I’m going to start this off by saying I’m a sucker for Elijah Craig. This doesn’t mean that any of the various expressions get a free pass from me, rather, it means when I see a new incarnation, I get excited and will buy a bottle untasted. When reviewing it, I give it the same unbiased opportunity for Bottle, Bar or Bust as I do with anything else. There have been a couple of unimpressive releases in the barrel proof versions.
I received a bottle of the Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades Bourbon this past Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so that I have already finished it. When the Wild Turkey Revival became available, I purchased it almost immediately. I am sure this bottle will empty as quickly as well. While I have tasted Wild Turkey products in the past and the first rye whiskey in my collection was the Wild Turkey 6 year old rye, I never had much if any in my cabinet until about this time last year when I started trying different releases and I realized what I had been missing.
We’ve all been there. You have a few friends who pick up a pricey bottle, they tell you what a great whiskey is inside and that you have to get a bottle of your own. You consider what your friends say, then consider other options similarly priced, and you pass on the opportunity – at least for the moment. Joseph Magnus is an MGP-sourced Bourbon that was triple-finished in Cognac, Oloroso Sherry, and Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks.
This past July, StilL 630 began the second year of their 5-year Experimental Collection journey. After a successful first year chronicling their monthly releases, we decided to take a different approach this year. Instead of reviewing each monthly release individually we’re going to do quarterly reviews and ask the distillery to join us for our reviews. The goal is to give you something more in depth so you can not only learn about each release but also the story behind each mash bill as told by the distillers themselves.
New Riff put out an MGP bourbon for a while called OKI, which was aged from 8-12 years, and it was really good. Their own product at 4 years shows a lot of promise as it ages. I’m looking forward to it when it’s 8 years old or older. The distillery is committed to doing things with quality, and I’m also looking forward to their rye (to be released in the fall).
I know the first question many of you have is, “Is this MGP?” The answer is a definitive, “No.” Litchfield does not source its whiskey. They obtain their corn, rye, and barley from local farmers to create their own mash and distillate.
The appearance was a very deep, dark amber that certainly gave the impression it was much older than three years. It left a very thin rim on the glass and created thick, heavy legs.
Where do I begin in providing my overall view of this bourbon? First, let me say that I enjoyed the nose on this one. The candied orange and fruit were inviting on their own, but the presence of buttery caramel notes really sold me on the nose. There is no doubt that this was finished in a barrel of that once contained orange-flavored liquid. As pleasant as the nose was, the first sip though shocked the hell out of me. I was greeted with sweet orange pulp on the tip of my tongue that quickly turned bitter, and reminded me of an orange rind. Then as I barely started to process the sweet to bitter taste shift my tastebuds were slapped to attention by a bold and wholly unexpected hit of pepper and oak spice. It was hot, it was big, and it caught me entirely off guard.
This might just be Brent Elliott’s best release since taking over as Master Distiller at Four Roses. It’s a great sign of what he’s capable of and gets me excited to see what he does next. Is it better than the Al Young commemorative release? To be honest, it’s been a long time since I sampled that one, but based on my tasting notes I’d say that I prefer the 130th Anniversary Limited Edition over the Al Young release.
I’m fortunate I had a full bottle of this to review, so I could take a little extra time and enjoy multiple pours over the course of a few weeks. The more time I spent with it, the more I enjoyed it as it has a unique nose and flavor profile that I don’t find often. A drop of water took out some ethanol notes on the nose and brought forward the cinnamon that wasn’t noticeable previously. The honey hits you as soon as the whiskey hits your tongue, with the caramel being more present after a drop of water. Being that it’s summer when I’m drinking this, the orange & honey together are a perfect accent to the season. A medium-to-full-bodied mouthfeel helps accentuate the finish, lingering a little longer than one would expect for a 5-year old whiskey. A great pour all the way through.