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

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

Beannachtaí na Féile 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

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!