Monday, April 13, 2020

@Work Bardstown, Old Forester (Cask), Linkwood

This is the last of my @Work Series for a bit as we’re all sitting at home due to COVID-19 fun times. This time its two tasty bourbons and a extra special treat.

Bardstown Fusion ~$60
Wife Notes: Sugar, vanilla, baking spices. Very apple-pie.

One of the newer entries to the american bourbon market, Bardstown tries to cover all the bases… Their bottle design is frankly beautiful. They are fairly open with what is in the bottle. The only true downside is the price. The fusion is their ‘cheap’ blend that starts at around 60 and it only goes from there. So back to the Fusion Series #1 is a blend of 60% of Bardstown Bourbon Company‚Äôs two-year-old wheated and high-rye Kentucky bourbons along with 40% of 11 year 7 month bourbon also from Kentucky. The high-rye is very apparent in the palate and somewhat balancing to the nose. But lets disassemble this one one step at the time. On the nose, that sweet rye and high wheat is very nose-forwards definitely brown sugar and rye cookies. In the mouth… mixed bag. The wheat and rye are tasty but the back is pretty strongly bulleit-like which is something not into my cup of drinking… Will I be picking up another bottle? No. Is it passable for @work drinks? Sure if you like fancy Bulleits. Plenty of better things at this price point.

Side note: I mention Bulleit bourbon several times in this review… At this point I’m not 100% sure that I’m name-calling correctly, but it has a very specific flavor profile I’m somehow associating with Bulleit bourbon in my head and too cheap/lazy to buy a bottle to try it to confirm. Specifically, it is a subtle caraway/anise/sour/metallic aftertaste that I don’t quite enjoy. One of those days I’ll figure out what exactly I’m tasting as it seems to be a common among sourced bourbons which suggests its a specific distillery character.
https://caskstore.co … eries-bourbon-750-ml
Score: N/A

Old Forester (Cask Single Barel) ~$40
Wife Notes: Too spicy and alcohol-y on the nose. Chanel #5 in the mouth.

Picked a bottle of $40 Old Forester single cask on a whim of trying something new. This is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum. Burnt sugar and roses on the nose promising a spice-rich contents of the glass… but wait… its… not rich and spicy… Instead its… Rosewater, tannic dark grapes, persimmons and that burnt-sugar vanilla coating it all without being overwhelming. Think bourbon nose, perfume mouth. Very disjointed. Very interesting and different. With a mash bill of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley the corn funk is evident but doesn’t detract from the experience. The aftertaste of spices lingers for a very very long time. Few of my coworkers think they were getting soapy aftertaste but I think they never drank perfume and it shows. Jokes aside, its an excellent, if subversive, bottle for a single cask at $40 though would be better appreciated in comfort of a contemplative environment… if you like corn-forward mash its a study of excellence and a steal at that price.
https://caskstore.co … arrel-bourbon-750-ml
Score: N/A

Special Treat: Linkwood 19 Cask Strength Alexander Murray ~$100
Wife notes: Too strong. Can’t taste or smell anything. (Editor Note: Weakling!)

This is a last treat from @work for a while. I was able to pick up a special taster off a whiskey cart in the building. Well, a present for myself it is then. On the nose, wood and cereal notes, visually it looks like a bourbon refill and nose confirms it being a reasonably fresh barrel with lots of wood and burnt sugar notes, yet a tiny bit of corn sourness rather than sherry funk. More cereal and sweet malt on the front. The back is all wood. Like licking a barrel almost, drying, roasted nuts or peanuts with skins on. Very woody but oh so delicious. The alcohol provides a solid burn with nowhere to hide from it and then long finish of more deeply roasted nuts, nearly metallic and lingers for a while. For me… delicious. Would I pick a bottle? If I could at reasonable price, I would! I like this style. Be-warned…. its more raw than it has the right to be at 19 years old and 54% abv. A bit of water calms the burn down to a much mellower and much more balanced refill bourbon that’s excellent across the board.
https://www.whiskyba … 46/linkwood-1997-amc
https://alexandermur … malts/linkwood-1997/
Score: N/A

Friday, December 20, 2019

@work Woodville, Wright Rye, Sonoma, Redwood Empire.

Woodinville Bourbon ~$40
Wife comment: Men’s cologne. Tasty.

A silly square bottle but a darn tasty offering. Not too subtle, not too funky. Right in the middle of that mellow bourbon territory. Great to have; not too complicated nor too mellow to miss out on what’s going in the glass or around you while not concentrating on the glass itself. Arguably one of the best thing for @work drinking we had for price/performance ratio.
Score: N/A

Wright & Brown Rye ~$80 (Batch 3. Bottle 1540)
Wife Comment: I like!

Let’s be clear. This is expensive rye, comparably. But it is so very very very good. (Personally, I liked their bourbon even more, but @work needed a rye). One of the mellower sweeter takes on a rye spirit. Yet somehow still deep and interesting without being overwhelmed by that rye-ish bite. Definite thumbs up, if you can find AND willing to deal with the price tag. Admittedly price is a bit high. But it is certainly deserving that ‘artisinal’ text on the label.
Score: N/A

Sonoma Distilling Bourbon ~$40
Another example of excellent California bourbon. I may be based in California so my store supplier is a little heavy on local representation… Hmmm… I think I like it. Nose is sour cherries mostly. Palate, continues that same sour cherry theme. A little bit of a bitter after taste, not unpleasant, maybe like walnut bitterness that lingers around, while long-lasting its also somehow a bit drying too. Middle is sweeter and spicy as bourbon should but spices dominate the sweetness without being unbalanced too much. Decently rounded if a little punch-y loud flavor profile. Not an everyday drinker (Woodinville seems to fit that better). But does REALLY well with fancy cherry or two to buff up the sweet, skip the vermouth for an improvised Manhattan.
Score: N/A

Redwood Empire Rye ~$40
Wife note: Bready

And yet Another California product… See the pattern here? (I’ll admit there few things I didn’t like but since I didn’t buy them I’m not planning to write about it). On the nose citrus and… acetone maybe (in a pleasant way, maybe nail polish a tad) a bit of rye loaf sourness and toasted crust. On the palate, sweet and restrained front but holy-moly does the back come in like a big wave. All those baking spices and still more bread-yness. Very long spicy finish that lingers for a while. Very good in a manhattan, quite enjoyable on its own though I’d consider it a bit ‘unbalanced’ if drinking straight as the profile heavily leans towards the back. Excellent mixer for @work or whenever. Plus supports local growers/producers/distillers which is always a plus. (Side note from memory: I’ve enjoyed most everything they had to taste, their bourbon was also excellent, yet again we had a mighty need of Rye @work)
Score: N/A

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

@work Deanston, Glenfarclas, Corsair, Dickel

Deanston Virgin Oak ~$40
Lets kick this off with a Scotch review, because why not?
Deanston Virgin Oak. Lets see, light, not terribly complex, malt, vanilla and wood on the palate. Reasonably pleasant nose of the same. Short pleasant aftertaste… of the same. This one doesn’t really try to be something its not. Lets also be honest, it’s the only $40 Single Malt bottle at the before-mentioned liquor store next to the office. Good, cheap, single malt, easy drinker. Sold!
Bonus Wife Comment: Sweet, vanilla/oak, wood. Exactly as described.
Score: N/A

Glenfarclas 12 ~$50 (Thanks Allan!)
Going off of memory here. More interesting budget scotch with somewhat similar flavor profile to Deanston above, plus a bit of nuttiness and light sherry influence on the palate (or more of a ex-bourbon thing). Very good, plenty of folks preferred this first, again likely due to slightly punchier/nuttier flavor profile, a tiny whiff of smokiness. General crowd-pleaser overall.
Score: N/A

Dickel Bottled-in-Bond ~$35
Wife note: Fancy men’s perfume. American version.

Exceptionally good american fare. Nose is some sorts of dark roasted nuts. Tiny bit of cherry sourness coming in through. Bottled in Bond works its own thing here, on the palate it packs quite a punch though balanced and quite drinkable. Exceptional in a mixed drink, especially if its a Manhattan. New whiskey of the year by Spirits Advocate for 2019. For the price, yeah I agree.
Personal note: Don’t try to taste things at the tail end of sinuses. This currently tastes like soap to me. I’ve opened it up a bit ago and other than being really punchy in your face kinda situation its really nice. Dickel makes some solid american whiskeys.
Score: N/A

Corsair Triple Smoke ~$40
So… I’m a little split on this one. We’ve bought and consumed at least 6 bottles (okay yeah we’re kinda insane I guess) of Cask-exclusive full strength (65%?) version of this general release… and well you can tell from number of repeats that its really really good. One of my favorite American bottles at the time.
The general version, coming in at exact 40 abv… comparably is… weak and simply doesn’t have the same punch as the cask strength version does… that is if you’re expecting cask strength flavors out of it… But it happens to be general production model release, not a supercharged drag racing version of that civic, but civic in itself is still good if compared to other cars in its class. So certainly expect that american malt caramel flavors, and 3 types of smoke certainly are to the front vs taking a backseat in the memory of the other bottles. Is it good by itself? Not at 40 abv. I wouldn’t chase it to the end of the earth to buy another bottle. Cask strength is a very different, smoked caramel experience that could be an interesting exploration in smoked bourbons.
Update: The newly rebranded and bottled at 50% abv single casks are… somewhere in-between the two opinions above. Not quite 40% flavored water, not quite concentrated experience of a 60+ percent abv. Makes for a fantastic manhattan just by adding couple of cherries to it. Multilayered smoke (think BBQ smokehouse) and reasonably okay amount of sweet american malt makes for a passable experience for such young malt.
Score: N/A

Drinking @work intro

Intro

Lets start with the basics.. Don’t drink and root, or do. Whatever is safe. But generally behave in a SAFE FOR WORK MANNER!!! To be clear: I strongly discourage drinking at the office during work hours, as that’s very unprofessional. What happens after work is done… well that’s entirely different question and splitting a bottle among friends/coworkers is a hell of a lot cheaper option to going out to a bar where no decent drink will cost you less than $10 each.

I happen to have the luxury working next to a fairly decent liquor store that also happens to do free tastings regularly. Lucky me! https://caskstore.co … /in-store-tastings/

Plenty of decent bottles are to be had at a reasonable price point for work consumption, where opportunity to contemplate or proper glassware may not be easily available. So a bigger focus is made towards tasty, easy drinking, uncomplicated, and budget-friendly bottles.

In the @work series I’ll try to focus at the bottles I’ve had in a work environment, either through tasting or sometimes from memory. Expect reviews to be shorter but not less interesting.

You may also find items mentioned are a lot more accessible and/or much easier to find as we tend to acquire bottles based on tastings and those tend to be more widely available brands or varieties.