Showing posts with label MGP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MGP. Show all posts

Friday, October 15, 2021

Elvis "Tiger Man" Straight Tennessee Whiskey and "The King" Straight Rye Reviews & Tasting Notes


Celebrity whiskeys. They’re all the rage now. It doesn’t matter if they’re athletes, actors, singers, or whatever. Dead or alive, these famous names are making headway in the industry.


You would think that with all the fame, fortune, and fondness fans have with celebrities, what they’d attach their names to would be excellent. More often than not, that’s an exception to the rule. Many are mediocre. Some are just awful. And, every one that comes to mind includes a celebrity price tag to boot.


When Elvis Presley Enterprises, representing the brand of the King of Rock and Roll, does something, you’d hope it would do right by him.  And, today, we’re going to put that to the test. In partnership with Grain & Barrel Spirits (the producer of Chicken Cock and Virgil Kane whiskeys) Elvis Presley Enterprises brings us (you guessed it), Elvis Whiskey.


There is more transparency with Elvis Whiskey than I’d have guessed. Some of it is purposeful, some of it may be accidental. Regardless, pieces of the puzzle were easy to put together, and I’m highly appreciative and applaud brands that do this, particularly when they’re not doing any actual distilling.


The introductory whiskeys are a Straight Tennessee Whiskey and a Straight Rye. First, I’m tackling the Straight Tennessee Whiskey.

I know what you’re thinking, and I’m going to tell you to just shush.  This is not sourced from George Dickel. Instead, it comes from DSP-TN-21029, which belongs to Tennessee Distilling Company. Who is that? It distills for Heaven’s Door, Kirkland (Costco), and other partners, including Grain & Barrel Spirits.


Elvis Whiskey calls this release Tiger Man. Tiger Man was the record with songs from his second comeback concert in 1968 and included such titles as Heartbreak Hotel, That’s All Right, Blue Suede Shoes, and Tiger Man. It begins with a mash of 80% corn, 10% rye, and 10% malted barley. It then rested two years before being bottled at 90°. The cooperage is undisclosed, and you can expect to pay about $49.99 for a 750ml package.


The big question, of course, is Is this whiskey fit to be named for a king? The only way to know for sure is to #DrinkCurious.


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Tiger Man looked the color of polished brass. It created a thicker rim on the wall which released husky legs that slid back to the pool.


Nose: There was a gentle bouquet of sweet corn, vanilla cream, baked apple, nutmeg, and toasted oak. When I took the air into my mouth, I picked out candy corn.


Palate:  The mouthfeel was buttery. The front of my palate immediately honed in on maple syrup, which was accompanied by vanilla and crème fresh. The middle offered pear, green apple, and brown sugar. On the back, I tasted more caramel, toasted oak, nutmeg, and orange peel.


Finish:  Long and pretty much unending, notes of vanilla, maple syrup, dry oak, and candied orange peel kept things interesting. Even the oak, however, while dry, wasn’t spicy.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I was half-hoping that I’d pick up notes of a peanut butter and banana sandwich. That didn’t happen. This is one of the sweeter Tennessee Whiskeys I’ve encountered. There was no Dickel “Flintstone’s vitamin” quality, which pleased me. In fact, pleasing is an excellent descriptor.  Tiger Man was a very easy sipper, with enough flavor to keep things interesting, and a finish that wouldn’t quit. Thankfully, this is one of the better celebrity whiskeys on the market and I’m happy to crown it with my Bottle rating.



Up next is the Rye, The King. It is named for, obviously, the King of Rock and Roll. This one is a 95% rye/5% malted barley straight out of MGP. It, too, aged two years in new, charred oak, and is bottled at 90°. As with Tiger Man, you can expect to pay about $49.99 for a 750ml package.


Appearance:  Served neat in my Glencairn glass, The King was, again, the color of polished brass. It created a medium rim on the wall yielded sticky droplets that crawled back to the pool.


Nose: Strangely enough, the first note I experienced was… corn? There is no corn in the mashbill! That was followed by grass, floral rye, mint, and orange peel. When I drew the aroma into my mouth, I found mint.


Palate:  A medium-weight, silky mouthfeel greeted my tongue. Rye bread and caramel started things off. The middle suggested cocoa powder and toffee. The back is when things became interesting and more rye-like – I tasted dry oak, clove, rye spice, and sweet tobacco leaf.


Finish:  Here’s the crazy thing. The finish was like a Plummet ride. It built up and immediately dropped. Cocoa, rye spice, clove, and old leather flavors meshed well together, it just took several sips to catch what was there.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  No peanut butter and banana sandwich here, either. Selecting 90° on this was an interesting choice. I’ve become so used to cask-strength MGP rye that I’ve missed what a proofed-down one tasted like. In this case, I believe Elvis Whiskey may have been a little heavy-handed with the water. The front and middle parts of the palate were simplistic. The back is where the hip-gyrations came into play. Just like Fountain of Love, The King gets lost among other whiskeys. As such, this one takes my Bar rating.


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, October 4, 2021

Hooten Young 12-Year Barrel Proof American Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


Earlier this summer, I had a chance to review a 12-year American Whiskey from Hooten Young. It was sourced from MGP, made from a mash of 99% corn and 1% malted barley, then aged in second-fill vintage cooperage for that 12-year period.  The backstory of Hooten Young can be found in the above-cited review.


Today I am sipping on the barrel-proof version of this light whiskey (it is considered a light whiskey due to the use of used cooperage and the proof to which it was distilled). It is the same mash and age statement, distilled to 189° and then barreled at 140°. 


“The uniqueness of our barrel-proof American Whiskey can be attributed to the 12 years of aging, as well as the second fill barrels instead of using the first fill. Our barrel-proof American Whiskey is a direct and flavorful experience. The spirit at this strength will most certainly command your attention. Beyond its power, there is also a mellowness and richness not often found in barrel proof spirits.”George Miliotes, Master Sommelier


I wound up rating the 92° version a Bar. I found it interesting and different from other light whiskeys I’ve had (despite most coming from MGP), I just thought it was pricy for what it was. But, every whiskey is held up to the same standard, and a different proof becomes a new experience to be judged with a clean slate.


There were 3000 bottles of Hooten Young Barrel Proof made available at a retail price of $109.99. Distribution is currently in Florida, Colorado, Louisiana, Texas, and Kansas, plus you can buy it online from Hooten Young’s website.


Before I get to the tasting notes and rating, I’d like to thank Hooten Young for providing me a sample of its whiskey in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.


Appearance:  Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Hooten Young Barrel Proof presented as medium-gold in color. A thin rim was formed, which created fast, heavy legs that crashed back into the pool.


Nose:  Aromas of baked apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg were beyond obvious. It made my mouth water and engaged my interest in getting to the tasting. When I drew the air into my mouth, cinnamon apples rolled across my tongue.


Palate: I found the mouthfeel to be thin and oily. It found every nook and cranny of my mouth. The front offered flavors of baked apple and vanilla. In the middle, I experienced maple syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon powder. The back was cinnamon Red Hots and clove.


Finish:  I love freight-train finishes. They just go on and on and so long as the whiskey is good, there’s no reason not to savor it. Clove, pepper, and cinnamon remained behind.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I enjoyed what I tasted, it was uncomplicated and easy to sip despite the proof. I’m at the same crossroads that I was with the 92° version, and that’s the value portion. I get that this is 120°, I get that it is 12-years old. If you would have asked me two years ago if I would pay $109.00 for a similarly-aged, similarly-proofed whiskey (such as Knob Creek 120), I’d tell you no way. But, we’re at a time where these older, higher-proof whiskeys can command the higher price. I’m leaning toward a Bottle rating on this one, there’s just enough to push it across the finish line.




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 20, 2021

Barrell Bourbon Gray Label Review & Tasting Notes

It is almost Autumn. That means it must be limited-edition American whiskey season. It is September, that's Bourbon Heritage Month. It is time for the rush. You've got whiskey money burning a hole in your pocket, you've been waiting all year, what do you spend it on?

Barrell Craft Spirits throws down its gauntlet with Gray Label Bourbon. Gray Label? What's that mean? I sat down and thought about it, and about the best I can come up with is it's old. It starts with a blend of three very old straight Bourbons: one from Kentucky (likely Jim Beam), one from Tennessee (George Dickel), and one from Indiana (MGP). The youngest is 15-years, hence the age statement.

Barrell calls Gray Label its "Ultra-Premium Limited Edition" Bourbon. 

"The barrels harvested for this limited release were selected for their refined properties and extraordinary flavor profile. This complex 15-year old Bourbon was blended and bottled at peak maturity so you can experience its true flavor. The perfect union of grain and barrel, with an opulent, oak forward nose and a honey-Brulee palate that reveals the lushness of the grain." - Barrell Craft Spirits

Bottled at 100.4°, you can expect to pay a premium for this ultra-premium Bourbon. I'll get to that later. But, first, I'd like to thank Barrell Craft Spirits for providing me a sample of its Gray Label in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Gray Label was deep caramel in color. It formed a thin rim that created thinner legs that crawled back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose: Thick, rich caramel started things off. It was soon joined by cinnamon, tobacco, citrus, plum, old smoky oak, and that telltale Dickel mineral quality. Trying to identify something as I drew the air into my mouth was challenging. After many attempts, it struck me I was tasting pineapple.

Palate:  The mouthfeel was certainly different. It was both airy and oily. I don't know how to describe it further. It was a lighter body than I expected. Each time I sipped, I expected that airiness to vanish, but it stuck around. On the front of my palate, I discovered berries, Cherry Coke, and milk chocolate. The middle featured peanuts (that's the Jim Beam component), caramel, and raw honey. At the back, it was pure spice with oak, tobacco, allspice, and nutmeg. 

Finish: Shockingly lacking was any strong spiciness you'd expect from an older Bourbon. Instead, there was cocoa powder, smoked oak, tobacco, nuts, pineapple, and strawberry. Yes, it ended sweet and fruity. Overall, it was long-lasting.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I found Barrell Gray Label to complex from the nose to the palate, and the palate to the finish. The mouthfeel was crazy. The finish was impressive. It was a delicious pour, truly. I know you're thinking, there's a "but" coming... and you'd be correct. Remember I said that this with a premium pricetag? I have a rough time spending $250.00 on an American whiskey, and that's what you'll have to pay if you can find it. Barrell suggests this is available in select markets. I don't have a choice other than a Bar rating. You'll want to drink this, it is just hard on the wallet.

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

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

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Barrell Bourbon Batch 030 Review & Tasting Notes


I've reviewed several whiskeys from Barrell Craft Spirits. Most of them have been Bottle ratings. A handful have been Bar and there was even a Bust.  And, good or bad, whenever Barrell tells me it is sending a sample my way, I get excited because, well, they're usually tasty.

The most recent one to come my way is Bourbon Batch #030.  This one is absolutely different because it contains a component I've not yet seen in the prior releases:  Bourbon from a Wyoming distillery.

One of the fun things about Barrell is they're very transparent about some things, and other tidbits they give you just enough information to almost figure it out on your own. For example, here's the make-up of Batch #030:

  • 5-year Indiana Bourbon
  • 10-year Tennesse Bourbon
  • 6-, 9-, 11-, and 15-year Bourbons from Kentucky and Wyoming

Obviously, Barrell isn't providing the sources of those whiskeys, but some simple deductions will give away much of the information.  The Indiana content is MGP. I know this because I've been reviewing Barrell offerings for a few years and the ages make it obvious. Also, I'm not aware of any other Indiana-based distilleries that can provide the volume required. The same is true with the Tennessee portion: George Dickel. What's more challenging are the last two components.

I suspect the Kentucky component is Jim Beam because that's been used in a previous batch. A portion of the Kentucky Bourbons used are described as nutty.  It doesn't mean that it is Beam, but it is because Beam is known for nutty Bourbons and you don't stop working with a partner unless there's a reason to stop. The Wyoming component requires some additional research. 

Taking into account production volume and founding dates, the only Wyoming distillery that makes sense is Wyoming Whiskey. It is the oldest legal post-Prohibition distillery in the state when it was established in 2009. And, that would certainly take into account the possibility of the 15-year portion.

The detective work is fun, at least it is to me. But I know what matters to everyone is what's in the bottle. Both the Kentucky and Wyoming Bourbons are wheaters (or wheated, meaning the 2nd-largest ingredient is wheat instead of the typical rye). The wheaters mingled together for a month separately from the traditional (which also mingled together), until both were married into a single batch. Batch #030 is packaged at a cask strength of 117.32° and retails right around $90.00. 

I'd like to thank Barrell Craft Spirits for the sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Time to #DrinkCurious and taste if this is a winner.

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Batch #030 presented as mahogany in color. It formed a medium ring that yielded legs that raced back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:  Sweet aromas wafted to my nostrils. It started with peach and flowers, apple, and, finally, sweet tobacco. The familiar mineral quality of Dickel popped up as well. When I breathed the air into my mouth, coconut gave me a bit of a surprise. 

Palate:  Thin and oily in my mouth, the front started with dark chocolate and orange citrus. As it moved to the middle, I tasted cocoa, coconut, pear, and walnut. The back offered flavors of clove, oak, and English toffee.

Finish:  A medium-length finish featured clove, black pepper, and raw honey. That was Act 1. There was a brief intermission, and then Act 2 began. This time, it was long and lingering, with English toffee, dark chocolate, old leather, and cinnamon.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The finish was just amazing. I love when different (or weird) happens and this was that. The marriage of six barrels from four distilleries was a successful one. Blending is an art form, and this was a masterpiece. Bottle rating all the way, it is well worth the outlay. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

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

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Penelope Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

When a selling point of a whiskey is how many calories a pour contains, that becomes an interesting marketing campaign. Most brands want to tell you how old the whiskey is, or that it is high-proof, or that it has a certain ingredient in the mash bill, or it has a history steeped in someone's grandpappy's grandpappy eluding the revenuers, or something else along those lines. But, in all the years I've been enjoying whiskey, I don't believe a conversation has ever come up with How many calories are in this pour? 

Two childhood friends, Mike Paladini and Danny Polise, along with Mike's wife, Kerry, went into business together and created their own brand of Bourbon. Mike and Kerry were expecting a child and knew they wanted to name their daughter Penelope. That inspired them for the name of their brand:  Penelope Bourbon.  

Penelope Bourbon earns kudos from me with its very broad transparency.  Penelope makes no secrets that it is distilled by MGP and then blended and bottled at Castle Key Distillery. What Penelope does differently than your standard, sourced Bourbon is it created a four-grain straight Bourbon by blending three different MGP mashbills utilizing corn, rye, wheat, and barley. All the whiskeys are aged in #4 char barrels with #2 char heads, and then aged between two and three years, giving it a 24-month age statement.  Penelope Bourbon is non-chill filtered and bottled at 80°.  It has a suggested retail price of $34.99.

Oh yeah, a 1.5-ounce pour is only 100 calories.  I don't know how that compares to other Bourbons, and to be perfectly frank, I don't care. To me, the important qualities are nose, palate, and finish. And that, my friends, is where this review is going. Time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Penelope appears as a pleasant amber.  It left a thick rim on the wall that produced fast legs to drop back to the pool.

Nose:  Aromas of sweet cream, maple, and butterscotch.  It was also floral.  When I inhaled through my lips, muted apple came through. 

Palate:  At the first sip, the mouthfeel was thin and coating. It remained such afterward. There was nothing I could describe as harsh. The initial flavors of caramel, nuts, and corn were not overwhelming. At mid-palate, citrus, and chocolate, with oak the back. 

Finish:  The very short finish started with oak, corn, and grass before slipping into nothingness. No matter how many subsequent sips I took, the finish would not stick around. It produced no real warmth whatsoever.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The last time I called something a beginner's whiskey, I got an earful. But, I really don't know how else to describe this.  If I had someone who told me they didn't like Bourbon because of all the things that make Bourbon Bourbon, I'd definitely pour them Penelope. For them, it could be a game-changer. There's nothing offensive about Penelope, yet at the same time, there's nothing that makes it interesting, aside from the calorie statement. It is 80° and obviously so. I believe it is proofed down excessively, but again, if I'm a beginner, 80° is going to be inviting. This doesn't deserve a Bust because it isn't bad. If you're an experienced whiskey drinker, my recommendation is to try this one at a Bar first, especially considering the $35.00 price tag. 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.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

SN Pike's Magnolia Bottled in Bond Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


It is always exciting to see an old, defunct brand resurrected. Back in 1849, Sam Pike was a Cincinnati-based whiskey merchant who procured what he deemed to be the very best whiskeys and sold them throughout the United States and Europe. Much of what he sold was shipped to clients down the Ohio River and into the Deep South. His brand was called Magnolia Spirits

Sam was an interesting fellow, shrouded in secrecy. He claimed on a passport application that he was a native-born American, however, a biographer claimed he was born in Heidelberg, Germany, and his last name was Hecht. If you translated that from German to English, you'd wind up with pike. As such, it seemed obvious he would take that on as his surname.

Sam became enchanted with a traveling singer named Jenny Lind. If that name sounds a little bit familiar, she was the opera singer P.T. Barnum sponsored to tour the country. Sam was hopeful Jenny would come to Cincinnati, but as there was no opera house, it couldn't be done. Sam promised he would build one in Cincinnati, and a few years later, he fulfilled it with Pike's Opera House. A fire broke out in 1866 and the building was completely destroyed. He had it completely rebuilt a year later. For the record, that building was also decimated by fire in 1903.

After Sam died, Magnolia was sold to Fleischmann Distillers. The above story was provided by Jack Sullivan in January 2018, and I thank him for his dedicated research.

Fast-forward to today and Ed Carey, a retired real-estate developer and self-described Bourbon fan, brought Magnolia back to life. 

"Our goal in recreating the Magnolia Spirits brand is to act in the Samuel Pike tradition by seeking out and blending special quality bourbon and whiskey. I think the secret to the smooth taste is we import Kentucky Springwater and do a very slow multi-day trickle-proofing." - Ed Carey

Today I'm reviewing Magnolia Bottled-in-Bond Whiskey. Distilled by MGP utilizing its 95/5 rye mash, the whiskey is aged in #4 charred American oak barrels. Why not call it Bottled-in-Bond Rye? If you reread the type of cooperage, you'll see one distinct word missing: new. That suggests Magnolia utilizes vintage barrels. It carries a four-year age statement and, as it is bonded, it is packaged at 100°.  

Batch 1 was limited to 5800 bottles, and you can expect to drop about $54.00 for a 750ml package. Bottling is handled by Noble Cut Distillery of Gahanna, Ohio. Distribution is all over Ohio, and you can buy online from

I'd like to thank Magnolia for providing me a sample of this whiskey in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. It is time to #DrinkCurious and taste what this is all about.

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Magnolia was the color of a lighter orange amber. It created a medium ring and widely-spaced, long, slow legs that fell back to the pool.

Nose:  The floral notes were easy to pick out. Additional sniffs were required to discover nutmeg, caramel, and berry. When I breathed the aroma into my mouth, vanilla rolled across my tongue.

Palate:  A silky, full-bodied mouthfeel greeted my palate. On the front, I tasted vanilla, cinnamon, and pecan. As it moved to the middle, flavors of vanilla and the softest of stone fruits were discernable. The back offered clove, rye spice, and smoked oak.

Finish:  Medium in length, the finish featured smoked oak, caramel, cinnamon, and the longest-lasting element, clove.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I've had MGP's 95/5 rye mash aged in vintage cooperage before, and I've been a big fan. Dancing Goat does it with French oak and a solera system. Magnolia is not the same cooperage, that much is obvious, but that soft, easy-drinking aspect is still there, and I love it.  Is $54.00 pricy?  You're getting 4-year MGP 100° rye that is different in a good way, so no, it isn't. Magnolia has earned my Bottle rating and I'm thrilled to have this in my whiskey library. 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.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Limousin Rye "Dancing Goat Fever" Barrel Pick is now available!


Got $40 burning a hole in your pocket? Well, fear not, because a brand spanking new barrel pick I was involved in just dropped! This is Limousin Rye at Barrel Proof of 51.9% ABV (103.8 proof) and rested six years. This is an amazing pour available only at McFarland Liquor!

The remainder of the selection committee consisted of Troy Mancusi, Adam Pritchard, Scott DeWerd, Fred Swanson, Nathanael Romick, and Mark Andrews, we enthusiastically settled on Barrel 554.

If you're unfamiliar with Limousin Rye, it is 95% rye/5% malt mash distilled by MGP and aged in vintage Limousin French oak casks for six years. It then goes through Dancing Goat Distillery's solera system, then again into former Wild Turkey barrels for another four months.

We called this pick Dancing Goat Fever and that's Mark Andrews showing off his best moves on the label. There were only 200 bottles, and when I was there to grab mine at 9am, Nathanael already sold 10 bottles. You're going to want this one, don't dawdle or you'll be out of luck. Cheers!

McFarland Liquor is located at 4716 Farwell St in McFarland.

Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Dancing Goat Fever presented as deep and dark. It formed a thinner rim but left heavy, fast legs that fell back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose: Aromas of toffee, caramel, molasses, and vanilla cream were enticing. When I took the vapor into my mouth, I found even more vanilla.

Palate: The mouthfeel was silky. On the front, I tasted corn, caramel, and molasses. The middle was molasses and vanilla, while the back offered flavors of cinnamon and clove.

Finish: The finish was long, with black pepper, toasted oak, cinnamon, nutmeg, and more clove on the very back.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Because I picked this barrel, I will not rate it, but you can rest assured my very strict standards guarantees this is awesome.

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

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Hooten Young 12-Year American Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


American whiskey... what is it, exactly? The definition is vague and broad. Essentially, it is whiskey distilled in the United States from fermented cereal grains. It could include bourbon, rye, Tennessee whisky, corn whiskey, moonshine, single malt, light whiskey, or the blending of some or all those listed.

When I come across an American whiskey that I'm unfamiliar with, I assume it is not bourbon, rye, or Tennessee whisky. Those incarnations tend to brag about what they have. Single malt is starting to get that way, too.

As I was presented with an opportunity to review Hooten Young American Whiskey, I had no idea what to expect. What Hooten Young presented seemed straightforward and, to my great pleasure, transparent. 

"Hooten Young was founded by former Special Operations Soldier, Master Sgt. Norm Hooten and Tim Young. Created as a brotherhood bonded by the love of freedom, family, and honor, Hooten Young is a tribute to the brave men and women of the armed forces who have gone above and beyond the call of duty." - Hooten Young

If the name Norm "Hoot" Hooten seems strangely familiar, he was portrayed by Eric Baca in the 2001 movie, Black Hawk Down.  

Hooten Young is a 12-year whiskey sourced from MGP. It started as a mash of 99% corn and 1% malted barley and distilled at 189° before aged at 140° in second-fill barrels.  If you consider all that, it becomes obvious this is a light whiskey.  

The barrels were discovered by Master Sommelier George Miliotes, one of just 268 Master Sommeliers in the world. He educates and curates wines and spirits, and owns Wine Bar George at Orlando's Walt Disney World Resort

Hooten Young is bottled at 92° and a 750ml package will set you back about $64.99. Distribution is in Florida, Colorado, Louisiana, Texas, and Kansas. As expected, you can order it online from various retailers.

Before I get to the tasting notes and rating, I'd like to take a moment and thank Hooten Young for providing a sample of their whiskey in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. I've reviewed several MGP light whiskeys, some are very tasty, others are a hot mess. Let's see where Hooten Young falls on the scale and #DrinkCurious.

Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Hooten Young was the color of gold straw. It provided a slim rim but yielded a curtain of husky, fat tears that dropped back to the pool.

Nose:  The nose was soft and easy with candied corn and toasted marshmallow. As I drew the vapor into my mouth, I picked out vanilla.

Palate:  The mouthfeel was thin-bodied, and the palate was fairly simple.  On the front, I tasted caramel and brown sugar. Mid-palate featured marshmallow fluff and crisp apple. The back offered roasted corn and cherry cola.

Finish:  Long and warming, Hooten Young was slightly numbing that reminded me of Mr. Pibb. When it fell off, I could swear I had freshly-charred marshmallows on a stick at a campfire in my mouth.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This was not like other Light Whiskeys that I've had, and perhaps that's the influence of the lower proof. I liked the simplicity of the nose and palate. The charred marshmallow at the very end was a treat. I enjoyed what I smelled and tasted. I appreciate that Hooten Young is a dozen years old, and having one of 268 Master Sommeliers "discover" it is a fun backstory. I would have a tough time paying $65.00 for it, especially when there are several similarly-aged (and older) MGP light whiskeys bottled at barrel proof for about the same price out there. I give Hooten Young kudos for providing something lovely, but unless the price comes down, I'm recommending you try this at a Bar first. 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 that you do so responsibly.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Deadwood Straight Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

I don't know about you, but I love searching for gems on the bottom shelf of your local liquor store. These are things that have the potential to be high-turnover sales, but since they're not pricy, the retailer wants you to check out the more expensive offerings and puts those more at eye level. This is why, many years ago, I created the hashtag #RespectTheBottomShelf.  I want to always encourage whiskey drinkers to look down and see what's buried there.

Today I'm reviewing Deadwood Straight Bourbon. This is another release from the folks at Proof & Wood Ventures, which doesn't distill, rather they source whiskeys typically from MGP and Dickel. For the most part, Proof & Wood knows what they're doing.  I've reviewed several of their whiskeys and am impressed with their ability to select barrels, sell them at a very fair price, and their transparency.

Deadwood Bourbon is sourced from MGP.  If you're not familiar with MGP, they're probably the largest distiller in the country and provide whiskey for dozens upon dozens of brands. Like most any distillery, they create excellent barrels and mediocre barrels. I've had plenty of MGP's whiskeys featuring both extremes and everywhere in between. The trick is to be patient and find those good barrels and nix the remainder. 

The mashbill for Deadwood is MGPs typical 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. It was then aged "at least" two years in new, 53-gallon charred oak barrels. It weighs in slightly over the bare minimum to be called a whiskey - 81° - and a 750ml bottle will set you back only $20.00.

I'd like to thank Proof & Wood for sending me a bottle of Deadwood Straight Bourbon in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.  With that, it is time to #DrinkCurious to learn what Deadwood has to offer.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Deadwood presented as a most definitive orange amber. A medium rim led to fat, watery legs that raced back to the pool of liquid sunshine. 

Nose: Aromas of fresh corn and sawdust were evident. Beneath those, however, was mint and vanilla. There was no blast of ethanol, despite the age and mashbill. When I breathed the vapors through my open lips, caramel and raisin danced across my tongue.

Palate:  I was greeted by an oily mouthfeel that came with a light Kentucky hug. Flavors of caramel and orange peel complemented each other on the front of my palate. They changed to a blend of almond and honey-roasted peanuts in the middle. Then, on the back, a combination of oak, vanilla, and rye spice seemed to round out the front to back.

Finish:  A longer than expected finish came from a combination of black pepper, char, caramel, toasted oak, and corn to sew things up.  Despite the lower proof, Deadwood did leave my hard palate tingling just a bit.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Deadwood isn't going to knock your socks off.  At the same time, it isn't going to disappoint you. Surprisingly, there are more things going on with this low-proof Bourbon than you'd otherwise imagine. When you take into account the $20.00 investment, well, it is almost foolish to not give it both a Bottle rating and add this to the #RespectTheBottomShelf section of my whiskey library. 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 that you do so responsibly.