Review #23: 291 Single Barrel Colorado Rye Whiskey

This one is an interesting one: 291 Single Barrel Colorado Rye Whiskey. It’s extremely young with only 1 year of proper aging in charred new oak and then an undisclosed finish(but less than 1 year) in toasted aspen. They use malted rye instead of the more traditional rye and also apparently mix IPA stillage with the mash because why not, it’s Colorado? I’d heard a lot about this whiskey and very much wanted to try it and my wonderful wife managed to snag a bottle on a trip to Colorado.

Review

Age: NAS but < 2 years

Abv: 101.7 proof (50.8% ABV)

Mashbill: 61% Malted Rye, 39% Corn

Color: A surprisingly dark gold

Neat

Nose: Sweet and floral with citrus and aspen in the background

Taste: Sticky and sweet with floral honey and oak and a hint of rye and spice

Finish: Short and sweet which left me wanting more

On a rock

Nose: More muted with notes of oak and honey

Taste: The rye spice comes to the forefront with floral honey and oak supporting

Finish: The already short finish is almost gone

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

Conclusion

This lived up to the hype for me. I was shocked that a medium proof young whiskey could be so flavorful and still smooth. This whiskey has an incredibly unique nose to me that reminded me of being up in the aspens in Utah. I definitely think a a longer aged variant of this definitely score higher. I’ll be trying to hunt down the current barrel proof and I’m looking forward to future releases from these folks. All that said this is a bit pricey and a bit hard to find so probably don’t go too far out of your way to find one but if you happen to be in Colorado it’s definitely worth popping into a liquor store or two.

Review #22: 1792 Single Barrel

Next up in the 1792 series is their midrange bottle the Single Barrel. It sits between the Small batch and Full Proof in both price and proof but let’s see where it stands on taste.

Review

Age: NAS

Abv: 98.6 proof (49.3% ABV)

Color: A deeper gold, very similar to the Full Proof

Neat

Nose: Heat followed by sweet caramel, oak and hints of spice

Taste: More caramel and more oak but the spice notes from the nose don’t come through

Finish: A short sweet linger and then a sort of weird heat on the very end

On a rock

Nose: The heat is gone but the spice went with it leaving a strong caramel note with hints of oak

Taste: Surprisingly about the same as it was neat

Finish: Much smoother with the ice and the caramel note seemed to linger longer

Conclusion

Overall this whiskey is fine but it’s sort of the odd man out of the 1792 family. The Full Proof is a little pricier but it’s higher proof and better which makes sense but then the Small Batch is somehow cheaper and better. They all have pretty similar notes My baseless theory is that they save the best barrels for full proof store picks so the basic Single Barrel doesn’t hold up.

0 Stars - Poor to Fine: I would not specifically choose to drink this

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Review #21: Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style

Old Forester 1920 was my first experience with a good high proof bourbon and definitely opened me up to that world. After reviewing a few of my favorite high proof picks it felt like a good time to come and see how the old boy held up.

Review

Age: NAS

Abv: 115 proof (57.5% ABV)

Color: A dark amber

Neat

Nose: Lightly burnt caramel with just a touch of alcohol and smaller notes of oak and spice

Taste: Pretty hot with more caramel, oak and spice notes

Finish: Also hot with an emphasis on the sweeter notes from the taste

On a rock

Nose: The ice mellows the nose keeping caramel note front and center with the oak, spice and a new cherry note supporting

Taste: The heat is all gone leaving caramel and cherry goodness. On some sips I could pick out the oak but not others.

Finish: Medium length and sweet with more caramel and cherries

Conclusion

I don’t particularly care for this neat, it’s too hot for me, but adding an ice cube completely remedies that. The caramel and cherry notes are lovely with the chilled whiskey though I do wish more of the spice survived. Overall I am still a fan though this has given way to other high proof expressions like Stagg Jr and 1792 Full Proof as I’ve continued on my bourbon journey.

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

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Review #20: Dickel 9 Year Twin Liquors Single Barrel Select

Traditionally I haven’t been a fan of Dickel but after u/bananavanman having me try the Dickel sourced Barrell and my dad telling me he had a ‘fancy Dickel’ that was super good I decided to give it another go. So here we are reviewing George Dickel Barrel No 05A04 B 1-5-24 whatever that means. More importantly it is a 9 year single barrel select from the Twin Liquors near my go to HEB and I’m a sucker for well aged single barrel selects :)

Review

Age: 9 years

Abv: 103 proof (51.5% ABV)

Color: A dark reddish amber

Neat

Nose: Sweet and a little smoky with rich vanilla notes like toasting a fancy marshmallow or slightly overcooking some french toast

Taste: The marshmallow notes come on strong and are shortly joined by a surprising cherry note

Finish: The cherry and sweetness briefly linger before giving way to a very pleasant lingering baking spice

On a rock

Nose: The cherry notes creep into the nose to compliment the sweet vanilla and smokiness

Taste: This almost tastes like french toast with cherries on top. Sweet vanilla, bright cherries and some baking spice

Finish: The baking spice finish come sup faster than it did without ice but still lingers just as long.

Conclusion

I was very pleasantly surprised by this whiskey and really enjoyed the combination of sweet, cherry and spicy notes. I always enjoy a lingering spicy finish and this bottle delivered. Overall this has restored my interest in Dickel or at least their well aged single barrel offerings. I’d really like to try a variation of this that wasn’t chill filtered and/or was bottled at barrel proof. A version of this with a better mouth feel and the same notes but stronger would probably eek its way into the 8s for me.

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

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Review #19: 1792 Full Proof

After doing a few lower score reviews I needed to drink something I enjoy and have had a few conversations about 1792 lately so 1792 Full Proof it is. 1792 is a range from Bartons and this is their strongest normal bottling(unclear if any of the Full Proof single barrel selects are bottled at a higher proof). This was another great find from Oak Liquor Cabinet.

Review

Age: NAS

Abv: 125 proof (62.5% ABV)

Color: A deeper gold

Neat

Nose: Rich a sweet with notes of honey and oak and just a tingle of spice.

Taste: A medium consistency with deeper expressions of the notes from the nose. Rich oak, vanilla caramel and hints of spice

Finish: The vanilla and oak fade to a lingering spice with just a hint of a burn. Delicious.

On a rock

Nose: All vanilla and caramel, nice but I miss the spice and oak from the neat nose

Taste: The oak is back complimenting the caramel and spice. The ice improves the mouth feel for me as well.

Finish: Cut a bit short but the same fading sweetness into spice and just the smallest burn.

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

Conclusion

I’m a fan of this bourbon but I feel like it needs a little something extra to push it up into the upper star ratings. That said this is shockingly smooth for such a high proof but still has a great mouth feel and strong flavors. So far all 3 1792s I’ve tried (Small Batch and Single Barrel reviews incoming) have been great and I will be trying to track down more of their line to round out the series.

Review #18: Heaven's Door Rye

Heaven’s Door is a whiskey line that is somehow associated with Bob Dylan and while I generally stay away from celebrity endorsed whiskey(or at least try it a bar) I somehow ended up buying this bottle shortly after release through a combination of good reviews at the top of a Google search and the recommendation of a staff member from Twin Liquors. It’s been collecting dust on my shelf for a while now so it seemed like a good time to do a review. The rye is sourced, most likely from MGP, and is finished in some sort of fancy barrel that is supposed to make it more accessible than most rye whiskies.

Review

Age: NAS

Abv: 92 proof (46% ABV)

Color: A medium amber

Neat

Nose: Fresh herbs with strong dill notes and a more subtle note of floral honey

Taste: More herbs, especially dill, with a hint of baking spice and some sweetness but not too much

Finish: Thankfully the dill gives way to mostly baking spice with a bit of lingering sweetness

On a rock

Nose: The dill is mercifully gone leaving the floral honey to rise to the top

Taste: Starts a little sweet then gets dilly and finally transitions to dill and baking spice

Finish: Somehow more dill than the neat?

Conclusion

Overall I wasn’t a fan. I don’t generally like heavy herbal notes in whiskey especially dill or coriander though the sweet and spicy finish on the neat pour was a highlight. This is actually the only bottle in my collection that I currently regret buying, my wife bought the Dark Rye :). It tastes like under aged MGP to me with heavy emphasis on the dill notes. Especially for the price I was expecting a lot more. If I’m looking for pricey sourced rye I’ll probably stick with High West’s A Mid Winter Night’s Dram or Yipee Kay Yay.

0 Stars - Poor to Fine: I would not specifically choose to drink this

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Review #17: Evan Williams Black Label

This month the bourbon subreddit is doing a community review of Evan Williams Black Label so here we are. This is the primary mass market product from Heaven Hill Distillery and is one of the most popular bourbons in the US. Writing this review made me realize that I don’t have much experience with their products though I plan on working on that in the near future.

Review

Age: NAS

Abv: 86 proof (43% ABV)

Color: A medium amber

Neat

Nose: The alcohol smell comes through strongly and first followed by notes of oak and something sweet.

Taste: Thin and smooth with more oak and sweet notes almost like caramel. Thankfully the harshness from the nose is gone here. The oak was stronger than I expected.

Finish: Short with more wood and sweet. This was a very one note drink.

On a rock

Nose: The alcohol harshness was gone and the oak rose to the top with some caramel notes.

Taste: Changed less than I thought with the ice, oak and caramel again.

Finish: Barely there just the barest hints of oak.

As a mixer with Coke Zero

Mixed roughly 1:1:1 bourbon:cola:ice

Nose: The oak note from the whiskey cuts through the cola sweetness.

Taste: Easily the best of the 3 tastes. The oak is very present and complements the cola well.

Finish: Mostly just the Coke Zero after taste.

Conclusion

Not really a fan of this one neat or on ice as I couldn’t really find any interesting notes and the finish just wasn’t there for me. That said there’s nothing wrong with it, everything I did taste was good and that alcoholic burn on the neat nose faded over time. All of that said it makes an excellent mixer with the low price, strong oak and little bit of extra proof.

0 Stars - Poor to Fine: I would not specifically choose to drink this

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Review #16: A Midwinter Night's Dram Act 5 Scene 3 Mystery Sample

Another mystery review courtesy of u/bananavanman and this one was even better. I wrongly suspected that this was a Barrell Rye but it was High West’s Midwinter Night Dram Act 5 Scene 3. High West is distillery out of Utah that mainly blends MGP and Barton whiskies but they are ramping up there own production and starting to integrate their own distillate. Anyways their Mid Winter Night’s Dram is a holiday release that is MGP rye blended and finished in port staves.

Review

Abv: 98.6 proof (49.3% ABV)

Age: NAS

Color: A medium to slightly dark amber

Neat

Nose: Just from the nose I can see why he called it fruit cake it starts with notes of spice and as you breathe deeper strong bright cherry notes with just a hint of something else, vanilla or marshmallow perhaps?(Now that I know what it is I can’t help but taste it as dill but that seems like MGP bias)

Taste: Smooth with even more cherry than the nose. Bright and sweet with just hints of baking spice
and the same note I couldn’t place from the nose.

Finish: Medium length that starts with sweet cherry and baking spice that finishes with a bit of a bite. The heat came out of nowhere for me.

On a rock

Nose: The spice is muted but still present and the bright cherry shines through. Very nice.

Taste: A blend of holiday spice and cherry. Very fruit cake, very good.

Finish: Lingering bright cherries with no more spice of heat. Medium length which is especially nice given the ice.

Conclusion

Overall this was a great whiskey and a pleasure to taste. I thought that it was the Barrell Rye but was pleasantly surprised to find out it was High West MWND Act 5 Scene 3. I’m a big fan of High West and it’s probably the best MGP rye that I can regularly get my hands on. The port finish for the MWND is very nice especially since I like something with a nice combo of sweet and spice. I usually end up getting a bottle for Christmas so I think that pretty much qualifies as being happy to buy one. I have about a quarter of a bottle of Act 5 Scene 8 left.

8 - an excellent bottle I’ll buy from time to time

You can read u/bananavanman’s review for a very similar take.

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Review #15: Stagg Jr Batch 10

After reading several Stagg Jr reviews and recommendations on r/bourbon as well as hearing how it was better than EHT SiB I’ve been very much wanting to try Stagg Jr. I headed up to Oak Liquor Cabinet yesterday to see if they had any; thankfully they did along with some 1792 Full Proof that I’ll be reviewing here soon. I had a few folks over to watch some college football and we all gave it a try but I was in no condition to write by the end of the games so I decided to sit down today and give it proper review though I did manage to take the photo of the back of the bottle so there is that.

Review

Abv: 126.4 proof (63.2 ABV)

Color: A deep but clear gold

Neat

Nose: Oak and baking spice dominate the nose with hints of something sweeter to come, maybe brown sugar?

Taste: Rye spice and brown sugary sweetness blend wonderfully with only a small touch of heat. I was expecting more heat from the high proof. I love the spice and sweet balance

Finish: The heat comes through just a bit more on the finish as does the sweet with just a touch of something like chocolate.

On a rock

Nose: A pleasant aroma of baking spice and rye

Taste: The ice tames the spice but doesn’t completely chase it away and some fruit notes start to come out. Still rich and sweet like a ripe cherry.

Finish: The cherry gives way to a lingering chocolatey finish with just a tingle of spice

Conclusion

The neat nose was outstanding and the taste was brilliant either neat or on the rocks though the smoother finish and the cherry notes push on the rocks into first for me. A great whiskey so thanks to all on r/bourbon recommending it. This is right up there with the Four Roses SiB store picks and THH for me. I loved the balance of the sweet and spice and the surprising lack of heat despite the high proof. I’m still on the hunt for the GTS and can’t wait to compare this with its big brother

8 - an excellent bottle I’ll buy from time to time

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Review #14: Barrell Bourbon Batch 008B as a Mystery Sample

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This was my first mystery sample review, courtesy of u/bananavanman and it was a lot of fun. I had a sneaking suspicion that this was going to be a Barrell or a Dickel. On the other hand my wife thought the sample bottle looked like poison but I took the risk and drank it anyway.

On a side note switching to a Glencairn for my neat tasting was an excellent choice and I’m going to start looking for a similar rocks glass.

Abv: 129 proof (64.5% ABV)

Age: 10 years

Review

Color: A dark, appealing amber

Neat

Nose: Very sweet with vanilla, almost like a cake, with just a hint of something spicy

Taste: Smooth and sweet to start with vanilla notes, bordering on cloying but never quite getting there, a little sticky like a vanilla toffee

Finish: The sweetness gives way to warm baking spice and just a touch of a burn. Very nice

On a rock

Nose: The sweetness is still present but is more like sugar or honey than vanilla cake

Taste: The ice tames the sweetness and stickiness and the vanilla notes are back, very nice if a bit simple

Finish: Smoother with a balance of sweet and spice. The spice lingers nicely

Conclusion

I was very excited to get to try another Barrell after my middling experience with the first bottle. I enjoyed this one much more. While the flavor notes were somewhat similar they way they felt in my mouth and especially the way they lingered along the addition of a small baking spice note brought this much closer to the flavor profiles I enjoy.

I nearly gave this an 8 but I’m still not sure I would buy a bottle of it now that I’ve already tried it.

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

You can see u/bananavanman’s review for another take.

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