Tag Archives: Early Times

Early Times

Early Times Kentucky Whisky
40% ABV
$13 to $15
Available damn near everywhere

What the Distillery Says:

Early Times Kentucky Whisky is distilled, aged a minimum of three years and barreled in used oak barrels at the Early Times Distillery in Shively, Kentucky. We are the only company to own its own cooperage and make its own barrels, which allows us to control how the barrel contributes to the taste characteristics of Early Times. Early Times Kentucky Whisky is known for being a high-quality whisky that delivers a consistently smooth taste and flavor profile while still being offered at a value to our consumers.

Color: Light, bright honey

Nose: A fresh, sharp oak note ripens into a dry clove spice and hay, hints of leather, dill spice and fruit add complexity to a subtle foundation of white chocolate.

Taste: Smooth and creamy malt character with a light oak sweetness and herbal grass notes.

Finish: Mild and clean, and fulfilling with a very pleasant, soft, apple peel character.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Woody, vanilla, peaches, and a light caramel sweetness.
Palate: Very smooth and lightly sweet. It’s almost like it’s not there.
Finish: The finish is a little short and bland. There’s just a bit of oak. Blink and you’ll miss it.
Comments: Brown-Forman sent us a bottle of this with their new 354 Bourbon so that we could compare and contrast. For those that don’t know, the reason why it’s “Kentucky Whisky” and not bourbon is because there’s some aging in used barrels going on. More likely than not, when you order a well drink containing whiskey you’re likely getting Early Times. It’s cheap, plain, and unoffensive. There’s nothing wrong with drinking this straight it just doesn’t bring a lot to the party.
Rating: Probably Pass

What Matt Says:
Matt has not had a chance to review this whisky yet.

We want to thank Brown-Forman for providing us with a bottle for review.

Brown-Forman goes north of the border

Brown-Forman, makers of Canadian Mist are coming out with a new Canadian whisky. Collingwood is “mellowed” using maple wood. Here is the press release Brown-Forman sent over:

Brown-Forman Releases Collingwood Canadian Whisky
Introducing the only toasted Maplewood mellowed Canadian whisky

February 14, 2011, Louisville, Ky. – Brown-Forman announces the release of Collingwood, a new premium Canadian whisky which is set to hit shelves in February. Collingwood will be the only Maplewood mellowed Canadian whisky available on the market.

Every batch of Collingwood starts with the finest Canadian grains, pure spring water from Ontario’s Georgian Bay and its very own, hand-crafted, Maplewood mellowing process. The whisky is triple distilled for smoothness and then matured in white oak barrels. In Collingwood’s unique finishing step, the whisky rests with toasted Maplewood to complete its smooth character.

“By now, people have figured out fancy bags and bottles don’t make great whisky, it’s what’s inside that counts,” said Brown-Forman Master Distiller Chris Morris. “With passion and perseverance, we set out to create nothing short of the smoothest Canadian whisky ever made. Collingwood has arrived to set the new standard for smoothness and to revolutionize the Canadian whisky category.”

The gentle Maplewood mellowing process Collingwood undergoes is something unique in the Canadian Whisky category. It has a refined character that can be enjoyed on the rocks or mixed in a whisky cocktail.

Collingwood’s unique over-cap, flask shaped package was created by the media & design group at Brown-Forman based in Louisville, Kentucky.

“The brand objective was to communicate and personify smoothness to the discerning whisky drinker,” said Webb Blevins, Global Creative Director at Brown-Forman. “We believe Collingwood is the smoothest whisky ever made, and because of this, we wanted the package to really show off the liquid inside. We tried to immediately communicate premium without shouting or trying to impress, because Collingwood is for those who have nothing to prove to anyone but themselves.”

Collingwood will launch an ad campaign to coincide with the product’s release in several trade magazines and out of home billboards in launch markets. Available in Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas initially, more markets will be added later in 2011. Each bottle is presented at 80 proof with a suggested retail price of $26.99 for a 750ml bottle.

The good folks at Brown-Forman are sending over review samples of Collingwood and the new Early Times bourbon. I will post reviews as soon as I can.

Drink wisely my friends,


New U.S. Releases – April ‘10

I’m late with this again and I’m sorry. I was on vacation with my lovely wife. Without further delay, here’s what we heard about this month.

For those high rollers out there…
Glenfarclas 40 Year Old
Timeframe: The UK launch was 4/29 but I haven’t heard specific U.S. details yet
ABV: 46%
Price: $525
The release notice only gave a GBP price but based on current exchange rates I did the math for you. We know that about a quarter of the production for this release will be coming stateside. I have yet to try a 40 year old scotch but if anyone wants to get me something special…my birthday is in July.

For the microdistilling enthusiast:
Mckenzie Bourbon Batch #1
Timeframe: May 1st
ABV: ?
Price: $45
This is the new bourbon coming out of the Finger Lakes Distillery. Matt and I tried their rye and corn whiskeys at WFNYC 2009 and based on that experience this looks pretty interesting. Due to the small initial supply it’s only being released in New York State. However, if you’re in New York it should be available at around 130 different retail locations. Happy hunting!

We’ve got a couple of retired Master Distillers getting back into the game:
Angel’s Envy Bourbon
Timeframe: September 2010
ABV: 45%
Price: ?
This is a new project led by Lincoln Henderson, the retired master distiller from Woodford Reserve. Lincoln and his son Wes are launching a new bourbon and a new distillery. This first release is being made for them but they should be up and running at their own distillery around the same time.

WhistlePig Straight Rye Whisky
Timeframe: Late spring 2010
ABV: 50%
Price: $70
This is coming to us from Dave Pickerell who used to be the master distiller at Maker’s Mark. Dave found some 100% Canadian rye whisky that he thinks is pretty good. The mashbill is 100% unmalted rye and it’s around 10 years old.

Canadian Buffalo Invasion:
Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky
Timeframe: May 2010
ABV: 40%
Price: $49.99

Royal Canadian Small Batch Canadian Whisky
Timeframe: May 2010
ABV: 40%
Price: $29.99

Both of these are coming to us courtesy of Buffalo Trace. Matt previously mentioned this release but I thought I’d add in a few more details.

Finally making it across the pond:
Timeframe: September 2010
ABV: 46%
Price: $70
Kilchoman is finally making it to the U.S. It won’t be until this fall so I don’t yet know if we’ll get some of the Autumn 2009 release or if it will be a new 2010 release. Stay tuned.

Timeframe: May 2010
ABV: ?
Price: ?
Swedish whiskey makes it to the U.S. I might just stop by IKEA on my way home from buying some.

And finally:
Early Times 150th Anniversary Bottling
2010 marks the 150th anniversary for Early Times and they are putting it out in a special 375ml bottle for the occasion. The retail should be around $11.99 if you’re interested.

That’s it. If you know of anything I missed then please let me know.

Drink wisely my friends,


It’s Derby Time

The Kentucky Derby is this weekend. You know what that means… Mint Juleps. This year, Early Times Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby (even though Woodford Reserve is the official bourbon). There are a few Mint Julep recipes out there. The ingredients are all the same, but the mixing and ratios often vary. The ingredients are bourbon (of course), sugar, water (some recipes use simple syrup instead of sugar and water), mint and ice. I’m going to break down a few methods for you.

The official Early Times Mint Julep calls for 2oz. Bourbon, 1 tbsp simple syrup, 1 tbsp water, mint sprigs and crushed ice. What makes this one ‘advanced’ is the simple syrup is infused with mint. To make the simple syrup, boil 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Pour the simple syrup mixture over a bunch of of mint leaves. Gently crush the leaves into the mixture. Chill, strain, and chill some more.

Crush mint leaves into the bottom of an 8 oz glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Add 1 tbsp water, 1 tbsp simple syrup (our mint infusion), 2 oz. bourbon and stir until frost forms on the glass. Garnish with mint.

A little easier:
If you can’t be bothered to make your own simple syrup, you can also muddle 2 tsp water with 2 tsp sugar and 6-8 mint sprigs. Add bourbon and ice and you are good to go.

For the truly lazy:
Early Times makes a premixed Mint Julep Cocktail. Serve it over ice with a mint garnish.

Some Trader Joe’s stores also carry simple syrup for a hybrid of the recipes above.

I’m not a big fan of Early Times bourbon, so I’ll be making my Juleps with Buffalo Trace this year. I recommend using something good but not very expensive. The flavors of the sugar and the mint complement the bourbon, but they do cover up some things. Do not waste the last of your Woodford Reserve Four Grain on one of these.

Drink well. Drink responsibly.