Sunday, December 3, 2023

2023/24 Chris-tmas Holiday Advent 2 (Sample Exchange)

A local group I’m part of is doing a Christmas Calendar of blind samples. There are 22 samples with 22 guesses and 22 blind reviews. This is organized by friend Chris, thus the title. The bottles are supposed to be $80+ which both limits the choices and makes it much harder to guess. I’ll be updating this as I go! Previous year’s event is here: https://www.aerin.or … y:entry221204-210258

The format is going to be:

Name — Brief Notes — Guess: — Like/Dislike — Reveal:

  1. GN (That’s me) — Classic toasted sugar, wood, roasted corn on the nose; all the telltale signs of a bourbon profile. Toasted caramel popcorn, vanilla, alcohol, and sugar on the palate. Cinnamon, baking spices and cigar smoke in the secondaries and aftertaste. Slightly drying seasoned sawdust at the very end — Guess: N/A — Yay — Reveal: Woodinville Bourbon, Hi-Time Wine Cellars SiB #1576, 61.94%
  2. TJ — The nose is spicy, dusty, drying, and nutty. Profile continues the trend of being spicy and nutty evoking bourbon thoughts in my imagination. It’s fiery and laden with wood. Loads of cinnamon and toasted pecans through the entire thing. That proof is literal fire and could be too much for some. I’ve added a drop of water to calm it down — Guess: Beam: Bookers. Uncertain second guess: Coy Hill high proof from Jack — Yay- — Reveal: Bookers 2022-04, Pinkie’s Batch, 61.20%
  3. Josh — Perfume, toasted corn and wood on the nose. Very sweet, yet woody, palate with loads of toasted vanilla. Definitely high proof. Spicy, peppery aftertaste that lingers with residual toasted sugar — Guess: Heaven Hill. Elijah Craig BP or Store Pick — Yay — Reveal: Redwood Empire, Pipe Dream Cask Strength Bourbon, MGP Blend, 58.4%
  4. IT — Punchy, mineral, spicy, slightly salty nose. It’s a rye! Clean, spicy, vanilla and wood palate, yet not overwhelmingly sweet. The ‘typical’ rye notes aren’t as dominant here so it drinks closer to bourbon instead. Lots of secondary notes that are highly enjoyable with warming spice and cooling mint. Subdued, lightly sweet, and unremarkable aftertaste that lingers around without doing much — Guess: Michter’s rye. Possibly: Canadian Rye: Found North? — Yay- — Reveal: Redwood Empire, Rocket Top Straight Rye BiB, Local Grain, 50%
  5. KM — I’m loving the nose, very classic bourbon, yet light and not ‘corny’. Whoa, that palate is punchy and spicy but still speaking bourbon flavors to me. The spice is nearly bitter, yet sufficiently balanced out by the rest. The flavor peaks and then mellows out into a very gentle, but sadly short aftertaste — Guess: Something wheated. Perhaps Maker’s BEP — Yay- — Reveal: Peerless Kentucky Straight Rye, 56.65%
  6. MBA — Punchy and spicy. High proof! Nutty with toasted wood, spicy and untamed flavors on the palate. Did I mention lots of wood? Long and meandering aftertaste with great tropical note at the very end — Guess: ECBP, for funsies: C923 — Yay — Reveal: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, C923, 66.5%
  7. DW — Very punchy alcohol on the nose; perfume and toasted vanilla sugars. That palate is fiery coming into it cold but grows much better with repeated sips. It’s full of sweet spices and slightly drying. A lightly sour note goes through the palate suggesting a familiar distillery. Long lingering, dry, and spicy-hot aftertaste follows. Plenty of hot peppers in this one — Guess: Old Forester Barrel Proof — Meh+ — Reveal: Elijah Craig Private Barrel 8 years old, Royal Liquors “Joker’s Wild”, 65.45%
  8. MC — Salty-sweet umami nose, light smoke note, thought it’s likely the cask char. What seems like a typical sourced MGP note to me, high proof, high cinnamon and peppers. Lots of vanilla. Lingering and mouth coating. Very sweet and vibrant with fresh cask notes. A fiery dessert pour that I suspect it double-casked or finished in something — Guess: MGP-sourced. Nashville Barrel? Nulu Double Oak/Toasted? — Yay- — Reveal: Obtainium Canadian Whiskey 27 years old, Maple syrup barrel finish; 77.6%
  9. ?? — This brings a smile to my face. Almost certainly because I know this profile. Brown sugar, toasty vanilla, eucalyptus, mint, spice through the entire thing. Finish that lasts forever — Guess: 99% Certain this is an Old Potrero Malted Rye, Single Cask — Yay — Reveal: Old Potrero Malted Rye 9.3 years old, TW SP, 66.1%
  10. KJF — A rye-light nose that’s balanced out by sweet toasted wood. Both proofy and not overwhelmingly so. Lots and lots of wood notes in the mix, the rye is there but not domineering. Something familiar yet I’m unable to put my finger on it. Medium length aftertaste with lightly-drying wood yet again. Enjoyable and forgettable at the same time — Guess: Sagamore Rye SiB — Yay- — Reveal: Nulu Toasted Rye 6.5 years, MGP, TW SP, 60.2%
  11. SP — The runners in the glass for this are epic. Clean nose with lots of toast notes, a touch of mint. Medicinal. Seems like a rye, but I’m having doubts. Yet another one where spice is present but doesn’t dominate. Mouth-coating with with a notable note I’m not sure how to describe. Blueberries? Blackberries? Lingering aftertaste with more of that berry pie, cinnamon and toasted sweet wood — Guess: Kinda stumped. Likely American. Barrell? I can see this as a blend. Subtle Spirits? — Yay+ — Reveal: NBC Straight Rye (MGP) 6 years old, Golden Gate SP; 60.53%
  12. BT — Punchy, toasted wood on the nose. The absolutely first thought that popped into my head when I licked it in passing was ‘Blanton’s’, but it’s too proofy for regular one. Sweet & woody palate, lots of baking spices and cinnamon, but it’s sugar sweetness not corn syrup. High ‘perfume’ content, aromatic and punchy palate. Warming, enveloping aftertaste that lingers around — Guess: Maker’s Private Cask? Buffalo Trace: Weller Full Proof. Possibly: Stagg Jr — Yay- — Reveal: Jack Daniels Barrel Proof Rye, SiB, 64.25%
  13. SR — Something familiar, again. The nose is sweet toasted wood and vanilla powdered cinnamon sugar. More cinnamon and sugar on the palate. This reminds me of MGP bourbon profile. Cinnamon, vanilla and sugar all the way into the aftertaste. Not funky, highly enjoyable — Guess: MGP sourced… Remus. NBC. Clyde May’s 110. — Yay — Reveal: Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye, 54%
  14. PC — Sugar, vanilla and alcohol nose, not much else going on in there. Dripping, perfumed, agave syrup basically. Sweet, yet not very complex palate, balanced alcohol, yet still proof-forward as there’s nowhere to hide. Full of sweet and hot peppers. Same sweet & hot peppers continue into long aftertaste — Guess: Light whiskey of some kind. Unfinished obtainium. Balcones something? — Meh+ — Reveal: Frey Ranch Bourbon, PlumpJack SP, 64.23%
  15. KT — Smelling salts? Geez that nose is pungent. Mint, untamed alcohol, this smells like something from a workshop can. Sweet & punchy palate with light mint and spice notes. Same on the aftertaste — Guess: Obtainium Rye? Reminds me of Balcones Rye on profile though. — Nay! — Reveal: Frey Ranch Bourbon, WFM Norcal SP, 62.23%
  16. JDK — Familiar. Familiar. Floral palate, nose, aftertaste. Bourbon. Spices. Great body. — Guess: Four Roses — Yay- — Reveal: Four Roses Barrel Strength (OBSV), Sam’s Club PS, 53%
  17. KK — Familiar. Familiar. Floral palate, nose, aftertaste. Bourbon. Very Spicy. Minty. Woody. — Guess: Four Roses — Meh+ — Reveal: Four Roses Barrel Strength (OESF), Bevmo SP, 60.5%
  18. BL — Hot & floral nose. Sweet & hot palate with lots of toasted wood. Drying aftertaste that doesn’t do anything special, keeping the entire experience mostly in-line with itself and only varying in its intensity — Guess: Woodford Reserve High Proof — Yay- — Reveal: Old Forester Barrel Proof, QBB & Neat Drinkers Association SP, 65.55%
  19. TT — Great nose, lots of toasted vanilla sugar and wood notes. The palate… malt? Hot cherries? Aaaaand I’m fairly sure I know what this is. There are tons of bottles with similar profile, but i’ll go with what came to my head first — Guess: Aberlour A’Bunadh — Yay — Reveal: Glendronach CS Batch 10, 58.6%
  20. CB — Spicy and slightly nutty nose, subdued. Rye-light palate, mint, slight malty notes, nuttyness. Reminds me very vaguely of malted rye profile but super subtle. Long sweet and slightly spicy hot aftertaste that lingers — Guess: I cannot quite figure out if it’s a malt, a rye, or a bourbon! Hedging my bets here with all three. Shenks, WhistlePig, and wildcard malt being Amrut Malted Rye — Yay — Reveal: Stranahan’s Single Malt 10 year, Mountain Angel; 45.1%
  21. TV — *Very* corn-forward nose. High proof, corn-forward palate, vanilla and wood. Toasted cask notes dominate the palate and greatly contribute to the experience. Long aftertaste with gentle spices. — Guess: Maker’s Mark Private Cask — Meh+ — Reveal: Cali Gold, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, SFBWSS SP, 59.5%
  22. VS — Very nice woody and somewhat proofy nose. Actually not that proofy palate. Sweet and vanilla-dominated balance with some more wood in the mix. Gentle, cereal and vanilla pancake lingering aftertaste — Guess: Blanton’s Gold — Yay+ — Reveal: Old Weller Antique/107, Beer Baron SP, 53.5%

Happy Holidays!