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!
Springbank 15yo is a whisky that I find myself revisiting over and over and over again. I think it’s perhaps one of my favorite whiskies, like… ever.
While I may revisit it many times over, I’ve not revisited it from a let-me-disect-it-and-post-it-on-my-blog point of view. I just spend a lot of time enjoying it. Isn’t that what whisky is all about anyway? Enjoyment?
So, here we are almost 4 years later. Let’s see what the 2015 version is like.
On the nose — Lots of lime and orange marmalade (mostly orange) at first but it’s got a veil of peat it’s hiding behind.
Blue slate wet with rain water and a stick of hard and powdered chewing gum you found from that package of Topps baseball cards released in 1980-something.
A hint of mint but a good dose of coastal breeze and dying beach grass.
On the mouth — Chewy and thick with bold notes of Duerr’s coarse cut orange marmalade.
A touch of peat is present but so is some now-cold potpouri.
There’s a touch of oak to let you know you’re dealing with a 15yo whisky but the oak’s true impression upon the juice is that of dark fruits, spiced citrus drops and still more marmalade.
Oh, and burning sticks as we reach the now drying finish.
Finish — Drying and pleasant with a good deal of orange spice with the tiniest hint of clove.
In sum — What’s difficult to explain about this whisky — about all Springbank whiskies — it’s how unique the spirit itself is. Yes, there are lots of notes here that you’ll find in other whiskies but you’ll never taste a more unique spirit than Springbank. It’s too difficult to put it into words, sorry. If you’ve never had Springbank before, it’s worth seeking out.
If I could, I would likely drink the $(*& out of this whisky every single day. It’s that good.
Today’s review is of Lost Spirit’s Cuban Style rum. This one is bottled at the over-proof ABV of 75.5%, or, 151 proof.
There are a few 151 rums out there. Most of these bottlings are ones I stay away from as they just tend to be bottles of pure unadulterated hellfire.
If I do have any 151 rum, I’ll most likely find it sitting on top of a Mai Tai.
I never though I’d see myself pouring and analyzing a 151 rum but given that the Lost Spirits Navy Style rum (bottled at 68% ABV) was down right wonderful, I am going to give this one a go.
So, here we go.
On the nose — This does not nose like you’d expect something that’s 75.5% ABV would (meaning that, you’re face does not explode upon getting within 6 inches of the glass). Actually, it’s quite approachable and there is little, if any, stinging alcohol vapor shooting up your nostrils.
I am immediately taken by the scent of melting caramel and nutty toffee. There’s a hint of wintergreen or menthol in the background and sassafras tea.
Whoppers malted milk balls with a side of high-milk hot cocoa with a candy cane (purely for stirring purposes, mind you).
Crackling’ oat bran cereal.
On the mouth — Ok, here is where the heat kicks in. Yes, it’s a hot Fother Mucker but, like George T Stagg, it’s bursting with flavor.
Crushed winterberries, sugar cookies and pine needles (slight). Cellophane wrapped brown sugar with hints of pecan syrup flowing into a Bailey’s ice luge.
I’m getting echoes of smoke and good notes of cooked & browning butter, butter scotch and if Harry Potter and the gang were sipping, I’m sure they’d say they detected Butter Beer.
Finish — Quite creamy, nutty with dashes of both milk and white chocolate and it’s a long, really long finish.
In sum — You know, Lost Spirits makes some nice and unusual American single malt whiskey (really nice, actually). But when they put their minds to rum, pure magic happens.
I’ve had some fine rums/rhums, aged both young and old and I’d have to say that Lost Spirits rums are up there with the best of the best with regards to flavor, balance and complexity. And, $40 for a bottle?! Holy Crap. Deals *do* still exist in this crazy world of brown spirits!
Region – Upstate New York – $40-50 for a 375ml bottle
This here post was something I started just over a year ago. I often find myself traveling throughout Upstate New York and when I do, I like to stop in to the Tuthilltown Distillery. I do this in part to see the non-stop updates to the distillery (it never ends there!). I also like to say hello to Ralph and Gable Erenzo. Two super cool and humble guys that really want to just make and sell good hooch.
On one of my visits last year they happen to have a new release: Maple Cask Rye Whiskey. “Well, hello there!” I thought. I had to have a bottle. Actually, I had to have two bottles so I bought two bottles. I figured I’d have one to drink and one to keep. I meant to review my drinking bottle shortly after the purchase but hey, they’re only 375ml in size and I drank/shared it all before I could review it. Dang it!
Wouldn’t you know it but a year passed and Tuthilltown decided to do a 2nd release of the Maple Cask Rye Whiskey. I heard about this in advance of its release this time and drove out there expecting to get a couple of bottles. I totally jumped the gun. I got to the distillery the day they were bottling rather than the day they were selling the bottles. Oy.
Gable, being the gent he is, let me have a taste of the whiskey from their holding tank and it was exactly what I had hoped it would be: delicious. Gable, again being the gent that he is, also sent me a sample bottle for review (thanks again, Gable!).
Being that I had this 2014 bottle for review I figured I should crack open the bottle I bought in 2013 to do a side by side. That brings us here now.
Here are my reviews of the 2013 & 2014 Maple Cask Rye Whiskey from Tuthilltown Spirits:
On the nose – Thick and warm Weetabix covered in sweetened cinnamon and nutmeg.
Sugar daddy pop gives birth to a box of sugar babies (would that make it a sugar mama?). If you mixed slightly effervescent vanilla cream soda and RC cola, that’d be a perfect note. Let’s just, for the sake of argument, say that that combo exists.
On the mouth – Red hots meets high-milk chocolate meets maple sugar candies meets cola syrup meets honey sticks meets bit o’honey meets Mary Janes (the candy, not the stuff you smoke).
All of this wrapped up in a solid and oily mouthfeel – all of this starts to dry your palate a bit as we get to the finish..
Finish – Red hots and rye spice continue on for a nice long finish.
On the nose – Not as heavy as the 2013 version. Lightly sugared celery root (another odd combo my brain is creating here). Muesli, heavy on the oats (powder and all) and golden raisins instead of the regular dark raisins.
Mead!! Lots of honey wine on this nose. Very different from the 2013 version so far. After about 10 minutes in the glass I smell Douglas Fur wreaths.
On the mouth – Not as complex as the 2013 version. Wait a sec. I spoke too soon! Salted beef jerky along the sides of the tongue followed by browning apples.
Maple cooked sausages (where the heat from the pan starts to make the maple syrup burn & solidify a bit). Some of those honey sticks I got on the 2013 version, albeit maple honey sticks! Decent mouthfeel. Not overly dry but not overly oily, smack dab in the middle.
Finish – Lasts with some honey and cracked black pepper and a touch of nuttiness.
In sum — Those other *flavored* whiskeys on the market are really for mixing and for the non-whiskey drinker.
These are the real deal as they are not flavored whiskeys but whiskeys matured in casks that previously held maple syrup.
These are Maple whiskeys for people that actually like and know whiskey. Well done, Tuthilltown folks! You know how to construct good whiskeys. Nay, great whiskeys.