Monday, April 25, 2022

Hirsch Yellow; Russell’s 13; Woodford Reserve 17, Four Gate, Elijah Craig PB Bourbon Assortment 7

Samples provided by friends Jeremy, Michael, and Meghan (again)… Or perhaps i simply split the samples from them into rye and bourbon piles to review. It’s a mystery… *jazz hands*

Hirsch SFWSBB SiB, 66.5%
Another SF whiskey group pick?! Say it ain’t so!? Actually they’ve been on a roll lately, actively picking up some decent or not so decent bottlings but the preferences in the palate of the beholder on this. This is a Hirsch reserve single cask (Yellow label) which is btw an MGP sourced product that Hotaling Inc has purchased the brand rights for. It’s not the SAOS mash bill but still MGP stills… (See what I did there?). Nose is quite intensely woody, perfumed and cinnamon forward; an odd whiff of rye mint is also present. Quite creamy palate consistency… this is MGP high rye bill isn’t it? Quite hot on the palate, almost quite unbearably so for me. Warm cinnamon, baking spices, and wood aftertaste that last a long time. A bit of water drops it down into palatable range on the alcohol yet rye notes become more prominent. Overall: Creamy sweet and quite spicy this is a rye-forward whiskey may please those that are looking for a burn, but honestly it’s rather generic. Worth trying at a bar… or friends BBQ… or fishing trip. Still quite overwhelming and fundamentally it’s also 100% not memorable… Value: This was like $80 or $90 and came bundled with Hirsch Horizon (blue label) bottle. Not a great deal honestly.
Score: B-

Russell’s Reserve 13, Cask Proof, 57.4%
The super highly in-demand Russell’s Reserve 13 years old that’s high proof and non-chillfiltered (as opposed to the 55% 10 year old ‘regular’ single cask). Obviously this is from Wild Turkey stills. Very cologne-forward nose, wood, flowers of some sort of dark and broody variety… Basically Russell’s Reserve but more concentrated on the nose, not boring at all. Flowery, woody, caramel peanuts on the palate, thankfully the roasted nuts mostly fade with repeated sips. Baking spices and vanilla on the medium-length aftertaste. Overall: Wow if I didn’t know any better I’d almost guess this was a very good Dickel, or a Dickel blend. It’s truly very good, the flower notes are both complex and not overpowering individually, there’s clearly balance between front/back/nose… Yet… It’s like drinking cologne-Dickel blend sometimes and I should note that while associate peanuts with that distillery… I’ve had bottles when it was similarly perfumed but not peanutty. Value: K&L Lists this at $70 MSRP… Extremely solid value as is with most high proof turkey products. Secondary is ~$600 (we don’t talk about secondary)…
Score: B+

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection #17 (Woodford Malt Whiskey apparently), 45.2%
This is the Five Malt Stouted Mash edition. This comes from the five malts used in the mash bill for this whiskey—Distillers Malt, Wheat Malt, Pale Chocolate Malt, Carafa 1 Malt and Kiln Coffee Malt. While the proportions are not revealed, Woodford reps say the percentages of these malts range from 70 percent to just over one percent in the mash bill. Lots of chocolate and some coffee on the nose. They really weren’t kidding about the whole ’stouted’ mash bill. This is quite beer-like whiskey a very strong on alcohol stout. Some wood, but mostly sweetness and roasted notes of coffee and more bitter chocolate. Quite not very sweet, but balanced. Aftertaste is yet again more of that high proof light stout notes, rather than whiskey or malt or wood. Overall: This tastes like a solid light coffee stout which is quite possibly what the whiskey maker was going for here. Worth a bar pour but it’s really more of a novelty. Effectively a stout-flavored malt. Value: I seen this in Total Wine for $120… perhaps for an interesting checkbox it’s something but honestly don’t do it unless you like whiskey AND beer together. Basically if you like a Boilermaker with stout… this is premixed for you before you swallow.
Score: B

Four Gate; Kelvin Collab #3, 61.85%
This is a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, finished in PX and Rum casks. Nose is quite corn forward, though with a very slight sweetness undertone from sherry. I’m guessing Barton source at this. Fairly typical, if a little sweeter barton full proof palate. Oak, fruit leather, coffee, figs it’s all tight on the palate. The sherry and rum notes are quite subdued really compared to the spirit. Long aftertaste that’s sweet and quite smooth unlike typical barton. Some pepper spice comes out towards the end for an interesting peppery sensation. Overall: This is quite interesting Barton full proof that’s honestly tastier than the regular version. May be not a quintessential bourbon for me but a quintessential Barton. Value: This is MSRP at ~$200 holy cow! That’s bad value.
Score: A-

Elijah Craig Private Barrel, Royal Liquors’s SP, 71.05%
Oh a fiery one indeed. Hazmat! Nose is corny Heaven Hill nose, not quite as woody as ECBP but pretty close. If i recall this this 10 year old barrel. The palate is real hot yet still drinks under the proof. Probably first 140+ that I can swallow and not cringe. Woody, typical Heaven Hill profile. Quite a bit of wood in-fact that’s balancing the sweetness making it a little bit bitter-sweet like a very dark chocolate bar. Fairly long aftertaste with more wood, chocolate, sweetness, bitterness, some spice. Overall: There’s a reason most folks, including me, enjoy Elijah Craig Barrell Proof and this proves to be no exception. Blindly this really does taste like a ECBP. This is slightly concentrated and ‘unique’ due to single cask version of that. Is it ‘better’? I don’t know. Is it good? Yes. Value: This was $99… for the novelty and the proof… maybe? Honestly though ECBP is a solid value and this is slightly under that valuation.
Score: B+

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