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

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Remus Repeal Reserve Series VI Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


One problem in the Wonderful World of Whiskey is that a subsequent incarnation has to live up to the reputation of a former when an annual release has received tremendous accolades. So is the case with Remus Repeal Reserve VI. You see, Remus Repeal Reserve V took my 2021 Whiskey of the Year award. It was mind-blowingly good and not overly challenging to find (at least, not until I crowned it, but that’s just a coincidence). If you’d like, you can read that review here.

 

“The Remus Repeal Reserve Series provides our team the opportunity to showcase the incredible array of aged reserves available to work with, as well as our expertise at blending these Bourbons to create a special medley each year. Series VI is the latest in this award-winning collection that is certain to be yet another excellent example of what our Remus Repeal collection represents:  what great Bourbon can be.” – Ian Stirsman, Master Distiller

 

The story of George Remus is one of my favorite examples of Bourbon lore, and I hope you’ll allow me to go off on a slight tangent. I’ve taken this from my review of Series III. 

 

Remus was an American icon. Oh, maybe not the best example of a decent person, but he was, nonetheless, an icon. He was known as King of the Bootleggers.  He was a criminal defense attorney. Some of his clients were bootleggers, most of them were murderers, and he got a green tint in his eye watching his bootlegging clients making a fortune. One day, he decided he knew more about the criminal justice system than anyone else, and he could make a ton of money by using his legal knowledge to do illegal activities and not fall prey to the authorities.  

 

Remus was, indeed, very clever.  He found a loophole in the Volstead Act that allowed him to buy distilleries and distill medicinal whiskey. He wound up buying most of the operating distilleries in and around Cincinnati, and his schtick was that his employees would hijack his finished product, which he would then turn around and resell on the black market.  

 

One day, Remus found out he wasn't as clever as he thought as the government indicated him of thousands of violations of the Volstead Act, and a jury quickly convicted him. He was sent to the federal pokey in Atlanta. 

 

But wait, there’s more! Remus buddied up to a fellow prisoner and bragged about how all of his money was controlled by his wife. He didn't know that his new pal was an undercover agent named Franklin Dodge. Dodge then resigned from his position and engaged in an affair with Remus's wife. The two fell in love and started selling off Remus's assets, leaving him with a mere $100. 

 

Don’t stop reading because that’s not the end.  Remus was on his way to court for his divorce proceeding when he chased down his ex-wife's car, got out, and shot her to death in true gangster fashion. He pled insanity, and the jury believed him, taking less than twenty minutes to deliver the verdict.

 

Now, let’s get back to the business of reviewing this Bourbon. This sixth release is described as a medley of five Bourbons, ranging in age from eight to fourteen years and, as always, bottled at 100°. All five Bourbons are MGP (now Ross & Squibb) distillate. The distillery will launch Repeal Reserve this month to coincide with Bourbon Heritage Month and has a suggested retail price of $99.99. The components of this medley include:

 

  • 2% of 2008 Bourbon (21% rye)
  • 17% of 2012 Bourbon (36% rye)
  • 27% of 2012 Bourbon (21% rye)
  • 29% of 2014 Bourbon (21% rye)
  • 25% of 2014 Bourbon (36% rye)

 

Now that you know what makes Remus Repeal Reserve special, it is time to #DrinkCurious and address my concern:  Will Series VI hold up to Series V? I must thank Luxco for providing me this sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.

 

Appearance:  The liquid presented as deep, dark mahogany when poured neat into my Glencairn glass. A medium-thick rim formed syrupy legs that dragged back to the pool.

 

Nose: As I inspected the rim and legs, an aroma of berry fruits wafted from the glass. When I drew it closer to my nostrils, I found linen, leather, oak, and vanilla. Thick caramel danced across my tongue when I inhaled through my lips.

 

Palate:  The mouthfeel was light and silky. The front of my palate encountered Fig Newton cookies, stewed fruits, and vanilla, while the middle featured caramel, nutmeg, and toffee. I tasted charred oak, mint, and fresh leather.

 

Finish: A soft but long finish was constructed of nutmeg, barrel char, leather, caramel, white pepper, and rye spice.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Series VI was very tasty, and to get this out of the way, it earns every bit of my Bottle rating.  The remaining question, however, is if it holds up to Series V. As much as I enjoyed Series VI, it didn’t meet its lofty standard. I wanted to ensure that my memory wasn’t romanticizing last year’s release and to verify that, I poured myself a glass of my 2021 Whiskey of the Year, which confirmed my suspicion. But, despite that, don’t pass up Series VI. It is well worth the investment. 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, May 30, 2022

Kentucky Best Straight Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes



As I was perusing my local Trader Joe's store, I stumbled upon what I assumed was another house brand of whiskey:  Kentucky Best Straight Bourbon.  It was only $12.99, and while I've had very decent luck with Trader Joe's Scotches, I've not done so well with their American selections. But, again, that low-low price was attractive, and I do have that #RespectTheBottomShelf philosophy. With some added prodding from Mrs. Whiskeyfellow, I took a bottle home.


Come to find out, Kentucky Best Straight Bourbon is not a store brand. It is produced and bottled by Lux Row Distillers. Lux Row does their own distilling, and they've regularly done a marvelous job at sourcing - usually from Heaven Hill (although now that Lux Row is the consumer-facing brand for MGP, that should also change). Well, that brought something else into consideration. I enjoy several of Heaven Hill's dirt-cheap Bourbons (JW Dant, Heaven Hill, Evan Williams, JTS Brown). At this point, I'm pretty excited about what I've got in my hands.


Kentucky Best Straight Bourbon is four years old and bottled at 80°.  That's not generally the target proof for me, but I have found some gems at that level. The question, of course, is, does it make the grade? The only way to find out is to #DrinkCurious. Here we go...


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Kentucky Best presents as a pale amber. That's not overly surprising considering the low proof. It generated a skinny rim and fat droplets that pretty much stuck to the walls before eventually falling into the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose:  Kentucky Best gives the impression of a younger Bourbon. Corn and cinnamon are prevalent. Beneath those two is oak, and underneath that, what can best be described as freshly baked bread. When I inhaled through my mouth, it was sweet cornbread.


Palate:  The watery mouthfeel led to an initial taste of dry roasted almonds, at mid-palate, that transformed into oak. But, on the back, it was very sweet with vanilla and honey.  


Finish:  The palate culminated in a bizarre peppery finish.  The pepper snuck up, then slowly built from mild to intense, and just as it became enjoyable, it completely vanished.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Kentucky Best is a strange animal. It starts off very dry, then moves to sweet, then to spicy. It has some nice flavors, but they seem slightly jumbled, confusing the palate. Then, there was that finish. The whole thing left me wanting.


But, let's get real here. This is a $13.00 Bourbon. Finding gems at this level is spotty, and I believe Kentucky Best would make a good mixer. It doesn't, however, stand well on its own when poured neat. This would be far more interesting at a higher proof point - even 86° could have a significant impact. Despite that low price, this one's taking a Bust 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.

Friday, May 6, 2022

2022 Rossville Union Barrel Proof Rye Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


We’re used to calling that massive Indiana distillery in Lawrenceburg MGP. Before MGP, it was LDI. And, before that, it was Seagram. What about before Seagram? Before 1933, it was the Rossville Union Distillery, founded in 1847. The property adjacent to Rossville Union was Squibb Distillery, established in 1869 and purchased by George Remus. While we may refer to this distillery as MGP, it rebranded as Ross & Squibb Distillery last September.

 

Shortly before the rebranding, MGP purchased Luxco, the owner of Bardstown, Kentucky’s Lux Row Distillers, and solidified its reputation as a serious distillery. MGP then shifted its house brands to its Luxco umbrella, including George Remus and Rossville Union.

 

Today I’m sipping on Rossville Union 2022 Barrel Proof Rye. It is an annual, limited-edition release that is a blend of 82 MGP rye barrels aged at least seven years. There were 18,000 117.2° bottles released at the end of April and should hit store shelves about the time of this writing. The suggested retail price is $69.99.

 

"Rossville Union 2022 Barrel Proof is another example of the great rye-whiskey tradition we've carried on at Ross & Squibb Distillery and yet another reason Indiana is the rye capital of the world. As the popularity of rye whiskey continues to grow, we've selected another exceptional medley of rye mash bills to satisfy even the most discriminating tastes […] of rye-whiskey drinkers." - Ian Stirsman, Ross & Squibb Distillery’s Master Distiller.

 

I appreciate Luxco for providing me a sample of Rossville Union in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. The only way we’ll find out if it is worthy of the reputation of MGP’s ryes is to #DrinkCurious. Let’s get to it. 

 

Appearance:  The color appeared like deep caramel poured neat into my Glencairn glass. A medium-weighted rim generated slow, thick tears that crawled to the pool.

 

Nose:  The first thing I smelled was mint. Underneath that were aromas of vanilla cream, rye spice, chocolate, nutmeg, and oak. When I brought that air into my mouth, the rye spice seemed to have a megaphone.

 

Palate:  I found the texture to be silky. The front of my palate found caramel, vanilla, and milk chocolate flavors, which then became nutmeg, chalk, and cinnamon as they hit the middle. The back featured rye spice, fresh mint, and muted oak.

 

Finish:  That soft oak led the way and opened to rye spice and mint. As those fell off, clove remained behind for a medium-to-long finish.  

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Rossville Union was interesting. Although the mint was a smidge too bold for my liking, the entire palate was a fascinating melting experience. It flowed naturally from beginning to end. Should I downgrade my rating for that mint? Nah, that would be unfair, especially since everything else seems lovely. The bigger question is, Is this a $70.00 rye?  Two or three years ago, I would have said no. These days, $70.00 ryes are far more common. Rossville Union is a must-have whiskey if you’re an MGP (sorry, Ross & Squibb) fan. If you enjoy spicy ryes, as I do, this one deserves a 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.

 


 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

The Quiet Man 8-Year Single Malt Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


Beannachta√≠ na F√©ile Padraig Ort! The traditional Irish blessing translates as “Blessings of Patrick’s Festival Upon You.”  Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and I can find no better way to commemorate it than to review a new-to-me Irish whiskey.

 

Before I get there, though, what exactly is Irish whiskey? First and foremost, it must be a complete product of Ireland, distilled from a mash of malted cereals with or without unmalted grains. It must be fermented with yeast and distilled at less than 94.8% ABV. Here’s a tricky part: when distilled, it must have an aroma and taste of the representative grains, with no additives other than water and caramel coloring. It must age at least three years in 700 or fewer liter oak containers.

 

Beyond those requirements, Irish whiskey falls under four categories: single pot still, single malt, single grain, and blended.

 

The Quiet Man is a venture of US-based Luxco and Niche Drinks of County Derby in Northern Ireland. The whiskey enjoyed distribution throughout Europe before making its US debut in 2016. There were talks of building a distillery in County Derry, but those fell by the wayside in 2018. Regardless, the brand is going strong today, but the actual distiller remains undisclosed.

 

“Now that I am making my own whiskey, I am naming it after my father. As a bartender, he saw a lot of things and heard a lot of stories, but like all good bartenders, he was true to his code and told no tales. My father, John Mulgrew, ‘The Quiet Man’, or as they say in Ireland ‘An Fear Ciuin.’”Ciaran Mulgrew, founder of The Quiet Man

 

The Quiet Man is available in two versions: a blended Irish whiskey and an 8-year Irish single malt. I’m sipping on the latter. Like most Irish whiskey, it is triple-distilled in copper pot stills from a 100% malted barley mash. It is then aged in first-fill former Bourbon barrels for at least eight years and bottled at 40% ABV (80°) with a retail price between $42.99 and $49.99.

 

Before I go further, I’d like to thank Luxco for sending me a sample of The Quiet Man in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now it is time to #DrinkCurious and learn what this whiskey is all about.

 

Appearance: Sipped neat in a Glencairn glass, The Quiet Man was brilliant gold. It formed a bold rim with husky, fast legs that crashed back to the pool of whiskey.

 

Nose: A floral fragrance accompanied by caramel, honey, citrus, and lightly-toasted oak. When I drew the aroma into my mouth, citrus and vanilla tangoed across my tongue.

 

Palate:  A full-bodied, somewhat creamy mouthfeel greeted my palate. The front featured banana, apricot, apple, and vanilla, while the middle offered nutmeg and orange zest. Clove, cinnamon, coffee, and oak comprised the back.

 

Finish:  Flavors of oak spice, coffee, and clove were joined by apricot and orange zest. The finish was long and lingering, and I was admittedly taken aback that something at 40% ABV could make my hard palate tingle.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  An eight-year Irish single malt whiskey for $42.99 sounds like a heck of a deal if it is enjoyable. The Quiet Man may tell no secrets, but the whiskey named for him is full of flavor and character. I savored it, and I believe you will, too. The Quiet Man 8-Year Single Malt has earned every bit of 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.

 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Daviess County Double Barrel Ducks Unlimited Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

 


About a year and a half ago, the world was introduced to Daviess County Bourbon. It was a defunct brand revived by Lux Row Distillers. Daviess County Distilling was one of the original Kentucky distilleries. 


The story of Joseph Hamilton Daveiss, for whom the brand is named, is rather colorful. 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.


Fast-forward to modern times, and the Daviess County Bourbon line was a family of three:  the Original expression, the French Oak, and the Cabernet Sauvignon. That is, until now. That's because there's a whole new, limited-release called Double Barrel Ducks Unlimited Edition.


What makes this one different?  It is the original expression, which is a blend of a wheated Bourbon and traditional Bourbon, then aged four years. The exact mashbills are undisclosed, but I suspect they're sourced from Heaven Hill. Once dumped, it was then finished in Missouri white oak barrels, which were subjected to a #2 char level and toasted heads. 


"The double-barrel finishing process that goes into Daviess County Double Barrel Bourbon is a perfect nod to our Ducks Unlimited partnership and brings a unique flavor profile to our latest Daviess County offering. Expect a nose that includes crips, toasted-oak notes, caramel and vanilla; sweet caramel, honey and toasted marshmallow flavors on the palate, and a finish of caramelized sugar and lingering dark chocolate compliments of the toasted head finish." - John Rempe, Master Distiller

Packaged at 96°, you can expect to pay about $49.99 for a 750ml bottle. As a comparison, the Original expression was $39.99 and the two prior-finished were $44.99. As such, the $49.99 isn't out of line, and presumably, a portion of the purchase goes to Ducks Unlimited, a wonderful organization.


Without further ado, I'd like to thank Lux Row Distillers for providing me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Time to #DrinkCurious and see what's new here...


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Double Barrel appeared as a definitive orange amber. A thick rim took shape that collapsed under its weight into a slow curtain drop.


Nose:  I found the aroma to be strong on dark stone fruit, along with nuts and toasted oak. When I pulled the air into my mouth, that stone fruit changed to cherry.


Palate:  Plum and cherry were joined by caramel and dark chocolate on the front. The liquid filled my mouth and coated everywhere with its medium body. At the middle, the sweetness became spicy with cocoa and cinnamon. Those were then eclipsed by toasted marshmallows. The back offered charred oak, clove, and sweet tobacco.


Finish:  The finish on the French Oak expression was long and it wasn't even in the same race as the Double Barrel. Flavors of dark chocolate, caramel, roasted coffee, cinnamon, tobacco, and dry oak remained in my mouth and throat. The caramel came back for an encore. Despite the 96°, my hard palate tingled just a bit.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I thought the original was good, I enjoyed the French Oak, and I loved the Cabernet Sauvignon. The finish on the Double Oak was great, the palate was sweet and spicy in just the right combination. If you asked me which was my favorite expression, it would be a tough call between the Double Barrel and the Cabernet Sauvignon, with me leaning more toward the latter. Regardless, the $5.00 difference in price is not a deal-breaker, especially since I (again) suspect Ducks Unlimited would get a cut. If you see it, buy a Bottle. I don't believe you'll be disappointed in the least. 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, July 19, 2021

Remus Repeal Reserve V Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

 


Do you know who George Remus was? He was known as the King of the Bootleggers during Prohibition. He was absolutely not a nice man. In fact, the term psycho might be appropriate. 


Remus was a criminal defense attorney. Some of his clients were bootleggers. Many were murderers. He watched his clients make an illicit fortune while he was getting them off the hook. After finding a barrel full of loopholes to get bootleggers off the hook, Remus figured he could do it better and, after ditching his briefs, got rich.


One loophole he found was in the Volstead Act, which allowed someone to buy distilleries and legally manufacture medicinal whiskey. Investing heavily in the purchase of just about every operating distillery in greater Cincinnati, he discovered he could have his employees hijack his finished product, then turn around and resell it on the black market. 


Well, as luck would have it, George found himself indicted on several thousands of violations of the Volstead Act, and it took very little to convince the jury of his guilt. He was sent to a federal prison in Atlanta. 


Don't buy the story just yet, there's more!  Remus had a big mouth. He got affable with a fellow prisoner and made a big deal about how his wife had all of the assets in her name so that nobody could get it. That fellow prisoner just happened to be undercover agent Franklin Dodge. Oh, Dodge wasn't a saint, either. He resigned his position and started an affair with Remus' wife. They fell in love and started selling off George's assets, leaving him with a mere $100.00 to his name!


Oh, I'm not done yet. Remus was on his way to court for his divorce proceeding when he staked out his wife's car. He shot her in the stomach. Rumor was she was pregnant with Dodge's child. He was arrested, pled not guilty by reason of insanity, and the jury took less than twenty minutes to deliver its verdict supporting that. And that, my friends, is the story of George Remus.


MGP named its flagship Bourbon after Remus. MGP also acquired Luxco, which owns Lux Row Distillers and Limestone Branch. MGP transferred its Remus brand to Luxco, presumably to keep the MGP name a parent entity rather than a brand. This year, Remus Repeal Reserve V will be released in September, just in time for Bourbon Heritage Month. As you can gather from the name, it is the 5th incarnation of this annual release.


The whiskey is 100% MGP, but this year, it is the oldest batch yet.  It is a blend of 9% 2005 Bourbon with 21% rye mash, 5% 2006 Bourbon with 36% rye mash, 19% 2006 Bourbon with 21% rye mash, 13% 2008 Bourbon with 21% rye mash, and 54% 2008 Bourbon with 36% rye mash. While it carries no age statement, that makes this a 13-year MGP Bourbon. Bottled at 100°, the suggested retail is $89.99. If history is any guide, unlike many annual releases, Repeal Reserve tends to be fairly easy to find and hangs around on shelves longer than others. 


September is a few months away, but I've been provided with a sample of Repeal Reserve V in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. I'll #DrinkCurious here and share my tasting notes with you.


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this Bourbon appeared as deep, dark mahogany. It formed a thin rim, but heavy, slow legs that crawled back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose:  Aromas of caramel, toasted nuts, cinnamon, and cherry hit my nose. When I took the vapor into my mouth, a wave of cherry vanilla rolled across my tongue.


Palate:  The mouthfeel was thick and silky. In fact, it may have been the silkiest texture I've come across in a whiskey - any whiskey. It gave me a bit of a Wow sensation that made me forget about everything else. When I gathered my senses, I was able to taste cherry, vanilla, and English toffee on the front of my palate. The middle suggested cream, cherry (again), and rye spice. On the back, there was a bold taste of oak, leather, and black pepper. 


Finish:  Big shocker, cherry remained. It was joined by char, dry oak, cinnamon, clove, and tobacco leaf. As those faded off, rye spice stuck around. And remained. And remained some more. I timed it. It went almost five minutes before finally ending.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Everything about this Bourbon was delicious. But strange as this may sound, the luxurious mouthfeel eclipsed all that. This was easily the best batch of Remus Repeal Reserve I've had, the price is right, and I love the fact it is fairly easy to get your hands on. This is a slam-dunk Bottle rating. If I had, say, a Case rating, this would take that. 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, 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 for 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