Showing posts with label Luxco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Luxco. Show all posts

Monday, April 26, 2021

Blood Oath Pact 7 Review & Tasting Notes


 

I don't know if kids do this anymore, but back in the day (wow does that make me sound old!), if you made a solemn promise, you committed a blood oath. You even called yourselves blood brothers. A blood oath is a pact committed by each person involved by cutting themselves, then shaking hands, and "blending" the blood between the two (or more).


Truth be told, I'm pretty squeamish and never participated in a blood oath. I'm fairly confident there's not enough whiskey that would convince me a blood oath was a good idea. Well, not a traditional blood oath.


What is a good idea, or at least has been in the past (I've reviewed Pacts 3, 4, 5, and 6), is Lux Row's annual Blood Oath release. For 2021, this would be Pact 7. Blood Oath is an experimental line from the brain of Master Distiller John Rempe. He takes Bourbons and does interesting things with them to create something special. In this case (as with the six previous incarnations), Rempe is the Master Blender, because the Bourbon used in Pact 7 is sourced, most likely from Heaven Hill, but that's unconfirmed. 


"Creating an extraordinary and unique blend of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskeys is at the heart of the Blood Oath series. Pact 7 continues this tradition, and the result is a secret I can't wait to share with bourbon lovers." - John Rempe


Pact 7 is blended from three different Bourbons:  A 14-year high-rye Bourbon, an 8-year high-rye Bourbon, and another 8-year high-rye Bourbon, but the latter was finished in Sauternes (pronounced saw-turns) casks. If you're unfamiliar with the term, that's a sweet white wine from France's Bordeaux region. Once blended, it is proofed down to 98.6° which is very purposeful. Why? Well, because that's the average temperature of human blood! 


You can expect to pay $99.99 for one of the 51,000 bottles available. One interesting aspect is that Lux Row has not raised the price of Blood Oath in its seven-year history. 


Is Pact 7 any good? Is it worth a c-note? The only way to tell for sure is to #DrinkCurious. Before I do, I'd like to thank Lux Row for providing a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, Pact 7 presented as chestnut in color, and, strangely enough, an oily, iridescent sheen. I can't say that I've ever come across that before in a whiskey. It created a medium-thick rim and husky legs that slowly fell back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose:  A sweet, fruity aroma consisted of apricot, brown sugar, toasted coconut, oak, and nutmeg. When I drew the vapor into my mouth, blueberry rolled across my palate.


Palate:  Thick and oily in texture, the front tasted of vanilla, toasted coconut, apricot, and nuts. On the middle, flavors of stewed peaches and maple syrup took over, and the back offered oak, cinnamon, rye, cereal, and cocoa powder.


Finish:  Cinnamon and cocoa powder continued, and the oak suddenly became bone-dry and gave a pucker power sensation. After a few sips, that went away, and was replaced by creamy vanilla and nuts. My hard palate numbed quickly and the finish was long-lasting.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  All the Blood Oath Pacts are unique from one another and of the (now) four I've reviewed, I've yet to find a cadaver. While Rempe won't ever pony up his recipes, he knows what he's doing. The more I sip this one, the more I enjoy it. I give props to Lux Row for keeping the price the same over the years, and am happy to have this one in my library. Pick up a Bottle, you won't be disappointed. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System:

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Daviess County Bourbon Finished in Cabernet Sauvignon Casks Review & Tasting Notes




One of the most widely-recognized grape varietals in the world, grown in nearly every major wine-producing region is Cabernet Sauvignon. Until the 1990s, it was also the most widely planted grape. It was finally surpassed by Merlot, but then in 2015, Cabernet Sauvignon regained its throne. The reason for its popularity is how flavorful it is. Typically, you'll find flavors of heavy red and black fruit.


Today I'm reviewing Daviess County Bourbon Finished in Cabernet Sauvignon Casks. It is produced by Lux Row Distillers of Bardstown, Kentucky.  Daviess County Bourbon is a new expression from Lux Row, and is a blend of sourced wheated and traditional mash Bourbons, most likely from Heaven Hill.  If you want to learn more about the standard expression, you can read my review from May. For the record, it earned my Bottle recommendation.


As the bottle implies, Lux Row took the standard expression and dumped it in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon casks, where it rested another six months.  It carries no age statement, however, we know that means it must be at least four years old. Bottled at 96°, the suggested retail is $44.99.


I'd like to thank Lux Row for sending me a sample of this Bourbon in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let's get to it.


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Daviess County Bourbon appears chestnut in color. It left a very thin rim on the wall which created very slow, fat legs to drop back to the pool of liquid sunshine. 


Nose:  The first thing to hit my nostrils was old oak that was slightly musty. Past the oak were plum, blueberries, molasses, and vanilla. That's right, I said blueberries! When I inhaled through my lips, I picked up black currant. 


Palate:  The initial sip was very thin and oily. There was no alcohol punch whatsoever. At the front was smoked oak. I was a bit taken back that there was nothing else offered. However, as it moved mid-palate, I discovered caramel, plum, and (again) blueberry. I must admit that I've never used blueberry in a whiskey review before. The back consisted of honey and grilled peaches.


Finish:  Clove and blueberry stuck around for a very long, enticing finish that lasted several minutes. 


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This expression of Daviess County Bourbon is a fruit bomb. That's absolutely due to the wine casks.  Blueberry is my favorite fruit, and as you can imagine, when I picked up that note in the nose, palate, and finish, I became a very happy camper. There was nothing off-putting about anything from beginning to end, and when you consider the $44.99 investment, this one becomes a very easy Bottle recommendation. 


On an ending note, I found the Cabernet Sauvignon finish to be the most interesting and the best of the three.  Cheers!


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

Monday, October 19, 2020

Yellowstone 2020 Limited Edition Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Fall is what's generally thought to be the time when special release Bourbons come out. That's the perception, but in reality, these limited editions are released all year long - it just depends on what you're after.


Since 2017, I've been reviewing the annual release of Yellowstone Limited Edition. Sourced by Limestone Branch, brothers Steve and Paul Beam do unique things with what they have.  For 2020, they've done something that, if not unique, is at least very unusual. They took a seven-year Kentucky Straight Bourbon and finished it in Armagnac casks. 


Armagnac is my favorite brandy, although it is considered by some to be Cognac's ugly stepsister. Both have to be completely made in their respective regions of France. The varietals differ. Cognac must contain at least 90% Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche, and Colombard grapes. Armagnac is made from Baco 22, Colombard, Old Blanche, and Ugni Blanc varieties. Cognac is made on a pot still, Armagnac on a column. Cognac has a lighter nose and is thought to be less flavorful than Armagnac.


According to Steve Beam:


Armagnac is a rustic, full-bodied spirit that contributes dark fruit notes, complimenting the vanilla notes in the Bourbon. Just like a chef adds spices to enhance flavors, I believe cask-finishing should be similar, where it simply enhances the natural flavor in the Bourbon.


There is no transparency as it pertains to whose distillate this is, but Luxco (Limestone Branch's parent company) has a long-standing relationship with Heaven Hill. As such, you can draw your own conclusions. Like the previous Limited Edition releases, this one weighs in at 101° and costs $99.99.  It is important to note that, unlike other annual releases from distilleries, Limestone Branch has held this price for several years.  There are a total of 5000 cases, and for a change of pace, this Yellowstone comes in a different, more eye-catching bottle.




Before I get to the review, I'd like to thank Luxco for providing me a sample of its 2020 release in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Time to #DrinkCurious.


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this Yellowstone presented as true, unadulterated amber. It created a thin rim but fat, heavy legs that raced back to the pool.


Nose:  Aromas of sweeter fruits started things off. Atypical of the kind I normally find, these come from the melon genre: honeydew and canteloupe. Vanilla bean and chocolate were next, followed by a touch of sweet berry. When I breathed the vapor through my lips, the honeydew stood out.


Palate:  Offering a substantial body, things commenced with a blast. Vanilla from the Bourbon was first and took up the entire front of my palate. Mid-palate, dried cherry, raisin, and prunes made me forget entirely about the vanilla. Then, on the back, the fruit changed to citrus peel mixed with very dry, French oak. 


Finish:  The mid-palate fruits returned for a second appearance and spotlighted the Armagnac influence. Cocoa powder, coconut, and French oak stuck around for an enduring finish that ran several minutes. There was also a tingling sensation left behind on the hard palate.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I enjoy Cognac-finished Bourbons and was damned curious what Armagnac would do for one. Now I have that answer. If the Yellowstone 2020 Limited Edition is any indicator, this is something other brands should pay attention to. The Brothers Beam did something lovely here, and this earns my Bottle rating. Cheers!


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

Friday, May 29, 2020

Daviess County Straight Bourbon Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes



One of the things I find entertaining about Bourbon is the history behind it.  I'm not necessarily speaking of tall tales and marketing backstories, although those can be fun, too. Rather, I'm talking about real history. When I come across a new whiskey, I try to learn what I can about it - whether that is the history of a distillery or the reason behind the name of a whiskey. 


Joseph Hamilton Daveiss had an interesting background. He became a lawyer in 1795 and appeared in court as someone you'd think of from the movie Deliverance. He got involved in a duel in 1799 and wound up becoming a fugitive.  And, yet, he was also the first lawyer west of the Appalachian Mountains to litigate a case before the US Supreme Court.


Daveiss then became a US District Attorney based in Kentucky. He wound up getting a burr (pun intended) under his saddle regarding Aaron Burr. He tried many times to prosecute Burr for treason but was never successful. 


In 1811, Daveiss volunteered to serve in the Indiana militia, where he was placed in charge of the entire Indiana calvary as well as two companies of dragoons. He led them into battle at Tippecanoe, where he died from his injuries.


At this point you're probably wondering if I've got a spelling error regarding his name. For whatever reason, anything named after Daveiss has been spelled Daviess, including a county in Kentucky. In that county was a distillery called Daviess County Distilling Co., one of the original Kentucky distilleries. 


Leave it to Lux Row Distillers to resurrect the name and create a line called Daviess County Bourbon. There are currently three expressions:  Kentucky Straight, French Oak, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Today I'm reviewing Kentucky Straight.


Kentucky Straight is made from two different Bourbon mashbills: wheated and traditional rye. Although Lux Row has been distilling for a few years, the whiskeys used in this marriage are sourced and, while undisclosed, Luxco (Lux Row's parent company) has a history of sourcing from Heaven Hill.  It also carries no age statement, but since it is Straight, we know it is at least two years, plus that no age statement cranks it up to at least four. It is bottled at 96°, and retail is $39.99.


I'd like to thank Lux Row Distillers for sending me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. On a side note, I want to say that what Lux Row sent me is one of the nicest sample packages I've come across.



And now, time to #DrinkCurious to discover what matters...


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass,  Daviess County Kentucky Straight appeared as caramel in color. It left a very thin rim that led to very thick, fast legs to drop back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose:  The first aroma to hit my olfactory sense was cinnamon. That was followed by lightly-toasted oak. As I continued exploring, it grew sweeter, with molasses, vanilla, and peach.  When I inhaled through my lips, I found what could best be described as peach cobbler. 


Palate:  I found the mouthfeel to very oily. There was a mild warming sensation. I'm curious which char level was used because this is smokier than I anticipated, especially considering the nose.  At the front, that became a big deal. Mid-palate, oak, and stewed fruits became evident. Honey, vanilla, and caramel made an appearance at the back. 


Finish:  Extremely long in duration, this finish starts off with peaches and honey. It then shifted to dry oak and clove which seemed powered by the Energizer bunny. I'm talking for many minutes. I was shocked at how quickly 96° numbed my hard palate. 


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The more I sipped Daviess County Kentucky Straight Bourbon, the more convinced I became at least one of the Bourbons used in the blend was Heaven Hill-sourced. The wheater was less obvious, but Heaven Hill has that mashbill, too, and as far as I know, I've not tasted a blend of the two.


This Bourbon is definitely off the beaten path. That's something that always grabs my attention, good or bad. In this case, I found it to be the former. While not mind-blowing, it is flavorful and keeps you focused on that never-ending finish. When you factor in $40.00 for a 750ml, this one becomes an easy Bottle recommendation.  Cheers!



My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System:

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

Monday, April 13, 2020

Blood Oath Pact 6 Review and Tasting Notes



The human body has, at least in theory, an average temperature of 98.6°F.  That's how hot the blood is that churns through our veins. A blood oath was a serious promise between two parties to adhere to an agreement. And, those promises were sealed by blood:  the parties involved would cut their hands and their blood would mingle together. 


But, these days, we would probably not be too keen on participating in a blood oath. There's just too much ickiness and risk involved.


Speaking of risk, Lux Row Distillers takes one on annually with their Blood Oath series. They're always doing something out of the ordinary in an attempt to create something new.  I've reviewed Pact 4, which I found to be good but questionable for the price, and Pact 5, which I disliked the finish but enjoyed the remainder. Both took Bar ratings from me. So, when Lux Row sent me Pact 6, I was curious if this would eclipse the others or be another maybe whiskey.


Pact 6 is a blend of three Kentucky Straight Bourbons:  one at 14 years, one at 8 years, and the last, 7 years. However, the 7-year is finished in ex-Cognac casks before the three are married. The mashbill and cooperage are undisclosed. Legally, any age statement must represent the youngest whiskey in the blend, but Pact 6 doesn't carry one. And, in the tradition of a real blood oath, the proof is that of blood:  98.6°.  It is packaged a nice bottle with a collectible wooden box and retails for $99.99. This is a limited edition run with 17,000 cases produced.


How does Pact 6 hold up?  Will it get something besides the Bar rating? The only way to find out for sure is to #DrinkCurious.  But first, I'd like to thank Lux Row for sending me a sample in exchange for an honest, no-strings-attached review.


In my Glencairn glass, Pact 6 appears as a deep amber.  It created a medium rim which led to fat droplets that slowly worked its way back down to the pool.


Aromas of caramel and brown sugar greeted my nostrils. Beneath that was a bouquet filled with apricot, vanilla, and oak. When I inhaled through my lips, it was thick butterscotch. 


The mouthfeel was oily and warming. At the front, I discovered caramel, oak, and a big punch of leather. As the liquid sunshine moved across my palate, I found sweet apricot, spicy clove, and toffee.  Then, on the back, a return of the oak and, finally, crème brũlee. 


A long-lasting finish of rye spice and dry oak was uncomplicated but pleasant. Pact 6 did offer much more of the Cognac profile than I would have expected, especially since only one component was finished with it.


Bottle, Bar or Bust:  Here's where the pedal hits the medal and we fly down the road smoothly or wreck in a fiery mess. The blending was well-done, and I am intrigued by Cognac-finished whiskeys. It adds a completely different nuance to the profile - if done correctly. I enjoyed the heck out of both the nose and the palate. They were complex and enticing. The finish made me feel like I was drinking Cognac, which is a positive. Pact 6 is, in my opinion, the best of the series so far and I believe a good return on a $99.99 investment. As such, I'm pleased to offer it my coveted Bottle rating. Cheers!





My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System:

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Blood Oath Pact 5 Review & Tasting Notes

I've really enjoyed what Lux Row Distillers has produced lately. Their distillery-only Double Barrel Bourbon is one of the top whiskeys I've tried this year. Their sister distillery, Limestone Branch, has also done a great job overall.  While both sisters are working distilleries, most of what's out there is still sourced. 


Last year, on Bourbon & Banter, I reviewed Blood Oath Pact 4. My recommendation was to try it at a Bar. As such, when Luxco sent me a bottle of Blood Oath Pact 5 for a no-strings-attached, honest review, my curiosity was piqued. Would it be better than Pact 4? I'd soon have the opportunity to find out. I'd like to take an opportunity to thank Luxco for this opportunity.


One of the consistent qualities of the Blood Oath line is proof:  98.6°.  Why?  Because that's the average human body temperature and its blood inside. Pact 5 is a blend of 13-year high-rye Bourbon, an 11-year wheated Bourbon, and an 8-year Rye.  Then, the concoction was finished in Caribbean dark rum barrels. Retail is $99.99, and while we don't know who the actual distiller is, it is an educated guess that it is Heaven Hill.


In my Glencairn, Pact 5 presented as a medium amber with a very definite orange hue. The rim was thin and the legs were among the fastest I've seen as it raced back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


There was a complicated mixture of vanilla and raisin on my initial sniff. Beneath that was brown sugar and light citrus.  Just as I was getting ready to move to what aromas would greet my mouth, I picked up wet oak.  When I inhaled through my lips, it was thick molasses that coated my palate.


The mouthfeel was almost like molasses.  I picked up black pepper first, which was followed by oak and honey. On the back, it was a lovely mix of caramel and chocolate. The finish was long, with black pepper, wet oak, and caramel. And, as I was quite impressed, that long finish became bitter, just like I had placed bitters on my tongue.


Bottle, Bar or Bust:  I really, really enjoyed Pact 5 until the finish finished. I did polish through the sample bottle, and the more I sipped it the more I enjoyed it - again, until the finish, which became a turn-off. With that, combined with the $99.99 price, I'm going to recommend trying this one at a Bar and taste if that finish is a deal-breaker for you or not.  Cheers!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

2019 Yellowstone Limited Edition Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes



Luxco, the parent company of both Limestone Branch and Lux Row Distillers, has been on a good run in 2019. They've released several limited-edition whiskeys that have proven very interesting. Limestone Branch is headed by brothers Stephen and Paul Beam, descendants of JW Dant, the original distiller of the Yellowstone brand. Limestone Branch is doing its own distilling now but still relies on sourced whiskeys for its portfolio.


I've reviewed the 2017 and 2018 Yellowstone Limited Editions. I was not overly impressed with the 2017 LE and rated it a Bar.  The 2018 LE blew me away and it took that coveted Bottle rating. When Luxco sent me a sample of the 2019 LE, I have to admit I was excited.


The 2019 version is a blend of 9- and 12-year Bourbons.  One could assume, based upon Luxco's historical reliance on Heaven Hill for sourcing whiskey, that these Bourbons come from the same source.  The 2018 version had some of Limestone's distillate, but none of what they have is old enough to make this bottling.  That's definitely a curiosity, but I digress.  Limestone Branch produced 12,500 101° bottles with a retail price of $99.99.  Because we don't have a firm grasp on the distiller, the mashbill is unknown but must, by law, be at least 51% corn. I suspect rye and, obviously, malted barley.


I want to thank Luxco for sending me this sample of Bourbon for a no-holds-barred, honest review. And now, let's get to it.


In my Glencairn, Yellowstone appears as a brassy chestnut amber.  It left a very thin rim and thicker, fast legs that dropped down the wall and into the pool of liquid sunshine.


The most obvious aromas were brown sugar and cinnamon toast.  Think of the cereal Cinnamon Toast Crunch and that pretty much nails it. Underneath those was a blend of citrus, light oak, and cocoa.  This was almost like sitting down for breakfast.  When I inhaled through my lips, there was heavy, dark fruit and vanilla.


The initial sip was thin, oily and coating, and the first flavor to hit me was plum. As the liquid worked its way across my palate, I discovered a lovely combination of dark chocolate and thick caramel. Then, way at the back, a mix of oak and cocoa led to a finish of white pepper, dry oak, and dark chocolate.  That finish was lasting and warmed my throat.


Bottle, Bar or Bust:  There is so much going on with this year's release and it is very well-balanced. Flavors seem to naturally blend with one another as they worked across the palate. Everything seemed to go right and I can't think of a negative unless I wanted to whine about the c-note pricetag. But, we're at the point in Bourbon and Rye where that is becoming less and less unusual.  Like 2018, the 2019 Yellowstone LE is going to snap up that Bottle rating.  Cheers!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Lux Row Double Barrel Aged Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


The world is full of expensive whiskeys and, for the most part, I'm a pretty price-conscious shopper. Whiskey appreciation can very easily become a rich man's (or woman's) game and that does not describe me very well. So, when a $150 new Bourbon comes on the scene, my gut reaction is to question its value. There is always the #DrinkCurious factor with no matter what I'm trying and Is it worth it? is always part of the equation.


Enter Lux Row Distillers Limited Edition Double Barrel Bourbon into the mix. This is a 12-year Kentucky-only whiskey that weighs in at a purposeful 118.4°.  Obviously, this isn't Lux Row's own distillate, they've not been distilling that long. Based upon prior Lux Row/Luxco releases, chances are this comes out of Heaven Hill.


The kneejerk question becomes, isn't this just some version of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof and, if so, why would I pay nearly twice the price for it?  Excellent question. Let's examine this further.


I'm a bit of an Elijah Craig junkie. Of everything in my whiskey library, there are more editions of Elijah Craig than anything else. It may be Heaven Hill's distillate, but this is certainly not Elijah Craig. This was, however, aged in two different barrels for a dozen years before being married. This is also not barrel proof. According to Head Distiller and Master Blender John Rempe, "Even the proof, 118.4°, commemorates the distillery's grand opening of April 2018." It was distilled from a mash of corn, rye, and barley and yielded about 6,000 bottles. 


I'd like to thank Lux Row Distillers for providing me a sample bottle in exchange for a no-holds-barred, honest review. And, that being said, let's get on with it.


When I first unpacked it, there was an Oooh, Ahhh moment. Even Mrs. Whiskeyfellow said, "Look at that color!" In my Glencairn glass, this Bourbon presented itself as a deep, dark, reddish amber.   It left a thin rim and thick, wavy legs that raced back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Aromas of vanilla and caramel thwapped my nostrils, which was quickly followed by cherry and cinnamon. When I inhaled through my lips, it was a thick bouquet of dried fruit.


The mouthfeel was very light and the front offered vanilla with a hint of orange peel on the palate. Mid-palate, it was a blend of toasted oak and mace. On the back was a serious rye spice that morphed to clove. It culminated in a long, spicy, black pepper finish. I had expected the clove to keep going but it was subdued by the pepper.


Just for kicks, I added two drops of distilled water to the glass. The nose transformed into a massive caramel bomb mixed with heavy stone fruit. The mouthfeel, as expected, became creamier. Caramel and pumpkin pie coated my tongue before cherry and light rye usurped it.  The finish was much shorter, and it was heavy on pumpkin pie. That's how much the mace was affected. It became a liquid dessert.


Bottle, Bar or Bust:  I'm back to the $150 price tag on this. I found this Bourbon to be very well balanced when sipped neat, and there was a bit of a Wow! factor with adding the two drops of water. They became very different whiskeys, and I enjoyed both immensely, leaning slightly to the neat version, but I would have gladly sipped it either way with a smile. It takes a lot for me to give a Bottle rating to such a pricey whiskey, but dagnabit, Lux Row knocked this one out of the park.  Cheers!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Rebel Yell 100 Wheated Bourbon Review & Tasting notes



Interestingly enough, sometimes the marketing team gets things wrong when they're trying to sell a whiskey. In their attempt to make something sound enticing, or different, when you try it yourself you're left wondering if you've got the same thing they are talking about.  "Sometimes" happens more than you'd guess.


Recently, Lux Row Distillers provided me with a sample of Rebel Yell 100 in exchange for a no-holds-barred, unbiased review. Rebel Yell is a label that always leaves me in a very #DrinkCurious mood whenever it is offered. I have been impressed with various releases of Rebel Yell 10, yet have been underwhelmed with their standard, 80° offerings.


Rebel Yell 100 is a wheated Bourbon, meaning that instead of using rye as the second major ingredient, they use wheat. Wheat does two things that rye does not. First, wheat has no flavor. What it typically does is allow the sweetness from the corn to shine. Second, the wheat provides a "softer" palate than rye, which oftentimes adds spice and/or sharpness to the palate. 


The complete mash bill is corn, wheat, and malted barley. It carries no age statement, but as it is marketed as a Straight Bourbon, it must be at least two years old, and since it carries no age statement at all, it must be at least four. Lux Row indicates it is "Distilled and Aged in Kentucky." It is bottled at 100° but is not designated as Bottled in Bond.  The suggested retail is $19.99, making it very affordable.


Price is nice but taste is king, and as such, it is time for the tasting notes.


In my Glencairn glass, the appearance was clear and brassy. It created a very thin rim and slow, wispy legs that crawled back to the pool of liquid sunshine. 


Typical of a wheater, aromas of sweet corn and light oak greeted me up front. But, behind that was a mix of mint and honey. When I inhaled through my mouth, everything changed to very creamy caramel.


The palate was interesting but not overly complex. Up front, there was a combination of berry fruit and creme brulee.  Then, there was an interesting blend of toasted oak and pine woods. I want to stress this was wood, not juniper. On the back of my palate was cinnamon. 


A long, rolling finish of vanilla and cinnamon kept the flavors going for several minutes after the swallow. 


Before I offer my recommendation, I'd like to touch on what the marketers got wrong. Maybe wrong is unfair. The website suggests Rebel Yell 100 is "hot on the tongue" and to me, that's something that can be a turn-off for many drinkers. Sure, there was obvious cinnamon, but there is a definite difference of opinion as to what qualifies as "hot on the tongue."


Bottle, Bar or Bust:  Let me get down to business here. Unlike the 80° incarnation, which is, in my opinion, a mixer, this one stands on its own and needs nothing added to it. Rebel Yell 100 is an enjoyable daily sipper and, when you take price into account, this is a definite Bottle recommendation. Moreover, it earns my coveted #RespectTheBottomShelf designation. 


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, 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!