Sep 29, 2014

Four Roses Single Barrel...

Four Roses Single Barrel (50.0%): Another sample from last week's bourbon/rye tasting. It is the single barrel expression of Four Roses. The casks are hand selected by Jim Rutledge and bottled at 100 proof. For Four Roses geeks it comes from Warehouse No: JE and Barrel No: 2 - 6C. Color: Dark amber with an orange hue. Nose: Pretty muted with some metallic aromas first. Sigg bottle, old leather boots and raisins. After letting it air a few minutes the nose starts to open up with maple syrup and cherry chocolate cake aromas. Adding water helps even more: Beef stew, cooked vegetables and polished hardwood furniture. Palate: Cloves, cinnamon and cooked prunes. Brown muscovado sugar and crushed red pepper.  Dry... It gets incredibly easy to drink but also (more) oaky and a little thinner after adding a few drops of water but still a lot going on there: Dandelion leaves, bitter greens, Belgian endives, orange zest jam and dried cranberries Finish: Powdered ginger, black pepper and Greek baklava syrup with cinnamon. Overall: Almost like a definition of high rye bourbon... Big, spicy and dry. Never disappoints... Another great value bourbon at its price range in 40's. I think last time I had a bottle was one of the 2011 releases. I remember that I liked it so much and realized only after I killed the bottle that I didn't save any sample for writing a review of. Great juice...


Sep 28, 2014

W. L. Weller 12yo...

W. L. Weller 12yo (45.0%): Last week we had a great night among friends tasting a huge line-up of American whiskeys. Our roster covered bourbons of different mash bills, rye whiskeys and even a hybrid and a Canadian. I managed to save a few samples from the bottles of the night and I will be posting the tasting notes one by one in coming weeks. But now let me start with the same whiskey we started the tasting with last Friday. W. L. Weller a.k.a poor man's Pappy is distilled from a high wheat mash bill at Buffalo Trace Distillery. It is the oldest expression of regular W. L. Weller releases and bottled at 45.0% abv. Color: Deep amber, clover honey. Nose: Acetone notes up front. They fade out very quickly though after letting the whiskey air a little. Almond cream cake, marzipan and toasted oak aromas. Dried sour cherries, Mexican wedding cookies and confectioners sugar. A few drops of water get rid of all the off notes if they were any left. Flour cookies right out of the oven and artificially flavored, concentrated vanilla extract. Toasted coconut flakes and eucalyptus drops. Palate: Hotter and more vibrant you would think from a 12 year old bourbon at 45% abv. Caramel bon bons, star anise and pumpkin spice cake. Water adds fresh spearmint leaves and pine needles. Some notes resembles a thick felt scarf wrapped around my neck at a cold winter morning. Finish: Way longer than I expected but the alcohol burn on the sides of my tongue continuing after all the flavors fade out is a little too much. Overall: It is a great bourbon for a price tag around 30 bucks... Amazing deal for a 12 year old... If you are lucky enough to see a bottle on the shelves just grab it. There are not so many ones around...

Sep 25, 2014

Longrow 18yo...

Longrow 18yo (46.0%): Longrow is the third brand distilled by Springbank distillery. It is the most peated member of the family at 55 ppm and distilled only twice while Hazelburn is going through triple distillation with no peat at all and Springbank is distilled 2 1/2 times with a peatiness level of 15-20 ppm. The brand takes its name from the old Longrow Distillery which used to be one of the earliest licensed distilleries in Campbeltown originally located next to Springbank Distillery. Color: Very pale, straw like. Pinot Grigio. Nose: Cotton wiping rags soaked in fuel, like the ones you use to clean the outboard engine of your little wooden boat. New wet paint on the very same boat, salty sea spray and wet sand. Blueberry rhubarb pie a little on the sour side, green wood, dirty martini and thick soot. Chalk and rose petals. Water opens up all the layers wide open: Grilled green asparagus, young calvados and raw honey. Palate: Crushed red peppers, cigar ash and chilled pear compote. Shepherd's pie and Dijon mustard. Even a few drops of water amplified the peat notes immensely. Juniper berries, black pepper and ginger. Finish: Long but a very gentle fade out with black pepper and black garden soil. Overall: Such a delicate and gentle whisky. For a 55 ppm peat monster I was expecting it to roar out loud but instead I found a purring old cat. It's amazing what eighteen years in well selected high quality casks can do to a highly peated spirit. With a whopping price tag close to 200 bucks it's far away from being your everyday whisky but it's a superb dram I have to say. Many thanks to Soner Tunay for the sample...