Showing posts with label Brown-Forman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brown-Forman. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Old Forester Extra Extra Old Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Old Forester created its 117 Series in the Spring of 2021. It was the brainchild of former Master Taster Jackie Zykan and was meant to highlight what could be done with existing stocks. The newest incarnation, code-named Batch 003, is officially called 1910 Extra Extra Old.


"This expression was born from a creative and innovative experiment while staying true to the classic taste which sets Old Forester apart. Although I only joined Old Forester last month, this was one of the first new limited expressions I was honored to taste – and the extra long double barreling leads to an explosion of flavors.” – Melissa Rift, Old Forester Master Taster


If the 1910 Old Fine Whisky moniker seems familiar, it is the final entry of the Whiskey Row Series from Old Forester. It is also the base of this experiment. That whiskey… um… whisky is made from a mash of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. It was meant to commemorate the October 22, 1910 distillery fire that shut down production.


1910 Old Fine Whisky carries no age statement. It was double-matured in toasted, extremely-charred barrels for an undisclosed period meant to mimic the fire. Extra Extra Old extended that second maturation for a full two years. Like 1910 Old Fine Whisky, Extra Extra Old is bottled at 93°.


Extra Extra Old is a distillery-only Bourbon that was released on December 13th. Its availability may be extremely limited if there’s even anything left. You can check Old Forester’s online store. A 375ml bottle retailed for $59.99.


What did this accomplish? The only way to answer that is to #DrinkCurious. Before I get there, I must thank Old Forester for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it!


Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed one of the darkest whiskeys I’ve come across yet. The deep mahogany color was inviting and piqued my interest. A fuller rim created slow, thick tears that fell back into the pool.


Nose: I suspected oak would dominate the nose, but I was wrong. Instead, dark-roasted coffee, cherry, plum, chocolate, and toasted coconut were all easy to pluck from the air. As I inhaled through my lips, the coffee became more pronounced.


Palate: The oily mouthfeel featured dark-roasted coffee, cherry, and plum on the front of my palate. Midway through, I tasted toffee, tobacco, and coconut, while the back offered the first embrace of oak with barrel char and dark chocolate.


Finish: The finish initially was medium-short in duration; however, when I sat back and concentrated, there was a ghosting effect. Flavors of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, oak, and tobacco coated my throat.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I was not expecting the finish to be as short as it was. With the extra aging, I (wrongfully) assumed there would be wood tannins that would go on for days. The coffee notes on both the nose and palate offered no bitterness. The fruity notes were refreshing and melded well with the savory and spice experience. While it may have been interesting to taste this at a higher proof, the 93° provided enough flavor to make me happy. Take into account the affordability factor, and Extra Extra Old is a winner, easily snagging 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.



Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Old Forester King Ranch Edition Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Have you heard of King Ranch? Established in 1883, it is a privately-held Texan agricultural company that includes an 825,000-acre ranch that raises cattle and horses. Crops such as cotton, sugar cane, pistachios, almond, and various vegetables are grown, and it is also home to a wildlife preserve and recreational area. It also has a marketing relationship with Ford pickup trucks.


Most American whiskey drinkers have heard of Old Forester, which bills itself the first Bourbon packaged exclusively in sealed bottles. Something that is less commonly known is that it is the longest-continuously produced Bourbon, spanning a whopping 152 years! It is owned by Brown-Forman, which also owns well-known brands such as Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve.


Old Forester and King Ranch have come together to offer Old Forester King Ranch Edition, a limited-edition Bourbon. It is so limited that you can only buy it in Texas.


“This new product represents George Garvin Brown’s lasting legacy and Old Forester’s commitment to quality bourbon. It’s a big, bold flavor – to match the big, bold ranch in South Texas.” - Cole Irvin, a whisky innovator who helped craft the King Ranch Bourbon


What makes this whiskey unique? It begins with a “proprietary” batch of Old Forester Bourbon. That could, of course, mean anything. But, more unusual is the whiskey aged in heavily-charred, new American oak barrels before going through a finishing run via King Ranch mesquite charcoal, harvested from mesquite trees grown on the ranch.


Old Forester King Ranch Edition is packaged at 105°, and a 750ml bottle has a suggested price of $69.99. It carries no age statement.


I thank Old Forester for providing me with a sample of King Ranch in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. And now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.


Appearance: Poured neat into my Glencairn glass, Old Forester King Ranch presented as raw honey, forming a medium-thin rim. Fast, thick tears rolled down the wall and back into the pool.


Nose: An aroma of fruity notes such as cranberry and cherry joined with sweet brown sugar and butterscotch. There was a slap of toasted oak as well. The brown sugar became heavy when I drew the vapor into my mouth.


Palate: An oily texture offered the front of my palate flavors of cocoa powder, nutmeg, and caramel. As it moved to the middle, I tasted raisin, plum, and black cherry, and then, on the back, I found tobacco leaf, old leather, and clove.


Finish:  A medium-long finish featured very dark chocolate, leather, tobacco, and pecan praline.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I found Old Forester King Ranch fascinating. Based on the description, I had expected mesquite to play a major role. In the case of this Bourbon, it didn’t even make the cutting room floor. I’m sure it did impact the flavors I discovered from this pour, which were enjoyable.


Old Forester King Ranch drinks at its stated proof, if not a point or so higher. It was big and bold, and nothing in this Bourbon came across as shy. Regarding a value statement, it is a one-and-gone release and not priced obnoxiously. Overall, I believe Old Forester King Ranch is a tasty Bourbon and well worth my Bottle rating. If you don’t live in Texas, see if a friend can grab one. 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, October 14, 2022

The GlenDronach Grandeur Batch 11 Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes

One of my favorite ways to age whisky is in Pedro Ximénez casks. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with using virgin oak, former Bourbon barrels, wine, or other kinds of sherry. There is, however, something magical about how that PX sherry imparts fruity goodness on the liquid sunshine held within.


Unfortunately, the mere presence of a PX cask doesn’t translate to great whisky. You need to start with good distillate, hand-selected cooperage, and a master blender who knows what they are doing. Who is a reliable candidate to fit that bill?  The GlenDronach.


If you’ve never experienced a whiskey from The GlenDronach, you’ll want to remedy that situation. Located in the Highlands region, it was founded in 1826 and is one of the oldest licensed distilleries in all of Scotland. Its ownership changed hands several times until Allied Distillers mothballed it in 1996. Six years later, it reversed its decision and returned to full production. In 2005, Chivas Brothers took the helm for three years until, in 2008, The BenRiach Distillery Company, Ltd. purchased it, only to sell itself to Brown-Forman in 2016. And that’s when Dr. Rachel Barrie, it's Master Blender, unleashed her magic.


Today I’m exploring Grandeur Batch 11, a single malt Scotch that sat in both PX and Oloroso sherry casks for a whopping 28 years.


“The GlenDronach Grandeur is an unparalleled range of the finest aromas and character from masterful Spanish oak sherry cask maturation. A Single Malt of elegant finesse, this expression offers a symphony of sherry aromatics interwoven with dark manuka honey, roasted almond, and walnut. It is intense and full-bodied, as is the signature of The GlenDronach, with a crescendo of black cherry and espresso adorning each mouthful.” – Dr. Rachel Barrie, Master Blender


I don’t have too many opportunities to experience whiskies approaching three decades, and, on top of that, one that weighs in at a healthy 48.9% ABV (97.8°). As you can well imagine, a bottle like that commands an eyebrow-raising price tag. In the case of Grandeur Batch 11, it is $800.00.


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


Appearance: This elderly Scotch offered a rusty appearance and a heavy rim that stuck like glue. Thick tears were released, but for whatever reason, the ring remained.


Nose: As the whisky poured into my glass, a fruity aroma of plum, dark cherry, raisin, and black currant was already tickling my nostrils. A closer examination provided roasted almond, cocoa, and leather. Cherry and honey tangoed across my tongue when I inhaled the vapor through my mouth.


Palate:  I found the texture to be thin and oily, while the front of my palate encountered a punch of black cherry, black currant, and raisin. When I say punch, I mean it; there was an impact on my tongue. Midway through, I tasted leather, dark chocolate, and almond, while the back featured flavors of black pepper, espresso, and cigar.


Finish:  Long and warming, the finish was peppery, with plum, dark chocolate, cigar, and espresso. I felt it drank a bit above its stated proof.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I loved this Scotch. It was yet another example of Dr. Barrie’s immense talent. The nose, the palate, the finish; each told me this was a luxurious whisky. All things being equal, this would capture my Bottle rating. The elephant in the room is the price:  $800 is beyond my and many others' means. But that shouldn’t discount your chance at a dram of Grandeur Batch 11 if you can find it at a good whisky Bar. 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, September 26, 2022

Woodford Reserve Distillery Series Honey Barrel Finish Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

I’ve always been impressed with the ingenuity of people who can repurpose things. It doesn’t matter if it is an entertainment center converted into a bar, a ladder made into a bookshelf, or a wheelbarrow that gets a new life as a planter. To me, it is fascinating (and, frankly, I’m jealous that I can never think of those things).


Distillers have done the same thing for many years. Bourbon and American Rye can only be aged in brand new barrels, and many find new life in other countries where whiskeys (and other spirits) can be aged in vintage oak. More recently, those barrels have wound up at breweries, wineries, coffee estates, and beekeepers, where their products are kept and take on the qualities of what’s stuck in the wood.


What’s fun is when a distillery sends off a barrel, it is used to store something else and then returns to that same distillery to become a finishing barrel. And, that’s how we wind up with today’s Woodford Reserve Honey Barrel Finish review.


Honey Barrel Finish is part of Woodford’s Distillery Series, an annual release of experimental whiskeys where Master Distiller Chris Morris and Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall have some fun with their creative juices.


“One of the best parts of my job is being able to experiment with new ways of making Woodford Reserve. It’s been rewarding to work with a honey producer here in Woodford County to create this unique Distillery Series expression and support local business and agriculture.” – Chris Morris


This release begins with a standard, used Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrel sent off to a local honeybee farmer in Woodford County, Kentucky. After the honey was aged, it was returned to Woodford Reserve and filled with properly-aged Woodford Reserve Bourbon for a short time.


Honey Barrel Release is bottled at Woodford’s usual 90.4° and is available in a 375ml package. It can be procured from the distillery gift shop and “select retailers” around Kentucky for $59.99.


Before you start scrambling to get your hands on a bottle, I’m sure you’d like to know how it tastes, and the only way to do that is to #DrinkCurious. But, first, I must thank Woodford Reserve for sending me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: I poured this neat into my Glencairn glass, and it appeared as a deep, dark caramel. One of the thickest rims I’ve seen stuck to the wall until it set free slow, thick tears.


Nose: The influence of the honey was impossible to miss as the aroma wafting from the glass. Butterscotch, vanilla cookies, and oak came next. I tasted coconut macaroons when I pulled the air in through my lips.


Palate:  From the stickiness of the rim, I would have expected a heavy mouthfeel. Nope. It was oily and thin. Bit O’Honey was the first thing I tasted, and as it turned out, was the entirety of the front. The mid-palate consisted of orange blossom, toasted coconut, and nutmeg flavors. The back exploded with allspice, clove, and dry oak.  


Finish: The oak became chewy, and the spice notes continued to build. The clove and allspice competed for attention. Then dark-roast coffee came out of nowhere. I sat there and waited for it to end, and it took several minutes to begin to fall off. Once it did, it dropped quickly.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Nothing is reminiscent of Woodford Reserve’s flagship Bourbon here. When you think of something with honey, you don’t often associate that with a big, bold spice bomb. Yet, that’s what Honey Barrel Finish gave, especially on the back and finish. All the sweetness was up front, and by the time I swallowed, it was nowhere to be found. If you’re searching for a Bourbon way off the beaten path, I believe Woodford Reserve Honey Barrel Finish will satisfy that desire. As for me, I wasn’t a fan on the first sip. But by the third, I found myself refilling my glass to enjoy this some more. I am happy to have this one in my whiskey library, and it earns 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, July 22, 2022

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof 118.4 (2022) Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof started five years ago as part of the distillery’s Master's Collection, essentially as an experimental product line from Master Distiller Chris Morris and Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall 


Woodford does things a bit differently than many other distilleries. It starts with a mash of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. They use limestone water obtained from right at the distillery. Nothing unusual with that so far, but it is the next steps that matter:  It uses a six-day fermentation process, which is longer than the industry average of three. It is triple-distilled using a blending of whiskeys from both pot and column stills. Entry-proof is also lower than average, brought down to 110° before being poured into new, #4 charred-oak barrels. 


“Barrels drawn from the first floors of our heat-cycled warehouses routinely possess lower proof presentations due the more relaxed angel share process found there. This batch had more of these barrels in its composition, and therefore a lower batch proof presentation than past releases.” – Chris Moore, Master Distiller 


Woodford Reserve carries no age statement but ages a minimum of four years. The price of Batch Proof is $129.99 for a 750ml bottle, which has remained the same for the last several years. The 2022 release weighs in at 118.4°. 


So, how does this particular release taste? Let's #DrinkCurious and find out. But, first, I'd like to thank Woodford Reserve for sending me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. 


Appearance:  A deep, dark amber gave the impression of something aged far longer than the four-year minimum. A medium-thin rim created almost random, fat droplets that fell down the wall of my Glencairn glass.


Nose: This Bourbon was fragrant from across the room. Mrs. Whiskeyfellow was seated about ten feet from me and picked out notes. It was a fruit bomb with plum, dark cherry, elderberry, and blackberry. A puff of the air in my mouth tasted of thick, rich vanilla.


Palate:  An intense, oily texture greeted my tongue. Coffee, dark chocolate, and caramel formed the front, with flavors of dark cherry, orange peel, and elderberry on the middle. The back was black pepper, dry oak, and allspice.


Finish: Long and very warming, the coffee and dark chocolate held their own against the black pepper and allspice. Every so often, a kiss of caramel would poke through.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The nose was lovely, the palate had plenty going on, and overall, this is a good Bourbon. I’m hung up on the price. I said the same thing when I reviewed Batch 123.6 (2020). Batch 118.4 takes the same rating: Bar. 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, June 27, 2022

Woodford Reserve Toasted Oak Oat Grain Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


In the heart of horse country lies one of the most beautiful distillery campuses you’ll come across. Founded in 1812 as the Oscar Pepper Distillery, then the Labrot & Graham Distillery, Woodford Reserve is one of the flagship properties owned by Brown-Forman starting in 1941, then sold off in the 1960s, only to be repurchased in 1993. The Woodford Reserve brand was launched in 1996.


Since 2015, Woodford Reserve has been tinkering with unusual whiskeys. Some, like Double Double Oaked, have been released mostly annually. Others are one-and-done whiskeys.


“Experimenting with new ways of making Woodford Reserve is one of my favorite parts of my job. It allows us to explore new flavors with our bourbon.”Chris Morris, Master Distiller


Woodford Reserve Toasted Oak Oat Grain is part of the distillery’s annual Distillery Series release. It is made from fully-matured Woodford Oak Bourbon that was dumped into and finished in a new, heavily-toasted barrel for an undisclosed period—packaged at 90.4° in 375ml bottles, which is available at the distillery and “select Kentucky retailers” for $59.99.


I must thank Woodford Reserve for supplying me with a sample of this limited-release whiskey in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and taste what this is all about.


Appearance: Poured neat into a Glencairn glass, this whiskey presented as deep chestnut. It left a medium-thin rim that released fast tears back into the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose: This was an experience of mixed fruits and baked goods: oatmeal cookies, brown sugar, and cinnamon powder blended with plum and black cherry. As I drew the vapor past my lips, it was like a puff of cocoa popped in my mouth.


Palate: An oily texture greeted my tongue, and the front of my palate encountered a blast of spice that featured clove, big oak, and orange peel. I tasted nutmeg, brown sugar, and oatmeal in the middle, while the back offered cinnamon spice, chocolate, and char.


Finish:  The finish was medium-to-long and had flavors of clove, cocoa, chocolate, toasted oak, orange peel, and black cherry.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I’ve had oat whiskeys before and have yet to find one undesirable. I’m not sure what the oat adds, but whatever it is, I believe it should be included more often. Woodford Reserve Toasted Oak Oat Grain is an unusual pour, especially with the spiciness you don’t expect from this distillery. Is it pricey? Yeah, especially when you do the math and figure the 750ml cost. But it is also worth drinking, and if you can get your hands on a Bottle, just do it. 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, June 17, 2022

The BenRiach Cask Edition Single Cask Scotch Reviews & Tasting Notes


Dr. Rachel Barrie is a brilliant Master Blender. She holds that title at three different Brown-Forman distilleries: The GlenDronach, Glenglassaugh, and BenRiach. She is the first female Master Blender to earn an honorary doctorate; she is an inductee of Whisky Magazine’s “Hall of Fame.” In September 2020, she was named a Keeper of the Quaich.


This month, BenRiach released three of its first-ever single cask, single malt Scotch offerings exclusive to the US market. It is called The BenRiach Cask Edition.


“Our ‘sleeping beauties’, as we often call these casks, continue to be sourced from all over the world, enabling us to creatively explore the full flavor possibilities of Speyside Single Malt. Each cask will tell its own story of a journey of flavor where the spirit is married with oak, over years and through the seasons, to really create a unique moment in time never to be repeated again.” – Dr. Rachel Barrie


Today I have an opportunity, thanks to BenRiach, to #DrinkCurious and write a no-strings-attached, honest review of all three. They’re all naturally colored, non-chill filtered, and each has a very different cooperage.


Something new and different is the packaging. We’re used to 750ml bottles in the United States. With updated regulations, 700ml is now allowable for our market.


Let’s get to the first pour!


Cask #3812 – 12 Years


Cask #3812 was distilled in 2009 and spent a dozen years in a former Pedro Ximénez sherry puncheon. The yield was 642 bottles at its 58.2% cask strength (116.4°). You can expect to pay about $100 on one of 642 - 700ml bottles, which is limited in availability to CA, KY, OR, WA, GA, MA, and NY.


Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Cask #3812 appeared coppery and created a thin rim. Medium-weighted legs raced back to the pool.


Nose: A fragrance of apricot and raisin jumped from the glass while it was still resting on the table. Upon closer inspection, I found chocolate, caramel, and orange peel. The orange peel turned candied as I took that air into my mouth.


Palate: A silky, full-bodied texture greeted my tongue, captivating my interest. The front of my palate encountered milk chocolate, butterscotch, and honey, while the middle featured lemon and orange zest combined with raisin. On the back, I tasted leather, oak, and nuts.


Finish: The long-lasting finish kept leather, tobacco, dark chocolate, and oak in my mouth and throat.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Cask #3812 is a sip-and-smile whisky. That’s about the best description I can offer. Yeah, it is a 12-year with a $100 asking price. But, it is cask strength, yet doesn’t drink at that proof. It is a single barrel, (obviously) limited-edition Scotch. And, dammit, it is delicious. I’d pay $100 all day long for this; I just wish it was anywhere near my market. It is a Bottle rating for sure!




Cask #10297 – 23 Years


Cask #10297 delves into that much more rare territory, distilled back in 1997 and spent 23 years in a vintage Marsala wine cask. The yield was only 264 bottles spread around AZ, CO, DC, DE, FL, IL, MD, MN, NV, PA, SC, and WI. A 55.4% ABV (110.8°) – 700ml package will set you back about $330.00.


Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass showed this Scotch’s orange-amber appearance. A thinner rim released medium-thick, fast legs.


Nose: Floral notes were joined by fruits such as peach, cherry, and citrus. They were blended together with thick, dense vanilla. Inhaling through my mouth caused orange and vanilla to dance across my tongue.  


Palate: The mouthfeel was thick and creamy. Vanilla, strawberry, and cherry started things off, with orange zest and honey at mid-palate. The back consisted of dark chocolate, oak, and clove.


Finish:  Medium in duration, the finish featured flavors of cherry, strawberry, oak, and clove.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Cask #10297 was elegant and unique. The only thing I could complain about the tasting experience was that short finish. I kept sipping more as I wanted to retain those flavors in my mouth; they never stuck. The question becomes, would I pay $330.00 for this whisky? I’m not convinced. But, you should absolutely try this at a Bar if you can find it.




Cask #15058 – 24 Years


Finally, there’s Cask #15058. This single malt Scotch was distilled in 1997 and slept 24 years in an Oloroso puncheon. It weighs in at 55.4% (110.8°), and the yield was a surprising 641 – 700ml bottles. Availability is extremely limited to GA, MA, NY, and unnamed metropolitan areas around the country. If you see one, expect to shell out $388.00 for it.


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this whisky appeared as liquid caramel. Try as I might, I could not get a rim to form. It just kept collapsing into long, wavy tears.


Nose:  I started craving dessert when my olfactory sense ran into vanilla, caramel, cinnamon apple, Nutella, and oak. Cinnamon and vanilla tangoed in my mouth as I pulled the vapor inside.


Palate:  A slick, oily mouthfeel ponied up orange marmalade, apricot, and cinnamon apple on the front, with chocolate, hazelnut, and black currant at the middle. The back featured leather, tobacco, and caramel.


Finish:  The leather became very dry on the finish. Tobacco leaf, raisin, and oak were about to complete it when a non-peaty, smoky kiss closed things out.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Have you ever dreamt of sipping on a fine Scotch in your private study? Well, Cask #15058 fits that bill perfectly. It is a sultry, sophisticated pour that commands your full attention. Sure, it is a $380.00 investment, but you’ll bite the bullet and prove how smart you were to grab a Bottle.  


Final Thoughts:  It was so fun to try all three of these single cask Scotches. The 12-year is my favorite, partially because I’m a sucker for an excellent PX-cask whisky, and it is a heck of a value to boot. Next was the 24-year. It is, simply put, an experience. The third was the 23-year. It was a lovely pour; I couldn’t justify its outlay.


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, March 23, 2022

Canadian Mist Blended Canadian Whisky Review & Tasting Notes

Let’s get something out of the way here. I’ve not tried Canadian Mist in probably the last dozen years. Why? Because the last time it passed my lips, I was in Orlando, and it was the only whisky poured at the event I was attending. It was hideous. Canadian Mist is the whisky that turned me off of Canadian whiskies.


I wasn’t reviewing whiskey a dozen years ago. My palate has refined significantly since then. With the whole #DrinkCurious mantra, I’m supposed to return to things I didn’t previously enjoy and give them second (and sometimes third) chances.


What is Canadian Mist? It is a blended Canadian whisky founded in 1967 by Brown-Forman. It is made from a mash of rye from Ontario and Alberta, corn grown from within 100 miles of the distillery in Collingwood, Ontario, and malted barley. Triple-distilled in a column still, Canadian Mist uses water sourced from Georgian Bay. It rested “at least” 36 months in used, charred oak barrels that formerly held “heavier whiskeys” in climate-controlled warehouses. Sazerac purchased the brand in 2020. You can expect to spend $9.99 for a 750ml, 40% ABV (80°) package.

I picked up a 50ml taster for $0.99 at some random liquor store. Let’s see if this is any better than I remember.


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Canadian Mist was the color of yellow straw. A medium rim led to fat, sticky tears.


Nose: I smelled acetone, caramel, butterscotch, and something like synthetic citrus. When I brought the air into my mouth, it was kinda-sorta butterscotch.


Palate:  The texture was thin. The first thing I tasted was something chemical. It took a lot to get past it, but I eked out maple and a fake-tasting caramel. Please don’t ask me to break it up into the front, middle, and back because I can’t.


Finish:  Too long and bitter, Canadian Mist’s finish featured caramel and more acetone.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  My gosh, it all came back at me as I was smelling this. The only thing I can say that is attractive about Canadian Mist is it is dirt cheap. It is a palate wrecker. I can’t see attempting to salvage this in a cocktail, and I refuse even to try. Rating Canadian Mist as a Bust does a disservice to the Bust rating. Drink anything else.


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, November 8, 2021

The BenRiach Malting Season Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes

One month each year, the folks at The BenRiach spread barley on its malting floor, watch it carefully while turning it by hand, and pick the “perfect” time to move it to the kiln to dry and stop the germination process.


The BenRiach is a Speyside distillery and is known for doing things in its own way. Dr. Rachel Barrie is one of the most respected master blenders in the business.  And, in 2021, she’s taken a single malt Scotch in an entirely new direction with Malting Season.


“Passed from distiller to distiller throughout the generations, the floor malting process keeps a traditional part of the whisky-making process alive with BenRiach being one of only seven distilleries in Scotland to continue the practice of floor malting.

Distilling spirit from barley malted here on site is a true labour of love and something we are passionate about keeping alive here at BenRiach as an ode to our creative whisky-making heritage.”Stewart Buchanan, The BenRiach global brand ambassador


It begins with the aforementioned once-a-year malting. A concerto strain of barley, the most common, was used, and in this case, 100% of it came from the malting floor. The distillation took place on November 2, 2012. That single malt new make then aged in two types of casks:  virgin American oak and former Bourbon barrels and rested for nine years. The yield was 6672 bottles, and you can expect to pay about $149.99 for a 750ml package.


Before I get to the review, I’d like to thank The BenRiach for providing me a sample of Malting Season in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. I’ll #DrinkCurious and get to it.


Appearance:  Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Malting Season presented as the color of bright gold. It left a medium-thick rim that led to husky, slow legs that fell back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose:  Honey was obvious. Peach, vanilla, Fuji apple, malt, and raw almond aromas lay beneath. As I pulled the air through my lips, the Fuji apple gained strength.


Palate:  The mouthfeel offered a medium-weight body and was silky. Fuji apple, Bartlett pear, and honey started things off. As the whisky moved to the middle, toasted almond and vanilla took over. Then, on the back was a blend of oak, white peppercorn, and milk chocolate.


Finish:  The oak became dry, the white pepper remained, and then became sweet with honey and apple, then featured a redux of the dry oak. This was one of those big finishes that lasted several minutes.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Malting Season is a stunningly good Scotch. The balanced palate and finish offered a substantial presence with bold flavors. There’s no astringent. There’s no peat. The proof is just right without being unnecessarily diluted. Would I spend $149.99 on this? I believe so, but I’d also like to see it come down about $20.00 or so in price. Regardless, this earned every bit of my Bottle rating. Grab one. This is the first edition of what’s sure to become an amazing annual release. 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.