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REVIEW: WESTWARD OREGON STRAIGHT MALT WHISKEY

REVIEW: WESTWARD OREGON STRAIGHT MALT WHISKEY

DISCLAIMER: The Sample for this review was provided by the manufacturer. All ideas and opinions in this post are entirely my own. I do not accept any money for these reviews.

Color: Toffee

Nose: Sweet Honey And Vanilla, Malted Cereal, Maple, Spice, and Light Oak

Taste: Honey, Barley, Maple, Spice, Caramel, Dried Apricot, and Oak

Finish: Short, but smooth finish with lots of spice, oak, and a tinge of spearmint.

Score:
Rick- LOVED IT!
Sam- 9.5/10.0
Overall- 9.5/10.0

The fine folks at House Spirits sent me this excellent Westward straight malt whiskey. This is made from 100% malted barley grown in the pacific northwest and is fermented with ale yeast that really changes the character. It is also double pot distilled and matured in two-char american oak barrels, giving it an Irish twist. Finally, it is aged for two years before being bottled without chill filtering.

The nose on this goes straight to the head. It is intoxicating on it’s own. The sweet honey and vanilla stroll casually up to greet you,. The barley and maple arrive together reminding me of Maple and brown sugar oatmeal. The spice and oak hang out in the background, there but not boisterous. I enjoyed the bouquet from this extensively. It is just one of those whiskeys that beg to be inhaled.

The first sip is sweet at first but doesn’t last long. Westward has a nice mouth-feel that really coats your tongue, bathing you in all of it’s richness. I have to give credit to my lovely wife yet again. The woman doesn’t like whiskey, but her taste buds are extraordinary. The best I could come up with was dried fruit, but one sip and bam! She nails it. Dried apricot, as soon as she said it I knew she was right. These folks are definitely on the right track with this fine whiskey.

The finish has its’ own secrets. It is a bit short, but by no means inconsequential. The spice really hits home at the end along with a nice smoky oak in the background. The real surprise is the taste of spearmint that lingers on the tongue. the short finish is due to this being a relatively young whiskey. A few more years in the barrel will cure that.

I know I say this quite often, but this seriously would be in my liquor cabinet at all times. Except, for the price tag. This really is the only downfall for Westward. At $50 for 375ml bottle, I find that a little hard to cough up for a 2 year old bottle. I can pick up 22 year old 750ml bottles for the same price. I’m not saying don’t try it, because I definitely loved it. I’m just saying invite me over to enjoy it with you!

I welcome your thoughts and opinions. Review suggestions are welcome. Contact info can be found HERE

Until Next Time,

Slàinte Mhath!

P.S.-That is Rick in the background. He needs some encouragement to add his voice to our blog. Let him know that you’d love to hear from him!

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Posted by on June 9, 2015 in Reviews, whiskey

 

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REVIEW: FOUR ROSES SINGLE BARREL

REVIEW: FOUR ROSES SINGLE BARREL

DISCLAIMER: The Sample for this review was provided by the manufacturer. All ideas and opinions in this post are entirely my own. I do not accept any money for these reviews.

Color: Deep Copper

Nose: Alcohol, Corn, Oak

Taste: Sweet Corn, Caramel, Vanilla, Pepper, Oak, Green Apple, Orange, and Pecan

Finish: Long smooth finish with oak and butterscotch

Score:
Rick- 8.0/10.0
Sam- 8.5/10.0
Overall- 8.25/10.0

Thanks to the beautiful folks at Four Roses for yet another wonderful dram. I love that they continue to feed my obsession. Four Roses is one of my go to’s for when I go to the bar and order Bourbon. They really make a great Bourbon, and when I am at the bar I want something that tastes good but won’t break the bank. My local bar has this and the small batch and it is what I order when I go.

I realize that Four Roses makes a couple different expressions of their single barrel. Unfortunately these sample bottles did not come with the neck tag to tell me. So if what you have tastes a little different, that is why. On to the review.

The nose on this starts off with a very heavy alcohol kick. This is a bit of an anomaly, one that was helped by letting it sit for a few minutes. I also found that adding a small hit of water would open up the nose too. After letting it rest I was able to get a better bouquet from it. The aromas balance out nicely once it has had time to rest, the aroma is what you’d expect from Four Roses. I am going to chalk this up to the small sample bottle.

The flavors aren’t affected at all. The sweet corn, caramel, and vanilla are the first to greet the tongue, followed by the green apple and orange. The pecan, oak, and pepper finish out the flavor profile. This is what you would expect from a great mainstream Bourbon. It is very balanced on the tongue, none of the flavors try to jump up for a solo, they seem to mix on the palette in a very nice symphony.

The finish is long and smooth with oak and butterscotch being the prevailing notes. It doesn’t have the bite that I like from Bourbon. It is one of the smoothest Bourbons I have had. The addition of water makes it go down like honey.

I wouldn’t mind having a bottle of this in the cabinet. I’d definitely recommend it to someone looking for a good pour. Like I said earlier they carry this at my local establishment and when I pop my head in it is what I order.

I welcome your thoughts and opinions. Review suggestions are welcome.

Until Next Time,

Slàinte Mhath!

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2015 in Bourbon, Reviews, whiskey

 

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REVIEW: BOZEMAN SPIRITS MONTANA 1889 WHISKEY

REVIEW: BOZEMAN SPIRITS MONTANA 1889 WHISKEY

DISCLAIMER: The Sample for this review was provided by the manufacturer. All ideas and opinions in this post are entirely my own. I do not accept any money for these reviews.

Color: Yellow Gold

Nose: Caramel, Vanilla, Oak, Pepper, Fruit

Taste: Caramel, Peppery Rye Spice, Malt,  Oak, and Citrus

Finish: Long finish with a heavy hit of pepper and oak

Score:
Rick- Likes it, but has nothing to compare it to for a rating.
Sam- 9.0/10.0
Overall- 9.0/10.0

Thanks to Jim and the fine folks at Bozeman Spirits for this bottle! I really enjoyed this one. It isn’t bourbon or scotch, it’s Montana whiskey. According to Jim, their 1889 whiskey is a blend of a 6-7 year old whiskey made in Indiana with a whiskey they have distilled on site, barreled and aged. Bozeman Spirits’s mash bill is corn, montana malted barley and montana rye. They then do a few other processes (deliberately vague here) and then it is blended into a 300 gallon tank. The finished whiskey blend is run back through a distillation process in their Arnold Holstein still. The whiskey is then proofed down to 90 proof and bottled! The final product is outstanding!

The nose has a heavy hit of caramel. I’d have to say it is predominant. The other aromas hang out in the shadows and really have to be looked for. I was a little worried that this was so caramel forward. I pictured something like a Brach’s  caramel chew in liquid form. Please don’t misunderstand though, it really does smell wonderful, just not what I have come to expect from whiskey. My experience with American Whiskey, which is how I would classify this, is limited at best. I have had a few bottles here and there that are just labeled whiskey, some good most bad. That wasn’t the case with this one though.

This whiskey starts out sweet, but it isn’t as sweet as I had anticipated. The caramel on the tongue is quite nice and the other flavors that were not as predominant are now right there giving this a nice mouth feel. The spicy Rye really comes forward on the tongue giving this a nice all around taste. I found that the differences this whiskey brings to the table are what makes it stand out.

The finish is long and full of that spicy rye that makes it really bite the back of the throat. It wasn’t to spicy though, just enough to let you know that it is there. The oak seems to help settle it and make it one of the best American whiskeys I have had to date.This is usually where I end with a recomendation, but not this time.

My wife sometimes joins Rick and I when we drink, only she can’t stand whiskey. For her it’s rum. While we were talking about this she asked to smell it, this isn’t anything new, she does it quite often. More times than not this ends with her making a stink face and handing it back. She took one sniff and downed the contents of the glass. I was stunned! When she uttered her next sentence I almost hit the floor. Her exact words, “That’s good!” Now please don’t think for a moment that this tastes anything like rum, or is as smooth as rum, because it’s not. This is whiskey through and through, she says that she liked the caramel and pepper. I can’t give it any higher praise than that.

I welcome your thoughts and opinions. Review suggestions are welcome.

Until Next Time,

Slàinte Mhath!

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2015 in Reviews, whiskey

 

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REVIEW: COPPER FIDDLE DISTILLERY BOURBON

REVIEW: COPPER FIDDLE DISTILLERY BOURBON

DISCLAIMER: The Sample for this review was provided by the manufacturer. All ideas and opinions in this post are entirely my own. I do not accept any money for these reviews.

Color: Light Toffee

Nose: Strong Vanilla, Caramel Corn,  Fresh Buttered Popcorn, Spice, and Oak

Taste: Vanilla, Corn, Apple, Caramel, Spice, and Oak

Finish: Long smooth finish with spice, vanilla and hints of oak

Score:
Rick- 8.0/10.0
Sam- 9.0/10.0
Overall- 8.5/10.0

Special thanks to Nancy at Copper Fiddle for getting this to me. Jose Hernandez and Fred Robinson, an architect and a PGA professional, started this distillery in 2012 using a 13 gallon stainless steel still. After many attempts, Jose created a bourbon whiskey and two gin recipes that had their friends and family singing his praises.The Name, Copper Fiddle Distillery comes from the handmade copper pot they use to distill all their spirits. The “Fiddle” is from a family heirloom violin made in 1906. Their spirits, just like the violin get better with age. All of their spirits are handmade; grain to bottle, at their facility in Lake Zurich, IL.

This was really a nice adventure. The way this begins and the way it ends are so vastly different. I was almost put off by the way this started. I will say that at first sip you want to write it off as a nice try and move on, but this is where the story begins.

At first the nose on this is quite heavy on the vanilla with a little oak in the background and a large hit of alcohol. Pretty typical of a young bourbon. The trick with this particular bourbon is letting it sit. This needs the chance to open up. We took our first sip and continued our discussion. It was when I went to drain my glass that I realized the heavy vanilla was gone. It was replaced by what I can only describe as Fresh buttered popcorn. Rick says Caramel corn. Agree to disagree. Bottom line, it was outstanding. A very new experience for us.

The first sip was again a little off, almost tart before mellowing into vanilla with a nice bite. Yet again, letting it sit does wonders for the taste. It opens it up and really brings around all the flavors you would expect from a good bourbon. The fact that it needs to open for a few minutes does not deter from it at all. In fact it is our opinion that the adventure from a 3 at best to a solid 8.5 is one that is quite fun to take.

The finish on this is long and smooth no matter how soon you partake. I was expecting the finish to change too, but it never did.

If you see a bottle please pick it up. It’s a fun experience. I wouldn’t mind having a bottle to keep on the shelf for myself. Definitely a keeper. I think that a bourbon this good at this young is really going to be better with more age.

I welcome your thoughts and opinions. Review suggestions are welcome.

Until Next Time,

Slàinte Mhath!

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2015 in Bourbon, Reviews, whiskey

 

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REVIEW: COLONEL E.H. TAYLOR SMALL BATCH

REVIEW: COLONEL E.H. TAYLOR SMALL BATCH

Color: Toffee

Nose: Peaches and Cream Corn, Vanilla, Oak, Caramel Apples, and a bit of spice

Taste: Corn, Orange Peel, Nuts, Oak, Spicy Rye, and Caramel Apples

Finish: Smooth Long Finish sweet with a nice strong Oak note.

Score: Sam – 8.5/10.0

I got to try this while I was in Topeka for yet another round of training for work. This definitely helped to ease my time there. A little back story before we start. Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the bourbon industry. His started distilling at the end of the Civil War when he purchased O.F C. Distillery. He was an innovative distiller that invented some of the very same methods that we use today. Colonel E.H. Taylor is made by hand, and aged inside some of the original warehouses constructed by E.H. Taylor, Jr..  We have to assume that a Bourbon named after a distiller with this kind of legacy has to be exceptional. It earned a score of 97 points at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, which is  2 points higher than the Pappy Van Winkle 23.

This has a nice toffee dolor. The first smell is sweet corn, reminiscent of peaches and cream corn. The corn is followed by orange, nuts, oak, and caramel apples. The spice rye note was very nice, and complimented the other aromas quite nicely. After a few minutes of nosing it was time for the first sip.

I started neat as usual. It has a lot of the rye spice that dominates the taste and is a little to heavy for my palette. I like spice but this was a little to over the top for me. Next, i added water, just a little added vigorously. This was in my opinion the best way to drink it. It has a nice balanced flavor that really seems to open up with water. I also tried pouring it over ice, this made it to sweet in my opinion and washed out the other flavors to much.

The finish seems to be the best with just added water too. Neat, it is all spice and a hint of oak. With water it is sweet with a nice strong oak finish. Over ice it is just sweet and watery.

I was really quite impressed with this Bourbon. I can’t say it is the best I have ever had, but it is definitely one of the good ones. I’d love to try some of the other expressions, but this is one of those Bourbons that are hard to find. If you see it on a shelf pick up a bottle, you won’t regret it. I personally will be keeping an eye out for this one and the other expressions when I hit the liquor store.

I welcome your thoughts and opinions. Review suggestions are welcome.

Until Next Time,

Slàinte Mhath!

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Bourbon, Reviews, whiskey

 

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REVIEW: CLEVELAND UNDERGROUND UNCOMMON BARREL COLLECTION

REVIEW: CLEVELAND UNDERGROUND UNCOMMON BARREL COLLECTION

DISCLAIMER: The Sample for this review was provided by the manufacturer. All ideas and opinions in this post are entirely my own. I do not accept any money for these reviews.

Color: Deep Gold with Pale Amber Highlights

Nose: Vanilla, Corn, Tart Cherry, Citrus, Spice, Cinnamon, and Oak

Taste: Tart Cherry, Corn, Vanilla, Spice, and Oak

Finish: Long Fruit finish with cherry, oak and hints of vanilla

Score:
Rick- 8.5/10.0
Sam- 9.5/10.0
Overall- 9.0/10.0

I am starting to tire of eating my words. I stated emphatically that I detested flavored whiskey. I even said that I hated it. So, what do those jokers from Cleveland Whiskey send me? Cherry Flavored bourbon! Didn’t I already do a review on cherry flavored bourbon? The nerve of some people. This guy must have a set of cojones on him. It takes a special kind of person to pull a stunt like that. Fact is, he read my review on the cherry flavored Bourbon and still sent this to me. I couldn’t believe it.

But, I am so glad he did!

          When we first heard how Cleveland Bourbon was made, we like a lot of others went “NO WAY!!”. we also thought” We’ll try it”. Tom Lix, the man behind Cleveland Whiskey is turning the bourbon world on its ear by aging whiskey in a fraction of the time. It is put in a barrel for six months, then put into some kind of proprietary pressurization chamber with a barrel that from what I gather has been run through a wood chipper to finish for a week. There is more to it than that, but I’m sure that is a trade secret. It doesn’t matter how he does it, all that matters is the end product. So, without further ado.

The color is exquisite, deep gold with ribbons of pale amber floating through it. The nose has a distinct cherry note that for the first time doesn’t detract from the other aromas. This really pleased the nose and was already better than some straight Bourbons we have smelt. It is a nice balance of cherry, corn, vanilla, spice and oak. The cherry is definitely there but it isn’t overpowering at all.

          This is bottled at 94 proof so it is a bit stronger than your typical bourbon. We found that the perfect way to enjoy this is to put the bottle in the freezer overnight. The next day pour 3 ounces into your favorite glass and add 6 ml of water to it. This is how we found we enjoyed it best. Adding ice waters it down to much, adding water is good, but to us it just tastes best cold. The forceful addition of 6 ml of water also helps to open the nose when it is served cold. Without water it is a bit bland on the nose. All in all great flavor of cherry and oak at the forefront followed by the more delicate flavors of corn, vanilla, cinnamon, and spice.

          The finish is long and lingering bringing a heavy hit of cherry and oak. Very pleasant. I also found that it packs a decent mule kick at the end. I love a good mule kick. It wasn’t bad enough to close the throat just enough to let you know you were drinking whiskey.

I’d definitely recommend this to the guys that are feeling adventurous. Everyone is different so if you don’t like it the way I do try something different. This is a bottle I wish I had more of. It is flavored naturally using cherry wood, instead of some saccharin imitation flavoring that has no business in whiskey. I applaud you Tom Lix, you have changed my mind. If you have tried Cleveland Whiskey please feel free to comment, if not try it first!

I welcome your thoughts and opinions. Review suggestions are welcome.

Until Next Time,

Slàinte Mhath!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Bourbon, Flavored, Reviews, whiskey

 

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REVIEW: WHISKEY ROW BOURBON

REVIEW: WHISKEY ROW BOURBON

DISCLAIMER: The Sample for this review was provided by the manufacturer. All ideas and opinions in this post are entirely my own. I do not accept any money for these reviews.

Whiskey Row
Got to love the bottle it came in!

Color: Deep Copper almost burnished

Nose:
Vanilla, Corn, Caramel Apple, Citrus, Clove, Spice, Cinnamon, Black Pepper, and Oak

Taste: Vanilla, Corn, Citrus, Spice, Cinnamon, and Oak

Finish: Long finish with hints of vanilla and oak. Little bit of Alcohol burn too

Score:
Rick- 8.5/10.0
Sam- 9.0/10.0
Overall- 8.75/10.0

There are days when I really love my hobby. The day we got to try this was one of them. This is a blend of 3 different Bourbons, all at least 6 years old. The gentlemen at Whiskey Row seem to have it together. I am a bit of a purist, I prefer single barrels, single malts, and single grains. I love the differences you can get in character traits from these. It’s fun to grab two bottles of single barrel Bourbon and find the differences between them. For example, I have had a bottle that no other could touch, then bought another bottle I use to cook with. The best thing about blends, is that if they are done right they are a force to be reckoned with. Whiskey Row is going to be that force. It is one of the most balanced Bourbons I have had the pleasure of trying. The bad news for you guys and now me, since I am out. It isn’t available on the market yet that I can find.

The smells coming from the bottle alone are drool worthy. Once poured they get even better.  It’s a all the smells you associate with Bourbon right there in one spot. They aren’t to hard to pull out, and they are married well. The nose is well balanced with out some of the more predominant smells you’d get from a single barrel.

The first sip was a surprise, I expected the same balance as the nose, but this was more of a progression. First the sweet, then grains, followed by fruit, spice and oak. The mouth feel is quite nice almost like warm honey. The flavors once they’ve greeted you settle together and blend nicely. The second sip is more balanced.

The finish is smooth and long. The finish is also where some of the balance falls away. I got a nice hit of vanilla and oak on the finish that really lasted. It was nice to get a hit of Oak with a tinge of vanilla. Just about right for a Bourbon. There’s a bit of a kick as well, not as much as I’d prefer, but not bad.

If you like extremely balanced Bourbons, this is the bottle for you. It is a well rounded bourbon that will satisfy most any Bourbon aficionado. I’d like to keep a bottle on hand myself. Something this well balanced makes it an easy choice for a sipper. I’d again like to thank Jeremy from Whiskey Row for the samples. Without guys like him….I’d have to wait for them to hit the shelves like you guys! Sorry had to have a little fun.

I welcome your thoughts and opinions. Review suggestions are welcome.

Until Next Time,

Slàinte Mhath!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Bourbon, Reviews, whiskey

 

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