Sample Mountain Week 6: Rye week

Week 6 of Sample Mountain is Rye week! I barely avoided including any Willet or High West ryes but I did manage. I am starting off with Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof, then hitting a Mayor Pingree pick before finishing with Redemption 18!

 

Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof Rye

Age: NAS

Proof: 132.8

Neat

Nose: Dark, sweet and a little spicy with vanilla, rye spice and a touch of ethanol.

Taste: Some proof burn, rye spice, cinnamon, baking spice, vanilla cream, fainter oak and herbal notes. Very viscous.

Finish: Medium length very spicy finish with cinnamon, rye spice and some herbal notes.

Buy a bottle? Yes

Mayor Pingree Rye Plum Market Pick

Age: NAS

Proof: 122.6

Neat

Nose: Very basic rye some vanilla, some rye spice and some dill.

Taste: The flavors ramp up as they go with herbs(including dill) and baking spices.

Finish: Medium length finish with lingering vanilla and dill.

Buy a bottle? No

Redemption 18

Age: 18 years

Proof: 109.9

Neat

Nose: The age is obvious with the rich oak, minty herbs, sweet vanilla and subtle leather notes. This was borderline too complex with so much going on it was hard to pick out specific notes.

Taste: Cinnamon sugar, oak, rye spice, vanilla, faint herbal notes. Really great mouthfeel. It’s not too oily or viscous but has a unique texture.

Finish: Very long with lingering oak, mint and cinnamon sugar.

Buy a bottle? Yes, but it would have to be for a special occasion

Conclusion

The Jack Daniel’s rye reminds me a bit of New Riff Rye or Rare Breed Rye. It’s dark and spicy especially as it gets to the finish. I see why folks snatched this one up and while it’s not my favorite I did enjoy it and would have liked to grab one at retail.

On the other hand the Mayor Pingree was just fine with a bit too much dill for me and nothing particularly exciting. There are plenty of easier to find and better ryes out there that I wouldn’t bother picking this up. To be fair it probably suffered being in the lineup with the big and bold JD rye and the ultra aged Redemption 18.

The Redemption 18 was crazy good. I wasn’t sure what to expect but now I want one. That said the price is crazy so I’d have to be celebrating something. I definitely need to blind this with the High West Rocky Mountain Rye and something else old.

 

TL;DR: JD rye was big and spicy but good. Mayor Pingree was meh. The Redemption 18 was fantastic but that price tag is intense.

 

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Wyoming Whiskey Outryder 2019

Wyoming Whiskey has been up in Wyoming making whiskey for a long time now with relatively little fan fair. They initially only had a wheated mashbill but eventually they started a line of Straight American Whiskey using rye. The Outryder is a series of releases all using whiskey distilled in 2011 from two mashbills. The first is a pretty stand high bourbon of 68/20/12 corn/rye/malted barley while the second is an unusual mashbill with no majority grain of 48/40/12 rye/corn/malted barley.

 

Wyoming Whiskey Outryder 2019

Age: 7 years

Proof: 100

Price: $75

Neat

Nose: Rye forward with strong herbal and spice notes backed by subtler caramel, oak and dried fruit.

Taste: Dark fruit, warm baking spice, clove and caramel notes. The mouthfeel is nice and about what I would expect from a 100 proofer.

Finish: Medium length spicy finish balanced by oak and leather notes.

Conclusion

Overall this was an enjoyable whiskey. It sits somewhere between a rye and bourbon without being overly sweet, spicy or herbal. On the other hand it doesn’t particularly stand out in any way.

I would readily choose this over a number of other craft distilleries. So in that sense it is a success. Craft distilleries that actually distill all their own whiskey are rarely competitive with the big guys on price and Wyoming Outryder is no exception.

Also I initially hated that Outryder was spelled with a Y then I realized it was because of Wyoming and felt better.

There are supposed to be 3 more Outryder releases with each one being older than the last. Hopefully another year or two and maybe a barrel proof instead of 100 would push this for good to great.

 

TL;DR: Good stuff especially for a craft distillery.

1 Star - Good whiskey: I would choose to drink this over readily available whiskies

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Sample Mountain Week 5: 15 year KSBW

For Week 5 of sample mountain I am tackling three 15 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskies. From lowest proof to highest we’ve got Old Soul 15 year which is the same mystery mashbill that Doc Swinson’s and Old Bones used, the 2019 release of Pappy Van Winkle 15 year and the most recent Willett distillery release.

 

Old Soul 15 year

Age: 15 years

Proof: 102

Neat

Nose: Familiar with roasted nuts, vanilla extract and faint spices.

Taste: Lots of vanilla with some fainter buts and caramel then oak and spice towards the end. Oddly thin mouthfeel.

Finish: Very dry finish with lingering oak and spice.

Buy a bottle? No

Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year 2019

Age: 15 years

Proof: 107

Neat

Nose: Big butterscotch and oak notes and some faintly perfumey floral notes.

Taste: Butterscotch, rich oak, vanilla cream, very subtle spices. Velvety mouthfeel.

Finish: Medium to long with butterscotch, oak, baking spice, cinnamon and a touch of the perfume from the nose

Buy a bottle? Yes if magically found at ~300 or less/no otherwise

Willett 15 Year Gift Shop Release

Age: 15 years

Proof: 122.4

Barrel Number: 807

Neat

Nose: Peanut brittle and oak dominates with vanilla and spice in the background.

Taste: Oak, vanilla, rye spice, rich leather, caramel, faint smoke and a familiar sweet note I couldn’t put my finger on.

Finish: Extremely long with lingering caramel, nuts and oak

Buy a bottle? No, lol. It was 750 at the giftshop

Conclusion

To start things off the Old Soul was a letdown. Doc Swinson’s 15 year Release 6 and Old Bones were notably better than the Old Soul and have the same mashbill. The same sorts of flavors were present but the expression of those flavors and balance just wasn’t there. Add in the thin mouthfeel(maybe they proofed it down or go a really low proof batch?) and really dry finish and this bottle was not a winner. Easy pass when similar and better things are available at the same price point.

The Pappy was awesome, no way around it, but it’s not head and shoulders above more reasonable offerings and I’ll never hunt one or pay secondary. The most I’ve paid for a bottle of whiskey is around 300 and I’d do that for a bottle of PVW15 Year.

The Willett was almost assuredly Heaven Hill. The nose was underwhelming which made me a little nervous but the palate was awesome and the finish was insanely long with very good flavors. The retail price was 750 at the distillery and it does not justify that price point even though it was top tier bourbon.

 

TL;DR: Realistically I am not going to buy any of these. The Pappy and Willett were great, the Old Soul was a miss.

 

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Michter's 10 Bourbon 2020

I was very fortunately able to grab both the Michter’s 10 bourbon and rye last year and as the bottles start to dwindle it’s time to review them starting with the bourbon.

s 10 Bourbon 2020

 

Michter’s 10 Bourbon 2020

Age: 10 years

Proof: 94.4

Price: $160

Barrel #: 20G1433

Neat

Nose: Inviting with almost no burn with strong caramel and nutty notes with some oak and vanilla notes underneath.

Taste: The nutty and caramel notes come in strong with vanilla extract ramping up as it goes and faint spice toward the end. Very much not ‘over oaked’ especially for the age. Surprisingly good mouthfeel as well.

Finish: Long and soft with a bit of oak and vanilla that quickly fades to caramel with a touch of spice.

Conclusion

What I love about Michter’s 10 bourbon and rye is how they are able to pack so much flavor into a lower proof. This barrel does not disappoint on that front and while it is incredibly drinkable with pretty much no ethanol it still has a lot of flavor and good complexity with a long finish and nice mouthfeel. The profile isn’t particularly unique but it is an excellent execution of a nutty Kentucky bourbon.

I wasn’t able to get this at exactly retail pricing but even if I had at $130 this is a bit of a hard sell on the value side of things with older, higher proof options such as Doc Swinson’s 15 and Old Bones 15 at a similar price point. On the other end of the range there are some great 11-12+ year old Elijah Craig store picks out there for a lot less money.

That said I loved the bottle and don’t regret buying it. If you aren’t particularly value sensitive and want an awesome lower proof bottle(say for working late) you can’t go wrong with Michter’s 10 Bourbon.

2 Stars - Very good whiskey: I would want to have a bottle

 

TL;DR: Great bottle. Tricky value proposition.

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Sample Mountain Week 4: Semidusty

For Week 4 of Sample Mountain I am going to a take taste of 3 semi-dusty samples starting off with a Michter’s 10 Rye from 2014, then Stagg Jr Batch 4 and finishing off with a hazmat George T Stagg from 2009. For these samples the “Buy a Bottle?” is really in comparison to their modern releases. Obviously, had I known, I would have purchased any of these at their retail price back in the day.

 

Michter’s 10 Rye 2014

Age: 10 years

Proof: 92.8

Barrel C175

Neat

Nose: Rich and dark with oak, vanilla and baking spice notes.

Taste: Vanilla cream, oak, cinnamon, hints of leather and more heat than I expected for the low proof. Unremarkable mouthfeel.

Finish: Long and dry with lingering vanilla, spice and oak.

Buy a bottle? No

Stagg Jr Batch 4

Age: NAS

Proof: 132.2

Neat

Nose: Cherries and ethanol!

Taste: Cherry syrup, baking spice, ethanol and oak. Very viscous.

Finish: Long and hot with fading cherry then lingering spice and oak

Buy a bottle? No

George T Stagg 2014

Age: 15 years

Proof: 141.4

Neat

Nose: Oak, cherry and heat! with some spice and vanilla under the heat.

Taste: Intense flavor with notes of oak, baking spice, cherry, caramel, vanilla extract, cinnamon, pepper and bit of leather. Great mouthfeel that isn’t too oily but has a very nice texture.

Finish: Long and warm and wonderful with a balance of oak, pepper, vanilla and caramel notes that doesn’t quit.

Buy a bottle? Yes

Conclusion

The 2014 Michter’s 10 Rye was the first release after their 3 year hiatus and supposedly the first release from their new source. Overall it was enjoyable but nothing special especially compared to the 2020 M10 rye which I thought was pretty great.

The batch 4 Stagg Jr was honestly a little too hot for me to really enjoy it neat. After this I added a bit of water and it helped quite a bit. Compared to Batches 9-13(I haven’t had 14 or 15 yet) this was a bit of a let down. I think Buffalo Trace has definitely started to dial in Stagg Jr over the last couple years.

I went into the hazmat Stagg thinking it was going to be overpowered with ethanol and while the nose was intense it really wasn’t too much. The flavors were big and bold and everytime I went back to the glass I felt like I tasted something new. The finish was delightful as was the mouthfeel. If I could buy a bottle of this for even a semi sane price I would pull the trigger.

 

TL;DR: ‘09 GTS was awesome, the other two didn’t stand up to their more recent releases.

 

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Sample Mountain Week 3: Rare and Low Proof

For Week 3 of sample mountain I am tasting 3 limited releases with relatively high price points and low proofs to see if any of them hold up. I tasted from lowest proof to highest starting with the new Woodford Very Fine Rare then the 2020 releases Blade and Bow 22 and Yellowstone Limited Edition

 

Woodford Very Fine Rare

Age: NAS

Proof: 90.4

Price $130

Neat

Nose: Sweet and inviting with vanilla cream, rich oak and fainter spices.

Taste: Very similar to the nose but with a bit of youthful grain. Middling mouthfeel.

Finish: Long finish with warm spice and rich oak. Certainly the highlight of the dram.

Buy a bottle? No

Blade and Bow 22 2020

Age: 22 years

Proof: 92

Price $450

Neat

Nose: Floral and almost perfumey with a note I associate with dusty Turkey and old Stizel Weller but struggle to describe.

Taste: Funky, dusty, sweet, floral and a bit of spice. Great mouthfeel for the proof.

Finish: Long sweet and sticky finish with hints of floral notes and some oak.

Buy a bottle? No

Yellowstone Limited Edition 2020

Age: 7 years

Proof: 101

Price $100

Neat

Nose: Nuts, grape jam, hints of grain and spice.

Taste: Roasted nuts, rich oak, red fruit and that same hint of grain.

Finish: A bitter note hits at the start of the finish but fades to lingering nuts, grain and fruit.

Buy a bottle? No

Conclusion

The Woodford was tasty and reminded me a bit of another expensive 2020 special release with an unfortunately low proof and thin mouthfeel(Russell’s 2002). If this was cheaper or higher proof it would be a more appealing option. I’d gladly pick it up at the 70-80 that something like Remus Repeal goes for but the 130-150 and with the scarcity I’d rather grab a Doc’s or Bardstown.

The Blade and Bow was excellent but the insane retail price of 450 and the scarcity make it an easy pass from me. If you want to really try some tasty Stitzel Weller this is probably the cheapest way to do it though. For such old bourbon it was very far from over oaked.

The Yellowstone Limited Edition reminded me a good amount of Blood Oath Pact 6, which I really enjoyed, but it wasn’t quite at the same level, the finish was a little disappointing and I already grabbed a backup BO6.

 

TL;DR: None of these live up to their price/scarcity for me. They were all enjoyable though.

 

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Review #246: Eage Rare Tejas Single Barrel Select

Something like 12 Eagle Rare picks hit Austin last year and I managed to snag most of them. We also did a big Eagle Rare blind bracket with the Austin Dead Liver Society that I’ve been meaning to write about. In the meantime here is one of the many tasty picks.

 

Eagle Rare Tejas Liquors pick 2020

Age: 10 years

Abv: 90 proof

Price: 49.99

Neat

Nose: Sweet with cherry and caramel with faint spices.

Taste: More cherry, vanilla, baking spice and a sweet note I can’t place but that is almost like artificial sweetener. Slightly thin mouthfeel but reasonable for 90 proof

Finish: That same sweet note linger with vanilla and the first oak of the dram coming in towards the end of the long finish.

Conclusion

This was a lot of folks favorite ER pick in Austin last year and it won our Austin Dead Liver Society Eagle Rare blind bracket(but didn’t make the top 4 for me…). It’s off profile for Eagle Rare and has a weird sweet note that reminds me of EHT Grain of the Gods which I didn’t love. That said it was still enjoyable and I’m glad I grabbed one. I really like the usual Eagle Rare profile and may have enjoyed this more if I didn’t go in expecting Eagle Rare.

 

TL;DR: Off profile Eagle Rare. Good but not my favorite.

1 Star - Good whiskey: I would choose to drink this over readily available whiskies

Scale

 

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Sample Mountain Week 2: Young and Tasty

Welcome to Week 2 of sample mountain! From now on these will try to have some theme bringing the samples together beyond just me having them. This week’s line up was inspired by me getting an Old Kirk sample that I couldn’t wait to get into. The internet consensus is that these are Willett distilled and I’m a fan of that. I decided to put it up against two other young but sought after bourbons with a real Willett Family Estate pick and a wheated Boone County pick.

 

Old Kirk Yorkshire Pick

Age: 6 years 9 months

Proof: 129.5

Neat

Nose: Strong and balanced with cherry, rich oak and warm spices.

Taste: Cherry syrup, oak, warm spices and a touch of licorice. Excellent mouthfeel that is viscous and almost sticky.

Finish: A touch hot on the otherwise enjoyable medium length finish with lingering cherry syrup and warm spice.

Buy a bottle? Yes

Willett Family Estate Angle’s Share Pick

Age: 6 years

Proof: 121.8

Neat

Nose: Mellower than the Kirk with a slightly musty note then spice and oak.

Taste: A bit of leather then a lot of oak and spice with subtler caramel notes running through the palate. Note quite at the level of the Old Kirk on viscosity.

Finish: Very long, though the lingering portion is subtler, with quickly fading oak and vanilla then fainter spice and caramel.

Buy a bottle? Yes

Boone County 6 Year Wheated Lion’s Share Pick

Age: 6 years

Proof: ??

Neat

Nose: Sweet with honey wheat bread and vanilla notes.

Taste: Sweet and herbaceous with some bready notes as well. Decent mouthfeel.

Finish: Medium to long with some warm spice and lingering sweet herbs.

Buy a bottle? No

Conclusion

For me it can be hard to describe why I like these 6-7 year old Willett distilled bourbons so much. The tasting notes typically aren’t anything impressive. It’s very bourbon flavored bourbon but the way the notes come together and the intensity of them stands out especially for such a young bourbon. I’d happily buy the Old Kirk of the Angel’s Share Willett anywhere reasonably close to the MSRP though I wouldn’t pay what Willetts tend to go for these days. Overall I’d put the Old Kirk on par with a mid range WFE 6 year bourbon including this sample but not at the level of something like Highway Kind. The finish was the highlight of the Willett as it left gentle warm and sweet notes lingering for a very long time. The leather and mustiness where also pretty unusual for such a young bourbon.

As far as the wheated MGP pick it was enjoyable even if the youth did shine through a bit more than I’d like. It’s certainly on the right track but just short of making me want a bottle. I tried a different pick of this that I enjoyed more but I think it was a 7 year.

 

TL;DR: The Old Kirk was great, unsurprisingly I liked the Willett and the Boone County fell a bit short but was still enjoyable.

 

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Russell's Reserve Beastmaster's Club Stachey Spice

Spicy Girls #2 is a Russell’s Reserve pick from Beastmaster’s Club that came out back in 2019. It’s a Camp Nelson A bottle from Floor 4 and was supposedly 111 proof out of the barrel so it’s pretty much cask strength at 110. I didn’t open this bottle right away but it has been open for some time now and was hovering at 50% full when I wrote this.

s Reserve Beastmasters

 

Russell’s Reserve Beastmaster’s Club ‘Stachey Spice’

Age: 9 years

Proof: 110

Price: $75

Neat

Nose: Sweet, funky and spicy with caramel, almost nutty notes and baking spices.

Taste: Lots of caramel, vanilla extract, rye spice, more of the nutty notes from the nose and rich oak towards the end. Excellent, thick mouthfeel that coats your tongue.

Finish: Medium to long finish with lingering oak, baking spice and Wild Turkey funk. Slightly dry at the very end.

2 Stars - Very good whiskey: I would want to have a bottle

Conclusion

I tend to be fan of Russell’s Reserve picks and overall the entire Spicy Girl Russell’s series from Beastmasters was pretty solid. They are on the sweeter side of the modern Wild Turkey profile but without losing the funky and spicy notes that make Turkey great. The initial caramel rush, excellent mouthfeel and the finish are the highlights here and I’m very happy to have a bottle. That said it doesn’t crack the ranks of truly next level Russell’s picks.

 

TL;DR: Great example of a Russell’s pick, especially the mouthfeel. Beat out the 2020 Beastmaster’s Russell’s lineup for me.

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Sample Mountain Week 1

Happy 2021! I have a mountain of samples I need to work through so I am trying not to open any new bottles until I’ve cleared out enough samples that they all fit in their dedicated space of 3 Little Book and 1 Booker’s 30th boxes. Going forward for these sample reviews I’ll be trying to stay brief and just focus on whether the sample convinced me I’d want to buy a bottle or not.

All samples are tasted neat after 5-10 minutes of resting.

 

Joseph Magnus DFW Whiskey Club Pick

Age: 13 years

Proof: ??

Nose: Sweet and oaky with brown sugar, leather and faint spice.

Taste: Thick and leathery with supporting oak and spice. Great mouthfeel

Finish: Long and slightly dry with more oak and leather balanced by a sweeter vanilla

Buy a bottle? Yes

Four Roses Private Select “Buy Rite Select”

Age: 10 years and 1 month

Proof: 120

Nose: Sweet and rich with herbal and fruity notes

Taste: Very on profile for Four Roses with sweet fruit, oak and warm spice. Nice viscous mouthfeel.

Finish: Long finish with slightly cooling herbal notes, almost minty

Buy a bottle? Yes

Bardstown Bourbon Company Copper and Kings Collaboration Sherry

Age: 12 years

Proof: 100

Nose: Grape! Sticky dark fruit, sweet.

Taste: More dark fruit and sticky sweetness with some rich oak coming in. Decent mouthfeel.

Finish: Medium to long finish that basically taste like armagnac.

Buy a bottle? No

Conclusion

Overall all 3 of these were enjoyable bourbons. The Magnus pick just leans in on the leathery and oaky notes I like in older MGP. It’s definitely on the drier side on the finish and that’s certainly not for everyone but I like it. Even with the relatively high retail price of Magnus picks I would have bought this. The nose and finish were great on the Four Roses while the taste was just good. That said the almost minty finish was really unique and just good for Four Roses is still something I like. I’ve had other OBSFs like the Beastmaster’s Crude Oil that I prefer but this, like most Four Roses picks, would be a Buy from me near retail pricing. I’ll start by saying I am generally a fan of what Bardstown is doing but this bottle just didn’t land for me. It was almost in this weird uncanny valley between bourbon and brandy where I’d rather either have more of the MGP bourbon notes come through or just drink a armagnac. I’m also a little disappointed at it being proofed down. I probably wouldn’t say no to a bottle if it was offered but between the price, scarcity and step down from the Chateau De Laubade and Apple Brandy releases this is an easy pass.

My goal to do one of these every week during 2021.

 

TL;DR: The Magnus and Four Roses pick were awesome. This BBC Collaboration was too heavy on the sherry for me.

 

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