Straight out of the bottle this bourbon’s inviting nose led me to jump in and taste, which was a small mistake. It was surprisingly oaky and tannic, especially for a 13-year-old. So, I poured a little more and abandoned it for about 20 minutes to let it open up, and it did. The oak returned, but cloaked in brown sugar, and the tannin nearly disappeared save for the finish—and not much of it there either. It’s a delightful whiskey all around; a fine example of what the team at this venerable distillery has learned over 85 years.
O. H. Ingram River Aged Straight Whiskey, I found interesting whiskey. Aged in a floating “rickhouse” at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, in Ballard County, Kentucky. The theory being the gentle rocking of the barrels enhances the aging process. This process has its roots in the river transport of barreled distillate from Bourbon County delivered to New Orleans, with the transformed taste that apocryphally led to our native spirit. Does it make a difference? I have no idea, but there are a lot of people putting barrels on ocean voyages, riverboats, playing music to them, and even aging in cranberry bogs.
Currently there are several bottled manhattans available on the market; High West has really put this one together well. All the right flavor components are there, and are well balanced. In the past when sampling bottled manhattans something was always off or missing for me, they just felt lacking. This was not the case with this offering from High West. If you are not able to make a manhattan at home, or are going to a gathering and don’t want to spend time mixing drinks, this is a great alternative.
The price is a tough sell for me but the bourbon itself is exceptional. It certainly reminds me of one of my all-time favorite expressions (Elijah Craig) and when I had my boyfriend taste it he asked, “Is this Elijah Craig?” It is fitting, as the proximity to Elijah Craig’s Scott County homestead (“close enough to throw a nerf football and hit the front door”) is what originally inspired one of the co-founders to launch a bourbon brand. Though the source of the bourbon is kept under wraps, it was expertly chosen. The folks from Blue Run – a diverse crowd from tech to marketing to politics – recognized themselves as industry outsiders and lacked the sophisticated palate required to select an exceptional bourbon, not to mention optimal proof. So they brought in an industry veteran with proven bourbon chops to thumbs up or down their barrel selections.
Every Little Book release is, to my palate, unique and extraordinary. Fans will recognize they’re Beam whiskeys, but no standard Beam whiskeys. Hearing Noe talk about the effort required to make them adds to their complexity, and conversations about them reminds me just how hard mingling whiskey really is—especially when using a brown rice-accented bourbon. It’s that bourbon that Noe said, “that anchors the complexity of the blend but not the majority of the blend.” I agree. The sweet, round and
Don’t let Old Forester 150th Anniversary bourbon’s potent proof fool you, this bourbon can be rolled around the mouth and savored. The finish on it is beautiful, silken and long; it’s a real pleasure to drink. This is Old Forester at its purest, boldest, most enticing and exciting. It’s why I love (most iterations) of this brand.
Jefferson’s has done it again and just in time for the holidays! Never was there a more perfect release that pairs perfectly with Thanksgiving dinner. The gentle tartness of the palate will blend perfectly with the salinity of a well-brined turkey, and especially one with a crisp, fried skin. Not a meat eater? Not to fear, Jefferson’s Ocean Spray also complements the nutty/salty flavor circus of a traditional green bean casserole, and even helps cut the sweetness of a marshmallow-topped sweet potato dish. Regardless of your favorite Thanksgiving side, Jefferson’s Ocean Spray is its best liquid companion. This release gleans its versatility in flavor from long days bobbing gently atop the bog waters, receiving only gentle nudges from both cranberry harvesters and the Massachusetts crisp air alike.
On the nose I’m getting light wheat grain and a lot of bubble gum. Not Trident or Hubba Bubba, but Topps baseball card gum. The gum that could also be used to shim an unlevel chair, that kind of gum. It’s not unpleasant, but it has that chalkiness to it that you remember from when you were a kid opening a pack of baseball cards. I know, I know, many adults still open packs of baseball cards, but I don’t think gum is still included. If you’re opening a pack of 1983 Topps, I don’t recommend chewing the gum enclosed.
The first time I and a friend cracked a bottle of Maker’s Mark Cask Strength, he said, correctly, “This is what Maker’s Mark should have been all along. Why did they wait so long to release at this proof?” I agreed. Neither of us knew then how committed to barrel strength releases Maker’s since the Private Select program (recently renamed Private Selection program) was still in the design stage. Maker’s spent 50 years becoming famous as a one-hit whiskey wonder, but in the 10 years since it released Maker’s 46, it’s shown a high level of skill in creating variations on that long-established theme.