Needless to say, I changed my mind about Wild Turkey.
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It
“These older expressions are a beautiful reflection of the landscape around the distillery with intriguing, luxurious layers of flavor imparted by the eclectic casks sourced from around the world. The refreshed Benriach range is for those open to new possibilities, building on a wealth of experience and tradition. I invite the drinker to join me on this creative journey, as we explore the lush rewards of single malt whisky.” - Rachel Barrie
Bottled at 46% ABV (92°), you can expect to pay about $199.00 for a 750ml package. Before I get to the tasting notes, I'd like to thank The BenRiach for providing a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Time to #DrinkCurious!
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, The Twenty One shows up as honey-gold in color. It fabricated a husky rim that formed broad, fast legs that fell back into the pool of liquid sunshine.
Nose: This Scotch was plenty fragrant. Oh, it wasn't a blast of smoke, rather, it was orchard fruits mingled with it, and that was just allowing it to breathe. The fruits smelled of apple, apricot, and plum. I also smelled oak and chocolate. When I inhaled the vapor in my mouth, smoky vanilla rolled across my palate.
Palate: A silky, creamy mouthfeel started the show. The more I sipped, the creamier it became. On the front of my palate, I tasted sweet, smoky peat and peach. The peat was not the star of the production, rather, it was a supporting character. At mid-palate, I tasted chocolate, apple, and pear. Flavors of toasted oak, toffee, and an encore of the light peat constructed the back.
Finish: It started short-to-medium. Like the mouthfeel, the more I imbibed, the longer the finish became. Eventually, it seemed to last forever. Smoke, plum, honey, pear, and toasted oak danced about.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Just because something carries a decades-old age statement doesn't mean it is great or even good. I've had some mediocre, older whiskies. The Twenty One is absolutely the opposite. If I had to select one word to describe this experience, it would be luxurious. From the amazingly refined nose to the silky mouthfeel, to the fruity palate and what is a near-perfect peatiness, there is simply nothing to complain about. This is a mesmerizing affair and I'm happy to fork over the premium to partake in it. There's not a doubt in my mind that a Bottle rating is owed. Find a bottle, seriously. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
"When you understand that time is a factor you cannot control, you focus on the ones you can. Temperature and humidity are two very important elements in the maturation process. Many try to speed up the aging process by using higher temperatures and using smaller barrels. This results in the hard and disproportionate amount of tannins. There is no substitute for time. It is a fundamental part to achieve high-quality products.Today many distillers care more about maturing their spirit quickly with wood extracts. A traditional slow maturation process results in a full-bodied flavor that can only be accomplished from years in high-quality wood barrels.Time is constant and cannot be controlled. We don’t try to." - 45th Parallel Distillery
My review today is of its Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon. Not only is it bonded, but it is also a single barrel. Barrel 196 was purchased in its entirety by Niemuth's Southside Market in Appleton, WI. It comes from a mash of corn, rye, wheat, and barley, and is then placed in a medium-char, Ozark white oak barrel. The staves were seasoned for three years prior to being coopered. It then rested 68 months (5 years, 8 months). Because it is bonded, it is diluted to 100°. Retail is $42.99.
I'd like to thank Niemuth's for providing me a sample of this Bourbon in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let's #DrinkCurious and find out if this one is any good.
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, this Bourbon presented as honey brown in color. While a thinner rim was created, thick, heavy, slow legs worked their way back to the pool of liquid sunshine.
Nose: Corn and vanilla were the first aromas I discovered. But, they were joined by mint, nutmeg, and cinnamon. When I drew the vapor into my mouth, caramel rolled across my tongue.
Palate: An oily, medium-bodied mouthfeel gave me the impression this drank below its stated proof. On the front, I tasted only creamy caramel. The middle expanded to milk chocolate, almond, and corn. On the back, flavors of black pepper, clove, and rye spice were easy to pick out.
Finish: This whiskey has one of the most confusing finishes I've ever come across. It started as incredibly long. The next sip it was medium-short. A subsequent sip brought the length back. One more it was medium-short. But, the confusion didn't stop there. It began with a slow ramping of spice. Another taste would bring out sweet notes without spice. Additional attempts kept cycling between the two. I was able to discern clove, tobacco, and black pepper that would tango with vanilla, toasted coconut, and toasted oak.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: If you've read my reviews for any length of time, I am fascinated with whiskeys that offer something distinct. The finish on this one absolutely fits that bill. This was delightful all the way around, the mind-games notwithstanding. The price is not a major factor and as such, I'm dropping my Bottle rating on it. You'll enjoy the experience from start to finish. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
Niemuth's Southside Market is located at 2121 S Oneida Street in Appleton.
One such distillery is Spirit Works Distillery of Sonoma County, California. It is a grain-to-glass operation that was founded in 2012 by the husband-and-wife team of Timo and Ashby Marshall. Ashby is the original Head Distiller, and Krystal Goulart, who trained under Ashby, is also a distiller. One thing of note is Spirit Works was awarded the 2020 ADI Distiller of the Year. All of the grain they work with is organic.
"We make everything in-house from milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling all the way through to bottling and shipments out the door." - Spirit Works Distillery
I'm going to explore their Four Grain Bourbon, Straight Rye, and Straight Wheat whiskeys. Without further ado, let's #DrinkCurious and get these tasted and rated.
Four Grain Bourbon
This is a blend of two of their whiskeys, and has a mashbill of 60% corn, with the remainder rye, wheat, and malted barley. The corn and wheat are from California. The mash was distilled in their German-made hybrid pot still and then aged at least four years in new, charred oak 53-gallon barrels. This Bourbon is bottled at 90°, and a 750ml runs about $50.00, which is smack-dab in the middle of what craft whiskey is priced.
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, the whiskey presented as a brassy, orange-amber. It created a thicker rim that generated slow, medium-weight legs to roll back down the wall into the pool of liquid sunshine.
Nose: The nose on this was sweet and fruity, with brown sugar, honey, berry, cherry, plum, and then oak. When I inhaled the vapor through my lips, I found a blend of honey, vanilla, and musty oak.
Palate: The mouthfeel was light and creamy. There was no burn per se, but spice notes were evident. The first thing I tasted was vanilla sugar cookie. That was the only flavor on the front. At mid-palate, flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg took over. On the back, there was an impression of cherry and toasted oak.
Finish: The finish was challenging because it was a flash and then gone. It required several sips to pin anything down. I picked up nuts, nutmeg, and finally, white pepper.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: As I stated earlier, $50.00 is right in the middle of what most craft distilleries charge. At 90°, you aren't left with a feeling that the distillery is only interested in mass production. The team has carefully determined what the optimal proof should be. However, I believe this Bourbon needs to age a year or so longer. The almost missing finish gave nothing to round things out. This had a beautiful nose but an average, unremarkable palate. Considering all of that, I'm going to toss a Bar rating.
Straight Rye Whiskey
This one is non-chill filtered and aged a minimum of four years in 53-gallon new, charred oak barrels. The mashbill is undisclosed other than it being a "high rye" whiskey. Suggested retail is $65.00 for a 750ml, and bottled at 90°.
Appearance: Using a Glencairn glass, the Rye appeared as a honey-amber color. It left a medium rim on the wall, which created long, fast legs to drop back to the pool.
Nose: Aromas of oak, cinnamon, mint, and green apple greeted my nostrils, and when I drew the air into my mouth, spearmint rolled across my tongue.
Palate: A medium body with a very oily mouthfeel started things off. On the front, I tasted caramel and cinnamon. As it moved to the middle, flavors of cherry and coconut became evident, and then, on the back, I discovered rye spice and oak.
Finish: I found the finish to be long and peppery, with dry oak and cherry abounding.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The Straight Rye was a fairly basic whiskey. There's nothing not to like, but similar to the Four Grain, there's nothing that stands out. If Spirit Works didn't mention it was a "high rye" whiskey, I would have guessed it was barely legal at 51%. Again, I think this needs a few more years in oak. Were I to keep this in my whiskey library, it would be for mixing cocktails. That being said, $65.00 is way too much to pay for a mixer. Due to that, I'm rating this one a Bust.
Straight Wheat Whiskey
Made from a mash of 100% California-grown red winter wheat, the Straight Wheat Whiskey is non-chill filtered and aged at least four years in new, charred oak barrels. It is proofed down to 90°, and you should expect to pay about $65.00 for a 750ml bottle.
Appearance: Being consistent and using a Glencairn glass, the Straight Wheat offered a deep honey color. It left no rim but generated one heck of a wavy curtain to drop down the wall.
Nose: Light and floral on the nose, one thing that stood out was bubble gum. When I brought the fumes into my mouth, I was hit with a wave of butterscotch.
Palate: The mouthfeel was full-bodied and somewhat bitter. On the front, I sampled walnut and sweet tobacco leaf. As it moved to the middle, there was a strange mix of unsweetened tea and cocoa powder. The back was a combination of oak, clove, and black pepper.
Finish: Medium-long in length, it consisted of a ramp-up of clove, dry oak, and cola. The bitterness from the mouthfeel continued all the way through.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: There are certain things I'm not a fan of. Unsweetened tea is one of them. I'm also not big on neat whiskeys that are bitter. Bittersweet I don't mind at all, but this was not that. It, like the previous two whiskeys, was fairly unremarkable, and when I take into account this is a $65.00 whiskey, it becomes an unattractive prospect. This, like the Rye, will, unfortunately, take a Bust from me.
My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
"Our company is committed to the principles and foundations laid over 150 years ago by William Tarr, one of the bourbon giants of the Bluegrass. Today, we stand on the shoulders of his rich legacy. His ideas, philosophy, and daring inspire us. Our mission is to act with Tarr's single-minded determination, guided by our genuine passion for the spirits we create." - Old Wm. Tarr Distillery
“During the prohibition period, you could always buy good whiskey from somebody in the Cotton Club. They used to have what they called Chicken Cock. It was a bottle in a can, and the can was sealed. It cost something like ten to fourteen dollars a pint.” - Duke Ellington
"Ex-red wine casks that were sourced from Israel's finest wineries were picked for this part of the Elements trilogy. The Mediterranean's climate, variety of soil types, hot sunny days and cool nights bring a spicy and unique flavor to Israeli wine - and in turn, our casks." - M&H Distillery
"Oak & Eden In-Bottle Finished Whiskey is a first of its kind, pioneering a patented technique called in-bottle finishing™, where we place a 5” long spiral cut piece of wood into every bottle of our fully aged whiskey. This technique “inspires” our whiskey, breathing new life, flavors, and aromas that couldn’t be achieved in a single barrel alone." - Oak & Eden