Buffalo Trace

Review: Blanton's Original Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46.5%
Aging
Charred Virgin Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 15% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

Blanton's is aged for about 9 years, in warehouse H at Buffalo Trace the only metal cladded warehouse there. It is made from the same corn, rye, and maltmash bill as Elmer T. Lee and Ancient Age, and is a hand bottled product from a single barrel. It is one of my favorite, if not my favorite whisky bottle - with collectible bottle stoppers which each contain a letter of Blanton's. It was launched in 1984, with great success, by master distiller Elmer T. Lee as the first single barrel bourbon in modern production. The whiskey comes off the still at 70%, dumped into the barrels at 62.5%, and uses a 6 month seasoning (air drying) on the staves before they were put into the barrels.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: Barrel 90; Warehouse H; Rick no. 26; Dumped 10.15.13

  • Bottling Code: B1329016:52J

  • Bottling Date: 2013

Quite the nose, bursting with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and pomegranate, alongside oak and an impressive light oily quality which is well integrated within. Now we have lime zest too on the nose. On the palate, loaded with kombucha, and all sorts of tea notes - blueberry tea, raspberry tea, black tea, before resting on the fruity notes. Oily, as well, in the best sense of the word. Kombucha on the finish, with chili spice, and great complexity throughout - showing great bourbon without being a spirit smothered by corn or oak - we, perhaps, don't see this enough. A favorite bourbon of mine.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, based on $65. A good barrel of this edges it into the high value category at $65.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Barrel 327; Warehouse H; Rick no. 33; Dumped 12.31.15

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

A friend of mine said this was his favorite Blanton’s ever and sent me a sample. I never turn down trying more of my favorite bourbon brand!

Terrific nose, which develops beautifully too. A brilliant mix of rye, floral notes, tea, oak, corn, pomegranate, orange zest, spice cake, and corn which shines through on this one. The palate is full of spice, corn stalks, and toffee with tingly pepper. A nice finish with dried berries, corn husks, caramel, and black tea. Another terrific blanton’s.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, based on $65. A good barrel of this edges it into the high value category at $65.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: Barrel 1467; Warehouse H; Rick no. 21; Dumped 2.5.18

  • Bottling Code: L18037011646J

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Fruity and spicy – dried rose, hibiscus, fennel seed, dried apricot and dried peach. Strawberry. What can I say, typical Blanton’s! It’s a bit more harsh and less rounded than most of the Blanton’s I’ve had. It’s sharp and oaky on the palate, with nice dried fruit coming in. Finish continues – dried fruit (more peach than usual), lots of rye spice, and rich sweet oak.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $70.


Review: Stagg Junior Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
63%+
Aging
Charred Virgin Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 10% Rye, 15% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

Stagg Junior was released in 2013 partially to satisfy many consumers who wanted to try the George T. Stagg bourbon, a whiskey usually about 17 years old and bottled unfiltered and at barrel proof part of the esteemed and rare Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. This whisky is aged 8-9 years, and, similarly, is from the same recipe (also the recipe of Buffalo Trace) and is cask strength and unfiltered. It comes out in batches, and, thus, the alcohol percentage and flavour vary from batch to batch. As the whiskey is younger, has high production, and is released multiple times per year, Buffalo Trace hopes this is a more accessible whiskey in the mold of George T. Stagg.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A (66.05%)

  • Bottling Code: B14 191 0957N

  • Bottling Date: 2014

There’s a good dose of earthy oak, caramel, black tea, lots of white grape (the fruit really lifts up the whole nose), honey, a bit of marsh that’s drying out in the fall (or another season, I suppose…), and lots of dried apricot. I love the earthiness of the oak. The palate is sweet with a lot of black tea, candied orange, and some sharp spices – a mixed bag of old stale cloves and peppercorns. Still a bit sweet with almost a raisin-y type sweetness to it. Fades to tannins, oak, and dried apple.

Even if you water it down to 40% you still get quite a nice bourbon. But, much better at cask strength – though watered to 58-60% might be my sweet spot for this bourbon.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average (based on $85).


Review (2018)

  • Batch: 10 (63.2%)

  • Bottling Code: L180860118:557 REF IA 5C VT 15C

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Lowest proof to date for a stagg jr!

Very fruity! Cherries, mulberries, white grape, a light floral note and lots of spice – clove and ground cinnamon (i.e. more on the spicy than the woody side). The palate is big with dried fruit and a rich oiliness – full of that buffalo trace rye note you see clearly in the standard buffalo trace bottling – but it’s much bigger and richer here. Amazing fruity notes – raspberry jam, hibiscus, cherry, strawberry, but alongside the oily corn, oak, and spice you’d expect. The finish is drying, with lots of dried stone fruit (notably cherry), oak, caramel, and tannin.

A definite improvement on the initial stagg jr. which didn’t make me jump to buy more of them. This is much better.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average (based on $85).


Review: William Larue Weller Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

WL Weller.jpg
ABV
67.3%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak; 12 Yrs
Recipe
~70% Corn; 16% Wheat; 14% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

This is about as big as you can get with a wheated bourbon - cask strength, oaky, and nearly 70%. Consistently terrific.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 2015 (67.3%)

  • Bottling Code: B152301238K

  • Bottling Date: 2015

This is woody! Lots of char and caramel on the nose - a bit of a reatrained nose, at first - even diluted. Creamy, candied, spicy....fennel root, stewed apples, caramelized vegetables, tobacco, oily, candle wax - quite dark, really. Very lightly floral - like light jasmine - I was expecting something in the Weller 12 category but this is quite different...

The palate is thick, sweet, and incredibly earthy - the mossy oak sort of earthiness - i love this bit. A touch of dill, and full of rich toffee and old, leathery dried apricot. The finish has a bit of mint and loads of creamy caramel and dried apricot and stewed prune. Huge, sweet, finish. Really earthy - oaky, 

It's one that begs me to be slipped slow and savour - it is nice when the whisky you are tasting takes the reins. Really nice. 

I prefer it with a bit of water in it to the mid-high 50 percent range. More complexity is revealed 

Exceptional (3% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date receive this, my highest recommendation).

Value: High (based on $130)


Review: George T. Stagg Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

George Stagg 3.jpg
ABV
71.3%
Aging
18.5 yrs; Charred Virgin Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 10% Rye, 15% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

Of course, each year of Stagg varies in age, barrels, and ABV - the above is for the 2011 batch I have reviewed, the oldest Stagg ever, I believe. Indeed, it is not often you find an 18 year old bourbon, let alone one bottled at cask strength greater than 70%!


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 2011

  • Bottling Code: K237 119:44

  • Bottling Date: 2011

This is an oaky beast! The nose has vanilla and oak, dried cherry, almond, corn husks, dried apricot, and the lightest hint of strawberry and hibiscus. Nuttiness grows with time. If you drink at higher proofs, wonderful oiliness and beeswax reveal themselves along with Elmo’s craft glue, dried cranberry, leather, black tea, dried flowers – surprisingly, on the nose, I get more at full proof. Oak is here, there, and everywhere – it is relatively clean though – you aren’t getting a sense of really earthy, mossy, oak or very spicy oak – at least not relative to the magnitude of straightforward oak. It really does smell like a stave of sweet, luscious oak. The palate is loaded through with oak, strawberry, clove, old tough dried fruit, and light bitterness. Nice tanginess, and incredibly rich dried fruit. The finish is full of light fruitiness, vanillla, baking spices, spearmint and stewed apricots and peaches. The finish is dense, slowly unfolding with time.

The whole thing, really, is chained in oak – it is terrific for a powerful, oaky bourbon but in terms of complexity and intrigue – it’s not quite there. The nose is really nice, but the palate is too constrained by the mighty oak and isn’t quite together. I keep wanting to rate this higher because I know it is a Stagg – it is ever the error with non-blind tasting. However, tasting in a flight brings back that advantage...and it isn’t the caliber of the ones I’m tasting beside it. The nose is fantastic, and it develops beautifully, but the palate and the finish don’t meet expectation. But that was a pretty high expectation – this is terrific bourbon.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, at $150.


Review: Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Thomas Handy.jpg
ABV
64.3%
Aging
6 Years; Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

The 2011 Handy, showing all the glory that can be had in relatively young rye. Though it's less than half the age of the other whiskies in the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection - it shows the sharpness and glory of rye. My favorite BTAC. Of course, ABV and age vary year to year - the table above s not indicative of all releases.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 2011 (64.3%)

  • Bottling Code: K2271110 119:44

  • Bottling Date: 2011

This is just a gorgeous, rye nose. Mixed dried fruits, clove, dried rose petals, rosehip jam, anise seed, menthol, oak, light corn husks, stewed apricots...I could go on. The dried floral notes, combined with the spice – absolutely gorgeous. The palate starts off sharp before a creamy wave of spice and dried apricot, dried rose petals, rosehip, clove, nutmeg, and roasted swiss chard. The finish is full of spices, corn husks, rosehip, and cinnamon. Really, a wow whisky...and right up my alley.

Discounting Lock, Stock, and Barrel 16, it’s the best rye I’ve had since Masterson’s batch 1....side by side they offer such different things. Better nose, not quite as good on the palate, but cask strength is (a lot) of fun and takes the finish to terrific lengths. Whisky is just terrific business.

Exceptional (3% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date receive this, my highest recommendation).

Value: Very High, if you can get it at the recommended retail price (about $150).


Review: Blanton's Straight from the Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
~65%
Aging
Charred Virgin Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 15% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

This is a Blanton's not available in North America, but comes at a hefty price in Europe. The whiskey comes off the still at 70%, dumped into the barrels at 62.5%, and uses a 6 month seasoning (air drying) on the staves before they were put into the barrels. I love Blanton's, and a cask strength and unfiltered Blanton's is just about my favorite cask strength bourbon, dependent a little on mood...


Review (2016)

  • Batch: Barrel 566; Warehouse H (65.7%)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2014

Distinctly Blanton’s! I love it! All that dried and tinned apricot, and dried rose. Very intense in that respect, particularly at this strength. Vanilla, prunes, dense oak, dried apple, potpourri, maple fudge, and a bit of dry earth also come through. The palate is full, deep, and complex with lots of peach, grapefruit, rosehip, and dried berries. Phenomenal. All in balance, and all with terrific flavour at this strength. And a terrific, complex finish with many of those dried apricot notes, grapefruit, oak, and nut brittle. Watered down, it’s still a nice bourbon – but it rides much better at full strength. Too bad this isn’t more available, like in the North American markets…but if it were, I don’t know if anyone would get a taste…however, if I were American, I would (rightly so) feel a bit robbed.

Exceptional (3% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date receive this, my highest recommendation).

Value: Average (based on $121)


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Barrel 221; Warehouse H; Rick no. 31; Dumped 6.26.14 (64.4%)

  • Bottling Code: B1417815:49J

  • Bottling Date: 2014

A rich, full nose – slightly musty, with loads of vanilla and floral rye. Dried rose, tea, dried fruits, cacao, spearmint, raw cane sugar, and lots of clove and oak. The palate is full of tannins and the floral nature of the rye shines through. The sweetness is just about perfect to balance the spice and the proof. Raspberry tea is distinct, melding beautifully with some black tea. A nice rising spice on the jammy finish, and the finish is slightly bitter with all the oak. Dried corn comes out particularly in the finish, and it is there where we also have some of those typical dried flower notes from Blanton’s. And a bit of coconut. I just love the essence of Blanton’s here in this bottle.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average (based on $121)


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Barrel 706; Warehouse H; Rick no. 44; Dumped 2.11.16 (64.4%)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

Butter, cumin, a stale bag of mixed baking spices, dried corn, dried apricot, strawberries, and stewed stone fruit. Slightly farmy, too. A spicy, full palate, with a huge wave of sweet corn which is then completely conquered by sharp, spicy rye and some dried flowers. Dried corn, spices, and oak on the finish. Wonderful bourbon, but not quite up to the stuff I’ve had in the past from Blanton’s.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low (based on $121)


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Barrel 265; Warehouse H; Rick no. 11; Dumped 4.04.16 (62.8%)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

This goes into the barrel at 62.5%, so the proof didn’t really increase in the barrel at all – it must have been in a cool or humid part of the warehouse. Very fruity – strawberry, banana, and a bit of blackberry too – the rye comes in nicely too. Brown sugar and light oak too. The palate is sweet, and doesn’t pack a huge punch. The grains seem to sit at the forefront of this bottle – rather than the fruit. There is a bit of dense dried flowers at the end, in the Blanton’s style, which is quite nice. Some dried chanterelles and strawberries on the finish. A nice bottle…

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average (based on $121)


Review: Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
45%
Aging
New Charred Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 10% Rye, 15% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

Again, late to the game here with an ex-age statement bourbon. Now, sadly, without one. However, I'll put up my review for the 10 year old - at some point, I hope, to taste the new NAS. Eagle Rare is a straight bourbon product of Buffalo Trace distillery, coming from the same mashbill as their flagship bourbon, Buffalo Trace. Eagle Rare is aged for 10 years, put in the barrel at 62.5%, and bottled as a single barrel product – thus, it’s flavour profile will be less consistent than that of a blended product. Consequently, you would expect ratings to vary from bottle to bottle. It is a lighter, softer, and more fruity brother to Buffalo Trace Bourbon with more citrus, and a bit less honey.


Review (2013)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2013

Nose: Vanilla, toffee and brown sugar comes first, followed with some caramel and oak. Quite a light nose – the rye doesn’t seem as present as in Buffalo Trace. There’s a fruitiness (dried fruit)- dried apple, apricot, dried orange peel, and raisins - and a touch of dusty rye is there too alongside cornmeal. The vanilla and caramel are lovely in the nose, along with the light fruit. As it sits, the rye does come out a bit more.

Taste: Soft, smooth and light sour citrus followed by a rush of corn and dried apricot before the oak begins to come in with the glowing rye spice. I was a bit let down, hoping the fruit and vanilla would come out better on the palate than they did, but unfortunately it was not so. There was, perhaps, more citrus than I expected from the nose at first- but as I went back I found the citrus indeed present in the nose.

Finish: The rye plays with the mouth for a bit and it dries out with some oak remaining. Some of the rye is a bit dull, unfortunately. But, the mouth tingles for a bit with the spice, which I quite like. There’s a touch of maple and lemon on the finish as well. Fills the mouth, and starts it watering for a bit more. Always what we like to see! It’s a hard one to mark – I love certain aspects a lot – the spice, the citrus, the dry-ness, but there are parts I don’t like – the stale and slightly bitter rye. There’s a bit of nice earthiness as well.

The nose, certainly, is great. But, I do wish for a bit more complexity and aggressiveness on the palate – it doesn’t demand my attention the way I wish it did and the way the nose suggests it might.

Value: Average, at $50.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: B1706109:284 REF IA5C VT 15C

  • Bottling Date: 2017

I’ve only ever reviewed two different barrels of Eagle Rare, and some people rave about it. I always preferred its sibling, Buffalo Trace, but thought I’d give it another go after the age statement moved to the back (probably en route to losing its age statement). The bourbon itself appears quite dark, showing it likely has some decent wood in it – or so I thought, until I realized the silver label is quite dark and makes the whisky look quite a bit darker by restricting the light. (But, still has some decent color.)

The nose is very nice – oaky, with lots of dried apricot, dried peach, prune, marshy corn, clove, spearmint, dried pineapple, pumperknickel bread, toasted walnuts, and a good kick of rye. The palate is rich, and very full – dried apricot, corn, confectioner’s sugar, caramel – but at the end there is a beautiful, rich, rye flurry. The finish continues on with rye, dried apricot, purne, oak, spearmint, and corn husks. Brilliant rye influence and integration, and elegantly tied together – significantly better than the other two Eagle Rare barrels I’ve had. The dried fruit is quite notable, also, in this barrel. A nice find!

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $57.


Review: High River Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
N/A
Distiller N/A (Canada)

Sazerac, who also own both the Royal Canadian and Caribou Crossing line of Canadian whiskies, has now added this, the most budget-friendly of the three, as it continues to expand its Canadian whisky portfolio - with more bottles to come, I believe. There is very little information about this whisky - it is sourced, and from what I know Sazerac sources from three Canadian distilleries for their Canadian whiskies. I've heard that this is a mix of rye, corn, and barley - though I haven't been able to confirm with them.

Interesting the name "High River", as that is where the distillery Highwood is based. The label talks quite a bit about rye, but it is not a very rye forward whisky...


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: B1635509 477 REF 1A 5C VT 15C

  • Bottling Date: ~2016

The nose is full of the dried orange and pine notes distinctive of Hiram Walker corn whisky. There are some wheaty cereal notes, clove, anise seed, maple and menthol. The palate is quite sweet, with a good kick of vanilla and a mixed bag of grain notes which are not clearly defined (something like a light mixed porridge). There is a bit of tannin and some sweet oak notes as well, along with some charred wood notes. A light finish with light spices, cedar, fresh wood, and fading sugar. Slightly bitter.

Sweet, somewhat simple, and a bit boring...

Value: Average. Not a fantastic whisky, but it’s simple and quite decent - and cheap (~33$).


Review: Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
45%
Aging
Charred Virgin Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 15% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

This was the first whisky I tasted, along with Johnnie Walker Black label, that transported me from being interested in whisky to being fascinated by it. It was a full fledged party in my mouth when I first tasted it, and it was love at first taste.

The whiskey is made in Frankfort, Kentucky, at Buffalo Trace distillery – one of the most renowned distilleries in the world. It is made from a mashbill with corn, rye and malted barley in it, and is aged about 8 years in barrels. It is made in a small batch process, with roughly 40 barrels selected for each blend.  Interestingly enough, you can taste the white dog/new make whisky from which this comes if you can find it – Buffalo Trace Mash #1, which is the base for this whisky, Eagle Rare 10 year old, and even the famous George T. Stagg.


Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: The oak from the nose reminds me of the warehouse I visited at Buffalo trace – dense, moist and almost mossy oak. It is a great nose! Apple juice, vanilla, honey, dried apricot, peach tea, and a slight coca-cola smell as well. The nose smells sweet, and has a lovely dried fruit character to it that is almost floral in nature. There’s even a bit of chocolate milk on the nose. I can also sense the rye spice in my nostrils as I inhale – it’s a dusty rye…not particularly fruity. I would say that it reminds me in large part of markets/bazaars which have nuts and dried fruits stacked up high….those dried fruits play such a big role here. very enjoyable!

Taste: Honey, and light corn entry which develops and builds into a bit of spice which then subsides relatively fast. The taste of honeycombs is so evident in the taste. There’s also a bit of leather, and fruitiness reminiscent of stewed peaches and apricots. It’s pleasantly sweet, without a lot of development at the forefrontof the taste – but as your mouth gets to know the whisky a bit – that’s where it gets interesting. It’s as if it’s a train…it takes a while to get moving, but when it’s moving – it’s certainly hard to stop.

Finish: This is where the whisky takes off, and this is what blew me off my chair the first time I tasted this whisky. Once you’ve swallowed, the heat and spice build up in your mouth and carry on and on, rising in heat for a good ten seconds after you’ve swallowed. The rye comes to the forefront, with the corn dancing all about in the background, filling the crevices of your mouth. Eventually, it fades and dries out with an aftertaste of honeycombs and a bit of white pepper which finally fades to oak vanillins. It coats your mouth, making it water, longing for some more. Absolutely fantastic! How often I have wished that I could cut and paste this finish onto some other of my whiskies….the one drawback is some of the lingering rye once everything has died out – it is a bit too dry for my liking. But eventually the sweet, dried-fruit comes and has the last say.

This is one of my favourite whiskies because of its roarind finish. If that were taken away, it would be lacking some complexity and intrigue. It shows you what a strong finish can do!  Sadly, I find the edges of whisky round out as you keep bottles open, even if you try to preserve them (as I do with wine preserver neutral gas).  I have found this with many whiskies, unfortunately (particularly peated scotches) – and now try to be careful about which and how many bottles I keep open. This is still fantastic – but was better when I had just opened it a bit over a year ago. As I tasted it then and made notes, the scores are based on this – now I would drop it a few points.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Bordering between high and average. I’ll go high, at $39.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: B1422707

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

A huge fruity nose, with the dried apricot, rose, prune, dried peach, walnuts, and oak. Nice rye influence. The palate starts sweet with cherry, before the oak, clove, nutmeg, corn, and earthy notes build up towards a pleasantly warming and complex finish. Oak, dried corn, and cherry on the finish. This doesn’t have the finish that I recall, but still a terrific bourbon.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Bordering between high and average. I’ll go high, at $41.


Review: W.L. Weller 12 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Weller 12.jpg
ABV
45%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak; 12 Yrs
Recipe
~70% Corn; 16% Wheat; 14% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

This whisky has gone from cheap and commonplace to very hard to find, often dubbed "poor man's Pappy" because it was a well-aged wheated bourbon of high quality, but considerably cheaper and easier to find a few years ago. Now, the whisky is on allocation throughout the world due to its popularity (and rightly so; it is terrific). It tends to come through Ontario once a year, and isn't too hard to find if you watch for it....

The first time I had this, in 2012, I didn't like it because it was too confectionary - but, by the end of the bottle, I was completely converted. I have a reasonable fondness for this whisky now.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 3310252119: 34B

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Deep and rich, with apple juice and cherry alongside oak, musty corn, and a touch of mint -only this time it is all very nicely integrated as a whole. Complex and deep. On the palate, dried berries and quite tannic with all the oak influence and shows a lot of depth and sweetness. The oak is on the edge, but not enough – it is just about right with the tannin providing good structure. On the end, quite a bit of oak with a complex, enduring finish showing an array of spices which does its work well. More fresh oak emerges on the palate as it sits. Breaching on elegance.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very high, based on $45.