Monday, November 13, 2017

Prizefight Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


I’m a fan of Irish whiskey and have slowly been adding those I enjoy to my library. When this bottle arrived, I was cautiously excited. The presentation is wonderful, with a beautiful expensive looking label on the front and a backstory that made me curious as to what the quality would be inside the bottle. After all, there’s only a handful of working distilleries in Ireland, and Pugilist Spirits is not one of them. This was obviously an upstart...

You can read the review in its entirety over at Bourbon & Banter. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

#30DaysofBourbon Review


September sure flew by fast. We’re at the end of Bourbon Heritage Month and my #30DaysofBourbon challenge.

Honestly, when I invited folks to join in on the fun, I was completely unprepared for the participation rate. It was wonderful to see all of the #30DaysofBourbon hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I tried to visit and like as many of them as possible, but there are thousands of these posts. I hope between my fellow Bourbon & Banter contributors and me; we caught a majority of them...

You can read the remainder of this article at Bourbon & Banter. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

#30DaysofBourbon Challenge (2017)


Bourbon is America’s native spirit. September is Bourbon Heritage Month. Attending the Kentucky Bourbon Festival is high up on my bucket list. Every year, I say next year will be the year I make it happen. I’ve been saying that for several years now. One day, it will happen.

A few years ago, realizing that my trip was still out of reach, I wanted to do something to help celebrate Bourbon Heritage Month. I came up with a 30 Days of Bourbon challenge...

You can read the remainder of this article over at Bourbon & Banter. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Teeling Brothers In Arms Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


It has been a while since I've sat out on the porch and enjoyed the relaxing qualities it offers. Part of that has been due to the summer humidity, part of that has been due to family needs. But, today is a gorgeous day weather-wise and, well, here I am.

I'm sipping on an Irish whiskey tonight. This beauty is from the Teeling brothers, Jack and Stephen. Yes, those Teeling brothers. It is called Brothers in Arms, a marriage of two single malts. It carries a 14-year age statement because that's the younger of the two, the older being 21 years. Brothers in Arms is sold exclusively by Vom Fass.

The appearance is bright gold. Swirling it around in the glass provides a thick rim of whiskey that sticks to the sides and develops thick legs.

The nose begins fruity, very much a crisp apple, which is followed by an abundance of malted barley. Inhaling through my lips brings honey and a tad of citrus.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin, but it also is only 84°, as such it is not unexpected. On the palate, flavors of toffee, nuts, chocolate, and honey shine through.

Finally, there's the finish. It is a little shocking to have the level of spice it has. It isn't what I'd classify as overwhelming but nonetheless is strong. It hangs at the top of my throat.

Overall, this is a very smooth drinker and is quite enjoyable. I'm happy to have it in my library. Cheers!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Knob Creek 25th Anniversary Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Today was my father-in-law’s celebration of life. It was an amazing day to honor a great man. From the 21-gun salute the American Legion presented to the outpouring of love, it was just humbling.

I wanted to pour something special, and this Knob Creek 25th Anniversary bottle has been waiting for an excuse to be opened.

The KC 25th is selected especially by Fred Noe, Jim Beam's Master Distiller. A few versions are floating around on store shelves; this particular one is bottled at 123.6° and was barreled on February 25, 2004, where it rested until 2017. It is unfiltered, and cask strength, with a caveat that it was "quality screened to remove any pieces of charred barrel wood from the liquid."

Appearance: In my glass, the appearance is an inviting, thick-looking, deep amber. Swirling it around in the Glencairn glass leaves a significant rim of whiskey that produces a limited number of legs that take their time dropping. In fact, they just kind of park there and never quite fall to the pool.

Nose: The nose is fruity, followed by caramelized sugar. Breathing the aroma through my lips brings almost a dry vanilla quality.

Palate: The first pass over my tongue proves the appearance. This has a very thick feel to it. Heavy vanilla and sweet fruit roll on the palate, leading to oak and a dash of pepper spice.

Finish: That pepper spice then begins to build on the finish. Like many KC 120s, this is very soft for a Bourbon of this proof. But, the finish also makes itself known and isn't lost in that softness.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Overall, this is an excellent Bourbon. However, so are many KC 120 store picks that can be had for a third of the cost. That isn't to say I'm disappointed, but it is hard to justify the $130 price tag on this one when you realize the aforementioned store picks.

If you're a massive fan of Knob Creek, this is undoubtedly a great addition to your collection. But I might spend that same money elsewhere for the average Bourbon fan. As such, it earns a Bar rating. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Store Pick 101: The Private Barrel


One of my favorite aspects of being a whiskey reviewer isn’t writing reviews. Oh, believe me, I love writing reviews. I try to compose one at least weekly. But what I enjoy best is helping folks new to the Wonderful World of Whiskey learn everything they can. I think that’s because I had great people guiding me when I was new to the scene.

Many of you have heard the terms Private Barrel or Store Pick. While these words are commonly used amongst experienced whiskey drinkers, they may not mean much to those who are not. I’m about to tell you everything you’ll ever want to know about the Private Barrel or Store Pick...

You can read the rest of this article at Bourbon & Banter. Cheers!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

George Dickel No. 8 Classic Recipe Tennessee Whisky Review & Tasting Notes


I've never reviewed Tennessee Whisky before, mostly because I rarely drink it. I have been in a very #DrinkCurious mindset; lately, an opportunity has presented itself, and, well, here we are.

There is a lot of controversy as to whether or not Tennessee Whisky meets the standards of Bourbon. I remember asking Jim Rutledge of Four Roses what his thoughts were; he gave me a definitive "No," but he also had a huge smile when he said it.

I can tell that Tennessee Whisky meets every standard required to be labeled as Bourbon.

Today I'm pouring George Dickel No. 8 Classic Recipe. It has been a few years since I tasted anything Dickel. And now, it is time for the review.

Appearance: The appearance is dark amber. Swirling it around in my Glencairn glass leaves thin, watery legs that quickly drop back into the pool of whisky.

Nose: The aroma is heavy citrus that then becomes reminiscent of Old English furniture polish. It is pleasant at first but then causes me to wrinkle my nose. Behind that is some faint oak. Breathing through my open mouth yields many levels of unpleasantness.

And, I will do something I have never done before in a review because I want to be fair. I've already let this rest several minutes, and I'm letting this sit another ten minutes before continuing.

That extra resting period was what was needed. That up-front citrus remained, and behind that, apple or pear. The oak is not coming through. Inhaling through my mouth brought more apple or pear.

Palate: The first run on my palate gives crisp apple, honey, and mild wood. There's not much else. A second sip brings more wood that becomes very dry, and that apple is muted with mint in its place. The mouthfeel is creamy and amazingly smooth.

Finish: The finish is all front and consists of spice and dry wood. It lingers for several minutes. Some may think there is a lot of burn in that finish, but in my opinion, that's just dry.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: At 80°, George Dickel No. 8 is easy to have in your mouth, it has a welcoming texture, but I'm not enjoying the flavor. As such, I can't recommend this, even with its attractive $20 price point. It takes a Bust. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Making the Case to #DrinkCurious


Do you like a whiskey because you’re expected to like it? Do you hate another because you’ve not heard anything good about it? Are you a fanboy of a certain distiller (or producer), and absolutely anything that comes from them gets a free pass? Have you had a bad glass of whatever, and you’ve judged the entire product line based on your bad experience?

I keep thinking back to Old Weller Antique. My wife was kind enough to buy me a bottle several years ago. She was in the business and told it was very decent. I tried it. I hated it. I mean, I really, really hated it, to the point where I poured the remainder down the drain several months later because we were moving and, well, I didn’t want to go cross country with something I couldn’t stand...

You can read this article in its entirety over at Bourbon & Banter. Cheers!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Welcome to the Whiskeyfellow blog!

Hello and welcome!  I am Whiskeyfellow and I appreciate you joining me.  For those who have never read one of my whiskey reviews, I'm not new at this.  I'd like to provide you with a little background on who I am, what I do, and how I rate whiskeys.

For the most part, this blog will be a blog of my whiskey reviews. I will, at times, offer advice and news.  I'll also post links to my events.  I review all types of whiskeys and whiskey-related merchandise. I don't review anything else (well, that's not true, I do have a Yelp! account).

I host a Facebook page where nearly everything I've written has been cataloged. You can also purchase tickets for my whiskey workshops, tastings and Whiskeyfellow merchandise there.    You can also find me on Instagram, where you can find abbreviated reviews due to restrictions in the amount of text.

I am a Senior Contributor at Bourbon & Banter, a Top 10 whiskey website.  I love B&B, it gave me my first real exposure to a larger audience and introduced me to the online world.

There are a variety of ways folks can rate whiskeys. In my opinion, reviews and ratings should be simple and easy for readers to understand. You will never, ever see references to things you can't wrap your head around, such as whiskeys reminding someone of lilac from grandma's attic or having flavors of completely obtuse things that 99% of whiskey drinkers have never tried. My goal is for the reader to relate to my reviews and leave with as clear an understanding as possible.

Clarity doesn't end there. I have a very simple rating system that comes from Bourbon & Banter and that's the Bottle, Bar, or Bust system.  Bottle means buy it, this is a great whiskey and something you'll be happy to own. Bar means it is not something that may not be worth buying but should definitely be tried so you can judge for yourself. Bust means if you see it on the shelf, slowly set the bottle back on the shelf, turn around, and run away.  I've written more details on this rating system and why it is superior to other rating systems at Bourbon & Banter and you can access that here.

I enjoy whiskeys from all price points. For many years, I have run a very serious #RespectTheBottomShelf campaign. There are some amazing value whiskeys on that bottom shelf. At the same time, there are some whiskeys that absolutely belong there. On the flip side, I've had some completely awful, expensive whiskeys and some delicious ones. My best advice to anyone is to never buy a whiskey on hype or price. Know what you're getting into, otherwise, you'll find yourself spending a lot of money and suffering from a lot of buyer's remorse.

Finally, my reviews are honest. Many times, distilleries or representatives will send me whiskeys to review. Sending me free whiskey is awesome and I'm always excited when one shows up on my doorstep. But, I will not improve a rating because someone sent me a free sample. If a whiskey is a great whiskey, it will earn a positive rating. And, if a whiskey is mediocre or substandard, expect a rating to reflect that.

Thank you again for joining me.  If you have questions, by all means, please ask.  Cheers!