Archive for the ‘Bourbon’ Category

‘The Big B’ Indiana Bourbon 2015 (2 year old) 46%

Single Cask/ Dist: 2015 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

Heavy, fat corn aromas. So thick you could slice them with a knife! Hints of vanilla and spice follow along with some balancing herbal rye and citrus. With time it becomes slightly earthy and chocolaty.

The palate is full and corny to begin, with hints of vanilla and subtle, herbal rye. Good depth and intensity with a lovely toffee’d banana middle. Long and spicy with lingering herbal rye and mocha.


Old Log Cabin Bourbon 43%

51% Corn 49% Malted Barley. Aged in New American Oak #3 Char (IND. Stave Company)

Tasted: June 2016

Nose: Youthful, herbal and marc-like notes with dark rye flakes. Hints of coffee and treacle add a touch of balancing sweetness and with time a hint of violet and subtle vanilla oak appears.

Palate: Quite smoky with herbal marc, but more noticeable corn. The edgy rye comes through intensifying the herbal marc notes but some light corn oil and wheat flake notes balance.

Finish: Good, spicy finish with an almost chilli pepper hotness and a fair amount of drying wood tannins.

Conclusion: A lovely rye heavy Bourbon with just the right amount of alcohol to intensify the spices. (Although, there is no rye in the mash bill!)

A.D Laws Four Grain Straight Bourbon 47.5%

60% Corn, 20% Colorado-grown wheat, 10% Colorado-grown rye, 10% Colorado-grown barley

Tasted: June 2016

Nose: Earthy and edgy with burnt toffee, bunt coffee and burnt herbs. A subtle fudge and perfumed orange note adds a degree of lightness but it becomes enormously herbal with time.

Palate: Youthful and herbal with an intense spiciness. Slightly treacly with drying, bitter, dark chocolate tannins and rye.

Finish: Intense and herbal but youthful and bitter.

Conclusion: Although I loved it’s intensity it could’ve done with some balancing sweetness.



Michter’s US*1 Sour Mash 43%

Tasted: Nov 2014

A very natural and crisp nose with a distinctive sour fruit note. There is plenty of sweet but herbal rye along with hints of earth and manure (I did say the nose was natural!) Not as heavily oaked as the straight rye with a touch of toast and coffee. With time it becomes very oily with plenty of spirit character becoming evident along with hints of thyme, aniseed and my, the rye has become very spicy!

The palate leads off with the taught rye. Lightly coffee’d with again plenty of oily spirit character and subtle oak. Hints of sour fruit and coffee come through on the middle adding to the ever present herbal notes. Beautifully balanced. The oak and corn add just the right amount of balancing sweetness. Long and herbal with a touch of cardamom and bitter chocolate in the finish.

Michter’s US*1 Sour Mash Whiskey 43%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2018

Subtle aromas of sour fruit with hints of corn and oak. Lovely, earthy intensity with developing herbal rye, toasted cereal and bitter, peppery dark chocolate.

The palate displays a seriously heavy, herbal rye character with subtle, sweet oak and corn. Lovely balance with hints of orange, tangerine, pepper and cereal, Long, citric and mineral finish with a slightly dry, chocolaty tannin after-taste.

Michter’s US*1 Small Batch Bourbon 45.7%

Tasted: Nov 2014

A big and full nose with plenty of slightly perfumed and toasted corn along with some sweet-ish rye and smoke. Like the straight rye it feels like it has some maturity with hints of cinnamon, coffee and violets. The oak sits pliantly beneath and adds a balancing vanilla character.

The palate is crisper and more spirit focused. The rye comes through quite strongly with a lovely peppery spiciness and some dark fruit and treacle. Quite drying on the middle but there is just about enough oak imput to balance. Very long and herbal with the oak finally coming through on the finish with hints of marzipan and almond. However the herbal rye rides it out. Yeehaw!

Michter’s US*1 Small Batch Bourbon 45.7%

Batch L15 A72

Tasted: Sept 2015

The nose displays a serious weight of herbal rye and chocolate spice which smoother the subtle corn and oak notes. Deep, spicy and very impressive

The palate shows a little more of the soft corn and oak, but the edgy herbal rye isn’t far away and powers through on the middle bring treacle and cinnamon spice notes too. Long, with the herbal rye notes lingering.

Michter’s US*1 Unblended American Whiskey 41.7%

Tasted: Nov 2014

The nose displays plenty of toffee, molasses and tar. Very oily with dried fruit and spice. The oak is pretty dense and muscular but again pliant. Hints of herbal rye and dusty spice come through, all set against this dark treacly background.

The palate is very soft and toffee’d with a touch of treacle. Very heavy on the oak as per the nose but the herbal rye begins to penetrate it along with a slight citrusy, spirit note. Mouth-filling and mouth-wateringly spicy finish with pepper grains exploding all over the place, but that violet tinged treacle balances. Wow, that is one hell of a finish!

Michter’s Single Barrel Bourbon 10 year old 47.2%

Tasted: Mar 2016

Nose: Crisp and citric but just this side of acerbic. Dry, woody rye with subtle herbal notes follow. The oak is relegated to a supporting role and with time a touch of cold tea leaves, gooseberry, cabbage and green wood shavings appear.

Palate Quite spirit driven with a little more oak, but not a huge amount. A lot more conventional than the nose would lead you to believe with crisp, herbal rye and developing bitter spice, treacle and caramel corn.

Finish: Very dry and oozing bitter spice, but there’s just enough vanilla oak to stop your lips puckering up!

Conclusion: An absolutely fascinating nose. I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing that the weirdness didn’t continue on to the palate.

Redemption High Rye Bourbon 46%

60% Corn, 38.2% Rye, 1.8% Malted Barley

Tasted: Aug 2014

Slightly dusty aromas with plenty of sweet, but herbal rye. A little corn, toffee’d oak and earth comes through but the focus is very much on the rye. Quite rich with hints of almost sherried dried fruit and edgy, almost grainy spices. 

The palate is quite sweet and corn led. Hmm, where’s that rye? It seems to be well hidden under the blanket of oak and corn. Plenty of soft vanilla on the middle with lightly herbal rye finally coming through on the finish. That rye makes the finish quite mouth-watering but to be honest I’m rather underwhelmed by it. Pleasant after-taste featuring hints of dark chocolate, sweet coffee and toffee.


Abraham Bowman Double Barrel Bourbon 50%

Sazerac Company, Inc./A. Smith Bowman Distillery/ Tasted: July 2014

Nose: Opens with soft, buttery oak with a little corn and huge chunks of sweet, violet rye. Lightly earthy with a touch of sweet pruney dried fruit and light herbal rye notes. Juicy and dense aromas give the nose a serious wow factor. With time a little dark chocolate, liquorice and bbq smoke appears.

Palate: Strangely a little on the shy side and not as complex as the nose would suggest, although it has a lovely suppleness. Opening with liquorice tainted oak followed by edgy, dark rye spices. The tannins and alcohol build and it becomes quite drying.

Finish: Long and dry with the oily corn coming through with a touch of spice. Still pretty oaky and damn those tannins grip!  

Conclusion: Ok, so the palate doesn’t quite have the complexity of the nose. But it’s a minor quibble!

1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon 46.85%

8 year old Bourbon distilled at the Barton Brand Distillery, owned by the Sazerac Company.

Tasted: July 2013

A big, sweet, demerara sugar and fudgy oak nose. Fleshy and a little flabby with banana fritter and toffee along with some developing spicy rye notes. The rye takes it’s time to fight it’s way through the corn and oak but it eventually adds some earthy notes along with some herbal, minty notes too. 

The palate is light, corn sweet and toffee’d with some lazy, soft oak vanillins and plenty of toffee’d popcorn. The palate has an almost leesy character along with some demerara sugar and light spices. Some bitter oak emerges on the middle along with the developing crisp spices. Quite oily now with the rye finally arriving to offset some of the sweetness. Very long and deceptively complex. It begins in such a laid back fashion you think that it is going nowhere but it finally perks up and picks up the pace when the rye arrives!


Tom Moore 40%

New Make Spirit – Very Old Bottle

Tasted: Apr 2013 

A light and floral nose which is a touch spirity. Lightly oiled corn, liquorice root notes are prominent. Edgy, a little unclean (natural?) and slightly soapy with hints of white vinegar and muted spices. 

The palate is soft, lightly floral with some corn meal notes. Lightly oiled with a straw-like uncleanliness. For 40% it certainly has a kick to it with some lightly bitter rye spices on the middle. Reasonable length with a drying, slightly metallic finish.

Old Forester 43%

72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley

Tasted: Mar 2014

The aromas are soft, sweet and quite earthy. Fairly corn fat with hints of crystallised orange, liquorice, treacle-toffee and honey. The spicy rye comes through with some vigour and eventually dominates with an edgy herbalness.

The palate opens with some milky vanilla cream custard and fat corn. A lot sweeter than the nose would suggest and the rye doesn’t quite have the same impact. Hints of toasted caramel, herbal rye and a building earthiness. Slightly dusty, herbal finish with an earthy after-taste.

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style 57.5%

Tasted: Oct 2016

Nose: Dusty, earthy, peppery spice with slightly bbq singed maple syrup coated apple, balsamic red cherries and herbal rye. Chunky yet subtle oak adds structure and late cinnamon notes.

Palate: Monumental chunks of grippy oak countered by a serious weight of juicy treacle and cherry fruit. Hints of both herbal and spicy rye follow along with rose petal marc, leather and a little alcohol related astringency.

Finish: A little masked but displaying some lovely silky marzipan, dark chocolate and rose petal marc notes.

Conclusion: A great dram to finish the evening with!

Old Forester ‘Birthday Bourbon’, 12 year old 48.5%

This year’s vintage release of Old Forester is crafted from an 82 barrel batch, selected from a single day of production. That day’s mash bill had 2% extra malt added to the fermenter resulting in the creation of a more nutty spirit,” said Chris Morris, Brown-Forman Master Distiller.

Nose: Dark aromas of midnight violets, tangy citrus and grippy rye. Light rose petal marc mingles with the most luscious butter French-ish oak imaginable. In saying that the nose is still quite austere and the oak quite light so the spirit revels in its light herbal coffee character. Water emphasises the orange notes and oils but lessens the already light oak.

Palate: Opens with the soft violety rye along with hints of burnt biscuit, caramel and toffee. Again not a huge amount of oak but the tannins build along with a quite pronounced rose petal marc note. Water makes the palate simpler and just like the nose.

Finish: Very dry and very bitter. Water doesn’t make much of a change.

Conclusion: A pleasant, well-made bourbon even if it is slightly lacking in the oak department. Quite bitter too.

Old Forester 12 year Old Birthday Bourbon 48.5%

Tasted: Jan 2015

Nose: Pungent aromas of edgy citrus laced oak with hints of mandarin and orange followed by thick corn and light gingery spiced rye. The oak becomes monumentally thick but the citrus keeps the aromas fresh. Very impressive.  

Palate: Slightly smoky with big, chunky oak. The citrus and alcohol balance and hints of corn, earth and spicy rye follow. The rye becomes increasingly herbal and the intensity is once again very impressive.  

Finish: Long and very spicy as the rye, following on the alcohol’s coat tails blows through the oak and corn. Very earthy and lightly oiled after-taste.  

Conclusion: Seriously intense and seriously impressive!


Woodford Reserve ‘Double Oaked’ 45.2%

Apparently the first barrel is crafted from oak that has been seasoned out of doors for nine months is completely toasted and charred on the inside. The second barrel has been toasted for more than twice as long as the first fill barrel and is then very lightly charred.

Nose: Intense and pungent aromas of linseed oil coated, hard as nails rye with hints of manure. The oak is blasted into oblivion by the oils! With time it does begin to settle down and shows a touch of demerara sugar and sub rum like dried fruit along with a touch of sweetness from the oak. The spices however are a bit grubby.

Palate: Dry, hard, unyielding brittle honeycomb candy to start, followed by building old wood tannins. It becomes exceedingly raw and bitter with a light linseed oil note.

Finish: More linseed oil and decaying rose petal marc. Rather hot finish too.

Conclusion: An interestingly oily nose but the palate is downright dirty and bitter. Feels a bit old and decrepit.

Woodford Reserve ‘Master’s Collection Four Wood’47.2%

The Four Wood has been aged in American oak, before being finished in barrels made of maple wood, Sherry wood and Port wood.

Nose: Pungent and oily with a serious hit of linseed! Lurking is some sweetly oaked fruit and pepper but there’s no escaping that oil. Quite raw and leafy as well.

Palate: Opens with some light toffee and linseed oil (surprise!) Quite alcoholic with plenty of bitter tannins and rose petal marc.

Finish: Intense and alcoholic.

Conclusion Pretty rough and charmless, neat it is bitter and alcoholic, diluted insipid and awful!

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish 45.2%

Tasted: Oct 2014

Nose: Huge slabs of sweet but herbal rye with fat corn and earthy, edgy burnt toffee oak. No shrinking violet this! With time some citrus, coal dust and midnight violet appears along with a touch of ground coffee and balsamic, raisinated fruit.

Palate: The palate is lighter and less complex than the nose suggests with a dominating burnt toffee character. Hints of oily corn and oily, youthful spirit come through with some herbal rye. The middle is a little austere.

Finish: Long and very spicy with the youthful, marc-like spirit lingering. Where has he oak disappeared to?

Conclusion: I was expecting a lot more for the palate given that very complex nose.

Woodford Reserve Masters Collection 1838 Style White Corn 45.2%

10th release, distilled using white corn instead of traditional yellow corn which allegedly complements the additional grains in the whiskey and allows for a sharper whiskey that’s lighter in body with a softer, sweeter, fruit-forward profile.

Tasted: Mar 2016

Nose: Generous marzipan oak to start, followed by mature, oxidised pruney, sub-Armagnac-esque dark fruits and hints of treacle. Very layered with crisp rye running through giving balance. Hints of muscavado sugar, sweet orange, feather-like corn and earth.

Palate: Ultra soft liquid orange and raisinated fruit liberally coated in treacle. Again crisp rye notes add balance and stops it becoming too sweet. Hints of dark coffee, chocolate, spice and slightly bitter oak appear.

Finish: Great finish! True it’s a little austere with bitter chocolate and a surprising hint of rose petal marc but the soft corn takes the edge off.

Conclusion: Copious eulogising is definitely deserved but to be brief. Wow!