Thursday, September 29, 2016

Elmer T. Lee Commemorative Edition Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Tonight I'm pouring something so many go crazy for: Elmer T Lee. But, this isn't any normal Elmer T Lee, this is the special Commemorative Edition!

You may wonder if this is just a fancy bottle, or if there is truly something special about the Commemorative Edition. This is 93°, whereas the standard expression is 90°. Both are Single Barrel Bourbons.

ETL is made from Buffalo Trace Mashbill #2, which is the higher Rye recipe. Other labels born from this mash are Blanton's, Rock Hill Farms, Ancient Age and Hancock's Reserve. I'm a big fan of Blanton's and Rock Hill Farms. I've never had the other two.

Mashbill isn't everything, it is merely the beginning. Other factors are the barrel itself, aging, and even where in the rickhouse the barrel rests. Single Barrel differs from barrel to barrel. Small Batch gives more consistency.

Elmer T Lee is one of those high-demand, hard to find whiskeys. You're lucky to see it in the wild.

When poured into a glass, the color is a beautiful gold amber. Swirl it around, and it leaves long, inviting legs. My nose picks up caramel, vanilla, toffee and butterscotch. In fact, the butterscotch can best be described as heavy.

When I bring the glass to my lips and inhale, I'm bringing in that vanilla and butterscotch. That makes my mouth water. Once it hits my tongue and palate, there is honey, light fruit and oak. It would have been great to have that butterscotch, but, alas, it was not meant to be. The finish is light, warm and smooth, with a bit of spice at the end that lingers a bit.

I don't understand the huge appeal of ETL. When I mention this, people look at me like I am nuts. This is not a bad whiskey. In fact, it is a decent pour. What I am saying is there is no "wow" factor for me, nothing that would cause me to hit every liquor store possible to locate a bottle. If I had $37 burning a hole in my pocket, I could find several other comparable or even superior Bourbons. $35 - $40 is a great sweet spot for Bourbon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ezra B Single Barrel Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


This is Ezra B Single Barrel. It is aged 12 years and bottled at 99°. This particular bottle is from Barrel 603 and was dumped on June 2015.

While the label suggests this is bottled by the Ezra Brooks Distilling Company out of St. Louis, this label is owned by Luxco, who, incidentally, is building a brand new distillery in Kentucky.

The nose presents sweet hardwood and vanilla, and even a hint of citrus. The appearance is a golden orange. Swirling in my Glencairn glass shows me thin legs that do hold.

When I bring the glass to my lips, the barrel's char comes to the forefront. The mash is a high Rye content, which is my preferred mash profile, and offers a certain spiciness. There is a smidge of an oiliness to it as well. I wish I could say this had a complex flavor, but it doesn't, and my bottle has been oxidizing about nine months.

The finish sits on my tongue long after the swallow, and it is the wood and spice that hangs on, with that oily texture on the top of my tongue.

There are some who suggest this is Elijah Craig 12 in a single barrel release. I find that very difficult to believe. I have various incarnations of Elijah Craig 12, with a couple Barrel Proof releases as well as the small batch. Yes, Luxco sources this. Yes, every single barrel has its own uniqueness. But, a profile should be similar and this isn't.

I find this an interesting pour, but not one I would run out to buy again. For the $36 investment, I can do better.