Charcoal Filtration

Review: Wild Turkey Longbranch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

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ABV
43%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Distiller Wild Turkey (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

This whiskey was produced in collaboration between Wild Turkey and Matthew McConaughey - it has resulted in a bourbon about 8 years old which is filtered through both american oak charcaol and texas mesquite charcoal to soften out the whiskey a bit.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose is spicy, with apple, oak, and corn – but it is quite clean and light for a bourbon. What glorious oak! It’s lighter than i expected for a wold turkey – which makes sense given the charcoal filtration. The taste is full of grain - dried fruit and rye, and nice vanilla laden oak, but also with light-spices  and dark fruit, and toasted notes. A very easy-going bourbon. The finish is oaky, with dried fruit. Lightly sweet. A very easy-going bourbon.

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

Value: Average, based on $60. But, in the bourbon category, below average.


Review: Whoop & Holler American Whiskey (Orphan Barrel) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Taylor Strategy, for Orphan Barrel Distilling Co.

Image courtesy of Taylor Strategy, for Orphan Barrel Distilling Co.

ABV
42.0%
Aging
New Charred Oak; 28 Years
Recipe
84% Corn, 8% Rye, 8% Malted Barley
Distiller George Dickel (Tullahoma, Tennessee)

This orphan barrel comes from Diageo's George Dickel distillery, and, consequently, we get more information about the whisky - mashbill, how it was distilled (and charcoal mellowed), and aged for 28 years. It's an old bourbon! This is the ninth release of the Orphan Barrel series, which showcases limited edition American whisky. By the way, Whoop & Holler is an enthusiastic howl.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Rich dried fruit, and lots of oak. Dried pineapple, plum, brown sugar, mulberries, marzipan, toast, and lots of rich oak. The palate has some fairly clean corn, applesauce, pear, and a lot of spices and oak on the finish. If you drink this quickly – it feels over oaked. However, I drink quite slowly, and this is very nice – my favorite of the orphan barrels. The grain is rich, the oak is buttery and creamy, and it is balanced with a nice array of fruit. Quite light overall, given the low ABV. I think this would be pretty awesome at higher strength. Creamy, oaky finish – and ever so lightly bitter, which I like. I quite like it!

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

Value: Very Low, based on $300.


Review: White Owl Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Highwood (High River, Alberta)

Here is a rarity – an aged white whisky. Highwood Distillers in High River, Alberta crafted this one for the premium cocktail market, to compete with premium vodkas and mixing drinks. It is made from wheat and rye whiskies, aged for as long as 12 years, with a particularly high rye content. After the whisky is aged, it is filtered through beds of charcoal, stripping it of colour, and removing a lot of flavours – lightening up the spirit and changing it. A lot of rye is used in the whisky because much of the flavour gets stripped out, and the blenders want some of the rye to come through.

This is not crafted to be a sipping whisky, so take that into account on my rating because it is not a sipping whisky, in the traditional sense. However, I will post it, with the qualification that this is an absolutely fabulous whisky to mix – and is one of my favourites to use. Indeed, much of Canadian whisky is made not to be sipped slowly neat, but to be sipped as a component of a cocktail. It is thanks to this fact that Canadian whisky, until very recently, was the most consumed whisky in the US, even above bourbon and scotch (it was overtaken just a few years ago).

The oak has done its good work on this one, and the effect is similar to the work of good oak on a well aged whisky (a good 18 year old, honeyed, viscous, and balanced) compared to a 12 year old version – but as if a vodka or white rum was the base, not a whisky. Complexity, body, finish, and grip are all added through the aging. I compared a diluted vodka (Finlandia) and diluted White Owl (both to the same strength), and the white owl is much softer, rounder, with much more flavour, body, and richness – even diluted. It shows why all the cocktail folk are buzzing about this one….also I love to mix the White Owl Ginger & Lime - but it is very gingery and not very sweet (fine by me!).


Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2014

Nose: This one, of course, is quite different. Quite spirit-like – with lots of vapours coming off the nose in the style of a vodka rather than a whisky. There’s a buttery note, with a bit of vanilla, almost a bit like some rum-flavoured candies or buttery caramels, and a hint of light honey. There’s also a bit of negative bitterness and meatiness with some rye whiskies that I find – but it isn’t that prominent and isn’t really that much of a detraction. It’s very simple – the light, buttery caramel is quite nice though.

Taste: Clean, and distinctly buttery, with some light vanilla, caramel, a touch of molasses and brown sugar, and a slight sweet edge (though not that sweet). It is quite clean, yet it is quite rich despite being not overly complex. It reminds me of many of the sweet and honeyed notes of Jack Daniel’s, and, indeed, I have tasted Jack Daniel’s in a comparitive tasting and found it strongly reminded me of this – I suppose that charcoal filtration in both whiskies does unearth certain flavours to the surface.

Finish: Very clean, with some rye spice coming through – cinnamon, clove, and a bit of the buttery, rich taste on the palate – which remains for some time, with a touch of oak even coming out from time to time. Surprisingly spicy, in fact.

As I said earlier, I am rating this as a sipping whisky, which it is not. It’s still pleasant to sip, though the nose isn’t great. However, really, if you have a bottle of this it needs to be mixed – that’s what it was crafted for and that’s what it’s really good at. It would provide a great twist on white rum cocktails, as well as give some depth and breadth to many vodka cocktails.

Value: Low to Average. Low if you don’t like mixing, average if you like mixing - it is quite a worthwhile try for mixologists as it presents something quite good and unique - it isn’t meant to be a sipper.