Most surprisingly tasty ‘moderately available’ release of 2016:
Rebel Yell 10 year Single Barrel
What’s not to like? It’s Single Barrel, 10 years old, and has an amazing redneck name, Rebel Yell. Then again, there is also Eagle Rare. Now don’t get me wrong, ER is smooth and great with a cigar, but this has a little more spice on the finish that I like. My buddy @epicbourbon says its a 10 year Heaven Hill Wheater, so I’ll take his word for it, but you can take my word for it, it’s a nice addition to any bourbon bar in the $50-60 range.
Most surprisingly tasty ‘available’ 2016:
Old Forester 1920
This one you can find in a store near you. Similarly priced to the Rebel Yell, and 15 proof higher, this is a must add for any bar. A great depth of flavor, and surprisingly smooth for 115 proof. I hear they gots a barrel proof version coming this year, so we’ll just have to see how the price ends up.
Most disappointing rare release of 2016:
2016 Sazerac 18
Worst release of 2016:
Whoop and Holler and Woodford Reserve White Corn
Everyone else’s favorite release this year except for me:
Everyone loved Booker’s Rye and went nuts for it. It really never did anything for me. I tried it probably 5-6 times, and always just thought it was ok. I was impressed how easy it was to drink at it’s high proof, but that’s where my impression ended.
My unofficial favorite release of 2016:
Heaven Hill had very limited samples to send out when they announced this year’s Parkers, and I was not one of those that received a sample. Therefore, I ‘unofficially’ declared this my best bourbon of the year. Some people didn’t like the oak forward flavor of this, I absolutely love it. Brown sugar and caramel dominate the easy to drink 100 proof bourbon, and the finish leaves just enough spice for me. Absolutely love it, just wish I could have declared it official. Maybe next year….
(I also don’t want their heads to explode, but very close runner up to this was the Heaven Hill Select Stock 20 year pre-fire bourbon. Damn that is tasty as well.)
My official favorite release of 2016:
William Larue Weller
As sad as I was about the Saz 18, this years WLW blew me away. Absolutely delicious wheated whiskey. A real winner this year.
2016 kinda sucked.
Granted there were a few awesome releases this year, namely the WLW, the Parkers Heritage, and yeah I’ll say Booker’s Rye for the rest of you, but most of the other rare releases were just ok. Seasoned Wood, both Four Roses Limited Editions, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, and the 1792 releases all hit the B to B+ mark for me.
We also saw a trend of rising prices (Willett gift shop, Booker’s bourbon, etc), more age statements being lost (Knob Creek), and just a general trend of greediness that saw bottles hit shitty secondary prices too soon after they were released. I think a general sigh could be heard throughout the land as we closed out 2016 and I think we all hope 2017 is a better year.
If not, at least have Blood Oath Pact 3 to look forward to.