Friday, September 1, 2023

A cornucopia of variety! Little Samples, Big Samples!

Here we go again. Due to sample size and my interest in getting through them, a mix of full sized and brief reviews.

Powers: John’s Lane Irish Whiskey — N/A years — 46% — Score: D — An Irish whiskey blend. Skip it.
Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey — 12 years — 46% — Score: B- — An Irish whiskey. Vanilla and milk chocolate on the nose. Nice and balanced on the palate. Coffee, baking spices, chocolate sweetness, possibly a touch too sweet. More sweet spices on the aftertaste. Very functional. Priced at $115+ is rather poor value. Blue Spot is much better.
Black Button 2016 Bourbon — 5 years — 56.1% — Score: B- — A Single Cask Nation bottling. Black Button is a New York distillery. Sweet cinnamon and cloves, some bitter oak and spice after a bit. Some grassy notes after repeated sips. Functional bourbon that falls somewhat flat on secondary notes due to lack of age. Easy high proof drinking that doesn’t stand out from the easy-high-proof-drinking crowd.
Puff Adder Blended Malt — N/A — 46% — Score: C — A Jan ‘19 edition from Blackadder Independent bottler. Ooh, it’s peated, ashy drying, smoky, slightly sweet and acrid, iodine, some medicinal notes, light nuttyness. Someone would *love* it. I don’t, as I don’t enjoy this type of peated profile.
Caol Ila 2012 Single Malt — 8 years — 48.9% — Score: A- — Bottled in 2020, this is a Firkin bottling for Drammers Club, from a Marsala Cask. Deep, sweet and salty smoke. Slightly ashy, sweet, spicy, smoky flavor bomb that’s proofed at about perfect level to be flavorful but not overwhelm. Deliciously good.
Port Askaig Spring Edition — 12 years — 45.8% — Score: B — More Caol Ila. Light on color, nose and peat intensity. This is rather sweet and somewhat lightly peated in comparison to where it could be. Slightly reminds me of Glen Scotia Rum cask with the light peat and pronounced sweetness. Almost too light. Very enjoyable, but doesn’t have that oomph to be great.
Port Askaig Single Malt — 18 years — 50.8% — Score: B — More Caol Ila. This one’s got the oomph… but it’s also more in line with a typical Caol Ila, ashy and slightly salty. Fun and enjoyable in the moment, yet forgettable. The dry and ashy aftertaste doesn’t help my opinion here

Kentucky Owl Confiscated Bourbon — N/A — 48.2% — Score: C — Kentucky bourbon, reasonably high rye due to minty and spicy notes. Pleasant, but oddly low on sweetness and high on corn funk, even if not overly concentrated. Like a slightly bitter corn chip. Extremely forgettable and for all the wrong reasons too.

Oban Distiller’s Edition, 43%
It’s unclear which year this edition comes from but it’s 14 years ex-bourbon and 1 year finish in fino sherry. The nose is very sherry-sweet with honeyed nut notes. The palate is gentle, which isn’t surprising with the proof. Lots of spice, slightly smoky black tea notes. The dominant notes lean towards herbaceousness rather than sweetness here. Secondaries are more herbs, backed by toasted honey and vanilla. Medium long aftertaste with a wisp of smoke and more oversteeped tea. Overall: This is certainly not what I expected out of this. It’s rather complex, and off-profile from Oban’s regular releases. It also feels like a blend of two excellent whiskeys that are less interesting than the sum of its parts. There are almost too many notes and flavors that are all dominant and while they are excellent individually, it gives me and impression of a band of great musicians that’s simply not playing in tune. I’ve been hoping it’s amazing, I’m sad that it’s just okay. Value: Eeeeh at $135 for a 43% abv NAS… perhaps priced within reach for a fan of distillery or the region, otherwise a touch on the expensive side.
Score: B

Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition, 43%
This is PX sherry finished Lagavulin 16, unclear which year. Sweet and salty on the nose, with a touch of iodized smoke on the nose. Smells like good BBQ. The palate is primarily sweet and very gentle with smoke being in main component in the background notes to the sherry. Baking spices, vanilla, salt are the other complementary flavors. This really does remind of of a Texas BBQ. Long, lingering sweet and smoky aftertaste follows. Overall: Highly enjoyable for Texas Style brisket BBQ enthusiasts. Sweet, savoury, smoky and mouth-watering. That PX sherry sweetness really rounds off the experience in a positive way. Value: Priced at ~$150 at total wine, I would think twice before committing… but it’s good.
Score: B+

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

Monday, July 10, 2023

Old Particular K&L Picks 2022, Quick Pours, Quick Notes.

1 Oz samples from a bottle split done by a friend. All these are from K&L Wines, bottled by Old Particular in 2022. Due to how palate and moods work there may be some minor variance to the scores.

Auchroisk – 12 years — 60.3% — Score: B — Classic refill ex-bourbon, orange rind, roasted walnuts, baking spices and hot peppers. Concentrated and somewhat drying to my current palate.
Bunnahabhain – 14 years — 54.2% — Score: B — Sweet & salty, buttery, and peated. The peat makes it hard to compare to the OB releases, but if you wished 2021 Bunna 12 CS had peat… you got it. Solid Bunna CS ex-bourbon + peat is a good summary.
Glengoyne – 15 years — 56% — Score: A- — Honeyed blossoms. Perfume. Bubble gum. Cream Soda. Balanced by spice. Very nice indeed!
Arran – 9 years — 60.5% — Score: A — Vanilla & toasted coconut chocolate candies dusted with baking spice. Complex, tropical, funky and delicious. Absolutely nuts!
Orkney’s Finest (Highland Park) — 14 years — 51.7% — Score: B+ — Sweet, buttery, tropical and citrusy, not overly spicy yet balanced well, very lightly peated, ex-bourbon ‘Park. Better than some from the distillery i’ve had, worse than others. Highland Park does deliver flavor, cannot fault it for this.
Blair Athol — 13 years — 55.5% — Score: B — Perfumed, slightly sulfuric, sweetly tropical, covered in baking spices. Sawdust and drying oak. Somewhat tannic in the aftertaste.
Cameronbridge Grain — 30 years — 51.5% — Score: B- — Sweetly tropical with baking spice, basically a coconut butter cookie dusted with cloves/nutmeg/cinnamon combo. Zero aftertaste is expected but the drop off is so sudden it messes with the experience.
Invergordon Grain — 26 years — 56% — Score: A- — Sweet and leathery, feels slightly smoky but isn’t. A flavor bomb. Tropical vanilla fighting with toasted wood. Aftertaste that lingers. Almost bourbon-like, but without corn or too much wood notes. Takes a few drops of water to cut that bitter edge off for the better. This is a fantastic single grain.
Blair Athol — 25 years — 56.8% — Score: B — Orange oil assault on the nose in a good way. The palate is spicy fruity refill sherry but not much of a malt character that shows. Starts sweet and then gets drowned by wood tannins on secondaries and aftertaste. Enjoyable for cask fiends. I feel this was bottled about 5 years too late. Takes water like a champ and does improve somewhat after taking off the edge. Still, I expected better.
Caol Ila — 8 years — 55.8% — Score: B+ — Smoky peat, sea salt, ex-bourbon vanilla sweetness. Nowhere to hide. Punchy and generously peated. A good, fun, young Caol Ila.
Caol Ila — 11 years — 55.8% — Score: B+ — Very buttery, salty, sweet and peaty in somewhat more familiar balance here. Strong and flavorful. A fun one. The peat is more toasted here rather than fresh and salty in the 8 year old above.
Ardmore — 25 years — 53.3% — Score: A — Sweet dried apricots on the nose. Salty, sweet, fruity incredibly complex light smoke on the palate. Woody, gently spiced and drying on the aftertaste. A very unique, yet fantastic thing for sure.
Laphroaig — 10 years — 53.4% — Score: B (D+ for me specifically) — Oily, salty, sweet, heavily peated; this reminds me very much of 10 year old Cask Proof bottling, though this is pure refill bourbon. Some love this oily lubricant note, old engine parts profile. I am not a fan.
Laphroaig – 22 years — 48.5% — Score: B+ — Very complex peat, lemon curd, cream (vanilla) soda, light texture. Aftertaste lingers forever with gentle smoke and even gentler sweet spices. This is like the best tropical mixed drink with some smoke in it. It’s the ‘favorite campground you come to every year’. It’s great in its straightforwardness. It takes the label of ‘good’ and pushes it to the extreme without becoming ‘amazing’.

Hey! How did this one get here from 2016?!
Laphroaig – 16 years — 53.2% — Score: A- — Distilled in 2000, this is one bottle I regret not reviewing. I finally got a sample from friend Ken by accident. This cannot be more different from the 10 above, and still be Laphroaig. Sweet fruits, gentle but very present peat, light and non-clinging texture that delivers flavors galore. This is a great pour. Off the typical OB profile for the distillery. None of the old lubricate notes that are present in young bottlings. Think over-smoked gouda that’s still light on the texture or punchier Peat Monster which has Caol Ila… so this particular one leans into that direction. More please!

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

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Craigellachie 15 & 17 & 21, Clynelish 13, OMC Samples Advance, Back to Speyside!

Craigellachie 15, Old Particular, K&L SP, 57.7%
Here we got 2006 Craigellachie, aged in sherry butt from Old Particular. The nose is excellently funky sherry backed by malt and alcohol, there’s something that reminds me of a complex mechanism in there, like a smell of an an old engine parts. Reasonably dry palate isn’t overwhelmed by sherry and offers tons of nutty, spicy character with a slightly bitter note and baking spices dominating. Medium-long aftertaste with light bitterness that fades into sweet malt note. The palate gets even better with water snapping everything into balance. Overall: This is excellent, interesting, intricate, nuanced but not subtle pour easily on par with OB Exceptional Casks from the distillery. It’s loud, it’s in your face, and it’s very complex in it’s flavors. Value: At $99 this was priced right for the sherry cask and age.
Score: B+ (A- w/ water)

Craigellachie 17, Original Bottling, 46%
Original bottling by Craigellachie, 17 years old and likely bottled in 2019. The nose got dark honey, vanilla latte, perfume and stewed plums. The palate got soft, yet bitter-sweet notes similar to coffee, it’s warming, lightly spiced with cloves and nutmeg and overall well rounded. The aftertaste got more of that soft black pepper and leftover baking spices finishing on a nice roasted vanilla note. Overall: This is rounded, enjoyable speysider. A very enjoyable night cap that’s not over-complicated. Admittedly, it shares the niche with many others of its type but that’s not a bad place to be. Value: Herein we got a problem. It’s priced at $159 which is nearly twice were it should be priced at. I would not pay more than a $100 for this and neither should you.
Score: B

Craigellachie 21, Distiller’s Art, 52.7%
A 1995 vintage single cask Craigellachie, aged in sherry butt, cask proof. Intense red fruits with plums dominating, alcohol & vanilla on the nose. Somewhat spicy, exceptionally fruity palate, yet again red fruits dominate thought vanilla mocha flavors with coffee and chocolate are ready to challenge for first place. Chili pepper and chocolate aftertaste with baking spice at the very end wraps up the experience. Overall: This really feels like the 17 above, amped to 11. Delicious. With water it almost becomes a ‘better 17′, which is an unfortunate comparison for the 17. Value: Priced at $129 this wasn’t all that cheap back in the day but nowadays that price is a bargain especially compared to almost every speyside malt at that age and cask type that is essentially priced at twice that amount.
Score: A-

Clynelish 13, Gordon & Macphail #307220, K&L SP, 57.8%
A Clynelish from 2009, aged 13 years in refill sherry hogshead. Unlike the Other Clynelish, this one leans towards heavy sherry. Tobacco cologne on the nose, dried apricots and plums, toasted honey covered by sherry blanket. Savory, woody, drying palate, that yet contains dark chocolate and caramelized molasses; huge hit of baking spices. Finally, honeyed, sweet, yet still toasty aftertaste that’s about medium length. Overall: Not my favorite Clynelish to be honest, this is one is almost smothered by the cask influence. The malt tries to stick it’s head out and in the end neither cask nor malt are able to win, making it an incoherent experience. Enjoyable for the secondary notes, and passable with the primary flavors. Value: Priced at $139 this is right on the edge of reasonable considering that some of these casks are spectacular. So the question becomes… do you feel lucky?
Score: B

And a quick set of reviews of old malt cask advanced samples from friend Ivan. All of these are in refill bourbon barrels and all proofed at exactly 50% abv.
Example of one of these. I’ll note that these are reasonably priced on sale ~$25 for the 200ml bottle, with Dailuaine probably being the worst value of the 4 per spec. Malt, citrus and pepper seem to be the theme with most most refill bourbon OMC bottles and these are no exception.

Dailuaine – 9 years — 50% — Score: C — Young and fresh, with newmake character. It’s earthy, it’s meaty, it’s peppery, it’s brash and it’s all sharp corners. Could be enjoyable at the right moment but certainly not for everyone. There are few interesting notes in the secondaries, but they are just developing and are yet to truly shine.
Balmenach — 14 years — 50% — Score: B — Citrucy, peppery, enjoyable OMC faire. Punchy alcohol in front, very active for only 50%, sweet and malty middle. Lots of peppers and baking spice at the tail end. A spiced lemon curd basically.
Glen Moray — 15 years — 50% — Score: B+ — Sweet, fruity, refreshing and still peppery, bordering on sichuan, yet balanced by the sweetness and umami. This one is solid and enjoyable.
Longmorn – 15 years — 50% — Score: B — Starts sweet and lemon-forward, but weers into toasted baking spices almost immediately. Curry mix, star anise, cloves, ginger, chili. Sweet, and very punchy.

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

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Glen Ord 8, Balmenach 10, Glengoyne 16, Glenturret 17, Bimber SB; Malty Mixed Bag

Glen Ord 8, Hart Brothers, K&L SP, 57.5%
A 2013 Glen Ord aged in 1st fill sherry butt by Hart Brothers. Delicious sherried nose, stewed fruits and brown sugar with some sherry sweetness and a touch of spiced vanilla. This is more of a modern sherry profile but it still got some of the spicy funky complexity notes still mixed in with more straightforward modern profile. Delicious sherry-forward palate that starts sweet and escalates into woody spice while losing most of its sweetness, yet never becoming dry. Warming lingering lightly salted syrup laden with gentle baking spices in aftertaste. Yet again not dry but more of a toasted sweet vanilla cookie. Water amps the bitterness note and arguably not needed as this drinks way below its proof. Overall: Enjoyable sherry bomb that imminently drinkable. I wish that malt could shine a little brighter here but the sherry is quite good in its profile so there’s not much to complain about. Arguably best Hart Brothers bottle I’ve tried so far. Straightforward and enjoyable flavor explosion for sherry lovers. Just avoid putting water into it. Value: Priced at $50 this is a ‘heck yeah’ of a deal.
Score: B+

Balmenach 10, Hart Brothers, K&L SP, 58.8%
A 2011 Balmenach from Hart Brothers, aged in 1st filled port pipe. A side note on color, for a port pipe this is actually quite lightly colored comparably and looks more like an ex-bourbon than port in the glass. On the nose, chocolate, pine needles, very potent alcohol. The palate is sweet with some port notes, but it’s mostly about the malt. Cask character does comes through but doesn’t dominate, syruped and spiced cherries coated with chocolate is the best approximation. That aftertaste is a literal ball of hot spice slowly rolling downhill. Literally nowhere to hide from alcohol here but it’s sure is a flavor bomb on the level of malted rye. Oh and it unfortunately falls apart with water. Overall: This is my second Balmenach cask and both are absolute flavor monsters. Perhaps it’s something with the malt itself. In the end, subtle this isn’t but it’s got *character*. I really wish it was not a port cask but good refill sherry, then it’d be positively stunning. I’ll wager that this is quite a polarizing bottling. Value: Priced at $75 it’s a pretty solid deal nowadays on pricing…
Score: B

Glengoyne 16, Old Particular, K&L SP, 59.1%
A 2005 Glengoyne from Old Particular, aged in refill hogshead. The nose is cracked pepper key lime pie. Palate is vanilla custard-smooth with tons of malt, yet not too sweet, hints of white peach and apricots appear somewhere there. Aftertaste is long and initially very active with pepper and cinnamon. The spices then tame down to a lingering sichuan pepper note. Water doesn’t seem to do much here, though perhaps allows a little more fruit to shine. Overall: Fruity, malty, and peppery mix that’s fun to drink. Value: Priced at $80 this is very solid value for the specs. If I recall, I was tempted to pick it up, being generally a fan of the distillery but opted not to.
Score: B+

Glenturret 17, Old Particular, K&L SP, 55.8%
A 2004 Glenturret from Old Particular, aged in sherry puncheon. Nose and color is very unmistakably sherry-driven. There’s also some sweet woodiness on the nose, meaning it’s not an absolute sherry bomb. Palate is quite… woody, with vanilla and toasted nutty note, almost completely ignoring it’s sherry influence. Very long and lingering aftertaste with spicy ginger and baking spices. There’s an interesting note at the very back of the aftertaste, that of a hot chocolate mix (nesquik comes to mind here) that I’m quite enjoying but it is subtle and gets lost behind spices easily if you’re not expecting it. Water amps the sweetness and offsets some of the drying spice, very recommended. Overall: Nice off-profile sherry cask that’s not too sweet but leans towards toasted wood notes instead, perhaps bordering on tannins. With water it’s definitely better and becomes a spiced chocolate-forward, enjoyable pour. Value: Priced at $99 this is a reasonable deal, especially for the age, uncommon distillery and a sherry cask.
Score: B (B+ w/ water)

Bimber Small Batch #3, 51.6%
A sample courtesy of friend Ivan. Ex-bourbon small batch from Bimber, which is actually bottled at cask strength. Fruity, perfume-forward, slightly spicy malt note with tropical notes, fried plantains come to mind and squarely put me in front of a plate of cuban food in my imagination. Some kind of green tropical fruit medley/fruit salad on the palate with that starts sweet but unfortunately thin and subtle, which is disappointing after punchy and interesting nose. Baking spices, cloves and peppers take over mid-palate continuing into the aftertaste. Medium length aftertaste with pepper and cinnamon, few wisps of wood char also appear. Overall: This is a flavorless plantain chip that’s been dusted with spice mix. I am not loving the combination. Youth of majority of the components and thin mouthfeel doesn’t mesh with spicy palate and aftertaste. Almost everything from the malt is completely overwhelmed by the cask spices after the first sip. The nose is great but there’s no interesting substance past that. It gets more and more unbalanced on the palate each time. Value: Priced at $100 for a NAS this is easily priced on par with a well-known blender that is named something-box. I’ll put this at ‘average-at-best’ for value, leaning towards not being worth it for a young NAS.
Score: C

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

Monday, June 19, 2023

Cali Gold, Blanton’s Gold, Frey Ranch Corn & Wheat, Murray Hill Club, Rare Character Bourbon; Americans Again

Going to be a mixed bag of samples or bottles I got to get them out of the way, some of these may be short.

Cali Gold, Private Blend Batch 3, 59.5%
This is a High Rye Kentucky Straight Bourbon, allegedly blended by the savant person down in Southern California. Nose got some toasted and wheated notes to it with a dollop of alcohol. The palate is rather corn-forwards and is somewhat spicy confirming the high rye part of the equation. Past the corn note, is where it gets interesting. Lots of baking spice intensity, few honey notes, touch of wood. The aftertaste pleasantly lingers for a while with burnt caramel flavor. This also gets better the longer it sits in the glass or with a drop or two of water, though it’s easy to overdo the water so a word of caution there. Overall: A competent sweet & spicy bourbon that reminds me of off-profile Weller Full Proof or perhaps a very very very good single cask of 1792. Value: Full stop here. Priced at $100 for 375ml prior to tax and shipping, this got one of the worst values in a while of anything I’ve spent on. This is absolutely not worth it.
Score: B+

Blanton’s Gold. 51.5%
Not quite regular Blanton’s, not quite SFTB Blanton’s. Single Cask as the norm and I have no idea on distillation or dump dates here, also BT Mash Bill #2. But likely to give me a good idea on what to expect. The nose is tropical fruit with light baking spice veil over it clearly coming from toasted wood of the cask. The palate, tropically sweet, mouth-watering, then dives into some toasted woodiness. Aftertaste is more of that mouth-watering toasted wood and cinnamon note that doesn’t overwhelm. Overall: I really like it. Perhaps it’s this specific cask but it’s a fantastic pour. It’s got the all the flavors I want and none that I don’t in a bourbon at the right proof/concentration. Value: Eeeeeeh… Not great as the only place that these are findable is reseller/secondary.
Score: A

Frey Ranch, 100% Malted Corn, 55%
A Frey Ranch single grain series, 100% corn in this case… aged 5 years and 10 months in what I can only assume single cask as these bottlings typically are. Actual malted corn whatever that means for corn, considering that it’s already quite sweet to begin with and doesn’t typically require starch to sugar conversion as barley does during malting process. The nose reminds me of a reasonably refined bourbon, corn and toasted wood with baking spices but is reasonably tame. I’m quite enjoying the nose on this, being like a bourbon-y perfume with just a touch of smoke. The palate is somewhat same as the nose and generally stays very even from where the nose started, subdued. The aftertaste is where it’s at here. It start with a cinnamon and ginger rush, then settles down into a very long aftertaste of buttery grilled corn. Seriously, this lingers exactly like foil-wrapped corn cob that’s been grilled with some butter inside of foil on the grill. Overall: Different, enjoyable, intriguing bottling that really showcases the grain (and also the cask to some extent). Not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but certainly is worth trying. Very solidly drinkable, provided you enjoy that grilled buttery corn note that, no joke, lingers for 30 minutes afterwards. Move aside, Mellow Corn, there’s a new 100% corn whisky king in town, and this one is actually worth a sip. Value: Priced at around ~$60 for 375ml this isn’t the best value for the money but there’s some credit due to quality and uniqueness.
Score: B+ (unique)

Frey Ranch, 100% Wheat Whiskey, 51%
A Frey Ranch single grain series, 100% wheat in this case… aged 6 years and 3 months in what I can only assume single cask as these bottlings typically are. A note that this really benefits from sitting in a glass for a while. The nose is paint thinner and vanilla caramel. The palate is somewhat thin on the texture yet manages to be a bit oily and mouth-coating. It brings toasted oak, baking spices and some breadiness but not much else to the table being reasonably neutral grain. The aftertaste got more of the baking spices and has a prominent peach note in it that brings perfume from nose full circle. Overall: Good spirit, aged in a good cask but there’s not much to work with when dealing with 100% wheat leaving this an interesting experiment. Probably more interesting as a mixer rather than as a neat pour, but does carry itself enough to be viable on its own. Value: Given away as part of a goody bag for @SFWBSS Fog City Social event the value is N/A but these are all priced about same so let’s slap a $60 valuation on this making it not that great of a value for 375ml, especially considering that wheat grain typically doesn’t bring anything interesting to the table being reasonably neutral.
Score: C+

Michter’s Rye, 2019 — 10 years — 46.4% — Score: B+ — Light and sweet rye with barely any dill or spice notes. Very pleasant to sip on, like a anise-seed and baking spices custard or a rye bread cookie. Overall: A pleasant mellow rye that’s ultimately forgettable
Bone Snapper MGP Rye — 4.5 years — 59.2% — Score: A- — A sample from Charu. High flavor high alcohol number on the nose. Starts sweet then slides into sugar syrup, eucalyptus and a touch of dill. Something between a typical MGP rye and old potrero malted rye here. Very interesting

So, personally, of the vs above… I’m torn. They’re both good for different reasons, with Michter’s being more casual and easy drinking and Bone Snapper being more fun and exciting. I’ll declare this a ‘tie’ situation due to either of these being more appropriate in different situations.

Murray Hill Club Bourbon, MGP Blend, Batch #38, 51.5%
A blend of MGP bourbons from Jos. A Magnus. On the nose: funky, nutty corn note and woody baking spices. It does benefit from sitting in a glass as it opens up. Sweet and slightly funky but not very complex palate, vanilla forward with . Medium length yet again custard-sweet with a dusting of cinnamon aftertaste. Overall: Pleasant, sweet, mellow MGP faire. Nothing particularly amazing, nothing particularly bad. A workable, drinkable bourbon that’s a fancy everyday pour for a fancy bourbon lover. Value: Here’s we got a problem. This is way too expensive for a casual everyday pour at $115.
Score: B+

Rare Character Exceptional Series, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 9 years old, K&L SP, 61%
That’s gotta be one of the longest titles I’ve written out as of yet. Alrighty, a K&L-picked single cask from Rare Character, Barrel E-KB-05, distilled in 10/2013 and bottled in 11/2022, making this 9 years old. Woody and spicy nose that’s well balanced on intensity despite high proof. Sweet palate that takes toasted wood note up the the edge of bitterness with warming baking spices following suit. Warming, woody, moderately spicy aftertaste with that warmth lingering for a while. After about 5 minutes there’s a notable grilled corn note that still lingers. Overall: Highly enjoyable bottling that doesn’t quite drink like anything else that off my recent memory. Some folk think this is sourced from Wild Turkey but who really knows. It’s darn good. Value: … In one word… ‘awful’! Priced at ~$170… that is exceptionally ‘meh’ as a blind purchase for a consumer.
Score: A-

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