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Willett 7 Year Straight Rye Whiskey

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$94

57.2% ABV

Age Statement: 7 years

Nose: Pine. First scent is definitely pine. Some other forest type smells as well. A whiff of rye spice, but certainly nothing overpowering. I find the smell intoxicating.

Palate: The pine and different tree notes are certainly present. There is a very pleasant sweetness as well, and the rye adds a great touch. Out of the four of us that tried it, I and one other taster did not detect even a hint of burn.

Finish: I found the finish to be smooth and nonabrasive.

I found Willett’s 7 year Rye to be an amazing pour. The nose and flavor with its pine aroma and taste and excellent sweetness was one of my favorite drams so far.

Angels Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon


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$49.99

43.3% ABV

Age statement: Usually less than six years.

Finished in port wine barrels.

Nose: Big with banana notes. Slight burnt sugar and a hint of molasses.

Palate: Banana and a bit of brown sugar.  I can definitely confirm this bourbon is finished in port wine barrels, as there is noticeable sweetness.  Slight but enjoyable mouth burn.

Finish: Its so crazy, every step of the way you get such a recognizable banana flavor.  Nice warming sensation as it goes down.

One of my favorite bourbons.  Made by world renowned distiller Lincoln Henderson.  Henderson did not disappoint with this bourbon.  Interesting piece of trivia, every cork of Angels Envy has a marking of 10/10.  This is the date the first bottle was to be released.   When October 2010 rolled around, Mr. Henderson didn’t think the Bourbon was ready.  He had it sit for another 6 months before being bottled.  The 10/10 stamp was kept to remind them- good whiskey is worth waiting for.

9.6

A

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection 1838 White Corn

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$90

45% ABV

No age statement.

So every year, WR Master Distiller Chris Morris comes out with a new Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection. This year, it’s the 1838 White Corn.

Nose: Banana nut bread. Seriously, that was the first thing that came to me. Sweet, but light colored sweet. No caramel or toffee here.

Palate: Not sure exactly, but the white corn makes a tremendous difference. All the flavors are just lighter. I would say that it was just a hair more astringent than normal WR.

Finish: Right at the finish I get a burst of some really bright sweetness, perhaps lemon tart or those super sweet dry candies.

It’s interesting. I don’t think that it is something that I would buy strictly on my preference of the flavors in the profile, but the fact that it is so different and interesting will get me picking up another bottle (if I still can).

8.8 B+

Jack Daniels Single Barrel

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$45-$50 Total Wine

47% ABV

Age Statement: (From JD phone Rep) At least 4, frequently more for Single Barrel, but we prefer to rely on mother nature than father time. Freakin awesome description.

I hear so many different opinions on JDSB that it’s hard to know what to expect. Before reading the rest of this, you should know that it goes though something called the ‘Lincoln County Process, during it’s creation. So make sure to check out the following Wikipedia link before continuing:

Lincoln County Process (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Nose: Maple, woodsy, and more of that. I think that this has a great nose and I end up huffing this stuff for about five minutes before actually taking my first sip.

Palate: Definitely get some maple syrup along with some other dark sugars. Woodsy. You can certainly tell that this is Jack Daniels, but boy is it different than normal black bottle JD.

Finish: I think the finish is great. The ethanol / mentholly alcohol part is almost non-existent. However, each sip results in a very nice burn on the way down and once into the tummy. Not fire like you just shot 151 or something, but a nice little warming sensation. On a slightly cooler than average day when you need something to sip, this would hit the spot

So, I love this stuff. Each bottle could be different, so maybe you don’t get what I get. Also, it’s a guarantee that every palate is different, so maybe ours is simply different, and that’s the great thing about this; no “right” answer. But for me, I like it. I like it a lot.

9.1 A-

Jack Daniels Unaged Rye

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Liquor store $50

ABV: 40%

Age Statement: Unaged

So, I noticed that the picture is on it’s side. I was gonna fix it. Then I decided that this stuff will leave you feeling sideways so I thought it appropriate.

Nose: I have no idea. Turpentine and death. Honestly, this smelled absolutely wretched.

Palate: Oh my gosh, the craziest thing happened. Despite the mustard gas aroma the taste was amazing! It was… just kidding, it tasted just about as bad as it smelled.

Finish: The sooner this thing finished the better.

 

2.0 F

Booker’s Cask Strength

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$49.99

64% ABV

Age Statement: 6 years, 7 months, 3 days (on our bottle)

Nose: Big toasted caramel with hints of butterscotch.  Surprisingly light on the ethanol,  that is for a bourbon that is 64% ABV.

Palate:  Caramel, caramel, and more caramel.  Light burn on the tongue weirdly a pleasant burn.

Finish: Smooth with a slight burn as it goes down.

I cannot stress enough how slight the burn is considering is is 64% ABV, or for those that use proof its 128 proof!!!  When I first read that it was this high in alcohol I was expecting it to be really rough and hard to swallow (pun intended). Surprisingly quite the opposite.  I will definitely drink this again.

8.8

B+

Four Roses Single Barrel

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$40

ABV 50%

While I haven’t had the Four Roses Small Batch which is their entry level product into the bourbon market, I have had quite a bit of the Single Barrel. I enjoy this one quite a bit, especially at the price point.

Nose: Not too much ethanol, considering that’s half of what it is. Maybe some maple syrup with a dash of honey.

Palate: Well, the yummy candied flavors aren’t lost on the tongue. Caramel, vanilla, and perhaps some darker brown sugars, like burnt sugar or toffee. This gives way to a very nice woodsy taste.

Finish. Not too long, but enough to make you happy to have it. This is one of the fun ones where your mouth tastes like a Werther’s about five minutes after your last sip.

This is a winner for me. Sometimes it can be very difficult to find a real winner in the $40 range, and that’s what I’d consider this. I would always have a bottle of this on hand.

9.2 A-

Johnnie Walker Blue Label

JB

$179

43-46 ABV%

I think that everyone who knows about spirits knows that Blue Label is supposed to be something pretty special.

 

Nose: Not bad. Only smelled it with ice before, but mild.

Palate: Smoky. Leather. Fairly light. Not too much I get sick. Fairly smooth.

Finish: Short and passive.

I can see the appeal… sort of. I guess that it just isn’t my thing. Especially not for close to two bills

7.5 C

 

Glenfiddich 21 year Gran Reserva

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$189

43% ABV

Age statement: 21 years

So as previously discussed, I don’t really like scotch. However, after this latest sampling, I am changing that statement to “I don’t like cheap peety scotch”. This scotch was in rum barrels for a time which added a sweetness to it. All of the reviews that I read said that it should have at least a minor sweet bourbon taste to it. Nonsense? Let’s find out!

Nose: I did pick up some leather notes, but not overpowering or really unpleasant. Sweetness. Some dark sugars, but definitely still noticeable as a scotch

Palate: Very Creamy. Caramel. Brown sugar.

Finish: Ho…ly…CRAP. This is one of the smoothest finishes I’ve ever tasted. No burn. No ethanol / menthol type feeling. Great stuff

I enjoy my continued foray into the world of scotch.

9.6 A

 

Four Roses Limited Edition 2015 Small Batch

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$199 Hi-Time Wine Cellars

54.3 ABV

Age Statement:

  • A 16-year-old OBSK
  • A 15-year-old OESK
  • A 14-year-old OESK
  • An 11-year-old OBSV

So I apologize for the quality of this bottle. Some jerk must have sold me a nearly empty bottle. That’s the only realistic explanation, as I would never start drinking it (and a lot of it) without getting a picture first.

I do feel that this specific bottle deserves a bit of story first. Every year Four Roses releases a limited edition small batch with a blend of different ages of their different recipes.

The four letters tell you what mashbill was used, as well as what yeast. All very impressive right? Well, here is the kicker. Jim Rutledge, Master Distiller of Four Roses, is retiring (or has by now). 49 years in the spirits industry, he is a legend. Which means… This is the last Limited Edition that he will be responsible for. FRLE bourbon wins awards every year, so this bottle will be highly sought after.

 

Nose: Fruity. Interesting, would have expected more oak. Some dark sugars. You owe it to yourself to drink this of out a Glencairn glass if you want to appreciate the perfect aromas. I would have given you 3-1 odds that this was less than 45% ABV just by smelling it.

Palate: And by tasting it. You can tell by sipping that this is a master’s work of art and it should be respected as such. Slight caramel, and vanilla, some spices, and so absurdly smooth.

Finish: No unwanted burn at all. Just a nice warming with some cinnamon to go along with it. Few minutes later your mouth will have the aftertaste of heaven.

Fair warning. You can get smashed with this in short order with no warning at all.

A last Mona Lisa by one of the greatest artists of our time.

98 A+