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  1. #51
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Quote Originally Posted by tanstaafl2 View Post
    All bourbon this week as we focused on the recently arrived GBS Four Roses picks and the Russell's Reserve store pick that just arrived.

    Attachment 19059


    After a little break we moved on to the GBS Four Roses barrel picks, a 9+ yo OBSK and an 11+ yo OESO, with a 2013 LE 13yo OBSK thrown in for comparison. The OBSK seemed to have tons of fruit up front but was well balanced and kind of evolved on the palate to a bit of spiciness on the finish and a really nice thick mouthfeel and good long finish. The 2013 SBLE also had a tendency to change character on the palate and even from sip to sip with perhaps a bit more wood as expected but plenty of balancing sweetness and an even longer finish than the GBS OBSK. Very nice indeed. A bit of heat at the end but just a touch of water worked wonders. The OESO was a bit different with sweetness up front again that changed to a drier finish with an interesting herbal note in the finish. Not spicy but pleasant all the same. Can't recall if this was the case when we picked it but it was perhaps my favorite at that time, even over the OBSK.

    Finally for a bit of variety we finished up with the always pleasant store pick barrel 666 "Devil's Batch". Still spicy and yet very easy to drink. This was compared to a TPS 10yo barrel 362 which is of course a different mashbill from the Devil's Batch. This one has a really nice chocolate note on the palate and finish that lingers for awhile. Both are delightful.

    All in all a pleasant day! Next week we will likely swing back to the dark side with some unusual barrel finished malts like the Amarone finished Arran and perhaps a Sauternes finished Caol Ila among the options. Unless something else comes along...


    Thanks for the tasting notes Bruce, and especially on the GBS FR picks. Can't wait to pick these up on Saturday and give them a try.
    "Civilization begins with distillation."

    William Faulkner

  2. #52
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Quote Originally Posted by wmpevans View Post
    Thanks for the tasting notes Bruce, and especially on the GBS FR picks. Can't wait to pick these up on Saturday and give them a try.
    I think you are going to like them both!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  3. #53
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Just found this thread. Damn, Bruce - nice work. I like those guys over at DBH. So far I've picked up a bottle of their Four Roses OBSO which is my favorite recipe, SOAS 8 year which is fantastic and just picked up the Russell's Reserve store (and Bruce) selection that I haven't opened yet. Thanks for the notes on their Tequila selection - I've been thinking about picking up a bottle. I'm not a huge Tequila guy but my wife loves it and I gotta keep her happy.
    Drank a lot of whiskey
    It gives me such a glow
    It makes me quite immobile
    But it lets my feelin' show

  4. #54
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegator View Post
    Just found this thread. Damn, Bruce - nice work. I like those guys over at DBH. So far I've picked up a bottle of their Four Roses OBSO which is my favorite recipe, SOAS 8 year which is fantastic and just picked up the Russell's Reserve store (and Bruce) selection that I haven't opened yet. Thanks for the notes on their Tequila selection - I've been thinking about picking up a bottle. I'm not a huge Tequila guy but my wife loves it and I gotta keep her happy.
    I suppose I should (modestly, of course) note that I also got to have a small hand in picking out that 8yo Old Scout batch 666.That one flew off the shelves!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  5. #55
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Quote Originally Posted by tanstaafl2 View Post
    I suppose I should (modestly, of course) note that I also got to have a small hand in picking out that 8yo Old Scout batch 666.That one flew off the shelves!
    I tried to pick up a bottle of this after tasting John's a few weeks ago but It was long gone. I thought it was fantastic.

  6. #56
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    No tasting last week as one of our main participants was on the DL and this week it got cancelled by the cannonball run up to Cox Creek yesterday to pick out a Four Roses barrel. Hopefully back in action next week with a comparison of some barrel finished Masterson's rye.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  7. #57
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    Finally back on track, at least for a couple of weeks. This week featured a new Masterson's Rye whiskey store pick that had been finished in French oak for a period of time (I can't recall how long). I was able to participate in the sample tasting and the whiskey selected had been my top choice.

    But before we got into that I brought along a bottle of the Jeff Ocean I and II as the store had been approached about possibly doing a barrel of the Jeff Ocean II. I didn't think it was a good choice but wanted to give the owner a chance to decide for himself. Of course a single barrel sample might prove to be a particularly good barrel but the price point seemed a bit much for what you got for the mystery whiskey (likely MGP but unknown mashbill) you were getting.

    The Ocean I is now getting to be a couple of years old and is only about half full. It seemed perhaps a little diminished from what I remember but I had not tried it in a while. Even so it was darker, despite the lower proof, and more interesting than the Ocean II. The Ocean II wasn't bad but it wasn't particularly noteworthy either and at a $60 or so the price point just didn't seem like a good option for a barrel selection. With the Russell's Reserve still available, the Masterson's Rye just in and a FR OBSV 100 proof pick on the way I think not pursuing this one is a good decision.

    Then it was on to the Masterson's. These were not done blind although the bottles are very similar and we tried not to pay attention to which one we were drinking until the end. We had four options to compare, an original Batch 3 rye, a store pick of the French Oak finish from a nearby store (Batch 8, Barrel 24), our store pick of the French Oak finish (Batch 1?, Can't recall the Barrel) and a store pick from TPS that was finished in American Oak instead of French Oak (Batch 6, Barrel 6). All are at 90 proof and except for the original basic Masterson's they were newly opened bottles.

    The basic Masterson's was pleasant as always. A nice honey and caramel nose and palate with a bit of spiciness in the finish. Not outstanding but very serviceable.

    The Batch 8 store pick from the other store was a good bit drier with a lingering herbal, earthy finish and a bit more spiciness in the finish although it was similar to the basic Masterson's.

    Our pick, no doubt with some bias, was similar to the other store but of course so much better! It had a better oily mouthfeel, was drier like the other French Oak finished bottle but had more of the earthy "burlap bag" rye taste that popped up in the back of the palate and then finished with the same spicy finish although it was slower to build as the rye burlap earthiness slowly faded. Really nice I thought and a bit more complex than the competitors pick.

    And then came the American Oak finish pick from TPS. I think this one came from another planet! A really interesting, and to me good, if very different planet. The nose exploded out of the bottle with this kind of candied orange/pine needle/sassafras tea kind of personality. I have no idea where that came from! Despite the nose it was initially drier than expected, more similar to the French oak finshed bottles. And then that candied orange/pine needle/sassafras tea flavor just EXPLODED on the back of the palate. That flavor lingered pleasantly on the palate for a long time and that same moderate spicy note tried to struggle up through it in the finish but had to fight is way out. Perhaps not your every day drink but I at least found it really interesting as did everyone else.

    It appears it is still available at TPS and on sale I might add (I can see where this might be a tough sell to the average drinker) so those who are nearby might want to at least try a taste at the very handy TPS spirits library to see if it might catch your fancy.

    We threw in the WhistlePig as a comparison at the end but it was like drinking tea by this point. Just didn't hold up against all that flavor.

    In the course of all this a local distributor delivered several Kavalan whisky's to the store so we figured what the heck, let's throw these in too! After a brief break to "refresh the palate" with water and crackers we went back to work. The basic single malt was very much like a Highland/Speyside dram, especially considering their reportedly very young age, with some nice honeyed fruit notes and a very pleasant finish but perhaps not the best QPR. The King Car whisky is a slightly different blend of barrels (8 different woods reportedly) and is a more refined and mature tasting version of the regular single malt but it is pricey as well at around $100. As a sucker for different whisky from around the world I ended up bringing the King Car Whisky home with me.

    And then, after another break, for dessert we popped open the newly acquired Willett 7 and 11yo from P&M. These are big whiskies and the 7yo had nice caramel and almost chocolaty notes but was also quite hot at full proof so it worked best with a splash of water. OK, maybe two splashes! The 11yo was a bit drier and more mature with a more cinnamon dominated flavor to me and was much more drinkable at proof although a bit of water didn't hurt either. I will look forward to exploring these again when the palate is a bit "fresher".

    All in all a good afternoon and a nice return to the Wednesday tasting!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  8. #58
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    A bit of a mish mash this week with rum, rye and poitin in the mix.

    Wednesday tastings 03SEP14 4.JPG

    With the long awaited arrival of my private little stock of HW Mid Winter Nights Dram it of course had to be the featured bottle this week. It was compared to a standard Rendezvous and a Rendezvous from a local shop that was released a while back and had been finished for 29 months in refill bourbon casks. Decided this was a good reason to finally break open my last bottle of the H&F Rendezvous!

    Wednesday tastings 03SEP14 2.JPG

    The standard Rendezvous was solid as usual but did not measure up to the H&F bottle for depth and complexity. The finishing really seemed to bring it to a new level. Then the MWND pretty much stepped it up another level over the H&F bottle (and was the best of the day by far). Earthy fruity port influence dominated with a nice sweetness on the tip of the tongue and lots of spice and raison-y fruit in the back of the palate and finish. Very nice indeed.

    We had tasted a few Masterson's a couple of weeks ago and a pick from the Party Source had this really interesting candied orange flavor that I had enjoyed. A fellow SBer was passing through TPS recently so I asked them to pick up another but it seems it was a different store pick. The new one was fine but nothing like the candied orange bottle unfortunately.

    We then moved on to the three poitin's. The Teeling was recently acquired from Ireland while the two Glendalough's are both available in the US now. The Teeling is a blended whiskey mashbill of 80% corn and 20% malt from Cooley bottled at 123 proof while the Glendalough is from a newer small distillery that uses malted barley and beets of all things. The Glendalough's are then "briefly" aged in "virgin Irish oak". One is bottled at 120 pf or "Mountain Strength" while the other is finished briefly in sherry casks and bottled at a thin 80 pf. The Teeling was fresh and bright with a nice sweetness and easy drinkability with a goodly dash of malt grain flavor. Unfortunately the higher proof Glendalough smelled rather strongly of fermented sweaty socks and didn't taste much better. Not one I can recommend. The thinner sherry finished version was less overwhelming but the hint of sock was still there and there wasn't enough influence from the sherry cask, which was either a bit weak, was overwhelmed by the socks or just wasn't finished very long (probably some combo of all three) to really salvage it. Oh well, at least they weren't super expensive.

    Finally we finished the day with some rum. The Samaroli Demerara 16yo is a 90 proof single barrel rum from the Versailles single wooden pot still that went head to head with the El Dorado 15yo which is a blend of rums from several stills lwhich includes at least some rum from the Versailles still. The difference is you can expect to find sugar and coloring in the El Dorado. And the Samaroli is aged and bottled in Scotland where the temperature is likely to be slightly less than Guyana! The El Dorado is sweet and pleasant as always while the Samaroli is definitely drier and more whiskey like with a slight acetone note in the nose and on the finish. Somewhere down deep one might be able to find the connection between these two but the paths they took to get to the bottle were clearly very different.

    The Samaroli Caribbean 2003 is a disguised Cuban rum at 90 proof and aged 10 years in Scotland before being bottled from 2 barrels. It was compared to the Havana Club Anejo Reserva which is a Cuban rum blended from various unstated ages of rum. The Samaroli was again drier and a bit more like whiskey and was a very pleasant drinking rum. I preferred it to the younger blended HC. But neither of the Samaroli's really stood up and distinguished themselves as something special to me that warranted the cost. If you have an itch to try Cuban rum then the Caribbean 2003 will at least be able to help scratch it a bit.

    Wednesday tastings 03SEP14 3.JPG

    We then finished up with a new special bottling of Imperial Pumpkin Pie Porter from Terrapin. Maybe this was a bad choice to try after whiskey and rum but I found it to be middling porter with little or no pumpkin flavor to set it apart. It was disappointing at best to me.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  9. #59
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    After a long hiatus for a bit of globe trotting the Wednesday tasting group was back at it again this past Wednesday. Unfortunately it has taken me until now to share some notes. Fortunately I took some notes at the time although it was a fairly chaotic afternoon and I will no doubt forget something.

    Wednesday tasting 15OCT14 1.JPG

    We started with a somewhat ambitious spread that included a lot of barrel proof bourbon, wheat and rye whiskey as well as several mildly exotic brandies.

    Wednesday tasting 15OCT14 2.JPG

    First up was the new Makers Mark cask strength. We found it to be fairly similar to standard MM with a bit more heat. Unfortunately that wasn't a good thing as I always get a bit of bitterness from MM and it only seemed to be magnified this time, extending from mid palate into the finish. A bit of water seemed to add some sweetness to the front of the palate and help balance the bitterness as is the cask with regular MM but I didn't find it to be something I would want to seek out again, especially at the excessive premium for a baby bottle.

    Then we plunged straight into the new PHC Wheated whiskey. With a mashbill of 51% wheat, 39% corn and 10% barley this had much more body than the Masterson's 12yo all wheat whiskey which was thin and light. Instead this had a big sweet caramel note at the front of the palate that carried through to the finish with a nice oily mouthfeel and perhaps a hint of a nutty taste in the finish. Very easy to drink at proof with only a touch of spicy heat in the finish. A bit of water didn't seem to make much difference so I would likely continue to drink it a barrel proof. One to look for!

    For comparison I brought along a bottle of HHSS1 and HHSS2. The HHSS1 is about a third full and has continued to improve with time. A lovely dense mouthfeel with tons of red fruit on the mid palate that seem to go on forever. There was absolutely no heat to be found and it was dangerously drinkable at proof. HHSS2 was only just recently opened for a quick sample a few days previously so it was nearly full. It tended to have a touch more heat on the nose and was a bit drier and more "mature" tasting through the mid palate. A touch of heat was also present in the finish. I have to say I really like HHSS1 at the moment but HHSS2 is still quite nice and I think it might open up a bit more with time.

    Wednesday tasting 15OCT14 3.JPG

    We then moved on to a comparison of the new 21 month bourbon barrel finished barrel pick of Double Rye as compared to an earlier pick from another store of Rendezvous that had been finished for 29 months in bourbon barrels. The mintyness of the Double Rye is still present but toned down a bit by the extra aging to make a fairly feisty rye whiskey that now has a bit more of a bourbon character. Might be a good one to introduce bourbon drinkers to rye. The Rendezvous is drier and more mature with less of the minty character and again more bourbon character. It seems a bit less complex than the double rye but still a very pleasant sipper in its own right.

    Wednesday tasting 15OCT14 5.JPGWednesday tasting 15OCT14 6.JPG

    It was about this time that the local rep for Heaven Hill wandered in with EC23 (barrel 27), Batch 6 of ECBP at 140.2 proof and of course the new PHC. Had I only known we could have been drinking his whiskey instead of mine! As I noted elsewhere the EC23 was annoyingly pleasant with that typical paint varnish nose and taste but not so much wood and dryness that I found it ashy. A bit thin after all the barrel proof whiskey but all in all much better than I had suspected. The ECBP Batch 6 was an excellent addition to the line and almost drinkable at proof although a splash of water made it just that much better.

    Wednesday tasting 15OCT14 4.JPG

    At this point the Jim Beam Quarter Cask, the third offering in the Signature Release line, as well as the brandies from Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Armenia got all but forgotten. And then the rep from Highland Park showed up with Dark Origins and that was pretty much all she wrote. The Dark Origin was pretty much as I expected. More peaty than a typical HP with a touch of sweetness battling a bit of band aid character that I found perhaps a bit too much and almost artificial in nature (although admittedly I was predisposed not to be impressed). It was OK but at $80 or more I just don't think I am interested. My scotch choices of late have tended to focus on something a bit unusual about the finish or some other unusual characteristic that makes it stand out a bit.

    Surprisingly I survived this tasting without feeling the need for a nap! Looks like the next round will have to wait two weeks before we can crank it up again.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  10. #60
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    Re: Wednesday Tastings!

    This week we thought we might try to go "light" with some lower proof brandy and a few beers to try. Somehow that didn't work out so well. I think I find it easier to sample through a selection of whiskey than beer. And I hate to waste beer if it is at least decent! So it proved to be a belly full!

    Wednesday tastings 29OCT14 1.JPG

    We started off comparing a new store pick of Knob Creek 120 proof that the store staff went up to Beam to pick. Sadly, I didn't get to go this time. It was compared to another store pick from Fujioka's in Honolulu. That one was purchased last January and dated back to the time when Beam was still using the screw cap. But first there was an open bottle of the latest little piggy and who could resist that?

    This pig weighed in at around 122 proof. It was very easy to drink and was a moderately sweet whiskey on the palate with a nice but unremarkable finish. But nothing said $170 to me even with "The Spirit of Mortimer" cap. I may just be able to leave this one on the shelf after all! Next week we will have the previous boss hog to put up against it in a blind SBS just to be sure.

    The Knob Creek's were then tried SBS and blind. The clear winner by unanimous vote was he house selection. Neither were bad mind you be the local bottle had a really nice dry cocoa/chocolate note on the palate that extended into the finish nicely that the other simply lacked. Easy to drink at bottle proof and water did not improve it at all to my mind anyway.

    Next up were a couple of brandies from Central Asia that I brought home with me. Both were at 84 proof but the taller bottle from Kyrgyzstan was labeled as being 6-7 years old with a number of people telling us it was one of the better ones in the region (most had no age statement and were presumed to be very young). The short bottle from Turkmenistan for example had no age statement and was undoubtedly much younger.

    For comparison we had a 5yo brandy from Armenia, Asbach (roughly a three year old) from Germany and the Pierre Ferrand 1840 cognac at 90 proof. The K-stan brandy was quite pleasant with that raisin-y fruit component found in the 20yo Armenian brandy I have and a nice dense mouthfeel. It was as good or better than the Armenian 5yo as well. The Turkmenistan brandy was very thin and watery despite being the same proof and tasted like a watered down version of the K-stan bourbon. The Asbach was a nice fruit forward brandy and seemed quite pleasant if unspectacular. The Ferrand was simply a different animal with a very different flavor profile with a bit more whiskey like notes. intended as a cocktail mixing cognac with a bit more proof it was surprisingly good on its own.

    Wednesday tastings 29OCT14 2.JPG

    After a brief break we switched gears to beer. In an effort to be seasonally appropriate we started off with the new Bell's planet's series with Venus. An apricot, honey, vanilla and cardamom blonde ale beer according to the label this one was a bit of a disappointment. The fruit not dominated but it didn't really say apricot to me. It was more a generic slightly sweet note. And the honey and spices never made an appearance.

    So we moved on to a SBS of Pumking from Southern Tier with a fresh bottle compared to a bottle that had been bunkered for 2 years. Pumking is one of my favorite pumpkin offerings each year and I put a couple of bottles back 2 years ago just to see what would happen. Most pumpkin beers are really more pumpkin pie spice beer and Pumking is really no exception, it is just done well. The fresh bottle had the usual rich spices but also had an interesting almost doughy pie crust component. I feared the older one would have lost all hint of pumpkin spice but that proved unfounded. While different from the fresh beer it still carried a nice nutmeg richness as well as having a nice heavy malty flavor. I think I liked the age one even better!

    But we decided we were pumpkined out and moved on to a couple of stouts from Southern Tier, the Choklat and the Crème Brulee from the Blackwater series, both also aged for 2 years. Both were good although as with most Chocolate stouts this one still had more of an earthy coffee flavor to it. But the Crème Brulee was amazing, tasting pretty much like a rich milky crème brulee with lots of caramel and vanilla and seemed to really have benefited from time on the shelf. Combined they were also quite good but the Crème Brulee dominated when mixed about half and half.

    We finished up with a limited release from Rodenbach, known for its variations on the Flanders Red Ale style which are typically fruity but tart and sour. This one is blended with cranberries, raspberries and sour cherries. I expected more sourness from the beer but it was a bit sweeter than expected. Definitely not as tart as the more typical Grand Cru.

    All in all a great day but not exactly a light one!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

 

 

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