Monday, January 17, 2022

Dickel 15, Rebel Yell, TJ’s Barton, Remus V/5, Angel’s Envy

From the Author: Sorry for the delay. We all came down with some sort of a flu in the house so this is about 2 weeks delayed.

The sample adventures continue. Most/some of the ones below have been provided by my friend Ross. Thanks friend!

George Dickel 15, SiB, 42.2%
First sample from Ross, I actually wanted to try this for a while… Nose is high perfume and toasted oak. Palalate is extremely smooth more perfume and toasted wood from the nose as well as some typical Dickel peanut notes, though they are subdued. Aftertaste is short and slightly thin due to low proof. Overall: Low proof here is the killer and yet I cannot help but compare to the BiB 13 year from 2019 and the BiB is way better. The single cask gets some cookie points and I imagine if it ~100 proof or higher it’s probable on par or better then. While this is nowhere near the awfulness of Dickel 8… This particular barrel is a bar pour with BBQ and it’d be awesome. Value: These are around 60 in major stores. Considering the single casks and proof being all over the place. I’d say hit or miss deal for Dickel fans, though honestly get the BiB bottle instead of low proofed single barrels. There are occasional 100+ proof single casks out there I imagine there would be very different experience for me.
Score: C+

Rebel Yell 10, SiB, 50%
Another sample from friend Ross. This time a Single Cask of Rebel Yell, bottled at 100 proof. This is from an undisclosed distillery in Kentucky and is supposedly a wheated (wheat being second highest amount, after corn) bourbon. The nose is burnt, nearly charred, sugar, the usual wood and vanilla, surprisingly balanced not too corny. The palate is well balanced between oak, rye spice, and sugar with sweet oak winning very slightly. The aftertaste is sweet and very gently spiced, like toasted cookie. Overall: Very enjoyable, though not outstanding pour. This is a nightly drinker rather than something to contemplate. No real detriments here, yet it’s generic and doesn’t stand out from the crowd. A well done bourbon I’d enjoy drinking nightly, if a tiny bit on the sweeter side. Value: This was priced at $60 in 2021… Reasonably solid deal in the current bourbon insanity for an age-stated reasonably proofed bourbon.
Score: B+

Trader Joe’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 62.5%
I’ll be brief here, this is definitely Barton’s (1792) Full Proof (not single cask) in an Rock Hill Farms (or Caribou Crossing) bottle. Sazerac owns both so no surprise here. Hot with alcohol, warm, corny and quite delicious though reasonably young. Somewhat generic, being batched vs single cask, yet again this is in-line with 1792. If you like Full Proof, this is 100% up your alley. Value: At $30 this is great value for the money.
Score: B

Remus Repeal Reserve V (5), 50%
Disclaimer: I actually enjoy MGP’s core distillate. This one happens to be a bottle I have actually. It’s one of my favorite bottle designs as it’s very Art Deco and looks like a mini building. Anyways, a 5th release of one of the MGP direct brands. A mix of 5 different casks between 13 and 16 year old… Nose is burnt orange oil. The palate strides the balance between burnt orange peel, woody MPG spice and sugar. These are reasonably high rye recipes with high (for bourbon) age statement so corn isn’t very prominent. Aftertaste rises above riding the baking spices and some sichuan pepper numbness. Overall: The proof will appeal to both enthusiasts and newcomers alike, though I would have been happier if it was 55% abv, but gotta draw a line somewhere. This one I really like, it balances the craziness of SAOS with maturity of age. I also strongly appreciate MGP being transparent about the contents of the bottle so there are plus points on that. If you like MGP’s (SAOS) spice/wood/sugar palate insanity this would strongly appeal to you. I imagine this is a somewhat weaker version of the legendary 10 year old single cask SAOS bottles from few years back. Definitely get a bottle. That being said, I wouldn’t want to be marooned with it on uninhabited island (as I said with some single malts), though I would drink it all the way there. Value: At $79 this is a reasonable ask for 12+ year bourbon these days.
Score: B+

Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Total Wine SP, 52.85%
Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon, finished in port wine barrels. This is barrel 1231 bottled in 2021. I really wanted the metal wings pendant that this bottle comes with. Non-distilling producer Angel’s Envy clearly sources their stock from Kentucky and supposedly works with a number of distillers perhaps doing some blending… That being said for my particular bottle, my money is on Old Forester. The nose is woody sweet, with some red fruit punch notes and a little bit of spice. The palate starts port-sweet then turns spicy and well balanced avoiding the wood tannic situation, suggesting this isn’t super old spirit, probably 6-8 years old. The aftertaste is somewhat medium, with yet more port sweetness and gentle charred oak spice towards the end. Overall: Almost too sweet for the palate, yet reasonably well offset by the oak and the spices this is extremely ‘drinkable’ almost dessert-like, and surely on the sweeter side of bourbon spectrum. Quite enjoyable on its own, the higher proof really helps here to carry the flavor. Value: at $99 that Total Wine sells it for and zero transparency, Angel’s Envy Store Picks are fairly bad value, unless you happen to be a huge fan of theirs. That being said, it makes for a very pretty shelf bottle and a unique gift presentation, especially for a fan or a first-timer that would appreciate the sweeter finish.
Score: B+

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

Monday, January 10, 2022

Hepburn’s Craigellachie, Rampur, Macduff, Glentauchers

Happy New Year

Craigellachie 14, Hepburn’s Choice, K&L SP. 51.7%
A 14 year old in a refill (ok, it’s super blond, refill-refill) sherry cask and teaspooned with a Dailuaine. My guess it’s a 2nd refill. The nose is candied citrus peel, some spices and few sherry notes as well. Sweet toasted grains, and some minerality on the palate. The body is a little thin and I wish it was slightly thicker to enhance the experience. Long, malty, slightly spicy with soft citrus, and honeycomb aftertaste. Overall this may not be all time favorite but it’s certainly enjoyable. It does become slightly bitter, think ‘burnt orange zest’, with repeat sips, and then mellows out again. Value: This was $59 at KnL… A solid value, though Craigellachie stills do produce a lot of whiskey by volume; thus seeing reasonable prices for this distillery isn’t a surprise.
Score: B+

Rampur Double Cask; 45%
A NAS (No Age Stated) bottling that was part of a gift pack in late 2021. We’ll assume it was roughly bottled around 2021 as well. Fruit, with a very minor rubber note which acts as more of a bitter tone rather than offsets the nose. Slight upfront nutty note on the palate that fades into cascade of dried orchard fruit flavors in the reasonably long, and warming towards the end, aftertaste. The palate is unfortunately thin, the fruitiness balances it out but there’s almost no malt felt throughout of the experience and it tastes more of a brandy blindly rather than a single malt. It gives me an odd fruit-infused black tea impression, slightly bitter in the front, all fruit in the back. Overall: It’s fruit-tea… Fruity… get it? get it? Yes! It’s not ‘bad’ it’s very un-inspiring and basically tastes like brandy. Value: This came as a part of $80 gift pack with some glasses. In general I’m not a fan of paying premium for a NAS malt and I’ll stay true to my belief. Good try, but value isn’t really there. Not to mention the glasses it came with are heavily branded and are basically rocks glasses, so I’m not too sure who’s the target audience of the gift pack here; since enthusiasts won’t care and it’s not effective to do highball in a rocks glass.
Score: C

Macduff 14, 2003, Cooper’s Choice 46%
A single cask in a sherry cask bottled in 2018. Cask number 9598. The nose is honey almonds quite sweet and gentle with sherry especially when just poured. After a few minutes, the sherry notes and cologne becomes richer and deeper and somewhat woodier. Nutty, spicy, rather thinly textured palate with coffee, tobacco, some leather are in the secondary notes, this ends up tasting like a sweet ashtray (or a post-sigar palate). As I’m not a fan of smoking… this gives me odd mental images. Long and pleasantly warming aftertaste follows and fig compote comes up in the very end. Overall: I’m torn… The specs make me want to love it, the aftertaste is good, the nose is great and then the palate is… where stuff falls apart. Value: This was $69 in 2018 so right now it’s tough to find a single cask with age statement and sherry for anywhere near that at 14… It’s alright and priced about average.
Score: C-

Glentauchers 10, Sovereign, K&L SP, 58.3%
A Sovereign bottling finished in a wine barrel. The nose is spiced plums and cherries, together with a bit of nuttiness. The palate is nutty red wine… basically. Concentrated, tingly, chocolate, cherry, chewy, meaty, sweet as a dessert wine could be. Delicious, sweet, malty and sadly short aftertaste. I wish it was longer as it would be amazing. Water opens up some honey, cutting back and balancing the sweetness a bit as a welcome relieve. Overall: Heavily reminds me of Starward, this is a riff on manhattan in a bottle, quite delicious but aftertaste duration is a shortcoming. It never tries to pretend to be what it isn’t. Fantastic sweeter dessert pour, tasty with nothing to complain about for what it is. Value: At $55 this is a fantastic value for a weird, but welcome, cask mix as so very few scotches are red wine finished.
Score: B+

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