Saturday, August 21, 2021

Bourbon/Rye Assortment 7, Yellowstone, Old Elk, Balcones

Some more samples of American whiskeys (?)… Let’s GO!

Old Elk Sour Mash Reserve, Batch 1, 52.5%
According to the info out there the mash bill is 51% corn, 34% malted barley, and 15% rye and it was distilled in New York state somewhere and aged 6 years. Quite corn-and-grain-forward nose with solid alcohol component and unmistakable ‘funk’. Blindly this reminds me of some of the Heaven Hill bottles but that’s blindly. The palate is very pleasant with sweet silky texture and well-integrated wood notes, some cinnamon and plenty of vanilla caramel. Because of high malted barley content, this is quite malty in the undercurrents of flavor. Is pleasant but drops off reasonably quickly though leaves nice woody/spicy/malty residual notes on the back of the tongue. Overall this is quite tasty on the ‘outside’ flavors and somewhat lacking on the subtle, as is the case with a lot of bourbons. I’m still enjoying my sample so it’s certainly is drinkable. Well worth a bar pour, perhaps not quite everyday bottle drink. Very oddly this reminds me of a thinner and slightly weaker Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, but without the underlying complexity that 12 years in a cask can bring.
Score: B-

Yellowstone Straight Bourbon, Total Wine SP, Single Cask, 54.5%
A total wine store picked single cask… This is so peanutty, that if I didn’t read the label that it’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon I’d swear this is Dickel sourced. But more likely this is Barton and I’m likely smelling Barton’s roasted corn situation. This is a Luxco brand and product as Yellowstone itself doesn’t distill to the market but sources and blends. Anywho, peanuts aside… Nose is more raw peanuts vs roasted (Dickel peanuts). Palate is corn, some peanut butter, cinnamon, vanilla creme, reasonably sweet overall. Aftertaste is light wood, more vanilla peanut brittle. Frankly this isn’t my thing. Considering my experience with another Yellowstone over here: … I think I’ll do a hard pass on any Yellowstone products for a few years.
Score: D

Balcones Rumble, Spec’s SP, 69.4%
And now for something different.

Balcones says Rumble is “crafted from fermented Texas wildflower honey, Mission figs and turbinado sugar, it is twice distilled in traditional copper pots then artfully matured in premium oak casks.” So definitely not bourbon or malt but closer to a Rhum Barbancourt with figs and honey in the distillate and aged in Texas.-https://www.reddit.c … _22_balcones_rumble/

Let’s dig in… Ruuuuuubbbeery fig taste for me, quite interesting and almost up sherried rum/brandy (which is basically what it is) way but there’s a note in there I cannot get over and it’s spoiling everything for me. This is a 3rd bottle that I ran into with overwhelming rubber note for me. You get a sample and somehow don’t taste that… all the power to you, as this is quite drinkable and very unique and interesting but for my palate that’s a bust. There rubber does fade slightly occasionally and then it’s quite a tasty drink… but only occasionally.
Score: N/A (Not a whiskey)

Cat’s Eye Obtainium Tennessee Rye 5 years old, 61.1%
Cat’s Eye distillery bottles Obtainium brand which mostly bottles some solid MGP Light Whiskeys and few other things, as well as an occasional sourced rye. This bottle happens to be a 5 year old cask proof Tennessee Rye, suggesting that this is either Jack or Dickel rye with my finger falling towards Dickel based on some external information, even though Dickel produces a fairly low amounts of rye and I’m no aware of any cask proof editions of it. The interesting thing here is that bottle says “Distilled in Tennessee” which is at odds with Dickel’s regular rye famously is distilled at MGP and aged in Tennessee. Nutty but not overly so nose with no real peanuts going on. Quite highly octane from the proof though still decently balanced vs rye spices. Some dark fruits with lots and lots of mint with dill and some eucalyptus on the palate. Very anise-driven palate and aftertaste that lasts for quite a while. Contrary to the nose, this drinks quite well once past the first moment of initial burn. Overall quite nutty, dilly, and minty experience in the glass. Very different from most rye whiskeys I’ve had. Overall I’ll say I quite enjoy it though not for everyday drink, I can see myself pouring myself some and sharing this unique bottle occasionally. I would heavily suggest getting a sample or a pour from a bar. Value: This was circa-$60 so flavor to price ratio for days here. If you like dill and mint in your drink this probably pushes up to B+ grade or so.
Update: Confirmed to be a Dickel-sourced.
Score: B

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

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Mannochmore 13, Scapa 20, Strathmill 11, Kaio The Sherry, Clynelish 14 G&M

Mannochmore 13, Carn Mor Strictly Limited, 47.5%
A limited edition from PX Sherry aged Mannochmore which not a common distillery to see in retail. The nose is full of orange oil and sweet sherry fruit notes leaning towards quite sweet tropical fruit punch. Surprisingly… hollow on the palate. There’s plenty of oak and nuttyness but none of the sweetness that the nose promises shows up and the palate ending up almost non-existent in the middle before oak and sherry spice kick in. Due to that missing mid-palate this aftertaste ends up slightly bitter and nearly off-putting with a tons and tons of the burnt walnuts going on in there. Interestingly most of malt character seems to be missing or so buried under sherry that there’s nothing to balance out the other notes and the experience is very disjointed even if this is something unique and different. It does get better with repeated sips but the nose promises and doesn’t deliver and the palate is somewhat mellow sweet but mostly hollow for me. On the plus side the sherry is well integrated, firm but not overwhelming. If the sherry level was same and this was circa 18 years old… It’d be amazing with more cask vanilla and complex flavors, as it stands, it is a good effort that’s frankly falls rather ‘flat’ in practice.
https://www.whiskyba … iskies/whisky/167869
Score: C+

Scapa 20, G&M Connoisseurs Choice, 2000, 56.2%
A K&L Exclusive Gordon & McPhail bottling of a refill sherry 20 year old Scapa. Never tried the distillery. Let’s try for the checkbox. Sherried cologne on the nose with solid citrus zest core that veers slightly into varnish. To be fair the nose is fairly generic sherried malt. Varnish notes mostly dissipate after about 15 mins in a glass. The palate is full of citrus primarily burnt oranges, solid sherry palate is quite creamy and mouth-coating in consistency which is great for… Aftertaste is fantastic, long woody and a little spicy and warming; very pleasant with more of that burnt orange skins. Perhaps slightly reminds me of a not too sweet old fashioned cocktail. The aftertaste takes the win on this one with nose and palate being alright. I wish I had some Deanston 20 to SbS this with but from my memory it reminds me of the two which isn’t a bad thing. Value to be honest is rather low being an IB circa 169 but fans of citrusy dry sherry are welcome to apply as it’s above average.
https://www.whiskyba … iskies/whisky/178187
Score: B+

Strathmill 11, Carn Mor Limited, STR Cask. 47.5%
This is an STR cask meaning… it underwent a specific Shaving, Toasting and Re-Charring process, likely ex-sherry cask that was then STR’ed. A prominent charry woody sherried nose with a very dark color. Dark plum notes with a bit of sherry varnish dominate. Palate is dominated by the nose notes. Charry, woody and a little bit of sweetness, this reminds me greatly of a bourbon. Something along the lines of Eagle Rare that’s still got a bit of malt and sherry in it. Quite interesting but certainly not an everyday drink due to concentration and youth, making it very cask-forward but not quite subtle. This would be well appreciated by bourbon-lovers that want to get into single malt. I’m actually somewhat enjoying this overall but the almost entire absence of any secondary flavors is quite disappointing for a single malt to commit to a full bottle.
https://www.whiskyba … iskies/whisky/171455
Score: B+

Mystery Sample, ???
A mystery sample which I will fill in details in after the review, as I’ve been asked to review this blind. The nose is oloroso sherry with that note that I call ‘woody varnish’ though it’s not true varnish but somewhere between paint thinner and actual wood lacquer smell. This is specifically the note that Oloroso (and the like) evoke in my mind. For comparison, PX has stewed fruit compote and figs and is very distinctly different on the nose. Anyways, back to this. This is nutty woody oloroso. With a bit of alcohol in the mix. Creamy sweet and sherried consistency. I’m pretty sure this is single malt. Somewhat reminds of Mannochmore 13 up above. Plenty of sherry and wood that combine into chocolate flavors but not a whole of subtle secondary notes, suggesting youngish spirit overall. More balanced toasted sweet wood (chocolate) and little dusty spices that come up in the aftertaste. This slightly reminds me of a Glendronach 12 with the sherry and the malt. Overall: I like it, it’s a somewhat nutty-sweet sherry bomb number that’s manages to be quite tasty. Relative youth makes it a tricky one to truly enjoy since the casks hide most imperfections but overall I’d enjoy it for a casual pour. Also, the more I drink the more I seem to enjoy it for what it is. Value: Unknown, but ‘good’ for anything under $100.
Guesses: Single Malt. Oloroso Sherry casks, likely 1st fill, age: 12 years or less, proof: 90. Country of origin: Scotland (by playing the numbers game of chances it not being a scotch). I’m not going to guess at distillery as there’s at least 20 distilleries in Scotland that I can think of that could produce a sherry bomb such as this, though nutty/sweet profile somewhat suggests Speyside.
https://www.whiskyba … iskies/whisky/182831
Score: A-
After reading the actual link: “Kaiyo The Sheri”… Woooowee! Was I wrong on country of origin (japan) here… and the casks type, and thinking this was a single cask of some sorts. But instead it’s a triple cask of PX, Oloroso and Mizunara… Also, to be fair, Mizunara oak gets completely drowned out by the sherry casks so I would have never guessed that. I was correct on proof and it being a malt at least, and very likely the youth. With the price of $130+ it makes it somewhat of a medium value (not factored into score) which is somewhat overshadowed by occasional independently bottled Speysider. And yes, it still reminds me of Speyside sherried scotch.

Clynelish 14, G&M Connoisseurs Choice, 2006, 55.5%
A bit of a treat for myself. Waxy honeycomb, some sherry, nuts and dried plums on the nose. Also, alcohol but it is well balanced by the other smells. Oh, so much honey and honeycomb on the palate, with nutty and spicy undertones. Milk chocolate and hazelnut are all over the aftertaste. Overall: This is a treat and a once in a while pour, highly complex and sophisticated beyond its years. The whole complexity package that drinks easily circa 20 instead of its stated age of 14. Get yourself a bottle or a pour if you can, and contemplate about the glass, this is certainly a rare excellence. Value: IIRC this was $139… Don’t worry that this is twice the price of the regular 14. This is fantastic. Though I’d think twice if it was past $160.
https://www.whiskyba … iskies/whisky/184614
Score: A

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