Showing posts with label Backbone Bourbon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Backbone Bourbon. Show all posts

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Backbone Bourbon "Sweet Dreams" Speakeasy_WI Review & Tasting Notes


 


I take part in most of the barrel picks for The Speakeasy_WI, a club I’m a member of. In the case of the one I’m writing about today, I was not on the selection committee due to a whiskey tasting I was hosting.  I did, however, have an opportunity to taste the winning barrel after it was selected, and it has recently dropped at Neil’s Liquors in Middleton, Wisconsin.  It was selected this past August and is priced at $59.99.

 

I’m talking about a Backbone Bourbon pick called Sweet Dreams. If you’re unfamiliar with Backbone, it tends to pull some incredible MGP-sourced barrels of Bourbon and Rye. The Ryes are branded as Bone Snapper.

 

Sweet Dreams was distilled from a mash of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. That, in turn, was barreled on March 5, 2015, and aged six-and-a-half years in #3 charred oak barrels.  Dumped in October, it weighs in at a healthy 110.6°.

 


 

How did the selection crew do?  Let’s #DrinkCurious and find out!

 

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Sweet Dreams took the stage of deep, dark mahogany. It created a thin rim and very fat, slow legs that crawled back down to the pool.

 

Nose:  The first aroma to hit my nostrils was cherry pie filling. It was joined by toasted oak, a hint of vanilla, and plum. As I inhaled through my mouth, I tasted cinnamon and plum.

 

Palate:  Sweet Dreams had the consistency of an out-of-control oil slick. It was shockingly not warm considering the proof:  If I didn’t know what it was upfront, I would have guessed this was somewhere around 94° or 96°. The front featured cherry and plum, while the middle offered rye spice and brown sugar. On the back, I tasted thick mocha and oak.

 

Finish:  I found this finish did numb my hard palate, but sneakily because it was so luxurious it lulled you into a daydream. Toasted oak, cherry, plum, cinnamon, and chocolate stuck just meshed perfectly while it all hung around for a medium finish.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  When I first tasted Sweet Dreams, my initial thoughts revolved around how stunning this whiskey was. When I take into account it is only $59.99, I believe you’d have to be insane to pass this one up. Bottle for sure, all day long. Good job, crew! 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.

 

Monday, December 28, 2020

Backbone Bourbon: "Unicorn Hunter" and CWBS Reviews & Tasting Notes

 


Back in January, I wrote about a store pick called Unicorn Slayer.  It was selected by The Secret Midnight Whiskey Club for Niemuth's Southside Market in Appleton, Wisconsin. I had assisted in that pick, and it was one of those mind-blowing ones that resonate with you for years. At the time, I stated Unicorn Slayer was one of the five best barrel picks I've been involved with.


Today, I'm reviewing one called Unicorn Hunter. It was also picked by The Secret Midnight Whiskey Club for Niemuith's, but this time, I was not part of the selection committee. However, the Secret Midnight Whiskey Club did ask me to review it for them, which I'm happy to do.


Unicorn Hunter is distilled by MGP, and it is bottled under the Backbone Bourbon brand. Like Unicorn Slayer, this is a barrel-proof, uncut, single barrel Bourbon. It is distilled from the same 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley mash. Unlike its predecessor, which was 7.5 years old, Unicorn Hunter is 6 years and a month. It is 117.1° versus 119.3°.  To be frank, two points isn't going to make a lot of difference. You'll find this only at Niemuth's and one of the 168 bottles yielded will set you back $64.99, which is less expensive than Unicorn Slayer was.


I'd like to thank The Secret Midnight Whiskey Club for providing me a sample in exchange for my honest, no-strings-attached review. Let's #DrinkCurious and get this taken care of.


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Unicorn Hunter presented as chestnut in color with amazing clarity. A thin rim was created, and it generated wavy legs that fell back into the pool of liquid sunshine but also sticky drops that did not.


Nose:  An aromatic combination of mint, menthol, and stone fruit was easy to pick up. As I continued to sniff around, I detected berries and dark chocolate. When I drew in the vapor through my mouth, a wave of cherry vanilla ran across my tongue.


Palate:  The mouthfeel was oily and coated everywhere with ease, and was full-bodied. Up at the front, I experienced a sweet and fruity punch of berries and cherry syrup with dark chocolate. In the middle, I tasted rye spice and toffee. Then, on the back, it was coffee, clove, and oak.


Finish:  A blend of charred oak, coffee, cinnamon, and black pepper lasted several minutes before falling off. Cherry syrup stuck around. There was a distinct Indiana hug about it, but despite the proof, it couldn't be described as hot or burn


Bottle, Bar, or BustUnicorn Hunter was tasty as hell and a very easy sipper. Just to get it out of the way, it takes a Bottle rating and if you missed out on Unicorn Slayer, don't make the same mistake. Saying that, between the two, and I am probably biased, I preferred the predecessor. But, you aren't finding that on the shelf.


But Wait, There's More...


Now, in an interesting turn of events, The Secret Midnight Whiskey Club provided me a sample of another Backbone pick, this time for the Central Wisconsin Bourbon Society. It, too, is six years old and also retails for $64.99, and bottled at 120.9°.




Appearance:  The color was a slightly deeper chestnut than Unicorn Hunter. The rim was heavier, but not thick, the legs were similar, but lacked the sticky droplets.


Nose:  The very first thing I picked up was sawdust, which, interestingly enough, was the first thing I picked out of Unicorn Slayer last year. I smelled toasted oak and cocoa powder, mint, and a brush of cinnamon. Breathing the fumes in through my lips led me to uncover vanilla.


Palate:  An airy mouthfeel was a complete contrast to Unicorn Hunter. The body was closer to a medium than full. Caramel and cherry came out swinging. Clove, rye spice, and char hit me mid-palate, with cinnamon, black pepper, and dry oak on the back. This was, undoubtedly, much spicier than Unicorn Hunter.


Finish: I found the CWBS pick to have a longer finish than Unicorn Hunter. It was made up of cocoa powder, barrel char, caramel, and mint. It didn't have the same Indiana hug that Unicorn Hunter did, but it did leave my tongue tingling. As I was considering that, I found myself tasting dark chocolate.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The spice focus of the CWBS pick was interesting and much different than my other experiences with Backbone Bourbon. There was enough going on here to keep me paying attention. I was particularly enchanted by the sawdust aroma because it reminded me so much of Unicorn Slayer. There is no reason to not pick one up, and the price is certainly fair. Add it all up and you get a Bottle rating from me. 


So, between Unicorn Hunter and the CWBS pick, which did I prefer?  I enjoyed them both, but Unicorn Hunter edged out the CWBS pick, mostly because I preferred the fruity flavors on the former. Either, however, would leave you happy. Cheers!


Niemuth's Southside Market is located at 2121 S. Oneida Street in Appleton.


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

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

Friday, February 7, 2020

Bone Snapper "Darkest Sorcerye" Straight Rye Whiskey Review


If you search the term, Bone Snapper, you'll find a variety of hits. Some lead to a type of dragon, another to World of Warcraft, and several to Yu-Gi-Oh!  Me?  I have nothing to do with the two latter, and with the former, I'm just not all that interested. But, according to Backbone Bourbon Company, a Bone Snapper is basically an attention-getter. 


Bone Snapper comes as either a small batch or, in the case of a store pick, a single barrel. The standard expression, which is the small-batch version, is bottled at 108°. An option for the store pick is barrel proof. Either way, you're in for a serious sip. It is distilled from a mash of 95% rye and 5% malted barley, then once ready, non-chill filtered and bottled. Bone Snapper is sourced from MGP of Indiana.


Today, I'm reviewing a Bone Snapper's Niemuth's Southside Market store pick named Darkest Sorcerye. This one was barrelled in June 2013 and aged for 6.5 years until it was dumped in November of 2019. The barrel proof option rings in at 119.8°. Retail is $64.99.  I'd like to thank Niemuth's for providing me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached honest review. Time to #DrinkCurious...




Appearance:  Darkest Sorcerye appeared in my Glencairn glass as a deep, orange-amber. It left a very thin rim on the wall, which led to fatter legs that slowly dripped back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose:  Cherry and plum blasted me in the nostrils as I picked up the glass and brought it toward my face. Once there, rye spice and oak were evident. Underneath all of that was a lovely mix of mint and chocolate, sort of like an Andes candy. When I inhaled through my lips, the plum was back and this time it joined with vanilla bean.


Palate:  The first sip gave a very thin, light and airy mouthfeel. Subsequent ones never gained weight or viscosity. But it sure numbed the hard palate!  At the front, an interesting combination of milk chocolate and cocoa started things off. At mid-palate, the chocolate disappeared and was replaced by vanilla, rye spice, and dark fruits. Then, on the back, the chocolate returned, this time a definitive dark version which married with oak.


Finish:  The finish was very, very long. It started off as white pepper, then was joined by dark chocolate. As those two danced with each other, that oak from the finish rolled in and out like it was a series of waves.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  When you consider that Darkest Sorcerye is barrel-proof whiskey, the price isn't out of line. The nose and palate provide plenty of complexity and I really enjoyed the two types of chocolate from the front to back of the palate. I've been very impressed with Niemuth's ability to pick barrels. In full disclosure, I've joined Niemuth's in picks, but Darkest Sorcerye was not one of them. However, were I on the selection committee, I would have been proud to have this one associated with my name. When I combine all of this, it easily earns my coveted Bottle rating.  Cheers!


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

Friday, January 31, 2020

Backbone "Unicorn Slayer" Single Barrel Bourbon Review



I can remember, not even a few years ago, when everyone was sneering at MGP and calling it junk. Fast forward a bit, and magically here we are with MGP being all the rage. 


If you're unfamiliar with MGP, it is the old Seagram's Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. It has its own house brands, but for the most part, they're the major source of whiskeys for new craft brands. Sometimes, these craft brands are waiting for their own distillate to mature. Others are just sourcing barrels and hoping the supply doesn't dry up. 


Today I'm reviewing Backbone Bourbon, which is a brand that sources from MGP.  This is a single barrel release, and it is nicknamed Unicorn Slayer by Niemuth's Southside Market in Appleton, Wisconsin. As I demand transparency from producers and distillers, I hold myself to the same standard. So, in full disclosure, I assisted the Secret Midnight Whiskey Club in picking this barrel.
 



Unicorn Slayer was distilled in May 2012 using MGPs Bourbon mash of 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley. It aged for seven and a half years before being dumped in November 2019. The barrel yielded 166 bottles and was uncut at 119.3°.  Retail is $69.99 and is available exclusively at Niemuth's.


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Unicorn Slayer was a deep and dark amber. It created a micro-rim on the wall that led to a thick, wavy curtain to drop into the pool of liquid sunshine. That left behind fat, heavy legs that stuck to the side of the glass.


Nose:  An aroma of freshly-sawn oak filled the room. I left the glass alone for about 20 minutes just enjoying the smell. Once I brought the glass to my face, the first thing I picked up was berry and vanilla. Upon further inspection, cocoa and nutmeg teased. Then, as I brought the glass to my mouth, mint became obvious. When I inhaled through my lips, it was a blend of cocoa and stone fruits.


Palate:  The mouth was thin and oily and coated everywhere. Amazingly, there was very little heat.  Berry, vanilla, and cinnamon greeted the front of my palate. As it worked its way back, I picked up a definitive dry oak, white pepper, and caramel. Then, on the back of my palate, it was all rye spice and clove.


Finish:  All of this enveloped into a very long, warm finish. If you would have told me this was almost 120° and I didn't know any better, I would have challenged you on the claim. Clove and rye spice remained for much of the finish, but as it began to die off, creamy caramel closed everything up in a nice, neat package.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I have a very strict standard when I pick barrels. It has to be something special, and I don't attach my name to anything that is a me-too whiskey. One of the things that really grabbed me was how easy it was to drink. There was nothing harsh about this barrel and, quite frankly, the proof will sneak up on you if you're not careful. The nose was very complex, and the palate offered a wide range of flavors. This is a combination that I find very attractive and it is available at a very fair price.


I'll go one step further. I have picked a lot of barrels. Unicorn Slayer is easily in the Top 5 of what I've picked. Obviously, this one is a Bottle rating. Cheers!


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