Category Archives: Other Whisk(e)ys

Jack Daniel’s Silver Select

Jack Daniel’s Silver Select Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey
50% ABV
$55 to $65
Website
brbon_jac5
What the Distillery Says:
Bottled in Bond at 100-proof so you can experience the full depth and intensity of its rich flavor. This smooth, aromatic Tennessee Whiskey is only available in select duty-free airports around the world.

Richard’s aside: It’s worth noting that this is no longer called “Silver Select”. Since I bought my bottle Brown Forman has rebranded this edition in conjunction with their other Jack Daniel’s single barrel offerings (Single Barrel, Barrel Proof Single Barrel, Single Barrel Rye) and this now “Single Barrel 100 Proof” and carries the “Bottled in Bond” distinction. It’s availability in Travel Retail only remains.
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What Gary Says:
Nose: Thick, rich, mellow with raisins, vanilla, caramel honey, and hints of anise, clove (and yes, bananas).
Palate: Rich/sweet fruit (raisins, figs) with a bit of a sharpness, but not as much spice as the nose advertises.
Finish: Short to moderate in length.
Comments: Another that is unmistakably related to its standard bearer, although I thought this several steps up from Old No. 7 (several more so than Jim Beam Bonded is over Jim Beam White Label). Fairly dark whiskey, so at only 100 proof I expect that this either has a few years of extra age on it, or was aged really high up (and maybe both). I think this is my second favorite Jack Daniel’s I’ve ever tried (below the Single Barrel, Barrel Proof). I wish this was more widely available (no mention of it on Jack Daniel’s web-site, and from what I can see on-line, this is a travel retail offer only). If you are a fan of Jack Daniels, I think this is hands-down a “must try” (maybe a “must buy”, but not sure what the true price tag is). I know if I see one for $60 or less, I’m bringing it home.
Rating: Must Try

What Richard Says:
Nose: Pending
Palate: Pending
Finish: Pending
Comments: Pending
Rating: Pending

The Hilhaven Lodge

The Hilhaven Lodge – A Distinctive Blend of Straight American Whiskeys
40& ABV
$40
Website
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What the Bottler Says:
Introducing The Hilhaven Lodge™, a celebration of American Whiskey craftsmanship as aged Bourbon, Rye and Tennessee Whiskeys from three distinct decades combine for a rich and flavorful spirit—the spirit of Hilhaven Lodge.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Bright rye spice with dill and crushed mint, young with candied orange zest.
Palate: Sweet citrus, vanilla, and honey; spice is rather subdued, mellow all around.
Finish: Moderate, with the spice barely peaking up at the end
Comments: A hint of that “Tennessee whiskey” mellowness is on the nose and palate. They don’t list the ratio, or which whiskey came from which decade (others have reported that the rye was the oldest component, the TN whiskey in the middle, and the bourbon the youngest). The nose to me screams rye, but the palate doesn’t deliver. I really wish this could have been bottled at a higher proof. I was rather excited by the nose, and felt quite let down when it touched my lips. I suspect this might have been amazing at 100 proof, but alas, one can only wonder. While not a big financial gamble, I can’t recommend unless you’re a fan of really smooth whiskey.
Rating: Probably Pass

What Richard Says:
Nose: Clarified butter, fresh cut grass, and vanilla extract.
Palate: Sweet orange creams and a light spiciness. I would swear this saw some of the Lincoln County Process.
Finish: Dry and uninspiring with a bit of a hot spicy backing.
Comments: Not bad but not great. There are plenty of $30 bottles of whiskey out there that you might like more. I don’t think the blending gimmick is enough to justify a $40 to $50 price tag. It’s a little too smooth on taste and hot in the mouth…which is kind of odd. Given that this is Diageo, the rye is most likely MGP and the Tennessee Whiskey is probably Dickel. As for the bourbon, who knows.
Rating: Average

We would like to thank Diageo for sending us a sample to review.

WhistlePig 15 Year

WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey 15 Year
46% ABV
$200
Website
whistlepig-15YO
What the Bottler Says:
Within this bottle is the culmination of years of patience – a liquid chosen from our finest stocks to be aged for more than a decade, only disturbed as it was transferred from specially selected former bourbon casks to barrels made from slow-growing Vermont Oak harvested on the WhistlePig farm.

The harsh winters and shorter growing seasons of the Green Mountains bestow a tighter grain pattern upon these trees, imparting nuanced flavors into the whiskey. After being milled, seasoned, and raised by some of the best coopers in America, the new barrel receives a long toast and heavy char designed to draw out a rich sweetness that complements the natural spice of aged rye.

The final product mingles rye spice with wood sugar, earthy oakiness and lush citrus notes, all wrapped in a velvet smoothness unique to the finest aged spirits. We are proud to share with you the fruit of our labors the WhistlePig 15 Year.

Nose: Deep and rich, dominated by caramel, vanilla, and oak with hints of all spice and burnt orange.
Taste: Warm, rich, and slightly creamy; Loads of butterscotch and baking spice with leather and a hint of tobacco
Finish: Ultra long and rich, warm, and inviting

What Gary Says:
Nose: Big, bold, crisp rye spice; citrus punch with underlying oak.
Palate: Thick/viscous/creamy mouthfeel, orange bitters with caramel chews, hints of pipe smoke and pepper spice.
Finish: Moderately long, and not as dry as I expected for the age.
Comments: Very bold rye whiskey – not very oaky/woody. In fact, on both the nose and palate I’d have pegged it as younger because of the lack of oak, but it has enough complexity and bold flavor to make up for it (and for my palate, I prefer less oak – so this is right in my wheelhouse). This has the kind of nose where I could pour and just smell it for hours, and while the palate is quite enjoyable – it isn’t quite as bold as the nose advertises (but is still very nice). I think rye fans would appreciate this, but the price tag makes it challenging – and I definitely recommend a “try before you buy” approach if you have the opportunity.
Rating: Stands Out

What Richard Says:
Nose: Vanilla extract, orange zest, something like lacquer, and a minty woody backbone.
Palate: Creamy and spicy with light notes of sweetness. Cigar tobacco, fennel seed, caramel, and oiled leather.
Finish: Much lighter than I would expect. Linger mint, polished wood, and more oiled leather.
Comments: This is a very nice rye. It smells absolutely stellar but the palate is a little lacking to me. I find a little less than I expected. I thought the Boss Hog bottling was richer and more robust of flavor for a bit less. $200? Well that is steep and it is up to you to determine that for yourself. I wouldn’t drop that kind of coin for it but value is very subjective.
Rating: Stands Out

We would like to thank WhistlePig for sending over a sample for us to review.

Yellow Rose Rye

Yellow Rose Straight Rye Whiskey
45% ABV
$35
Website
yellowrose-straight-rye-whiskey
What the Bottler Says:
Yellow Rose Straight Rye Whiskey is hand selected, blended and bottled in Texas. Enjoy whiskey as it was before prohibition with this small batch limited production spirit. Made from 95% rye, this whiskey is a true American classic perfect for fine cocktails.

COLOR: Copper, amber.
NOSE: Mild vanilla and pine with hint of brown sugar.
PALATE: Slightly sweet, spearmint with mild pepper and maple.
FINISH: Medium finish with less pepper than other rye whiskey’s.
COMMENTS: One of the best rye whiskey’s ever! Makes for the perfect Old Fashion or Manhattan!

What Gary Says:
Nose: Young and brash, bright rye spice, orange zest, and subtle fresh pickles.
Palate: Creamy mouthfeel, softer on the palate than the nose, mellow, light fruit, orange zest, bit of spice kicking into the finish.
Finish: Fairly short.
Comments: Interesting rye whiskey – on the nose it screams MGP high rye (which I suspect is its origin), but on the palate it was out of sync for me – feeling a bit more like a “barely legal rye”. While the nose is brash and sharp (as you expect in a rye), the palate is much more mellow and soft; lacking that rye kick, although it picks up in the end. It reminds me a bit of Dickel Rye with how mellow it is on the palate, and I like that – although that is 2/3 the price of this, so not sure I’ll rush out to grab a bottle.
Rating: Stands Out

What Richard Says:
Nose: Minty, floral sweet, grassy, and fresh. Classic (relatively) young MGP rye. We smell it so often that if we aren’t careful we all begin to believe that MGP’s rye is what all rye is supposed to smell like just from the numbers of bottles of their rye on the shelves.
Palate: Herbaceous and minty sweet.
Finish: Slightly bitter and rather short.
Comments: Ah…another in a long, long, LONG string of bottlers giving us their particular slice of MGP’s stock of rye whiskey. There is nothing wrong with this particular expression of MGP rye. Rather, it’s that this rye is becoming so ubiquitous that it’s hard for newer bottlers to stand out. My advice…if you are going down the MGP rye route you need to do something to the damn whiskey to give it your own stamp. “Blending” various barrels of it just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Rating: Average

We would like to thank Yellow Rose Distilling for sending us a sample for review.

Yellow Rose Blended Whiskey

Yellow Rose Blended Whiskey
40% ABV
$35
Website
yellowrose-blended-whiskey
What the Bottler Says:
Yellow Rose Blended Whiskey is a fusion of character just like Texas culture. A perfect blend of southern charm and rustic cowboy ensures a smooth drinking whiskey with plenty of heart. Our blended whiskey is fuller flavor than typical Canadian blends due to a higher bourbon content.

Still easy to drink and slightly sweet, Yellow Rose Blended whiskey is great on the rocks or as a mixer

COLOR: Deep gold
NOSE: Light aroma, fruity banana with caramel
PALATE: Sweet with banana
FINISH: Medium finish
COMMENTS: Full flavored blend that is still easy to drink

What Gary Says:
Nose: Very light, faint sweetness and a bit of wood & alcohol.
Palate: Sweet but thin, with just a hint of oak & fruit.
Finish: Fairly quick.
Comments: I set my bar lower for blended whiskey than bourbon, and this managed to limbo in just under my expectations. I definitely didn’t get the fuller flavor they mentioned. On the nose, my mind drifted more towards cleaning chemicals than whiskey. To be fair, I like to sample something multiple times over a period of time, and I threw my notes out from my first go (as I think the pollen-apolypse we experience here in Georgia every spring was throwing me off). Maybe it would grow on me, but for the price point I don’t think I’d give it a chance.
Rating: Average

What Richard Says:
Nose: Banana Mama cocktails on the beach in Cancun.
Palate: Smoked honey drizzled over a fruit cocktail with bananas foster on the side.
Finish: Sweet and mellow with a hint pepper.
Comments: This was a surprise. I really expected it to be awful. When I see “blended whiskey” I tend to think of Seagram 7 or something equally awful. This is a bit too sweet for my taste but it is very easily drinkable and not offputting in the least. $35 is a bit steep but I wouldn’t turn down a glass.
Rating: Stands Out

We would like to thank Yellow Rose Distilling for sending over a sample for review.