Showing posts with label Tennessee Whisky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tennessee Whisky. Show all posts

Friday, April 22, 2022

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Tasters Releases 001 - 007 Reviews & Tasting Notes


Recently, friends of mine took a vacation to Tennessee and surprised me with some bottles from the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. These weren’t ordinary bottles that you could just get anywhere. They’re an experimental series called Tennessee Tasters. At the time I’m writing this, there are seven whiskeys in the series.


If you’re unfamiliar with Jack Daniel’s (is there anyone who hasn’t heard of it?), it was founded in 1866 as the first registered distillery in the United States. It started when Jasper “Jack” Newton Daniel purchased a distillery for $25.00 from a preacher named Dan Call. One of Call’s slaves named Nearis Green (also known as Nathan “Nearest” Green) taught Jack how to distill whiskey.


Daniel used water from Cave Spring Hollow in Lynchburg. Realizing how vital it was to have a steady, reliable water source, he purchased it and the surrounding land. The rest, of course, is history, and Jack Daniel’s is the #1 selling whiskey in the United States and the fourth most popular in the world.


My friends brought me three bottles of the Tennessee Tasters. Another friend, David Levine, sent me samples of the remaining four so I could have a complete set and provide tasting notes for each.


Each whiskey has a different recipe and proof, but each 375ml bottle will set you back $39.99, and there are about 24,000 bottles of each available. With that being said, I’ll #DrinkCurious and tell you about each one. My usual format will be slightly different; I’ll give the specifications of each and then provide the tasting notes. Unless otherwise stated, each Taster is distilled from the Old No. 7 mashbill.


Release 001 – High Angel’s Share Barrels

  • Barrelled January 2013, Released Fall 2018
  • 53.5% ABV / 107°


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this whiskey was the color of caramel. It formed a thick rim with fast, heavy legs.


Nose: Cinnamon, lemon zest, and oak joined with caramel and vanilla. When I pulled the aroma into my mouth, there was more caramel.


Palate:  I found the mouthfeel to be oily and thick. I tasted English toffee, caramel, and raw honey on the front of my palate. The middle featured crème brûlée, and the back offered berries, cinnamon, and oak.


Finish:  Medium to long in duration, the finish was made of berries, English toffee, and oak.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I enjoyed this pour. It was perfectly proofed and full of flavor. It is difficult not to sip this one and smile. I’m happy to crown this one with a Bottle rating.



Release 002 – Hickory Smoke

  • Finished with Charred Hickory Staves
  • Released Fall 2018
  • 50% ABV / 100° 


Appearance:   Chestnut in color, Release 002 formed a thin rim on the wall of my Glencairn glass and yielded thick, quick legs.


Nose:  As you might suspect, hickory smoke was dominating. Beneath it was vanilla and caramel. As I drew the air past my lips, vanilla rolled across my tongue.


Palate:  Thin and oily, the front of my palate experienced hickory smoke and oak. The middle consisted of vanilla and cream, while the back tasted of dark chocolate and berries.


Finish:  Perhaps the most interesting of this whiskey was the Blue Diamond Smoked Almonds, salt, and roasted coffee flavors that remained for a medium-to-long finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Each tasting element should be exciting. In the base of Release 002, the only riveting component was the finish. That’s not to say this was a lousy whiskey; instead, just a few notes mostly seemed out of place. A Bar rating is well-deserved.



Release 003 – Barrel Reunion #1

  • Finished in Red Wine Barrels for 288 days
  • Released Spring 2019
  • 45% ABV / 90°


Appearance: The orange-amber liquid issued a thin rim and weak legs in my Glencairn glass.


Nose: I smelled fruity notes of strawberry and plum, then sweet vanilla, and finally, oak. In my mouth, the vapor tasted of bananas.


Palate:  A silky texture greeted my tongue. Banana, plum, and cherry flavors completed the front, while vanilla encompassed the entire middle. Toasted oak and leather created the back.


Finish:  Medium in length, the finish was cherry, vanilla, and oak.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I appreciate what Jack Daniel’s tried to do with Release 003. It is unique; it is also only a few notes, and this whiskey could have been so much more. My recommendation would be to try it at a Bar first.



Release 004 – Barrel Proof Rye

  • Straight Tennessee Rye Whiskey
  • 70% Rye, 18% Corn, 12% Malted Barley
  • Released Spring 2019
  • 63.8% ABV / 127.6°


Appearance:  This whiskey presented as caramel in color and formed an ultra-thin rim on the wall of my Glencairn glass. What remained were sticky droplets that fought gravity.


Nose: Aromas of cherry and prune married brown sugar and caramel. Charred oak was also easy to discern. Through my mouth, banana teased my palate.


Palate:  So far, Release 004 has the oiliest texture. Banana bread, rye spice, and cinnamon made for an exciting start. The middle featured caramel, nutmeg, and anise. On the back, I tasted leather, allspice, and coffee.


Finish:  Long and lingering, this Rye had a spicy finish made of coffee, allspice, rye bread, and charred oak.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  There was nothing not to enjoy with this Rye. Flavors meshed naturally. I loved how this went from sweet to spicy. Release 004 also drank under its stated proof. A Bottle rating for sure!



 Release 005 – Barrel Reunion #2

  • Finished in Oatmeal Stout Barrels for at least 240 days
  • Released Fall 2019
  • 46% ABV / 92°


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, the caramel color was enticing. A medium rim was formed, which released watery legs.


Nose:  Peanut butter!  I’m a peanut butter freak, and peanut butter just exploded out of the glass. While I couldn’t care less what other aromas were floating around, they were there and featured vanilla, toasted oak, and cherry pie filling. Drawing the vapor into my mouth, vanilla was evident.


Palate:  A creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel resulted in milk chocolate and oatmeal cookies on the front. Peanut butter and nougat formed the middle, while coffee, dark chocolate, and cherry summed up the back.


Finish:  Medium in duration, the finish was made of chocolate-covered peanuts, coffee, nougat, and cherry.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Release 005 was mind-blowing and easily a standout from anything else in the series. I would have loved a longer finish. As my favorite of the seven, this snags a Bottle rating.



Release 006 – Jamaican Allspice 

  • Finished with Toasted Jamaican Allspice Wood for 180 Days
  • Released Spring 2020
  • 50% ABV / 100°


Appearance:  A reddish-amber hue grabbed my attention. In my Glencairn glass, it generated a medium rim with irregular, thick legs.


Nose:  As you’d imagine, a mesquite aroma blasted my face. Accompanied by honey barbeque, brown sugar, plum, and tobacco, the sweetness melded nicely with the liquid smoke. As I drew the air into my mouth, vanilla punched my tongue.


Palate:  Medium-bodied, caramel and cola were at the front of my palate. Flavors of honey and coffee formed the middle, while allspice, smoked oak, and tobacco were on the back.


Finish:  Medium in duration, the finish tasted of clove, tobacco leaf, smoked oak, and cola.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Release 006 was an easy sipper. I have had pimento wood/allspice finished whiskeys before, and usually, what dominates is the allspice. I believe the cola notes tamed it. There weren’t complicated notes, yet overall, it was delicious. I’m happy to convey my Bottle rating. 



Batch 007 – 14E19 “Twin” Blend Whiskey

  • Straight Tennessee Whiskey (40%) blended with Straight Tennessee Rye Whiskey (60%)
  • Barrelled May 2014, Released Fall 2020
  • 53.5% ABV / 107°


Appearance: Caramel in color, it formed a medium rim on the side of my Glencairn glass, then released thick, fast legs.


Nose:  An aroma of honey barbeque sauce blended with cinnamon and brown sugar. When I inhaled through my lips, vanilla and rye spice were noted.


Palate:  I found the mouthfeel to be thin and oily. At the front, I discerned caramel, vanilla, and citrus. The middle featured molasses and honey, while the back was cinnamon, more caramel, and barrel char.


Finish:  Long and spicy, the finish tasted of rye, charred oak, nutmeg, and caramel.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Release 007 was the least interesting of the series. I enjoy bouryes; this was just Plain Jane and didn’t do anything for me. I must stress it wasn’t bad. But, it does take a Bar rating.


Final Thoughts:  If Jack Daniel’s releases additional experimental whiskeys to the Tennessee Tasters series, I’ll review them separately. Thanks for wading through all of these notes. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

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


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


Friday, February 18, 2022

James Ownby Reserve Tennessee Straight Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

My guess is you’ve heard of Ole Smoky Distillery. Located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, it is known for its flavored whiskeys and moonshine and is widely available in most retail liquor outlets. You may not know that it has a traditional whiskey in its portfolio. Its name is James Ownby Reserve Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey.


Who was James Ownby?


“One of the original settlers of Tennessee - who beat back the British in the Battle of Kings Mountain and faithfully fought for freedom as an Overmountain Man in the Revolutionary War, this treasured family secret is now my pleasure to share with you.” Joe Baker, Co-Founder of Ole Smoky Distillery


What’s the family connection?  Joe is James Ownby’s fifth great-grandson.


As you can gather from the name, this is a Bourbon that was distilled and aged in Tennessee. Ole Smoky chose not to call it Tennessee Whisky, although, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. The Lincoln County Process (LCP) was used to mellow the distillate before aging in new, charred oak barrels. There is no age statement, and both the distillery and mashbill are undisclosed. We do know it is at least four years old.


Bottled at 94°, you can expect to spend about $40.00 for a 750ml package. Ole Smoky indicates this whiskey is limited to only select markets. If you hit its website, you can check availability nearby or buy it online.


Ole Smoky was gracious enough to send me a sample of James Ownby Reserve in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Time to #DrinkCurious and learn what this is all about.


Appearance: Poured neat in my trusty Glencairn glass, this Bourbon appeared as deep caramel. Bold, slow legs fell from a medium-thick rim.


Nose: Just like the color, the aroma began with huge caramel. Oak came next, and it had a dusty quality to it. Freshly shredded tobacco mixed with raisin and cherry evened things out. When I inhaled through my lips, the oak and tobacco carried through.


Palate: I found the texture to be light and airy. Salted caramel and vanilla filled the front, while tobacco leaf and nutmeg controlled the middle. The back featured clove and oak. It wasn’t overly complicated.


Finish: Clove, black pepper, and soft oak crescendoed with caramel and tobacco leaf for a long, easy finish. For the record, I didn't come across anything remotely Flintstoneyish. 


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I found James Ownby Reserve an easy sipper. I didn’t try adding water, and I’m unsure it’s even necessary. As I said earlier, the palate didn’t offer many flavors, but the spicy finish was a fascinating way to end the experience. If Ole Smoky never crossed your mind as a serious whiskey brand, perhaps it is time to rethink that because I’m giving James Ownby Reserve my coveted 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.



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.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Davidson Reserve Tennessee Straight Sour Mash Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


I've recently been introduced to Pennington Distillery's line-up of whiskeys. So far, I've reviewed its Genesis limited-edition Bourbon, its Four-Grain limited-edition Bourbon, and its Tennessee Straight Rye. Today, I'm pouring its Tennessee Straight Sour Mash Whiskey

What is sour mash whiskey? Well, it isn't sour, that's for sure. When you distill whiskey, there are two methods used:  sweet mash and sour mash.  Sweet mash is when each batch of whiskey is brand new. It allows for variety in flavor. Sour mash, on the other hand, makes for a more consistent experience batch-to-batch. It does that by using some of the spent mash from a previous batch as a setback, which is blended into the new mash. It keeps the pH balance within a tight tolerance.

It starts with a mash of 70% white Tennessee corn, 20% white Tennessee cereal rye, and 5% malted barley. That's distilled twice. Pennington, like most Tennessee distilleries, then uses what's called the Lincoln County Process, which means that after the mash is run through the still and before it is barreled, the newmake is filtered or steeped through chips of maple charcoal.  This is supposed to provide the whiskey a softer mouthfeel and flavor. 

Pennington then ages this newmake for at least four years, and when dumped, it is proofed down to 96°.  Once packaged, it sells for about $39.99.

I'd like to thank Pennington for sending me a bottle of its Tennessee Straight Sour Mash in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.  It is time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this whiskey presented as a deep, dark, mahogany color. It left a medium rim on the wall, and that generated fat, slow legs to drop back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:  Surprisingly, wood was not one of the aromas involved. Instead, nutmeg, vanilla, plum, and maple syrup is what I smelled. When I inhaled the vapor in my mouth, the flavor of berries raced across my palate.

Palate: The mouthfeel was very, very oily and, while not heavy, still had weight. The first thing I tasted was dark chocolate and toffee. Yeah, that sounds almost contradictory.  As the liquid moved mid-palate, an enticing combination of cinnamon, brown sugar, and stewed peaches was evident. Then, on the back, it went savory to sweet with toasted oak, creamy caramel, and plum.  It was an unusual experience, to say the least.

Finish: A warming, the medium-length finish began with expresso, which then became cocoa powder. That morphed to toasted oak and nutmeg. Then, at the end, it was all cinnamon.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I found this whiskey more complex than I would have guessed and I kept pouring just a little more while I was discerning the aromas and flavors. That creamy caramel on the back didn't materialize until my second glass, and then I was left wondering how I even missed it. I loved it. When I considered the low barrier of entry, this became a no-brainer Bottle recommendation. I can't imagine you wouldn't enjoy it, too.  Cheers!

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

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

Friday, November 6, 2020

Davidson Reserve Four Grain Tennessee Straight Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Recently, I reviewed Davidson Reserve Genesis Bourbon from Pennington Distilling Co. and rated it a Bottle. It was an annual, limited-edition release.  Today I'm exploring their Four Grain Bourbon, another annual, limited-edition release. 

Distilled in Nashville, this Bourbon is not a standalone product.  Rather, it is a blend of three of Pennington's other whiskeys:  Tennessee Straight Rye, Tennessee Sour Mash, and Tennessee Straight Bourbon. At a later date, I'll provide reviews of the individual three component whiskeys. The four grains used in the mash are Tennessee White Corn, Tennessee White Cereal Rye, Tennessee Red Winter Wheat, and malted barley. The finished product carries a three-year age statement and is packaged at 100°.  A 750ml bottle will set you back $44.99. 

If you're wondering how something that is made a 100% rye whiskey can become a Bourbon, never fear. So long as the main ingredient is 51% or more corn, and everything else in the process meets the definition of Bourbon, you're safe. 

As with the Genesis, I'd like to thank Pennington for sending me a bottle in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. And now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn Glass, the Bourbon presented as a copper-amber color.  It left a medium rim that fabricated slow, sticky legs to drop back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:  Aromas of cinnamon and almond were easy to discern. As I continued sniffing, I came upon cherry,  plum, and caramel.  When I drew the fumes through my open lips, a mixture of vanilla and mint traipsed across my tongue. There was no ethanol blast.

Palate:  Things began with an oily and warm mouthfeel. It coated everywhere. On the front, I tasted plum, date, and toasted coconut. As it reached mid-palate, I discovered chocolate, rye spice, and oak. Then, on the back, dominating tobacco leaf followed by cocoa powder and nutmeg.

Finish:  This was a very long, very dry finish. It sucked the moisture out of my mouth. It took several swallows to pick out toffee and that big tobacco leaf.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I understand what Pennington was trying to do here and I applaud them for the effort. This wasn't a bad Bourbon, but it was much less impressive than the Genesis. I can handle dry finishes all day long, but this was, in my opinion, way over the top. It also drinks much warmer than 100°, but that may also be the dry finish playing tricks on me.

Overall, $45.00 for craft whiskey has a slightly below-average hit to the wallet.  There are some good flavors here. If you're a wine drinker and enjoy Sangiovese, the finish may appeal to you. For me, I found it distracting. As such, I'm ponying up a Bar rating for the Four Grain Bourbon. Cheers!

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Davidson Reserve Genesis Tennessee Straight Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Tennessee is steeped in distilling tradition. The most popular American whiskey in the world is Jack Daniel's Old No. 7.   Then there is George Dickel, the distillery that provides many with sourced whiskeys.  Most folks would stop right there if asked to name Tennessee distilleries. There are many others, they're just not on everyone's radar. One such distillery is Pennington Distilling Co. located in Nashville. 

Founded by the husband-wife team of Jeff and Jenny Pennington in 2011, the Penningtons started with Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream.  Usually, you see distillers start with gins and vodkas, not whiskey creams. But, they had a plan and they ran with it. Next up was Pickers Vodka. Finally, in 2014, the Penningtons started distilling Bourbon.  They named the product line Davidson Reserve

Then, in 2017, they released a limited-edition Bourbon called Genesis. Released every October 17th, and always releasing only 1017 bottles (in case you didn't catch that, 1017 is October 17th). What Genesis is is a blend of three of the original 25 barrels distilled in 2014. This is their Birthday Bourbon, and the 2020 edition is the sixth year of the release.

Distilled from a mash of 70% white corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley, Genesis is bottled at 100°.  Pennington suggests in its marketing materials that it is Bottled-in-Bond, although it doesn't say that anywhere on the label. As this is extremely limited (there are, at most, only 1016 other bottles out there), finding retail pricing is $99.99, and if you can find a bottle, like anything else allocated, it is probably above MSRP.

I'd like to thank Pennington for sending me a bottle of Genesis in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let's #DrinkCurious, shall we?

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Genesis appeared as a reddish-amber. It created a thicker rim that brought about fast, medium legs to fall back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:  Fruit could be smelled from across the room. As the glass came closer to my face, it was easier to narrow aromas down.  Honeysuckle and raisin came first, followed by green grape and cherry. I didn't pick up any wood notes or ethanol.  When I breathed the vapor in my mouth, vanilla and raisin danced across my tongue.

Palate:  My first sip seemed thin and light. But, the body gained weight as I continued to explore what was in my glass. It never got heavy or full-bodied but did offer an oily texture. Corn and toasted oak were predominant on the front. As the Bourbon moved to my middle-palate, blueberries and cherries blended with candied almond. Then, on the back, I tasted tobacco leaf and vanilla, which made for an interesting combination.

Finish:  A long-lasting finish of cinnamon, honey-roasted peanuts, almond, and charred oak kept things going and warmed my throat.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Tennessee Whisky is a category I don't delve into often. I stick to the professional blenders who source from Dickel or bottles of the higher-end offerings from Jack Daniel's. This is nothing like the standard fare from either of those distilleries. For that matter, this is nothing like the "good" stuff from those, either. 

Instead, what I experienced was unique (always a scary word) and I appreciate what the Penningtons have distilled and aged. I have no idea what the previous three releases of Genesis were like, but this six-year is delicious, and I'm thrilled to have it in my whiskey library. That, folks, means this snags my Bottle rating. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

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

Monday, August 24, 2020

Barrell Craft Spirits Dovetail Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

Barrell Craft Spirits is located in Louisville, KY, and is another one of those Non-Distilling Producers (NDP) that get a lot of attention. It has won some hefty awards, including "Best Of" categories over the last few years. That's not bad for a brand that's been around since only 2012. It shows that founder Joe Beatrice isn't some Johnny-Come-Lately.  He may not have formal distilling background, but as a blender and producer, he certainly has proven he knows what he's doing.

"Our goal is to select and blend products that explore different distillation methods, barrels, and aging environments, and bottle them at cask strength. Every batch is produced as a limited release, and has an intentionally distinct flavor profile." -- Joe Beatrice 

Today I'm reviewing Barrell's Dovetail, which is its best-selling whiskey. It started off as a 10-year  undisclosed Indiana-sourced whiskey (read: MGP) and an 11-year undisclosed Tennessee-sourced Bourbon (read: Dickel). No, I don't have proof those distilleries are the sources, but it also isn't rocket science to determine the sources. Those whiskeys were then finished in Dunn's Cabernet casks, late-vintage Port pipes, and Blackstrap Rum casks. According to Barrell, this process took a full year to perfect. 

Non-chill filtered and bottled at 125.24°, a 750ml bottle will set you back in the neighborhood of $79.99.  I'd like to thank Barrell Craft Spirits for providing me a sample in exchange for an honest, no-strings-attached review. Now it is time to #DrinkCurious and get on with it. 

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Dovetail presented as copper in color. It could be a smidge lighter than that. It created a thin rim that generated medium-thick legs that slowly worked its way back to the pool.

Nose:  Brown sugar and butterscotch raced out the gate. That was soon overcome by banana and cherry. Oak and oiled leather rounded things out. When I inhaled through my mouth, it was all butterscotch.

Palate:  A thick and viscous wave crossed my lips and rolled over my palate. It began with thick caramel, oak, and cocoa on the front. As it moved mid-palate, that transformed to cherry, plum, and cola. On the back was a blend of black pepper and dark chocolate.

Finish:  A long, warm finish of brown sugar, molasses, old oak, nuts, and clove kept things entertaining and almost mesmerizing.

Because this was barrel-proof, I was curious about what would happen if I added two drops of distilled water. 

Nose:  Brown sugar and honey were the dominant aromas. But, they were joined by banana, nuts, and caramel.  When I inhaled through my lips, a thicker, vanilla cream danced on my tongue.

Palate:  I found the mouthfeel to be thick and creamy. It was also a total cherry bomb!  I had a rough time getting past the cherry to pick up chocolate, caramel, cocoa, and Dr. Pepper (sweet with the flavor of caramel and prunes).   

Finish:  It was shorter than when drank neat, but was comprised of dry oak, black pepper, and caramel. 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This is where the pedal hits the metal. I found this complex at barrel-proof, and slightly less-so with water added. If there is something wrong with this blend, I'll be a monkey's uncle. I enjoyed every bit of it. There was no Flintstone's vitamin from the Dickel portion (that's a good thing). For $79 you're getting a barrel proof, 10-year whiskey and that's not blinkworthy.  As such, this one snags a Bottle rating from me. I'd buy this one all day long.  Cheers!

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