Showing posts with label Beam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beam. Show all posts

Monday, November 14, 2022

Booker's Batch 2022-03 "Kentucky Tea" Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


The Beam family is Bourbon royalty. It started back in the 1780s with Jacob Beam, who moved his family (and his still) to Kentucky. His son, David, took over the family business when he was 18. Then came his son, David M., who relocated the distillery to Nelson County. His youngest son, James, took the helm until Prohibition shut everything down. However, once Prohibition was repealed, James (who preferred to be called Jim) revived the family yeast and reopened his distillery in about 120 days at age 70.


Jim had a son who went by his nickname, Jere. Jere built a distillery in Bullitt County and introduced his family’s Bourbon to Europe. Unfortunately (or for us, fortunately), Jere had no children, so he passed the business to his nephew Frederick “Booker” Noe II. Booker was the first master distiller of Beam whiskey with a different last name. Booker was the man behind Basil Hayden’s, Knob Creek, Baker’s, and Booker’s.


His son, Frederick “Fred” Booker Noe III, is Beam’s current master distillery. Fred took the brands his father created worldwide. While doing so, he further expanded the Beam product line to include Devil’s Cut and Double Oak.


Fred has a son named Frederick “Freddie” Booker Noe IV, following in his footsteps. But Fred and Freddie aren’t alone on the distilling family tree of Beams. They own and operate various distilleries, but they're all family at the end of the day.


Today I’m sampling Booker’s 2022-03, lovingly called Kentucky Tea Batch by Fred. It comprises Bourbons made on six different production dates and barrels aged in six rickhouses. Booker’s is made from the traditional Beam mash of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley and aged in new American oak with a #4 char level. It carries a 7-year, 4-month, 14-day age statement, is uncut and unfiltered, and is bottled at 126.5°. A 750ml package has a suggested retail price of $89.99.


“This batch is named after Booker Noe’s signature drink, which he called Kentucky Tea. Some people flavor their water with tea leaves, but Booker loved adding flavor with his namesake bourbon. He’d take one part Booker’s and four parts water and enjoy it with dinner, typically a country ham or fish - he said you needed to sip the right proportion of Kentucky Tea to really appreciate the food.” – Booker’s Bourbon


Before I get to the #DrinkCurious part, I must thank Booker’s for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Kentucky Tea presented as a true reddish-amber. The finest of rims formed widely-spaced, thick legs that rolled down the side and back to the pool.


Nose: I smelled a lot of oak mixed with a heavy dollop of caramel, honey-roasted peanuts, nutmeg, and smoke. When I drew the air into my mouth, a wave of butterscotch flowed across my tongue.


Palate:  The texture was silky, with thick, rich caramel and bold vanilla on the front of my palate. The middle featured creamy peanut butter that felt like it stuck to the roof of my mouth. A blast of clove, charred oak, and black pepper evened things out on the back.


Finish:  There was no “burn” to speak of; it was warming but just that – warm. Spice notes of clove and black pepper remained, joined by almond, peanut, and smoky oak. There was no need to rush the next sip because those flavors refused to leave.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Believe it or not, this was the first batch of Booker’s that I’ve tried since its rebranding (of sorts). This Bourbon drinks way under its stated proof; if I didn’t know better, I would have guessed between 100° and 105°. For almost 127°, there wasn’t even a tingling on my hard palate.


This whiskey was uncomplicated, and that’s not a bad thing. As far as a value statement is concerned, its $89.99 delivered. I’m not a fan of traditional tea, but as far as Kentucky Tea Batch goes, I’m all in with my Bottle rating. 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.


Friday, May 20, 2022

Old Grand-Dad 114 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


I will go out on a limb and state that anyone who knows even a smidge about American whiskey has heard of Jim Beam. What takes a bit more knowledge is it makes so much more than Jim Beam Bourbon. One of those brands is called Basil Hayden’s.


Who was Basil Hayden? He was a prominent distiller who used an atypically high rye content in his Bourbon. He had a son, Basil Hayden, Jr., who had a son, Raymond Hayden.  Raymond opened a distillery in 1840 called Old Grand-Dad, named for his grandfather, Basil Sr. The distillery was one of a handful allowed to produce medicinal whiskey during Prohibition.


Now, Old Grand-Dad wasn’t originally part of the Beam brand. That didn’t happen until 1987, when National Distillers, one of several owners, sold the brand to Fortune Brands, which later became Beam, Inc. (and later, Beam-Suntory).


Shortly after that, Beam started the Basil Hayden’s brand, named for the same Basil Hayden, Sr.


Old Grand-Dad 114 is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon distilled from a mash of 63% corn, 27% rye, and 10% malted barley. It carries no age statement, meaning it is at least four years old, yet rumored to be between five and six years old. The “114” comes from this Bourbon’s proof (114°), and prices vary from the low $20s to just under $30.00 for a 750ml package. While the rumor mill suggests nearly every year that this year is the last for Old Grand-Dad 114, it is also easy to find at retail, which is how I acquired my bottle. And, between you and me, I find the talk to be just that.


Just a little bit of trivia: When I’m in a naughty mood, I like to ask folks to look at the back of their bottle and see the Lot Number. I then congratulate them on their find. Old Grand-Dad 114 is always Lot No. 1. You’ll also hear (or read) people refer to this whiskey as OGD114.


Let’s #DrinkCurious


Appearance: Poured neat into my Glencairn glass, Old Grand-Dad 114 presented as orange amber. It formed a medium rim that released wide, slow tears.


Nose: Aromas of corn, toasted oak, caramel, berry, and cinnamon tickled my olfactory sense. When I drew that vapor into my mouth, I discovered vanilla that doused my hard palate.


Palate: A warm, full-bodied mouthfeel introduced my palate to corn, honey, vanilla, and plum. The middle featured nutmeg, that typical Jim Beam peanut, and rye spice. I found toasted oak, cinnamon, and fresh leather on the back.


Finish:  That leather stuck around, accompanied by tobacco leaf, charred oak, vanilla, cinnamon, and white pepper, giving this Bourbon a medium-length finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Old Grand-Dad 114 was one of the first high-proof Bourbons I was introduced to many moons ago. It unmistakably drinks at its stated proof. When you consider the price, this is a heck of a bargain. It won’t blow your doors off, but it is tasty sipped neat. For the record (and nearly the same price), I prefer Old Grand-Dad Bottled-in-Bond, but either is something you should have in your whiskey library. A Bottle rating for sure, 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.



Friday, April 29, 2022

Yellowstone Family Recipe 6-Year Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Limestone Branch Distillery has been slowly coming into its own. Brothers Stephen and Paul Beam are seventh-generation descendants of the renowned Jacob Beam. In 2010, the brothers decided to write their own story, and a year later, they broke ground on the distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky. In 2012, they fired up the still and got to business.


These Beams are known for producing whiskey brands Minor Case and Yellowstone.  Those started with sourced whiskeys, but now its distillate is ready to rock and roll. It is always exciting to see (and taste) what happens when a distillery releases its own, but what’s even more fascinating is when something special happens.


Here’s where we get into a backstory, and if you’ve been reading my reviews for any time, you know that I take most of them with a large spoonful of salt. Especially when you discover your great grandpappy's recipe hidden behind a cabinet. That’s kinda-sorta but not precisely what’s happened with the Beams.


In this instance, their grandfather, Guy Beam, kept a notebook with recipes. That doesn’t seem too far-fetched. Stephen and Paul located a yeast jug belonging to their great-grandfather, Minor Case Beam. They took the DNA from that yeast and cloned it. That yeast compounded with the recipe is what the Beams describe as the original 1880s mashbill for Yellowstone Bourbon.


Limestone Branch has just released Yellowstone Family Recipe, a limited-edition annual release of this Bourbon. The mashbill is undisclosed, but it aged six years in new, charred oak. It is packaged at 100°, and there will be only 6000 bottles available in a slow rollout. The retail price is $69.99.


Wyoming and Montana get this allocation first about right now (April). If you’re left scratching your head why the Beams would choose Wyoming and Montana for a launch, that is to honor the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park. Shortly after that, the distillery in Lebanon and select Kentucky retailers will get the next rollout. A nationwide rollout will occur in August, with a second in the fourth quarter of 2022.


Thanks to Limestone Branch, I’ve had a preview sample of this Bourbon in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and see how the Beams did.


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Yellowstone Family Recipe presented as a deep, orange-amber. A medium-thick rim unleashed full, thick tears.


Nose: The first aroma to hit my olfactory sense was spiced nuts. A blast of caramel was next, followed by dense oak and vanilla cream. Tobacco and nougat were easily identifiable when I brought that air into my mouth.


Palate:  There was what I could describe only as a “reverse Kentucky hug” that started boldly and fell off almost immediately, leaving an airy texture. On the front, I tasted lime, hazelnut, and vanilla. The middle offered nougat, almond, and sweet tobacco, while the back featured oak, clove, and black pepper.


Finish:  The medium-to-long finish was spicy with dry oak, lime, clove, pepper, and almond.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I will give the Brothers Beam credit; Yellowstone Family Recipe is unusual in a good way. Something reminded me of Jim Beam Repeal Batch, and because of that, I poured myself a dram of that immediately afterward. There are some similarities, particularly in the mouthfeel and the nutty flavors, but nothing else. So, did I enjoy Yellowstone Family Recipe? Yes. Is it worth $69.99? Also, yes. I don’t know that I would play the secondary market game with it, but it has earned by Bottle rating for its stated price. 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.



Friday, January 7, 2022

2 Gingers Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

Irish whiskey is a special category of whiskey. It used to be the most popular in the world until Prohibition in the United States nearly destroyed it. It is smooth (a word that some people hate), soft, and fruity. And, for the most part, they’re affordable, especially compared to their Scottish counterparts.


One of the things that make Irish whiskey so smooth is that they are typically triple-distilled. It doesn’t have to be; it is just the standard. As such, when Irish whiskey is twice-distilled, that’s unusual and is owed attention.  Such is the case with 2 Gingers.


2 Gingers began as the dream child of Kieran Folliard. Folliard owned a few Irish pubs and created some famous cocktails using Jameson Irish Whiskey. At some point in 2011, he started sourcing barrels from the Kilbeggan-Cooley distillery. He named his brand after his red-headed mother and aunt. Folliard did so well that he garnered the attention of Beam-Suntory, who, just one year later, purchased the brand from Folliard.


2 Gingers is an Irish Blended Whiskey, which means it marries two or more types of Irish whiskey. With 2 Gingers, single malt and single grain distillates are involved. It is aged four years in former Bourbon casks, although there’s no indication if that’s first-fill or refill or a variety. It is then packaged at 40% ABV (80°), and you can find a 750ml bottle for just over $20.00, and it is a cinch to find.  For the record, I found and purchased a 50ml taster at a liquor store in Minneapolis.


That price point is also attractive.  A $20.00 Irish whiskey still becomes a candidate for my #RespectTheBottomShelf award. Will 2 Gingers earn one? The only way to tell is to #DrinkCurious.


Before I do that, I would be remiss not to mention that 2 Gingers is designed to be a mixer. If you’re familiar with my reviews, you’ll know that I won’t buy whiskey as a cocktail base; I expect any whiskey to stand on its own, or at the very most, with a few drops of water. I’ve had several “mixer” whiskeys that were delightful sipped neat.


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, 2 Gingers showed as the color of golden straw. It formed a thick rim that created sticky, slow legs.


Nose:  I found the aroma to include malt, lemon zest, green apple, apricot, and toasted oak. When I took the air into my mouth, a strong banana presence appeared.


Palate:  The mouthfeel offered a medium body. Things began with honey, apple, and malted barley on the front, ginger root, vanilla and lemon peel on the middle, pepper, dry oak, and milk chocolate on the back.


Finish:  The finish was weird and not in the good/unusual way that I crave. Instead, it started as banana cream, then got spicy with pepper and dry oak, culminating in something slightly bitter. I was cool until that bitter part.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  2 Gingers is nothing special and certainly not a means to #RespectTheBottomShelf. I realize that this whiskey is designed to be a mixer, but I’ve had others marketed for mixing that taste just fine neat. This was not one of them. I’m not sure where to even provide suggestions.  Is it proofed too low? Perhaps. Is it lacking time in wood?  Probably not, considering how dry the wood notes are. Does it need to be triple rather than twice-distilled? Probably. 2 Gingers may be dirt cheap, but it is also taking a Bust rating from me. 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, September 15, 2021

Jim Beam Devil's Cut Review & Tasting Notes

Let's get real.  You've seen the commercials. You may have even chuckled at them. If not at the commercials, then the schtick - squeezing the Bourbon from the wood after the barrel has been emptied. Yes, that's right, I'm talking about Jim Beam Devil's Cut. If you've never seen the commercial narrated by Mila Kunis, you can view it here

But, this is a review of the whiskey, not the commercial. I've honestly been curious about Devil's Cut for several years, but I've also not wanted to pay money to taste something that is, well, schticky. But, when I saw a shooter on the shelf, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Devil's Cut is basically taking Jim Beam Extra-Aged (which I assume is Black Label), draining it, and then recovering the whiskey that was soaked up in the wood. The two are then blended together, then cut at 90°.  To get there, Beam started off with a mash of 75% corn, 12% rye, and 13% malted barley. The distillate was placed in new, #4 charred oak barrels at 125° and aged approximately six years (but carries no age statement). A 750ml bottle will run about $18.99.

All background aside, what really matters is if this process works, and the only way to know that for sure is to #DrinkCurious.  

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass Devil's Cut presented as caramel in color, but that caramel was lighter than you'd assume. I don't know why, but I expected it to be much darker.  It generated a medium-thick rim on the wall which led to fat, slow legs.

Nose:  Predictably, there was a blast of wood to my nostrils. It was a mixture of wet oak and sawdust. I would not describe that as overly pleasant despite the fact I love the smell of wood. Once I was able to get past that, I found caramel, molasses, and that typical Beam peanutty goodness. Finally, the aroma of orange peel rounded things out.  When I inhaled through my lips, oak and corn rolled across my palate.

Palate:  The mouthfeel was thick and coating. For whatever reason, that was unexpected. The oak that hit the front was not. It was joined by caramel, mint, and maple syrup, which seemed appropriate considering the texture. At mid-palate, I found Beam peanuts, oiled leather, and sweet cherry. Then, on the back, flavors of brown sugar, dry oak, and cocoa powder.

Finish:  A very long-lasting finish started with heavy, dry oak and cinnamon. Then, the freight train of black pepper rumbled past that seemed unending.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I like Plain Jane Jim Beam. There are many expressions from the distillery that I love. Like it or leave it, Devil's Cut is still a shtick Bourbon. The question becomes, does it work? I wasn't turned off by Devil's Cut, but I also couldn't picture myself buying a pour at a bar, let alone picking up a bottle. It was interesting, it might make for a good mixer, but my goal is never to buy something to be a mixer. I also don't think it is fair to rate this one a Bust, because despite what I just said, it wasn't bad. And, that's why the Bar rating exists.  Try this one for yourself before committing to a bottle. 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 that you do so responsibly.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Knob Creek Quarter Oak Review & Tasting Notes

I love it when distillers get curious and want to do something different. It isn't as if there isn't enough choice in the Wonderful World of Whiskey, but I enjoy the whole experimentation aspect. I want to see (and taste) what outside-the-box ideas they can come up with.

When Knob Creek announced they were going to release a small barrel Bourbon, it piqued my curiosity. It involved taking their standard Knob Creek Bourbon, made from a mash of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley, but instead of aging it in a standard 53-gallon barrel, it used what's called a quarter cask, which is only 13 gallons, and let it rest for four years. The smaller barrel gives a greater contact surface area between whiskey and wood. It is one way to accelerate the aging process.

Instead of leaving it at that, Knob Creek then took that quarter cask and blended it with their standard Bourbon aged in a traditional barrel.  The end result is called Knob Creek Quarter Oak.  

Bottled at 100°, Quarter Oak carries no age statement. Suggested retail is $49.99 for a 750ml and this is a limited edition offering. But, does limited edition mean it is worth chasing down?  I'll be honest - while I've enjoyed Knob Creek's limited editions in the past, I've found them overpriced for what they are. That hit a crescendo with the 25th Anniversary Release, which was essentially nothing more than a good store pick of Knob Creek 120 at three times the price. 

While the bottle is a media sample, it was passed along by a fellow reviewer and I did not get it directly from Knob Creek. Time to #DrinkCurious and find out if it is anything special...

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Quarter Oak appeared as a dull, golden amber. It left a thin rim that created fat, slow legs to drop back to the pool.

Nose:  The first thing to hit my nostrils was rose perfume. It was a bit overwhelming. However, once I got past that, I found a blend of dried fruit and caramel. Underneath that, leather was evident. When I inhaled through my mouth, apple and pear caressed my palate.

Palate:  The mouthfeel was thin and coating. Thick, sweet vanilla and cream greeted the front of my palate. That led to dry oak and leather at my mid-palate. Then, on the back, it became black pepper and barrel char. 

Finish:  I found it long and building. It started with black pepper and finished with very dry oak.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I am a big fan of Knob Creek 120.  I've said a few times that it is one of the most underrated Bourbons around. While it is a single-barrel Bourbon, I use it as a bellwether for other Knob Creek releases. I found Quarter Oak to be very atypical of what I've found in Knob Creek 120s, especially concerning the sweetness level at the front, and it was enjoyable. While this is slightly more expensive than Knob Creek 120 and is only 100°, it isn't obnoxiously priced like the 25th Anniversary or the 2001 Series. In all, Knob Creek Quarter Oak comes in as a net positive and earns my coveted Bottle rating.  Cheers!

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

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

Monday, January 18, 2021

Jim Beam Signature Craft Whole Rolled Oat Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Experimental whiskeys are a blast. This happens when the distillers get funky and tinker around with wild ideas. Some of them are pretty darned amazing. I've also had some that have been dull and boring and you wonder what was going through his or her mind. Nonetheless, they're an adventure. 

Enter Jim Beam into the foray. It came out with the Harvest Bourbon Collection. These bottles have been around a while, the project is, as far as I can tell, discontinued, but bottles are still out there on store shelves. Sometimes, they're even on clearance (which is how I purchased mine). According to Beam, it is:

a series of hand-crafted Bourbons that celebrate the distinctive tastes imparted by the distillation of different grains. More than ten years of aging has brought out the nuances of each of these unique ingredients.

Today I'm reviewing the Whole Rolled Oat entry of the collection. It is a straight Bourbon. While the exact mashbill isn't disclosed, it consists of at least 51% corn, and the remainder whole rolled oats and malted barley. If we extrapolate a few things, the standard Beam mashbill is 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley. The other option, used for Basil Hayden and Old Grand-Dad, is 63% corn, 27% rye, and 10% malted barley. As such, I'm going out on a limb and suggesting the rolled oat content is substituted for the rye, then the oat content is between 13% and 27%. 

Whole Rolled Oat is aged for 11 years and bottled at 90°. We also know Beam is aged in #4 new, charred oak barrels and there is no reason to suspect this one was any different. Suggested retail is $49.99 for a 375ml bottle. I picked mine up for $19.99.

Was it worth the $20 purchase? You know how this works, it is time to #DrinkCurious and find out.

Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, Whole Rolled Oat appeared as a deep, dark amber. It left a thick rim on the wall, and that led to sticky, thick legs that didn't really do a whole lot except hold their position.

Nose: Fruity aromas hit even before I was done letting it rest. When I brought my glass to my face, coconut and berries started things off. They were joined by toasted oak and stone fruit. Beyond that, maple syrup and vanilla rounded things out. When I inhaled through my mouth, a delicious waft of vanilla sugar cookies raced across my tongue.

Palate: The mouthfeel was soft with a medium body. The first thing I tasted was a blend of toasted oak and toasted coconut. Mid-palate, that typical Jim Beam peanut flavor made an appearance, which married with cocoa and coffee. On the back, it was Nutella and vanilla. 

Finish: The Nutella worked its way into the medium-to-long finish and became a vanilla bomb. Once that wore off, toasted oak was left behind.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: There are a few ways to look at this one. The first is the $19.99 I paid for my bottle, and the other is MSRP of $49.99.

I enjoyed my pour and, in fact, kept pouring as I was writing down my tasting notes. For lack of a better word, it was smooth, it was flavorful, it was delicious. I've had oat Bourbons before, and this one blew them all away.

For an Andrew Jackson ($20.00), this was a steal. Remember, this is a 375ml, so you have to double the price to do a dollars-to-dollars comparison for value. I'd rate this a Bottle all day long. For a Ulysses S Grant ($50.00), this becomes a $100.00 bottle and while tasty, this is absolutely not worth that.

If you can grab this one on clearance, for, say, $30.00 or less, I'd jump on it. You're going to love it. But, I wouldn't go any higher than that. Cheers!

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

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Knob Creek 120 "Cellars WS" Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

I'm always honored to have a store ask me to review one of their private barrels. I do realize that I've been reviewing quite a few of these picks as of late and that's just how the rotation comes up.

Today, I've got a sample of Knob Creek 120 Bourbon from Cellars Wine & Spirits in Neenah, Wisconsin. This one was aged nine years before being barreled. If you're unfamiliar with Knob Creek, this is a Beam Suntory product and the number refers to the proof. Knob Creek is one of those brands that enjoys an almost cult-like following. And, if you are familiar with Knob Creek, it is in the process of going through a price increase. Cellars sells this Bourbon for $39.99 and this may be one of the last ones you see at about this price point. 

I'd like to thank Cellars for providing me with a sample of their pick in exchange for a no-holds-barred, honest review.

In my Glencairn glass, this presented as a fairly typical Knob Creek 120. It was a bright amber and left a thin rim on the glass that created thick, fat legs.

Aromas of candied oranges and butterscotch made for a very interesting nose. There was nothing else that I could pick up, and for Knob Creek to have only two notes on the nose is a curiosity, especially when there is no oak, which is also a typical note. When I inhaled through my mouth, I picked up what reminded me only of a creamsicle - all orange and vanilla. 

This Cellar's pick had a mouthfeel that was thin, oily and coating. At the front of my palate, it was simply heavy orange cream, again, just like a creamsicle. Mid-palate, it switched to cereal and vanilla. On the back, it was a punch of clove. 

A very long and spicy finish from the clove remained, and the orange cream snuck back for yet another round. When the orange cream finally faded, it left behind a pleasant rye spice.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I've tasted many, many picks of Knob Creek 120 and truth be told, to stumble on one that doesn't perform well is like finding a needle in a haystack. This particular barrel may be the most unusual one I've ever tasted. I pick up fruits and vanilla from Knob Creek all the time, the fruit and the level of vanilla differ. But I can't say that I've had one where the orange flavor was this dominating. Plus, for $39.99, I don't see where you can go wrong. This one deserves my coveted Bottle rating.  Cheers! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Minor Case Rye Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

What's a Minor Case?  No, that's not the opposite of a Major Case!  Minor Case Beam was an actual person, part of the Beam family. His motto was Craft only the finest whiskey. Unfortunately, Minor Case Beam was put out of business thanks to that horrible American experiment called Prohibition. From everything I can gather, Minor Case's son Guy S. Beam distilled, then it skipped a generation until Paul and Steve Beam came around over at Limestone Branch

Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey is produced by Limestone Branch. This one is actually distilled by the folks at MGP. It utilizes a mash of 51% rye, 45% corn, and 4% barley. It is aged two years, then allowed to finish in ex-Sherry casks from Meier's Winery. Minor Case is non-chill filtered and bottled at 90°. Suggested retail is $50, which is about average for "craft" whiskey brands. 

The bottle is drop-dead gorgeous. The lettering is debossed, then painted white so it really jumps out at you. It has a very rich, premium look and feel. Packaging can be pretty or ugly, but all that matters to me is the whiskey inside. I'd like to thank Luxco for providing me a sample of Minor Case Straight Rye in exchange for a no-holds-barred, honest review. As such, it is time to #DrinkCurious.

In my Glencairn glass, the appearance was a light amber, and, in fact, looked young. It left a thin rim on my glass, which led to a heavy, wavy curtain that dropped back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Aromas of cinnamon spice and floral rye filled my nostrils. Underneath those were bright, fruity notes, most likely from the sherry, along with an interesting touch of butterscotch. When I inhaled through my mouth, I picked up additional floral notes.

The mouthfeel was thin, light, and airy.  Immediately up front, I tasted a combination of raisins and brown sugar. At mid-palate, the sherry became evident, along with dark chocolate, most likely from the malted barley, but I was shocked how strong it was considering the very low barley content. On the back, it was a marriage of citrus and rye spiciness.

The finish was soft, and chocolatey, with cherries and dry oak. It was delicate but long-lasting, and something that almost begged for another sip.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Thankfully, the youngish appearance was the worst thing about Minor Case Rye. There was a lot going on with this whiskey, it is interestingly complex and offers some surprises. I would have assumed heavier fruitiness due to the sherry finish but was pleasantly impressed by the heavier chocolate notes, especially in the finish. 

While the price for this two-year may shy you away, it is on par with other "craft" whiskeys you'll find on the shelf. Minor Case isn't another Me Too whiskey that could get lost in a sea of other similarly priced whiskeys. When you consider what Minor Case has to offer, I believe you'll agree this one earns a Bottle rating. Cheers!