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Tennessee Dave
01-09-2008, 16:38
I have been fortunate enough during the two months since I found this forum to purchase and spend some time with 12 bourbons. All have been discussed thoroughly on the forum so I will not attempt to provide any detailed tasting notes as I am yet not qualified to do so but rather just provide some general comments about my experience thus far. They are listed in the order that I have enjoyed the most down to the least.

VWFR Lot B- This is my hands down favorite bourbon thus far. The nose to me is redolent with pecans, vanilla and black cherry. Very smooth and the taste lingers just long enough to want another sip. Have been able to stock up on this one.

PVW 20- a wonderful taste with a lot of Oak. Incredibly smooth. Good length and candied fruit flavor (somewhat reminds me of cotton candy in the nose). Way too expensive for me to drink often. This is definitely a special occasion pour for me. Still waiting to try the PVW 15 yo. Hopefully soon.

Old Weller Antique 107-Wow! a full mouthful of flavor with spices, candied apple and a great nose. Good length. Great price. Makes me want to try the other Weller bourbons esp. Centennial and the reserve.

ORVW 10 year 90- Great flavors and wonderful nose. BTW to me at this young stage of my tasting all of the Van Winkle wheated bourbons share the same nose and taste profile but an element of each seems to predominate between say Lot B, the 10 year old, and the PVW 20. Really want to try the ORVW 10 107 when I can find it.

Old Forrester Birthday 2006- Man I have to watch myself with this one. Just good to me. Easy to drink. Spicy (Cinnamon and some mint). Got to try the regular Old Forrester to see if it is as good.

VWFR Rye- This reminds me a lot of cognac. It is the only true rye that I have ever tasted. Still has that elegant quality and mouthfeel that seems to me to be evident in all Van Winkle products. Want to try the Sazeracs now.

4 Roses Single Barrel- Working on my 2nd bottle of this. Very smooth with just a little burn but worth it to me for the lingering taste that is there for quite a long time. Want to try the regular 4 Roses bottling soon.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed- Very exotic and very different than any that I have tasted. There is a yeasty flavor that reminds me of some Rhone Wines that I have had. Earthy and the only other description I can think of is the hayloft smell that I remember around my Grandpa's farmyard. I like this a lot but can only drink small amounts at a time. Got to try other Wt's to see if this flavor profile holds true.

Blanton's Original-Fruits like oranges. Again cognac comes to mind. Not a favorite of mind but obviously well made.

Evan Williams Single Barrel 1997. Good but the flavor fades very quickly after a sip. I just like some of the others so much better than this.

Hirsch 16 yo- This has probably been my most disappointing purchase and experience so far. After reading all of the hype in trade magazines and on the bottle label I found it to have a thin almost straw like flavor, very light mouth feel and a lot of esters in the flavor. Really disappointing. Won't purchase this again at $90 bucks.

Basil Hayden- My first purchase. I enjoyed it until I tasted some of the others. Not in the same league with the first 6 or 7 listed here. Not worth the money to me.

Just wanted to let you guys and gals know that I am tasting as fast as I can and learning a lot. Keep those tasting notes and reviews coming.

OscarV
01-09-2008, 16:57
Job well done.
I would have lined them up the same way.

But if you come across a Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit pewter top or dark wook, then grab it.

ACDetroit
01-09-2008, 17:47
That is one hell of a collection to put together in 2 months Dave! Awesome! Nice work on the notes and keep up the good work, it's all worth it.

I'm sure you know as I do now, you will not believe the bottles you end up with after a year or 3 :grin: .

Cheers and thanks for sharing it's appreciated.

Tony

Gillman
01-09-2008, 18:05
Nice notes, well done. Interesting what you said about Rhone wines and the Rare Breed. Some Rhones have a "wild" taste, which some tasters call "animal" and I think may be the effects of brettanomyces. In small amounts this can increase the complexity of certain drinks (e.g., those wines, also Imperial Russian Stout). I wonder if perhaps some brett influence is at work in the WT ferments. I think this unlikely though since other WTs don't have it and I've always found WT bourbon, while notably woody, "clean" in other respects. It might be just that the respective yeast backgrounds do share something in common, perhaps an estery quality. As for Hirsch 16, it really is at its best (in the view of many) in its gold wax or blue wax iterations but these are hard to find now.

Gary

full_proof
01-09-2008, 18:23
Just wanted to let you guys and gals know that I am tasting as fast as I can and learning a lot. Keep those tasting notes and reviews coming.

Dave, if SB.com has a rookie of the year award, you are probably the winner, hands down. The most precocious analysis of a selection of bourbons arising from a neophyte that I have read. Until reading your reviews, I thought I was quickly developing into a genuine bourbon connoiseur. I think I need a drink. :lol:

NickAtMartinis
01-09-2008, 19:31
TD, great post, man.

If you like the Weller Antique and ORVW 10/90 then you're going to love the ORVW 10/107 and especially the PVW 15.

As an FYI, I don't believe this topic warranted starting a new thread. You will hear from our superiors via PM quite shortly. In the meantime, prime the guillotine with a judicious amount of graphite. It will be needed in short order.:lol: ;)

Just a little heads up.:lol::lol::lol::lol: Get it?! Heads up?! ;)

TNbourbon
01-09-2008, 21:27
I don't disagree with a one of your opinions -- but, then, I figure each is entitled to his own, as it were, anyway. But, your takes certainly resonate with me.
Fine job. :toast:

Luna56
01-09-2008, 21:37
Way to go, Dave, nicely written. You've got a real good collection there.
I got a kick out of your post when you said you weren't going to provide detailed tasting notes but provided them anyway. Great bourbon brings out the poet in us sometimes. Nice to read your impressions, glad you're aboard. I value the impressions of another (relative) newbie very much.
Cheers!

barturtle
01-09-2008, 22:19
VWFR Lot B- This is my hands down favorite bourbon thus far. The nose to me is redolent with pecans, vanilla and black cherry. Very smooth and the taste lingers just long enough to want another sip. Have been able to stock up on this one.
Probably one of the most balanced top shelf bourbons you will find


PVW 20- a wonderful taste with a lot of Oak. Incredibly smooth. Good length and candied fruit flavor (somewhat reminds me of cotton candy in the nose). Way too expensive for me to drink often. This is definitely a special occasion pour for me. Still waiting to try the PVW 15 yo. Hopefully soon.

Find the 15yo, personally I feel it shames the older Van Winkles


Old Weller Antique 107-Wow! a full mouthful of flavor with spices, candied apple and a great nose. Good length. Great price. Makes me want to try the other Weller bourbons esp. Centennial and the reserve.
Go for the Centennial and the 12yo. I prefer the former but others seem to like the latter. They probably are about even once you account for price


ORVW 10 year 90- Great flavors and wonderful nose. BTW to me at this young stage of my tasting all of the Van Winkle wheated bourbons share the same nose and taste profile but an element of each seems to predominate between say Lot B, the 10 year old, and the PVW 20. Really want to try the ORVW 10 107 when I can find it.
Again, find the 107, it's quite a bit above the 90 in my opinion.


Old Forrester Birthday 2006- Man I have to watch myself with this one. Just good to me. Easy to drink. Spicy (Cinnamon and some mint). Got to try the regular Old Forrester to see if it is as good.
I was shocked by how good the OFBB is, they are all fine bourbons.


VWFR Rye- This reminds me a lot of cognac. It is the only true rye that I have ever tasted. Still has that elegant quality and mouthfeel that seems to me to be evident in all Van Winkle products. Want to try the Sazeracs now.
The only problem with this being your first is that there is little room to go up and lots to go down. I love rye, but you will have to compare it to bourbon at a similar age/price point to be fair. That is, unless you just happen to prefer the rye profile over bourbon, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.


4 Roses Single Barrel- Working on my 2nd bottle of this. Very smooth with just a little burn but worth it to me for the lingering taste that is there for quite a long time. Want to try the regular 4 Roses bottling soon.

Go for the Small Batch, that's the one I prefer, well unless you can across FR40th, that is


Wild Turkey Rare Breed- Very exotic and very different than any that I have tasted. There is a yeasty flavor that reminds me of some Rhone Wines that I have had. Earthy and the only other description I can think of is the hayloft smell that I remember around my Grandpa's farmyard. I like this a lot but can only drink small amounts at a time. Got to try other Wt's to see if this flavor profile holds true.

I think Rare Breed is the best of the bunch, as far as standard bottlings are concerned. But you must try some of the Limited Editions-Wt12, Tribute, American Spirit, 14yo....WT is good in standard releases, but the special bottlings are other worldly.


Blanton's Original-Fruits like oranges. Again cognac comes to mind. Not a favorite of mind but obviously well made.
Try some of the other BT SB's (other than ERSB-different mashbill) I like ETL.


Evan Williams Single Barrel 1997. Good but the flavor fades very quickly after a sip. I just like some of the others so much better than this.
I like EWSB. Also it is cheaper than most of the other bottlings you have listed. Vintage dating means you can compare with others, knowing they are different in some way


Hirsch 16 yo- This has probably been my most disappointing purchase and experience so far. After reading all of the hype in trade magazines and on the bottle label I found it to have a thin almost straw like flavor, very light mouth feel and a lot of esters in the flavor. Really disappointing. Won't purchase this again at $90 bucks.
I believe there are damn few bourbons worth $90, and even fewer of those are things you will find on a liquor store shelf...ebay, maybe. Although at prices continue to rise, sooner or later some bottlings will be worth that in retail.


Basil Hayden- My first purchase. I enjoyed it until I tasted some of the others. Not in the same league with the first 6 or 7 listed here. Not worth the money to me.

Yeah, OGD 114 is where it's at, BH is a decent enough bottling, but a bit low on proof.


Just wanted to let you guys and gals know that I am tasting as fast as I can and learning a lot. Keep those tasting notes and reviews coming.

No need to hurry. It takes time to get used to appreciating very young or low proof or high poof or extra aged whiskies. Take your time in tasting them, but bunker them as fast as possible, shortages are causing changes in profiles that may cause change for better or worse, you don't want to be stuck buying bottles that are on the "worse" cycle.

HighTower
01-10-2008, 02:13
Love your post there, Dave.
There's a couple on your list I am yet to try (OFBB & FRSingleBarrel), but I love your notes, and also share your view on the Hirsch 16. I have tried it from 2 different bottles (both gold foil), and found it very metallic.
For what I paid, I can get Blanton's Gold....now there's a bourbon!!
I further Oscar's recommendation of the WT KS, and also....you just gotta try the Weller 12!!


Cheers

Scott

camduncan
01-10-2008, 02:42
Dave, great posts. An great range of first-try bourbons :), and an even greater feat documenting your tastings :D




and also share your view on the Hirsch 16. I have tried it from 2 different bottles (both gold foil), and found it very metallic.

Scott, I'm still undecided on this one.... I need to try this when I'm starting my night, and not mid to nearly finished it.

HighTower
01-10-2008, 04:54
Scott, I'm still undecided on this one.... I need to try this when I'm starting my night, and not mid to nearly finished it.
and not after drinking Stagg!! :lol:
damn that Stagg was nice though, if only I had a bottle of spring '05 :rolleyes:

Scott

Jono
01-10-2008, 08:07
Wonderful report...obviously you have a lot of wine experience to bring to your bourbon tasting notes. I do not have the repertoire of tasting adjectives (nor probably the ability to separate out all of them) so I enjoy such well written reviews. Keep it up!

I look forward to trying some of those listed...especially the Pappy's...I have yet to try any....something that must be remedied asap!

Special Reserve
01-10-2008, 16:21
Dave,

What a great post. I'm with you on VWSRLB. I've had all except the OFBB 2006 and the Hirsch. You did a great job assessing them.

Will

Kendall
01-10-2008, 16:32
Excellent post. I have all but three of your choices and agree with
your opinions. Keep up the great reviews.

Flatlander
01-10-2008, 19:34
Dave, thanks for the informative post. I have so much more to learn( and taste!)

Markoturbo
01-10-2008, 21:11
:cool: Great post PVW 15 is going to impress you, with your notes on lot B and VW 10 and PVW 20. I will be having some friends over tommorow to run through much of the same tastings.