Whistle Pig Rye

S0112-2                                                                                                  Whistle Pig Straight Rye Whiskey is Talking Bourbon’s first review of a drink from Vermont. Though it does seem that the juice is actually distilled in  Canada and just bottled in Vermont. WP is also somewhat rare in that it is a 100 % Rye.

Whistle Pig comes in a large, nice looking corked bottle. Is aged in charred Vermont oak barrels for 10 years, 100 proof and sells for around $70.00. It is not always easy to find.

Whistle Pig 10 year old Rye has gotten a lot of glowing reviews. Are they warranted?

NOSE

Ron:    A sweet Rye nose with hints of pear and apricots. I can definitely smell that this is 100 proof.

Todd:   Nice clean aroma of soft Rye, honey, and almonds. I also picked up scents of cherries, leather, citrus, sweetness and cocoa.

TASTE

Ron:     Got a lot more on the taste than on the nose. Rye, oak, almonds, and a mustiness up front. Behind this, the citrus and pear that I got on the Nose.

Todd:   I am just the opposite, got a lot more on the nose. I did taste the Rye that I got on the nose. Other than that everything else was faint, a bit of malt, a slight mustiness and a flavor I couldn’t identify

FINISH

Ron:     Long with a hint of vanilla.

Todd:    Medium to long with a nice burn but not much change.

OVERALL

Ron:    It’s been a while since I’ve had Whistle Pig and then, was not impressed for the price point. Totally different today, definitely improved, but still not quite sure it is worth the price.

Todd:     I agree, better than I remembered, and I loved the nose.

Nose      4 out of 5

Taste      8 out of 10

Finish     3.5 out of 5

Total                 15.5 Barrels out of 20

As with others we have reviewed, the score doesn’t quite reflect how we feel about this Rye. One of us downgraded the nose and another the taste. Neither of us were blown away by the finish.  That resulted in a lower score on a drink we both actually enjoyed.

In the end though, Whistle Pig is a little high on the price side for the drink you get. It would make a great cocktail, but again the price makes it a little hard to mix. Our final verdict is there is a lot of Rye out there you can get for a lot less that are just as good if not better.

Wild Turkey 101

wildturkey101new750__84431__15333.1358534069.1280.1280                                           Almost an American icon, Wild Turkey 101 has been mentioned or referenced in numerous movies including Mystic River, In The Heat Of The Night and The Color Of Money. It has been said to be the favorite drink of journalist Hunter S Thompson as well as novelist David Foster Wallace. So why does the Wild Turkey brand evoke thoughts of low end poorly made Bourbon? And do these thoughts have any truth? Talking Bourbon is going to find out.

Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey comes in a traditional looking corked bottle with a picture of a turkey to the right of the label. It sells for around $23, is available wherever hard spirits are sold and is bottled at 101 proof.  101 is a blend of 6, 7 and 8 year old Bourbons.

A note on the 101 proof, when Wild Turkey came out in 1941 Bottled in Bond was real big. A Bourbon with the label Bottled in Bond had to be exactly 100 proof, so the makers of Wild Turkey upped their product to 101 to be different. Seems it worked.

NOSE

Todd:     Classic Bourbon aromas of caramel, toffee and oak. This gives way to rye, and a very slight banana smell.

Ron:     A lot going on with caramel, vanilla and cinnamon upfront. This is followed by aromas of pepper and citrus. Great nose.

TASTE

Todd:     Nice neat but better with a cube. Nothing jumped out as a dominant flavor, a little bit of caramel, oak, rye and toffee.

Ron:     Very slight tastes on the tongue including oak, and pepper. Not a whole lot going on.

FINISH

Todd:    Medium to medium-long with a nice sweet burn.

Ron:    Medium-long with a little bitterness.

OVERALL

Todd:     It didn’t overwhelm me with flavors but was a nice drink.

Ron:     Got more on the nose than on the taste. Did not have some of the flavors that I prefer. Remembered this to be better.

Nose     4.5 out of 5

Taste     7.5 out of 10

Finish    4 out of 5

Total           16 out of 20 Barrels

Wild Turkey 101, despite the score, is a decent Bourbon. It’s at a good price point, makes a nice cocktail and is not bad on the rocks.

We both keep a bottle around for our friends who enjoy it and because there is not a lot of good Bourbons at that price point. Also makes for a decent second pour.

 

 

Evan Williams single Barrel

evan-williams-single-barrel-vintage-bourbon-whiskey-1                                                                                                                   It’s been a while, but we have a guest taster helping us with Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon. Clark is more into rum, tequila, beer and wine, but has of late has been seen sipping on a Bourbon or two.

Evan Williams Single Barrel is readily available, bottled at 86.6 proof and sells for around $26. It comes in a pretty standard corked bottle sealed with black wax.

Even though the distillery has a certain taste profile, as with all single barrels, there will be some variances between barrels.

NOSE

Clark:    A little wood, oak and a lot of caramel

Todd:    Also got the wood, oak, and caramel along with some honey and rye,

Ron:     I definitely got more.  Same as above but I also got aromas of clove, coffee, vanilla and spice. Also a bit of ethanol/medicine.

TASTE

Clark:   I got more on the tongue that on the nose. Caramel, oak, spice and toffee were the main upfront tastes. Also got a floral note plus a little bit of a smoke lingering behind.

Todd:    EWSB has a spicy, musty, oaky taste with a lot of rye and a hint of cinnamon and honey.

Ron:   Caramel, honey, vanilla and a slight taste of the clove that I got on the nose.

FINISH

Clark:     Medium with the same flavors I got upfront.

Todd:      Medium-long with a nice sweetness.

Ron:       Medium with a little sweetness and spice.

OVERALL

Clark:     I have only drank a few Bourbons, I liked EWSB better than Buffalo Trace but not as much as Templeton Rye.

Todd:    I found it to be decent, not great but not bad. Pretty much what I would expect at this price. I agree with Clark, Templeton Rye is much better but it is also closer to $40.

Ron:   It’s been a long time since I have had this Bourbon. It is Better than I remembered, not saying I thought it was bad before but this is a very good Bourbon for the price even though the finish was a little short. Glad I have a bottle.

Nose      4 out of 5

Taste      8.5 out of 10

Finish     3.5 out of 5

Total             16 out of 20 Barrels

Evan Williams Single Barrel, for lack of a better term, is what it is. A nice Bourbon for a good price. The price and the high rye make it a good mixer. You could do a lot worse than this Bourbon.

Elmer T Lee

Elmer_T.Lee_Sour_Mash_750ml__84129.1312762642.1280.1280                                                             Up today is a somewhat hard to find drink, Elmer T Lee, Single Barrel, Sour Mash, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Named for the distiller who started at Stagg Distillery and retired as ambassador and Master Distiller for Buffalo Trace.

Elmer T Lee is bottled at 90 proof, sells for around $40 and comes in a sharp looking, kind of squat corked bottle with pinched sides. It also has a picture of Mr. Lee on the inside of the back of the bottle, so you see the photo when looking at the front of the bottle. There is no age statement on the bottle, but with a little searching we determined it to be around 12 years old.

NOSE

Ron:     Very good with almost all my favorites including caramel, toffee, vanilla, tobacco and oak. Also got a little bit of red fruit.

Todd:     Great nose of caramel, grain, cedar and old leather upfront. This was followed by a musty humidor aroma.

TASTE

Ron:     Smooth neat but better with half a cube. I tasted the caramel, toffee, vanilla and oak that I got on the nose. Also detected a slight taste of pear. Very nice.

Todd:     I agree with the smoothness, but I felt that I had to reach on a lot of the flavors. I tasted a little bit of caramel, praline, toffee, vanilla and citrus.

FINISH

Ron:      Nice medium-long with a touch of leather.

Todd:    Medium-long with a bit of mustiness.

OVERALL

Ron:     A very good Bourbon with a slightly better nose than taste. The pioneer Master Distiller Elmer T lee should be proud.

Todd:    Even though none of the taste jumped out at me, I still loved drinking this Bourbon.

Nose     4.5 out of 5

Taste     8.75 out of 10

Finish    4.25 out of 5

Total            17.5 out of 20 Barrels

Elmer T Lee has long been a favorite of ours and this tasting didn’t disappoint. Be warned, this is a hard to find bottle, but if you come across one that is close to the price we sited, buy it. Shame on you if you don’t because this Bourbon is worth it.

Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey

woodford-reserve-kentucky-straight-rye-whiskey-1                                           Rye is booming and it seems everyone is trying to take advantage, so there are a lot of hastily produced Rye Whiskeys flooding the market. The makers of Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select  Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, Brown-Forman, state that is not the case with their product. According to the company it has been in the works for close to 10 years. It is just now  hitting the market.

Woodford Rye comes in the same shaped corked bottle of the hugely popular Woodford Reserve Bourbon and the Double Oaked. It is bottled at 90.4 proof and sells for around $38. It is pretty easy to get around here, Indianapolis, but we are not sure about the rest of the country. The bottle has no age statement but by saying that it is a Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, it has to be at least 4 years old.

NOSE

Todd:     Beautiful aroma of spicy Rye, leather, anise, a fruit that I couldn’t identify, and a slight bit of clove.

Ron:     I agree, great nose of spicy Rye and leather. Instead of clove, I get a little cinnamon. Also get a touch of sherry.

TASTE

Todd:     Very smooth neat. Tasted the spicy Rye and leather I got on the nose along with a little tobacco, and cedar.

Ron:     Like Todd, I could taste the spicy Rye and leather.  I also could taste the sherry I got on the nose along with a little clove that Todd got on the nose.

FINISH

Todd:    Sweet medium to medium long with more Rye.

Ron:     Rye still prominent along with a latent slight salty taste.

Todd:    Funny, I also got the saltiness, but figured my taste buds were off. Not sure if I ever detected that in the taste or finish of a Bourbon/Rye.

OVERALL

Todd:    I really liked Woodford Rye even though I didn’t get a lot of individual flavors. The Rye was the most prominent smell, taste and finish. But hey, having said that, it is a Rye.

Ron:    Great Rye! I agree that it is not overly complex,  but complexity is not everything. In fact I would probably put this as one of my favorite Whiskeys under $40.

Nose     4.5 out of 5

Taste     8.5 out of 10

Finish    4 out of 5

Total Score        17 out of 20 Barrels

Sometimes we think we should make a category called Enjoyability. Yes, we made that term up, but Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey would rank very high with just the sheer pleasure of drinking.

While we aren’t exactly crazy about for Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon, we love their Double Oaked and now we can add their Rye to our list of Whiskey that we recommend. Enjoy.