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  1. #1
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    February Buffalo: Chalky Valentine Heart Candy

    Perhaps the first whiskey that I truly fell in love with was the Abraham Bowman 10 year old Rye from the Party Source. Although love may be a strong word, it is indeed the only whiskey that I regret not having bunkered another bottle. Although I think this Rye has enough positive qualities to hold this claim on its own, it was a spectral revelation that sealed the deal for me. Upon initial nosing I was struck with the smell of the small chalky Valentine’s Day heart candies that I received as a child. The closest analogy that I can think of is the smell of Pepto-Bismol or perhaps more specifically certain pink suspensions of Antibiotic intended for children. Maybe the smell is a more candied version of bubble gum.

    In a weird Proustian way, this smell triggered a not unpleasant memory of a specific Valentine’s Day long forgotten.

    Perhaps because of this association, this smell stands out to me now. It is very clear in the TPS 17 year old Abraham Bowman bourbon. Fleetingly, I also pick it up in both George T. Stagg and T. Handy. As these offerings may share a common source, I often wondered about a possible Buffalo Trace connection. As a pragmatist, I chalked this all up to fantasy.

    Then a couple of days ago I opened a dusty shooter of George T Stagg 4 year old 86 proof. I’m unsure of the production year, though it bore a red government tax stamp and had a state tax stamp on it as well. There, clear as day, was the chalky valentine day heart smell. It was perhaps even more expressive than in the Bowman products.

    I don’t think that I’ve perceived this smell in any “normal” production Buffalo Trace offering.

    I’m wondering if anyone here picks up something similar. If so, do you perceive it within a “normal” Buffalo Trace product? Although the connections are likely manufactured, I’m wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience. I’m kind of hoping that someone will tell me “Yes you idiot, they sell that profile as Ancient Age*.”

    * Insert appropriate product here.
    -Eric

  2. #2
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    February Buffalo: Chalky Valentine Heart Candy

    I get that profile in the Taylor tornado. It does come across on the palette for me as well. I had likened it to Smartys candy, same kind for chalkiness. I quite like it and have picked it up to a much much smaller degree in some of the other BT products. I have a BMH small batch open right now that comes it also comes across a little. No idea where they or procured the juice though. It may be a mental thing as I am pouring it from an old tornado bottle. The BMH bottle broke on me and had to put it through filter and pour in a new bottle. The only other option was a mason jar.

  3. #3
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    Re: February Buffalo: Chalky Valentine Heart Candy

    I don't know if I should add or subtract points for use of the word Proustian in a whiskey tasting note.

    But seriously, I have never noticed that note in any whiskeys I have tasted. I will be looking for it from now on though!
    bibamus, moriendum est
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  4. #4
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    Re: February Buffalo: Chalky Valentine Heart Candy

    Quote Originally Posted by Ejmharris View Post
    I get that profile in the Taylor tornado. It does come across on the palette for me as well. I had likened it to Smartys candy, same kind for chalkiness. I quite like it and have picked it up to a much much smaller degree in some of the other BT products. I have a BMH small batch open right now that comes it also comes across a little. No idea where they or procured the juice though. It may be a mental thing as I am pouring it from an old tornado bottle. The BMH bottle broke on me and had to put it through filter and pour in a new bottle. The only other option was a mason jar.
    I too, have picked up on a chalkiness in the Taylor Tornado. There is something about that makes me think it's restraining another note or just hasn't opened yet. I'd go back to my tornado but I only got one. I've also noticed this in other bourbons but I can't remember which.

  5. #5
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    Re: February Buffalo: Chalky Valentine Heart Candy

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    I don't know if I should add or subtract points for use of the word Proustian in a whiskey tasting note.
    Ok, perhaps the use of that word was unwise. Having said that, I can recall a ghost chili infused Old Grand Dad that could be described as Kafkaesque.

    -Eric

  6. #6
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    Re: February Buffalo: Chalky Valentine Heart Candy

    I had a pour of Bowman's the other night, it was a private barreling. I got this incredible rush of bubble gum off the first sip of it that night. I have never tasted that in any other bourbon or whiskey.
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider, is chaos for the fly.

  7. #7
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    Re: February Buffalo: Chalky Valentine Heart Candy

    Quote Originally Posted by p_elliott View Post
    I had a pour of Bowman's the other night, it was a private barreling. I got this incredible rush of bubble gum off the first sip of it that night. I have never tasted that in any other bourbon or whiskey.
    I get that in some of the 4 Roses expressions, Paul. Our, old dear friend Tim Sousley was the first to describe bubble gum in a pour some years ago, as I remember. I thought he was nuts, until I hit on it myself.
    JOE

    Wag more.
    Bark less.

    "Every bottle is its own learning experience." -- Sensei Ox-sama

  8. #8
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    Re: February Buffalo: Chalky Valentine Heart Candy

    New England Confectionary Company makes both Necco Wafers and the Conversation Hearts, and the recipes and manufacturing process are closely related. The taste of the wafers is deeply imprinted on me, as that was a candy that my great-aunts always had in their purse and as a little kid I liked crunching them more than Life Savers.

    For a few years a while ago, if you ordered some wholesale-level quantity, you could get custom-imprinted hearts (within limits of word length and good taste) in factory packaging. A friend of mine though this was the best idea ever, and she ordered custom hearts including:
    "NICE BOOTS"
    "EYES UP HERE"
    "WHIP SMART"

    For SB I'd get:

    "BIG POUR"
    "HIGH RYE"
    "VERY SMOOTH"
    "KSBW"
    "NEAT"
    "LONG FINISH"

    I'm not sure about "WHEATER" or "OVER PROOF", though...
    Last edited by Kalessin; 11-21-2012 at 09:33.

  9. #9
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    Re: February Buffalo: Chalky Valentine Heart Candy

    Thanks for the responses. The flavor of the GTS 86 proof dusty was a real eye opener for me.

    I think it interesting that the candy heart profile was distinct enough to fill its own brand while the distillery was operated as George T Stagg. I also think it interesting that it seems so pronounced in the Bowman offerings (though not so much in the Sazerac/Buffalo Trace products.)

    I think it has been stated that the TPS A. Bowman 10 year Rye was un-aged Sazerac distillate that was re-distilled at Bowman.

    Was there ever an indication as to the source of the TPS A. Bowman 17/19 year Bourbon?
    -Eric

 

 

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