Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish

michters-toasted-barrel                                                                   We have a new guest taster, today we welcome our friend Richard. Both of us have known Richard a long time but he is just lately getting into Bourbon. He has been and still is a big fan of Gin.

We are tasting today with Richard, Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish. We, (Ron and Todd) have been drinking this for a little more than a year when it became available in our market, and have really enjoyed it. This is Richard’s first taste. Since the bottle states that it is a limited release, we were not planning on reviewing it, thinking it would be hard to find or not be around long. But we have been able to consistently find the bottle in liquor stores that have a good Bourbon selections.

Toasted Barrel Finish comes in the same “Old School” corked bottle that all Michter’s comes in. Goes for around $45 and is bottled at 91.4 proof. When it was first released last year it sold for about $37 but its popularity has driven the price up. It is different than other Bourbons because after the regular aging in charred barrels, it is then finished aging in toasted barrels. We are not sure of it’s age.


Richard:  I didn’t get a lot, a little woody type of smell. Later with a little ice I thought I could pick up a musty aroma along with smoke.

Todd:   I got the wood and mustiness  as well, but more in the back ground. Upfront it reminded me of sherry with a touch of cocoa and honey. Also a little fruit, a very pleasant nose.

Ron:  I didn’t get anything that you two picked up except for a little wood aroma. I detected the usual caramel and vanilla along with some tobacco notes as well as raisin and rye.

Todd: Raisin and rye, sounds like a bread.

Ron: Whatever Todd.


Richard:   Again, like the nose, I didn’t get a lot on the tongue. Mainly just a sweet woody taste. Liked it better with some ice.

Todd:    I tasted most of what I smelled, sherry, wood, honey, mustiness, and cocoa. Also tasted some caramel and vanilla that Ron got on the nose. A little hot neat.

Ron:   I also tasted what I got on the nose including the raisin and tobacco. Add to that a spice and some kind of black fruit taste that I could not pinpoint.


Richard:  Sweet medium-long finish.

Todd:   I agree, sweet medium-long finish, but I also got something I can only describe as a dusty taste at the end. Not in a bad way.

Ron:   Medium long with a wonderful decrescendo.

Nose       4.5 out of 5

Taste       8.5 out of 10

Finish     4.25 out of 5

Total               17.25 out of 20 Barrels

We like everything from Michter’s and Toasted Barrel Finish is no exception. The price is a little on the high side but you are getting a unique Bourbon. And while we found it in a lot of stores, most people we talked to have not heard about it. So you can impress a Bourbon loving friend as a gift or proudly displaying it in your Bourbon cabinet.

We found it also makes a good Bourbon cocktail as well as being good with a few cubes. The unique taste along with the background story of why makes for good presentation. The bottle we tasted was from the 2014 batch. Michter’s has just released the 2015 batch. We recommend you give it a try. We also recommend you do it soon just in case they weren’t kidding about the limited release.

Colonel Taylor Small Batch

eh_taylor_smallbatch_bourbon__12069.1369147381.1280.1280                                           Up next for tasting this afternoon is one of our favorite brands, Colonel E. H. Taylor.  Much like High West or Weller, you really can’t go wrong with anything you select from the Colonel.

E.H. Taylor is considered one of the founding fathers of Bourbon, and an interesting side note, he is related to the 12th President of The United States, Zachery Taylor.

Today we are reviewing Taylor’s Small Batch Bourbon. CTSBB comes in the same cool old fashioned corked bottle that the rest of the line comes in, and like the rest it is then packed in a cardboard tube which makes for great presentation. Bottled in Bond which means it is 100 proof, goes for around $40 and is widely available.


Ron:    I really, really like the nose on Taylor’s Small Batch. I get the usual suspects of caramel, vanilla and oak, but also pick up some apricot, toffee and praline.

Todd:   Also got some of the standard aromas as well as the apricot. After that we go our own ways. I get a more of a toasty, tobacco type smell, along with some corn and a little mint.


Ron:   I tasted the caramel, vanilla and praline that I got on the nose, but not the apricot or toffee. Also got a bit of a spicy leathery taste.

Todd:   Real smooth neat but comes alive with a cube or two. I also tasted the leather that Ron spoke of along with a fruit that I could not identify at first but later nailed down as cherries. Also got a little bit of a grain taste, maybe corn?


Ron:    Long finish ending with some sweet spicy notes.

Todd:   Medium-long to long finish with some sweetness as well as the mint I got on the nose.


Ron:   Not extremely complex with some atypical flavors and aromas, but still has a lot going on with the standard Bourbon flavors. Very smooth for 100 proof.

Todd:  No, not terribly complex on the taste, but it definitely is on the nose. I found it a joy to sip on.

Nose       4.75 out of 5

Taste       8 out of 10

Finish      4.25 out of 5

Total            17 out of 20 Barrels

While we both really enjoyed tasting Colonel Taylor’s Small Batch Bourbon and would never turn down a glass, at $40 it is getting up there in price. The nose was fantastic, and while we love the aroma of a good bourbon, we don’t buy the bottles to smell. The taste, while good, probably doesn’t warrant the price. Don’t get us wrong, it was very smooth, drinkable and good, but there was something missing.

Having said all that, if money is no big issue, you should go out and get a bottle and try for yourself. It makes a good cocktail and as mentioned above, the bottle makes for a great presentation.

High West Rendezvous Rye

high-west-rendezvous-rye-whiskey-1                                          Next up for our review, Rendezvous Rye from High West Whiskey.  RR is a blend of a 6 year old whiskey made from 95 % Rye and a 16 year old made with 80% Rye. That is a lot of Rye and a lot of years. It sells for around $55 and comes in the same tall, cool looking corked bottle like all the other High West  whiskeys.  It is bottled at 92 proof and around Indianapolis it is pretty easy to find.

Full disclosure, we are big fans of anything High West. Having said that, the only time we had tasted RR was at a tasting event with lots of other whiskeys. We really liked it and decided to get a bottle for Talking Bourbon. At current price we hope we made the right choice.


Todd:   Strong nose of Rye, leather and smoke. Also got a little citrus and something that reminded me of an oil painting, in a good way.

Ron:  Oil paint does not sound good. I did get the Rye, leather and citrus along with cedar and spice. Also got a little nutty aroma along with the smell of pears. Really liked the nose on this stuff.


Todd:  Very smooth, even neat. Lots of Rye up front followed by cedar and spiciness. Also tasted a little of the citrus that I got on nose.

Ron:  Big Rye taste along with some  spice and cedar.  Also got hints of oak, tobacco, and leather.


Todd:   Medium-long to long finish with a nice sweetness to follow all that spice.

Ron:    Long sweet finish with some added citrus.


Todd:    This is a big boy Rye that I really liked. Lots going on with the nose, complex taste and nice finish.

Ron:    A nice complex Rye. Smooth from start to finish. I felt guilty about adding just one cube.

Nose       4.5 out of 5

Taste        9 out of 10

Finish      4.5 out of 5

Total              18 out of 20 Barrels

We really, really liked Rendezvous Rye. It would make a great addition to anyone’s cabinet. Great nose, great taste, smooth with a good finish, what more could you want? Well, it could be a little less expensive,  but hey, we can’t have everything.