Barrell Bourbon 15 Year Old Cask Strength Bottle #138 - Best American Whisky?

Barrell Bourbon 15 Year Old Cask Strength Bottle #138 - Best American Whisky?

Barrell Bourbon isn’t a distillery. They’re a bottler that purchases barrels from distilleries selling barrels. Because Barrell Bourbon gets to sample the barrels they purchase, and distilleries often sell barrels that don’t meet with their standard taste profile (which doesn’t make them bad, just not right for that distillery), this gives Barrell Bourbon the freedom to release interesting flavor profiles.

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Elijah Craig Small Batch - Age Statement Gone, and Not Missed

Elijah Craig Small Batch - Age Statement Gone, and Not Missed

Elijah Craig is a wonderful example of why the obsession over age statements is currently overblown. Elijah Craig, made by Heaven Hill Distillery, is their darling premium straight bourbon product. In previous years, it carried an age statement of twelve years. As the demand for whisky increased, the stock of old barrels became an issue. Heaven Hill couldn’t keep the age statement and still continue to release Elijah Craig while also expanding the line into older age statements.

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Wild Turkey Straight Bourbon Review - That One Percent Makes a Difference

Wild Turkey Straight Bourbon Review - That One Percent Makes a Difference

Before vodka took over the spirits scene in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, Wild Turkey 81 didn’t exist. The only widely available Wild Turkey you could get was 101 proof (50.5% ABV). However, when the vodka era did take over, the market no longer wanted boozy whisky; they wanted tasteless spirits that went down easily. It was a dark time for whisky (and taste!). 

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Blanton's Gold Edition Review - Boozier Version of the Original

Blanton's Gold Edition Review - Boozier Version of the Original

Blanton's Original is a near-perfect daily sipper for me. It's just the right balance of sweet and boozy, with lots of complexity to keep me interested. A high-proof version of Blanton's Original needed to be made, and it comes in form of Blanton's Gold Edition bottled at 51.5% ABV (compared to 46.5% ABV of Blanton's Original).

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Widow Jane Straight Bourbon Whiskey 10 Years Old - Familiar, but Different.

Widow Jane Straight Bourbon Whiskey 10 Years Old - Familiar, but Different.

Widow Jane Distillery is the trending distillery out of Red Book, Brooklyn. The label is owned by Cacao Prieto, the maker of "beans-to-bar" fresh chocolates. Their list spirit products sold is extensive, and largely not distilled at their facility, but rather they purchase barrels of whisky from other distilleries and bottle them themselves. 

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Old Rip Van Winkle 10 (2014) - Brash Youthful "Almost" Pappy

Old Rip Van Winkle 10 represents the raw youthful bloodline of the Van Winkle line. This would be a whisky that’s easy to write-off in one sip, but with that branding, few would. It takes time to build a relationship with Old Rip Van Winkle 10 and experience the uniquely charismatic and sharp flavours.

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Van Winkle 12 Year Old (2014 Release) - Frustratingly Almost There, But Not

The Van Winkle 12 Year Old is an utterly frustrating drink. Firstly, let’s get one thing out of the way—unless you really want a “Pappy” related product, this isn’t the one to get. At the retail price ($55 US), this is a pretty good purchase (★★☆☆). At the $200 to $300 retail range you’re likely to find this (and far more), it’s not worth considering. This is an example where the prestige of the whisky hurts its Whisky Cabinet Rating despite a high taste score. The rating is, after-all, the “Is this worth buying!?” rating.

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Elijah Craig 12 - Lost In a Competitive Field of Oaky Bourbons

This whisky, in many ways, exemplifies a well-aged oaky bourbon—it’s the sort of bourbon I’d love ten years ago. Today’s whisky world has changed, though. I’m often forgetting about Elijah Craig’s existence in my whisky cabinet, which largely contributed to the low whisky cabinet rating. Subtle bourbons can be wonderful; but subtle should still be interesting.

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Russell's Reserve Single Barrel - A Thrill of a Whisky That Has Complexity

To get the beauty of this drink, you need to nose it like a scotch drinker. That is, don’t breathe in, just let the vapours naturally come to you as you lift the glass to your nose. You can practically smell the soil the grain were grown in, the grains themselves, the fermentation process, and all those condensed flavours that were fortunate enough to survive distillation.

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