Saturday, December 12, 2020

ECTB, Yellowstone, Jim Beam Masterpiece, K&L Medley, Glyph, Untitled (MGP) Unique bourbon samples 1

Did I mention I seem to be accumulating samples at a crazy rate… Well more sample control this time around, random selection of bourbon samples in absolutely no particular order.

Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel
This was one of more anticipated releases from Heaven Hill’s Elijah Craig line this year, aside from the Barrel Proof and Parker’s Heritage, just in the fact that its new and slightly different. For this release they took regular small batch Elijah Craig and finished it in some freshly toasted barrels for a few months for extra flavor.
So the first thing that really strikes me is the nose. It’s much more interesting than the regular small batch and is positively brimming with oak vanilla caramel and dry toasted wood. It reminds me somewhat of a barrel proof nose minus all the alcohol burn. The palate is nicely woodier and pleasantly sweet version of small batch and so is the aftertaste. Overall, this is much more interesting than small batch and is borderline great drinking. I already mentioned that this reminds me strongly of barrel proof line but with less proof and I’ll stick with my guns on that statement, it’s got the similar flavor concentration at lower proof which is a solid bourbon win for me as this level of flavors are not very common to see in sub-50% abv. Not too sweet of a palate, don’t get fooled by the nose… Considering this isn’t an ultra exclusive single cask pick but a limited (yet widespread) release this gets a solid recommendation from me for the fans of Heaven Hill and Elijah Craig specifically that want the flavor without having to fight with the alcohol. The only real downside, is that there’s not a whole lot of complex layers of flavor that would develop in a 10+ year old barrels but most of the negatives are masked by the extra finishing. I am a fan.
Score: B+

Yellowstone Limited Edition 2020
So this is undisclosed mash from undisclosed distillery aged for unknown amount of time, thought product page sites suggest 7 years… the only known things are that this is straight bourbon finished in armagnac casks and that its 101 proof. The nose is a little wine-y and has slight sour apple/plum note to it. The palate is sweet, woody and peanutty with some plums, but this time the plums are sugar-covered instead of sour. The aftertaste is taken over by the peanuts in a cloyingly-sweet-turning-bitter-wave that’s not my favorite. Try this at a bar if you want to scratch the ‘limited release’ itch but I would avoid a bottle.
Score: C

Jim Beam PX Sherry Distiller’s Masterpiece 100 proof
Well apparently this one is somewhat fancy! Beam nose for sure, though wood does have some prominence and dried figs from sherry are also in there somewhere. Very subdued Beam character on the palate that is almost missing its typical cinnamon brightness. The palate is sweet but not overly so and it seems most of the sweetness is coming from the sherry instead of the bourbon itself, after few sips, sherry asserts itself once again to provide gentle sugared figs that last for a while. It’s no surprise that sherry and bourbon are a good combination in many ways though to truly shine the bourbon itself needs to be well balanced to avoid sirup situations. This pour does achieve that balance in spades. It is well above average on the enjoyable scale to sip and this is very much a contemplative sipping drink that needs to be enjoyed for the subtle complexities. Whether or not it’s worth the $190 MSRP and the PX finish is deemed ‘acceptable’ by bourbon purists is a separate topic. Strong recommendation on getting it a bar or having a friend pour you some to try before committing on the cost. Dangerously drinkable either way.
Score: A-

K&L Wines Medley
No real info given so here’s the link to the store page: https://www.klwines.com/p/i?i=1455835
Strong brown sugar caramel on the nose together with wood char. Corn caramel profile and lots and lots of wood. This thing is also 68% abv so that shows too. Perhaps an exemplar of kentucky bourbon? Reminds somewhat of Old Ezra 7 on the whole sweet/wood balance but for me its over-wooded. Takes water extremely well which tames the beast somewhat, yet still for me too much wood even with it being cut by the water. After water this starts to taste a lot like woodier version Henry McKenna (from Heaven Hill). I wouldn’t be surprised if this is Heaven Hill distillate. But the reality is this. It’s got too much wood in the mix and it just overwhelms everything else that’s good. So I’m torn… On one side, its an avoid for me, but for those that like Old Ezra, or barrel proof Henry McKenna… that’s a maybe? Get a taste from a friend and make your own mind up. I traded my bottle to someone who appreciates it more than I do.
Score: C-

Endless West “Glyph” Molecular Whiskey
Dear reader, dare I try this and not die? Know this, if I don’t post another entry after this… I am dead, avenge me. On the nose, bad apple cider (fermenting apples) out of the little sample bottle, thankfully regular caramel apples and bubblegum out of a glencairn. This don’t smell like proper whiskey… I am almost not willing to try it. Okay its not… 100% vile… maybe like 97% terrible. The aftertaste is okay, I guess, more bubblegum and sugar and some apples and tiny bit of ginger spice. The palate is… thin bodied, light apple bubble gum flavored booze? Do. NOT. Want! This is terrible. While probably technically whiskey… No, just no! Though, if dear reader cares to read a little more on the subject, here’s a link that tells it better: https://www.drinkhac … h-molecular-whiskey/ I also disagree with their score, it’s way worse than they make it seem. You sir, who gave me the sample, while I greatly appreciate the gesture… You’ll be well served by pouring your bottle down the drain and never mentioning that it existed in your possession.
Score: F

Untitled 14 yr MGP 72.5% Bourbon Whiskey
One Eight distilling private barrel 13. Note, this is NOT their #13 whiskey. Some sort of a private cask this sample is. Update, this seems to be Prav Saraff’s single cask private pick out of DC area. A little self-indulgence and a first hazmat (70+ % abv) taste for me. So since it’s a bourbon, this is first fill casks and would not have entered higher than 62.5% abv, by definition. Lets… cautiously… dig in. Color is dark chestnut. The nose is all about sweet oak and caramel, with a healthy dose of alcohol burn that doesn’t detract from the experience and that nose is definitely an experience. After awhile, unsurprisingly but unfortunately, some varnish/shoe polish notes let themselves be known. I’d liked to have smelled this nose for a while longer in its original form. Very concentrated and very good. Eye-watering level of flavors on the palate. Not too sweet, the familiar MGP spices come though on the aftertaste but the middle palate is barrel and alcohol burn that’s decently balanced. Honestly, way too hot, yet delicious on it’s own. With water, this calms down a lot into some amazing MGP staple single cask profile, not too sweet, and now the spices shine. Think of it as a very dark 2020 SAOS pick, except its 14 years old with all the complexity of old bourbon in there. Few subtle notes of dill from the rye are also notable but don’t detract from the experience. After adding some water, nose is totally back to great initial notes I’ve smelled after the fresh pour, the aftertaste lasts and lasts with the palate being amazing… Yeah this is real deal. Definitely add some water into this one as it’s too much prior to that. You will not be disappointed.
Score: A (B at full proof)

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown