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scratchline
10-30-2006, 16:02
Had a strange experience with a bottle of Saz Jr. I've enjoyed this whiskey in the past and was enjoying the bottle I opened about four weeks ago. But last week, when I used it in a cocktail, I found the drink had a musty taste that was not at all to my liking. At first I put it down to the interaction of the various elements in the mix, but tonight I had a pour of the rye straight. Sure enough, that musty, earthy taste again. Not pleasant and, more important, something I had not noticed in the flavor before. To my palate, rye tends to carry more "leather" notes than bourbon, but this was something I hadn't encountered before. It was so pronounced that I ended up dumping the remainder of the glass.

Has anyone had a similar experience? And don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the Saz whiskeys. Can't wait to get my lips on some Handy.

Just wondering, as I sip some WT 12 to right all wrongs.

-Mike

cowdery
10-30-2006, 18:26
Sounds like cork taint.

bluesbassdad
10-30-2006, 18:51
Chuck,

Doesn't the sudden onset of the vile taste argue against that?

I was going to cite a couple of your old posts ( one (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7690&postcount=1) and two (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=31074&postcount=1) ), but the sudden onset would remain a mystery in any case.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

doubleblank
10-30-2006, 20:04
I can't explain the sudden presence of the musty and earthy tastes, but that is what I find in many ryes in general. Not completely unpleasant, just not my normal cup of tea. Hence, I don't drink many straight ryes. In fact, many enjoy the earthiness of ryes.

Randy

cowdery
10-30-2006, 22:39
There are two kinds of cork taint with whiskey. One is where the whiskey acts on an essentially okay cork over time. The other is where the cork is seriously faulty. Then the damage can happen right away.

Mike, how does the cork look? For it to be cork taint this fast, you should be able to see visible deterioration in the cork.

Dave, I haven't had the Saz Jr., but Mike said he did have experience with it and this bottle was different. That's why I didn't attribute it to his just not liking some of the normal characteristics of some ryes.

scratchline
10-30-2006, 23:25
I went back and checked the cork and while it's not terribly degraded, it does have a large crack running around about a third of the circumference at the bottom. I kind of doubt that's the problem, but the only other explanation is that half way through this bottle, my taste changed. Always possible, but I'm going to pick another bottle up this weekend, sample it, and see

-Mike.

bluesbassdad
10-30-2006, 23:56
Chuck,

I was aware only of the "stored on its side" taint (which I discovered the hard way).

I should have realized that if wine can go bad due to contact with some corks but not others, then there must be potential for another sort of problem.

BTW, Brent at Binny's says he has a batch of the Saz Jr. arriving soon.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

Virus_Of_Life
10-31-2006, 00:33
Mike, I hope you discover that bad taste was some ripple in the cosmic fabric of time that caused this one bottle to go off. You and I have talked enough that you know my love for this Saz "Jr." Rye. I have been without any for a couple of months now and am seriously looking forward to Thanksgiving when I order some from Binny's chosen single barrels of this as well as some regular issue as well as some of the Handy Rye, all to take to Oregon for what I am sure will be a time of thanks to remember... :pope:

dougdog
10-31-2006, 08:29
Mike,

I think ONE of the key tasting features of the Saz Jr is the deep earthy notes. I wonder if the bottle got a little breath of air between tastings and this note was more discernable to you after the whiskey opened up.

I Just got back from KY, while there, I purchased a bottle of the Thomas Handy and sampled it...YUM!, this is another one of BT's great whiskies. It too has the earth notes that the JR has but to a lesser extent. This time, the earthy note is more understated,refined and elegant, but still there. I like that particular note in the JR, it is what sets it apart from the pack, and although most rye features this to a certain extent, the JR is in a class of it's own here.

Good Job BT...

Keep mixin' Mike...(or give the bottle to Gillman, he'll figure out something to do with it!) LOL!

dp

scratchline
10-31-2006, 10:17
That actually sounds likely, Doug. I'm going to try out another bottle and get to the bottom of it, so to speak.

BTW, how does the Handy compare to your older barrel proof rye?

-Mike

dougdog
10-31-2006, 11:10
That actually sounds likely, Doug. I'm going to try out another bottle and get to the bottom of it, so to speak.

BTW, how does the Handy compare to your older barrel proof rye?

-Mike

Mike,

That is a tough question...I'll say this...

These whiskies are only similar because they are Rye's...they are from different times and makers...no problem tasting the difference...but one is not "better" than the other...whiskies at this level of quality are only "different"...I'm sure there will be times where I will prefer one over the other... (Mood, food, etc)...in the same way you wouldn't drink the same wine with every meal...Variety, man, variety...

The word "Compare" is so subjective...question is, at what level?

Price...Handy wins!...hell, everyone else wins...Is there a more expensive rye out there today?

Taste...well, that gets very subjective...but I'll say this...when you get ready to sample the Willet, do it barefoot...it'll knock your socks off...even after you water it to a more palatable proof, the flavors go on forever...

Availability...even with a full barrels'werth, not too much to go around....

Bang-for-the-buck...depends on how many bucks you got...everyone's price point is different, I read about folks driving across town to save two bucks on the next purchase of whatever...doubt they'd be interested in a 165 dollar bottle of anything. For me it boils down to "affordable luxury"...even if I was paying full retail, I'd still bunker up on this one.

FYI...This is not the last one of these to get in on...LeNell is bottling a 23yo that should be a stunner (BTW LeNell, congratulations on your label approval!) I haven't sampled hers' yet, but it's from the same provenance as the Willet Estate 22yo, just a year older.

We could compare anything else...the list is endless...what's on your mind?

John's tasting notes in Malt Advocate are pretty reliable and would be useful for general comparison, leaving the finer points for us or anyone to arm-wrestle over. But, it's like anything else, you put two people in the same room, with the same whisky, a piece of paper and pen...the notes will always be different...the bigger influences generally agreed upon, the finer points based on the perception or influences of the moment.

dp

scratchline
10-31-2006, 15:31
Great post, Doug. Thanks.

And answers my question thoroughly. I was mainly curious whether the added time in the barrel had smoothed all the rye edges outta the whiskey. Clearly the answer is a big NO!.

-Mike

shaggy
11-01-2006, 18:01
i have a bottle of Saz Jr. with about an inch left in the bottom. I mixed part of that with the same amount Bernheim wheat. It was very flowery. The taste was smooth. The finish was empty.. void of much taste at all. I had to go pour some Handy straight up to make things all better. I will probably finish off that Saz Jr. tomorrow night and I'll let you know how it tastes by itself. Then it will be time to pop a fresh bottle. By the way, most of the stores in Lexington got a fresh supply of the Saz Jr. in with the BTAC. I picked up one bottle last week. I wanted to get more but the BTAC drained my pockets. I may go back later this week and try to pick up a couple more Saz Jrs.

CrispyCritter
11-01-2006, 20:08
I had some of my Saz Jr. earlier tonight. After tonight's pour, there are two, maybe three pours left before it joins the Empty Bottle Club. Tonight's pour was nothing short of superb.

Catahoula
02-05-2007, 14:38
BT is using the best cork supplier in the world (IMHO). That said, cork does go bad - just ask wine makers, who would dearly love to rid themselves of corks and the lost product associated with those that become tainted. Smell the cork; the odor should be stronger there if it is cork taint.

I hate corks. Yes, they are cool, trendy, and upscale (perception), but they are not really good for products. They are pre-twentieth century technology, but that is what the customer expects....

I am sure BT would want to know about this. They are very concerned about customer satisfaction. Just call them; there should be a number on the back label.

Catahoula

scratchline
02-05-2007, 18:52
After breaking into the Handy and comparing tasting notes on that and the baby Saz with others, I have concluded that what I tasted wasn't a bad cork or bottle, but simply a flavor note that becomes more pronounced as air works on the whiskey. It's a flavor that some people love and that really doesn't appeal to me. That said, I never detected it in the 18 yr old, and I'm looking forward to opening a bottle of that and seeing if it's the whiskey or my taster that is different since I last tried it.

Thankfully, there's no shortage of outstanding BT offerings that I can reach for next time I need to slake my thirst. The phrase "embarrassment of riches" could have been coined especially for BT, as far as I'm concerned.

-Mike

Pharaoh
02-07-2007, 09:41
Mike,

I think ONE of the key tasting features of the Saz Jr is the deep earthy notes. I wonder if the bottle got a little breath of air between tastings and this note was more discernable to you after the whiskey opened up.

I Just got back from KY, while there, I purchased a bottle of the Thomas Handy and sampled it...YUM!, this is another one of BT's great whiskies. It too has the earth notes that the JR has but to a lesser extent. This time, the earthy note is more understated,refined and elegant, but still there. I like that particular note in the JR, it is what sets it apart from the pack, and although most rye features this to a certain extent, the JR is in a class of it's own here.

Good Job BT...

Keep mixin' Mike...(or give the bottle to Gillman, he'll figure out something to do with it!) LOL!

dpWhat Doug said. My first bottle of JR. was rather earthy, it also possessed a dankish bite. I found it to be sort of minerally, for a lack of better terms. Initially, my immediate thoughts were: much of the above is going to be a big put-off for many enthusiasts, but to my surprise, the praises kept rolling in.

Then I tasted someone else's bottle (bought after the first allocation round hit CA), and much of the rougher qualities were not nearly as pronounced as my original bottle (which I still have the better portion of). These days I wonder who got what, and from sampling my friend's bottle, maybe that explains why I didn't hear the complaints I had anticipated.

Sounds like your current bottle is more along the lines of my original. Maybe air as Doug suggests, or perhaps you just picked it up in your cocktail this particular pour. Are you usually doing cocktails or have you also sipped the JR neat? The contrast I experienced was from two different clean pours, and I'm guessing the said contrast was more extreme than would be detected in mixed cocktails.

CrispyCritter
02-13-2007, 18:49
My first Saz Jr. ('05) seemed a bit harsh at first pour, but then mellowed out quickly after I left it on the shelf for a week or two. I'd still buy that version in a heartbeat, though.

My current bottle (a single-barrel Binny's version that has a serious evaporation problem :slappin:) has been stellar from the first pour. It has a lovely brown sugar/cinnamon/fruit note to it... just perfect. Sadly, this bottle is about to join the Empty Bottle Support Group...