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Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask Finished Bourbon Review

Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask Finished Bourbon Review

Disclaimer: A sample of Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask bourbon was provided to me by Jim Beam for this review. I appreciate their willingness to allow Bourbon & Banter to review the bourbon with no strings attached. Thank you.

Last year Jim Beam released a new line of bourbons called Jim Beam Signature Craft. The only permanent expression in this line was also the first release – Jim Beam Signature Craft 12-Year Bourbon. At the same time they also released Jim Beam Signature Craft Bourbon Finished with Rare Spanish Brandy which was the first of a limited release series of small batch bourbons in the Signature Craft line that are to be released annually.

This year’s limited release, Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask Finished, is scheduled for release in September and but we’re thrilled to have a sample provided to us by Jim Beam for early review. Continue Reading →

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J. T. S. Brown Bottled in Bond Bourbon Review

J. T. S. Brown Bottled in Bond Bourbon Review

Welcome to a new tasting series on lower shelf bourbons. Bourbon & Banter contributor, Thomas Fondano, will be trying out and commenting on bourbons priced under $20. Knowing that not all sub-$20 bourbons will be great, Thomas will be adding a new category to our standard tasting notes – Straight, Old Fashioned or Manhattan  – to see whether a classic cocktail improves on a straight tasting. We hope you enjoy this new series of reviews and hope you’ll help us shape future reviews by letting us know in the comments what sub-$20 bourbon you’d like us to review next.

 

“Preacher! Go on down and get me some bourbon. J. T. S. Brown. No ice, no glass.” 
- Paul Newman as Eddie Felson, The Hustler

 

I’d noticed J. T. S. Brown sitting on the bottom shelf of my favorite local liquor store and couldn’t figure out why it sounded familiar. After a little research, I went back and bought a bottle. That quote right there is a good enough reason for me to try a bourbon. Also, I’m a sucker for bonded whiskeys that look like their label hasn’t changed in 40 years.


J. T. S. Brown Bottled in Bond Bourbon ReviewBourbon Name:
  J. T. S. Brown Bottled in Bond

Proof: 100

Age: NAS – No Age Statement

Year:  2014

How I Drank It:  Neat, in Glencairn whiskey glass.

My Nose Noticed:*  Caramel Sweetness | Corn

First Sip:  Spicy | Oily | Grassy | Slightly Medicinal

The Burn:**  A lingering finish with an enjoyable Atomic Fireball candy burn that reminds you you’re drinking 100 proof bourbon.

Neat, Splash or Rocks:  A splash of water opens up the sweetness and eases the burn a bit too much for me. If rocks is your thing, it’ll work too. Personally, I find this enjoyable neat.

Straight, Old Fashioned or Manhattan: Drink this one straight! The Old Fashioned will come out okay if you half your normal amount of sugar. The Manhattan was cloying like someone added the liquid from a jar of cheap maraschino cherries, which I did not.

Share With: Friends who like bonded bourbons.

Worth The Price:  At $13.75, yes. It’s a sturdy sipper.

Bottle, Bar or Bust: Bottle, though if you manage to find it in a bar it would pair nicely with a beer. While I can’t fully endorse Mr. Felson’s drinking style, J. T. S. Brown Bottled in Bond is an enjoyable budget whiskey.

 

 

 

*I like to let my bourbon sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first.
**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?

 

 

 

 

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Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star Bourbon Review

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star Bourbon Review

Welcome to a new tasting series on lower shelf bourbons. Bourbon & Banter contributor, Thomas Fondano, will be trying out and commenting on bourbons priced under $20. Knowing that not all sub-$20 bourbons will be great, Thomas will be adding a new category to our standard tasting notes – Straight, Old Fashioned or Manhattan  – to see whether a classic cocktail improves on a straight tasting. We hope you enjoy this new series of reviews and hope you’ll help us shape future reviews by letting us know in the comments what sub-$20 bourbon you’d like us to review next.

 

Last year I hosted a bourbon tasting for some friends. We tasted the entire high-rye Mash Bill #2 from Buffalo Trace which consists of Ancient Age, Elmer T. Lee, Blanton’s, Rock Hill Farms and Hancock’s President’s Reserve. The $10 Ancient Age was a surprise hit among this group of single barrel bourbons.

When I saw Ancient Ancient Age in a liquor store a month ago I was excited to give it a try. How would it compare to its younger, lower proof sibling? Let’s find out.

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star Bourbon Review

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star Bourbon ReviewBourbon Name:  Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star

Proof: 90

Age: 6 years

Year:  2014

How I Drank It:  Neat, in Glencairn whiskey glass.

My Nose Noticed:*  Honey | Cherry | Oak | Cedar

First Sip:  Corn | Rye | Toffee | Char | Ash

The Burn:**  More like The Burnt. Letting it roll around my mouth made me suddenly feel like I burned my entire tongue and deadened my taste buds.

Neat, Splash or Rocks:  A few drops of water sweetened the nose but seemed to dilute the better flavors and leave only the charred, ashy flavor. At this point I felt my palate wasn’t even up for trying this on the rocks. So the question became…

Straight, Old Fashioned or Manhattan: Old Fashioned. The sugar and bitters along with the slow dilution from some large ice tames the rough edges. (The Manhattan was a bust. My wife summed it up nicely,”This tastes like a Manhattan you get at a wedding.”)

Share With: People at the end of a party after all of the good stuff is gone.

Worth The Price:  I paid about $16 for this and was a little surprised at my disappointment. I definitely prefer the regular Ancient Age.

Bottle, Bar or Bust: For me it was mostly a bust, though I know this bourbon has its fans. I’d be surprised to find this in a bar, so bottle would be your best bet if you want to try it.

 

 

 

*I like to let my bourbon sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first.
**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?


Overall, I was pretty disappointed with this bottling. Maybe I got a bad bottle? If you’ve had Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star, let us know how your experience compared. Also, let us know in the comments what under $20 bourbon you’d like us to try next.

 

 

 

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Rhetoric Bourbon Review

Rhetoric Bourbon Review

Disclaimer: A sample of Rhetoric bourbon was provided to me by Diageo, just as Barterhouse & Old Blowhard were for my earlier reviews. I appreciate their willingness to allow Bourbon & Banter to review the bourbon with no strings attached. Thank you.

About 2 months ago I posted reviews of the initial two releases from Diageo’s Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company – Barterhouse Bourbon and Old Blowhard Bourbon.

Today I’m sharing my review of their third release, Rhetoric Bourbon, which is a 20 year old whiskey distilled at both the Old and New Bernheim Distilleries that were “found” aging in the old Stitzel-Weller warehouses. The reported mash bill is 86% corn, 8% barley and 6% rye.

Although Rhetoric is being released this year as a 20 year old, the same as Barterhouse, Diageo states that the taste profile should be completely different based on where it was stored in the warehouse for aging. It will be progressively aged and released once per year moving forward. Diageo is doing this to allow whiskey fans to compare differences year over year and see how an extra 12 months in the barrel affects the juice. While there’s no official timeline associated with this progressive age and release project, we did get an insider’s guess placing it at 4-5 years.

The concept of releasing it each year to allow people to taste the difference is a pretty cool idea. I can only hope that Diageo will keep the cost consistent year-over-year to allow folks to make a multi-year commitment. It’s a small move that could reap the brand big benefits over the next few years.

Continue Reading →

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