Category Archives: Taste of the…

Knob Creek Single Barrel

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve
Selected by the Georgia Bourbon Society

60% ABV

What the Distillery Says
Our distillers handpick exceptional barrels to be enjoyed in their full, unblended glory.
COLOR: Our darkest and deepest amber and henna color.
TASTE: Deep and complex flavors of vanilla, nuts and oak.
AROMA: Robust vanilla and caramel notes; slightly smoky.
FINISH: Long and full, perfect for easygoing sipping.

What Gary Says
Nose: Hot and thick, sweet vanilla, brown sugar, nutty caramel and cinnamon with pepper spice undertones and oak; with water the heat is tamped down and spice notes pop (cinnamon, anise, allspice) as well as the oak; reminds me of a breeze through a rickhouse.
Palate: Warm and sharp, viscous sweet honey with vanilla, cinnamon, caramel, hints of gingersnap cookies and brown sugar, bits of chocolate; with water the mouthfeel thins a bit but the flavor remains intense, nutty cinnamon with honey and sugar-cookies.
Finish: Moderately long and honeyed before drying out.
Comments: I generally like high proof pours, but this one out of the gate is a bit on the hot side for me (but only a bit). Luckily it takes water like a champ without losing the intensity of flavor. This barrel was 10 yrs, 10 months, and 15 days old when we dumped it (one of the great things about doing a Knob Creek barrel pick was we literally got to help dump the barrel and see it bottled, rather than having to wait months for the bottles to arrive), and the proof out of the barrel was 138.4. It was stored on the 7th floor of a 9 story rickhouse, so up there a ways – although I would have expected this to be more oaky with that information. There is oak for sure, but the sweetness and spice really stand out, and the oak is more of a background player – which is right up my alley. As a private selection, you won’t find this on the shelves, but the couple of other store picks I’ve tried were quite nice – so if priced favorably, I’d recommend grabbing one.
Rating: Must Try

What Richard Says
Nose: Toffee, furniture varnish, leather oil, vanilla extract, and a bit of that classic Beam peanut funk.
Palate: Caramel, black pepper, empty cigar boxes, cinnamon Red Hots, dark cocoa powder, and burnt brown sugar.
Finish: Surprisingly dry for such a luscious whiskey.
Comments: This is a private selection but I’ve had several and I have yet to taste a bad one. These say 9 years on the bottle but the ones being privately picked by liquor stores tend to be a fair bit older. Usually in the 10 to 12 year range. So for $40 you can get an 11 year old, near barrel strength straight bourbon from a large prominent distiller. Uh, this is probably one of the best bourbon deals out there right now.
Rating: Must Buy

High West Bourye Limited Sighting

High West Bourye Limited Sighting
A Blend of Straight Whiskeys

46% ABV

What the Blender Says
A unique and premium blend of rich bourbon and rye whiskeys, making for a premier sipping whiskey and one of High West’s all time favorites.

Bourye is best enjoyed around a campfire while looking at the Milky Way. Sip straight or with a little water. Not recommended with ice

Bourye is a combination of “Bou” for bourbon and “rye” for..well, rye whiskey. Because combining bourbon and rye is a bit unusual, we couldn’t help thinking of the jackalope. Honestly, we didn’t think anyone would like the name!

The jackalope, also called an antelabbit, is an antlered species of rabbit, a cross between a jack rabbit and an antelope. It is rumored that pockets of jackalope populations continue to persist in the American West, its native home. In the old West, when cowboys would gather by their campfires to sing at night, jackalopes would frequently be heard singing back, mimicking the voices of the cowboys. When chased, the jackalope will use its vocal abilities to elude capture. For instance, when chased by people it will call out phrases such as, “There he goes, over there,” in order to throw pursuers off its track. Legend suggests the best way to catch a jackalope is to lure it with whiskey, as they have a particular fondness for this drink. Once
intoxicated, the animal becomes slower and easier to hunt (believe it or not, all this mythology is true, we didn’t make any of this up). That’s why High West created Bourye®, our proprietary blend of mature Bourbon and Rye, both favorites of real cowboys and sure to attract even the most finicky of jackalopes. All whiskeys in this carefully crafted blend are a minimum of 10
years old and sourced from multiple distilleries. See for technical details and sourcing, that’s not a secret. However, the proportions are! Bourye® is best enjoyed around a campfire while looking at the Milky Way. Important! Jackalopes will attack if cornered or provoked. To avoid injury, quickly fall to the ground, remain calm and still, while humming the Roy Rogers song, “Happy Trails to You” (we did make this up!).

2016 Batch (Old Label Format with “Limited Release” Printed in Red) :
• 9-year-old straight bourbon (mash bill: 75% corn, 21% rye, 4% barley malt) Source: MGP/LDI/Seagrams, Indiana
• 13-year-old straight rye whiskey (mash bill: 95% rye, 5% barley malt) Source: MGP/LDI/Seagrams, Indiana
• 17-year-old straight rye whiskey (mash bill: 95% rye, 5% barley malt) Source: MGP/LDI/Seagrams, Indiana

Barrel Type(s): Whiskeys aged in new, charred white American oak barrels
Nose: Vanilla Butter toffee, Spiced Marzipan, Roasted Nuts, Dried Pineapple
Taste: Sweet Honey Nougat, Rich Caramel, Dark Ginger Cake, Mulling Spices, Dried Stone Fruit.
Finish: Long & Rich, Roasted Pecan, Molasses, and Crème Brûlée

What Gary Says
Nose: Musty oak with brown sugar (wisp of bbq sauce?), dry leaves, hint of smoke, cloves and mulling spices.
Palate: Wow! Starts rich with a deep sweetness before an uptick of spice (but never sharp); incredibly well balanced between honey, clove, and cinnamon.
Finish: Long with a bit of pepper.
Comments: I’ve been a fan of High West’s Bourye since I first tried it (and in fact play “mad scientist” at home; experimenting with various combinations of bourbon and rye). This is really delicious. When I first tried this, my immediate thought was “Holy @#$% – where do I get one of these RIGHT NOW?!” The nose is lovely – the kind I could just smell for the better part of an evening – but the palate on this just blew me away. It isn’t intense/dense with flavor like a higher proof whiskey might be, but this may be one of the best balanced pours I’ve had. I think this is my Goldilocks whiskey (at least at the moment). Not too sweet, not too spicy, not too oaky – just right.
Rating: Must Try

What Richard Says
Nose: Deep rye forward bourbon-ish notes. This reminds me more of single barrel Four Roses than other MGP ryes or bourbons I’ve tried. Cinnamon, smoky, sweet tobacco, and something earthly like gardening mulch.
Palate: Big caramel and cinnamon flavors jumping forward.
Finish: This finishes strong with spicy cinnamon Red Hots and a big kick of wood.
Comments: Big, bold, delicious, and yet approachable. This whiskey is all the things that I find myself seeking more often in my drinks. Compared to the prior (2015) release that version was more muted on the nose and more wood forward in both palate and finish. This version is a masterclass in blending American whiskey. The balance is fantastic. David Perkins really shines with this release.
Rating: Must Try

Rabbit Hole Bourbon

Rabbit Hole Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
47.5% ABV

What the Distiller Says
Bourbon is an act of faith. The barrel builds a strong foundation of vanilla and wood. Atop that, we bet on an unorthodox, four-grain mash promising spice and honey and a fresh apple breeze. When we first poked the thief into the darkness of the barrel, our faith was rewarded: a whiskey of remarkable maturity and self-possession, with spice on the front and custard in the finish.

Mash Bill:
70% Corn
10% Malted Wheat
10% Honey Malted Barley
10% Malted Barley

What Gary Says
Nose: Young, corn sweet with sour oak and a hint of cinnamon.
Palate: Sweet entry – caramel, vanilla, corn syrup – with a bit of a spike kick at the end.
Finish: Short and drying.
Comments: I wasn’t familiar with Rabbit Hole when I first tasted it. On my initial nosing, I have to admit I wrote it off as another craft whiskey producer using small barrels – as it smelled young, but more oak influence than you’d expect (a combination I often find as a tell-tale sign that small barrels were used). That isn’t the case – they verified that they are using 53 gallon barrels (although they are done to a lower char than some others, and are wood fired). On the palate, it hits me much better delivering the quintessential “bourbon” highlights of caramel, vanilla and a bit of a kick. While still young, it fares better on the palate than on the nose. When I’m evaluating a new, typically young (craft) bourbon – I ask myself “Do I like this better than Evan Williams Black Label?” (and yes, I talk to myself – the whiskey is strictly medicinal). For almost all new/craft bourbon, I find the answer is “Nope”. Rabbit Hole is definitely a step up, as I’m not quite sure the answer is no (although not a clear “Yes!” either). While better than most new stuff in that regards, I couldn’t justify shelling out the money for this. I do think this has the potential to be really tasty down the road, and will keep an eye out on future releases. But for $50 – I’d be pretty disappointed, and don’t expect offerings with more age to be priced more reasonably. Although I would love to be disappointed on that note in the future!
Rating: Probably Pass

What Richard Says
Nose: There is a general lightness to the nose more reminiscent of grain alcohol than a bourbon.
Palate: It comes forward very aggressively with black pepper, cinnamon, corn pudding, and malted milk balls.
Finish: Hot. More pepper, oak, and general heat.
Comments: The youth of the spirit shows in the aggressiveness of it. However, hot and peppery flavors and finishes are not exclusive to the young. The lack of depth in the nose really shows that this needs more time in the barrel.
Rating: Average

We would like to thank Rabbit Hole for providing us with a sample for review.

Glengoyne 21 Year

Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Matured 21 Years
43% ABV
$130 to $170

What the Distillery Says
Sultanas and hazelnuts; dried fruits and rich spice

Christmas cake, honey, and rich fruit – with a long cinnamon finish. Matured exclusively in hand-selected sherry casks for 21 years. Perfect after dinner or, frankly, anytime.

What Richard Says
Nose: Baked raisins, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a big meaty dose of sherry.
Palate: Oozing with fruity honey and apple cider centering around a big chunk of oak. Revisiting comes back to a chocolate orange and well worn cedar.
Finish: Hot cinnamon kicks you in the mouth and then settles into a lingering black pepper and oak.
Comments: Sherry bomb? Check! If you don’t have a predilection toward sherry malts then this isn’t going to be some kind of “damn, this is what I’ve been missing” malt moment. It is going to be a damn fine dram and for sherry malt drinkers this is a definite must try.
Rating: Must Try

Glengoyne 18 Year

Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Matured 18 Years
43% ABV

What the Distillery Says
Fresh, malty and spicy

Spicy vanilla fruit, ripe apples and a rich, luxurious mouthfeel. This is the result of eighteen long years and a generous proportion of first-fill sherry casks.

What Richard Says
Nose: Heavy sherry forward with lots of under ripe apples, cocoa, citrus rind, and vanilla.
Palate: Creamy butterscotch, baking spices, mounds of sherry, and more citrus.
Finish: The spices and wood linger.
Comments: This is a great example of a classic sherry forward well aged single malt. Are you tired of paying nearly $200 for that bottle of Macallan 18? Then you should definitely give the Glengoyne 18 a try.
Rating: Must Try