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On 8/13/2020 at 7:15 AM, k-train said:

My pleasure & really glad you like it!

I agree that it's better than Buffalo Trace, and that's largely because I find it to be more well-balanced. While it has that caramel, toffee, vanilla sweetness, it's also got a bit of spice & a touch of oak; it's got a pleasant amount of richness to it as well, making it smooth & easy to drink without seeming thin.

On the other hand, Buffalo Trace is kind of one-dimensional IMO... just sweetness without much else going on enough to balance it out. Don't get me wrong, it's delicious, easy to drink, and great for the price (if you can find it), but for me it's a step below things like Russell's Reserve 10Y and Eagle Rare.

I find the whole story behind Russell's Reserve & the man it's named for is pretty cool, too. It really adds personality to it in a way you just don't find with most other products.

Think you hit the nail on the head. I had a little Buffalo Trace the other night followed by the RR10Y. The RR10Y is more complex and definitely has more flavor. It has quickly become my every day sipper. In fact, I gifted one of my unopened bottles of BT to a good friend who is a bourbon fan - still have another unopened bottle 😁. I really appreciate all the advice as I’m sure I wouldn’t have tried some of these bourbons on my own. 

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5 hours ago, Goober Pyle said:

Think you hit the nail on the head. I had a little Buffalo Trace the other night followed by the RR10Y. The RR10Y is more complex and definitely has more flavor. It has quickly become my every day sipper. In fact, I gifted one of my unopened bottles of BT to a good friend who is a bourbon fan - still have another unopened bottle 😁. I really appreciate all the advice as I’m sure I wouldn’t have tried some of these bourbons on my own. 

No sweat, my man! One of my favorite things in the world is being able use my own knowledge & experiences to help guide other folks toward things which probably aren't yet on their radar, but that they'll soon find to be their favorites... be it music, bourbon, travel destinations, whatever. So, I'm always happy to help with that sort of thing & I feel rewarded when someone has a positive experience based on my suggestions/advice.

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Picked this up today:
0-1.jpeg.3e38bc3bd12c3974dbc47f6bc460e588.jpeg
Bowman Brothers Small Batch
90 proof (45% ABV)
NAS (but according to press materials it's typically aged 6-7 years)
$30

After recently finishing off a bottle of Elijah Craig Small Batch, I needed to pick up another every day sipper in the $30 range. I had a couple of things in mind... some of which I've had a lot (1792, Elijah Craig Small Batch), some I haven't had in a while (Four Roses Small Batch, Old Grandad 114), and one I've never had (Bowman Bros. Small Batch). After reading several reviews of the Bowman Brothers Small Batch, and wanting to try something new, I ultimately decided to go that route. I've actually been meaning to try the "big brother" to this bourbon, the John J. Bowman Single Barrel, since it started showing up here a few months ago... but I keep spending the $50 that one costs on things like ECBP & OF 1920. So, if I end up liking this one, I'm sure I'll be giving that one a try soon as well.

The company who makes this Small Batch (as well as the John J. Bowman Single Barrel & Isaac Bowman Port Barrel Finished Bourbon) is the A. Smith Bowman Distillery... which like Buffalo Trace Distillery & Barton Distillery, are owned by Sazarac. A. Smith Bowman does not make the whiskey distillate themselves, and while they do not disclose where they actually source it from, it's pretty much common knowledge that they get it from Buffalo Trace (there is some debate about whether it's just BT mashbill #1 or a combo of #1 & #2). After being twice distilled by BT in Kentucky, the distillate is then sent to Virginia, where A. Smith Bowman re-distills it using a copper still. The end result is this triple-distilled high-rye bourbon that seems to be a relatively close cousin to Buffalo Trace's E.H. Taylor Small Batch & Elmer T. Lee (to which it often draws comparisons).

Another interesting & kinda cool thing about this one is that apparently the vat at A. Smith Bowman Distillery can only hold 9 barrels... so when they say small batch, they actually mean it.

They also age their bourbons in a rather unique way... with the barrels sitting upright on pallets rather than lying on their sides and stacked in a rickhouse like nearly every other distillery does it.

I plan on getting into the bottle this evening & will report back with my initial notes.

- several hours later -

Ok, so I gotta start by saying that I've heard valid points made on both sides of the "neck pour" argument. If you're not sure what that is, basically some folks believe the very first pour out of a bottle is gonna taste kinda off and/or not be very accurate representation of the bourbon since it hasn't yet had time to oxidize & open up. Then there are folks who say it doesn't make any difference, especially if you are going to give the bourbon time to open up in the glass before you start drinking. I'm generally on the fence with the whole thing.

That said, when I have something like this, it makes me wonder if there really is something to the idea.

There was a very noticeable difference from the first pour of this I had tonight compared to the second glass. Now whether that's the bourbon opening up or just my palate getting acclimated, who knows? Probably a bit of both.

The first glass was fine, but nothing really stood out. Based on reviews I was actually expecting to taste way more sweetness that what I got on that initial pour. I got a bot of oakiness & spice, but the sweetness was very subdued. The finish was much longer than reviews had reported, so that was a pleasant surprise... but overall I was feeling kinda let down at first. It wasn't bad, just kinda boring.

However...

After finishing the first glass & having some water, I poured myself another 2oz of the bourbon. This time I could smell the sweetness a little more & was picking up a lot of cherry (which is a common theme amongst BT products). While nosing this, I was hard pressed to think of anything other than cherry cobbler. When I took a sip, suddenly all the reviews I had read made more sense. The sweetness was now far more present... not in an overbearing way, but in a pleasant, well-balanced manner. The touch of oak was still lurking in the background, and the cinnamon spice made itself known as well. Chewing the whiskey helped bring it to life a little more, boosting the spice level & lengthening the finish.

That second glass really helped me shift gears on this one. I was ready to write it off as a serviceable but not remarkable bourbon for under $30, but now I'd probably place this one in the above average category. It's really smooth & easy to drink. The mouthfeel is actually pretty reminiscent of Eagle Rare to me, as is the cherry note. While I do wish it were just a touch more complex, I definitely found the 2nd glass to be enjoyable. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this does in a few weeks, because I have a feeling it's going to keep getting better & better with some time.

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So I still haven't been able to get my hands on a bottle of the Larceny Barrel Proof B520, and I'm really starting to think that ship has sailed.

The NC ABC Warehouse Inventory website had actually stopped listing Larceny Barrel Proof several weeks ago, which made me assume they were done with their allotment. Based on everything I've heard or read about it, Heaven Hill didn't make anywhere near as much of the Larceny Barrel Proof as they did the ECBP, so I guess that's not really too surprising. Also, I just heard a recent interview with a guy who is a spirits buyer for one of the largest liquor stores in the entire state of New York, and he mentioned that the total Larceny BP B520 allotment for the non-NYC portion of his state was something like 4 cases. So again, not surprising if no more of that one is headed my way here in NC.

But then outta nowhere "Larceny Barrel Proof" just appeared again today on the NC Warehouse Inventory site. While the actual number of cases in stock is currently at zero, it's at least a good sign that they're planning to get some in pretty soon.

The thing is though, this might be them prepping for the C920 batch. The site doesn't tell you which batch the listing is for unfortunately... but it does tell you the price & the proof of the item. The Larceny BP B520 was 122.2 proof & the A120 was 123.2 yet the one they just listed is saying it's 132 proof. So that also makes me think this is for the yet to be released (or reviewed anywhere) batch C920.

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5 minutes ago, k-train said:

Ok, I just checked the ECBP listing and that's gotta be for the upcoming C920 batch as well.

They have it listed as 124.2 proof...

So just a few proof points lower than ECBP B520 & almost 12.5 proof points lower than the A120.

Interested in trying this one as well. I picked up another bottle of the B520 this week. There were still 4 bottles left on the shelf. 

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On 8/19/2020 at 4:56 PM, k-train said:

Ok, I just checked the ECBP listing and that's gotta be for the upcoming C920 batch as well.

They have it listed as 124.2 proof...

So just a few proof points lower than ECBP B520 & almost 12.5 proof points lower than the A120.

Sitting here sipping the ECBP B520 and thinking “d@mn, this is the best bourbon”. I have one more bottle, but thinking seriously about adding one more before the C920 comes out....so good. 😁

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14 hours ago, Goober Pyle said:

Sitting here sipping the ECBP B520 and thinking “d@mn, this is the best bourbon”. I have one more bottle, but thinking seriously about adding one more before the C920 comes out....so good. 😁

Yeah, it's hard to preserve the bottle when it's filled with bourbon that tasty.

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4 hours ago, Scrunchomarx said:

So what flavor do you like on your bourbon? Are they mostly Smokey? I can’t do that the smokiness is harsh to me a buddy said he like the mossiness. Which honestly I have no idea wth he’s talking about but he’s more of a whiskey man. 

Bourbon is a type of whiskey. You've also got rye whiskey, Irish whiskey, Japanese whiskey, Canadian whiskey, and or course Scotch whiskey.

Based on you mentioning smokiness & mossiness, I feel like you are probably thinking more of the flavor profiles commonly found in Scotch.

Some of the more common notes typically found while smelling & tasting bourbon are vanilla, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, cinnamon, baking spices, black pepper, pecans, peanuts, cherry, plum, pear, apple, oak, leather, tobacco, corn, and rye.

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7 hours ago, k-train said:

Bourbon is a type of whiskey. You've also got rye whiskey, Irish whiskey, Japanese whiskey, Canadian whiskey, and or course Scotch whiskey.

Based on you mentioning smokiness & mossiness, I feel like you are probably thinking more of the flavor profiles commonly found in Scotch.

Some of the more common notes typically found while smelling & tasting bourbon are vanilla, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, cinnamon, baking spices, black pepper, pecans, peanuts, cherry, plum, pear, apple, oak, leather, tobacco, corn, and rye.

So what are the flavors in Jack Daniels. That has to be the harshest liquor I have ever tasted. It taste like burning to me

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2 hours ago, Scrunchomarx said:

So what are the flavors in Jack Daniels. That has to be the harshest liquor I have ever tasted. It taste like burning to me

Are you drinking it neat?

If so, I'm gonna assume you are relatively new to drinking spirits neat, and so the harshness/burning you are getting is simply due to your nose & palate not being acclimated yet.

Getting used to drinking bourbon neat, and in turn learning to focus on & distinguish all the various tasting/nosing notes, takes some time. It's not unlike developing a taste & appreciation for wine or different types of beer, or going from milk chocolate to dark chocolate, or well done steaks to rare beef. It can be a little rough at the start, but more often than not, if you stick with it you'll be there before you know it.

My advice would be to try it on the rocks for a while. The ice will mellow it out without adding any additional flavors (adding something like coke or ginger ale will mask the flavor of the whiskey & defeat the whole purpose). As the ice starts to melt, it will bring the proof down, making it more palatable for you but still retaining the flavor a bit. It's probably not going to be the best tasting stuff at first, but just stick it out for a week or so until you begin to really get used to that taste.

Then, go down to just one ice cube for a while. Once you are acclimated to that, stop using ice altogether, but maybe add a few drops of room temperature spring water. Get accustomed to that and then try with one or two fewer drops, and then everntually no drops. Before you know it, you are easily able to handle the proof, are accustomed to the taste of bourbon, and are starting to notice specific tasting/nosing notes.

From there, you try something different that is about the same age & proof as the JD (like Evan Williams Green Label, Jim Beam White Label, Old Grand Dad, etc.). That'll help you begin to pick out the differences and the similarities between different brands. Then try it with something that has a little more proof than the JD (For what it's worth, by law bourbon can be no less than 80 proof, and Jack Daniels is exactly 80 proof). So something in the 86-90 proof range would probably be a solid step up... stuff like Even Williams Black Label, Evan Williams 1783, Old Forester 4yr, Jim Beam Black, Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve, etc.

From there, you just keep trying higher proof bourbons in increments & suddenly you can handle cask strength bottles coming in a 115-140 proof, which can be so so so much more flavorful & enjoyable than typical releases once you are acclimated to very high proof bourbons.

 

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Hey @k-train you see this on the upcoming EC releases?

 

Elijah Craig, a leading premium Kentucky Bourbon, today announced the launch of Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The latest line extension from the award-winning Elijah Craig family, Toasted Barrel adds an extra layer of sweet oak complexity to the traditional Bourbon.

The process begins with fully matured Small Batch, which is dumped and then re-entered at barrel proof into a second, custom toasted new oak barrel designed in partnership with Independent Stave Company. Made with 18-month air dried oak, the finishing barrel is first toasted and then flash-charred using a moderate toast temperature and toast time. An extensive research and development process resulted in a final barrel toast profile bringing forward dark sugar flavors within the wood to create a balance of smokiness and sweetness after months of finishing. The resulting taste is big, rich and complex with spice and pepper notes that fade into milk chocolate with a hint of smoke as the finish lingers with chocolate and baking spices. Only charred new American oak barrels are used throughout the process to maintain the standards of identity class and type designation for Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
 

Edited by Goober Pyle
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4 minutes ago, Goober Pyle said:

Hey @k-train you see this on the upcoming EC releases?

 

Elijah Craig, a leading premium Kentucky Bourbon, today announced the launch of Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The latest line extension from the award-winning Elijah Craig family, Toasted Barrel adds an extra layer of sweet oak complexity to the traditional Bourbon.

The process begins with fully matured Small Batch, which is dumped and then re-entered at barrel proof into a second, custom toasted new oak barrel designed in partnership with Independent Stave Company. Made with 18-month air dried oak, the finishing barrel is first toasted and then flash-charred using a moderate toast temperature and toast time. An extensive research and development process resulted in a final barrel toast profile bringing forward dark sugar flavors within the wood to create a balance of smokiness and sweetness after months of finishing. The resulting taste is big, rich and complex with spice and pepper notes that fade into milk chocolate with a hint of smoke as the finish lingers with chocolate and baking spices. Only charred new American oak barrels are used throughout the process to maintain the standards of identity class and type designation for Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
 

Yeah, I saw this a while back & was intrigued at first but it's already been here for a few weeks now & reviews on it seem really underwhelming, especially compared to the Michter's Toasted Barrel release.

For the price point it really doesn't seem worth it IMO. The change in flavor from toasting the barrel tends to be kinda sublte and when you get down to it, the ECTB is $50 and is just regular ECSB that was briefly re-barreled. Regular ECSB often goes on sale here for $25. So is the ECTB better than the ECSB? Maybe. Is it twice as good to warrant being twice the price? I highly, highly doubt it.

Heaven Hill has at least one more unique EC release like this in the works that I'm aware of, but I remember not being super pumped on that one either.... it's a beer barrel finish of the ECSB.

Personally, I think the EC18 & EC23 are too old to actually be enjoyable for most folks & are also pretty expensive. Then these barrel experiments, while interesting in theory, when they don't produce a superior bourbon to the standard EC but cost twice as much, it just come off as kinda gimmicky to me.

Just keep on pumping out batches of ECBP that are as good or better (if that's even possible) than the B520 & I'm a happy guy.

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On 8/25/2020 at 11:33 AM, k-train said:

Are you drinking it neat?

If so, I'm gonna assume you are relatively new to drinking spirits neat, and so the harshness/burning you are getting is simply due to your nose & palate not being acclimated yet.

Getting used to drinking bourbon neat, and in turn learning to focus on & distinguish all the various tasting/nosing notes, takes some time. It's not unlike developing a taste & appreciation for wine or different types of beer, or going from milk chocolate to dark chocolate, or well done steaks to rare beef. It can be a little rough at the start, but more often than not, if you stick with it you'll be there before you know it.

My advice would be to try it on the rocks for a while. The ice will mellow it out without adding any additional flavors (adding something like coke or ginger ale will mask the flavor of the whiskey & defeat the whole purpose). As the ice starts to melt, it will bring the proof down, making it more palatable for you but still retaining the flavor a bit. It's probably not going to be the best tasting stuff at first, but just stick it out for a week or so until you begin to really get used to that taste.

Then, go down to just one ice cube for a while. Once you are acclimated to that, stop using ice altogether, but maybe add a few drops of room temperature spring water. Get accustomed to that and then try with one or two fewer drops, and then everntually no drops. Before you know it, you are easily able to handle the proof, are accustomed to the taste of bourbon, and are starting to notice specific tasting/nosing notes.

From there, you try something different that is about the same age & proof as the JD (like Evan Williams Green Label, Jim Beam White Label, Old Grand Dad, etc.). That'll help you begin to pick out the differences and the similarities between different brands. Then try it with something that has a little more proof than the JD (For what it's worth, by law bourbon can be no less than 80 proof, and Jack Daniels is exactly 80 proof). So something in the 86-90 proof range would probably be a solid step up... stuff like Even Williams Black Label, Evan Williams 1783, Old Forester 4yr, Jim Beam Black, Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve, etc.

From there, you just keep trying higher proof bourbons in increments & suddenly you can handle cask strength bottles coming in a 115-140 proof, which can be so so so much more flavorful & enjoyable than typical releases once you are acclimated to very high proof bourbons.

 

The only time I have drank jack has been with coke or shots. The stuff is brutal and makers mark also gave me the same nasty taste. 

ive always kinda liked crown. During Xmas I was drinking it with crushed ice have also enjoyed Johnny Walker black. That was shots though. My buddy recommended bullitt green label for a starter sipper. Just haven’t had the urge to walk into a liquor store and buy a bottle. I wish nm allowed the sale through curbside pick up. 

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6 hours ago, Scrunchomarx said:

The only time I have drank jack has been with coke or shots. The stuff is brutal and makers mark also gave me the same nasty taste. 

ive always kinda liked crown. During Xmas I was drinking it with crushed ice have also enjoyed Johnny Walker black. That was shots though. My buddy recommended bullitt green label for a starter sipper. Just haven’t had the urge to walk into a liquor store and buy a bottle. I wish nm allowed the sale through curbside pick up. 

The green labelled Bulleit your friend recommended is a 90 proof rye. No offense to your buddy, but the idea of recommending that as a "starter sipper" is kinda ridiculous considering you find the 80 proof Jack Daniels & 90 proof Maker's to be extremely harsh, brutal, nasty, etc.

Rye whiskey tends to be noticeably spicier & often rougher than bourbon. Those predominant sweet notes of caramel & vanilla found in bourbon are usually far less apparent in ryes, and instead the common prominent notes in a rye tend to be things like mint, pine, grass, coriander seed, pumpernickel, cinnamon, black pepper, clove, oak, orange & apple peels, etc.

That Bulleit rye is no exception. It's fine for mixing in cocktails that call for a rye whiskey, but it's definitely not smooth & has got a pretty strong blast of spice... so probably not really something an inexperienced drinker wants to be sipping on.

Honestly, a Canadian whiskey like Crown Royal probably isn't the worst thing for someone to use to get acclimated to drinking liquor neat & as a gateway whiskey to bourbon. Canadian whiskey is usually a bit lighter & smoother than bourbon, so it makes a decent choice for a novice.

Another great gateway would be Irish whiskey, particularly the regular version of Jameson.

Maybe get your hands on a .375L bottle of each of those two (Crown & Jameson). That way you can try them both without making a major commitment. Drink them with ice cubes (you generally don't want to be using crushed ice except for certain cocktails) and then start using less ice each time. You should start developing a tolerance to the proof & an appreciation of the flavor.

Then after a while your palate will be there & you should have a much easier, more enjoyable experience when you try to return to bourbon, Tennessee whiskey, etc.

Also, is NM one of the states that allows you to order liquor online? If you're trying to avoid going into a store, that may be a solution that's available to you.

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4 hours ago, k-train said:

The green labelled Bulleit your friend recommended is a 90 proof rye. No offense to your buddy, but the idea of recommending that as a "starter sipper" is kinda ridiculous considering you find the 80 proof Jack Daniels & 90 proof Maker's to be extremely harsh, brutal, nasty, etc.

Rye whiskey tends to be noticeably spicier & often rougher than bourbon. Those predominant sweet notes of caramel & vanilla found in bourbon are usually far less apparent in ryes, and instead the common prominent notes in a rye tend to be things like mint, pine, grass, coriander seed, pumpernickel, cinnamon, black pepper, clove, oak, orange & apple peels, etc.

That Bulleit rye is no exception. It's fine for mixing in cocktails that call for a rye whiskey, but it's definitely not smooth & has got a pretty strong blast of spice... so probably not really something an inexperienced drinker wants to be sipping on.

Honestly, a Canadian whiskey like Crown Royal probably isn't the worst thing for someone to use to get acclimated to drinking liquor neat & as a gateway whiskey to bourbon. Canadian whiskey is usually a bit lighter & smoother than bourbon, so it makes a decent choice for a novice.

Another great gateway would be Irish whiskey, particularly the regular version of Jameson.

Maybe get your hands on a .375L bottle of each of those two (Crown & Jameson). That way you can try them both without making a major commitment. Drink them with ice cubes (you generally don't want to be using crushed ice except for certain cocktails) and then start using less ice each time. You should start developing a tolerance to the proof & an appreciation of the flavor.

Then after a while your palate will be there & you should have a much easier, more enjoyable experience when you try to return to bourbon, Tennessee whiskey, etc.

Also, is NM one of the states that allows you to order liquor online? If you're trying to avoid going into a store, that may be a solution that's available to you.

How about the Elijah Craig Small Batch? It's a slightly higher price point, but I found it to be almost too smooth. It really reminded me of Crown Royal in it's smoothness. 

Just my $0.02....

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4 minutes ago, Goober Pyle said:

How about the Elijah Craig Small Batch? It's a slightly higher price point, but I found it to be almost too smooth. It really reminded me of Crown Royal in it's smoothness. 

Just my $0.02....

Yeah Elijah Craig Small Batch is a pretty solid option he should consider down the road, but IMO it's probably still a bit much for where he is right now in terms of being able to handle proof & find the flavors.

It's an inoffensive, affordable, easy to drink bottle that gives off pretty much quintessential bourbon notes, so a solid option for sure. However, it is 94 proof so it's probably still packing a little more punch than he's currently ready for. Also, there's enough oakiness in there, especially on the finish, that I think could be kinda outputting to him until he gets acclimated to the taste.

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Thanks @k-train

I will say that when I started drinking bourbon without mixing it, I found it helped greatly to put a little ice with it. Once I had been drinking it that way for a while, I found that I enjoyed it much more neat. 

@Scrunchomarx, k-train knows his stuff when it comes to liquor. He won't steer you wrong.

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I spent nearly the entire month reaching out to a bunch of ABC stores near me to try to figure out what was going on with that Russell's Reserve Single Barrel  Private Selection Store Pick I mentioned in an earlier post. Both the standard single barrel & this store pick were listed on the state's monthly price reduction sheet, yet nobody I talked to seemed to have any clue what I was talking about. Half of the ABC employees I spoke with didn't even know that the BTB designation meant "buy the barrel" or even what a store pick is, and more than a few tried to tell me BTB meant bottled in bond... it doesn't. Russell's Reserve is most definitely not a bonded bourbon, it's 110 proof (bonded bourbon has to be 100 proof), and that the code for bottled in bond is BIB, not BTB. Why do I know that, but the people running the only stores in the state where you can buy the stuff don't?:rolleyes:

Anyhow, I figured my best best was to reach out to the state ABC office & just see if I could get an answer on if/when it was ever gonna be on the shelves I got an email back from the NC ABC offices that was totally useless. They told me absolutely nothing at all about if/when it might show up.

As a last ditch effort, I decided to call the ABC office for county. The lady I spoke to there also didn't really have a clue what I was talking about but she did tell me to hold on while she looked into some things. She found out that the county had indeed placed an order for the Russell's Private barrel back in June, but that it hadn't shown up. She said that unfortunately she had no way of telling whether it had already come & gone, was delayed, or wasn't coming at all, and advised me to keep watching the warehouse inventory site in case it shows up.

I had pretty much given up all hope since the end of August was right around the corner, and was pretty bummed at the thought of missing out on this one since I've been hearing people talk up Russell's single barrel picks for literally about a decade, but have never been in a position to try one myself.

Then yesterday I got a call. The lady I spoke with must've mentioned it to someone up the chain because the guy who handles the ordering for all the ABC stores in the county called back to fill me in on the status of the Russells pick. He told me it had actually just arrived the day before & that told me which store was getting it. (He also filled me in on a Woodinville store pick at a different store in the county, and mentioned they also had a Bulleit store pick at the store I go to regularly.)

So after a looooooong day at work, I went to the store that got in the Russell's pick and bought one. They didn't even have it out on display yet.:lol: It also wasn't in the system yet, so I had to point out to them that it's actually on sale through the end of August for $56.

I opened it up and had my first pour tonight & so far so good... very good. I can tell this one will get better in a few days/weeks & am beyond pumped to FINALLY have a Russell's single barrel store pick. Ironically, the time I started longing for one is probably about the same time this particular barrel was distilled... about 9 or 10 years ago.

2012200403_RussellsReserveSiBPrivateSelection-12b.thumb.jpg.f2ad57623ab03af0bbb8ae4a80379457.jpg1274139165_RussellsReserveSiBPrivateSelection-11b.thumb.jpg.9c100e8542618e409db9a7ccf47603cb.jpg

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19 hours ago, k-train said:

I spent nearly the entire month reaching out to a bunch of ABC stores near me to try to figure out what was going on with that Russell's Reserve Single Barrel  Private Selection Store Pick I mentioned in an earlier post. Both the standard single barrel & this store pick were listed on the state's monthly price reduction sheet, yet nobody I talked to seemed to have any clue what I was talking about. Half of the ABC employees I spoke with didn't even know that the BTB designation meant "buy the barrel" or even what a store pick is, and more than a few tried to tell me BTB meant bottled in bond... it doesn't. Russell's Reserve is most definitely not a bonded bourbon, it's 110 proof (bonded bourbon has to be 100 proof), and that the code for bottled in bond is BIB, not BTB. Why do I know that, but the people running the only stores in the state where you can buy the stuff don't?:rolleyes:

Anyhow, I figured my best best was to reach out to the state ABC office & just see if I could get an answer on if/when it was ever gonna be on the shelves I got an email back from the NC ABC offices that was totally useless. They told me absolutely nothing at all about if/when it might show up.

As a last ditch effort, I decided to call the ABC office for county. The lady I spoke to there also didn't really have a clue what I was talking about but she did tell me to hold on while she looked into some things. She found out that the county had indeed placed an order for the Russell's Private barrel back in June, but that it hadn't shown up. She said that unfortunately she had no way of telling whether it had already come & gone, was delayed, or wasn't coming at all, and advised me to keep watching the warehouse inventory site in case it shows up.

I had pretty much given up all hope since the end of August was right around the corner, and was pretty bummed at the thought of missing out on this one since I've been hearing people talk up Russell's single barrel picks for literally about a decade, but have never been in a position to try one myself.

Then yesterday I got a call. The lady I spoke with must've mentioned it to someone up the chain because the guy who handles the ordering for all the ABC stores in the county called back to fill me in on the status of the Russells pick. He told me it had actually just arrived the day before & that told me which store was getting it. (He also filled me in on a Woodinville store pick at a different store in the county, and mentioned they also had a Bulleit store pick at the store I go to regularly.)

So after a looooooong day at work, I went to the store that got in the Russell's pick and bought one. They didn't even have it out on display yet.:lol: It also wasn't in the system yet, so I had to point out to them that it's actually on sale through the end of August for $56.

I opened it up and had my first pour tonight & so far so good... very good. I can tell this one will get better in a few days/weeks & am beyond pumped to FINALLY have a Russell's single barrel store pick. Ironically, the time I started longing for one is probably about the same time this particular barrel was distilled... about 9 or 10 years ago.

2012200403_RussellsReserveSiBPrivateSelection-12b.thumb.jpg.f2ad57623ab03af0bbb8ae4a80379457.jpg1274139165_RussellsReserveSiBPrivateSelection-11b.thumb.jpg.9c100e8542618e409db9a7ccf47603cb.jpg

Is this something that I’m likely to find in my neck of the woods (Middle GA)? 

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4 hours ago, Goober Pyle said:

Is this something that I’m likely to find in my neck of the woods (Middle GA)? 

You can't get this, but you could potentially get something with like it.

Single Barrel releases are just that... bourbon from just one single barrel which goes into a bottle. This is different from small batch offerings which are made from blending together a few (and often that actually means several) barrels together before placing it in the bottle. So just by the nature of it, each single barrel bottle will be slightly different from one another because there are many, many variables that can cause differences in taste. All of the major distilleries have several rickhouses where they age their barrels. In most cases, each of these rickhouses is a few stores high. The barrels placed within a single rickhouse can vary significantly simply by being on different floors. That's because the temperature will be different in different sections of the rickhouses throughout the year. Considering most single barrel releases are in the 7-12 year range, that's a lot of potential difference from floor to floor, barrel to barrel over that period.

What has become a bit of a trend in recent years is for liquor stores, bourbon societies, etc. to take part in what's known as a barrel pick. Basically, a few representatives from the store, club, or whatever go to the distillery, meet with the distiller or a guide, and are allowed to sample bourbon from a few barrels the distiller has designated for selection. The store/group pick their favorite barrel of the bunch, agree to purchase the whole thing, and then the distiller bottles it for them, often featuring a unique label that reflects the details: who purchased the barrel, the date it was distilled, date it was dumped, and date it was bottled. Then the store is free to sell it to their customers. Sometimes bourbon groups go in together on a barrel & everyone who contributed gets a bottle. During covid, a number of distilleries just send samples to the interested party & have them choose their barrel that way... or offer to pick one for them.

Being that this was selected for the NC ABC stores who don't send a representative to Kentucky to select the barrel themselves, the selection was done by Wild Turkey Master Distiller Eddie Russell... the man who created Russell's Reserve as a tribute to his father. You can see in the photo I took of the back of the bottle, it shows that Eddie selected the barrel, when it was distilled, dumped, distilled, and even which rick house it lived in, and what floor.

There are some barrels that are better than others (often referred to as "honey barrels"). Obviously the folks who are most tuned in to this would be the folks who distilled it themselves, as they have decades of experience to pull from & they know which rickhouses, and more specifically which floors within them, tend to yield the best results for a superior example of their product. So with that in mind, I feel great that Eddie Russell himself selected this barrel.

So with these store picks you are getting a unique, hand-selected barrel. Sometimes this results in a bottle that is a superior version of the standard single barrel release you'd find on the shelf, but sometimes people go into it looking for something that is off-profile... like a Buffalo Trace pick that is spicy rather than sweet, for example.

Just about every major distillery offers store picks (which is another term commonly used for private selections), so it's definitely something you should ask the stores you shop at about. Store picks tend to be some of the best values in bourbon these days because they often cost the exact same amount as the standard non-private selection version of the same product.

So that's a long answer to a short question... but ultimately no, you can't get this because this in a one & done deal, specific to the bourbon from this one barrel, which is sold at this one store in NC. But that doesn't mean you can't find something just as unique where you are.

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9 hours ago, k-train said:

You can't get this, but you could potentially get something with like it.

Single Barrel releases are just that... bourbon from just one single barrel which goes into a bottle. This is different from small batch offerings which are made from blending together a few (and often that actually means several) barrels together before placing it in the bottle. So just by the nature of it, each single barrel bottle will be slightly different from one another because there are many, many variables that can cause differences in taste. All of the major distilleries have several rickhouses where they age their barrels. In most cases, each of these rickhouses is a few stores high. The barrels placed within a single rickhouse can vary significantly simply by being on different floors. That's because the temperature will be different in different sections of the rickhouses throughout the year. Considering most single barrel releases are in the 7-12 year range, that's a lot of potential difference from floor to floor, barrel to barrel over that period.

What has become a bit of a trend in recent years is for liquor stores, bourbon societies, etc. to take part in what's known as a barrel pick. Basically, a few representatives from the store, club, or whatever go to the distillery, meet with the distiller or a guide, and are allowed to sample bourbon from a few barrels the distiller has designated for selection. The store/group pick their favorite barrel of the bunch, agree to purchase the whole thing, and then the distiller bottles it for them, often featuring a unique label that reflects the details: who purchased the barrel, the date it was distilled, date it was dumped, and date it was bottled. Then the store is free to sell it to their customers. Sometimes bourbon groups go in together on a barrel & everyone who contributed gets a bottle. During covid, a number of distilleries just send samples to the interested party & have them choose their barrel that way... or offer to pick one for them.

Being that this was selected for the NC ABC stores who don't send a representative to Kentucky to select the barrel themselves, the selection was done by Wild Turkey Master Distiller Eddie Russell... the man who created Russell's Reserve as a tribute to his father. You can see in the photo I took of the back of the bottle, it shows that Eddie selected the barrel, when it was distilled, dumped, distilled, and even which rick house it lived in, and what floor.

There are some barrels that are better than others (often referred to as "honey barrels"). Obviously the folks who are most tuned in to this would be the folks who distilled it themselves, as they have decades of experience to pull from & they know which rickhouses, and more specifically which floors within them, tend to yield the best results for a superior example of their product. So with that in mind, I feel great that Eddie Russell himself selected this barrel.

So with these store picks you are getting a unique, hand-selected barrel. Sometimes this results in a bottle that is a superior version of the standard single barrel release you'd find on the shelf, but sometimes people go into it looking for something that is off-profile... like a Buffalo Trace pick that is spicy rather than sweet, for example.

Just about every major distillery offers store picks (which is another term commonly used for private selections), so it's definitely something you should ask the stores you shop at about. Store picks tend to be some of the best values in bourbon these days because they often cost the exact same amount as the standard non-private selection version of the same product.

So that's a long answer to a short question... but ultimately no, you can't get this because this in a one & done deal, specific to the bourbon from this one barrel, which is sold at this one store in NC. But that doesn't mean you can't find something just as unique where you are.

Thanks bud! I kinda figured that was the case, but wanted to make sure. I appreciate all the info you’re willing to share. 
 

One more question. Have you tried the RR Single Barrel and is it THAT much better than the 10 year?

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3 hours ago, Goober Pyle said:

Thanks bud! I kinda figured that was the case, but wanted to make sure. I appreciate all the info you’re willing to share. 
 

One more question. Have you tried the RR Single Barrel and is it THAT much better than the 10 year?

No problem!

This actually is the RR Single Barrel. The difference between this and the RRSiB you'd find on the shelf at your store is that the barrel used to make it was hand selected specifically for the store which is selling it... rather than just leaving it to chance on which bottles arrive.

Prior to getting this one, it'd been several years since I last had any of the RRSiB. Back in the day, before I was acclimated to drinking stuff with a little higher proof to it, I actually preferred to RR10... but these days I'm not so sure.

The RR10 is a small batch, so when Wild Turkey makes it they are blending several things together to achieve a certain flavor profile. That gives them the ability to make it a little more consistent from bottle to bottle.

The barrels they decide to use for the single barrel release are chosen based on a flavor profile as well, but given the nature of a single barrel release where it's just each specific barrel going into the bottles (as opposed to mixing several barrels & then bottling), there is a little more room for slight differences from bottle to bottle. So with the RRSiB, just like any single barrel release, they tend to be a little more unique amongst themselves compared to the small batch version which is pretty uniform. So you may get a bottle of SiB from a store and then get the same SiB several months later, and if the two weren't from the same barrel, you can tell that they have a very similar profile, but there will also be noticeable differences between them... one may be a little spicier, or sweeter, or smoother, or have some different notes, etc. You just get a little more uniqueness going on with each bottle when you dive in the single barrel releases.

As far as the overall differences between the RR10 & the general profile of the RRSiB, the 10Y is 90 proof & the SiB is 110 proof... so not barrel proof but bringing quite a bit more to the table in that regard than the 10Y. Even being higher proof, it still drinks really easy. To me, the SiB seems to be slightly spicier with a more subdued sweetness. It tends to be incredibly well-balanced just like the 10Y but maybe just a tad more. Honestly, if you think about the smoothness & nice fully balanced nature of the 10Y & imagine that with a present but pleasant burst of cinnamon which fades into a really long finish the way the ECBP does... you're getting pretty close.

It's definitely one I'd say is worth trying, especially since you are into the 10Y and are able to handle the proof. It'd probably be pretty cool for you to have a bottle of each so you can compare the two yourself. Then if you dig the SiB, when it's about halfway gone go get another bottle of it (ideally from a different store or ordered online so you know it's not the same barrel as the first one). That'll give you the opportunity to compare the two single barrels to each other, and you'll be able to see the similarities in the taste profile that Wild Turkey aims for with that release, but you'll also be able to pick up on the differences between the two due to the nature of it being a single barrel release.

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22 hours ago, k-train said:

No problem!

This actually is the RR Single Barrel. The difference between this and the RRSiB you'd find on the shelf at your store is that the barrel used to make it was hand selected specifically for the store which is selling it... rather than just leaving it to chance on which bottles arrive.

Prior to getting this one, it'd been several years since I last had any of the RRSiB. Back in the day, before I was acclimated to drinking stuff with a little higher proof to it, I actually preferred to RR10... but these days I'm not so sure.

The RR10 is a small batch, so when Wild Turkey makes it they are blending several things together to achieve a certain flavor profile. That gives them the ability to make it a little more consistent from bottle to bottle.

The barrels they decide to use for the single barrel release are chosen based on a flavor profile as well, but given the nature of a single barrel release where it's just each specific barrel going into the bottles (as opposed to mixing several barrels & then bottling), there is a little more room for slight differences from bottle to bottle. So with the RRSiB, just like any single barrel release, they tend to be a little more unique amongst themselves compared to the small batch version which is pretty uniform. So you may get a bottle of SiB from a store and then get the same SiB several months later, and if the two weren't from the same barrel, you can tell that they have a very similar profile, but there will also be noticeable differences between them... one may be a little spicier, or sweeter, or smoother, or have some different notes, etc. You just get a little more uniqueness going on with each bottle when you dive in the single barrel releases.

As far as the overall differences between the RR10 & the general profile of the RRSiB, the 10Y is 90 proof & the SiB is 110 proof... so not barrel proof but bringing quite a bit more to the table in that regard than the 10Y. Even being higher proof, it still drinks really easy. To me, the SiB seems to be slightly spicier with a more subdued sweetness. It tends to be incredibly well-balanced just like the 10Y but maybe just a tad more. Honestly, if you think about the smoothness & nice fully balanced nature of the 10Y & imagine that with a present but pleasant burst of cinnamon which fades into a really long finish the way the ECBP does... you're getting pretty close.

It's definitely one I'd say is worth trying, especially since you are into the 10Y and are able to handle the proof. It'd probably be pretty cool for you to have a bottle of each so you can compare the two yourself. Then if you dig the SiB, when it's about halfway gone go get another bottle of it (ideally from a different store or ordered online so you know it's not the same barrel as the first one). That'll give you the opportunity to compare the two single barrels to each other, and you'll be able to see the similarities in the taste profile that Wild Turkey aims for with that release, but you'll also be able to pick up on the differences between the two due to the nature of it being a single barrel release.

I'm thinking I'll pick up a bottle of the RR SiB this week. I've got an extra bottle of the ECBP B520 that is unopened and is only sipped on weekends, so this could be a good compromise bottle. Both times I've picked up the RR10Y, my hand has almost picked up the RR SiB by mistake. Maybe the bourbon gods have been trying to tell me something. As always, thanks for your advice!

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