Showing posts with label Heaven Hill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Heaven Hill. Show all posts

Saturday, March 11, 2023

"Lamboozhound" Blend Project of La Crosse Distilling High Rye Light Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

Every so often, I have friends in the retail liquor business who ask me to review their barrel picks or blended whiskey projects. Today I’m exploring Lamboozhound, a blended whiskey project created by Sean Wipfli of Niemuth’s Southside Market, located at 2121 S. Oneida Street in Appleton, Wisconsin.


Lamboozhound began its journey as La Crosse Distilling Co.’s High Rye Light Whiskey. It contains portions of four of six Niemuth’s La Crosse store picks, which were then aged at least two years in four of ex-Niemuth’s store pick barrels. The cooperage used was:


a Heaven Hill barrel used to age maple syrup and Bourbon;

a Driftless Glen third-fill Rye barrel;

a Great Northern Distilling second-fill Rye barrel; and

an MGP barrel that initially held Bourbon, then Stout.


Lamboozhound is packaged at 90°. There are 180 - 750ml bottles available priced at $30.99.


I hold my friends' whiskeys to the same standards as anything else. It has to pass muster. If you are curious if I’ve ever rated these lower than a Bottle, the answer is absolutely. In fact, I’ve done it with a prior pick or two that Sean did for Niemuth’s. So, let’s #DrinkCurious and discover how this one turned out. 


Appearance: I sipped this blend neat in my Glencairn glass. Frankly, it presented similarly to a standard La Crosse High Rye Light Whiskey, the color of pale straw and a thick rim. Slow, sticky tears fell back into the pool.


Nose: I found Lamboozhound quite fragrant as it was resting in my glass. I came across vanilla cream, milk chocolate, rye spice, hops, and something minorly astringent. Those last two notes I attribute to the Stout influence. Drawing that vapor through my lips created a blast of orange and tangerine flavors.


Palate: A buttery texture greeted my tongue. The front tasted of hops, vanilla, and maple syrup. Midway through, I found rye spice and a hint of cinnamon, whereas the back featured citrus, oak, and clove.


Finish: If I didn’t know better, I could wonder if Sean dumped a dollop of orange juice for good measure because that was the first thing I thought of after I swallowed. Clove and hops came next, and while the clove fell off, the hops lasted far longer. Overall, it was long.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I’ll start by saying that I’m not a beer guy, and it seemed to me its character dominated the blend. I’ve had beer-finished whiskeys and found some enjoyable, but they were all less hoppy. Lamboozhound should easily appeal to someone who savors a strong beer influence. I believe the fairest rating on Lamboozhound is a 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.



Saturday, January 21, 2023

Evan Williams White Label Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Sometimes I think to myself, Why have you never reviewed that?


Whenever someone asks me what my favorite Bourbon is, I shrug my shoulders. There are so many beautiful choices out there, but at the end of the day, I consider my “house Bourbon,” the one I am sure always to have a bottle open and available is Evan Williams White Label.


In my opinion, this is the Bourbon that appeals to almost anyone. When you mention Evan Williams White Label, people nod their heads in agreement and say, Oh yeah, that’s a good choice.


What makes Evan Williams White Label so attractive? To start, it is incredibly affordable. You can find it in some places still for under $20.00! And it doesn’t take a lot of effort to find it on the liquor store shelf.


Next, it is a Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon. If you go back to the beginning of when I was reviewing whiskeys, I’ve stated that my favorite whiskey category is Bottled-in-Bond. It is a truth-in-advertising law that gives distillers and producers little opportunity to stretch the truth. Backstories don’t matter. What does is that the whiskey must be a 100% product of the United States, at least four years old, must be bottled at precisely 100°, and must be aged in a government-bonded warehouse. A bonded whiskey must come from one distiller at one distillery in one distillation season (January to June, July to December). The label must disclose who the actual distiller was; you can source it, but you can’t hide who made it.


Evan Williams White Label is distilled by Heaven Hill and consists of a mash made from 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley. While it carries no age statement, Heaven Hill suggests the whiskey rested at least five years, and we know Heaven Hill utilizes barrels with a #3 char level.


Why haven’t I reviewed it? I have no idea. Frankly, I thought I had. But, not is as good of a time as any. Let’s #DrinkCurious.


Appearance: I sipped this Bourbon neat in a Glencairn glass. A gentle swirl produced a thin rim and fat, medium-speed tears that fell back into the pool of liquid sunshine. Evan Williams White Label pretty much defines what color amber truly is.


Nose: Aromas of caramel, vanilla, peanuts, plum, cherry, and oak were all easily identified. None trample over another. When I inhaled the vapor through my lips, butterscotch filled my mouth.


Palate: The texture was thin and oily, introducing my palate to flavors of vanilla, brown sugar, and corn. Midway through, I tasted cinnamon, nutmeg, and caramel. The back offered black pepper, toasted oak, and a gentle kiss of mint.


Finish: Medium in length, the finish left caramel, brown sugar, and dry oak in my mouth and throat.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: As I stated in the introduction, Evan Williams White Label is my house Bourbon, and there’s nothing to offend. I keep it around because it is delicious and affordable. It is everything a Bottle rating should be, and it is a fantastic opportunity to #RespectTheBottomShelf. 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 10, 2022

Elijah Craig Straight Rye Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

I am, admittedly, an Elijah Craig fanboy. It is one of the better value Bourbons around, especially when you get into the single barrel program. I was defending the brand when Heaven Hill removed the age statement, and everyone was saying they’d never drink Elijah Craig again (without ever tasting the non-age-stated version).

Every so often, I run into something from Elijah Craig that leaves me less than impressed. One of the most disappointing buys I made was on the 18-year. I spent a few years looking for it, and it was underwhelming, especially considering the price (it was only $99.00 then). I say this to show that even favorite brands release a dud or two now and then.


If you’re unfamiliar with the background of this brand, Elijah Craig was a Baptist minister, a teacher, and a businessman who many people credit being the inventor of Bourbon by storing whiskey in new, charred oak barrels. There is also debate as to whether those barrels were new or used. I’ve heard versions of the story that talk about his charring the barrels to hide the flavors of whatever the barrel was originally storing. In truth, nobody knows who the inventor was and who used the first new, charred oak barrel – it may very well have been Craig – or not. Regardless, it makes a nice backstory.


Heaven Hill released Elijah Craig Straight Rye in October 2019 to much fanfare. It took a bit to make its way to Wisconsin liquor stores. The Rye shares the same barely-legal 51% rye, 35% corn, and 14% malted barley mashbill as Rittenhouse and Pikesville. It carries no age statement and falls in at $35.00, slightly more expensive than Rittenhouse and much less than Pikesville. Similar to the Bourbon, it is packaged at 94°.


The Rye has been said by some to be excellent and others to be okay. Despite my love for the Bourbon, I can stay unbiased as this is a different whiskey. Let’s #DrinkCurious and see if the brand has a winner.


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, the Rye was orange amber. A medium rim generated thick, crooked legs that fell back to the pool.


Nose: Cinnamon, star fruit, and cherry formed a sweeter aroma joined by toasted oak and black pepper. The familiar Elijah Craig oak flavor introduced itself when I inhaled through my lips.


Palate:  A thin, light-bodied texture greeted my tongue. With Rye, you expect there to be spice upfront. Strangely, corn was the first thing I tasted, with vanilla and caramel. At mid-palate, things became spicier, with nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. The back featured pimento, rye spice, and black pepper.


Finish:  Sweet vanilla and caramel carried through to the end, along with rye spice and cinnamon Red Hots candy. The duration was medium to long, with the Red Hots rounding things out.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Elijah Craig Straight Rye is decent. I have to be honest, for $10.00 less, I believe Rittenhouse is a better value. It is the same mashbill at 100°, and I found it more flavorful. I don’t know that I would go out of my way to buy a bottle of the Elijah Craig version, and that's very hard for me to type. As such, I’m going to give it a Bar 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 28, 2021

Evan Williams 12-Year Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Evan Williams is perhaps one of the most iconic Bourbon brands today. That and Jim Beam (don't get me started on Jack) are the top players sales-wise. Most of us are familiar with the Black Label, which pretty much keeps Heaven Hill in, pardon the pun, the black. Then, there's my favorite budget Bourbon, the Bottled-in-Bond White Label. The lesser-known brethren are the Single Barrel, 1783, and Green Label.

But, a 12-year old Evan Williams?  Red Label?  What's that all about? In the United States, Red Label is a distillery exclusive. It even comes with a necker label that says Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, which is their microdistillery in Louisville. My understanding is that Red Label is also sold in Japan. It is bottled at 101° and runs about $129.99. Whoa... isn't Evan Williams a budget brand?

It is born of the same distillate as any other Evan Williams product:  78% corn, 12% rye, and 10% malted barley. It is charcoal-filtered just like any other Evan Williams product. It is aged in the same #3, new charred oak barrels like any other Evan Williams product. The big difference is proof and age. But, is that worth a nearly 6-fold premium?  The only way to know for sure is to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Red Label appears as your run-of-the-mill Evan Williams Bourbon. It offers a mellow amber color, and it left a medium rim with fat, wavy legs that dropped back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:  This Bourbon produced initial aromas of nutmeg and caramel. Underneath those were corn and mint. Finally, a totally unexpected but distinctive bubble gum smell. When I inhaled through my lips, it was only bubble gum. 

Palate:  When the whiskey crossed my lips, it was much thinner and lighter than I would have otherwise expected. At 101° I'd assume there would be some warmth. Instead, it was soft.  On the front of my palate, it was the very familiar corn and oak. Mid-palate was also the predictable vanilla and caramel. The back was new:  clove, nutmeg, and cocoa.

Finish:  The finish was also atypical of Evan Williams. It started with toasted oak, then gave way to clove, which then almost immediately switched gears to sweet, creamy caramel. I found the finish to be long-lasting and pleasurable.

Bottle, Bar or Bust:  Was this Evan Williams expression good?  Most certainly. Was it $130 good? No, not to me. That's difficult for me to admit because I'm a fan of all things Evan Williams. But, I can't justify the mark-up over their standard expressions. I can't rate this a Bust because it is a good Bourbon. But, this is something you should definitely try before committing to, and as such, it takes a Bar 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.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Elijah Craig "Good Carma" Single Barrel Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

If you've followed my reviews for some time, you know that I have some biases. That's right, I'm human. But, I admit them. And, today I'm going to admit another.

I enjoy the hell out of Elijah Craig.

That shouldn't be a surprise. This is something I've stated for a few years now. I stumble upon Elijah Craig store picks and for me, it is almost always a no-brainer. And, I'm going to give you a spoiler - I love the one I'm reviewing today. But, what's important is what makes this store pick worthwhile.

If you're unfamiliar with Elijah Craig (hey, everyone is new to something sometime, right?), it is distilled by Heaven Hill in Bardstown, Kentucky. Heaven Hill uses a mash of 78% corn, 10% rye, and 12% malted barley. It is then poured into #3-charred oak barrels.  With average retail of less than $30.00, it is also a very affordable investment. That's the standard release that you'll find on every store shelf.

Then you get into the Single Barrel program (don't be fooled by "Small Batch" on the bottle, they use the same bottle for their Small Batch and their Single Barrel program). In the case of today's review, it is a store pick by Niemuth's Southside Market in Appleton, Wisconsin called Good Carma.  Good Carma aged in Rickhouse V on the third floor for 11 years, 11 months, and 11 days. It came out of the barrel at 122.9° and then proofed down to the standard 94°, giving a yield of 228 bottles. Retail is $28.99.

I'd like to thank Niemuth's for providing me a sample of Good Carma in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. With that said, it is time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Good Carma appeared as a very orange amber. While the rim it left was very thin, the legs were fat and wavy.  When they dissipated, droplets stuck to the side like glue.

Nose:  Things started off with brown sugar and vanilla. From there, I found cherries and cinnamon. At the end, it was oak and dried, sweet fruit.  When I inhaled through my lips, caramel-coated cherries flowed across my palate.

Palate:  Here's where things get interesting. The mouthfeel was thick and heavy. At the front, it was a total caramel bomb. There was nothing else to contend with. No matter how many sips I took, I could not get past the caramel.  But, once it hit mid-palate, I tasted a combination of hazelnut, vanilla, and sweet corn.  Then, at the back, toasted oak and brown sugar.

Finish:   Medium in length, I was left wishing it would go longer. It was a blend of toasted oak, white pepper, and caramel. 

Bottle, Bar or Bust:  My rating is no surprise since I let the cat out of the bag early.  But, Good Carma is dangerous. It goes down way too easy. On one of the warmest, most humid days of the year so far, it could be enjoyed on the back deck without causing any discomfort. There was no real warmth to speak of. This is the kind of Bourbon that doesn't even require effort to get a Bottle rating from me.  Grab it, you can thank me later.  Cheers!

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

Friday, May 22, 2020

Hey, I'm now a Certified Bourbon Steward!

Something I've wanted to do for a few years just happened. You can thank COVID-19 for my having time and opportunity to finally sit down and get this done. I'm now officially a Stave & Thief Society Certified Bourbon Steward

What, pray tell, is a Certified Bourbon Steward?  The program was developed in 2012 by Moonshine University "to promote and uphold Kentucky's distinguished Bourbon culture and to set the standard for the authentic Bourbon experience through premier training and education."

The course was fun, and even with my background, I walked away learning something new. I've discovered along the course of my life that no matter how much knowledge you have about something, there is almost always more to learn.

Strangely enough, the part of the exam that made me nervous was the flight creation, tasting notes, and justifying the reason for creating the flight. Let's get real, I plan out tasting flights for my whiskey workshops and I write whiskey reviews. It should have been a cinch, right? Yet, I'd never really been judged on my reasons why I put a flight together, and no one ever graded me on tasting notes. They're just something I do.

If you're curious, I decided to do a vertical flight of Evan Williams.  With all the Bourbons I have in my library, for whatever reason, those bottles screamed out at me.  The flight consisted of the Green, Black, White, and Red labels.   

I was very excited when I received the results a few days after the exam, particularly what I was stressed over:  

The focus a single-producer flight can have is stunning, and an eye-opening experience for some. In this instance, this flight resolves any question in your guest’s mind as to what happens in the barrel – the evidence is right in front of them. Good nosing & tasting notes, too – nicely done. 

There are additional classes offered and I'll be continuing my education.  If you're interested in learning more about the Stave & Thief Society, you can visit them at the Stave & Thief website.  I hope to see you as a fellow Steward, cheers!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Evan Williams Green Label Review

Today is a two-fer special!  Not only did my review of Cinder Dick Straight Bourbon go live this morning, but so did my review of Evan Williams Green Label at Bourbon & Banter!

I’m Mr. #RespectTheBottomShelf and when you enter the realm of $10 whiskeys, there’s no doubt where you’re looking – right at the bottom shelf. Evan Williams Green Label is the most basic expression of the brand and is sold in fewer markets than you’d ever guess...

The remainder, including my Bottle, Bar or Bust recommendation, is at the Bourbon & Banter website. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

"Sweet Carmella" Elijah Craig Single Barrel Review & Tasting Notes

Reasons exist why you should get excited over Elijah Craig store picks. First and foremost, they're super affordable. Second of all, they are fairly easy to pick. I've done several of these and the number of samples that I didn't care for I could count on one hand. Third of all (did I mention this?), they're easy on the wallet.

So, if you can just go just about anywhere and get an Elijah Craig store pick, can you just choose anything and be fine? There are absolutely some that are superior to others, and as I pointed out, I've had some samples that wouldn't pass my strict standards.

Niemuth's Southside Market in Appleton, WI recently selected a pick for their store, and they provided me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. In full disclosure, I have been involved in picking barrels for Niemuth's, but this one is not one of those. I do thank them for their generosity.

Barrel number 5189718, called Sweet Carmella, rested in Heaven Hill's Warehouse N on the second floor for just over 13 years before it was deemed mature. If you consider entry proof for Heaven Hill is 125°, when I tell you that Sweet Carmella was dumped at 137.5°, it gives you an idea as to how much the angels stole. This is up at the higher end of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof releases! Niemuth's is charging $28.99 for a bottle.

Before you turn off the review and hop in the car, you should know that Barrel Proof is not an option for store picks of Elijah Craig. Every store pick is bottled at 94°, the same as the Small Batch version. And, when you see the bottle and see the embossed words Small Batch in the glass, don't think you've been ripped off. Every store pick is a single barrel but is bottled in their standard small batch bottle.

And, anyway, don't you want to know if Sweet Carmella is any good before you head on over to the store? Remember, I said there do exist barrels that I don't care for.  Time to #DrinkCurious and find out.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Sweet Carmella presents as a brilliant amber. It left a thinner rim that made fat legs. Those legs raced their way back down to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:  Typical of Elijah Craig, caramel and oak were heavy on the nose. But, floral rye is much less so, and that followed the obvious.  It closed up with an also atypical aroma of butterscotch. When I inhaled through my mouth, vanilla and oak rolled over my palate.

Palate:  At first sip, Sweet Carmella offered a creamy, coating mouthfeel. Up at the front was vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel. Mid-palate was another different quality for Elijah Craig. I tasted berry, with the caramel hanging on for good measure. Then, on the back, it was a complementary blend of black pepper, oak, and vanilla. 

Finish:  While the requisite Elijah Craig oaky finish was there, it was married to a definitive sweet quality. Spicy clove and barrel char left the mouth and throat something to think about before falling off after what seemed to be an eternity.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Now that the tasting notes are done, is it worth a drive over to Niemuth's?  This would not be a sample I would have rejected and, in fact, can envision myself being quite satisfied with myself were I at the Secret Midnight Whiskey Club that day. There is a lot going on and I'm always interested in a different twist out of Elijah Craig. Sweet Carmella does that on all three fronts: the nose, the palate, and in the finish. There aren't a ton of 13-year Elijah Craigs available, and when you realize it is only $28.99, this becomes a no-brainer Bottle. Hop in the car and start driving. Cheers!

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

Monday, September 24, 2018

Elijah Craig B518 Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


I'm going to start this off by saying I'm a sucker for Elijah Craig. This doesn't mean that any of the various expressions get a free pass from me, rather, it means when I see a new incarnation, I get excited and will buy a bottle untasted. When reviewing it, I give it the same unbiased opportunity for BottleBar, or Bust as I do with anything else. There have been a couple of unimpressive releases in the barrel-proof versions...

You can read this review in its entirety at Bourbon & Banter. Cheers!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Elijah Craig C916 Barrel Proof Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


I don't know that Elijah Craig Barrel Proof was ever an overlooked Bourbon, but ever since last year's B517 being named "Whisky of the Year" by Whisky Advocate, its popularity has certainly jumped. I've chased down the Barrel Proof releases since I was introduced to it since back in 2014 (134.8 proof, now referred to B514).

If you're unfamiliar with what the letters and numbers mean, it boils down to the release date. Elijah Craig Barrel Proofs are released three times a year. A is the first release of the year, B the second, and C the third. The numbers are the date. To decode the award-winning B517, it was the second release of the year and was released May 2017.

Today I'm cracking open C916 at 136.0 proof. Decoding this means it was the third release of the year and was from September 2016.

In the glass, the color was a very dark, rich brown. It left a very watery rim and thin, fast legs that raced back to the pool.

I kept the glass about two feet from me and even at that distance, caramel was thick in the air. I let it sit for about ten minutes before nosing it just to let the fumes evaporate. Holding my glass at chin level gave aromas of oak and caramel. When raised to lip level, the caramel remained and it was joined by a hint of citrus and stone fruit. Just under the nostrils, the caramel faded and citrus gained slightly and the stone fruit dominated. Inhaling through my lips was pure orange.

The mouthfeel was thin and oily. It can't be described as coating, although it completely left tingles from my lips to the back of my throat. Flavors of corn and stone fruit were up front, followed by oak, and caramel. The back of the palate found clove and black pepper.

The finish was almost all stone fruit that kept the mouth watering. It mostly resembled cherry and plum. Despite the high proof and the tingling in my mouth, there was relatively little burn, which makes casual sipping easier than you'd guess.

There was so much happening on the palate that I opted to add two drops of water to see how it would change. Remember how strong the caramel on the nose was? It exploded with water. The mouthfeel became thinner but the oiliness went away. Many of the flavors were muted, except it gained a nutty quality. Toasted oak took over the finish.

BOTTLE, BAR or BUST: I try hard to keep an open mind with Elijah Craig. Saying that C916 is one of the better Barrel Proof releases. At the original $60 some-odd, it is an absolute Bottle. Secondary market prices are $75 - $85 and would still be a great buy.


Monday, April 9, 2018

Remember When Nobody was Going to Drink Elijah Craig Again?


Do you ever feel worn out? Run down? Past your prime? Have you ever longed for your younger days? Does getting older suck, or is it a great experience?

Taking a quick trip back in time, specifically January 2016, the big news in Bourbon was that Heaven Hill dropped the age statement on Elijah Craig Small Batch. The announcement stated they changing it from a 12-year to a No Age Statement (NAS) blend of barrels that aged anywhere from eight to a dozen years.

The reaction on social media and in whiskey groups was immediate and, to say the least, vitriolic. To be fair, a portion of it was anger over the feeling of being misled. Folks were told since 2014 that the age statement would not be dropped, and then, the rumor turned into reality. The mudslinging was lobbed at everyone, but Bernie Lubbers was the biggest target by far...

You can read the rest of this article over at Bourbon & Banter. Cheers!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond has a very limited distribution. At times you can get it outside of Kentucky, but mostly this is a Kentucky-only gem. It also is, surprisingly, not listed at all on Heaven Hill’s website, leaving you to wonder if they’re trying to keep one of the worst-kept secrets in Bourbon locked away.

Bottled in Bond is my favorite category of whiskey. Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond is one of the best representatives of that category. #RespectTheBottomShelf...

You can read this review in its entirety over at Bourbon & Banter. Cheers!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Elijah Craig A117 Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Elijah Craig is one of those iconic Bourbon brands. As the story goes, Elijah Craig was a Baptist preacher who, in 1789, would up inventing Bourbon. That's the legend. Truth is more lore and far more complicated. But, he is considered the Father of Bourbon.

I've held my bottle of Batch A117 for almost a year. I cracked it open today. While I've not had a bad bottle of Barrel Proof, each is very different and some are absolutely better than others. There's no guarantee of a great pour.

Batch A117 was released in January 2017. Like all Elijah Craig offerings, the mash is 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley. It was aged a dozen years before being dumped at 127.0°.

The color is a beautiful deep, dark brown. That's exciting because it really takes on the characteristics of the barrel. Swirling it in my glass leaves a very thin rim that drops a heavy, wavy curtain back into the pool.

Aromas of cherry and honey permeate my nostrils when holding the glass to my chin. Bringing it up to my lips adds oak and caramel. Lifting it directly under my nose, the cherry becomes more of a plum. Inhaling through my lips yeilds big vanilla.

The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. It coats everything in my mouth and almost requires effort to get to the back of the throat.

Flavors of dark chocolate and berries are way up front. Behind that are orange peel, clove and charred oak. Patience brings vanilla way, way back. That's fun because vanilla isn't typically something I pick up in the back.

At this proof, there's less burn than you'd ever guess. Elijah Craig is known for a heavier finish. But, it is smooth, luxurious and creamy. Perhaps it is the lower than normal proof that causes this. I will say clove and oak stick around a long time.

Bottle, Bar or Bust: I typically find Elijah Craig Barrel Proof between $69 and $79. I find this completely enjoyable, an excellent representative of the brand, and would absolutely grab another Bottle if I saw it on the shelf.

On a final note, I drank this neat, just as I do every whiskey. Water added freshly sawn wood to the nose and tea to the palate which I didn't care for.



Saturday, October 10, 2015

Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Despite what some may think, my whisk(e)y tastes are not exclusive to any particular level. I enjoy top-shelf, hard-to-find, exclusive selections and dusty, often-ignored ones. Top-, mid- or bottom-shelf, I've tasted winners and losers.


One of the great whiskey subsets is Bottled in Bond. Often, but certainly not always, these are quite affordable. There are very strict guidelines in order to be qualify as Bottled in Bond. Aside from being a 100-proof American whiskey, it must be the product of one distillation season from a single distiller, and everything must come from a single distillery. There's no blending of different whiskeys. The whiskey must age in a federally bonded warehouse under US government supervision for at least four years. Finally, the label must identify the distillery and, if bottled elsewhere, where it was bottled.


I have known about Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond for a few years, but have never seen it on the shelf. Some have praised this, others have panned it. However, while visiting a newly discovered liquor store today, I saw and picked it up.


There's a lot of wheat and vanilla on the nose, wheat, nuts and spice on the palate. This one MUST have time to breathe, or you can use a spirits aerator to speed the process along. Otherwise, if you drink it straight from the pour, there's not going to be any flavor.


While not an earth-shattering whiskey by any means, it is decent. To those who poo-poo this Bourbon, I suspect you've not given enough time for this to breath. Perhaps you'll give it another shot.


The point I am trying to make is to not be a whisk(e)y snob, and know there are both treasure and trash to be found amongst all price points.


Respect the bottom shelf.