Friday, September 23, 2022

Garrison Bros Tasting, Redemption Bourbon & Rye 10, Larceny Barrel Proof

It’s been a while. I’ve been busy with work. The type of work that allows me to review whiskeys in spare time by allowing me to afford them…

Quick notes from a recent Garrison Brothers tasting.

Note: All Garrison bottles have a particular sharp note that’s somewhere between dried grassy herbs, leather, toasted wood, rubber, and denatured alcohol. It is not unpleasant but it is quite prominent and has some notes of an old crafts store or a workshop. Or even perhaps Sealing Wax if anyone recalls how that smells. I will almost forgo talking about nose on samples below as that aforementioned note applies to all these in some amount.

Garrison Brothers Honeydew, 40%
Bourbon with actual honey… and 40%… Notes from the tastings is that both of those choices were specifically done to mess with the owner of the distillery. The palate is warm, sweet and quite nice to sip. At the same time it’s quite thin lacks secondary notes. While the primaries are heavy on the original nose notes. The aftertaste here is where it’s at, warm, almost sticky it really lingers around the mouth with baking spices balanced off by the sweetness. Overall: Not my thing. Its inoffensive, but I’d rather drink something else. The aftertaste is better than everything else combined but I have to get to that first. Nice and sweet this is somewhat reminiscent of a cognac once I get through the front of the palate. Value: This is $80?! That’s kinda bad deal for what you get.
Score: C

Garrison Brothers Small Batch 2022, 47%
The core release is here. The nose is better balanced for what it’s worth. The palate is full of oak, cinnamon, yet again some grassy notes, but they seem to be balanced somewhat by other flavors. Molasses, corn syrup, cloves and nutmeg are all in the palate. The same spices come back to a reasonably long and spice-forward aftertaste that offers mellow continuation from the palate for the most part. Overall: I’m enjoying this quite a bit. It’s good in an uncomplicated, butan uncompromising way. Will not chase this down, but it does offer a pleasant and cohesive drinking experience, especially if I want something on the sweeter side. Value: This is ~$80 and I’d not consider it a good value. Tons and tons of excellent things are available in that bracket that offer a very stiff competition to this bottle on flavor and quality.
Score: B

Garrison Brothers Single Barrel #16733, 47%
I’ll be brief here due to variance in casks. I am findinging this somewhat similar, with understandably different balance, to the above small batch. This is lighter sweeter cask that’s quite tasty but to myself I personally preferred the Small Batch version due to little more wood in there to balance out the sweetness. Overall: Nothing wrong here, but nothing great in this cask either. I prefer different balance personally as this leans towards cinnamon and cloves cake icing. Value: N/A.
Score: B-

Garrison Brothers Balmorhea 2022, 57.5%
This is Garrison’s fancy cask proof offering. The nose here is pretty solidly woody with burnt vanilla caramel. The palate is great but there’s that mid-spike of the typical ‘Garrison’ note that’s not quite hits the brief for me. The aftertaste is very warm, spicy, lingering, woody and a touch fast-fading. Overall: This is enjoyably woody without being overwhelming but it’s also rather rough about the edges and lacks for the lack of better word ‘polishing’ in its overall balance. It’s drinkable but I’m not chasing it down. Value: MSRP of around $220 that’s terrible value all around.
Score: B

Afterthought: I reasonably enjoyed their small batch. Overall, their flavor balance isn’t my thing and their price point, admittedly because of not cutting corners and sourcing locally… well their price point is at least 2x what I’d pay for comparable bottles in the category bracket.

End of Garrison Brothers Tasting…

Redemption 10 year Bourbon Batch 2, 57.2%
This is a straight bourbon whiskey with the following specs. Age & Bottle Info: 10 Years, Batch 2, 60% Corn / 36% Rye / 4% Barley Malt. Distilled at MPG. Everything that’s MGP is in spades on the nose. Typical Smooth Ambler Old Scout MGP is 5 years old… Add 5 more years in wood, keep the proof. Spiced cinnamon honey on the hose with a healthy dose of perfume/cologne. Those perfume cologne notes continue into the palate. This stuff is beautiful. Slightly drying palate with oak tannins, its very light and not nearly overpowering the rest of it the flavors, is about the only negative here I can think of and only for those that dislike that stuff. Palate is medium with more cinnamon, cloves and honey on notes gently fading. Overall: This is spectacularly good drinking. Not flawless but critically close to being flawless in a saturated bourbon world. Everything that is great about MGP SAOS… made better! Value: If i recall, this was MSRP ~$100 which is a little bit above the ‘average’ (looking at your ECBP) for age-stated cask proof bottling.
Score: A

Redemption 10 year Rye Batch 2, 58.1%
Ten year MGP rye, barrel proof, mash bill 95% Rye, 5% Malted Barley. The nose is quite rye spice forward here. Fragrant dry grass is the best approximation, anice, caraway seed. Relatively tame palate that coats the mouth as it goes through… Most of the same flavors from the nose in liquid form though quite restrained by each other. The aftertaste is where it’s at! Very long, rather spicy it rolls and roll and rolls with ginger, all sorts of baking spice, szechuan peppers. Overall: Fans of spicy ryes are welcome to apply. This is exemplar of MGP rye for those that enjoy that profile. It’s great but not excellent. This is tasty and flavorful… and I’m glad I’ve tried it. I’ll also be okay not drinking it again. Value: MSRP is ~$100 here. Big fat ‘probably’ with rye spirit at high proof and age statement it’s probably about right price. with Barrell rye’s in the same bracket while being younger in age.
Score: B

Larceny Barrel Proof, Batch C921, 61.3%
Whelp, Heaven Hill finally coming out with Larceny (their wheated mashbill) at higher proof than their regular offering. The age is variable as this is batched by assumed to be somewhere between 6 and 10 years old. On the nose, caramel vanilla and candy corn with some spices, of the cinnamon variety. Palate is more of the candy corn sweetness, backed by proof and reasonable woodyness that doesn’t overwhelm. The aftertaste is very sugar and cinnamon forward and lasts for a reasonably long time. Overall: This is everything that folks like about Larceny (and Heaven Hill) and nothing they don’t. Kind of mellower McKenna that’s still amped up to 11 on intensity. Clearly this isn’t typical high-rye bourbon, but it’s still great and well worth trying or having. Value: I’ve paid $76 (MSRP) for this and it’s about correctly positioned as an alternative/complementary to ECBP line by Heaven Hill. At MSRP it’s well worth it, especially if you enjoy Henry McKenna profile or wished regular Larceny was a lot more flavorful.
Score: B+

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