Region – Kentucky – Special pick by and for Gordon’s Fine Wines– Single Barrel # 514 Rick House “T” – Floor 6, 55% ABV (multiply ABV x 2 to get “proof” – I really prefer the use of ABV, less multiplication, and more direct – come on America!!!).
Spoiler alert — I really enjoyed this single barrel pick. It was the first RRSB that ticked all the boxes (as far as ‘Murrican whiskeys go) for me.
On the nose — A hot, dank, and damp warehouse with wafts of charred oak in the air.
Heavily spiced, and warmed apple sauce.
Getting pop corn (like with the Warehouse barrel pick) but the corn has yet to be popped. Whole kernel, yet buttered, and it’s specifically the smell of the taste of these whole kernels.
Baking spices, damp earth maraschino cherries.
In the mouth — Corn bread with jalapeño, and a honey glaze. Very sweet, yet spicy verging on hot.
Maraschino sauce over melting vanilla ice cream.
Remember that maraschino sauce I mentioned? (It was literally the last sentence – if you don’t remember it, you better sober up and come back to re-read.)
The mouth feel is *that* thick.
Tasting notes aside, this is an easy drinkin’ whiskey.
Back to tasting notes (broad brush), there’s some wonderful rye spice as we near the finish.
Finish — Very long with specific notes of sugar & lime on a white kernel corn cob.
In sum — Like I said, I really enjoyed this whiskey. It’s an easy drinker. There really was not need to dissect this as it’s the type of whiskey that you could mindlessly enjoy. At the same time, it can be picked apart to discover wonderfully delicious notes.
Region – Kentucky – Special pick by Gene at Warehouse Liquors – Single Barrel # 922 Rick House “N” – Floor 5-3-3, 55% ABV (multiply ABV x 2 to get “proof” – I really prefer the use of ABV, less multiplication, and more direct – come on America!!!).
Number of bottles ?? Cost: $55
I bought this bottle on the suggestion of Warehouse Liquors store proprietor, Gene. If you’re ever in Chicago, Warehouse Liquors is a sight for sore whisk(e)y eyes. Like Binny’s, Kenwood, Antioch (and many others… the list could go on, really), Warehouse Liquors is a whisk(e)y destination that helps put Chicago on the map. Beyond the store itself (300+ ‘Murrican whiskeys, and 650+ single malt whiskies, Scotch and otherwise), it is Gene himself that puts Warehouse liquors on the map. A fountain of knowledge, that one.
Ok, so, the whiskey… I have never, ever, been a fan of the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrels. Most people love these releases but it tends to not fit my flavor profile. Each to their own, right?
However, Gene is one of those in the whisky industry that I trust. His knowledge, his taste, etc… He’s been able to gauge my palate pretty well, and he’s done so in a fairly quick fashion. So, when he suggested I buy this RR SB that he picked, I said no (the first time). Did I mention that I just don’t like RR SBs?
Then I came back to Chicago this week, and he pressed me again. Who am I to say no to someone a second time? Sometimes you just gotta say…
So, against my better judgement based on the releases I prefer to stay aware from, but in favor of my judgement on Gene, his selections, and suggestions based on his knowledge of my palate, I pressed ahead and got a bottle.
My thoughts? Funny you should ask…
On the nose — The first note is big, and it is buttered popcorn (and not a bowl of cherries, as I assume to be smacked with when it comes to the RR SBs).
The nose is a little hot, which is to be expected (potentially) given the 55 ABV%. After a couple minutes in the glass, the heat goes away (far away), and I detect cooked tangerine skins, citrus pith, crushed vanilla pods and soft oak.
Surprisingly, given that this is a #4 char (which is a heavy char, by the way), I’m not smacked in the face with oak. This makes me happy as the grains are fully present here, as are bourbon soaked cherries (subtle note, and yum!).
There’s a cologne note here, too. Elegant. Not Axe, not old spice, something old worldy.
Wow, now there’s a note of turkish delights, too (rose water, pistachio and powdered sugar). Call me happy so far!
In the Mouth — *Easy* entry, oily mouthfeel. Slightly herbaceous but balanced by candied orange peel and stewed fruits.
I can not stress this enough – the mouthfeel is fantastically unctuous.
Because this is not smacking you with oak, this whiskey demands that you focus on the grains. So, let’s do that, shall we?
There’s a corn sweetness here that makes me pine for autumn. Subtle rye spice, hints of caraway. Maraschino cherries (real homemade ones, not that jarred stuff you find everywhere).
Finish — Hints of citrus, spice and soft oak. Slightly tannic, and medium in length.
In sum — Either I’m starting to dig RR SBs or I’ve found two this year that I like (the other being from Gordon’s Fine Wines out of MA – review to follow shortly-ish).
What I really enjoyed about this one was that it wasn’t all wood and cherries. This is complex, and a fine pick that brings you out of your bourbon-comfort zone, and challenges you. Not that bourbons aren’t challenging. Rather, the oak tends to make flavors dense. And with this one, it’s all about the grain with oak as a component instead of a dictator. This one is a drinker and worth the $$ paid, no doot aboot it.
Thanks for pushing me, Gene. You were right. Great barrel selection!
Rum has always been a go-to for me during Passover. That or Tequila. As much as I like those spirits I end up missed malt whisky for a solid 8 days of Passover. During Passover observant Jews are not permitted to eat or drink anything that has been made with barley/wheat/rye, etc… Nothing grain based.
While enjoyable, the above mentioned spirits are simply not whisky and there is no spot-on alternative. I think, however, I may have just found a spirit that is the next best thing for drinking during Passover.
Note: this is not a kosher for Passover certified spirit but it’s made from Baking Grade Molasses, Evaporated Sugar Cane Juice and Water. Zero grain so, it’s good for me!
On the nose — It all starts off with a sweet and damp pack of Winston cigarettes and burning medjool dates which has been tightly wrapped with a a few hundred horse mane hairs. Does that make sense to you? After a few sips of 68% ABV rum, it just may!
A New England brush fire on a late October day. Heavy brown sugar with the scent of some of the nicest brown bread with rum raisins. Molasses (of course) and a touch anise. At 68%, it’s so easy to nose though it’s a tad dense yet, in a good way.
A couple more notes before I move to the palate portion of the tasting – toasted oak covered in apple sauce with heavy brown sugar and a touch of cinnamon.
On the mouth — Pow! Blam! Bash! and a host of other 60’s Batman TV show fight scene words… This punches your tongue and wakes you up.
You’d think this were a sherried malt. While not very oily there are loads of notes that include (though not limited to) figgy pudding, cola cubes, date pits, cherry skins and cigar wrapper (dark).
Bruised strawberries and a slight hint of wintergreen (really?!). Prune and prune filled butter cookies. Wow. Yummy.
Finish — Medium in length with some light brown sugar and more of that wintergreen.
In sum – I’ve had my fair share of rums, most of which were 40-46% ABV. I’ve had a decent amount of over-poof ones, too. I’m fairly confident in saying that this is the best over-proof/cask strength rum I’ve had to date. I could add water to this and I’m sure it’d be a bit of a water rat. However, it’s so damn good at full cask strength so I’m going to remain a purist.
Well worth your time and attention, people! Find a bottle. Find it and love it.
Special thanks to BD for the ample review sample!!
If I had a million dollars for every time Glenmorangie came out with a Special Private Edition whisky, I’d be five million dollars richer! Also, I’d use a good chunk of that cash to purchase more of these Private Edition Glenmos (though they tend to be fairly priced between $79-$99 whenever they’re released so I’d still have a good chunk of change left over for, well, more whisky!).
This bottle will run you about $99, maybe a little more depending on who you buy from.
So yes, this is the 5th release of the Glenmorangie Special Private Edition whiskies and **spoiler alert** this one is my favorite from the bunch.
A little unnamable birdie told me that this whisky is made up of:
60% of the vatting = 1999 distillate aged in ex-bourbon casks until 2008 then finished 5 years in Clos de Tart casks. Total age = 14yrs
40% of vatting = 1995 distillate aged in ex-bourbon casks until 2005 then finished in fortified Rasteau casks for 8 years. Total age = 18yrs
So, while this is an NAS (no age statement) bottling, it’s not immature whisky by any stretch of the imagination!
Furthermore, this is bottled at a respectable 46% ABV and non-chill-filtered. Kudos to Glenmorangie for sticking to these quality requirements.
Let’s give is a taste now…
On the nose — So far it smells like my Tuesday morning: massive presence of red wine gums and hazelnut coffee grounds. (Please don’t tell my wife I sneak some wine gums for breakfast or my tea-snob friends that I indulge in the occasional flavored coffee.)
Burgundy soaked peach halves are an obvious and welcome note but I did not expect the presence of Spanish olives, pimento and all (am I sensing manchego cheese too or just getting hungry?).
Deep and dark chocolate with some fresh cut roses. Was Dr. Bill Lumsden thinking of a Valentine’s Day whisky when he created this one? Hollow out those dark chocolates and fill them with raspberry jam.
Not sure if you’re getting it yet but, boy, this is a decedent dram! At least on the nose it is. Time to put it in my mouth. (Hey Hatton, keep it clean! Pfft.)
On the mouth — Mouth-filling-ly dense, rich and oily. Wow, this is a big whisky! The heart is pure Glenmorangie but it’s layered so elegantly with flavors of citrus and clove, sugar cooked pecans, a touch of dark caramel and a dash of toasted and spicy oak.
The scents and flavors are very well integrated.
Let’s sip again (no water needed here, folks!): That raspberry jam from the nose is still here and the oil on the tongue only helps. Add some cranberry to that raspberry mix and perhaps a little more spice.
Loads of stewed red fruits and warming potpourri.
Finish — My one complaint: the finish is a bit on the short side however the final flavor is that of red wine soaked blood oranges and, boy, that’s a nice way to end the experience. Well I suppose you can just take another sip, right? Right.
In sum – I know there were some people that went Ga-Ga over the last special release (Ealanta) but this is, in my honest opinion, a far superior whisky. This is a whisky that is very sure of what it is supposed to be.
The story stays true from beginning to end and the experience on the whole was a whole lot of enjoyment and fun. If you can get a bottle, get a bottle. You will not be disappointed. This is perfect as an evening or morning warmer-upper.
**Special thanks to DB for the sample and to Billy Lumsden for another fine creation. Well done, sir!
What’s new this year is a now standard whisky: the 17yo DoubleWood. Essentially, an older version of the 12yo. At $40 (give or take) I’ve always found the 12yo DoubleWood to be one of the best buy whiskies out there. With this one jumping nearly $90 in cost, let’s see what it does; what the differences are…
On the nose – Kip Winger says she’s 17 but she don’t smell 17.
(Yes, I know that sounded a bit too off but, come on, you know who you’re reading folks!)
This juice has the youthful quality of light bright fruit upon first sniff (pears, which are slight, as well as green plums).
A touch of rain water and then some sherry notes pop in: dates, mainly, then a seemingly perfumed cola…
Nosing after a few sips and the wood starts to come through in a welcome way.
On the mouth – Packed full of light flavors: Honey (“The” signature Balvenie character), light wood spice, white/yellow cherries.
Insanely approachable whisky. Easy going. Almost too easy.
Sugared breakfast cereal (thinking Alpha-Bits, to be sure). Soft mouthfeel.
Not very viscous but again, easy.
Finish – Biscuits, buttered with honey and medium wood spice.
In sum – For my tastes, I think I like the 12yo DoubleWood over this 17yo. Both are fine whiskies to be sure but I think the 12yo is a more challenging whisky and I’m one that likes to be challenged.
For those in the audience that is looking for what is quite possibly the easiest drinking whiskies I’ve had in a while, this baby is for you.