Whiskey Advocate 2019 Top 5 Blind

Whiskey Advocate made some waves with this year’s Top 20. It featured 7 bourbons with 5 of them placing the top 10 and 3 in the top 5 but most of all it was the choice of George Dickel Bottled in Bond as the number 1 whiskey of the year that ruffled so many internet feathers.
 

I think a lot of people don’t really understand what Whiskey Advocate is going for with the list, it’s not the best whiskies of the year, and I liked the Dickel Bottled in Bond Fall 2005 more than most folks seemed to but that choice still seemed crazy to me, especially given the other 4 bourbons in the top 10: Four Roses Small Batch Select(review forthcoming, Old Ezra 7, Heaven Hill 7 year Bottled in Bond and Woodford Reserve Batch Proof(also forthcoming).
 

I decided I would do a single blind tasting of these 5 bourbons and enlist my wife to add an unbiased source as well. I poured the glasses and labeled the bottoms and she ordered to ensure neither of us knew what was what. I guessed at what they were in addition to ranking them while she just ranked them. I didn’t take detailed notes during the tasting given I was making a video of it with her so the tasting notes are pretty light. The video of this blind tasting is on my Instagram page here.

Sample #1

My notes: Sweet, nutty and easy to drink

Her notes: Nice, light and sweet

Guess: Heaven Hill Bottled Bond

My ranking: 4

Her ranking: 3

Reveal: Heaven Hill Bottled Bond

Sample #2

My notes: Flavorful, sweet caramel, thick mouthfeel

Her notes: Rich, brown sugar

Guess: Woodford Reserve Batch Proof

My ranking: 3

Her ranking: 1

Reveal: Woodford Reserve Batch Proof

Sample #3

My notes: Minerality, Ovaltine

Her notes: Funky, peanuts, not for her

Guess: George Dickel Bottled in Bond

My ranking: 5

Her ranking: 5

Reveal: George Dickel Bottled in Bond

Sample #4

My notes: Great nose, sweet, spicy, fruity and maybe floral?

Her notes: Better than sample #3

Guess: Four Roses Small Batch Select

My ranking: 1

Her ranking: 2

Reveal: Four Roses Small Batch Select

Sample #5

My notes: Similar to #1 but more intense

Her notes: Harsher than #1, hot finish, maybe similar to #1

Guess: Old Ezra 7

My ranking: 2

Her ranking: 4

Reveal: Old Ezra 7

Rankings

Me

  1. Four Roses Small Batch Select
  2. Old Ezra 7
  3. Woodford Batch Proof
  4. Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond
  5. George Dickel Bottled in Bond

Her

  1. Woodford Batch Proof
  2. Four Roses Small Batch Select
  3. Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond
  4. Old Ezra 7
  5. Not drinking
  6. George Dickel Bottled in Bond

Conclusion

After this blind it seems even crazier to me that Dickel BiB was Whiskey Advocates top choice for 2019. I can see how the price hurt the Woodford but the Four Roses, Ezra and Heaven Hill are all clearly better whiskies, about as available and not far off in price. In my opinion one of them deserved the top bourbon spot.

Review #170: Remus Volstead Reserve

When MGP started releasing their own bottled and branded product through the Remus line I was excited to their vision for MGP’s legendary bourbon. Unfortunately it came in the form of a fine but uninspired bottling, George Remus, and I largely forgot about the brand and moved on. I ignored their first Remus Repeal release and was fully intending to ignore the second until @texasdrinker convinced me it was worth a taste and he wasn’t wrong. When Remus announced a 14 year old bottled in bond release I was intrigued but then I saw the price which made me hesitate.

Luck would have it that the same week we accomplished a major milestone at work was the Remus Volstead Reserve would hit Austin. I was originally planning on buying a similarly priced bottle of scotch or cajoling a local store owner into selling me a much needed additional bottle of Cigar Blend(so I could tag u/prepreludesh in the review of course) but when I went to the store after work I couldn’t resist the Remus.

Being the patient bourbon drinker I am, I rushed home and immediately opened it to pour a dram before my wife got home. Over the last few days I’ve sipped on this a few times as I didn’t want to rush a review after the first pour or two.

Remus Volstead Reserve

Age: 14 years

Abv: 100 proof

Price: $200

Neat

Nose: Soft and sweet with brown sugar and oak backed by subtler vanilla and herbal notes.

Taste: Butterscotch and rich oak take the forefront with fainter baking spice, herbal and nutty notes. The delicious flavor is backed up by a nice viscous mouthfeel.

Finish: Long, warm, dry finish with lingering baking spice, oak and brown sugar and that faint nutty note again.

Conclusion

It turns out a nice nutty note is what a lot of other well aged MGP was missing for me. This bottle is fantastic; the nose is simple but sweet and inviting, the palate is very flavorful and heavy on butterscotch and oak while the finish is long, spicier and dry making me want the next sip. I really like that it is sweet without being cloying or simple and oaky without being bitter or tannic.

While the notes themselves are different tasting this reminds me of tasting Old Rip Van Winkle, on of my all time favorites, in all the right ways. It’s got an inviting nose, a rich, sweet and oaky palate and then a drier and spicier finish. I am down to the last few ounces of my 2018 ORVW but I couldn’t resist doing a side by side of these two and it was very close, though the ORVW won by a nose.

I had never tasted a nutty note in MGP before so I tasted this 3 times, from different glencairns just to be sure that was what I was getting. It is a step up over most of the older MGP bottles I’ve had and I’ll be making a blind tasting video in the near future.

Despite the high price I will be getting a backup bottle.

TL;DR: Fantastic MGP with a bonus nutty note, worth the high price of admission

10 - an all time favorite, must buy/hunt

Fair - Worth the money, happy with my purchase

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Reviews #168-169: Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond 7 Year vs Old Ezra 7 Year

When Heaven Hill discontinued the beloved 6 year Bottled in Bond we knew it was just a matter of time until they released a very similar product at a significantly higher price and a couple weeks ago that time hit central Texas! I enjoyed the old 6 year, especially for the price, and was excited to see if an extra year of aging made a big difference. I’ve also been waiting to compare Luxco’s Old Ezra 7, thought to be sourced from Heaven Hill, with the distillery’s release. So let’s see if this shiny, expensive new release is worth it.

Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond 7 year

Age: 7 years

Abv: 100 proof

Price: $40

Neat

Nose: Sweet and nutty with peanut butter and vanilla notes.

Taste: More peanut butter and vanilla notes from the nose but with some light oak and baking notes. Solid but unimpressive mouthfeel for the proof.

Finish: Medium length finish with warm spice and more of that peanut note.

7 - a great whiskey I’d order at a bar

Poor - Overpriced, not worth the money

Old Ezra 7 year

Age: 7 years

Abv: 117 proof

Price: $30

Neat

Nose: Sweet vanilla, boiled peanut and faint oak notes.

Taste: Peanut, vanilla and caramel notes are balanced with warm baking spice notes and backed up with a viscous mouthfeel.

Finish: Medium to long finish that is sweet, nutty and a bit spicy.

8 - an excellent bottle I’d like to have at home

Great - A great deal, I’d buy it again

Conclusion

I’ve tasted the Heaven Hill 7 year blind against the discontinued 6 year twice now and picked the 7 once and the 6 the other time. When I tasted them not blind I picked the 7 both times. So I’d say they are fairly close and the big price hike definitely feels bad but the national distribution is nice and the new price is lower than secondary was on the old ones.

All that said they both lost individually and in a 3 pour blind against the Old Ezra 7 which is both barrel proof and cheaper. I like the whiskey in this bottle but not for the price. I’d still happily drink it and would be fine ordering it at a bar with limited selection. There are just too many other great offerings at the $40 price point for me to want another bottle of this over say a McKenna 10 or Rare Breed.

TL;DR: The Heaven Hill BiB 7 is solid if overpriced but the Ezra is clearly better.

8 - an excellent bottle I’d like to have at home

Great - A great deal, I’d buy it again

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Reviews #165-167: Four Roses Private Selects OBSQ v OESQ

Today I am kicking off a series on Four Roses that will span ~20 Private Selects, multiple Limited Editions and some of their regular offerings. I’m starting with a blind tasting of 3 Q yeast strains bottles a Binny’s OESQ, The Wine and Cheese Place OESQ and the OBSQ from Longhorn Liquor that you may recognize from the review collaboration between u/prepreludesh and myself a couple weeks ago.

For this tasting I did a blind tasting video to pick a favorite and then sat down to write some more detailed notes.

Four Roses OESQ The Wine and Cheese Place Pick

Age: 8 years 5 months

Abv: 125 proof

Neat

Nose: Rye spice, vanilla, a bit of ethanol, faint floral notes.

Taste: Spicy and floral with softer sweet vanilla and caramel notes. Very viscous mouthfeel.

Finish: Long and warm with lingering rye spice and vanilla notes.

8 - an excellent bottle I’d like to have at home

Four Roses OESQ Binny’s Pick

Age: 10 years 1 month

Abv: 114.2 proof

Neat

Nose: Floral honey, vanilla and baking spice notes.

Taste: Warm spice, sweet vanilla, rich oak and floral notes along with something slightly fruity. Solid mouthfeel but as thick as the The Wine and Cheese Place Pick.

Finish: Medium length with a lingering rye spice, some black pepper, oak and a faint sweetness.

9 - a favorite I always try to keep on my shelf

Four Roses OBSQ Longhorn Liquor Pick

Age: 11 years

Abv: 108.4 proof

Neat

Nose: Sweet caramel, floral honey and rich oak notes.

Taste: Fruity and floral notes are balanced with sweet honey and warm baking spice. This also has a very viscous mouthfeel but not quite as much as the

Finish: Very long and slightly dry with floral, anise and mildly tannic oak notes balanced with a touch of spice.

9 - a favorite I always try to keep on my shelf

Conclusion

All 3 of those picks were great and I’d happily buy a bottle of any of the 3 at retail. The younger, higher proof one didn’t quite live up to the other two though and the Binny’s OESQ narrowly beat the Longhorn OBSQ so age wasn’t everything. This was only single blind so I did know they were all Q yeast strains which means I was expecting/looking for the the floral notes. On the other hand I do think this highlighted that the difference between the two mashbills does come through in the spice level, at least in this recipe, and that being older tends to improve the quality.

I’ll be doing blinds across the various yeast strains for each mashbill as well and am open to other suggestions on how to group these. I do like this ‘odd man out’ style tasting trying to pick out the different recipe and will definitely be doing more of them.

TL;DR: Four Roses Private Selects are good, 10+ years is the sweet spot.

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Review #164: r/scotch Wardhead 2019

I’ve been a fan of Glenfiddich since I first started drinking scotch but between getting into high proof bourbon and trying several cask strength scotches, Glenfiddich stolen from the queen included, I was largely ruined for the low proofers we tend to get here in the states.

While Glenfiddich appears to have no interest in exporting higher proof scotches, Ian Millar told me they already have the 102 proof travel exclusive 15 year and no plans to do more than that, I learned that cask strength indie teaspooned Glenfiddich was out there and was called Wardhead. I spent about 6 months this year unsuccessfully searching for a remotely reasonably priced bottle of Wardhead with no success until I saw the r/scotch selection post by u/t8ke announcing they had selected a 22 year old Wardhead! Needless to say, I was very excited and even hassled him a bit in discord about how to get a chance to buy a bottle. He assured me they wouldn’t sell out right away. Thankfully they didn’t and I was able to get a bottle. Let’s see if it lived up to all my hype.

r/scotch Wardhead 2019

Age: 22 years

Abv: 109.4 proof

Price: 99.20 EUR

Neat

Nose: Sweet pear, honey, malt and vanilla notes.

Taste: Rich honeyed apple and pear notes with a faint but warm spice towards the end. Thick and luscious mouthfeel.

Finish: Long and dry with malt, vanilla and pear notes lingering for some time.

Conclusion

This is fantastic, lived up to my hopes and it’s right up there with this year’s Spirit of Speyside festival bottle for my favorite bottle of scotch that I own. I will definitely be doing a video of a blind tasting with this bottle, the festival bottle and the distillery exclusive bottle on Instagram.

This dram flawlessly nails the notes of a great, unsherried Speyside single malt but lacks just a little something extra to push it up to a perfect 10. I could see a variation of this that was partially aged in something other than a refill cask(port pipe perhaps?) to give a little more complexity being a 10/10 for me. As it stands I am very happy with this bottle and am sorely tempted to order another one but the holidays and bourbon release season are putting a hurt on my whiskey budget. Maybe it will still be there in January?

TL;DR: I love, could use a little more complexity to get to a perfect 10.

9 - a favorite I always try to keep on my shelf

Great - A great deal, I’d buy it again

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You can also follow me on Instagram(@atxbourbon) or reddit to keep up with these reviews and my other whiskey-centric adventures.

Quality

10 - an all time favorite, must buy/hunt - Old Rip Van Winkle

9 - a favorite I always try to keep on my shelf - Jack Daniel’s Heritage Barrel

8 - an excellent bottle I’d like to have at home - Blanton’s

7 - a great whiskey I’d order at a bar - Rare Breed

6 - a good whiskey I’m still happy to drink - 1792 Small Batch

5 - a whiskey with notable strengths but also held back by some flaws - High West Campfire

4 - a fine whiskey that does not standout in either direction - Evan Williams Black Label

3 - Better than not drinking whiskey but just barely - Crown Royal Deluxe

2 - Mixer only - Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye

1 - Pouring out the bottle, Coke Zero deserves better

Value

Great - A great deal, I’d buy it again - Eagle Rare, 1792 Small Batch

Fair - Worth the money, happy with my purchase - Rare Breed, A Mid Winter Night’s Dram

Poor - Overpriced, not worth the money - Kentucky Owl Confiscated, Heaven’s Door 10 year

Review #160-163: High West A Midwinter Nights Dram Acts 2, 5, 6, and 7

As is tradition I got a bottle of this year’s A Midwinter Nights Dram, specifically Act 7 Scene 4. I liked the new act though it seemed to be getting mixed feedback online with a fair number of folks pining for the older releases. I tend to that it’s about 50-50 when folks complain about how older whiskey was better. Sometimes the whiskey has gotten younger and worse for it but other times I think they are just looking back with rose colored glasses.

Anyways I set out to do a blind tasting of some newer and older MWNDs and was able to scrounge up samples of Acts 2, 5 and 6 to blind taste against Act 7. I recorded it and posted it to Instagram before sitting down the next day(yesterday) to write this version and spend a bit more time with each sample.

s Dram

Act 2.4 Scene 1048

Age: 6 year MGP and 16 year Barton

Abv: 98.6 proof

Mashbill:

  • 95/5 rye/malted barley (MGP)
  • 80/10/10 rye/corn/malted barley (Barton)

Neat

Nose: Rye spice, rich herbal and subtler dark fruit notes

Taste: Spicy and herbal with rye spice, herbs including a distinct but not overwhelming dill note and a bit of sweetness. Great mouthfeel for the proof.

Finish: Very long, warm and sweet with a clear port influence and rich dark fruit and holiday spice notes that gets a little too spicy at the end for me.

7 - a great whiskey I’d order at a bar

Act 5 Scene 8

Age: NAS

Abv: 98.6 proof

Mashbill:

  • 95/5 rye/malted barley (MGP)
  • 53/37/10 rye/corn/malted barley (Barton)
  • 80/10/10 rye/corn/malted barley (Barton)

Neat

Nose: Warm spice, rye bread, cherry and vanilla notes.

Taste: Sweet dark fruit, herbal(no clear dill note but maybe a hint?) and warm spice notes with a hint of something else sweet. The mouthfeel is solid but not as nice as the Act 2.

Finish: Medium to long finish with more cherry and warm spice. Also gets a little too hot right at the end like the Act 2.

8 - an excellent bottle I’d like to have at home

Act 6 Scene 4

Age: NAS years

Abv: 98.6 proof

Mashbill:

  • 95/5 rye/malted barley (MGP)
  • 80/20 rye/malted rye (High West)
  • 53/37/10 rye/corn/malted barley (Barton)
  • 80/10/10 rye/corn/malted barley (Barton)

Neat

Nose: Warm and sweet with cherry, vanilla, warm spice and herbal notes

Taste: Herbaceous then sweet with herbal notes, sweet cherry and a touch spice. Great mouthfeel but still not quite Act 2 level though a step up from Act 5.

Finish: Very long, sweet and lightly spicy with more cherry and baking spice notes. No heat flare from 2 or 5.

9 - a favorite I always try to keep on my shelf

Act 7 Scene 4

Age: NAS years

Abv: 98.6 proof

Mashbill:

  • 95/5 rye/malted barley (MGP)
  • 80/20 rye/malted rye from (High West)

Neat

Nose: Rye spice, dark fruit and vanilla notes

Taste: Warm and fruity with rye spice, cherry and vanilla notes. The mouthfeel is on par with Act 6.

Finish: Warm, sticky and sweet with cherry syrup and warm spice notes.

8 - an excellent bottle I’d like to have at home

Conclusion

These were all great! I feel pretty justified in my old reviews of Act 6 and Act 5 now as well. The older Acts(2 and 5) were much more traditional MGP/Barton ye with a lot of herbal notes and a little more heat. The more recent releases were definitely sweeter and fruitier which was great for me. Overall 6 was the clear winner and 2 was the clear loser with 5 getting a slight nod over 7.

I am going to keep buying these for the foreseeable future since they are trending up on average for me. I do hope they nail down a great ratio of their distillate to sourced stuff instead of radically changing it each year and lean in a little more on the port finishing time to hopefully get closer to replicating my favorite High West of all time.

TL;DR: MWND is good; 6>5>7>2 for me; more port finish is more my style

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Review #159: Bardstown Bourbon Company Copper & Kings Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Copper & Kings Apple Brandy Barrels

Bardstown Bourbon Company is a relatively new distillery out of Bardstown, Kentucky, hence the name. Unfortunately they don’t distribute to Texas so I wasn’t able to get a bottle until I went to Kentucky for the r/bourbon pick. Right now they have 3 main ‘series’ of whiskey: their discovery series which is sourced and blended, their fusion series which is a blend of their own distillate and sourced whiskey and their collaborative series which is sourced whiskey finished in collaboration with other local companies. So far they’ve released some interesting products and I like that they took route of doing more than just sourcing and bottling instead doing some interesting blending or finishing with plenty of transparency. I hope more craft distilleries take this route instead of just releasing a sourced product or releasing their own quite young young whiskey.

Back to the matter at hand while I was visiting Bardstown Bourbon Company did a tasting of several of their offerings and the one that stood out to me the most was the Collaborative series Copper & Kings Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Copper & Kings Apple Brandy Barrels. They were kind enough to give me a bottle to take back to Texas to hopefully tide me over until distribution makes it here!

Since I didn’t pay for this bottle I will not be giving it a ‘Value’ rating but I’m more than happy to taste it and give my thoughts there.

Bardstown Bourbon Company Copper and Kings

Age: 11 years (20 month finishing time)

Abv: 120.4 proof

Price: $124.99 (I received this for free)

Mashbill: 75/21/4 Corn/Rye/Malted Barley

Neat

Nose: Rich and sweet with brown sugar, leather, tobacco and dark fruit notes

Taste: The brown sugar and dark fruit from the nose a briefly present but give way to more leather and tobacco as well as a pleasantly warm baking spice note. The mouthfeel is viscous and excellent and about what I would expect for an 11 year old 120 proof bourbon.

Finish: Incredibly long spicy finish with warm baking spice, tobacco, rich oak and just the barest hints of something sweet.

Conclusion

The finish on this was the best part and reminds me a fair amount of one of my all time favorites Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend Batch 12 though it is a little spicier. Overall this was an amazing bourbon and I hope we see some more barrel finished MGP collaborations coming out of Bardstown! The nose was sweet, rich and complex, the finish was amazing and the taste was delicious if just a bit on the spicy side. The proof is in the fill level though as I’ve been back from Kentucky for just about 3 weeks and this is already ~2/3s gone making it easily the lowest level of the bottles I brought back from Kentucky.

Since this reminded me of Cigar Blend I went ahead and tried this paired with a cigar and the long, powerful finish made it an excellent bourbon for that pairing. I obviously didn’t take tasting notes during the cigar pairing haha.

Given that this bottle is nearing the end of it’s life and the current situation with Joseph Magnus changing distributors in Texas which may be impacting my supply of Cigar Blend I’m looking for pretty much any 9+ year old, 100+ proof MGP finished in some sort of brandy cask so let please let me know if you have something you think I should try!

TL;DR: Cask strength 11 year old MGP finished in brandy casks; of course I love it.

9 - a favorite I always try to keep on my shelf

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Reviews #157-158: EH Taylor Barrel Proof and Single Barrel

I got super lucky and managed to score this year’s EHT Barrel Proof on a little lunchtime hunt. I’d had two of the previous releases and liked them well enough but I’d heard good things about this batch so I decided to crack it straight away. It was a little high octane for a lunch pour but half a bottle later I’m a huge fan. In another crazy turn of events EHT Single Barrel hit Austin last week and wasn’t on allocation at some of the bigger shops so I couldn’t resist picking one up. I’ve previously written a side by side of an EHT Single Barrel and Small Batch so I decided to keep the tradition alive and do these side by side!

Colonel EH Taylor Barrel Proof 2019

Age: NAS

Abv: 129.3 proof

Price: $89.99

NCF: Yes

Neat

Nose: A powerful but inviting nose with sweet caramel, vanilla, rich oak and subtler baking spice and cherry notes.

Taste: Very strong flavor with cherry, caramel, vanilla, baking spice and softer oak notes. One of the best mouthfeels I’ve had on a bourbon, thick and sticky in all the right ways.

Finish: Very long and dry with a sweet cherry start then lingering spice with just enough oak and caramel to balance it.

9 - a favorite I always try to keep on my shelf

Great - A great deal, I’d buy it again

Colonel EH Taylor Single Barrel 2019

Age: NAS

Abv: 100 proof

Price: $69.99

Laser Code: L192180123-30L

Neat

Nose: Solid but basic nose with sweet vanilla and caramel notes.

Taste: Oak notes dominate with some sweet caramel and vanilla. A little thin for 100 proof but still decently viscous.

Finish: Long oaky finish with sweet vanilla notes balancing the oak.

Conclusion

Wow, this year’s Barrel Proof was outstanding. I’ve had the ‘17 and ‘18 at bars and liked them but didn’t love them like I do this bottle. This was very nearly a 10/10 but the finish was a little to dry and hot to be perfect for me. I’m very glad I was able to get a bottle this year at a good price and will definitely be trying to track down another one next year!

This Single Barrel was the most oaky and least spicy EHT I’ve had yet which I really enjoyed. I definitely prefer it to my last EHT SiB bottle. It’s still a gamble buying the SiBs vs the SmB for EHT though and not one I would recommend for most folks. I’ll probably still bite from time to time if I can get one without any hassle.

TL;DR: This years EHT BP is outstanding. The Single Barrel still ranges from good to great.

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Review #156: High West Rendezvous Rye Barrel Select Rum Finish

The main advantage to having family in Utah is somewhat reliable access to High West special releases including this year’s distillery only release of a Rendezvous Rye finished for 8 months in Jamaican Rum barrels. I am usually a fan of sweet finishes for rye whiskey and of High West’s barrel selects so I was very excited to get a bottle of this release! After having Blood Oath 5 and Dovetail earlier this year I am also pretty hyped on rum finishes in general. Let’s see if this lives up to all that hype.

High West Rendezvous Rye Barrel Select Rum Finish

Age: NAS

Abv: 103.6 proof

Price: $79.99

NCF: Yes

Neat

Nose: Rich and inviting with an herbal medley and sweet notes of vanilla and something fruity.

Taste: Warm herbs and spices are balanced with subtle oak and sweet vanilla notes backed by a nice, viscous mouthfeel

Finish: Long, warm and sweet with fading herbal notes and lingering sweet fruit, oak and warm spice.

Conclusion

Well that was delicious. I often find that MGP ryes can have a bit too much dill for me but a sweet barrel finish on a well selected barrel tends to clear that right up. The 8 month rum finish here added some nice oak and sweet fruit notes compared to the regular offering but didn’t overwhelm the signature MGP herbal notes. The higher proof and extra time in a barrel definitely help add some more complexity to the taste and viscosity to the mouthfeel which is what Rendezvous Rye is lacking imo. I poured a glass of regular Rendezvous Rye to taste side by side with this release and it was a big step up.

After drinking this, I’m definitely looking forward to the next Rendezvous Rye barrel select and this years MWND!

TL;DR: Awesome release, sweet finishes on Rendezvous Rye tend to be my thing, not quite at the level of the 4 year port finished release

9 - a favorite I’d like to keep on my shelf

Great - A great deal, I’d buy it again

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Reviews #155: Joseph Magnus Murray Hill Club Special Release Batch 2

Joseph Magnus Murray Hill Club is a blend of older bourbon ranging from 11-20 years depending on the batch and a younger light whiskey ranging from 9-11 years. So far both special releases were finished in Pineau des Charentes casks which I had not heard of before this bottle. Apparently it is a wine fortified with Cognac eau de vie. As I enjoyed the regular Murray Hill Club quite a bit and tend to enjoy wine and brandy finished whiskies I was very excited to get a bottle of this! So let’s see how this finish either adds to or takes away from the regular MHC.

Joseph Magnus Murray Hill Club Special Release Batch 2

Age: NAS

Abv: 112 proof

Price: $149.99

Neat

Nose: Bright red wine and sweet cognac notes with more traditional bourbon notes of caramel, vanilla and rich oak.

Taste: Cognac forward with more caramel and vanilla as well as oak and leather with a thick, luscious mouthfeel.

Finish: Long and lingering with sweet cognac and warm, rich oak notes

Conclusion

All in all this was a small step up from the regular Murray Hill Club. The finish did add a bit of sweetness and fruit notes but all in all didn’t make the whiskey much better. It started and ended as excellent whiskey and for me it was fun to try a new type of finish and continue to explore blends of bourbon and light whiskey.

It can be hard to give a value rating to a whiskey like this. I really enjoyed it but it was significantly more expensive than it’s already pricey shelfie counter part and probably not enough better to justify the price increase. All of that said I did got back and buy another bottle haha.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the third batch and sipping on Cigar Blend in the meantime.

TL;DR: A great whiskey, the finish is nice but doesn’t add all that much

9 - a favorite I’d like to keep on my shelf

Fair - Worth the money, happy with my purchase

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