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Side by side review: 2017 Four Roses Limited Edition vs Al Young 50th Anniversary

First of all, holy crap I finished a new blog post.  Look at me!  It only took like 90 days or so and I still have about 4 or 5 half finished posts.  You might even see a flurry of new blog posts from me!  I know all 3 of you have been patiently waiting, so thank you for that.

On to a nice little side by side review.  Couple of things to note when reviewing any Four Roses Limited Edition:

  1. Never review a 4RLE just after opening a bottle.  I like to wait 2 months after opening before I decide if I like it or not.  Four Roses bottles, especially the Limited Edition Small Batches, tend to get better with some air.
  2. Never review a 4RLE with a single pour.  This should go for any bourbon or rye but really so with the LE Small Batches.  The combination of recipes and different ages can create a different flavor each time you try it.  Never judge on one pour alone.
  3. Never review a 4RLE because the marketing company asks you to after sending you a sample.  😉

2017 saw two Four Roses Limited Small Batches and each one had something missing from the bottle that still has me perplexed.  The first release was a June/July offering in honor of Al Young, a senior brand ambassador and a staple at Four Roses for 50 years now.  Called the Al Young 50th Anniversary LE Small Batch, the release was said to be around 10k bottles but for the first time that I have seen, there was no bottle number/count on the bottle itself.  Every other LE Small Batch I have seen has had the bottle count on it, but it was left off this one.  Speaking of the bottle, this particular release used a unique bottle design that we haven’t seen since 1967, the year Al Young started at Four Roses.  It’s a great looking bottle, classy and pretty, and it made for one hot item in the market when they were released.

2017’s second LE Small Batch was their standard yearly offering in the November time frame with their usual bottle look.  The bottle count was brought back with this standard LE release (almost 11k), but for the life of me I cannot figure out why they took the recipe off.  I’m still scratching my head on this one as I have to keep looking up the recipe online when I drink it.  I don’t know if it was intentional or not but man that is really annoying.  Ok – on to the reviews:

Al Young 50th Anniversary LE Small Batch

 

  • RECIPE: Blend of 20% 12 yr OBSF, 50% 13 yr OESV, 25% 15 yr OBSK and 5% 23 yr OBSV
  • BOTTLE COUNT: Approx 10k
  • PROOF: 107.6 (53.8% ABV)
  • MSRP: $150

The nose on Al Young is a little funky to me.  It definitely has some oak in there from the very small amount of 23 year old OBSV.  It doesn’t smell bad, it just surprises you when you get that oak with the typical Four Roses floral nose.  It has a great flavor up front, nice and spicy with flavors of cinnamon and cloves.  It fades away into a great finish with caramel and vanilla and mint ice cream as the flavors I picked up.  I will admit I didn’t think it was that great the first time I tried it.  This bottle has been open 6 months now and it’s delicious.  The secondary price on this bottle is higher than I have seen for any recent 4R LE release and it seems this one was highly regarded by the bourbon world.  A great pour for sure, just give it time to open up.

Grade:  89

2017 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch

 

  • RECIPE: 15 year OESK, 13 year OESK, 12 year OESV
  • BOTTLE COUNT: Approx 10k
  • PROOF: 108.6 proof (54.3% ABV)
  • MSRP: $129

Following the theme of ‘I don’t review it right away’, I thought the 2017 LE was a bit of a letdown from the sample I had received.  I got a full bottle and it’s been open 2 months now with about 1/3 gone.  Having had a few pours recently, I have to say the 2017 is damn good.  The recipe is strong on the K yeast, my favorite, and it smells wonderful, clove and mint mixed with the unmistakable oak from the 10+ year age of the bourbons inside it.  OESK is my second favorite recipe and at times I get a cotton candy flavor which I love.  I get that occasionally here on the palate along with the typical spice of 4R.  The finish has definitely improved as well, lingering caramel and butterscotch.  Man this one opened up great and really reminds me of the 2015 LE Small Batch.  To me this has been one of the quieter releases so far this year.  Very few people are talking about it, and even fewer are trying to flip these bottles.  That suits me just well as I can find a few more before the hype catches on.  Another great bottle.

Score: 88

Despite some glaring omissions on the bottles of these two releases, we are reminded once again that Four Roses has some amazing bourbon still in it’s warehouses.  The blends of these limited editions don’t always come together right away, but over time they just seem to hold up so well over other seasonal LE releases that are very one dimensional.  I love the fact that you can get a little different taste each time you try them.  Brent Elliott is often criticized these days for not being able to blend as well as Jim Rutledge could, but I find both of the Small Batch releases this year excellent, and on par with anything Jim was able to do.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

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.

Brown Forman announces this year’s Old Forester Birthday Bourbon

Interesting there are 2 batches, one a slightly lower proof for just GA and FL, and another for the rest of the county.  I reached out to Brown-Forman to find out why.

Old Forester Releases 2017 Birthday Bourbon Expression

Louisville, Ky. (August 14, 2017) – This September, Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky, America’s First Bottled Bourbon ™ , will introduce its 17th release of Birthday Bourbon – the annual limited-edition expression created to pay homage to founder George Garvin Brown’s birthday on September 2nd.

The 2017 Birthday Bourbon barrel selection was drawn from 12 year old barrels from different warehouses and floors on May 27, 2005. 93 barrels matured together on the 4th floor of G warehouse, yielding an extremely spice forward expression. The remaining 27 barrels matured together on the 5th floor of K warehouse contributing a rounding sweetness to the blend. Several barrels from both lots basked in the sun, highlighting the effects of maturation along an external wall in Old Forester’s heat cycled warehouses.

The craft of bourbon making- from barrels to bottling- is a mixture of art and science. For this year’s Birthday Bourbon, science plays an integral role in the product story. During the transfer of bourbon from the holding tank to the bottling line, alcohol vapors were lost during bottling, causing the proof to drop. As a result, this year’s Birthday Bourbon will be presented at both 96 proof and 95.4 proof. This distinction is identifiable in the proof statements on the bottle.

The 2017 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon will be on shelves with a suggested retail price of $79.99. Florida and Georgia will receive the 95.4 proof expression and remaining states will receive the 96 proof expression. Kentucky is the only state which will receive both expressions with the 96 proof expression shipping first.



2017 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Tasting Notes

Tasting Remarks from the Master Taster:

“The common denominators in this year’s blend are chocolate and black pepper. The finish is interesting, as it really ignites the perimeters of the palate and cascades off into a soft, dry floral bouquet. ” said Jackie Zykan, Old Forester Master Taster on the 2017 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon.

Tasting Notes from the Master Distiller:

Color: Bright golden honey

Nose: Sweet toasted oak and black pepper with a heavy suggestion of orange oil and toffee

Taste: Oak spice and charred black pepper dominate over a subtle core of chocolate custard and

kola nut.

Finish: Spicy perimeter mouth feel that slowly cascades off revealing floral undertones and

cocoa powder

Heaven Hill Announces this year’s Parker’s Heritage

 

Heaven Hill Distillery Announces Release of 2017 Parker’s Heritage Collection Limited Edition Bottling

Eleventh Edition of annual ultra-premium release will honor late Heaven Hill Distillery Master Distiller Emeritus Parker Beam and continue support of ALS research and patient care

 

BARDSTOWN, KY— Heaven Hill Distillery announced today the 2017 limited edition release of Parker’s Heritage Collection – an 11-year-old, Single Barrel Bourbon. The eleventh edition will be shipping into select markets across the country beginning in September.

The 2017 edition showcases what Parker felt was one of his greatest achievements throughout his more than 50 years of distilling experience – the introduction of Heaven Hill’s single barrel Bourbons. Aged in Parker’s favorite rickhouse location, Deatsville, the sixth-generation Master Distiller would have described these bottles as “just good Bourbon.” Bottled at 122 proof (61% abv) and non-chill filtered, the Bourbon tastes of heavy spice and oak, with a hint of smoke and raisin, followed by a long and dry finish.

The annual release of Parker’s signature line is one of the most highly anticipated bottlings for whiskey and Bourbon lovers worldwide, as the collection produces an innovative, coveted product each year and now serves as a remembrance of the collection’s namesake. Parker’s Heritage Collection was originally conceived to showcase the extraordinary quality and broad range of Heaven Hill’s American Whiskey holdings, as Heaven Hill boasts the world’s second largest inventory of aging American Whiskey.

The late Heaven Hill Distillery Master Distiller Emeritus Parker Beam, for whom the acclaimed series is named, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2010. The past four editions from 2013-2016, including the “Promise of Hope” Bourbon, the “Original Batch” Straight Wheat Whiskey, the Kentucky Straight Malt Whiskey, and the 24-Year-Old Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon respectively, have raised over half a million dollars toward ALS research and patient care through contributions made by Heaven Hill for each bottle purchased. Heaven Hill will continue with this cause-related campaign, and will contribute $10 from the average national retail cost of $129.99 of each 750ml bottle sold of this year’s release to the ALS Association. With every past edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection quickly selling out, the company expects to continue to generate significant dollars for this effort in Parker’s memory.

“Through Parker Beam’s leadership and influence, the history of Kentucky Bourbon and Heaven Hill’s American Whiskey heritage has an enduring foundation of quality, transparency, and passion,” said Susan Wahl, Group Product Director at Heaven Hill Distillery. “We are proud to continue offering the Parker’s Heritage collection in his memory and continue to support ALS research and patient care efforts.”

Packaged in the same upscale 750ml bottle as the previous ten editions but with a gray colored label, the Parker’s Heritage Collection 11-Year-Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey bottling reflects the care and craftsmanship of its contents. Available in a three bottle case, it will be featured on the shelves and back bars of the nation’s finest spirits retailers and on-premise accounts starting in September. With previous releases having won multiple awards from Whisky Advocate magazine, Whisky Magazine and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the rare bottlings stand as some of the most critically lauded American Whiskeys in recent memory. Past bottlings have won awards ranging from “Best North American Whiskey” to “American Whiskey of the Year” to “Best of Show, Brown Spirits.”

About Heaven Hill Distillery
Founded in Kentucky by the Shapira family in 1935, Heaven Hill Distillery continues its legacy as one of the foremost American Whiskey producers. Heaven Hill has cultivated the traditions and history of America’s Native Spirit with its fierce independence, passionate family ownership, dedication to quality, and thoughtful innovation. Today, Heaven Hill Distillery maintains over 1.2 million barrels aging in 54 warehouses throughout Nelson and Jefferson Counties. It is home to an award-winning collection of American Whiskeys including Elijah Craig Bourbon, Larceny Bourbon, Evan Williams Bourbon, Pikesville Rye Whiskey, Rittenhouse Rye Whisky and Parker’s Heritage Collection. Heaven Hill Distillery previously held the titles of 2016 Whisky Magazine Distillery of the Year, 2016 Whiskey Advocate American Whiskey of the Year and 2016 Rye Whiskey of the Year from “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.” For more information, please visitwww.heavenhilldistillery.com.

Heaven Hill reminds you to “Think Wisely.  Drink Wisely.”

 

 

Review of the new Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Batch 878.

Death, taxes, another batch of ECBP.  All are inevitable, one is preferable.

Faster than you can say, “Pappy 25 sold for whaa”, a new batch of ECBP is introduced.  No longer being referred to in the mainstream by their proof, the new batches of ECBP actually come with a batch number now.  The newest one is B517 which means May of 2017 (I don’t know what the B stands for, the previous one was A so one can assume this simply means the second batch of 2017).  Based on this batch numbering system, I would imagine there will not be a C3PO batch, but that would be cool as hell, especially if it was like this December with the new Star Wars movie (marketing team take note and see how Old Forester paired up with Hollywood recently…just sayin…).  Anyway  per the Elijah Craig website, all batches have always had batch codes, but they really didn’t start using them until this year.

So yes, there are a lot of ECBP releases.  But in all seriousness it doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is that ECBP is still one of the absolute best deals in bourbon.  Barrel proof, 12 years old, and with a price in the mid $50’s, Heaven Hill seems content on keeping the cost the same, which is awesome for the consumer, and awesome for them as this product doesn’t sit on shelves.  To me, two bourbons that are comparable in nature are Stagg Jr, and Booker’s.  The latter is about 6 years old and does sit on shelves, the former is about 7 years old and underwhelming to me.  Of course that’s not to say that every batch of ECBP is stellar, some are not that great, some are decent, and some are really good.

This one, this one right here, is a really damn good release.  “The proof went down and the taste went up!” ™®  One of my favorite batches of ECBP was a 128.0 batch and this one beats it.  This might be the best batch of ECBP that has been released…….so far this month.

The nose on this one is like burnt maple syrup.  Coming in at 124.2 proof, it has absolutely no nose burn that I sometimes get on deep whiffs of strong stuff.  I like my nose, and I like when it doesn’t burn.

It’s got a delicious taste, caramel and honey, and it finishes forever.  Maybe it’s because I’m used to the 138+ commonly found with ECBP, but it’s just such an easy sipper at this proof.  Very smooth, very little burn, strong bourbon flavors, and a great price point.  What’s not to love?  And look, even if you don’t like it, you’ve got about 30 days until you can fall in love with another.

Grade = A

 

Buffalo Trace announces new Experimental Collection made from 6 grains.

This one actually sounds really intriguing and I hope to get a sample to try.  Stay tuned!

 

BTD Logo

 

BUFFALO TRACE DISTILLERY RELEASES

ORGANIC 6 GRAIN WHISKEY EXPERIMENT

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (May 9, 2017) Buffalo Trace Distillery has experimented with a variety of grains in their latest Experimental Collection release, six grains in one bourbon to be exact. The latest release is named Organic Six Grain Whiskey.

Distilled in early May 2010, this whiskey mash bill contains an assortment of grains; corn, buckwheat, brown rice, sorghum, wheat, and rice. These grains were milled, cooked and made into sour mash before being distilled on Buffalo Trace’s experimental micro-still to 130 proof white dog. The white dog was then entered into eight new charred white oak barrels that had received Buffalo Trace’s standard number four char. After resting in Warehouse H for seven years and one month, the whiskey was chill filtered and bottled at 90 proof.

This is a certified organic whiskey, as all six grains received organic certification, and the production method at Buffalo Trace Distillery, including distillation, processing, and bottling was organically certified.

While it may be uncommon to come across bourbons made with more than typically three grains, this six grain product still meets all of the requirements to be called bourbon, made with at least 51 percent corn, with the other five grains comprising the rest of the mash bill. Buffalo Trace observed that these six grains created a flavor profile that is different than the typical bourbons produced at the Distillery. For this reason, Buffalo Trace has elected to refer to this experiment as a whiskey in name.

Tasting notes for the Organic Six Grain Experiment describe it as being very complex, with slight herbal tones, heavy wood tannins, and earthy notes, accompanied by a spicy aftertaste that rounds out the comprehensive flavor.

These barrels are part of more than 14,000 experimental barrels of whiskey aging in the warehouses of Buffalo Trace Distillery, the largest number of experimental barrels ever held in inventory at the National Historic Landmark Distillery and most likely the world. Each of them has unique characteristics that differentiate them in distinct ways. Some examples of experiments include unique mash bills, types of wood, and different barrel toasts. In order to further increase the scope, flexibility, and range of the experimental program, an entire micro distillery, named The Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. “OFC” Micro Distillery, complete with cookers, fermenting tanks, and a state-of-the-art micro still has been constructed within Buffalo Trace Distillery. Buffalo Trace has increased its commitment to experimentation with the recent addition of its Warehouse X. Although small in size, Warehouse X is designed to explore the extent of environmental influences on the flavor profiles of whiskey.

The Experimental Collection is packaged in 375ml bottles, and each label includes all the pertinent information unique to that barrel of whiskey. These whiskeys retail for approximately $46.35 each and will be available in late May, 2017.  Experimental Collection releases are generally quite small and have limited availability. For more information on the Experimental Collection or the other products of Buffalo Trace Distillery, please contact Elizabeth Hurst at ehurst@buffalotrace.com.

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 17 distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. It was named “Brand Innovator of the Year” by Whisky Magazine at its Icons of Whisky America Awards 2015.  Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 300 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 www.buffalotracemediakit.com

New Old Forester Product coming in August – OF Statesman

Long story short there is a sequel to Kingsman The Secret Service (really good under-rated flick btw but totally not safe for kids) called Kingman The Golden Circle (trailer).

For this follow up film, the movie studio partnered with Old Forester to use their distillery for a good portion of the film that takes place in Louisville.

With the partnership, OF decided to release a special bourbon in honor of it called the Statesman.  I don’t know much yet except that it’s available in August and is 95 proof.

Here is the video announcement from OF. (Linky)

 

(More details about the bourbon itself as it becomes available)

2017 Michter’s 10 year Bourbon and Rye Review

In October of last year, Michter’s named a new Master Distiller, replacing the long tenured Willie Pratt with Pamela Heilmann, the first female master distiller of a KDA distillery since prohibition.  Pamela formerly ran the Booker Noe Distillery and has a ton of experience in the bourbon world.  Following along the guidelines of now Master Distiller Emeritus Willie, Pamela is only approving the limited edition Michter’s products when she deems them ready.  The 2017 M10 Bourbon and Rye were her first two approvals and of course I had to have my hands on them.  I drank a good bit with friends, but decided to sit down with a nice pour of each to really get my perspective.

2017 M10 Bourbon:

I poured the M10 bourbon, and set it aside to write a little.  The bourbon is a good 3 feet from me, but I can smell it over here.  It’s got a fantastic nose.  Strong notes of vanilla.  With a good enough whiff I get that wonderful smell you can only experience in a bourbon distillery, that ‘mash is cooking and the grains are in the air’ smell.  Very nice.

Unfortunately I feel that the bourbon falls a little flat on the palette and I have felt that way for the past few releases of M10.  It’s very one dimensional with a slightly bitter taste.  It’s not bad, it’s just not as good as I hoped.

I will say the finish is great at first and leaves a lovely caramel aftertaste.  It almost comes back to life after it goes down.  I can also say this is a definite improvement over the 2016 M10 (batch 1).  I feel like with each batch it’s getting better, and I think very soon we are going to have a product that sends M10 Bourbon back into the rank of ‘highly sought after’ for allocated bourbons.

Overall grade = B

2017 M10 Rye:

Nose is fantasic.  It smells like Sugar Babies.  Seriously, I get sugar babies and maybe some spearmint gum.  So nice.

And it tastes just as nice.  So smooth, especially for a 93 proof rye.  A little spice from the rye, just enough to make a presence, not overwhelming.  I get a wonderful flavor, it reminds me of honey nut chex a little bit.  It also finishes just as nice with some vanilla and some caramel.  It really is a great pour, one that I could pour all day.

I’m a big fan of the 2017 M10 Rye and had to buy a few backups.  At a retail price of $120’ish, I can afford to stock up on a few of these.  Much higher and I don’t know if that’s the case, but these days $120 is the new $60.

Overall grade = A

Conclusion:

I have loved Michter’s ever since my visit last summer.  They were so welcoming and so proud of their product and it shows in everything they release.  While the M10 Bourbon is not at the level that would make me buy it, it’s improving, and I look forward to future batches.  And I love the M10 Rye, such a great pour, and worth an investment at the price point.  Now if I could just get my hands on some of that M25 Rye…..