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5 hours ago, Goober Pyle said:

Thanks for the heads up on the Lusty Claw. I had my suspicions that it was more about the bottle and less about the bourbon. 

I've had some more of the WT 101. I like it, though still not as much as the RR10Y. It does much better letting it sit for a bit, then drinking it. I do appreciate you posting your thoughts on all the bourbons you've tried. As I said, I love trying new stuff.....heck, that's how I found the RR10Y. I don't like paying good money for sh!tty bourbon. Lol.

No sweat. Happy to help folks steer clear of the obvious disasters & hopefully help them find a few favorites along the way.

I picked up a couple things yesterday, so I'll probably have a few new reviews on here soon. I got another offering from the Old Forester Whiskey Row series. I previously had & reviewed the typically well-received & somewhat hyped OF1920. This time I went with the OF1910. It's been somewhat hard to find over the past year or so, and they had just one bottle left, so I figured I'd give it a go finally.

They had a Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit private selection (picked by Eddie Russell for NC) that I was plenty curious about, but I opted to grab that OF1910 instead since it was the only one left. I may grab the WTKS pick sometime later on.

I also picked up a bottle of 1792 Small Batch. It's been a few years since I last had it, and I remember liking it, so I wanted to give it another shot. For some reason, it's been getting bought up & thus has been somewhat rare around here as well. The only thing I can think of is the ding dongs who treat all things Buffalo Trace as if they were some Holy Grail of bourbon can't get that stuff, so they are now buying up anything that's even remotely connected to BT (1792 is made by Barton, and both they & Buffalo Trace Distillery are owned by Sazerac).

I also picked up another OGDBiB while it's still on sale, because it's a really solid weekday sipper. Doesn't hurt to have another one of those around.

Don't know if you've seen them there yet, but Wild Turkey just rolled out a new design for the 101. So far, it looks like just the 1.75L bottles have the new look, but I'm guessing the 750ml bottles aren't far behind. In an effort to unload the old look 1.75Ls & make way for the new ones, they've marked them down $5 here.

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Old Forester 1910
Parent Company/Distillery: Brown-Forman/Brown-Forman Shively Distillery
Proof: 93 (46.5% ABV)
Age: NAS
Price: $54.95

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Nose: Initially this brings forth notes of cherries, dark chocolate, rich oak, raisin, and molasses with a light undertone of vanilla. As it sits & continues to open up, sweeter notes emerge, allowing the vanilla to come through a bit more accompanied with a noticeable buttercream frosting note.

Palate: Much like the Old Forester 1920, this has an incredibly full, rich, oily mouthfeel that coats the entire palate. I get an immediate burst of fruit like smoked cherries, candied dates, plus dried raisins & apricots. This is quickly met with a slight bitterness from the oak tannins, which adds a nice complexity and makes it taste a lot like a carefully crafted cocktail. On the mid-palate as it's rounding out to the finish, a subtle cinnamon spiciness comes out. The smokiness mixes perfectly with the oak, candied fruit sweetness, rich molasses, and light cinnamon spice to create what I find to be a decadent & extremely delicious dessert whiskey.

Finish: The finish on this is very lengthy, with the sweet smoky flavors lingering for several minutes after a sip. The light tingle from the spice can actually be found again well after it seems like it's gone.

Overall: This is the fourth & final expression in Old Forester's "Whiskey Row" series, which celebrate specific moments throughout the brand's 150 year history.

The inspiration for this particular offering comes from the manner by which Old Forester turned a disaster into a success over 100 years ago.

In 1910, a fire at the distillery caused the bottling line to be shut down for an indefinite amount of time. There was a substantial amount of mature bourbon sitting in a vat waiting to be bottled at the time, and if left in there too long it would be totally ruined. So the folks at Old Forester decided to store it in new, charred oak barrels until the line could be repaired & production could continue like normal. This was the first documented account of a distiller double-barreling a spirit.

To recreate the flavor profile, the folks producing this bourbon today are taking the mature whisky from the barrels they were initially aging in, and placing it into lightly toasted barrels which have been charred nearly to the point of incineration. Entering the second ultra-charred barrel at 100 proof allows the sweet wood sugars to really come through in the bourbon.

To me, this is a very unique & extremely enjoyable bourbon. Not necessarily one I'd drink just any time, but an absolute must when looking for something that is rich & reminiscent of a sophisticated dessert. A great balance of sweet & smoke, spice & oak.

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1792 Small Batch
Parent Company/Distillery: Sazerac/Barton 1792 Distillery
Proof: 93.7 (46.85% ABV)
Age: NAS
Price: $29.95

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Nose: Typical bourbon notes consisting of vanilla sweetness, oak, and tobacco. There is a touch of ethanol present here as well, which is somewhat surprising considering this isn't coming in at a particularly high proof point. That alcohol presence is not so intense that it becomes a turn off, but the use is definitely not the strong point for this expression.

Palate: Typical bourbon flavors jump out as first with caramel leading the way. I find an almost butterscotch sweetness in there as well. As soon as the sweet flavors are fully developed, they are met with a solid burst of spice. This is less cinnamon, baking spice, or black pepper, and more of a rye spice. The oak tannins come out at this point, offering a woody, bitter taste to help balance the sweet notes. The 1792's slightly surprising, silky smooth mouthfeel is much more refined than what is typically found with bourbons in this proof/price range.

Finish: There's a nice mix of sweetness & spice, but it's not particularly long or complex. Rather typical, but still quite enjoyable nonetheless.

Overall: This isn't going to blow you away, but it's solid alternative to many other bourbons in the $30 range. I would easily take this over most of the current non-age stated Elijah Craig Small Batch bottles I've had (which have just gone up in price to $32 here in NC), and probably put it on par with the Bowman Brothers Small Batch I reviewed a while back. It's been a long time since I tried Four Roses Small Batch, so I may need to pick up a bottle of that soon to compare to the 1792. All-in-all, this is a pretty straight-forward whiskey that fits the standard bourbon flavor profile and seems to be priced accordingly.

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On 1/25/2021 at 9:29 PM, Goober Pyle said:

Ok @k-train, I had my second glass of this tonight. The second one is better than the first. I like it...not as much as the RR10Y, but a good alternative, especially at about 60% of the price. The predominant flavor I’m picking up is definitely cinnamon with minor notes of vanilla and caramel. Good solid sipper that isn’t too hot. 

@k-train

When I’m wrong, I’ll tell you I’m wrong. This bourbon has really grown on me. The more I drink it, the more I enjoy it. I’m getting more of the flavors now. In fact, I find myself reaching for it about as often as I do the RR10Y.  Thanks again! 

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1 hour ago, Goober Pyle said:

@k-train

When I’m wrong, I’ll tell you I’m wrong. This bourbon has really grown on me. The more I drink it, the more I enjoy it. I’m getting more of the flavors now. In fact, I find myself reaching for it about as often as I do the RR10Y.  Thanks again! 

I totally understand & had an even more extreme turnaround with it myself. When I had it several years ago, I remember it being really rough around the edges, with a lot of oak, almost obnoxious cinnamon spice, ethanol, and not much else. I wasn't a fan by any stretch back then.

Fast forward to a few months ago when I decided to revisit & it was a completely different experience... one that just seems to get better & better all the time. Now I get rich caramel, toffee, and a bit of vanilla, a nice touch of oak, a perfect amount of baking spice, and just a really enjoyable drinking experience. I honestly can't think of anything that matches the 101 in terms of balance at the same $20-$25 price point.

The extra couple of years the RR10 has in the barrel sets it a little higher IMO, but the WT101 is no slouch.

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Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batch A121 is now hitting the shelves.

Historically, the A batches have mostly been in the 130-135 proof range, but this one is coming in at a noticeably lower 123.6 proof.

The lowest proof point ever from an ECBP expression was the B519, which came in at 122.2, so this newest batch is much close to that than to most other batches. It'll be interesting to see if the flavor profile is similar as well.

Oh, and there's also an apparent $10 increase in the price as well. I noticed that it jumped from $59.99 to $69.99 here in NC, and it seems that's the case all over the country. So it looks as though Heaven Hill finally figured out they could make quite a bit more off of these releases. I fully understand that, and there's no doubt that these releases are pretty much always worth $70 (especially compared to many of the things that are going for $75-$150 these days)... but it's a bit of a bummer.

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3 minutes ago, k-train said:

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batch A121 is now hitting the shelves.

Historically, the A batches have mostly been in the 130-135 proof range, but this one is coming in at a noticeably lower 123.6 proof.

The lowest proof point ever from an ECBP expression was the B519, which came in at 122.2, so this newest batch is much close to that than to most other batches. It'll be interesting to see if the flavor profile is similar as well.

That is interesting. The only bad thing is the price. I'm gonna wait for some reviews before buying this one.

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49 minutes ago, Goober Pyle said:

That is interesting. The only bad thing is the price. I'm gonna wait for some reviews before buying this one.

Be careful. I did that with the C920, coming to an early conclusion that I would sit that one out because the initial reviews weren't great... especially in comparison to the B520 which proceeded it. However, once it was out for a bit & more folks got to try it, the consensus seemed to shift toward it being right up there with the B520... not very similar in flavor profiles, but an equally awesome offering in its own right apparently. Now, there's none to be had around here anymore.

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Don't know how I missed this thread, but a lot of great advice in here.  Don't fall into the price or rarity = quality hype though.  There are some good ones I'll buy if I see(Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Blanton's), but I'm not going to drive all over the state to find them.

1792 is one of my favorites, also a big fan of Michter's, Elijah Craig, Basil Hayden, Four Roses, Bulleit, and Maker's.  I think the most expensive bottle in that list is $50-ish bucks(except the BH).  

As other's said, find what works for you, what you like.  I can't sip one and say "it starts with a hint of oak, followed by vanilla.." etc.  But, I know that I like a spicy taste with mine, I mostly drink on rocks.  Cheaper bourbon's I'll mix with ginger ale or coke.

Now if the rest of you could tell me how anyone likes scotch, that's one I can't get into.

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Short and sweet review

 

Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond

Heaven Hill Distillery

7 years old

100 proof

MSRP $39.99 for 750 mL(BoozApp)

On the nose

Poured into Glencairn. Medium amber color. Vanilla and caramel with some honey. Light ethanol.

Tasting notes

Tasted neat. At 100 proof it's warmth gives way to a rich mouthfeel with caramel sweetness, vanilla and some nice oak and rye spiciness. Well balanced, but not complex. Finish is medium to medium long. I get some honey roasted peanuts and cinnamon in the finish. 

Value

This expression takes the place of the Kentucky only release which was a 6 year BiB. An additional year of aging and a bottle redesign gets you a staggered rollout to the rest of the country plus a price increase in excess of 100%. I've never tried the 6 year, but it had quite a following in the online bourbon community due to it being a sub-$20 quality BiB offering. The consensus among the bourbon YouTube channels I follow is a preference for the 6 year. How much of that is nostalgia for the price of the 6 year is unknown. The price of comparable bottles is known and this is where the 7 year raises some eyebrows. For example you have Eagle Rare - a 10 year, 90 proof offering from Buffalo Trace (not BiB) that can be found at $39.99 when available. Heaven Hill's own Elijah Craig (also not BiB) is a mix of 8 and 12 year old bourbons at 94 proof and can be found close to $30. The price range that I've found the 7 year BiB in NE GA is $39.99-$72.99(!). That said I've been reaching for this one a lot as the temperature dipped. If you can find it $40 -$45 it's a buy.

 

Heaven_Hill_7_Year_1024x1024.jpg

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2 hours ago, Brewyerown said:

Short and sweet review

 

Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond

Heaven Hill Distillery

7 years old

100 proof

MSRP $39.99 for 750 mL(BoozApp)

On the nose

Poured into Glencairn. Medium amber color. Vanilla and caramel with some honey. Light ethanol.

Tasting notes

Tasted neat. At 100 proof it's warmth gives way to a rich mouthfeel with caramel sweetness, vanilla and some nice oak and rye spiciness. Well balanced, but not complex. Finish is medium to medium long. I get some honey roasted peanuts and cinnamon in the finish. 

Value

This expression takes the place of the Kentucky only release which was a 6 year BiB. An additional year of aging and a bottle redesign gets you a staggered rollout to the rest of the country plus a price increase in excess of 100%. I've never tried the 6 year, but it had quite a following in the online bourbon community due to it being a sub-$20 quality BiB offering. The consensus among the bourbon YouTube channels I follow is a preference for the 6 year. How much of that is nostalgia for the price of the 6 year is unknown. The price of comparable bottles is known and this is where the 7 year raises some eyebrows. For example you have Eagle Rare - a 10 year, 90 proof offering from Buffalo Trace (not BiB) that can be found at $39.99 when available. Heaven Hill's own Elijah Craig (also not BiB) is a mix of 8 and 12 year old bourbons at 94 proof and can be found close to $30. The price range that I've found the 7 year BiB in NE GA is $39.99-$72.99(!). That said I've been reaching for this one a lot as the temperature dipped. If you can find it $40 -$45 it's a buy.

 

Heaven_Hill_7_Year_1024x1024.jpg

Thanks for the review! I never had a chance to try the old 6-year HH BiB before it was discontinued & this one’s not available currently in NC.

Apparently, there’s reason to believe HH has discontinued the green label HH 6-year & may be doing the same with that expression as they did with the BiB... re-bottling, raising the price, and offering it in more markets.

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32 minutes ago, k-train said:

Thanks for the review! I never had a chance to try the old 6-year HH BiB before it was discontinued & this one’s not available currently in NC.

Apparently, there’s reason to believe HH has discontinued the green label HH 6-year & may be doing the same with that expression as they did with the BiB... re-bottling, raising the price, and offering it in more markets.

That would not be surprising about the green label HH 6-year. GA was one of the first states to get the 7-year, and I snagged the first one I found. I did a quick search for the 6 year online. CaskCartel has it for $299.99. 😄

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2 hours ago, Brewyerown said:

That would not be surprising about the green label HH 6-year. GA was one of the first states to get the 7-year, and I snagged the first one I found. I did a quick search for the 6 year online. CaskCartel has it for $299.99. 😄

I noticed on the most recent NC ABC Commission Quarterly Price List that Evan Williams Green Label is MIA. That was kinda surprising to me because I know a great number of bars & restaurants use it as their rail bourbon. So, I checked the discontinued items list, and sure enough, it's on there alone with Kentucky Supreme (another cheap bourbon made by Heaven Hill).

Heaven Hill also raised their prices on a number of their offerings.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof jumped $10 from $60 to $70 (I've had folks I know in a few other states confirm it went up the same in their locales as well, so it seems to be a MSRP price hike coming across the board from the distiller, not from the states themselves)
Elijah Craig Small Batch went up from $28 to $32
All the Evan Williams expressions (BiB, 1783, SiB, Black Label) went up $1-$2
McKenna SiB BiB 10Y has jumped steadily over the past few years; going from a $30 not long ago which was always on the shelf & regularly on sale for $25... to now being a super rare $45 allocated item.

One of the things I loved about Heaven Hill was the value of their bourbons, but I fear that may be a thing of the past before much longer.

People paying $300 for what was a sub-$15 bottle is just stupid. But I guess that's what happens these days. I guess it shouldn't be even remotely surprising given what happened with Old Fitzgerald. That was literally a $12-$15 bourbon just like 5 years ago that was often considered one-dimensional & forgettable... but put it in a fancy bottle, limit the release to manufacture demand, and suddenly folks will happily piss away $150 for it & pretend like it's great, when in reality it's no better than Larceny.

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I came across this upon wandering into my neighborhood store just after they received a delivery. Sadly, this and Eagle Rare have become stupidly hard to find in these parts, thanks largely to those people hunting for Blanton's because they read it was cool coming up empty handed and instead buying up whatever else semi-related they can get their hands on. As a result, things like Buffalo Trace & Eagle Rare are now treated like unicorns. Ridiculous.

Anyhow, this was there & I figured there's no telling when I'll actually see it on the shelf again, so I picked it up. This review is after my initial tasting from this bottle. I've had plenty of this stuff over the years, but it's been a minute & this seemed like it could serve as a nice reminder or even challenge to the thoughts I already have about it based on those previous tastings.

Buffalo Trace
Parent Company/Distillery: Sazerac/Buffalo Trace Distillery
Proof: 90 (45% ABV)
Age: NAS
Price: $28.95

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Nose: Nothing really jumps out to me. There's some corn, a little bit of your typical caramel & vanilla notes, but not much of anything else going on here worth mentioning. I surprisingly picked up way more alcohol on the nose than I'd expect with this being just 90 proof.

Palate: Greeted with a somewhat silky smooth mouthfeel with a viscosity I'd say is on the lighter side of medium. There's a very nice creamy caramel/vanilla note that stands out, but unfortunately that's about the extent of it. Some peppery spice is hiding deep down in there, but you really gotta work, chewing the bourbon, to coax it out of its shell. This is pretty straightforward with what it's bringing to the table, and seems to be trading complexity & a well-balanced array of flavors for a mild, pretty subdued, mostly one-dimensional, but ultimately easy-drinking & relatively delicious experience.

Finish: Eventually a touch of spice lazily meanders onto the scene, but it's so underwhelming it's hardly noticeable. IT hangs out for just a short time; not long enough to be memorable or to do anything even remotely interesting. The same generic sweeter notes of caramel & vanilla found on the nose & palate follow through for a bit, but end up fading pretty fast. You can probably convince yourself there's some oak in there somewhere, but like that peppery note, you'r gonna have to work hard to find any wood notes here & they likely won't stick around very long.

Overall: This is an excellent option for someone just getting into bourbon. Given that it's focused so strongly on the non-offensive sweeter notes, and with its general lack of spiciness, oak, leather, tobacco, etc., it comes off as what a lot of folks newer to bourbon tend to look for... something "smooth".

No doubt, it's easy to drink, and the flavors that are there are enjoyable. Unfortunately, there's just not enough else going on with this to justify the praise it seems to get. It's almost as if Buffalo Trace is blended to be boring... or at least "safe."

Although this is non-age stated & not specifically labelled as a small batch bourbon, Buffalo Trace claims it's at least 8 years old & each batch is made from a blend of no more than 40 barrels. The general thoughts seems to be that it's made using 8-10 year old barrels, and comments by Buffalo Trace's Master Distiller would leave you to believe it's usually closer to 9 years old on average.

To me, that is very surprising given how one-note it comes across.

If we looks at other bourbons in that age/proof range (Russell's 10Y, Eagle Rare 10Y, Four Roses Small Batch) and some even aged a little less than BT (1792 Small Batch, Bowman Brother's Small Batch) they all seem to bring a whole lot more complexity to the table by comparison. This is usually just a few dollars less than many of those, so I suppose there is an argument to be made for its value. However, considering that in many areas (like here in NC) it's rarely available and that a far more complex, typically cheaper bourbon like Wild Turkey 101 is almost always available, that blows Buffalo Trace out of the water in that regard as well.

Here's the reality, this is just an ok bourbon. If it wasn't made by the company that makes uber-hyped bourbons like Pappy, Blanton's, Weller, etc. that bourbon newbies have wet dreams about, most folks would pass it by & never think twice about it. With so many better bourbons out there at or near this price point, that's honestly the smart move in my opinion.. Revisiting this after a year or so is a reminder of just how incredibly underwhelming it is for all the praise it's given, and that I'll almost certainly do the same & give it a hard pass for something better if/when I see this on the shelf again.

** FULL DISCLOSURE**
When I tasted this last night, it was the first pour from a freshly opened bottle. It was also tasted after I sampled a much stronger, bolder bourbon, so some palate fatigue could've occurred prior to tasting the BT. After giving it a little nosing today, I'm noticing a bit more going on than I originally picked up. It's still not much, but there does seem to be noticeably more oak than I found it to have last night. I'm thinking this may need some time to open up a bit, so I plan to revisit in a week or two. If my thoughts on it are drastically different then, I'll be sure to update this post.

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5 hours ago, k-train said:

I came across this upon wandering into my neighborhood store just after they received a delivery. Sadly, this and Eagle Rare have become stupidly hard to find in these parts, thanks largely to those people hunting for Blanton's because they read it was cool coming up empty handed and instead buying up whatever else semi-related they can get their hands on. As a result, things like Buffalo Trace & Eagle Rare are now treated like unicorns. Ridiculous.

Anyhow, this was there & I figured there's no telling when I'll actually see it on the shelf again, so I picked it up. This review is after my initial tasting from this bottle. I've had plenty of this stuff over the years, but it's been a minute & this seemed like it could serve as a nice reminder or even challenge to the thoughts I already have about it based on those previous tastings.

Buffalo Trace
Parent Company/Distillery: Sazerac/Buffalo Trace Distillery
Proof: 90 (45% ABV)
Age: NAS
Price: $28.95

d1f3ea1369684628.jpg

Nose: Nothing really jumps out to me. There's some corn, a little bit of your typical caramel & vanilla notes, but not much of anything else going on here worth mentioning. I surprisingly picked up way more alcohol on the nose than I'd expect with this being just 90 proof.

Palate: Greeted with a somewhat silky smooth mouthfeel with a viscosity I'd say is on the lighter side of medium. There's a very nice creamy caramel/vanilla note that stands out, but unfortunately that's about the extent of it. Some peppery spice is hiding deep down in there, but you really gotta work, chewing the bourbon, to coax it out of its shell. This is pretty straightforward with what it's bringing to the table, and seems to be trading complexity & a well-balanced array of flavors for a mild, pretty subdued, mostly one-dimensional, but ultimately easy-drinking & relatively delicious experience.

Finish: Eventually a touch of spice lazily meanders onto the scene, but it's so underwhelming it's hardly noticeable. IT hangs out for just a short time; not long enough to be memorable or to do anything even remotely interesting. The same generic sweeter notes of caramel & vanilla found on the nose & palate follow through for a bit, but end up fading pretty fast. You can probably convince yourself there's some oak in there somewhere, but like that peppery note, you'r gonna have to work hard to find any wood notes here & they likely won't stick around very long.

Overall: This is an excellent option for someone just getting into bourbon. Given that it's focused so strongly on the non-offensive sweeter notes, and with its general lack of spiciness, oak, leather, tobacco, etc., it comes off as what a lot of folks newer to bourbon tend to look for... something "smooth".

No doubt, it's easy to drink, and the flavors that are there are enjoyable. Unfortunately, there's just not enough else going on with this to justify the praise it seems to get. It's almost as if Buffalo Trace is blended to be boring... or at least "safe."

Although this is non-age stated & not specifically labelled as a small batch bourbon, Buffalo Trace claims it's at least 8 years old & each batch is made from a blend of no more than 40 barrels. The general thoughts seems to be that it's made using 8-10 year old barrels, and comments by Buffalo Trace's Master Distiller would leave you to believe it's usually closer to 9 years old on average.

To me, that is very surprising given how one-note it comes across.

If we looks at other bourbons in that age/proof range (Russell's 10Y, Eagle Rare 10Y, Four Roses Small Batch) and some even aged a little less than BT (1792 Small Batch, Bowman Brother's Small Batch) they all seem to bring a whole lot more complexity to the table by comparison. This is usually just a few dollars less than many of those, so I suppose there is an argument to be made for its value. However, considering that in many areas (like here in NC) it's rarely available and that a far more complex, typically cheaper bourbon like Wild Turkey 101 is almost always available, that blows Buffalo Trace out of the water in that regard as well.

Here's the reality, this is just an ok bourbon. If it wasn't made by the company that makes uber-hyped bourbons like Pappy, Blanton's, Weller, etc. that bourbon newbies have wet dreams about, most folks would pass it by & never think twice about it. With so many better bourbons out there at or near this price point, that's honestly the smart move in my opinion.. Revisiting this after a year or so is a reminder of just how incredibly underwhelming it is for all the praise it's given, and that I'll almost certainly do the same & give it a hard pass for something better if/when I see this on the shelf again.

** FULL DISCLOSURE**
When I tasted this last night, it was the first pour from a freshly opened bottle. It was also tasted after I sampled a much stronger, bolder bourbon, so some palate fatigue could've occurred prior to tasting the BT. After giving it a little nosing today, I'm noticing a bit more going on than I originally picked up. It's still not much, but there does seem to be noticeably more oak than I found it to have last night. I'm thinking this may need some time to open up a bit, so I plan to revisit in a week or two. If my thoughts on it are drastically different then, I'll be sure to update this post.

I think this is a spot on review of this bourbon. When I first started sipping bourbon, I started with a bottle of BT. Over ice, my first thoughts were “That’s smooth”. Lol. I went through a bottle and a half (with a couple more stored away as backups) before I started venturing out and trying others (mostly recommended by @k-train). After a while, I decided to have a glass of BT one night. I was surprised by how bland it seemed. Very alcohol forward with little finish. I ended up gifting my “stash” to a buddy who mixes his bourbon with coke or ginger ale. My buddy tells me that I’m turning into a bourbon snob. I just say that I’m beginning to develop taste. Lol. 

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Old Grand Dad 114
Parent Company/Distillery: Beam Suntory/Jim Beam
Proof: 114 (57% ABV)
Age: NAS (previously carried a 6 year age statement, now likely 4-5 years old)
Price: $29.95

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Nose: Good Lord, this ain't playing around. First time I tried to nose it, I went too hard and totally blew out my sniffer. The alcohol is VERY present in this & it absolutely needs plenty of time to open up. Crazy to think how some things near this proof point or higher don't come close to having the same aggressiveness on the nose in terms of ethanol burn. For a bourbon called Old Grand Dad, it's slightly ironic that the actual whiskey in this bottle is relatively young, with estimates of 4-5 years old on average. That youth explains the heavy ethanol presence, as well as the color. Once you've given this bourbon ample time to open up, and I'm talking 15minutes+, it really starts to come together & new notes begin to emerge. There's a dash of cinnamon, vanilla & mint, lying underneath a blanket of oak, leather, tobacco, and roasted nuts. Wait even longer and splashes of caramel & toffee come through.

Palate: While so many bourbons tend to hit with a blast of sweet notes like caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, etc. before developing some spice, oak tannins, etc., this does the opposite... which makes it a truly unique drinking experience. Up front is a heavy dose of oak & toasted pecans. Big time pralines & cream going on here once it opens up a bit. This quickly gives way to a blast of cinnamon spice which transforms into an almost peppery/ginger taste. There is an underlying hint of citrus, like orange, that comes through as well. The mouthfeel is medium, slightly oily... a good balance between thick & thin. Once this has been given a long time to open up, it offers something very reminiscent of butter pecan ice cream that's been spiked with a spicy rum. The sweetness arrives way late to the party, but is a welcomed addition, and that roasted pecan nuttiness is very inviting.

Finish: Long & spicy. I wouldn't necessarily say it's hot, but more of a lingering tingle. Add  a drop or two of water to this & the sweetness really starts to jump out. Those notes combined with the peppery spice remind me a bit of sipping on a fancy ginger beer.

Overall: This is a very interesting bourbon. It's an incredible value for the proof & the fact that it's generally readily available all over. The flavors emerge in a way that is unlike most bourbons I've had, which makes this a unique drinking experience in my book. It is definitely bold as well, and is an absolute beast in cocktails since it can hold up to anything you throw at it. This is one where Grand Dad will take you over his knee if you're not careful. However, if you exercise patience, giving it plenty of time for the flavors to grow as the whiskey opens up, Grand Dad will deliver a very rewarding sweet treat.

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On 2/10/2021 at 1:27 PM, k-train said:

Overall: This is an excellent option for someone just getting into bourbon. Given that it's focused so strongly on the non-offensive sweeter notes, and with its general lack of spiciness, oak, leather, tobacco, etc., it comes off as what a lot of folks newer to bourbon tend to look for... something "smooth".

No doubt, it's easy to drink, and the flavors that are there are enjoyable. Unfortunately, there's just not enough else going on with this to justify the praise it seems to get. It's almost as if Buffalo Trace is blended to be boring... or at least "safe."

Friday night's choice was a store pick of Eagle Rare followed on Saturday by a store pick of Buffalo Trace. Same distillery, mash bill #1. Night and day difference in complexity for a $10-15 price difference between the two. 

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1 hour ago, Brewyerown said:

Friday night's choice was a store pick of Eagle Rare followed on Saturday by a store pick of Buffalo Trace. Same distillery, mash bill #1. Night and day difference in complexity for a $10-15 price difference between the two. 

Yeah, I’ve long been a fan of what Eagle Rare 10Y brings to the table. I would happily pay the extra $10-$15 for that as opposed to the Buffalo Trace if both were sitting on the shelf in front of me.

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Tried to do a blend last night.
2 parts Buffalo Trace
1 part Old Grand Dad 114

I was hoping those two would balance each other out... with the lower proof & sweet notes of the BT helping to round out the boldness, spice, and heavy oak/tobacco/leather notes of the 114... and conversely the 114 adding those flavors & a finish to the otherwise underwhelming BT.

Not what I would call a success unfortunately. While the nose was more well-rounded than the BT alone, and didn't have the intense alcohol presence of the 114 alone, it didn't improve the drinking experience at all. I almost poured it down the drain.

I think the BT actually took away from the good things the 114 brought to the table. However, even being 2-to-1, it didn't bring enough sweetness to the party to handle what the 114 was dishing out. What I was left with was just a very rough tasting bourbon with overbearing oak tannin bitterness, heat from rye spice, and not much else. It seriously reminded me of I remember it tasting like doing shots of cheap bourbon like Jim Beam White Label way back in my younger days. Not pleasant at all.

I had a glass of the Buffalo Trace by itself after I reluctantly got the blend down. I had a glass the night after posting my BT review as well. It really just doesn't do it for me at all. It has a little more going on than I originally gave it credit for, but not enough to actually take back anything I said about it earlier. It's just not very good to me, and just comes off as being very poorly balanced with an almost non-existent finish.

The biggest disappointment I think I've had to this point is Angel's Envy. That stuff is overhyped, overpriced garbage that I seriously mistook for a $14 bottom shelf bottle in a blind tasting. Buffalo Trace isn't quite on that level, but it's not lagging too far behind either.

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On 1/31/2021 at 12:31 PM, k-train said:

Old Forester 1910
Parent Company/Distillery: Brown-Forman/Brown-Forman Shively Distillery
Proof: 93 (46.5% ABV)
Age: NAS
Price: $54.95

61c5421368573944.jpg

Nose: Initially this brings forth notes of cherries, dark chocolate, rich oak, raisin, and molasses with a light undertone of vanilla. As it sits & continues to open up, sweeter notes emerge, allowing the vanilla to come through a bit more accompanied with a noticeable buttercream frosting note.

Palate: Much like the Old Forester 1920, this has an incredibly full, rich, oily mouthfeel that coats the entire palate. I get an immediate burst of fruit like smoked cherries, candied dates, plus dried raisins & apricots. This is quickly met with a slight bitterness from the oak tannins, which adds a nice complexity and makes it taste a lot like a carefully crafted cocktail. On the mid-palate as it's rounding out to the finish, a subtle cinnamon spiciness comes out. The smokiness mixes perfectly with the oak, candied fruit sweetness, rich molasses, and light cinnamon spice to create what I find to be a decadent & extremely delicious dessert whiskey.

Finish: The finish on this is very lengthy, with the sweet smoky flavors lingering for several minutes after a sip. The light tingle from the spice can actually be found again well after it seems like it's gone.

Overall: This is the fourth & final expression in Old Forester's "Whiskey Row" series, which celebrate specific moments throughout the brand's 150 year history.

The inspiration for this particular offering comes from the manner by which Old Forester turned a disaster into a success over 100 years ago.

In 1910, a fire at the distillery caused the bottling line to be shut down for an indefinite amount of time. There was a substantial amount of mature bourbon sitting in a vat waiting to be bottled at the time, and if left in there too long it would be totally ruined. So the folks at Old Forester decided to store it in new, charred oak barrels until the line could be repaired & production could continue like normal. This was the first documented account of a distiller double-barreling a spirit.

To recreate the flavor profile, the folks producing this bourbon today are taking the mature whisky from the barrels they were initially aging in, and placing it into lightly toasted barrels which have been charred nearly to the point of incineration. Entering the second ultra-charred barrel at 100 proof allows the sweet wood sugars to really come through in the bourbon.

To me, this is a very unique & extremely enjoyable bourbon. Not necessarily one I'd drink just any time, but an absolute must when looking for something that is rich & reminiscent of a sophisticated dessert. A great balance of sweet & smoke, spice & oak.

Picked up a bottle of this bourbon today. Gonna give it a whirl tonight. 

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So for about three weeks in a row, there have been drops of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch A121 scattered throughout NC. The store down the street from me seems to get one case (6 bottles) per week. I missed out the first two weeks, but was able to snag the last bottle they had left this week.

I haven't had a chance to give it a dedicated tasting yet. I did open it yesterday to shoot some photos, and I gave it an extremely brief nosing & tasted a single small sip. Don't want to say too much based on just that, but I can already tell it's one that I will need to give my full attention to in order to do it justice.

It was very hard not to dive in last night, but I made chili & figured the two bowls of that probably wouldn't have done my palate any favors. Hoping to have something more mild on the menu tonight, so I can finally dive into the A121 with a mostly even palate.

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22 hours ago, k-train said:

What were your initial thoughts on the OF1910?

Hey bud. 
 

I wanted to drink this for another night before posting my thoughts. Decadent is the right word describe this bourbon. It’s almost like dessert in a glass. I like that the cinnamon is there,but muted. It’s flavorful without being “hot”. Very glad that I picked this up.

 

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6 hours ago, k-train said:

So for about three weeks in a row, there have been drops of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch A121 scattered throughout NC. The store down the street from me seems to get one case (6 bottles) per week. I missed out the first two weeks, but was able to snag the last bottle they had left this week.

I haven't had a chance to give it a dedicated tasting yet. I did open it yesterday to shoot some photos, and I gave it an extremely brief nosing & tasted a single small sip. Don't want to say too much based on just that, but I can already tell it's one that I will need to give my full attention to in order to do it justice.

It was very hard not to dive in last night, but I made chili & figured the two bowls of that probably wouldn't have done my palate any favors. Hoping to have something more mild on the menu tonight, so I can finally dive into the A121 with a mostly even palate.

I think that I may pass on the A121. I’m finding that the higher proof bourbons just really aggravate my reflux. I had a glass of the C920 a week ago and the burn kept going for a while. The lower proof bourbons(under 100) don’t seem to bother me. 
 

Hope it’s good, bud!

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34 minutes ago, Goober Pyle said:

I think that I may pass on the A121. I’m finding that the higher proof bourbons just really aggravate my reflux. I had a glass of the C920 a week ago and the burn kept going for a while. The lower proof bourbons(under 100) don’t seem to bother me. 
 

Hope it’s good, bud!

Not trying to twist your arm, but adding a half ounce of water to a 2oz. pour of A121 will knock it down to 98.4 proof. :D

In all seriousness, one of my close friends has the same issue, and often has to add a splash of water to take the  higher proof expressions down a bit. That way, you don't completely miss out on what those have to offer. Truth be told, some might actually improve with a bit of water added.

Here's an incredibly helpful proof calculator that makes it easy to figure out how to cut it down to your desired proof point: https://www.whiskyadvocate.com/proof-calculator/

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