husband, father, lover of many whiskeys, brand ambassador for a few, blogger, freelance whisky writer, and head of the New Jersey Whiskey Society

an average Joe on a whisky journey...all views are my own

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Barrell Bourbon Batch # 2

Sometimes in life the sequel doesn't live up to the original.  

Outdated by over a decade?  Really??

Movies like Blues Brothers 2000, or Predator 2 should remind you of some cinematic sequel disasters.  But sometimes, you get movies like Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather Part 2, where the sequel equals or exceeds the original, and that my friends, brings us to Barrell Bourbon Batch 2...

The folks over at Barrell Bourbon recently released their second batch which much like Back to the Future 2, has a lot of the same elements as the original...
Spoiler Alert:  Blues Brothers 2000 was horrible

-  Mash bill: 70% corn, 25% rye, 5% malted barley
-  Distilled in Tennessee
-  Bottled at 117.8 proof
-  Aged for 5 years in charred white oak barrels

Luckily enough, Barrell Bourbon's kid did not turn out to be a-holes, much like Marty McFly's.

Here we go!

Tasting Notes:

Appearance– Amber minus 1, looks like a finely brewed iced tea, pours syrupy and has very impressive legs that hug the glass.

Nose neat – Impressive and inviting overtones of Oak and Leather, hints of vanilla bean follow and linger wonderfully.

Palate neat – Toasted Oak drizzled over notes of vanilla and rye. You also can feel the heat, with a toasty rye spice on the finish.

With water:

Appearance – Same
Nose – Same woodiness and leather, vanilla, notes of baking spices come through
Palate – Powerful notes of charring and vanilla bean come out to play, more distinct notes of white pepper, and baking spices enhance the warm rye finish.
Overall, I'd grade this a solid B+. Extremely bold and engaging bourbon, beautiful rich notes of oak, leather and vanilla throughout the tasting. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Catskill Distilling Company - One & Only Buckwheat - Most Righteous Bourbon

Hey everyone, 

I'm back at it this week, taking a look at a few interesting things that have crossed my path and on to my bar cart!  
Side By Side Fun

Not so long ago, I went to a small shindig at Whisky Joe's place while his wife and daughter were out of town.
Knowing whisky would certainly be a part of the night, the emails swirled, the golf was organized and a bunch of us were set up for a good time!
Leading up to that event, I had stumbled across a bottle of something called One and Only Buckwheat.  I had heard of it, but the price was a bit steep for my liking. 
However, I when I spotted it in the 'bargain bin' section of the AMAZING store Little Brothers in New Jersey, I took the bait.  I have a taste for some oddball stuff at times and with the shindig approaching, I figured I'd pick it up.  I did a little research, and this juice is produced by the Catskill Distilling Company in Bethel, NY, they also make one of my favorite local bourbons, Most Righteous, which we'll discuss in a few.  The mashbill for The One and Only is 80% Buckwheat and 20% small grains, it comes in at 42.5% ABV and it has a very nice rich caramel almost fall leaf red hue to the eye.  On first sniff the nose has deep caramel and vanilla tones with a grainish hint behind.  I'm ready to sip this sucker!  

Tasting Notes:
Big Caramel and Vanilla come through first and foremost think like one of those kraft caramels in the clear wrapper you'd get on Halloween.  Also, like a Bernheim's it also has this grassy quality that just comes through and blends well with the overall sweetness of the whisky. Honestly I really enjoyed my first glass and it's definitely worth the 15 dollar investment so far!  Let's add a few drops of water...

A little more Caramel and Vanilla with the water both on the nose and the palate, overall, I don't think my tasting notes will change too much

So a little surprise on a Wednesday night, Solid B+.  I'll definitely enjoy this bottle!

Part 2 of our Catskill Distilling Company tour is Most Righteous Bourbon!  

I've had this on my bar cart since March, and I'm a fan.  No big story here, found it at Bottle King one night in Glen Ridge, NJ it was on sale for $20 and I said why not!  

The color is a deep reddish amber, a tad darker than the Buckwheat.
The nose is inundated with fruits, dried apple covered in caramel 
The palate is syrupy sweet, deep molasses and vanilla with a finish reminiscent of dark chocolate followed by rye spice.

I added a few drops of water and the 70% corn comes out a bit deeper on the nose, some cinnamon appears as well, but I still get a big fall juicy apply hint.

The palate tastes a bit like corn pops cereal to me, all in all the big molasses and vanilla notes pull through again.  I'm giving this one a nice solid B+ almost an A- 

So that was my tour of the Catskills for the evening!  Very enjoyable with out all the wilderness!

Have a great one!


Friday, July 18, 2014

E.H. Taylor Single Barrel


Quick intro, as Joe had alluded to, a few friends will be taking over sharing the love of whiskey here at and I'm the sacrificial lamb!!!  

So Joe and I have been close friends for over 20 years, even spending one year as roommates, where I probably still owe him many rounds of dishwashing.  Needless to say, I share a love of whiskey the same as Joe.  My tastes are more Bourbon and Rye, rather than Scotch so much but I'll do my best to share some of my reviews of the bottles that I buy (or should say that my wife lets me buy) on this awesome blog.  

Just a little more background on me, much like Joe was, I'm a dude with a full time gig doing things that aren't whiskey related.  I've been married 4 years this October to a lovely Canadian girl who loves to help me with my tasting notes, most of the time she just says I taste/smell vanilla.  But I love her and I have to thank her for humoring me writing a blog about whiskey.  

One other key note going forward, I will be using a letter grading system.  After discussing it with Joe and whatnot, we both came to the conclusion that it is becoming increasingly difficult to pin down a numerical grade on these amazing whiskeys.  I hope to have a ‘Grading System’ tab updated on here in the near future to help clarify the difference between an A and a B in my eyes, but figure it will mimic what Joe has up here now, just with letters in lieu of the numbers.

So on to my first ‘official’ review!

I find myself in Phoenix, Arizona this week for work.  My company has a bunch of buildings out here in Arizona and I get lucky enough to stay at the beautiful JW Marriott Resort at Desert Ridge.  I've been here a few times, so I know there's a little bar where I can eat a slightly over priced burger and get a drink.  As I was walking up to the bar I spied a few bottles of Pappy (the 10 and the 12) and some of the other usual fair like Bookers, Blanton's, Basil Hayden, and a few Knob Creeks

So I ordered a big water, a burger with fries (which while overpriced, was actually really good but I won't foodie out on you) and told the bartender that I'll have a few whiskeys after I eat.  So I checked out the whiskey menu and spotted a few things I really wanted to try.  

The bar (Twenty6) had a signature Knob Creek, coming in at a whopping 120 proof and had been selected by the General Manger...but it was back ordered...bummer #1

Then I said let me get a Copper City, a local juice out of Tempe, AZ.  The bartender suggested I try it first, prior to getting a full pour which I of course agreed to!  Well, it was light, young and corny so I skipped it, bummer #2.

On the menu I saw an E.H. Taylor Single Barrel for $20 bucks for the glass.  

I knew the single barrel was a good drink so I said let me get one of those. 

Of course, they didn't have the single barrel, but they did have the barrel strength!!!  I have been looking for this bottle for a few months now and I still haven't found tonight is my lucky night!

So I got a beautiful pour, the bourbon looked like a nicely brewed ice tea, brown yet golden, let's sip this sucker.  This bourbon comes out of the bottle at 67.7% alcohol or 135.4 proof....wait what?  135.4, Proof!!! I think Doc Brown used this to power the DeLorean in Back to the Future 3!!!

Tasting Notes (Neat):

Nose:  Egg Nog, like straight out of the carton. Which also explains the nutmeg and clove-like spices I'm getting.  But even though it's 100 degrees out side, one sniff of this bourbon brings me to a week before Christmas and my dad drinking some pale yellow nog.  
Taste:  Kettle corn and some charred oak.  It's a sweet bourbon, even at 135.4

Finish:  Rye spicy, not a long linger but just delish in the mouth.
Tasting Notes (I added 1 large ice cube and revisited after the juice had time to mellow):

Nose:  Still Egg Nog, no other way to describe it

Taste:  A saltiness has appeared, but still sweet, the char was more apparent on the finish.  Damn good.

So I need to tell my wife, I need to find a bottle of this...wish me luck.

I give it an solid A- 

Talk to you all soon,