Sunday, November 5, 2023

Bainbridge, Laws Rye, Bardstown Ferrand, NULU Double Oaked, Dry Fly, Bourbon and Rye

Definitely a mixed bag here. As usual catching up

A friend Rohan shared some American Wheat Whiskey from Bainbridge Distillery with me. They are located in Seattle WA. Some of my impressions are below going off memory on these.

Bainbridge Barbados (Rum) Cask — N/A years — 43% — Score: C — Drinkable, yet very forgettable. Any rum influence is lost. If anything the extra rum cask finish may be giving it a bit of a astringent note.
Bainbridge Maple Syrup Cask — N/A years — 43% — Score: B — Sweet, dessert-y and enjoyable. Not overly complicated but sometimes you don’t need anything complicated.
Bainbridge Battle Point Cask Proof — N/A years — 67.3% — Score: B- — I cannot recall anything about this. It’s that ‘memorable’. The high proof is a plus and base spirit is likely same as the others. The score is provisional.

Bainbridge Mizunara Cask, Cask Proof, 67.58%
This is a 100% Wheat whiskey, distilled in Seattle WA. distillery and aged in Mizunara Oak casks. Likely aged around 6 years. The nose is pure vanilla with a touch of green woodyness. It invokes images of sugar cookies throughout. The palate is sweet, with more vanilla notes dominating. Alcohol is quite prominent, bringing warm notes to the palate. Several fresh wood notes remain, bringing some balance and relief to initial hit of sweetness. A veritable cornucopia of baking spices follows with cinnamon, ginger, and cloves leading the charge into the medium length aftertaste. Overall: This is a reasonably enjoyable and layered bottling, that requires some time and contemplation to really enjoy and appreciate the flavors. Considering that this is a wheat whiskey, it’s certainly not for every bourbon drinker but it still stands on its own. Value: Priced at $150 and being a distillery-only limited edition this is… still a high price tag to swallow blindly. Though perhaps palatable based on exclusivity for the fans of distillery or fans of wheat whiskeys.
Score: B+

Sagamore Rye Single Cask — 8 years — 55.7% — Score: B — A Sagamore Rye. It’s a drinkable, flavorful, mildly spiced rye. Same style as the other Sagamore I’ve reviewed in the past…

Laws Rye 5 years, K&L SiB #504, 61.75%
This mash bill is called San Lois Valley Rye. And it’s an interested one to try. The nose is all chocolate with alcohol and not many places to hide. The palate has an oddly ‘dusty’ undertone, with notes of pine, chocolate, alcohol again, lot of baking spice. The aftertaste goes right down the chocolate malt stout beer path suggesting a strong presence of malted rye grain in the mashbill. Water helps a little bit with taking the edge off. Overall: The experience is extremely unique; feeling like a mix between 95/5 rye, malted rye from Old Potrero and a chocolate porter backed by a stiff proof undertone. Unique and unexpectedly different, it’s likely to be too different for many. This will 100% appear to a narrow segment that loves chocolate porters and malted rye together. Value: It’s great price on sale for $50 and somewhat passable at $75 MSRP.
Score: C+

Bardstown Collaboration Series: Ferrand, 55%
This a blend of 7 and 11 year old Kentucky bourbon aged in Ferrand (cognac) Casks for 8 months. Note: Ferrand and Bardstown are owned by the same company. This is very nutty on the nose… and there’s only one standout nutty producer in Kentucky (*cough*Beam*cough*). Thankfully with time some of the nuttiness from the nose fades into more of a toasted granola notes. Even still this reminds me of a peanut butter and chocolate granola bar on the nose. The palate is strongly floral, fruity solidly grounded… bourbon. Light nuttyness remains but it plays well with the floral notes. It’s notable that vanilla or wood notes do not overwhelm here, sweet baking spices, stewed dark fruits. vanilla rounds everything off. The finish brings some cinnamon into the game mostly continuing notes from the palate by replacing vanilla but keeping everything else mostly same. Overall: I’m torn here. This is hard to hate but also not quite easy to love without already being a fan of Beam products. Yet, the addition of cognac finish makes it not quite typical bottling from the distillery but something rather different. It’s floral, somewhat nutty, it’s sweet, it’s not over-wooded. It goes WONDERFULLY with a tiny piece of ice, opening up those floral notes. Value: Eeeeh, Bardstown is overpriced. This was like $140… For a finished 7-11 year old blend… that’s not a good deal. I wouldn’t have paid it blindly.
Score: B

NULU Double Oaked Bourbon, El Cerrito SP, 58%
It’s MGP, finished for 6 months in a fresh cask. The nose is a caramelized sugar and vanilla bomb in a good way. The palate is sugar, vanilla, alcohol bomb with a touch of spice in a good way. The aftertaste is all sugar with baking spice, in this case leaning towards cinnamon, in a good way. There’s a healthy amount of charred wood in the flavor mix, yet it doesn’t make it overly woody, but balances the extra sweetness well. Overall: This is a dessert version of a typical MGP bourbon with extra vanilla and sugar coming from the secondary aging. Sweet, vanilla-forward and reasonably uncomplicated. It’s tasty enough to keep on the backburner for that one-note dessert pour. Value: Total Wine has a similar bottle at $105… which isn’t all that of a bargain to be honest for a likely 5-6 year MGP distillate.
Score: B

Dry Fry Whiskey, K&L SP, Specialty Barrel #306, 72.05%
This bottling is from Spokane Washington Dry Fly distillery. Subtitled O’Danagher’s Hibernian whiskey, which roughly translates to be a four grain bourbon. I’ll also note the 72% abv which is usually way too hot for my palate. Sweet vanilla and toasted wood are the main notes on the nose. Then come aromatic baking spices and a touch of varnish from the cask char. The palate starts off sweet, then becomes somewhat funky, finishing off with a spice avalanche that rolls into the aftertaste. Wood varnish, toasted sugar and vanilla that is noticeably diminishing from the nose, alcohol that is well-tempered by 9 years in a cask, a touch of grain funk. This drinks like something that’s about 130 proof, solidly 15 proof points below it’s stated value. Aftertaste is all cinnamon, ginger and sichuan pepper numbness, likely from the proof that is well hidden here. Overall: Utterly different, utterly drinkable, very enjoyable. There’s not too much going on in the glass but it doesn’t need to be. Value: I’ll admit that I’ve bought it on a whim when it went on sale for $44 and at that point it was very worth it. Original price of $60 that is still very acceptable for a 9 year old single cask in the current market.
Score: B+

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