Saturday, September 19, 2020

The GlenDronach Kingsman Edition 1989 Vintage Scotch Review & Tasting Notes


I'm just going to come out and say it. This is, to date, the most expensive whiskey I've ever reviewed:  $1299.00 a bottle.  For the record, I've tasted more expensive liquor but never reviewed it. Today I'm drinking a Highland Scotch: The Kingsman Edition 1989 Vintage, from The GlenDronach.

The Kingsman is a collaboration between Master Blender Dr. Rachel Barrie and The Kingsman franchise director Matthew Vaughn. It was inspired by a bottle of whiskey at the distillery - the oldest one they had - a 29-year Single Malt from 1913.

"This expression is deep in meaning, paying homage to fallen friends who bravely fought during WWI, and the depth of character and integrity shared by both The GlenDronach and the Kingsman agency. This is none other than a whisky truly fit for a King’s Man." - Dr. Rachel Barrie

As a Single Malt, this is 100% malted barley. It was distilled in 1989, then aged for 29 years in Oloroso sherry casks. Then, it was finished in Pedro Ximénez casks before being bottled at 50.1% ABV. A total of 3052 bottles exist and they hit the shelves on September 1st.

Now that you know all of the facts, it is time to #DrinkCurious.  But, first, I'd like to thank The GlenDronach for providing me with a sample of The Kingsman in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let's get to it, shall we?

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, at the vantage point I'm looking at it, it looks like motor oil. Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought that would be used in a whisky review.  This is the deepest, darkest whisky I've ever laid eyes on. Naturally-colored or not, caramel coloring doesn't do this. This is a result of being in the barrel for 29 years. The photo below is not run through any filter.

It left no rim on the glass at all. No matter how many times I tried to generate one, it never happened. It was just a curtain of alcohol that fell back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:   If you hung out at a fruit stand, you'd understand what I'm about to describe. Fig. Apricot. Raisin. Plum. Citrus. But, it wasn't all fruit. Dark chocolate and cinnamon dust hid beneath all that. When I inhaled through my mouth, fig and vanilla rolled across my palate.

Palate:  As I tipped the glass to my lips, it was thick and luxurious like syrup. As far as flavor, that orchard just kept slamming my tastebuds. Raisin, fig, plum, vanilla, and brown sugar kept the front of my palate busy. Come mid-palate, the brown sugar became molasses. Almond and orange peel were there, too. Then, on the back, I found dark chocolate, cocoa, clove, nutmeg, and then pear.

Finish:  Raisin was the obvious flavor, and that was followed by berries, oak, and nutmeg. But, then, it was like I shoved a huge piece of rum-soaked fruitcake in my mouth. The good kind of fruitcake, not the rock-hard crap that nobody is willing to open. There was a smidge of gingerbread. And, just before I thought things were done, the pear reappeared.  This was a long-lasting finish that just wouldn't give up.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I write for the everyman. That's my schtick. The average whiskey drinker isn't spending $1300 on a bottle of booze. A review needs a rating. 

I have no idea what a pour of this might cost at a bar. A couple hundred? Who the hell knows. But, this was a damned good whisky. It is absolutely memorable. Have I tried a better Scotch? I've had 40+-year-old Scotch, which was amazeballs, but this is just beyond words. This is not just a drink, this is an experience.

If you have deep pockets and want a really special pour, this one earns a Bottle. If you have an opportunity to try The Kingsman, whether a bottle or a dram at a bar, go for it. Your wallet will be lighter but I guarantee you won't be unhappy. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Still & Oak Straight Rye Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


If you've followed my whiskey reviews for long, you know that my goal is to always be fair. Part of that impartiality is to not make unfair comparisons. As an example, it is unfair to compare young Ryes to older ones.  They're really two distinct categories.  Oh, not legally or anything like that, this is just my preference.  Younger Ryes are often robust and have sharp notes, whereas their older siblings are more mature and mellowed. The same thing with Bourbons - I expect certain things from younger Bourbons and I expect something different from those that are more aged.  It just isn't realistic to make comparisons within each type of American whiskey.

Today, I'm reviewing Still & Oak Straight Rye.  This is a younger Rye, aged two years, and distilled by Great Lakes Distillery in Milwaukee. If you're unfamiliar with Great Lakes, it was founded in 2004 as Wisconsin's first distillery since Prohibition. The goal of distiller Guy Rehorst was "a commitment to making truly original craft spirits that have 'a little Wisconsin' in every drop."

With regard to this Rye, everything about it is Wisconsin-sourced. It starts with Wisconsin rye grain, both malted and unmalted.  That's mashed, fermented, distilled, and aged on-site in #4-char, 53-gallon barrels and is non-chill filtered before being bottled at 90°.  A 750ml bottle will run about $34.99.

I'd like to thank Great Lakes Distillery for providing me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. And now, let's #DrinkCurious

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this Rye appeared as coppery. It left a thick rim on the wall and very heavy legs to drop back to the pool.

Nose:  This starts as an obviously young Rye with a very minty nose. Oak, rye bread, dill, and ginger were hidden beneath the mint.  When I inhaled through my mouth, dill rolled across my tongue.

Palate:  The mouthfeel was a bit oily and had a medium body. On the front of my palate, strong black pepper, and equally strong black coffee woke my mouth up. As it moved down to mid-palate, I discovered dark chocolate, plum, and oak.  Then, on the back, it was a serious note of tobacco leaf.

Finish: A little rollercoastering happened. At first, it was dry oak, then a blast of citrus, and finally, smoky barrel char. These were all distinct, separate notes. The finish itself was long-lasting, but that citrus was an eye-opener because it was out of place.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  There is no pretending this is an older, mature Rye.  It fits its profile of a younger one nicely, yet offers some unique experiences, particularly on the finish. I liked the big, bold opener.  I found the citrus on the finish fun. The fact that craft whiskey these days averages about $50.00, this one is very affordable. I'm tossing a Bottle rating at it, I think you'll enjoy it, too. Cheers!

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

Monday, September 14, 2020

Fresh Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Classic and aged is something many folks look for in whiskey. Fresh and new is something many reviewers get excited over. It isn't that we don't love the tried-and-true stuff (because we absolutely do), rather, we're also looking for something cutting edge and not quite on everyone's radar. As such, when a sample of Fresh Bourbon arrived at my doorstep, I was both curious and excited.

What, exactly, is Fresh Bourbon?  It started in 2017 by founders Sean and Tia Edwards. Their goal was to create unique whiskeys and other distilled spirits, as well as opening their own distillery, Fresh Bourbon Distilling Company. As we all know, building a distillery takes time, and while the campus is currently under construction, they're contract distilling with Hartfield & Co. Distillery in Paris, Kentucky. 

What makes their idea fresh? According to the Kentucky Senate, the Edwards have been recognized as the owners of the first African-American owned distillery in the state. That's not just fresh, that's huge.

The Edwards didn't want to go the route of what many craft distillers do: they were not going to source their whiskey. They use their own proprietary mash of 60% corn, 20% honey malt, 10% malted wheat, and 10% malted rye. It was run through a 500-gallon pot still. To bring things to market sooner, they're using small barrels - six gallons or less. This first batch aged in a 5-gallon new, charred-oak barrel for four months. 

Before you freak out, a five-gallon barrel is really small. Anything inside that will age quickly, probably a lot faster than you'd ever imagined.

Fresh Bourbon is packaged at 95° in 750ml bottles that will set you back $42.00.  However, currently, you have to pre-order it from their website as those bottles won't be available until late 2020 or early 2021. Pre-ordering will continue until the end of September. This leads to a question: Should you buy now and taste later? It is time to #DrinkCurious, and I'd like to thank the Edwards for sending me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. 

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Fresh Bourbon presented as a medium-orange amber. Frankly, it could pass for a variety of Bourbons you'd see on any store shelf. I couldn't get it to generate a rim on the wall. Each time I attempted, the Bourbon would immediately fall down with speedy, thicker legs. This is a glass that I've used plenty of times for reviews and I know it does not have a hydrophobic coating. 

Nose:  Things continued to be unusual with the aroma:  it was a blast of smoked honey. Corn and floral notes joined the club. I also found sawdust. But, the honey carried over those notes. When I inhaled the vapor through my lips, it was sweet corn.

Palate: A light-bodied texture opened to flavors of honeysuckle and corn. Mid-palate provided almond and the back charred oak.

Finish:  Medium-to-long with honeysuckle, char, milk chocolate, and black pepper. When I assumed the finish ended, it felt like a drop of honey was crawling down my throat.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Fresh Bourbon was very sweet.  If you told me this was honey-infused, it wouldn't surprise me in the least. If you told me this was a beer that was run through the still, that wouldn't shock me, either. But, that's the honey malt in action. In fact, Gambrinus Malting Corp., the manufacturer of it, recommends brewers use at least 20% to impart the honey flavor profile, and the Edwards followed that recommendation in their mash.

I felt like I was drinking a sweeter beer. I'm not a beer drinker. But, I'm also cognizant of the fact many whiskey drinkers also enjoy beer. If that's your jam, then I'm going to suggest giving Fresh Bourbon a try. You may really like it, it just isn't for me. Because of that, I'm offering my Bar rating. On a final note, applaud the Edwards for trying something very unique - that takes a lot of guts. Cheers!

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

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Whiskey Acres Artisan Series 5.5 Grain Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


This review was originally published on November 8, 2018, on Facebook

I’m always excited when something new and unusual comes out. Sure, there’s always a new brand coming out, but every so often, someone releases their own distillate that is uniquely their own. It provides an opportunity to rock the market. Conversely, it can also be risky, and if not well-received, can squash someone’s dreams (and investment).

Whiskey Acres Distilling Company is a farm-to-bottle distiller. They grow and harvest their own grain, distill it, age, and bottle it in Dekalb, Illinois. They age whiskey in 15-gallon barrels. Recently, I was provided a sample bottle of their very-soon-to-be-released Artisan Series 5.5 Grain Bourbon Whiskey. I thank Whiskey Acres for their generosity and understanding that it will be used for an honest, no-strings-attached review.

I’m sure the first question to hit your mind (because it was mine) is, “What the heck is a 5.5 Grain Bourbon?” I’d never heard of half-grain before! As it turns out, the mash is made of 50% yellow dent corn, 10% Oaxacan green corn, 10% rye, 10% oat, 10% wheat and 10% malted barley. That’s either five or six grains, right? Well, not the way Whiskey Acres markets it. They consider two types of corn to be less than two grains. If nothing else, it is certainly an “attention getter” and memorable.

Using those 15-gallon barrels, 5.5 Grain Bourbon is aged for two years and 11 days. That may not seem like much, but when you consider the smaller barrels, things tend to age more quickly. Whiskey Acres then proofed it down to 87° and packaged it in 375ml bottles with a suggested retail of $29.99. Do the math, and that’s a $60 standard bottle, which is at the higher end of craft Bourbon.

The big question, as always, is, how’s it taste? Time to #DrinkCurious and find out.

Appearance: In the glass, it was a darkish amber, suggesting an older whiskey if not but for the fact this was aged in smaller barrels. A gentle swirl left a medium-rim on the wall of my Glencairn and produced fat legs that stuck in place like glue. They eventually fell but put an expectation in my mind this would be a full-bodied whiskey.

Nose: Ethanol was present, but after letting the glass rest several minutes, it eventually dissipated. Holding my glass at my chin level brought oak and corn. Rolling the rim on my chin side to side allowed the oak to give way to a hint of stone fruit. Lifting the glass to my lips brought a much more obvious cherry that caused my mouth to water. Wafting into my nostrils the cherry went from tart to sweet. Inhaling through my lips brought corn and vanilla.

Palate: The first sip was a watery mouthfeel that was unexpected. There was nothing harsh that you can sometimes experience with a rapidly-aged whiskey, and the wheat gave it a certain airy quality, almost like filtered water. Up front, flavors of sweet corn and oak mimicked the nose. At mid-palate, creamy vanilla with the slightest hint of stone fruit, and, in the back, the mild spiciness of the rye jumped out.

Finish: The finish was, well, different. Initially, disappointment came over me because it was almost non-existent. But, 30 or so seconds later, it popped out as a complex smattering of oak, black pepper, clove, and vanilla that hung around several minutes. It turned my frown upside down. 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This is, without a doubt, an unusual craft whiskey. If you have an adventurous palate and truly embrace the #DrinkCurious lifestyle, a 375ml for $29.99 is a nifty investment that will give you something to talk about and share with like-minded friends. I’m in that group and as such, rate it a Bottle. However, if you’re into more traditional Bourbons and are uncomfortable stepping outside your comfort zone, then this is one you should try at a Bar (or in this case, at the distillery). Cheers!

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

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Standard Proof Pecan Infused Rye Review & Tasting Notes

I've reviewed flavored whiskeys before. They're a different kind of spirit to review because not only am I trying to review the flavor, but also the whiskey hiding underneath the flavor.  Is the producer trying to show off a skill, or, conversely, trying to salvage a mediocre (or even horrible) whiskey?

"Standard Proof Whiskey Co. was born behind the bar in Nashville, TN. Our whiskey infusions began as a well-kept secret created by bartenders to share with friends and frequent bar patrons. Aged in new, American oak barrels and bottled at 80 proof, our quality rye whiskey is carefully infused with only the finest natural ingredients." -- Standard Proof Whiskey Co.

If you were to ask me about the veracity of the backstory, I have no idea. However, I will say that's to the one that Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey uses. As far as I can tell, the two brands are unrelated.

Standard Proof Whiskey Co. has been advertising on social media like crazy.  Naturally, when I stumble across something I've never heard of, I want to know more. Established in 2017, this non-distilling producer (NDP) offers infused Rye whiskeys. As far as finding out who the actual distiller is, that becomes challenging. The whiskey comes from a mash of 51% rye, 44% corn, and 5% malted barley. I've only found one distiller who uses this mashbill, but it wouldn't make sense as it likely doesn't have enough stock to share.

Today I'm reviewing its Pecan Rye. Standard Proof takes San Saba pecans from Texas and infuses them into the Rye for 14 weeks.  The label indicates it uses real pecan. The Rye is then filtered through a proprietary process. A 750ml bottle runs about $28.00.

I'd like to thank Standard Proof for sending me a sample of this Rye in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.  And now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this Pecan Rye appeared as a cloudy, bronze-amber color. It left a medium rim on the glass that yielded fat, wavy legs to drop back to the pool.

Nose:  Ethanol was the first thing to hit my olfactory senses despite allowing it to rest in my glass for about twenty minutes.  But, underneath that was the distinct smell of sweet pecan pie. I also found oak, barrel char, and the slightest hint of mint. When I inhaled through my mouth, I was hit with the ethanol again and the mint was more prevalent.

Palate:  My first sip was thin and oily. It was harsh and not enjoyable. At my tasting events, I always tell folks to never judge a whiskey on the first sip.  As I explored further, I unearthed cinnamon and honey-roasted pecans on the front. Mid-palate, vanilla, corn, and nutmeg took over - pretty much the start of pecan pie filling. On the back, milk chocolate drowned everything else out.

Finish:  The milk chocolate was rounded by oak and candied pecan. It took several sips to figure out because the finish was so short.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  As I stated earlier, my initial experience was not pleasant. But, as I continued to sip, it improved.  Each time I swallowed, I picked up a stronger and more dominant note of milk chocolate. The finish never added length. The ethanol eventually burned off but it took over thirty minutes to happen. I don't mind at all allowing whiskey to breathe, I do it all the time as my standard tasting procedure. However, I don't usually have to wait as long as I had to for things to open naturally. This Pecan Rye was decent. I couldn't tell you about the quality of the Rye used as any real Rye notes were masked by the pecan. I've tested and reviewed other Pecan whiskeys that proved superior to the Standard Proof version and priced competitively so. As such, I'm extending a Bar recommendation.  Try this one before you commit to a bottle. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Monday, September 7, 2020

Barrell Bourbon Batch 024 Review & Tasting Notes


Barrel-proof whiskey is a ton of fun. First of all, it is exciting to taste something in its purest form, before it has been adulterated.  Secondly, it gives you a chance to play around by carefully adding water or ice, bringing out different notes, yet still have enough proof to enjoy what's there.

Then there's the art of blending. Some folks get hung up on single barrels, single malts, etc. I make it a point at any of my tasting events for my guests to keep an open mind - single barrels and single malts can be awesome, but blending is a learned skill and unless you're very, very lucky, you don't just mix things together and wind up with a good finished product. Play around with an infinity bottle - you'll understand that many great whiskeys blended together do not necessarily make for a good blend. 

Today I'm reviewing Barrell Bourbon, Batch 024 from Barrell Craft Spirits. Barrell isn't distilling - rather, they're blenders. They take great care in selecting the barrels they believe will create something special. They also don't source from a single distillery. In the case of Batch 024, it sourced from Indiana (MGP), Tennessee (Dickel), and Kentucky (yeah, I have no idea). Barrell found high-rye Bourbon barrels between nine and fifteen years old.  The nine, ten, and thirteen-year barrels were chosen for their spicy qualities. Then, a fifteen-year was chosen for its citrusy notes. By the time the blending process is done, barrel-proof is 113.9°.  A 750ml will set you back about $89.99.

That's in the category of what I consider pricy, and as such, it needs to be special to get a Bottle rating from me. I'd like to thank Barrell Craft Spirits for providing me a sample of Batch 024 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. And now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Batch 024 presented as mahogany in color. It created a very thick rim and fat droplets that stuck like glue. They continued to form until they became too heavy, then started to crawl back to the pool of liquid sunshine. 

Nose:  A floral perfume hit my olfactory senses. Once I got past that, I discovered oak, and then it became an orchard. I found orange peel, apples, pear, and a huge slap of cherry. Before the nose ended, cinnamon and nutmeg added a bit of spice. When I inhaled through my lips, it became a vanilla bomb.

Palate:  This was a thin, oily Bourbon, and that shocked me because of how it stuck to the glass. Things started off with an earthy quality, followed by oak and cocoa powder on the front. As the liquid moved to mid-palate, I tasted dark chocolate, gingerbread cookies, and cinnamon. On the back, there was a harmony of leather, tobacco leaf, clove, and cherry.

Finish:  I found a very, very long finish of black pepper, clove, and a hint of saline. While I didn't experience a blast of "heat" from the proof, my hard palate was noticeably numb.

My desire to see what would happen if I added distilled water became overwhelming. Using an eye-dropper, I added only two drops. That should be enough to bring out new sensations without overdiluting things. 

Nose:  At barrel-proof, there was a lot of fruit. With the added water, it just exploded with plum and cherry. Then notes of cinnamon and brown sugar, and, finally, banana cream pie with Nilla cookies. It was crazy, I could smell that whole desert!  When I inhaled through my lips, it was all milk chocolate.

Palate:  It is amazing what water can do to change a mouthfeel. That thin, oily attribute was gone and it transformed into a thick, creamy one. Cinnamon, gingerbread, and vanilla were at the front. Brown sugar, caramel, and mace then took center stage. On the back, dry oak, cola, and cherry rounded things out.

Finish:  Black pepper, and clove remained, but those were accompanied by dry oak and banana pudding, offering an unusual experience.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I appreciated what Batch 024 had to offer when sipped neat. I was ready to give it a Bottle rating. When I added water, I not-so-silently prayed I wouldn't dilute it too much. Despite enjoying it neat, those two drops of water made things fascinating. In either case, the Flintstones vitamin sensation that is typical of Dickel was completely absent, and that was a bonus. Barrell did a stellar job blending barrels from the three distilleries and created something well worth $90.00. It snags my Bottle rating, and I invite you to play around with distilled water if you buy one. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Porter's Small Batch Rye "95" Straight Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

Utah is not a place you immediately associate with whiskey. I mean, this is the Mormon capital of the world. Mormons are not known for imbibing in alcohol. In fact, practicing Mormons abstain from it. Its Words of Wisdom mentions "strong drink" and that's been defined by the Mormon Church as alcohol of any kind, including wine, beer, and yes, whiskey.

Except then, of course, what brand comes to mind after a few moments of thought?  High West Distillery!  High West is very well-known and I'm not sure how that escaped me when I started thinking about this review.

I stumbled upon Ogden's Own Distillery, a micro-distillery that creates a variety of flavored spirits. Founded in 2009, it is located in Ogden.  Its first unflavored whiskey is called Porter's Small Batch Rye 95. Porter is named for Orrin Porter Rockwell, who was known as a determined lawman and a bodyguard to Joseph Smith, Jr., and was an important figure in the founding of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. It made me curious as to why a Mormon would be the namesake of a whiskey.

Porter's Small Batch Rye 95 led me to think the "95" referred to the proof. Nope, instead, it describes the rye content. The label, which, incidentally, is made of and printed on actual wood (versus paper), states it is distilled in Indiana, aged, blended and bottled by Ogden's Own Distillery. It should come as no shock that when you see the words, "Distilled in Indiana" that this mostly means MGP.  When you take into account the mashbill is 95% rye and 5% malted barley, that removes all doubt - that's a standard MGP recipe.

What makes this Rye different from other MGP-sourced whiskeys is the latter part of the label's disclosure. It spent the first quarter of its life aging in Indiana. From there, it was shipped to Utah, where it was aged an additional three years in heavily-charred oak barrels. Utah is a dry climate and the winters tend to be harsher than the humid climate of Indiana. Assuming the warehouse isn't temperature-controlled, that should lead to a significant difference in how the whiskey interacts with the barrel. 

It is then proofed down using spring water that requires a 5-mile hike to obtain. Apparently, this spring is inaccessible to vehicles. I don't quite understand the semantics as I'd assume you'd need a lot of water in the proofing process, especially considering this water is used in Ogden's Own other products as well. The proof is brought down from 111° to 90°.  A 750ml bottle runs about $20.00.

One last thing before I get to the review.  On the front and back labels, there is almost a ghost-printing of Five Wives 7/20.  Five Wives is the name of the vodka that Ogden's Own produces, and the water source is the same. Also, a clear sticker with Porter's face is on the back of the bottle. 

That's a long introduction, and now let's get to why you're here - the tasting notes and my review. I'd like to thank Ogden's Own for sending me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Porter's presents as the color of honey.  It created a thinner rim but fat, watery legs to drop back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:  Initially there was dill, honey, and toasted oak. The honey was unexpected especially considering the mashbill. Underneath those were grapes and baking spices.  When I inhaled through my mouth, berries coated my tongue.

Palate:  My first sip was thin and oily with a light body. Subsequent tastes failed to add any weight.  Cinnamon, lemon zest and cocoa started things off. As this rye dropped mid-palate, the citrus changed to orange with an added note of chocolate. Then, on the back, was a combination of toasted oak and toasted cereal grains. 

Finish:  A medium-to-long finish of oak and white peppercorn stuck to my tongue and throat. It was spicy, but there was no "burn" per se.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I found Porter's to be different than other MGP-sourced Ryes I've had, particularly in this younger realm. That may have been due to the change in venue for aging or perhaps the spring water used, or even a combination of the two. What was confusing was the notation by Ogden's Own of using a heavily-charred barrel and the simple, toasted profile. Of course, heavily-charred is similar to small batch, which is there's no legal definition of either. My point is I was expecting from that a smoky component that never materialized.

This isn't a mind-blowing whiskey by any means. For a Rye, especially a young one, it is very subdued. It is an easy sipper neat and would be fine in a cocktail where spiciness isn't required. This is a $20.00 bottle. For me, that's an opportunity to #RespectTheBottomShelf, and in this case, I do. And, because of that, this one earns a Bottle rating. Cheers!

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