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View Full Version : 2012 Bourbon of the Year---and other shout-outs...



smokinjoe
12-26-2012, 12:44
No reason for the whiskey writers to have all the fun. Here is my winner for "Whiskey of the Year" for 2012, as well as other awards:

Bourbon of the Year: 2012 Parker's Heritage 6th Release
--Stunningly delicious whiskey, that now represents the greatest whiskey I have ever had.
Runner up: CEHT "Tornado".

Best New Standard Release Bottling: Larceny by HH
--Wonderful addition to a lean wheater line-up. Well priced, amply available, and delightfully drinkable.

Best Distillery: Heaven Hill
--These guys are hittin' on all cylinders, and continually offer high quality products at reasonable prices. With the PHC and Larceny offerings, they won by a nose over BT, in my book.

Best Foreign Whiskey: Redbreast 12 yr. Cask Strength
--The best whiskey I tasted in 2012, after the PHC.

So, these are my choices. Let's hear yours.

:toast:

Phil T
12-26-2012, 13:10
Very good thread Joe. We know better then most what is the best, Lol.

Bourbon of the year: '12 FR's LE SmB. Four Roses continues to impress every year with their 2 LE's. This year was no different

Best new standard release : Larceny by HH. Heaven Hill continues to put out kickass budget pours, this wheater adds to that tradition.

Best Distillery : Four Roses. They continue to put out 2 fabulous LE's every year, and their single barrel program is 2nd to none. 'Nuff said

MyOldKyDram
12-26-2012, 15:10
Bourbon of the Year - My vote goes to the Four Roses 2012 LE SmB. PHCs 6th nabs second for me.

Distiller of the Year - Four Roses. Two stellar LEs, single barrel program, and some superlative gift shop offerings puts them over the top.

Standard New Release - High West Campfire by a wide margin. Can't get enough of this totally unique and tasty whiskey.

Josh
12-26-2012, 15:53
Great idea Joe!

Bourbon of the Year: 2012 Four Roses Ltd Ed Small Batch
Runner up: Four Roses Ltd Ed. Single Barrel
Best New Standard Release Bottling: Knob Creek Rye
Best Distillery: Four Roses (see above), Heaven Hill- runner up (for the reasons Joe mentioned)
Best Foreign Whiskey: Balcones Single Malt (It's a whole other country)
Enough Already Award: Anything Van Winkle

Ejmharris
12-26-2012, 15:57
Bourbon of the Year - Parker's heritage, I am abed get buyer but this one I tributes me. Glad I bought it and will be looking for some more.

Distiller of the Year - so many to choose from but still have to go with BT. They put out most of my everyday pours and all quality products. If they ever pull the Weller line or screw with it much more I will have to knock them down. 4R'd and HH are very close 2nd's right now.


New Release: Larceny. To be honest this products is what brings Hhto the close 2nd.




Mike

jburlowski
12-26-2012, 16:28
Bourbon of the Year: FR SmB 2012 LE
--Elegant & complex; a whiskey to contemplate. Everything else is a very distant second.

Best New Standard Release Bottling: Larceny by HH
-- Your comments nailed it.

Best Distillery: Four Roses
--Jim Rutledge and Company are making the best bourbon... do any of their single barrels miss the mark?

Bourbon Boiler
12-26-2012, 18:25
I'm not sure how we're defining "new standard release", but if it just means continuous availability, I'll throw in a vote for Woodford Double Oaked. This grows on me a little more each time. I'm not going to argue against Larceny for value, but on sheer quality, my vote goes to the gentleman in Versailles.

WAINWRIGHT
12-26-2012, 19:14
Bourbon of the Year-FR SmB LE

Bourbon of the Year Runner Up-PHC 6th 4 Grain,short finish hindered this one just a little to an otherwise nearly perfect pour

Best New Standard Release-Larceny,by way of sheer value

Best Foreign Whisky-Redbreast Cask Strength

Distillery of the Year-Buffalo Trace,they produce such a wide array of my day to day pours that are always of great quality and the BTAC line is always stellar year after year.

smokinjoe
12-26-2012, 19:25
I'm not sure how we're defining "new standard release", but if it just means continuous availability, I'll throw in a vote for Woodford Double Oaked. This grows on me a little more each time. I'm not going to argue against Larceny for value, but on sheer quality, my vote goes to the gentleman in Versailles.

Exactly BB. "Continuous availability" is what I was meaning.

LostBottle
12-26-2012, 20:43
It was actually a pretty boring year for whiskey. These are my picks:

Best Bourbon/Rye of the Year: Sazerac 18
In another year where overall borbon/rye quality continued the slow decline, the Saz 18 continues to shine. Thank goodness this beauty is tanked, because I am losing faith in the other BT offerings. Please note that I may have nominated the 4R LE SmB, but I did not have a chance to try it.

Worst Bourbon/Rye of the Year: Pappy Van Winkle
Not the same whiskey. Not as good as it was. Not worth the new prices. Not worth fighting cool-seeking young hipsters and status-seeking aging middle managers for. The overpriced CEHT releases get an honorary mention for a lousy QPR.

Best New Standard Release: High West Campfire
It's a bourbon, a rye, and a Scotch! High West did what they do best, experimented, and came up with another winner. Kudos for a great product and for continuing to shake things up - as much as it raises the hackles of the stodgy geezers who pump out the status-quo, this kind of work is what the industry needs more of.

Worst New Standard Release: Wild Turkey 81 Rye
This sucks so bad, it was not even worth someone else paying.

Best Foreign Whiskey: Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch #3
No question. If you didn't nominate it, you probably didn't try it.

Distillery of the Year: Four Roses
This distillery keep churning out great special releases, and most importantly, really solid standard offerings.

Pseudo-Distillery of the Year: Michter's
Here is some history you may have missed: if you take the name Michter's and add a few letters, then take some away, it spells bullshit.

Bourbonian of the Year: BarrelChar
Seriously.

ChainWhip
12-26-2012, 21:32
In another year where quality continued to decline, thank goodness this beauty is tanked.

Are you referring to the declining quality of the Saz18 or bourbon/rye in general?

LostBottle
12-26-2012, 21:35
Are you referring to the declining quality of the Saz18 or bourbon/rye in general?

Good question, I will edit my previous post to clarify. That said, I was referring to the decline of bourbon/rye in general and the dropping of age statements. Saz 18 was stellar this year, as always. In an environment where the quest for quality is supplanted by the quest for quantity, who says tanked whiskey is a bad thing??

Bourbon Boiler
12-27-2012, 08:58
I'll get laughed at, but I'll go with Beam for Distillery of the year for finally getting the tour/stillhouse figured out. I'm not going entirely on product here, as I think the distillery visit is a big part of the branding for these guys. Beam's hospitality went from embarassing to very good within the course of 2012.

p_elliott
12-27-2012, 09:44
I'm going to have to join Lostbottle in worst standard release as WTR 81 the shit is undrinkable. This is what you get when you let the suits make the whiskey instead of the master distillers.

jburlowski
12-27-2012, 10:11
Bourbonian of the Year: BarrelChar
Seriously.

Seriously??? :shocked:

White Dog
12-27-2012, 10:39
Seriously??? :shocked:

I do miss his comments.:grin:

Bourbon of the Year: PHC Four Grain. Stunning release from HH.

Runner Up: FR 2012 LESmB. A very close second.

Biggest disappointment: Larceny. It may be a wheater, but it's not my kind of wheater. Larceny makes me realize how solid MM is.

Biggest loser of 2012: Age statements.

Worst Whiskey of the Year: WT Rye 81. Another shameful release from the distillery who has fallen the farthest.

Lazer
12-27-2012, 11:18
Bourbon of the Year: Four Roses Single Barrel! Yes, the regular FRSB. This bourbon breaks the rules. Its NAS and yet possibly the most consistent out there. Keep it up! I'm not giving it to PHC'12 because, while it is outstanding, when I add water all I get is EWB. In my opinion its only good because its high proof... I just think they can do better with this whiskey. I'm not giving it to any FR LE's because I didn't have any.

Best New Release: Larceny. I love this stuff.

Biggest dissapointment: anything with 95% rye in it.

Bourbonian of the Year I second the nomination for BarrelChar. I'll give Wade runner up for the Ebay thing, but BC is the winner!:cool:

squire
12-27-2012, 14:00
Paul you say WTR 81 is undrinkable? What a shame, (wasn't tempted to buy one myself) but since you have some next time I swing by your neck of the woods I'll stop in and help 'ya dispose of it. After all, what are friends for.

squire
12-27-2012, 14:06
I agree with everything Joe said in the opening post except for Redbreast . . . just never could cotton to that brand.

wadewood
12-27-2012, 15:04
Unless your last name is Butler aka the Boss, opinions on who should the the BOTY are meaningless - http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?4849-FAQ-The-Bourbonian-of-the-Year-Award

Ejmharris
12-27-2012, 15:05
Bourbonian of the Year: BarrelChar
Seriously.

I would second that vote. That guy sparked more discussion on this board in the short time he was on.



Mike

Tony
12-27-2012, 19:37
Ok, I will try this-

Bourbon of the year- I will jump on the Four Roses wagon- either the FRSmB 2012 or the 17yo that was done for the new gift shop opening in September.

Runner up- PHC 2012, just a great bourbon even with the "short" finish.

Best main release- The new Larceny is really well done, looking forward to it being available regularly in Michigan.

Retailer of the year that people know of- Have to go with Binny's great place with wonderful communication, just wish they would ship to Michigan.

Local retailer of the year- My local shops that I frequent and spend my money with. I have built up relationships with them and they take care of me on limited releases of bourbon and beer

Bourbon event of the year- I am new and have not been to a lot, have to give it to the famed Gazebo. Just a great time with lots of wonderful people

Person of the year- This is a no brainer- my lovely wife Karry, to have the patience to let me indulge in this habit/hobby and to indulge me and join with me to go to an event in Kentucky to meet up with people from an Internet forum for festivities on a gazebo in the back of a hotel.

Distillery of the year- Go with others and say Four Roses. Had a magical tour at the Cox creek facility in January that was just my wife, son and guide, perfect. Then to experience the new visitors center opening in September was filled with great caring people that were dealing with many things going on at one time. I did not realize I was supposed to get a Mellow Moments discount at the gift shop and dealt with great people afterwards that got me my discount and even sent me four glasses to make up for it.

Great marketing of the year- Maker's Mark- the Cocktail Party advertising was great. I had the "I support the Cocktail Party" with pride in my front lawn this election season.

What a great year.

Best regards, Tony

Bourbon Boiler
12-27-2012, 20:14
Biggest disappointment: Larceny. It may be a wheater, but it's not my kind of wheater. Larceny makes me realize how solid MM is.

Very interesting comment about Makers. For so long it's been the only major wheater of any quality (excluding the Van Winkles and Wellers as not "major" due to price and/or availability; excluding Rebel yell, cabin still for lack of quality) that it's hard find comaparisons. I agree with the consensus here that it is a boring, entry level bourbon, but perhaps with more comparables we might learn to appreciate the product for what it is, even if it's not kept on our shelves.

squire
12-27-2012, 20:45
Well, Maker's accomplished what they set out to do, which was to copy Old Fitzgerald and when you get past the hype (I know people who actually believe it's some small, family owned distillery that created some new form of Bourbon nobody had thought of before) it's a very solid, well crafted whisky that's as close as any can claim to be the current archetype of wheated Bourbons.

Lazer
12-27-2012, 20:57
Unless your last name is Butler aka the Boss, opinions on who should the the BOTY are meaningless - http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?4849-FAQ-The-Bourbonian-of-the-Year-Award
Don't be jealous, I nominated you for runner-up. :grin:

T Comp
12-27-2012, 21:36
Retail Bourbon of the Year: PHC 2012 mislabelled 127 proof bottling.

Runner Ups and not by much: WLW '12, FR Limited Edition Small Batch, Knob Creek Reserve SB-Binny's Barrel 153, PVW 15 '12 release :grin:.

Distillery of the Year: Four Roses...more incredible considering the short time they've been back and best private barrel bourbons of the year.

Runner Up: Buffalo Trace...Pricing and NAS are drawbacks but OWA still on private barrel program make up for those sins.

The Best Lets Keep it "Shh" Bourbon: OGD 114.

The Biggest Wish: Another wheater anything close to the PHC wheater release.

The Biggest Continuing Disappointment: Wild Turkey.

The Most Trustworthy and Forthcoming Guy in the Biz: Jim Rutledge

Best Dusty: Smokinjoe's Fairfax County BIB.

Foreign Whisky: Anything Lost Pollito or Brophmonster pour me from Binny's barrel picks or Redbreast Cask.

mark fleetwood
12-27-2012, 21:39
I

Worst Whiskey of the Year: WT Rye 81. Another shameful release from the distillery who has fallen the farthest.

Ouch, but not untrue.
Worst whiskey of the year#2: Most Wanted. Bought a bottle moving from Cinti to CO and it almost made me turn around.

Vosgar
12-27-2012, 21:44
This falls under the "and other shout-outs" category.

Woman of the Year - My wife Linda. She came home from work today and asked if I wanted to go to Kentucky this weekend since we both have 4 days off. After confirming that she wasn't toying with me and there were no ulterior motives, we're booked for 3 nights at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. Now I'm putting together a distillery/resturant/bar game plan while she's checking out other things to do.

I'm not worthy. (and yes, I'm fully aware that you guys who know me are nodding in agreement)

Gary

HighInTheMtns
12-27-2012, 21:49
Best Bourbon I've Gotten to Try in 2012: PHC 2012, never have I gone through a comparable (proof, price, whatever) bottle so quickly, and I think that speaks volumes.

Bourbon That Very Well Might Unseat It as Best of 2012: FR Small Batch LE, which I have coming but which, thanks to the joys of living in a control state, will probably not cross my lips until 2013.

Distillery of the Year: Four Roses, whose mashbills I've managed to try four of in the form of single barrel selections (plus OBSV as the standard single barrel) in the last few months, despite not being able to buy a drop of it in Utah. Unless it's labelled "Bulleit" anyway. No one else is doing anything like they are. I'm hooked; it's impossible that I'll make it through 2013 without having had all 10.

Distillery That Made Me Start Bunkering in Earnest: Wild Turkey. 81 proof rye? Come on, guys. But I smile whenever I catch a glimpse of the bottles that will make sure I can keep drinking WT Rye 101 for quite a while. I have high hopes for the Russell's Reserve single barrel and the new Rare Breed. Here's hoping that times change for Wild Turkey in 2013.

Best Decision of 2012: Finally deciding to post on SB.com. Take note: it's WAY better than lurking.

Crowes
12-28-2012, 09:14
I though it might be interesting to weigh in on this as a bourbon neophyte. 2012 marked my entrance into the serious world of bourbon. These awards listed below are certainly my personal preferences as far as what I have tried, and what has influenced me as I started my journey with this wonderful spirit.

Best Bourbon I tried this year: Pappy Van Winkle 15 (2008). This one really opened my eyes to what a great wheated bourbon can be. I was able to purchase several bottles in the Van Winkle line up this fall, but none of them held the overall magic of what I tasted in this bottle.

Best Bourbon I purchased this year: This one is a tie for me between Jefferson's Presidential Reserve 18yr (batch 17), and Van Winkle Lot "B". Some may be surprised by the Lot "B" shout out but I love this bourbon. The dark fruity nature and balanced oak qualities really set this apart for me as far as what I was able to purchase, and that includes a nod over the PVW 20 I also got.

The One Bourbon that shocked me and changed my perception of what bourbon can be: Four Roses Single Barrel. This one really blew me away when I tried it. So different from everything else I tried this year. Like a syrup candy bomb with unique floral and spice notes that had my head spinning on every sip. What a unique and well crafted whiskey.

Distillery of the Year: For me, this goes to Heaven Hill based on two products; Elijah Craig and Evan Williams Single Barrel. To discover two bourbons of such a high standard that I can purchase any time I like, and for a reasonable price, sets this one apart for me.

Special Bourbon Award for 2012: I want to give special mention to the one bourbon that started it all for me this year - Bookers. I purchased a bottle for my boss for his birthday earlier this year and we sat down and had a few glasses. Up until this point the only bourbons I had really ever tried were a few standards like Maker's Mark and Knob Creek. One sip of Bookers and my mind was blown. So rich and powerful. Wow! Still one of my favorite pours after purchasing so many other brands. A bottle will always be on my shelf.

Best Bourbon Resource for Beginners (or anyone for that matter): Again, a tie for me between Jayson Pyle's sourmashmanifesto.com and the forums here at straighbourbon.com. I relied heavily on Jayson's reviews as I started purchasing various bottles, a well written site with thoughtful reviews. This forum here has also been so beneficial. I have started to develop a few relationships with some very knowledgeable members here, and the endless threads on various products and topics have been a joy to explore. I have gained a ton of knowledge and insight into the world of bourbon through everyone here and I thank you all.

smokinjoe
12-28-2012, 09:31
I though it might be interesting to weigh in on this as a bourbon neophyte. 2012 marked my entrance into the serious world of bourbon. These awards listed below are certainly my personal preferences as far as what I have tried, and what has influenced me as I started my journey with this wonderful spirit.

Best Bourbon I tried this year: Pappy Van Winkle 15 (2008). This one really opened my eyes to what a great wheated bourbon can be. I was able to purchase several bottles in the Van Winkle line up this fall, but none of them held the overall magic of what I tasted in this bottle.

Best Bourbon I purchased this year: This one is a tie for me between Jefferson's Presidential Reserve 18yr (batch 17), and Van Winkle Lot "B". Some may be surprised by the Lot "B" shout out but I love this bourbon. The dark fruity nature and balanced oak qualities really set this apart for me as far as what I was able to purchase, and that includes a nod over the PVW 20 I also got.

The One Bourbon that shocked me and changed my perception of what bourbon can be: Four Roses Single Barrel. This one really blew me away when I tried it. So different from everything else I tried this year. Like a syrup candy bomb with unique floral and spice notes that had my head spinning on every sip. What a unique and well crafted whiskey.

Distillery of the Year: For me, this goes to Heaven Hill based on two products; Elijah Craig and Evan Williams Single Barrel. To discover two bourbons of such a high standard that I can purchase any time I like, and for a reasonable price, sets this one apart for me.

Special Bourbon Award for 2012: I want to give special mention to the one bourbon that started it all for me this year - Bookers. I purchased a bottle for my boss for his birthday earlier this year and we sat down and had a few glasses. Up until this point the only bourbons I had really ever tried were a few standards like Maker's Mark and Knob Creek. One sip of Bookers and my mind was blown. So rich and powerful. Wow! Still one of my favorite pours after purchasing so many other brands. A bottle will always be on my shelf.

Best Bourbon Resource for Beginners (or anyone for that matter): Again, a tie for me between Jayson Pyle's sourmashmanifesto.com and the forums here at straighbourbon.com. I relied heavily on Jayson's reviews as I started purchasing various bottles, a well written site with thoughtful reviews. This forum here has also been so beneficial. I have started to develop a few relationships with some very knowledgeable members here, and the endless threads on various products and topics have been a joy to explore. I have gained a ton of knowledge and insight into the world of bourbon through everyone here and I thank you all.

Crowes, not only is it "interesting to weigh in on this as a bourbon neophyte", it's absolutely at the heart of what this site is all about. It's all about the journey, from the beginning to total bourbon geekdom! :D If we can't hear about what's going on from those getting started and early on in the journey, and just blabber among long-time supposed "expert" participants, it simply becomes an echo chamber. How boring would that be?
:toast:

squire
12-28-2012, 10:42
Well said Crowes and thanks for the input. It's an exciting journey shared by a lot of us and fortunately we can get together here to share our experiences.

darylld911
12-28-2012, 17:08
The Most Trustworthy and Forthcoming Guy in the Biz: Jim Rutledge

Couldn't agree more Thad! Was glad to get to meet him at the All-Star Sampler at KBF!

Think my votes fall in line with many others, outside of my "foreign" preference :grin:

Bourbon of the Year: 2012 PHC (kicking myself for not buying a bottle when I had the chance!)

Best New Standard Release Bottling: Larceny (great value - especially with the intro rebates! HW Campfire comes in a close 2nd!)

Best Distillery: Buffalo Trace (if someone told me I could only have 5 bottles to drink for the rest of my life, three would be from BTAC hands down). If I'm judging based on the tour/visitor center, I'd have to go with HH (although I haven't seen the new Beam center yet).

Best Foreign Whiskey: Laphroaig 10 yr Cask Strength (what can I say - I love smokey peat! My runner-up though would be Balvenie 21 yr Portwood)

RVTsteve
12-28-2012, 17:16
I though it might be interesting to weigh in on this as a bourbon neophyte. 2012 marked my entrance into the serious world of bourbon. These awards listed below are certainly my personal preferences as far as what I have tried, and what has influenced me as I started my journey with this wonderful spirit.

Best Bourbon Resource for Beginners (or anyone for that matter): Again, a tie for me between Jayson Pyle's sourmashmanifesto.com and the forums here at straighbourbon.com. I relied heavily on Jayson's reviews as I started purchasing various bottles, a well written site with thoughtful reviews. This forum here has also been so beneficial. I have started to develop a few relationships with some very knowledgeable members here, and the endless threads on various products and topics have been a joy to explore. I have gained a ton of knowledge and insight into the world of bourbon through everyone here and I thank you all.

Great post, man! My journey started this year as well and I've come a long way thanks to resources like SB.com and all its members as well others out there on the web. Cheers everyone.

Restaurant man
12-29-2012, 00:47
Bourbon of the year for me: WLW 2012
2nd: 17 year gift shop FRSB
Poor mans 17 yr gift shop is the 2012 FRSmB

Standard release: I'm going with the SB BLEND. I never tire of it

Distilery of the year: it starts with a 4

Bourbonian: that's easy: joe

Best whiskey discontinued this year: HW 21 year rye

HighInTheMtns
12-29-2012, 08:48
Best whiskey discontinued this year: HW 21 year rye
I didn't know this was discontinued but I checked the HW website and it says it is now a Park City only bottle. It is still available in quantity in virtually every liquor store around here; when I see the stocks start dwindling, it's going to be hard not to buy at least a 375.

humchan2k
12-29-2012, 11:37
Bourbon Of Humchan's year: PHC 132 proof, no question

Best dusty find of the year: The '67 and '68 Old Fitz 2x Gallon bottles I found :)

Best Micro product I tried: Dad's Hat Pennsylvania Rye, give it a try.

Best Rye Of The Year: Rittenhouse, cuz it's the single best rye buy on the planet and I drank more of it than any other bottle

Most overpriced whiskey of the year: Whistlepig. $80 for a 10 year rye.....really?

Distillery - BT

Brand of the year - Highwest. The 36th Amendment is a revelation.

Lazer
12-29-2012, 20:54
Bourbon of the Year: Four Roses Single Barrel! Yes, the regular FRSB. This bourbon breaks the rules. Its NAS and yet possibly the most consistent out there. Keep it up! I'm not giving it to PHC'12 because, while it is outstanding, when I add water all I get is EWB. In my opinion its only good because its high proof... I just think they can do better with this whiskey. I'm not giving it to any FR LE's because I didn't have any.

Best New Release: Larceny. I love this stuff.

Biggest dissapointment: anything with 95% rye in it.

Bourbonian of the Year I second the nomination for BarrelChar. I'll give Wade runner up for the Ebay thing, but BC is the winner!:cool:

I take back every bad thing I said about PHC 2012. Had a pour last night and it blew me away. I'll just have to give FR Distillery of the Year.

sob0728
12-29-2012, 21:29
Bourbon of the Year: Not new, but the best bourbon I had this year was WT Tradition.
Distillery of the Year: BT (BTAC and PVW)
Deal of the Year: Two 750ml bottles of High West 21 Yr Rye that were (mis)priced at $39.99 each at a local liquor store.

WAINWRIGHT
12-29-2012, 22:27
Bourbon of the Year: Not new, but the best bourbon I had this year was WT Tradition.
Distillery of the Year: BT (BTAC and PVW)
Deal of the Year: Two 750ml bottles of High West 21 Yr Rye that were (mis)priced at $39.99 each at a local liquor store.
High West 21 @ $40 I wouldn't have been able to keep a straight face during check out,Wow!

BFerguson
12-30-2012, 05:35
My biggest shout-out goes to the members of the forum.

Thank all of you for the knowledge and generosity that it shared amongst all here, without some of the amazing members that are present, both past and present, this site would not be what it has become.

I'd especially like to thank the MN guys, I sincerely appreciate the information sharing that you guys give to to non-cities based dude.

B

Gillman
12-30-2012, 06:50
I'll state my choices less "formally" since I haven't had notably Larceny, PHC 2012 or EC 20 yet, or HW Campfire, but the best bourbon I bought was Triple AAA (great balance and softness with an old-fashioned creosote note) with a Lot B close second (elegant, clean, brandy-like); best tasted was a 17 year 4RSB, the anniversary one from 2 years ago (pure and clean red fruit and rich taste - how does the gift shop one differ by the way?); best rye was Masterson's, pricy it's true as WhistlePig is but aged rye is at a premium these days; best distillery was 4R, with HH close second; most disappointing distillery was WT (I agree with those who found the new 81 most wanting); and most improved distillery was JD, whose honeyed expression has made a splash and whose regular line just gets better every year.

I'd give general points to the craft industry for trying - keep on keeping on guys but you are not there yet, not for what I tasted. I'll take one mature four year old bourbon or rye that can be compared to, say Old Forester 100 proof or YL, does any meet that standard? If so I'll look for it next time in the States. But I do think it's just a question of time, quite literally.

Greatest contribution to the revival of bourbon and its traditions and family of drinks: www.straightbourbon.com. The depth of knowledge and commitment here is amazing.

Gary

jburlowski
12-30-2012, 19:27
I'll state my choices less "formally" since I haven't had notably Larceny, PHC 2012 or EC 20 yet, or HW Campfire, but the best bourbon I bought was Triple AAA (great balance and softness with an old-fashioned creosote note) with a Lot B close second (elegant, clean, brandy-like); best tasted was a 17 year 4RSB, the anniversary one from 2 years ago (pure and clean red fruit and rich taste - how does the gift shop one differ by the way?); best rye was Masterson's, pricy it's true as WhistlePig is but aged rye is at a premium these days; best distillery was 4R, with HH close second; most disappointing distillery was WT (I agree with those who found the new 81 most wanting); and most improved distillery was JD, whose honeyed expression has made a splash and whose regular line just gets better every year.

I'd give general points to the craft industry for trying - keep on keeping on guys but you are not there yet, not for what I tasted. I'll take one mature four year old bourbon or rye that can be compared to, say Old Forester 100 proof or YL, does any meet that standard? If so I'll look for it next time in the States. But I do think it's just a question of time, quite literally.

Greatest contribution to the revival of bourbon and its traditions and family of drinks: www.straightbourbon.com (http://www.straightbourbon.com). The depth of knowledge and commitment here is amazing.

Gary

As usual. Gary... very well said. Next time you are coming down to No KY, send me a PM: I'd love to get have a pour or two with you to fill the gaps.

BTW. your assessement of Masterson's rye was spot on!

Gillman
12-30-2012, 19:44
Thank you John. It was almost a certainty that I would fly into Cincinnati but at the last minute, we changed it to Louisville for reasons I won't detain you with now. This means we won't be in your area unfortunately, but can you not come down to Sampler this year? The GN still has rooms! I'll be there from the Thursday through to Sunday, with my friend Rick Radell from Toronto. Please try if you can, but I appreciate the invitation.

Gary

HP12
12-30-2012, 19:53
Bourbon of the Year is too subjective for me to offer an opinion.

However, a end O' year shout out goes to the SB community and the educational information shared regarding the brown liquid we all enjoy and have in common. Happy 2013!

BradleyC
12-30-2012, 20:11
In my opinion Buffalo Trace wins it with Stagg, Weller, and Handy. They hit homeruns with all three mashbills this year and it seems to be a trendline for BT with these releases. The richness and depth of the barrel proof BTACs is hard to compete with in my opinion. Their consistency of quality is also worth mentioning.

My Four Roses vote easily goes to the 17.5 year gift shop bottle. It is the best 4R I have ever had. I believe its contribution to the Mariage this year is what made that bottle special. I personally feel 4R really shines in the extra aged category and hope to see more of it down the road.

mosugoji64
12-30-2012, 23:03
With the intensity of school increasing considerably over the past year I haven't had the opportunity to investigate many new bottles, but the best one I've had has to be PHC '12. That one has a little bit of everything going on and does it all so well. Runners-up honors go to CEHT Tornado and '12 GTS.
As for best new everyday bottle, the only one I can recall is Larceny so it gets the award by default. My REAL choice, however, would be the many OWA single-barrel selections I've tried over the past year. If only I could bring them all home! BT should just make OWA a single barrel like EWSB and highlight a different profile every year 'cause there's some amazing stuff to be had there!
For distillery of the year, it's a toss-up for me between BT and FR. They're both doing some amazing things. More BT bottles make their way onto my shelf, but I think that's probably due to availability/price.
Saddest realization - that I got into WT too late. I opened a bottle of '04 WTKS that I absolutely love, but now I'm afraid to buy anything newer after reading the reports here of the distillery's decline. I'll just have to keep my eye out for WT dusties and snap them up whenever possible.
SB gets the nod for best community. The folks here are just the best, most welcoming, and generous bunch of people anywhere. Can't wait to see everyone again in April!

jburlowski
12-31-2012, 09:33
Thank you John. It was almost a certainty that I would fly into Cincinnati but at the last minute, we changed it to Louisville for reasons I won't detain you with now. This means we won't be in your area unfortunately, but can you not come down to Sampler this year? The GN still has rooms! I'll be there from the Thursday through to Sunday, with my friend Rick Radell from Toronto. Please try if you can, but I appreciate the invitation.

Gary

I will be there.... see you at the Gazeebo.

Gillman
12-31-2012, 09:45
Okay great!

Gary

IowaJeff
12-31-2012, 12:00
I haven't had enough of the new 2012 releases to judge them. The best bourbon that was new to me this year was the Bowman 18. To me its as good as Stagg, VW, FR limited editions, etc. I'll give distillery of the year to Heaven Hill. HH brings great quality and value at all shelf tiers. I can go get a bottle of EW black, EC12, or EWSB anytime I want and I know it will be good and won't crush my pocketbook. I think many take for granted how good EWSB is year in and year out. At the high end, the PHC is both innovative and delicious,a difficult combination. The VOB BIB deserves some kind of award as well. I recently got a bottle and was blown away by the quality to price ratio. After one drink I immediately regretting not buying every bottle I saw. I'll give it biggest regret.

I don't have a most disappointing distillery. I'm sure WT81 sucks, but I figure its not a release targeted at me, kinda like all the 'maple black cherry bacon honey' bottles. 101 still tastes good to me. I was drinking Hi-C Ecto Cooler in the 80's though, so I can't compare it to the WT from days of yore.

ChainWhip
01-01-2013, 12:32
While I haven't every top 2012 bourbon/rye yet (Eg. Stagg, WLW, VW's, etc.,), I can only comment on what I've had in 2012.

Favorite Independent Bottler/Blender: High West. While I loved the 21 & 16 year ryes, Rendezvous really knocked my socks off. They continue to push the boundaries, innovate, & I liked everything these guys put out: Campfire, Bourye, the list goes on & on

Favorite 2012 Bourbon: TPS John J. Bowman Barrel #45 (Runners Up: Vintage 17, CEHT Tornado, & FRSB OESO).

Favorite 2012 Rye: Sazerac 18 (Runners Up: High West Rendezvous & 16 year)

Favorite 2012 Blend: High West Campfire

2012 Whisky that most reminds me of drinking Chinese herbal medicine: Balcones Brimstone

Favorite 2012 Single Malt Scotch: Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 3 (Runners Up: Talisker 18 & Ardbeg Uigeadail)

Favorite 2012 Tequila: Casa Noble 5 Year (Runner Up: Corrido Anejo)

Favorite 2012 Japanese Whisky: Hibiki 21 (Runner Up: Nikka Whisky from the Barrel)

Finally, thanks to all of you here on SB for your generosity, openness, & free exchange of knowledge! Happy New Year!

smokinjoe
01-01-2013, 12:47
Thanks for bringing up Tequila, CW. Had my mind blown in 2012 with a Clase Azul Reposado. I've drank more than a few good sipping Tequilas in my days, but, I had no idea that a Tequila could taste like that! :yum:

tanstaafl2
01-01-2013, 13:15
As a relative noob to the forum I won't try to make a selection for favorites this year with one exception. Have had the good fortune to try and enjoy many of the whiskies already noted here to include the FR SmB 2012 LE, PHC 12, Stagg, Weller and Saz 18 as well as the various HW blends which I really enjoyed.

I will say that my Favorite 2012 "finished" (or perhaps overpriced, overhyped and "ruined" in some peoples opinion :grin:) whiskey of the year is the Angel's Envy Port Finished Cask Strength.

Despite being 120+ proof it is as easy to drink as cold spring water on a hot afternoon. And just as satisfying! So much so in fact that I probably let it, and the other delightful and mostly overproof whiskey available that evening, get the best of me at the GBS Christmas Gala at Mac McGee! Too much good whiskey on a stomach that was a little too empty to start with I suspect. Haven't done that in a long time (can't remember the last time in fact) but since I wasn't driving I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the evening.

And I too want to add my thanks to the membership of SB for the friendly welcome and wealth of knowledge and information shared here this year that has only added to my enjoyment of the continuing exploration of fine American whiskey and spirits in general.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

ChainWhip
01-01-2013, 16:41
Had my mind blown in 2012 with a Clase Azul Reposado.

I keep reading/hearing good things about it - may need to pick up a mini or 375ml to give it a whirl

portugieser
01-04-2013, 09:16
Has anyone tried the Abraham Bowman Virginia LE, 18 y/o whiskey? Looks like it topped Chuck Cowdery's list for 2012. Thanks.

squire
01-04-2013, 09:41
Bowman is not available to me unfortunately . . . that's an expression that appeals to me.

VAGentleman
01-04-2013, 12:52
Has anyone tried the Abraham Bowman Virginia LE, 18 y/o whiskey? Looks like it topped Chuck Cowdery's list for 2012. Thanks.

I've had a bunch of it being from Virginia, it was easy to get in the ABC stores and at the distillery. The 18 year old was amazing. That batch was followed by a 17 year old that was pretty darned good but a tad under the earlier release. Those are now gone also and the new expression is an 8 year old port finished bourbon which is pretty damn good too. The Abrahams are all limited release runs. The Bowman Brothers small batch is excellent and the John J Bowman Single Barrel is really really good. One of my everyday pours.

DeanSheen
01-05-2013, 11:53
4RsmB 2012 soo tasty.

B.B. Babington
01-05-2013, 19:12
okay, this is a VERY informative thread. I've missed the new PHC and 4R LE, and the Bowman 18yo doesn't seem available to me in Va. WTF? I need to travel more.

squire
01-05-2013, 19:15
Oh definitely, seeking Bourbon is a great travel plan.

jcg9779
01-05-2013, 19:31
Retail Bourbon of the Year: PHC 2012 mislabelled 127 proof bottling.

Runner Ups and not by much: WLW '12, FR Limited Edition Small Batch, Knob Creek Reserve SB-Binny's Barrel 153, PVW 15 '12 release :grin:.

Distillery of the Year: Four Roses...more incredible considering the short time they've been back and best private barrel bourbons of the year.

Runner Up: Buffalo Trace...Pricing and NAS are drawbacks but OWA still on private barrel program make up for those sins.

The Best Lets Keep it "Shh" Bourbon: OGD 114.

The Biggest Wish: Another wheater anything close to the PHC wheater release.

The Biggest Continuing Disappointment: Wild Turkey.

The Most Trustworthy and Forthcoming Guy in the Biz: Jim Rutledge

Best Dusty: Smokinjoe's Fairfax County BIB.

Foreign Whisky: Anything Lost Pollito or Brophmonster pour me from Binny's barrel picks or Redbreast Cask[B].

I agree with just about everything except bourbon of the year. I have to go with FR LE SmB. The PHC 6th didn't do it for me and I've loved the previous 5 offerings. Something about it just didn't quite hit the right notes to me...perhaps I just had it on an off night.


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