many times.

Ok so there’s that flavor on the palette guys love, the wheater.  I can’t really place what that flavor is.  Baked cinnamon bread maybe?  Do they make cinnamon bread?  Surely they do.  I read a couple different reviews from people with their tasting notes about this release.  Where do they get this shit from?  I must have dead taste buds because all I don’t taste any of that stuff, just like baked peppermint bread with some sugar on it….in a bourbon kind of way.  Finish is decent but I found my self wanting more.

I dunno, it tastes like every WLW.  It’s not terrible, but it’s not my cup of bourbon.

Grade – B

 

George T Stagg

I love me some Stagg mainly because they actually released a crap ton last year and I was able to get a few.  I don’t even care how it tasted, I rolled up on parties with a George T. M’FING Stagg a few times like THE MAN.  Ok it actually never left my basement, but I felt like THE MAN drinking it.  I love the bottle design the most of all the antiques.  And this year the proof is the lowest it has ever been at 124.9.

Another great bourbon nose.  Brown sugar and honey and of course ethanol with that almost 125 proof.

It’s also very good this year.  Even at 125 it’s not overly hot and I found myself really enjoying the slight burn and spice along with the usual caramel and vanilla flavors that linger for awhile after each sip.  I found myself wanting to pour more, but sadly the 100 ml sample ran out pretty quickly.  Maybe if they were 200 ml……

A very good addition to the Stagg lineup.  It’s not as good as the ER17 but it’s my second favorite and a must buy if you can find a bottle, which hopefully you can this year.

Grade – A-

 

Overall

Is this the best BTAC lineup ever?  No, it’s not.  Handy and Saz are down, WLW is ok, Stagg is good and ER17 is great.

But the thing I love about Buffalo Trace is that they value positive and negative reviews the same, they are honest about their stuff, and at the end of the day, the make truly incredible products.  A down year for Handy and Saz means nothing in the long run because next year they will probably rebound into great releases.

And let’s be honest, if given the opportunity to purchase any of these bottles at retail, would you really pass?

 

Four Roses 130th review

One of the most anticipated releases every fall is the Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch (a.k.a. LE Smb).  Consisting of 3-4 of the 10 Four Roses recipes, with decent aging of those recipes, each LE Smb one comes across with complex flavors that change over time.  I love the fact that you can revisit an LE Small Batch at a later date and it’s totally different but still an outstanding pour.  Last year’s edition in the Fall reminded me of the 2015 LE Small Batch, which stands out to me as possibly the best one ever released.  This years recipe is as follows:

OBSV – 10 year – 30% of the total recipe

OESV – 14 year – 40% of the total recipe

OESK – 16 year – 10% of the total recipe

OBSF – 13 year – 20% of the total recipe

As you can see, the recipe is dominated by V and F, which are the Herbal and Fruit forward yeast strains per Four Roses.  I was very interested to see how the two meshed together.  OESK is also my favorite recipe so having a good bit of age on that part piqued my interest as well.

For starters, it’s got a great nose to it.  Distinct vanilla notes, caramel, butter, deliciousness.  The perfect whiff of bourbon.  I wish they could make candles from this smell.

On the palette It’s peppery and it kind of burned my tongue on the first sip.  It’s 108.4 proof so it’s got a noticeable bite, but good bourbons rarely continue biting after the first sip.  True to form more flavors open up with each sip as I go.  it’s nice and thick, almost like syrup.  Along with a nice spicy, minty, peppery flavor I get an almost fruity flavor, apples or cherry or something.  It gets better each sip and it’s very complex with all the different recipes and ages.

The finish does not last that long, but the sweetness lingers just enough.  Every single Four Roses LE Small Batch I have ever opened did not start out with a very long finish, but even a month later the finish is noticeably longer.  These are the kind of bottles that really benefit from some air.

Overall even with just 2 small pours, I can already tell I love this release.  I really liked the peppery flavor with the fruit flavor, and I know this is going to be one that improves after being opened.  This may be my second favorite LE Small Batch of all time after the 2015, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a bottle.

Buffalo Trace announces 2018 Antique Collection

Some interesting notes:

Eagle Rare is now returning to it’s original proof of 101, as opposed to 90.  This is a very exciting change but also means fewer ER17 bottles than before, and it’s already very hard to find. 

Stagg again is very high this year, should not be hard to track one down.  It is also it’s lowest proof ever.

WLW and Handy are similar.  

Press release notes:

 

BTD Logo

 

BUFFALO TRACE DISTILLERY RELEASES MUCH ANTICIPATED 2018 ANTIQUE COLLECTION WHISKEYS

Change in the Lineup: Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Bourbon will now be 101 proof

 

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (Sept. 18, 2018) Fall is upon us, and that means Buffalo Trace Distillery is releasing its annual 2018 Antique Collection of whiskeys. The highly anticipated collection will once again feature five limited-release whiskeys of various ages, recipes and proofs, with one notable change, Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Bourbon will now be 101 proof.  Here’s what else fans can expect:

George T. Stagg

The powerhouse favorite of the Antique Collection, George T. Stagg weighs in at 124.9 proof this year.  Past releases of this uncut and unfiltered bourbon have won many top awards, including last year’s release nabbing a Double Gold Medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This year’s release contains bourbon from barrels filled in the spring of 2003. This batch contained 284 barrels, not quite as much as last year’s yield, but still significantly more than the yield from previous years.  Storage location of these barrels varied across warehouses C, H, I, K, P, and Q.  This whiskey tastes of dark chocolate, espresso, and tobacco.

William Larue Weller

The Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated recipe bourbon is William Larue Weller. Previous editions of this wheater have won many accolades, including a Double Gold Medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and “Bourbon of the Year” by “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2017.”  The 2018 offering was distilled in the winter of 2006 and aged in Warehouses C, I, K, L, M, and Q.  This bourbon registers in at 125.7 proof.  The bold flavors include dried fruit, fig, and caramelized vanilla.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye

Thomas H. Handy is the uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018” named previous years’ releases “Best Rye Whiskey with no age statement.”  This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2012; aged in warehouses I and L and weighs in at 128.8 proof.  The flavor profile includes hints of allspice, teaberry, and clove.

Eagle Rare 17 Year Old

This year’s release is going back to its roots with a proof change from the previous 90 proof back to 101 proof, in tribute to the original strength used when the brand was launched in 1974.  This will be a permanent change to the proof for the Eagle Rare 17 year old from this year forward.  The 2018 edition was distilled in the Spring of 2000 and has been spending its time aging on the first, second and fifth floors of Warehouse C.  This bourbon tastes of toasted oak, coffee, spearmint, and butterscotch.

Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old

Last year Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old was named “Best Rye Whiskey Aged 11 Years and Over” by “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018.”  This 2018 straight rye whiskey release has notable flavors of dark chocolate, tobacco, and cinnamon. The barrels for this whiskey were filled in the spring of 1998.

The Antique Collection was introduced more than a decade ago and has become a cult favorite among whiskey connoisseurs. Since 2000 these whiskeys have garnered numerous awards from such notable publications as Whisky Advocate Magazine, Spirit Journal, and “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.”

The 2018 Antique Collection whiskeys will be available in limited quantities starting in late September or early October.  Suggested retail price is $99 each.  For more information visit http://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/brands/antique-collection.

About Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery is an American family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery’s rich tradition dates back to 1773 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee.  Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational Distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is a National Historic Landmark as well as is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won 21 distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Its Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain Bourbon was named World Whiskey of the Year by “Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2018.”  Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 500 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies. To learn more about Buffalo Trace Distillery visit www.buffalotracedistillery.com.  To download images from Buffalo Trace Distillery visit http://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/media

Review of Parker’s Heritage 12

A big thank you to Heaven Hill for still being one of the only distilleries left that had not realized I had stopped blogging.  Thanks to a few samples, I’m writing again!   Let’s get it going!

Parker’s Heritage 12

The 12th edition of the very popular Parker’s Heritage Collection this year features bourbon finished in Orange Curacao Barrels.  I don’t think I have ever seen or used an Orange Curacao bottle, but I remember when Blue Curacao was really popular and more so in Atlanta because the Braves outfielder Andruw Jones was from Curacao.  I also know that Willett did an experimental release called Willett XCF in which they also finished bourbon in orange curacao barrels.  According to Heaven Hill, the bourbon in this release was aged in the Upper Floors of Warehouse Q before being finished for 4 months in Orange Curacao barrels.  It was also bottled at 110 proof this year and was non-chill filtered.

It smells like orange and butter.  Like butter that was made with oranges.  Maybe I could call this orange marmalade, even though I’ve never actually had that.  There is still some bourbon there on the nose and it did burn my nostrils a little at the 110 proof, but there is definitely a tropical, this-is-not-bourbon nose to it.

The first time I tried it and my friend Chuck tried it, we thought the same thing, that it didn’t taste like a bourbon.  Although it starts out with a strong flavor of mint and caramel, it quickly gets replaced by an orange zest flavor on the finish.  The finish is decent, not offensive, but it does lack the caramel and vanilla finish that I love with bourbon.

I have tried it a few more times and it’s about the same.  It’s different, but I can’t say that it’s bad.  It’s one of the more unique barrel-finished bourbons that I have had.  And at $89 retail, you are going to buy it anyway.  Just don’t expect it to taste like boubon, because it doesn’t.  But if variety is the spice of life, then I guess this can be added to your collection.

Grade – B / B+

Coming later this week – review of the Fall release of Old Fitz and the 27 year Heaven Hill release.

Double Eagle, Very Rare…

For those of you who may have noticed, Buffalo Trace applied for and was approved a label for a new product called Double Eagle, Very Rare.  At this point there are no further details but one might assume Double Eagle means 20 years instead of 10.  Of course that is only assumption, and it is still bottled at 90 proof.  Very interesting news from this morning, I’m sure more details will follow.

TTB Link:

https://www.ttbonline.gov/colasonline/viewColaDetails.do?action=publicFormDisplay&ttbid=18200001000214

Well, cryptocurrency failed me, so I’m back to bourbon blogging. [New Blog Post!]

Sometime around mid January when all of cryptocurrency was at it’s apparent peak, I dove into the world of trading actual cash for invisible cash.  It started with Coinbase and as I invested money into Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin.  Then, I discovered you could day trade with Coinbase’s exchange and I began doing that.  I ended up doing nothing but losing money so instead I switched tactics and began investing in Altcoins, which are simply other coins that no one knows shit about except for some people on Reddit.  I created a Binance account and started moving coins over from Coinbase to buy alt coins.  I bought a bunch of these little bastards, none of them ever went up.  Seriously, crypto is shit.  I recommended crypto to a buddy of mine in January as well.  He no longer talks to me on a daily basis.  The only other time I tried investing, I bought shares of barnesandnoble.com when it went live some 15 years ago.  I also told my parents to buy shares.  We all bought in at 24 bucks.  Last I heard the stock was de-listed at around 8 cents.  I just need to stick to bourbon.

Speaking of bourbon, lots of sort of exciting stuff has happened since I last picked up the keyboard.

A rickhouse at 1792 collapsed sending barrels everywhere.  No one was hurt except for the ego of the architect who built it in 1600’s or whatever.  I mean seriously, if you have been to Kentucky on the bourbon trail you have been inside these really old rickhouses.  Yes they are cool as shit, they smell wonderful, and really they are kind of a engineering marvel when it comes to the pulley system to rotate barrels.  Having said that, I do always feel like the things could collapse at any moment.  I usually stood by the door during tours, or hovered near a really tall guy that I could hide under in the event of a collapse.  Lots of speculation remains as to what happens to the barrels that contained bourbon (yes some of those barrels had rum or tequila possibly, Barton does a lot of contract distilling), but we still could end up with a 3k bottle ‘Warehouse Collapse’ release that will run around $13,999 per bottle and will taste like regular 1792.  I can’t wait.

Speaking of expensive shit, all the rare releases these days are…well…expensive as shit.  Kentucky Owl just released batch 2 of it’s very popular rye.  This time around retail price jumped from $129 or so to $199.  The proof went down for this batch, the age stayed the same.  It was a good deal first time around if there was no markup.  I swear I got a few bottles around $124 with tax.  $199 is too high, and I won’t buy it.  Give me more age or make it barrel proof and we can consider it, but not the same for more.  I’m tired of that routine.  I have enough bourbon to last me through the next ice age, and I don’t need or want to buy the same for more money.

A couple of other really expensive releases are on the way.  Wild Turkey recently came out with Russel Reserve 2002, a 3k bottle or so release of 15 year old bourbon.  RR 1998 was one of the best releases ever in my opinion, so for $250 I would buy 1 of these.  Unfortunately I was on vacation when it landed in Atlanta, so I missed the boat.  This Fall, Heaven Hill is releasing a very limited 27 year bourbon for like $399.  I bought a ton of their 24 year Parker’s Heritage a couple years ago for $249 and I loved it.  I don’t know if I want one of these though.  I’ll prob get one in the end because curiosity always kills me.  Old Forester released some really really rare bourbon called King of Kentucky.  I don’t know retail but last I saw it was like $799 on Secondary markets.

I guess the distilleries have all kind of figured out this market.  Low bottle count, lots of years, a high retail price, and send it out to the wild and watch as it flies off the shelves.  Unless of course it’s a Woodford Master Collection….

I’ll get back to doing some reviews once the companies start sending me samples again.  Seems like they all kind of figured out I was just drinking their samples without writing.  It was a nice gig for about 6 months or so, but it’s time to get back to work.  SEND ME THE GOODS AGAIN!

Also for those of you who made it to the end of this article, thanks again and I’ll leave you with a little something.  For this year’s Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, it looks like there is 1 significant change this year that hasn’t been done since the collection started.  That’s all I’m going to give you.  Cheers!!