Showing posts with label cask strength. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cask strength. Show all posts

Friday, July 22, 2022

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof 118.4 (2022) Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof started five years ago as part of the distillery’s Master's Collection, essentially as an experimental product line from Master Distiller Chris Morris and Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall 


Woodford does things a bit differently than many other distilleries. It starts with a mash of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. They use limestone water obtained from right at the distillery. Nothing unusual with that so far, but it is the next steps that matter:  It uses a six-day fermentation process, which is longer than the industry average of three. It is triple-distilled using a blending of whiskeys from both pot and column stills. Entry-proof is also lower than average, brought down to 110° before being poured into new, #4 charred-oak barrels. 


“Barrels drawn from the first floors of our heat-cycled warehouses routinely possess lower proof presentations due the more relaxed angel share process found there. This batch had more of these barrels in its composition, and therefore a lower batch proof presentation than past releases.” – Chris Moore, Master Distiller 


Woodford Reserve carries no age statement but ages a minimum of four years. The price of Batch Proof is $129.99 for a 750ml bottle, which has remained the same for the last several years. The 2022 release weighs in at 118.4°. 


So, how does this particular release taste? Let's #DrinkCurious and find out. But, first, I'd like to thank Woodford Reserve for sending me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. 


Appearance:  A deep, dark amber gave the impression of something aged far longer than the four-year minimum. A medium-thin rim created almost random, fat droplets that fell down the wall of my Glencairn glass.


Nose: This Bourbon was fragrant from across the room. Mrs. Whiskeyfellow was seated about ten feet from me and picked out notes. It was a fruit bomb with plum, dark cherry, elderberry, and blackberry. A puff of the air in my mouth tasted of thick, rich vanilla.


Palate:  An intense, oily texture greeted my tongue. Coffee, dark chocolate, and caramel formed the front, with flavors of dark cherry, orange peel, and elderberry on the middle. The back was black pepper, dry oak, and allspice.


Finish: Long and very warming, the coffee and dark chocolate held their own against the black pepper and allspice. Every so often, a kiss of caramel would poke through.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The nose was lovely, the palate had plenty going on, and overall, this is a good Bourbon. I’m hung up on the price. I said the same thing when I reviewed Batch 123.6 (2020). Batch 118.4 takes the same rating: Bar. 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, June 24, 2022

The GlenDronach Cask Cask Strength Batch 10 Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes

One of Scotland’s oldest legal distilleries is in the Valley of the Forgue. In 1826, The GlenDronach was founded by James Allardice,  and about 45 years later, it was the largest duty-paying distillery in the Scottish Highlands. Fast-forward to 1996, and The GlenDroanch was mothballed until 2002.


The GlenDronach was one of the last distilleries to utilize coal-fired stills, and in 2005, it was converted to steam heating. Then, in 2016, Brown-Forman purchased the distillery, along with Glenglassaugh and BenRiach, forming the company’s Scotch whisky footprint.


The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 10 is a Highland Single Malt aged in both Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks. It is non-chill filtered, naturally colored, and carries no age statement. You’ll find a 750ml package for about $99.99 and available across the United States.


“The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 10 is incredibly rich and full-bodied with the full depth of sherry cask maturation at its heart. Presented at natural cask strength, it offers a cornucopia of flavor, from richly spiced fruitcake to dark cherry and ginger jam. The limited release showcases the distillery’s crafting the most exceptional, richly sherried Single Malts, representative of The GlenDronach’s rare dedication to its craft, embodied in every expression.”Dr. Rachel Barrie, Master Blender


I’m ready to #DrinkCurious, but before I do, I thank The GlenDronach for a sample of this Scotch in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this Highland Scotch presented as burnt umber. A medium-weight rim created no legs; instead, it was tiny droplets glued to the wall.


Nose: Have you ever had an excellent rum-soaked fruitcake? Not the garbage passed around from family member to family member as if it was a white elephant gift, but the stuff you fight over and eat immediately. My memory was triggered as I smelled what was inside the glass. I also found apricot, citrus, nougat, and leather. When I drew the air past my lips, the rummy part of the fruitcake was more pronounced.


Palate:  The mouthfeel was silky and full-bodied. Raisin, cherry, and peach exploded in the front of my mouth, while roasted almond, orange peel, and mocha formed the middle. The back offered old leather, oak tannin, and ginger.


Finish:  My mind did a double-take at this point. Wasn’t this over 117°? You’d never know it because there was no burn in my mouth or throat whatsoever. Instead, there was a caress of raisin, cherry, honey, ginger, and oak. It was lengthy and left me with a smile.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Sure, there’s no age statement, but who cares? This is a cask-strength sherry bomb of a Scotch that is affordable, approachable, and amazing. Nothing would cause me to second guess buying a Bottle. It would be well worth it. 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, December 3, 2021

Lost Lantern Fall 2021 Single Cask #2 (Watershed Distillery) Review & Tasting Notes


In Columbus, Ohio, there exists a micro-distillery called Watershed Distillery. Initially thought up by partners Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo, they translated that plan into a working distillery in 2015. They started with a small still, then joined by a larger one from Headframe Spirits in Montana.


Watershed was the second post-Prohibition legal distillery in the state, and it maintains a restaurant on-premises. The distillery utilizes locally-grown ingredients, and some are unusual.


“We founded Watershed Distillery on the principles of community in 2010. We wanted to live in, work in and contribute to the community in which we grew up. We aimed to create spirits that stood apart in quality and character. Along the way, we set out to form a community of our own. One that could gather together to savor, celebrate and enjoy good spirits and company.” – Watershed Distillery 


That brings us to Lost Lantern, an independent bottler of American whiskeys. I’ve reviewed a handful of its releases, most of which earned Bottle ratings. Lost Lantern just released its Fall 2021 Cask program, and one of those casks is from Watershed.


Named Fall 2001: Single Cask #2, it is a five-grain Bourbon distilled from a mash of corn, rye, spelt, malted barley, and wheat. I’ve had whiskeys made from unusual grains, but I can say with confidence spelt isn’t one of them. Spelt is an ancient grain related to wheat, rye, and barley. The newmake aged five years in 53-gallon new, charred oak barrels coopered at Independent Stave Company. Non-chill filtered and naturally colored, Lost Lantern packaged it at barrel proof of 118.8°.  Only 160 bottles exist, and a 750ml will set you back $100.00.


Before I #DrinkCurious, I’d like to take a moment and thank Lost Lantern for providing a sample on Single Cask #2 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance:  Served neat in my Glencairn glass, this cask strength Bourbon appeared as the color of dark chestnut. It formed a thinner rim that created thick, slow legs that fell back to the pool.


Nose:  Aromas of corn, nutmeg, caramel, toasted oak, and leather filled the air. As I drew that into my mouth, menthol caressed my tongue.


Palate:  I discovered an oily mouthfeel with a medium body. The front of my palate found caramel, corn, and candied orange slices. The middle featured vanilla, baked apple, walnut, and leather. Then, on the back, I tasted tobacco leaf, black pepper, and toasted oak.


Finish:  Medium to long in duration, caramel, candied orange slices, old leather, walnut, oak, and black pepper held out for a sweet and spicy finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Watershed Distillery’s Bourbon drank far beneath its stated proof. There is no way in the world you would convince me it was 118.8°, as it was such an easy sipper! While I wasn’t a fan of the menthol note from the nosing, that’s such a small part of the experience it is easily dismissed. Everything meshed as you’d want, and I’m not sure if that’s due to the unusual ingredient of spelt. Whatever it is, it works, and I’m happy to convey my Bottle rating for it. 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, November 6, 2021

Obtainium 16-year "Dracarys" Light Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


I’ve reviewed several barrels of Obtainium Light Whiskey in the past. Some were excellent, one or two could better be described as a hot mess. So, when the Lake Country Bottle Club requested I review their barrel pick in conjunction with the Bottle Shop of Grafton, I was open to the adventure.


If you’re unfamiliar with the Obtainium label, that comes from Cat’s Eye in Bettendorf, Iowa. Cat’s Eye sources and blends whiskeys from various sources. In the case of its Light Whiskeys, those come from MGP. Except MGP wasn’t called MGP when this whiskey was distilled. It was working under the name of Lawrenceburg Distillers, LLC (LDI). Except, LDI wasn’t called LDI when this whiskey was distilled. Instead, it was Seagram’s.


Barrel SC-00191 was distilled May 3, 2005, when light whiskey had already fallen out of favor and rested 16 years in vintage, charred oak barrels until dumped on June 9, 2021. The Lake Country Bottle Club named this one Dracarys, the word Daenerys used to summon her dragons to breathe fire in Game of Thrones. It weighs in at a very hefty 140.6°, and is sold out at The Bottle Shop of Grafton. A 375ml was $34.99 and a 750ml was $54.99.



Before I get to the verdict, I’d like to thank Lake Country Bottle Club for providing me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now I’ll #DrinkCurious to see what this fire-breather is all about. 


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Dracarys presented as the color of bronze amber. It made a sticky, medium-weighted rim that formed long, slow legs.


Nose:  At 140.6°, you’d expect this to punch the nose so hard it would draw blood. Nope, that didn’t happen. In fact, I struggled to pick up any ethanol whatsoever. It was a soft aroma that included cinnamon, nutmeg, toffee, vanilla, and lightly toasted oak. When I pulled the air into my mouth, I discovered crème de menthe.


Palate:  At 140.6°, you’d expect this to burn the hell out of your palate. Nope, that didn’t happen, either. The front palate featured caramel, chocolate, and nutmeg. The middle was all leather. Then, on the back, I tasted cinnamon, clove, mint, and oak.


Finish:  At 140.6°, you’d expect this to set fire to your throat. Nope, that didn’t happen.  Instead, flavors of caramel, chocolate, cinnamon spice, clove, and old leather came through.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I’ve had several Haz-Mat whiskeys before, but I don’t believe any has ever drunk this far below proof. Could it pass for 100° or 110°?  Certainly. It was a pleasant surprise for sure. The nose and palate were well-balanced despite the single leather note on the middle. Dracarys is tasty, and I’m happy to crown a Bottle rating on it. 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 29, 2021

Lost Lantern 2021 Fall Release #3 (Boulder Spirits) Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


One of the more interesting US-based independent bottlers is Lost Lantern. It finds unique barrels, bottles them at cask strength, and when what is packaged is gone, it is gone forever.


One of the more interesting American distilleries is Boulder Spirits out of Boulder, Colorado. I’ve reviewed several of its whiskeys before. They’re made in a Scottish tradition with their American Single Malts and what isn’t ASM still relies heavily on Scottish malt in the mash.


Lost Lantern just released its Fall Single Casks, and one of those is Single Cask #3, which comes from (you guessed it) Boulder Spirits. In this case, it is a Bourbon. It starts with a mash of 51% corn, 44% Scottish malted barley, and 5% rye. It aged five years in 53-gallon new, charred oak barrels from Kelvin Cooperage. It is non-chill filtered and came out of the barrel at a whopping 138.1°. The yield was only 181 750ml bottles, which Lost Lantern priced at $100.00 each.


“We are proud to have this unique straight Bourbon whiskey as our first selection from Colorado, one of the hotbeds of the whiskey renaissance taking shape all over the country. And this whiskey captures just why we’re so excited about Boulder Spirits, and about Colorado whiskey in general:  it does something new.” – Lost Lantern


Before I #DrinkCurious, I’d like to thank Lost Lantern for providing me a sample of Single Cask #3 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it, shall we?


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this Bourbon presented as the color of mahogany. It formed a very thin rim that made fat, slow, sticky legs.


Nose:  Single Cask #3 had a bouquet that wouldn’t quit. I expected and prepared myself for the big ethanol blast. Instead, it started with plum, then chocolate-covered cherry, light oak, and orange peel. When I drew the air in my mouth, the cherry became more pronounced.


Palate:  An almost weightless mouthfeel became oily as it traveled down my throat. The front of the palate featured deep, dark chocolate, almond, and maple syrup. Cherry, nutmeg, and English toffee took over the middle. The back offered flavors of coconut macaroon, oak, and dry leather.


Finish:  The tastes of nutmeg, dry leather, oak, cherry, coconut macaroon all morphed into dark chocolate and maple syrup in a medium-long finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This was a very interesting pour. As close as it is to Haz-Mat, it was shockingly easy to drink after getting past the first sip. It needs no water added. Single Cask #3 was just lovely from the nosing to the finish. The lack of the ethanol punch on either the nose or mouth was surprising. I’ve had many expressions from Boulder Spirits and this is up near the top. Would I spend $100.00 on it? Without a second thought! This is a Bottle rating that you won’t regret. 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 8, 2021

Blue Spot Cask Strength Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


In 1803, William Mitchell declared that all of the firstborn Mitchell sons would be named Robert to honor the memory of his close friend, Robert Emmet. Many generations later, that demand has been honored to the present day. His bakery, Mitchell & Son, slowly expanded into other fields, such as importing wines from mainland Europe. Then, in 1887, it delved into bonding whiskeys. With a plethora of wine casks on hand, Mitchell & Son gained a reputation for taking Jameson distillate and aging it in fortified wine casks. It referred to this product as Spot Whiskey. His warehouse was a cellar, located beneath the streets of Dublin.

"When their fortified wine casks were filled exclusively with Jameson spirit from the old Bow St. Distillery, they were marked with a daub or ‘spot’ of paint which identified how long the barrels would be matured for. Blue for 7 years, Green for 10 years, Yellow for 12 years and Red for 15 years—hence the name Spot Whiskey." - Spot Whiskey

Blue Spot is the only one bottled at cask strength. It is a Single Pot Still Whiskey which means the mash is made from both malted and unmalted barley. To get into even more detail, any Single Pot Still Whiskey must contain both a minimum of 30% malted and 30% unmalted barley. Then, up to 5% of other cereal grains can be used. It must be distilled in a pot still, and Blue Spot was triple-distilled, which is the most common means of distilling Irish whiskey (the other option is double-distilled).  The single part of the category means that all the malt comes from a single distillery. 

The distillate was then aged in ex-Bourbon barrels, ex-sherry butts, and ex-Portuguese Madiera casks. Spot Whiskeys are non-chill filtered. Blue Spot weighs in at a hefty 58.7% ABV (117.4°) and was distilled at the Midleton Distillery in County Cork. You can expect to pay right around $100.00, I picked mine up for $105.00. One last note, 2021 is the first time since 1964 that Blue Spot has been available for mass consumption. 

I've given you a lot of background, but now it is time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Blue Spot was the color of brass. It left a medium rim on the wall and fast, medium legs that crashed back into the pool. 

Nose: The smell of fruits was simply delicious. Blueberry is my favorite fruit. Guess what? The explosion of blueberries into my olfactory sense was welcomed. Pineapple, banana, and citrus shined through. I also experienced a thick maltiness. When I drew the aroma into my mouth, I got more fruit - this time, apple. 

Palate: The mouthfeel was thick and oily. It coated every nook and cranny of my mouth. Nutmeg, almond, cinnamon, and dark chocolate started things off. The middle offered orange, vanilla, raisin, and honey. On the back, I tasted caramel, oak, black pepper, and red wine.

Finish:  Thick, rich, caramel flavor dominated. Dark chocolate and leather were next, and the end was spicy with clove and black pepper. It was long-lasting and warming, but not anything that could be described as burn.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This is one dangerous whiskey. At no point did I recognize the proof. But, it sure recognized me. It came at me like a wave, I could feel the flush in my head. Despite that, I enjoyed every iota of Blue Spot. Is it worth $100.00? Yeah, it is. It also earned my Bottle rating, and if there was something higher, it would take that, too. 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 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.

Monday, December 14, 2020

The Presidential Dram Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


The 2020 election is over (thank goodness). I don't know about you, but the last thing I want to hear is anything else about a president - any president - at least for a few months. However, sometimes life throws you for a loop and makes you want to talk about a president anyway.

Today I'm reviewing The Presidential Dram by Proof & Wood Ventures.  Proof & Wood sources whiskeys, usually from either MGP or Dickel, and it has an uncanny ability to pick some of the better barrels from either. The Presidential Dram is part of Proof & Wood's DC Collection, and if you're unfamiliar with it, I've already reviewed The Senator and The Justice.  There is also The Representative and The Ambassador, neither of which I've tried yet.

The Presidential Dram is sourced from MGP and distilled from a mash of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. It entered the barrel at 120° and then aged for One Term (four years, although Dave Schmier of Proof & Wood said it "could be" five). It is a single-barrel bourbon, bottled at a barrel proof of 116.9°, and is non-chill filtered. One of the neat things with Proof & Wood is what they offer tends to be priced quite reasonably. In the case of The Presidential Dram, you are looking at $79.99, which is $10.00 more than The Senator, but equally less than The Justice.  The Presidential Dram is a once-every-four-years release.

I'd like to thank Proof & Wood for sending me a sample of The Presidential Dram in exchange for an honest, no-strings-attached review.  And now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  In my trusty Glencairn glass, The Presidential Dram is deep, reddish amber. It left an ultra-thin rim on the wall, and the legs, if you can even call them that, were fat tears that didn't really move.

Nose:  Sweet and fruity aromas wafted from the glass. What was lacking was anything even resembling wood. The sweet smells were chocolate and caramel. The fruity were citrus, plum, and coconut. When I inhaled the vapor through my mouth, a tsunami of butterscotch raced over my tongue.

Palate:  This is where things got crazy. For me, the first sip of anything is concentrating on the mouthfeel. I don't even care what it tastes like. With The Presidential Dram, my attention deficit disorder kicked in. I was so overwhelmed with flavors that I lost my train of thought. As it turned out, it was thick, creamy, and full-bodied. What distracted me was the punch of plum, cherry, and caramel on the front. At mid-palate, I tasted orange peel, mint, and malted milk balls (think Whoppers without the chocolate coating). Then, on the back, spice finally came into the picture with black pepper, clove, and toasted oak. It was joined by chocolate.

Finish:  There was a slight sizzle on my hard palate, but the finish itself was long and almost silky. It began with high-cacao dark chocolate, charred oak, cherry, and ended with orange peel. 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The Presidential Dram is only four years old, but you'd never know it. Heck, I had a rough time buying it. This Bourbon could easily pass for much older MGP stock. This one hits all the right buttons for me. If you're concerned that a four-year Bourbon will set you back $80.00, those will evaporate once you taste it. It is time to start reflecting on the 2020 best whiskeys of the year, and The Presidential Dram is a serious contender. The rating on this is simple:  Bottle. If you see it on the shelf, just buy it. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

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