Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Making the Case to #DrinkCurious


Do you like a whiskey because you’re expected to like it? Do you hate another because you’ve not heard anything good about it? Are you a fanboy of a certain distiller (or producer), and absolutely anything that comes from them gets a free pass? Have you had a bad glass of whatever, and you’ve judged the entire product line based on your bad experience?

I keep thinking back to Old Weller Antique. My wife was kind enough to buy me a bottle several years ago. She was in the business and told it was very decent. I tried it. I hated it. I mean, I really, really hated it, to the point where I poured the remainder down the drain several months later because we were moving and, well, I didn’t want to go cross country with something I couldn’t stand...

You can read this article in its entirety over at Bourbon & Banter. Cheers!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Welcome to the Whiskeyfellow blog!

Hello and welcome!  I am Whiskeyfellow and I appreciate you joining me.  For those who have never read one of my whiskey reviews, I'm not new at this.  I'd like to provide you with a little background on who I am, what I do, and how I rate whiskeys.

For the most part, this blog will be a blog of my whiskey reviews. I will, at times, offer advice and news.  I'll also post links to my events.  I review all types of whiskeys and whiskey-related merchandise. I don't review anything else (well, that's not true, I do have a Yelp! account).

I host a Facebook page where nearly everything I've written has been cataloged. You can also purchase tickets for my whiskey workshops, tastings and Whiskeyfellow merchandise there.    You can also find me on Instagram, where you can find abbreviated reviews due to restrictions in the amount of text.

I am a Senior Contributor at Bourbon & Banter, a Top 10 whiskey website.  I love B&B, it gave me my first real exposure to a larger audience and introduced me to the online world.

There are a variety of ways folks can rate whiskeys. In my opinion, reviews and ratings should be simple and easy for readers to understand. You will never, ever see references to things you can't wrap your head around, such as whiskeys reminding someone of lilac from grandma's attic or having flavors of completely obtuse things that 99% of whiskey drinkers have never tried. My goal is for the reader to relate to my reviews and leave with as clear an understanding as possible.

Clarity doesn't end there. I have a very simple rating system that comes from Bourbon & Banter and that's the Bottle, Bar, or Bust system.  Bottle means buy it, this is a great whiskey and something you'll be happy to own. Bar means it is not something that may not be worth buying but should definitely be tried so you can judge for yourself. Bust means if you see it on the shelf, slowly set the bottle back on the shelf, turn around, and run away.  I've written more details on this rating system and why it is superior to other rating systems at Bourbon & Banter and you can access that here.

I enjoy whiskeys from all price points. For many years, I have run a very serious #RespectTheBottomShelf campaign. There are some amazing value whiskeys on that bottom shelf. At the same time, there are some whiskeys that absolutely belong there. On the flip side, I've had some completely awful, expensive whiskeys and some delicious ones. My best advice to anyone is to never buy a whiskey on hype or price. Know what you're getting into, otherwise, you'll find yourself spending a lot of money and suffering from a lot of buyer's remorse.

Finally, my reviews are honest. Many times, distilleries or representatives will send me whiskeys to review. Sending me free whiskey is awesome and I'm always excited when one shows up on my doorstep. But, I will not improve a rating because someone sent me a free sample. If a whiskey is a great whiskey, it will earn a positive rating. And, if a whiskey is mediocre or substandard, expect a rating to reflect that.

Thank you again for joining me.  If you have questions, by all means, please ask.  Cheers!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Despite what some may think, my whisk(e)y tastes are not exclusive to any particular level. I enjoy top-shelf, hard-to-find, exclusive selections and dusty, often-ignored ones. Top-, mid- or bottom-shelf, I've tasted winners and losers.


One of the great whiskey subsets is Bottled in Bond. Often, but certainly not always, these are quite affordable. There are very strict guidelines in order to be qualify as Bottled in Bond. Aside from being a 100-proof American whiskey, it must be the product of one distillation season from a single distiller, and everything must come from a single distillery. There's no blending of different whiskeys. The whiskey must age in a federally bonded warehouse under US government supervision for at least four years. Finally, the label must identify the distillery and, if bottled elsewhere, where it was bottled.


I have known about Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond for a few years, but have never seen it on the shelf. Some have praised this, others have panned it. However, while visiting a newly discovered liquor store today, I saw and picked it up.


There's a lot of wheat and vanilla on the nose, wheat, nuts and spice on the palate. This one MUST have time to breathe, or you can use a spirits aerator to speed the process along. Otherwise, if you drink it straight from the pour, there's not going to be any flavor.


While not an earth-shattering whiskey by any means, it is decent. To those who poo-poo this Bourbon, I suspect you've not given enough time for this to breath. Perhaps you'll give it another shot.


The point I am trying to make is to not be a whisk(e)y snob, and know there are both treasure and trash to be found amongst all price points.


Respect the bottom shelf.