Templeton Rye 10 Year Special Reserve

Age: 10 years
Proof: 101
Suggested Retail: $149.99
Bottled by Templeton Rye Spirits, LLC
Templeton Rye’s 10-year special reserve rye whiskey is a celebration of their 10-year “legal” introduction to the world of spirits, which began in 2006. Only 6080 bottles of this sourced whiskey were produced, and is made up of a mash bill containing 95% rye and 5% malted barley, similar to their other whiskies. The nose on the special reserve opens up very nicely, with appetizing hints of vanilla, brown sugar, and dark fruit. On the palate, there was a lot more oak than I would have expected, or liked from a 10 year whiskey, but the oak did give way to less subtle notes of sweet cherries and black pepper. The finish was medium in length, and coated the mouth with an enjoyable spiciness, consisting of rye and cinnamon flavors. Overall, I thought the whiskey was pretty enjoyable, the packaging was excellent, but the price is way to steep for a 10 year, sourced whiskey. I do think the future is bright for this company, as they have just broke ground on their new 34,500 square foot distillery and aging warehouse in the town of Templeton, and their new distillery will be able to pump out 500,000 proof gallons of their own, rye whiskey each year.

3 ribbon!



Iowa Legendary Rye Aged Whiskey

Age: Minimum 18 months
Proof: 80
Suggested Retail: $49.99
Bottled by Iowa Legendary Rye, Carroll County, Iowa
Distilled from grain to glass in Carroll County, Iowa, owners Lisa and Richard Eggers follow an original Templeton rye recipe from one of Carroll counties own law defying, prohibition era moonshiners. Their aged, rye whiskey is made in small batches, from 100%, Carroll county grown rye. As I opened the bottle, I was instantly met with the delightful, almost candy like nose. It was very sweet, with hints of sugar, cherry, candied apples, and a bit of rye. On the palate, the initial sip was extremely rye dominant. The palate was not overly complex, but the strong rye taste did develop into a pleasant, black pepper spice with a smidgen of dark fruit. The finish was medium in length, and left an enjoyable, bubble gum flavored tingle on the roof of my mouth. Overall, the Iowa Legendary Rye Aged whiskey was tasty, and definitely worthy of trying. The dedication, pride and attention to detail the owners, Lisa and Richard Eggers put in when making this rye is very apparent when drinking it. Cheers!

2.5 ribbon!


1792


1792

Age: NAS (Previously 8 years)
Proof: 93.75
Suggested Retail: $30
Bottled by Barton 1792 Distillery, Bardstown, KY.
Owned by the Sazerac Company, 1792 is a reference to the year the commonwealth of Kentucky joined the union. 1792 is a high rye bourbon, that is aged in Warehouse Z at the site of the Old Tom Moore Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. Although the nose has some subtle, unflattering whiffs of alcohol it still allows for some very pleasant notes of dark fruit, particularly apples and cherries, vanilla extract and some cinnamon. On the front of the palate, is an explosive sensation of sweetness, mainly burnt sugar and caramel, which coated my mouth in an oily fashion. The back end of the palate skews towards nutmeg, cinnamon, and oak flavors that end with an enjoyable, but spicy bite. The finish is medium in length, has a mild burn, and leaves an oaky, tingling sensation on the tongue. All in all, 1792 is very good bourbon in the $30 dollar price range. If you are looking for a high rye bourbon with some spice, for those cold winter nights, this is a great option that won’t break the bank.

2.5 ribbon!

Angels Envy

Angel's Envy

Age: 4-6 years
Proof: 86.6
Suggested Retail: $46
Bottled by Louisville Distilling Co.
One from the late, great, Lincoln Henderson. Angel’s Envy is named in reference to the some 5% of booze lost each year due to evaporation, known as the Angel’s share. The beautifully packaged bourbon is finished in ruby port barrels for three to six months. It has lots of green apple and hints of maple on the nose. From the fist sip, I got fruit, mainly apples and raisins, followed by a dash of vanilla on the tongue. The finish is quite clean with a medium to long linger, and left a sliver of dark chocolate flavor. Overall, I don’t know if it is “the world’s finest bourbon” as some publications have stated, but a solid one at that, a must have for the collection.

3 ribbon!


barrell


Barrell Bourbon Batch 004

Age: 6 years 4 months
Proof: 116.7
Suggested Retail: $79.99
Bottled by Barrell Craft Spirits, Crestwood, KY
Batch 4 from Barrell Bourbon was distilled at an undisclosed location in Kentucky. The thing I love about Barrell Bourbon, is that every batch comes in at a high proof, so when drinking casually, it helps to add a few drops of water, but for the sake of this review, it was drank neat. This batch comes in at 116.7 proof, which is the lowest amongst all of the batches, with the exception of the recently released batch 9. The mash bill is made up of corn, rye, and malted barley but the exact percentage of each is not specified. The nose was red fruit forward mainly apples and cherries, with some less subtle hints of nuts and corn. The first sip had some citrusy notes that progressed into a salty butter like spiciness. The finish was very pleasant; that ended quickly leaving a coffee like remnant on the mouth and a nice tingle on the tongue. Overall, Batch 4 was not one of my favorite releases, but still had some great attributes and uniqueness, that I love in bourbons to it. Definitely worth a try if you like some high proof bourbon.

2.5 ribbon!


barrell bourbon


Barrell Bourbon Batch 005

Age: 8 years 3 months
Proof: 124.7
Suggested Retail: $84.99
Bottled by Barrell Craft Spirits, Crestwood, KY
Although the exact source of this bourbon is not disclosed, we know that it is distilled in Tennessee and that it has a mash bill of 70% corn, 26% rye, and 4% malted barley. Each batch of Barrell Bourbon is bottled at cask strength allowing the consumers to experience the true flavor of the bourbon before the addition of water from the cut, can in any way alter its taste, making every batch unique and limited. This was my first experience with Barrell Bourbon, and I have to say, founder Joe Beatrice is definitely on to something, because I really enjoyed this juice. The nose was powerful, but very delightful, filling my nose with the sweet aroma of burnt sugar, cherries, pears, and a touch of butterscotch. On the front of the palate, the sweetness continued, notes of dark fruit led the way for a tasty cinnamon spice, that is typical in high rye bourbons. The finish started with an explosion of flavo
rful spice, providing just the right amount of bite, and ended almost as soon as the juice went down, leaving a twinge of syrupy dryness on the mouth. All in all, I think Barrell Bourbon can go toe to toe with the majority of cask strength bourbons on the market as well as some of the big boys. It is very well balanced bourbon that is packed with robust flavors, definitely worth picking up a bottle!

3 ribbon!

barrell-3

Barrell Bourbon Batch 006

Age: 8 years 6 months
Proof: 122.9
Suggested Retail: $79.99
Bottled by Barrell Craft Spirits, Crestwood, KY
Batch 6 is made up of a mash bill containing 70% corn, 26% rye, and 4% malted barley. I found the nose on this batch to be very subtle, and not as complex as the others. I got some very brief hints of green apples, warm butter, and caramel. On the palate, I was hit with a lot of peppery spice up front that developed into notes of warm butter and an oak like herbal flavor on the back end. The finish was medium in length, leaving a nice, spicy sensation on the back of the throat and a dry, corn like taste on the roof of the mouth. Unfortunately, Batch 6 didn’t really do it for me, as it was my least favorite of all of the releases I have sampled. The good news is, if this is my least favorite juice they are putting out, than they are hitting a homerun about 90% of the time, because this was still pretty decent. Overall, Batch 6 did not provide the flavor profile and balance the other batches of Barrell Bourbon had, but still worth adding to the collection if you are a fan of their other batches and high proof bourbon.

2 ribbon!


barrell-2


Barrell Bourbon Batch 007

Age: 5 years
Proof: 122.4
Suggested Retail: $79.99
Bottled by Barrell Craft Spirits, Crestwood, KY
Batch 7 is made up of a mash bill containing 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley, and was distilled and aged in Tennessee. The nose on this one opens up very nicely with strong and very delightful notes of cinnamon, cherries, and a sugary sweetness. On the front end of the palate, a hot buttery spice hits the mouth and develops into a delicious citrusy oak that coats the mouth. Batch 7 finished as well as it started, a long, spicy burn that ends with dry remnants of butterscotch covering the roof of the mouth. Overall, I really enjoyed batch 7, I thought it was consistently good from nose to finish. The balance of spiciness and bold flavors was just right. This is another winner and one you should add to the bunker.

3 ribbon!

barrell-4

 

Barrell Bourbon Batch 008

Age: 9.5 years
Proof: 132.8
Suggested Retail: $84.99
Barrell Craft Spirits, Crestwood, KY
Batch 8 is aged for 9.5 years, and is the highest proof of any release thus far at a whopping 132.8. It is made up of a mash bill containing 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley. From start to finish, I absolutely loved batch 8, it had an incredibly enticing nose filled with notes of cocoa, mint chocolate chip, and vanilla. On the palate, my mouth was filled with the delightful spiciness, and the robust flavors of toffee, caramel, and a twinge of chocolate covered strawberry. I found the finish to be comparable to many of my favorite bourbons on the market, with just a little more heat. It was clean and crisp, ending quickly with very little linger, leaving notes of dark chocolate on the tongue. Because this batch is a heater, a drop or two of distilled water may help it open up a bit. In my opinion, Joe Beatrice hit an absolute grand slam with batch 8; it is definitely one of my top 5 releases of 2016. If you find a bottle sitting on the shelf, pick it up immediately; I have a feeling these bottles will not last to long in the wild.

3.5 ribbon!

Basil

Basil Hayden's

Age: 8 years
Proof: 80
Suggested Retail: $42.99
Bottled by Jim Beam Distillery
Basil Hayden’s is a member of the delicious, small batch bourbon collection from the Jim Beam Family. This bourbon pays homage to the legendary Basil Hayden Sr., the face of Old Grand Dad bourbon. For me, the nose was filled with sweet cherries, orange citrus, and a twinge of peppermint. On the tongue, I got a nice spicy burn, which was not overbearing by any means. As the bourbon rolled off the tongue, hints of vanilla and black pepper filled my mouth. The finish was very clean, leaving a dry and mild burn. Overall, this is an easy one to sip on. If you are looking for a high rye bourbon to add to the collection, Basil Hayden’s is a great choice, especially in the $40 price range. I especially recommend this for someone new to the world of bourbon because of its light, smooth taste.

2.5 ribbon!

Prichards

Benjamin Prichard's Double Barreled

Age: 9 years
Proof: 90
Suggested Retail: $70
Bottled by Prichard’s Distillery
Made with white corn, as opposed to the more traditional yellow, Benjamin Prichard’s Double Barreled Bourbon is made in Tennessee. And yes, it’s double barreled, meaning after they take it out of the barrel and cut it to 90 proof, they throw it back in for more aging. The nose on this definitely made its presence known. It smelled strongly of vanilla extract, a little too overpowering for my liking, with traces of salted caramel mixed in. The taste was much more enjoyable, with rich vanilla and caramel flavors and a tiny bit of oak. The finish had a quick, spicy bite with surprisingly very little linger. Now I know there have been a lot of mixed reviews on this one, but I really like it! Overall, it was flavorful and had great balance, definitely pick up a bottle if you feel like splurging.

3.5 ribbon!

Bookers

Booker's

Age: 7 years 5 months
Proof: 127.9
Suggested Retail: $50
Bottled by Jim Beam Distillery Booker’s is one the bourbons from the Beam small batch collection. This flavorful, barrel proof bourbon did not become available to the public until 1992, as it was only given away to family and friends of Booker Noe as gifts prior to that date. The bottle has a very classic look, with a label that features Booker Noe’s handwriting, which I think is pretty cool. Inside the bottle, the bourbon has pleasant, traditional nose, featuring a bold caramel aroma with hints of vanilla, oak, and green apple, that doesn’t offer much indication to the heat that lurks inside. On the tongue, I got hints of pepper, rye, and vanilla the ends with a warm buttery flavor. The finish is long with a lot of burn, and leaves some black pepper and cinnamon on the tongue. In my opinion, this bourbon is best on the rocks or with a splash of water as there is a little too much heat to drink it neat, especially if you are not a seasoned bourbon drinker. Not your everyday sipping bourbon but definitely one that should be on your shelf.

2.5 ribbon!


Colonel

Colonel E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof

Age: No Age Statement (likely 7-8 years)
Proof: 129
Suggested Retail: $80
Bottled by Buffalo Trace Distillery
Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr., a descendant of two U.S. presidents, was a successful banker, politician, and will forever be known as the man who modernized the bourbon industry. The Colonel’s barrel proof bourbon uses Buffalo Traces #1 mash bill, which contains less than 10% rye. This particular bottle is the third release of the barrel proofs, and is packaged in exquisite tubes, the same way Taylor did it a long time ago. For me, the nose started with the pleasant scent of lemon zest, and developed into savory hints of vanilla and brown sugar with every swirl around my glencairn. The first sip was packed full of flavor as the taste of citrus fruit and sugar rolled around my tongue. It ended about as well as it started with some black pepper, dark chocolate, and the faintest hint of oak on the back end. From the way this one finishes, I would have never guessed it was 129 proof. It has a mild burn that finishes fairly quickly, and leaves a dry, chocolate flavor on the tongue. Overall, this is excellent bourbon that rivals any barrel proof on the market. Other than the warehouse C tornado surviving bourbon, this is the Colonel’s best, scoop one up if you can!

3.5 ribbon!

taconic

Dutchess Private Reserve

Age: NAS - A blend of 2 straight whiskeys aged 2 years or more
Proof: 90
Suggested Retail: $38
Bottled by Taconic Distillery
Dutchess Private Reserve bourbon is made with the finest ingredients including corn and natural spring water from their Rolling Hills Farm in the Hudson Valley. It has a very classic looking label that features a foxhound, which has strong historical ties to the Hudson Valley. In an effort to retain all of the flavors and oils left over from distillation, Taconic Distillery refrains from chill filtering their bourbon, which I do believe helped this one. The nose however, was not very impressive. It was very subtle, lacking complexity and any strong aromas, but I did detect hints of almonds, corn, and brown sugar. Based on the subtlety of the nose, I didn’t expect much flavor on the palate, but I was wrong. The bourbon was very flavorful, maybe due to the absence of the chill filtering process, but who knows. As I sipped the bourbon, my mouth was filled with robust flavors of cinnamon, vanilla and oak, with a little rye spice on the back end. The finish was fairly smooth, medium in length, with a slight tingle on the tongue, and a little more dryness than I prefer. Overall, I thought this bourbon had some really great flavor but could have been better on the nose and finish, but still worth trying!

2.5 ribbon!

EC21

Elijah Craig 21

Age: 21 years
Proof: 90
Suggested Retail: $120.00
Bottled by Elijah Craig Distillery Co.
I have had many expressions of the Elijah Craig including the 12 year, barrel proof as well as a few of the older varieties in the 18+ range. When I first saw this bottle sitting on the shelf at a local store I was hesitant to purchase, as winter was approaching and I was saving for some other releases. After discussing with a friend, we both came to the conclusion we would not see many of these in Colorado, so I decided to go for it. The hue is dark rose wood with rich gold undertones. The nose is very sweet and light with strong maple syrup odors as well as a hint of ocean sea salt. The initial taste brings on strong oat flavor and a light burn that quickly turns into another batch of spicy oats mixed with a salted caramel chew. I gave a sample to a good friend of mine who has tasted countless whiskeys, and we both came to the same conclusion that something about this Elijah Craig 21 year was intriguing and unique to our palates, yet also comforting and oddly familiar. If you can still find this on the shelf and are looking for something very complex and interesting don't hesitate and take a dram of the Elijah Craig 21 year.
Review by : Storm Hostetter - please follow on Instagram @stormy6149

4 ribbon!


Elmer

Elmer T. Lee

Age: NAS (likely 8-14 years)
Proof: 90
Suggested Retail: $35
Bottled by Buffalo Trace Distillery
Elmer T. Lee was the famed, master distiller at Buffalo Trace distillery until 1985, and is responsible for introducing us to Blanton’s, the world’s first single barrel bourbon. Not long after his retirement, he was honored with his own single barrel bourbon. His self-named Elmer T. Lee bourbon is made with Buffalo Trace’s #2 mash bill, which contains about 15% rye. It has a wonderful nose, which begins with the sweet aroma of vanilla and cinnamon, than evolves into a fruitier scent, with strong hints of cherry, apricot, and apple pie. On the palate, the sweetness continues, with delicious apple and honey flavors rolling over the tongue, followed by a mild spiciness from the rye. I found the finish to be very smooth; it warms the mouth without much burn or lingering, and leaves a dryness that has you thirsting for more. Overall, when it comes to bourbon, Elmer T. Lee single barrel is one of the best bangs for your buck. Unfortunately, it has become much more difficult to find on the shelves, so stock up when you do find it, because you are not going to find a more well balanced, flavorful bourbon for $35.

3 ribbon!

HIrsch

 

Hirsch 25 Year Rye

Age: 25 years
Proof: 92
Suggested Retail: $200
Bottled by Hirsch Distillers
I was recently lucky enough to stumble upon a bottle of the Hirsch 25 Year Rye, thanks to a friend. The idea of finding one of these on the shelf has long gone the way of the dinosaurs, due to the popularity and success of some of the other offerings from Hirsch. If you look online you are hard pressed to find many reviews of this bottle, and the opportunity to try an older sampling from Hirsch has eluded me until now. The hue is a deep dark ruby red and black coffee color, that is nearly opaque. The initial nose is a hot and spicy rye covered in vanilla, cherries with hints of cloves and orange peel zest. The first sip brought on strong oak, and cocoa flavor with a mild heat that coats the palate with a rich and thick texture-- if you can imagine a liquid leather. This lingers into a creamy tannin and caramel mixture that is smooth and has a quite pleasant finish. Having been wanting to try this bottle for a long time, I was excited and optimistic. Although the Hirsch 25 Year Rye was a delicious older dram like many older ryes, if bottled a few years younger it could have been extraordinary. Review by : Storm Hostetter - please follow on Instagram @stormy6149

3.5 ribbon!

michters

Michter's 10

Age: 10 years
Proof: 94.4
Suggested Retail: $99
Barrel No: 8E-1
Michter's Distillery
Michter’s is America’s first whiskey company with a long history that traces its roots back to 1753. This 10 year, single barrel bourbon is sourced from a somewhat unknown location, and has one of the best noses out there. At first whiff there was lemon and orange citrus with a touch of figs that develops into notes of chocolate, toffee and brown sugar, giving it a delightful, sweet scent. The first sip brought some citrus to the tongue with some wonderful bold maple and vanilla flavors. The finish is very clean, medium in length, and leaves a twinge of dark fruit on the tongue and just the right amount of burn. Overall, this is an extremely delicious and well balanced bourbon, that unfortunately has become quite difficult to find. If you do find a bottle sitting on the shelves, I would definitely scoop it up.

3.5 ribbon!


Michters Toasted

Michter's Toasted Barrel

Age: NAS
Proof: 91.4
Suggested Retail: $50
Bottled by Michter's Distillery
The Michter’s Toasted Barrel Bourbon is a special and limited release from the oldest whiskey company in the United States. They take their US 1 straight bourbon that has been fully matured in new, charred white oak barrels, and finish it in new un-charred 18-month air-dried barrels that have been toasted to precise specifications. The difference between charring and toasting a barrel is that a charred barrel actually has to be set on fire, where as a toasted barrel undergoes extreme heat with actual fire. By finishing the bourbon in a toasted barrel, it added a lot more dimensions and complexity to this juice. The nose was very pleasant; it had a strong brown sugar presence with subtle hints of cinnamon and maple. The cinnamon on the nose transitioned to the tongue, as well as hints of apples, black pepper and a touch of woodiness. The finish was medium in length, smooth, and left a delicious, cinnamon spiciness on the on the tongue. Overall, I really enjoyed this one, it is very, well-balanced bourbon, which has a great nose and robust flavors. I will definitely be adding this one to my winter rotation!

3 ribbon!

Noahs Mill

Noah's MIll

Age: Up to 20 years
Proof: 114.3
Suggested Retail: $55
Bottled by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers
As I took my first drink of Noah’s Mill, had I not already known, I could have never guessed I was sipping on 114.3 proof bourbon. Typically, bourbon of this proof would require a splash of water, in this case it was not necessary, which I believe is a testament to its fine quality. The nose features strong hints of vanilla and raisins, with a tiny amount of oak. On the palate there are notes of sugar, buttercream, and rye. To top it off, this one has a long, chocolate finish, with just enough spice to warm your insides; perfect for a chilly night. Overall, this is another very good bourbon from the Willett family and I think the $55 price tag is fair. I recommend stashing a bottle away for those winter months, if you can find one.

3 ribbon!


OFBB

Old Forester 2014 Birthday Bourbon

Age: 12 years
Proof: 97
Suggested Retail: $60
Bottled by Brown-Forman Distillers
The 2014 offering of the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is the 13th edition of this limited release bourbon, which commemorates the birthday of Brown-Forman founder George Garvin Brown. The cool thing about this annual release is that the juice is from a single day of production, making it impossible to replicate. Because of the success of previous years releases, this was an extremely hard bottle to get your hands on, which I was fortunate enough to do. The nose is well balanced, giving off strong hints of cinnamon butter and burnt sugars that mix well with the more subtle vanilla and cherry aromas. On the tongue, there was a warm spiciness, which transitioned nicely into hints of dark fruit and vanilla, and a light oaky flavor on the tail end. The finish was medium in length, a little dry, and left a bit of dark chocolate in the mouth. Overall, this is a well-rounded bourbon and a very welcome edition to the home bar. If you can find a bottle definitely pick it up, if not the 2015 release is right around the corner!

3 ribbon!

Old Rip

Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year

Age: 10 Years
Proof: 107
Suggested Retail: $50…. slim chance
Bottled by Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery
In my opinion, it’s hard to be anything but mildly disappointed when drinking anything from the Van Winkle family. People empty their savings account, wait in line for 20 hours or scavenge the entire state, in hopes of getting a bottle, and in some instances just getting a taste. Don’t get me wrong, they are all top of the line bourbons, I just don’t want you to be let down when it falls short of the heaven in a glencairn you have been dreaming of. The 10 year, Old Rip Van Winkle has a sweet nose, with notes of candy apple and vanilla. On the tongue I got a nice buttery taste that developed into green apple and a bit of cinnamon. It had a long, spicy finish with a smidgen of oak at the end. Overall, It is a very good bourbon for the $50 price range, but lets be honest, it is nearly impossible to find it for anywhere near that price. If you can pull off a miracle and get a bottle at retail, it’s a no brainer. If not, save your mortgage payment and try to find a pour at a bar for around $15, you will definitely be satisfied and have more drinking money.

3 ribbon!

Barterhouse

Orphan Barrel Barterhouse

Age: 20 years
Proof: 90.2
Mash Bill: 86% corn, 8% Barley, 6% Rye
Suggested Retail: $75
Bottled by Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Co., Tullahoma, Tennessee. Sourced from Bernheim Distillery in KY
Barterhouse and the other Orphan Barrel Whiskies have quite the story and a lot of hype behind them. They were nearly forgotten and stored away for many years (in this case 20) in the back of rickhouses. Barterhouse certainly lives up to the hype. The nose starts with hints of sweet cherries, vanilla, and ends with traces of warm butter. Although the taste in not very complex, the maple and brown sugar on the tongue are very pleasant. The finish is very clean, sweet, and quick, almost too quick. Overall, I really enjoyed Barterhouse, and if I had my choice from the Orphan Barrel family this would be the one, as it is the best of the bunch. If you can find a bottle at the suggested retail price, pull the trigger.

3.5 ribbon!

Rhetoric

Orphan Barrel Rhetoric

Age: 20 years
Proof: 90
Mash Bill: 86% Corn, 8% Barley, 6% Rye
Suggested Retail: $89
Bottled by Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Co., Tullahoma, TN. Sourced from Bernheim Distillery
Rhetoric is the third release from the Orphan Barrel family. The thing that intrigues me with the Rhetoric, is the fact that they are releasing it annually, a year older, to see how the maturation process allows the bourbon to develop. The nose yields strong hints of cherry, apple and plum with some vanilla on the tail end. On the tongue are plentiful amounts of chocolate and caramel that end with a mild spiciness, almost resembling what you would find in a high rye bourbon. In my opinion, the least desirable trait of this bourbon is its finish. It is medium in length, quite dry, and lingered a little too long for me. Despite the sub-par finish and $90 price tag, it was an enjoyable, full-bodied bourbon.

3 ribbon!


Rebel Yell2

Rebel Yell

Age: NAS
Proof: 80
Suggested Retail: $16
Bottled by Bernheim Distillery
In 1936, Rebel Yell was officially introduced to the public as a registered brand. However, the Rebel Yell recipe was invented much earlier in 1849, at what would later become the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. In it’s early years, it was marketed with the slogan “honest whiskey at an honest price.” It still carries that honest price tag of about $16 a bottle, but not much more. The nose on this bourbon was very subtle, I didn’t get any of the honey and butter sweetness that the brand describes, but savory hints of corn and wheat. As I dove in and took my first sip, nothing, I thought that my taste buds must have needed a little warm up, but sip after sip still nothing. It was very bland, a mild twinge of dark fruit and a little black pepper at best, definitely not what I was hoping for or expected from a wheated bourbon. The finish was much of the same, short, with a mild burn, but still lacked any real flavor or complexity. Overall, I didn’t think it was necessarily a bad bourbon, it is certainly easy to drink, but there was nothing about it that stands out or would keep me coming back for more.

1.5 ribbon!

rock2

Rock Hill Farms

Age: No Age Statement
Proof: 100
Suggested Retail: $50
Bottled by Buffalo Trace Distillery
Named for the beautiful farmland that was once home to former Buffalo Trace president Albert Blanton, Rock Hill Farms has the same high rye mash bill as their other famed bourbons: Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee. The nose is very subtle, and a lot more savory than sweet, with hints of rye and corn. There was a lot of spice on the lips and tongue as most high rye bourbons do, with some faint notes of nuts and fruit on the back end. The finish was spicy, but short, and left some black pepper on the tongue. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good bourbon but really lacked the flavors and complexity I was looking for, as the spiciness was a bit over powering. This is a great bourbon to sip on a cold winter’s night!

2.5 ribbon!


SOA

Spirit Of America

Age: 2 years
Proof: 86
Suggested Retail: $39.99
Bottled by Hobson & Roberts Distilling Co.
Spirit of America bourbon is sourced from MGP in Lawrenceburg, IN. The entire product from bottle to bourbon is 100% made in America and they make a $1 donation to the Hope For The Warriors foundation for every bottle sold, which is pretty cool. The bourbon is made from a mash bill that contains 45% wheat, which was pretty evident from nose to finish. It had a very pleasant, sweet aroma, consisting of dark fruit, mainly cherries and apples, burnt sugar, a little vanilla, and a twinge of toasted nuts. The taste started sweet, with subtle notes of apples and honey, but did not really evolve much after that. I did get a little bit of black pepper on the back end, but typical of many 2-year-old bourbons, it lacked a lot of depth or complexity. The finish was sweet and short, pretty smooth, and left a mild tingling sensation on my tongue. All in all, I thought this was some pretty good juice, but would be more appropriately priced in the $30 dollar range. With that being said, I am a sucker for the wheaters and will definitely re-visit this one.

2 ribbon!

stagg jr

Stagg Jr.

Age: 8-9 years
Proof: 132.1
Suggested Retail: $50
Bottled by Buffalo Trace Distillery
The Stagg Jr. is the so-called “son” of Buffalo Trace’s iconic George T. Stagg bourbon. The upside to this bourbon is that it is cheaper and much more attainable than the George T.; the downside, it’s not nearly as good. This barrel proof bourbon has a rather pleasant nose that is filled with notes of dark fruit, mainly cherry, maple syrup, and a nutty twinge at the end. This delightful nose had me hopeful that this would be a gem, just like it’s father, but as I took my first sip, those hopes quickly faded. When it hit my lips, there was a lot black pepper on the tongue, which slowly developed into a buttery, lemon citrus flavor, and just about ended there. The finish was spicy, and medium to long in length. As much as I wanted to love this one, the complexity of the bourbon and flavor profile were lacking. Overall, I thought this bourbon drank more like a step son to the George T. Stagg rather than a son, and one you can do with or without.

2.5 ribbon!

snowflake

Stranahan's Snowflake: Batch 17 The Longs Peak Snowflake

Age: No less than 2 years and cask finished in 4 distinct casks
Proof: 94
Suggested Retail: $99
Bottled by Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey
According to Stranahan's: The Longs Peak Snowflake release was aged in four barrels.
Casks:
Chancellor wine cask from Spero Winery
Sherry Oloroso from Spain
(2) 5 year Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey barrels
ESB Double Wood from Breckenridge Brewery

Each year Stranahan's releases a barrel aged version of the original Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey. Just as a snowflake falls, no two batches of Stranahan's Snowflake are the same. Hoards of whiskey lovers line the street and sleep overnight in a cult like following to ensure they receive the allocated two bottles per person. This year's Batch 17 Long's Peak Snowflake is a unique mix, matured in multiple casks. The color has a deep mahogany hue with some light red shining through. The nose has a strong cherry, vanilla and spiced apple smell. The initial sip brings on spiced oats and a zesty chocolate taste. This leads into a deep tobacco, pepper and, as noted from the head distiller, yes--gunpowder taste. The finish has a mild lasting burn that dissipates quickly. A few drops of water leads to more floral and fruit on the palate with a delicious cherry aftertaste. Stranahan's only releases Snowflake on a limited basis at the distillery and I am lucky enough to live in Colorado and to get a sample of these enjoyable conjurings. While I was not as impressed with this release as I was with Stranahan's Batch 16 Mt. Bierstadt Snowflake, this still was an enjoyable expression of the creativity of Stranahan's. Rest assured you will see me in line once again when the snow falls in December.
Review by : Storm Hostetter - please follow on Instagram @stormy6149

3 ribbon!


Snowflake


Stranahans Snowflake #18 Mt. Evans

Age: Minimum 4 years
Proof: 94
Suggested Retail: $99
Bottled by Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey
According to Stranahan's: The Mt. Evans snowflake release was aged in 3 casks.
Casks:
1)Madiera wine casks from Portugal
2)Port Double-wood Cask; an original Stranahan's whiskey barrel given to Balistreri winery, where they aged Port wine for 2 years and returned to Stranahan's after. Refilled with 3 year Stranahan's.
3)Single Barrel of Stranahan's 4 year.

Another winter season means another Stranahan's Snowflake release. This year the line was one of the longest I have seen, which also included one of the coldest mornings so far. (Maybe Stranahan's will give me a bottle next year to review in advance). The color is an Irish red with some rust tint. The nose has a presence of fresh pear, tobacco, with whiffs of citrus and cocoa. The initial sip opens with a mellow honey, wine, and apple taste which leads into a butter fruit finish. I have tasted five or so of the last releases and I must say this one is my favorite so far. I have spoken to many people who love each Snowflake release, but you can read online about many who don't believe the hype. I think they are creating very interesting and unique offerings which is hard to find from a distillery in Colorado. If you are a naysayer, think about the fact that a small distillery whose first bottle was finished less then a decade ago is now available in almost every liquor store in the country. Each year my wife stands in line with me, and a few friends join. Regardless of if you like the Snowflake releases or not, it is an event to behold and experience. See you next year!
Review By: Storm Hostetter please follow on Instagram @stormy6149

3.5 ribbon!

Traverse City

Traverse City Bourbon

Age: 4 years
Proof: 86
Suggested Retail: $35
Bottled by Traverse City Whiskey Co.
From the great state of Michigan, Traverse City Whiskey is a company with a storied history. The nose was very subtle; I detected very light hints of brown sugar and rye. On the palate, it was actually very difficult for me to detect any strong flavors, maybe a touch of caramel with an extremely mild spice. The finish was exceptionally smooth, with utterly no linger or remnants of flavors. My biggest disappointment with this one was its lack of flavor and complexity. Sure, it was ultra smooth and very easy to drink, I just wanted a little more on the tongue. Overall, for a bourbon in the $30 range it was pretty good, and I will continue to drink it. But, if you are looking for something that fills your mouth with a plethora of flavors and has a little more oomph, this is not the one for you. Definitely worth trying and probably good on a warm summers evening.

2 ribbon!

Van Winkle Special

Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year Lot B

Age: 12 years
Proof: 90.4
Suggested Retail: $79……….Good Luck!
Bottled by Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery
The 12-year member of the elusive Pappy Van Winkle Family, Van Winkle Reserve has one of the best noses on a bourbon that I have had the pleasure of trying; filled with heaps of vanilla and brown sugar. The palate was sweet with rich flavors of vanilla, caramel and burnt sugars that developed into a mild spice. The finish was medium in length, just the right amount of burn, with a tiny bit of oak on the back end. Overall, this is a very good bourbon, not secondary market price good, but $80-$100 range good. If you can find it at retail, buy them up, and send me one! If not, save your money.

3.5 ribbon!

Widow Jane

Widow Jane 8 Year

Age: 8 years
Proof: 91
Suggested Retail: $60
Bottled by Cacao Prieto
I love the name of this bourbon. Made or proofed with the sweet water from the limestone quarries of the Widow Jane mine in Rosedale New York, the nose was delightful with the engaging aroma of vanilla, brown sugar, and toffee. On the palate I got a lot of citrus, mainly orange and cherry, with a tiny hint of mint at the tail end. The finish was pretty smooth, drier than I prefer, with a delayed burn in the throat. All in all this was a pretty enjoyable pour but a bit too pricy in my opinion. If you can find one in a local store, give it a shot, but I wouldn’t go on a scavenger hunt to get my hands on a bottle.

2.5 ribbon!



Wild Buck American Rye Whiskey

Age: Average 12 months (10-26 months)
Proof: 100
Suggested Retail: $53.99
Bottled by Njoy Spirits
Wild Buck Rye is bottled one batch at a time in a hand hammered copper still in the backwoods of Weeki Wachi, Florida and made from 100% home grown rye. The nose began with the delightful smell of fresh, home grown rye, black cherry, black licorice, and hints of lemon and lime citrus. On the palate, a sweet rye flavor was dominant, but in a good way, and led into notes of anise, black pepper, and some dark chocolate on the back end. The whiskey had a very smooth finish, little to no burn, leaving dry remnants of a crisp rye on the tongue. Overall, I really enjoyed Wild Buck Rye Whiskey. The effort and detail the owners, Kevin and Natalie Goff put in when making this rye is very apparent when drinking it. It has a great nose, a well-balanced flavor profile, and a smooth finish. For it’s age, I don’t think a rye whiskey could get much better. So, if you find yourself in the backwoods of Florida, pick up a bottle. Cheers!

2.5 ribbon!

Willett Pot Still

Willett Pot Still Reserve

Age: 8-10 years
Proof: 94
Suggested Retail: $47.99
Bottled by Willett Distilling Company
The Willett family name and distilling whiskey have been synonymous for quite some time now. Which has given them time to not only produce some great bourbon, but to also master the art of packaging, as their bottles rival any out there; and this copper pot still shaped bottle has some pretty good juice inside. The nose has strong floral notes with hints of orange citrus and a smidgen of nutty goodness. As the first sip hit my palate, butterscotch and cinnamon flavors rolled off my tongue. It has a medium length finish that is fairly smooth, with traces of spice, black pepper, and herbs. Although you certainly don’t need to add any water to enjoy this one, a few splashes definitely open this bourbon up, bringing out all sorts of new aromas and flavors. Overall, I think this is solid bourbon and one worth adding to your collection.

2.5 ribbon!

wyoming

Wyoming Whiskey

Age: 5 years
Proof: 88 (ABV 44 – Wyoming 44th state)
Suggested Retail: $49
Bottled by Wyoming Whiskey
This tasty, small batch bourbon is made with the finest ingredients Wyoming has to offer. The corn, wheat, and barley are all made within 100 miles of the distillery in the Big Horn Basin, and the water is sourced from a mile deep, limestone aquifer that has not seen the light of day in over 6000 years. Wyoming Whiskey has a mash bill of 68% corn, 12% malted barley, and 20% wheat, which is no surprise, given it’s hall of fame distiller, Steve Nally spent 33 years at Maker’s Mark. The nose had a very enjoyable sweetness to it. It begins with a pleasant, floral aroma, which develops into stronger notes of cherries, chocolate, and brown sugar. On the palate, there was more sweetness, with dark fruit, citrus, and a touch of caramel on the back end. This bourbon finished about as good as it started, it was smooth and short, had a delayed, very mild burn in the throat, and left a hint of toffee on the tongue. Overall, I really enjoyed this bourbon from Wyoming Whiskey. I think this is one that could gain some serious, large-scale popularity, once it is more widely distributed. If you see a bottle on the shelf pick it up, you will not be disappointed!

3 ribbon!

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