Very fun evening indeed. And I'll have you all know, the High Life is always welcome in this house lol.
There were four of us so we each brought two bottles. For the first part of the evening we each picked a bottle and did some tasting and scores one by one. Bottles included Larceny, OGD 114, WT 101, and Weller 12. We spent some time with each going through the nose and taste, ending with each giving a score out of 10. W12 won this round unanimously with a combined average score of 8.8. WT101 was the unanimous last place finisher of this group with an average score of 7.9. This was my first taste of WT 101 and I really enjoyed the nose and the sweet entry on the front part of the palate. The finish is where it fell apart for me. The alcohol really coming back through across the tongue in an unpleasant way. Sadly, the other three did not share my love for OGD 114, all placing Larceny ahead of it by a few points.
For the second part of the tasting we each brought our second bottle in a brown bag and did a blind round. These bottles included EWSB 03, Sazerac Rye, Ancient Age 10 star, and Big House Bourbon. I had never heard of Big House before and overall this the the last place finisher for the whole evening. Really nice nose with light caramel, vanilla, some light oak. But on the palate it was a bit bitter with an astringent finish. Winner for this round was EWSB 03 and it really wasn't close. Our average score on this one was 8.5. However, I really liked the Ancient Age and scored that higher personally than the EWSB. Just a good, easy drinking bourbon with a smooth finish.
Before, and in between, we worked in a few other bottles like the High West Rendezvous, Black Maple Hill, and the Willet 09 SB. The Willet was the favorite of the night for the whole group. I think we actually scored that one out a 9.1. A really great rich pour that drinks nicely for it's high proof (126.2). I got some really great chocolate and coffee notes on both the nose and the palate, with a great finish of some sweet spice and oak. Delicious.
Trying the High West Rendezvous for the first time was a treat. I started a thread asking about Rye suggestions a few days ago and this one came up a few times, just so happened our host had a bottle. I really enjoyed it. Compared to the Willet 4yr Rye I have been drinking it was a lot more mellow on the palate, with a nice buttery oak quality to go with the Rye spice.
So fun night all around.