Category Archives: Taste of the…

Buffalo Trace White Dog Rye Mash

Buffalo Trace White Dog Rye Mash
62.5% ABV
$15 (375 mL)
Website

What the Distillery Says
Dating back to George Washington and the birth of a nation is a proud history of crafting whiskey. Some of the first whiskey distilled in America was Straight Rye. Keeping with the traditions of America’s founding fathers, Buffalo Trace Distillery offers this raw, clear, un-aged and high-proof distillate right off the still. The taste has a hint of spicy rye. This whiskey is known as White Dog. It was later discovered this spirit was perfect for aging and gave way to what we today know as Straight Rye Whiskey. Enjoy this White Dog the way early Americans did more than 200 years ago.
TASTING NOTES: Seriously spicy, with some corn sweetness and lingering earthiness.

What Gary Says
Nose: Alcohol, corn along with sourdough, rye bread, and barley malt; some water tamps down the alcohol and really thickens the nose, bringing anise with buttered popcorn.
Palate: Warm, sharp anise bite with a hint of corn and pepper; water brings the sweetness above the burn and makes the anise more prominent, along with another baking spice (maybe clove) while tamping down the pepper.
Finish: Peppery and short.
Comments: While I can’t say this is something I’d pour very often, this was better than I expected – and if I was buying white dog to keep on hand, I thought this had the best “bank for the buck” of the three I tried. Only a couple of bucks more than Heaven Hill’s Trybox New Make Rye, but I enjoyed this quite a bit more than that. I have pretty low expectations with white dog, and honestly am not a fan – but this had more character than I expected. If you do like white dog and haven’t tried it, I would recommend giving it a go.
Rating: Stands Out

Jim Beam Double Oak

Jim Beam Double Oak Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finish in Oak
43% ABV
$25
Website

What the Distiller Says
TWO CHARRED BARRELS, ONE INTENSE BOURBON. Like all of our bourbons, the new Jim Beam® Double Oak is crafted in charred oak. Its rich flavor comes from being aged a second time in another separate barrel.

TWO CHARRED BARRELS, ONE INTENSE BOURBON.
Jim Beam® Double Oak is first aged in charred American white oak barrels, then we pour it into another freshly charred barrel to mature for a second time. The added interaction with the oak wood results in a liquid intense in flavour, smooth in taste.

What Gary Says
Nose: Beam’s signature peanut-twang, toasted crème brulee, vanilla and oak with a hint of cocoa.
Palate: Tad sharp but sweet tapioca and vanilla, caramel corn, hint of cinnamon and a dash of pepper over oak.
Finish: Short and drying with some pepper spice at the end.
Comments: Full disclosure – I bought this bottle as a joke (sorry Jimmy – thought I’d out-class your White Label at happy hour!) Well the joke was on me, because I really enjoy it! Is it my favorite bourbon I’ve tried in the past 12 months? No. Top 10? Probably not. But I like it a helluva lot more than I expected to. I’m not a big fan of Jim Beam White Label, nor am I a fan of heavy oak – so I had very low expectations going in. But for the price point – this is a very decent bottle of bourbon with better balance than I expected.
Rating: Stands Out

What Richard Says
Nose: I swear that the more time goes by the more that peanut funk from Beam products becomes more pronounced. You either love it or hate it but all I get is that plus a vanilla and oak.
Palate: More sweet corn forward with a big helping of dry wood to the point of being almost bitter.
Finish: Wood. I’m just left with wood.
Comments: Beam is trying some new things. I appreciate that. They don’t charge you an arm and a leg for them either. I really appreciate that. But this whiskey is a bit of a one trick pony. It’s a very woody trick at that.
Rating: Average

Ezra Brooks Rye

Ezra Brooks Straight Rye Whiskey
45% ABV
$20
Website

What the Bottler Says:
Nose: Hints of chocolate, leather, vanilla and spicy grains.
Palate: Slightly sweet and oaky tones, with a warm and spicy finish.

What Gary Says
Nose: Young rye spice (mint, dill, thyme), hint of citrus zest and a bit of alcohol.
Palate: Thin, soft rye spice, subtly sweet, sour patch candy.
Finish: Short and a tad dry.
Comments: I’m a fan of Ezra Brooks 7-yr, 101 proof bourbon – so when I saw a straight rye offering, I jumped at it. Even with a 24 month age statement, I’ve enjoyed young rye (much more so than young bourbon). This doesn’t remind me of most young rye, which tends to be aggressive. This is very soft to me for a rye. The nose is squarely in the young-rye category, but the palate was too soft/subtle for me. If I was looking for a rye at a similar price-point, I’d spring for the extra few bucks and go with Rittenhouse Bottled-In-Bond. While this is 90 proof, it drinks to me like an 80 proof, which is disappointing.
Rating: Probably Pass

What Richard Says
Nose: Super light on the nose. It’s almost like rye white dog. Just a bit of mint with lemon/lime zest.
Palate: Surprisingly sweet with loads of caramel and vanilla dancing around the mint and black pepper.
Finish: The finish is a bit harsh. Lots of pepper and alcohol burn.
Comments: Meh. Not good, not bad. Very average. There isn’t anything that makes me want to reach of this over something else.
Rating: Average

Advent Day 18: Dalmore 12 Year

18 days in a we head back to the sherry side…

The Dalmore Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 12 Years
40% ABV
$60
Website

What the Distillery Says
The Dalmore 12 year old, with its intricate aromas and flavours, is recognised as a whisky with character far beyond its age. This was Andrew Mackenzie’s original masterpiece and stood apart from the norm of the day. At a time when it was standard practise to mature whisky for no more than 6 years, Andrew Mackenzie demonstrated his pioneering character by doubling the maturation period. His boldness truly paid off, The Dalmore 12 year old still stands apart as an exceptional whisky today, as it did then.

Matured for an initial nine years in American white oak ex-bourbon casks, the spirit is then divided for its final flourish. One half remains in the bourbon barrels, while the other is transferred to exclusive 30 year old Gonzalez Byass Matusalem oloroso sherry butts before they are reunited to create this phenomenal whisky.

What Richard Says
Nose: Big sherry nose on this one with a malty and cocoa powder backing.
Palate: Syrupy orange sweetness playing with a….”dampness” is the only word that comes to mind. A bit of a one trick pony.
Finish: Coffee and dark chocolate…mochaccino maybe? Draw the finish out and it turns bitter.
Comments: Dalmore is one of those “remember when” scotches. As in “remember 20 years ago what it tasted like?” Back when I first started to drink scotch, just about everything Dalmore produced was pretty stellar. This current 12 year old is a pale shadow of what they used to make. Now there really isn’t anything special going on in this malt. And on top of the quality decline, there is a huge jump in price since Dalmore redid their line about 8 years ago. They see themselves as a top tier luxury malt now. Of course, that also includes the requisite luxury pricing. $60+ a bottle? Nah.
Rating: Average

Advent Day 16: Kavalan

Day 16 of the Whisky Advent Calendar comes all the way from Taiwan…

Kavalan Single Malt Whisky
40% ABV
$75
Website

What the Distillery Says
Kavalan Classic Single Malt Whisky exemplifies the sheer quality of whisky currently coming out of Taiwan. The skills of Master Blender Ian Chang work with the humid Taiwanese climate to create whisky that is diverse and complex. Fresh and clean, the spirit is rich with silky smoothness and hints of tropical fruits, mango in particular.

Nose: Clean, elegant, floral (pleasant & refreshing fragrance of the butterfly orchid), fruity and seductive. With hints of honey, tropical fruits (mango in particular), pear drop, vanilla, coconuts and suggestions of chocolate.

Palate: A hint of sweet mango juice with that spicy complexity and gentle warmth on a medium, oily and citrus finish.

Tasting: Kavalan classic is the perfect partner for seafood. We suggest sometimes you can dilute Kavalan classic with water, the perfect racio is “Kavalan Classic 1: Water 5”, and add ice to cool.

What Richard Says
Nose: Poached pear and green apple sweetness with a mild malty backbone.
Palate: Delicate and floral with notes of under ripe apples, expressed citrus peel, and digestive biscuits.
Finish: Lingering wet wood and vanilla extract.
Comments: I’ve only been fortunate enough to try Kavalan a few times and this is my first experience with their signature malt. It is a lovely, clean, well crafted malt that sits a bit middle of the road. It won’t offend any camp of whisky enthusiast but it won’t set them on fire either. One for the Glenmorangie fans out there.
Rating: Stand Out