Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Medley of sample reviews! Back in action!

It is(was) middle of roughly middle of the April when i started writing this. The allergies are killing me and it’s time to catch up on some of the samples. Then I was on-and-off sick with a nasty cold for a month. Everything in excess, right?

I’ve recently had a lovely tasting of things from Single Cask Nation which bottles lovely things… If you willing to afford paying their prices.
Cameronbridge 26, Refill Sherry — Dark, sherried and quite delicious. Coffee, chocolate, wood. — Score: Yay
Benrinnes 10, refill bourbon — Lovely and fruity nose, peppery palate. — Score: Meh+
Linkwood 13, American (Wine) Cask — Fantastic, lovely red fruits galore! $150 is kinda obscene cost though — Score: Yay
Inchgower 10, ‘Double Cask’, Ex-bourbon & Sherry — Really lovely sherried malt of unidentifiable origin — Score: Yay-
Caol Ila 8, ex-bourbon — Sweet, fruity and smoky in the best Caol Ila fashion — Score: Yay

Hubert Calvados 30, Pays d’Auge, K&L SP, 49%
Honestly no idea what I’m getting into here. This is a calvados from 1993, selected by K&L. Obviously I’m looking at it from whiskey-drinker’s perspective. Thanks David K for the sample. The nose is very armagnac-style and oozes of woodiness. There’s a note of old apple skins that plays well with the vanilla there. More and more wood on the palate, there’s also an odd soap-like note that I detect that probably something that’s inherent to calvados, that’s akin to a wax or paraffin flavor. The strange note is present through the entire experience, but not unwelcome. Medium length vanilla, spice and sweetness in the aftertaste follows. Overall: My sample was enjoyable though I cannot see reaching for this with regularity. Much much better than any other apple brandy I’ve tried… but that’s a very short list that I’ve sampled of that particular spirit. Value: At $99 this is basically a steal for the quality and age.
Read more here:
Score: B-

Gregarious Grump 30 Year Old Fine Bois Cognac, 1991, 52.9%
Another sample courtesy friend DavidK… Another sample from Chris Hart’s bottling company. This time a 30 year old cognac from 1991. Probably from Comandon domaine though that’s not a guarantee. As usual the disclaimer about whiskey-drinkers perspective, don’t take me too seriously, blah blah. The nose is dried fruits, vanilla extract, *strong* wood varnish. Strong wood notes continues into the palate, then thankfully opens up into tropical fruits and exotic spices… Followed by ‘dusty’ (tannic) finish that thankfully doesn’t quite overwhelm. Overall: This is a treat to those that like cognacs. Yet, it’s unlike typical light cognac style. Blind, I’d say it was armagnac. Either way, great drinker; it’s very enjoyable for those that like the woody brandies. Value: K&L cleared them out at $97 which is a fantastic value. The original MSRP is arguably still good in retrospect of tasting it.
https://www.klwines. … cognac-750ml/1667424
Score: B+

Old Forester (10) 1924, 50%
It’s a small sample, so I’ll be brief on this one. Also, thank you friend Michael! Nose is woody vanilla, with a touch of varnish in a good way. Palate is excellent bourbon, wood, spices, vanilla. Nothing too strong, nothing too weak. Overall: Excellent bourbon. Value: At MSRP of $115 it’s a touch steep… But this is competing with highly desired and allocated bottles here.
Score: A-

Pursuit United Bourbon, Small Batch, 54%
Continuing the theme of bourbon reviews. A blend of straight bourbon whiskeys here. Corn-forward nose with caramel and toasted wood notes. Enjoyable palate that delivers more or less all the typical bourbon notes, baking spices, cinnamon, vanilla and toasted corn. Lots of wood and complexity with plethora of primary notes, yet some of the funky grain eithers still remain. Peppery, spicy, slightly woody finish. Few drops of water helps with the palate. Overall: Enjoyable but too young blend. It really can use some more time to mellow out and let more of the funk disappear. Enjoyable and but not outstanding at the same time Value: About $70 is about average for high proof bourbon blend.
Score: B-

Ironroot Harbinger, 57.5%
A straight bourbon whiskey from Texas distillery? Does it go? It goes! Toasted vanilla and wood caramel nose. This smells somewhat… festive with mulled spice notes, without the wine. Enjoyable typical-bourbon palate with good balance of spice, wood and no offputting flavors. More of that toasted vanilla wood. An interesting eucalyptus and mint note shows up that I would associate with malted rye too. Interestingly, more of the malted rye notes in the aftertaste together with typical bourbon flavors. Water makes it sweeter, I wouldn’t bother as it drinks below its proof anyways. Overall: Surprisingly enjoyable. Nothing mind-bending, but a well-executed high proofer that’s got enough of the age and flavors to not lose in its category. There’s no way to compete with ECBP but this is sort of a similar thing in spirit. Value: ~$65, a reasonable price for this.
Score: B

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof 118.4, 59.2%
A woodford reserve? High proof? Perhaps a decent one? Nose is deeply toasted wood and nutty caramel, very cologne-like. Sweet, nutty, woody, vanilla-forward palate. Slightly bitter baking spices around off the aftertaste. With water, some of the bitterness recedes, leaving few sweeter notes in the aftertaste. Overall: A very enjoyable Woodford Reserve pour. I’m reasonably pleased with this batch and it’s well worth trying. Obviously, the profile varies somewhat with each iteration. Value: At $109-119 it’s not particularly good deal. If it was at $99, it’d be passable value. I would certainly not pay sticker price for it but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
Score: A-

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