Very Old Barton

                                                             Up for review today is Very Old Barton, Bottled in Bond, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. We were actually turned on to this stuff by a liquor store owner that we frequent a lot, thanks Lou.

VOB, BiB comes in a screw top bottle that reminds one of the Weller’s line. It sells for around $15 or under, is bottled at 100 proof and is aged between 4 to 6 years. Barton is not something you will find in every store.

Speaking of the availability, if or when you find a bottle, check it out very carefully. They also have an 86 proof and a 90 proof expression and they both say Very Old Barton as well, and all 3 come in the same shaped bottle with a similar label. The Bottled in Bond is by far the best of the 3, and they are all close in price.

Also, since it has the number 6 on the stem of the bottle, many people believe this to mean it is 6 years old. That is not the case. It use to say 6 years, now just the number 6.


Ron:    Spice and a bread/grain aroma seem to be the most prominent. This is followed by scents of caramel and bananas. I also pick up a very slight smell of toasted nuts.

Todd:   A nose of sweet toasted bread up front followed by bananas, caramel, bread and honey. Not bad.


Ron:   The spice, toasted nuts and the banana that I got on the nose all come through on the tongue. Add to that brown sugar and a slight mustiness.

Todd:   Not too hot neat but I don’t get any dominate flavor. A little oak, some sweetness and the mustiness that Ron got. While not real complex, it was not a bad drink.


Ron:    Medium to medium-long with some musty bitterness.

Todd:   A medium, sweet, flat finish.


Ron:     A decent Bourbon for the $15 or so price point.

Todd:   I agree, you could do a lot worse in that price range.

Nose     3.75 out of 5

Taste     7 out of 10

Finish     3 out of 5

Total score      13.75 out of 20 Barrels

Not a bad Bourbon, especially for the price, but we wouldn’t go looking for a bottle. Makes a decent mixer and a good 2nd pour. However, we reviewed Evan Williams White label, Bottled in Bond a few weeks ago, and we both like EW better, it is at the same price point and is a lot easier to find.

Bottom line, if you see a bottle of Very Old Barton, Bottled in Bond, selling for around $15 or less, go ahead and give it a try.

Templeton Rye

                                                             Wow! We like to do a little research on whichever juice we are sampling for the blog. We both have drank Templeton Rye but didn’t know much about it save for what is states on the bottle. This has definitely changed.

First of all they had a suit filed against them because the label was misleading. It hints at being an Iowa product when in fact it is distilled and aged in Indiana. They lost the suit and now the bottle states “distilled in Indiana”.

Next, the company admitted to adding a chemical flavoring to their whiskeys. We will say that again, they add flavoring to this Rye. It is from a company called Clarendon Flavor Engineers. Templeton used to state on the bottle “prohibition era recipe”, that is now removed seeing as Clarendon was not even in business then. They also had to remove the words “small batch”, since Templeton is made in giant batches in Indiana.

Having said all that, is this “flavored” stuff any good? Templeton Rye sells for around $38 for the 750ml, comes in a medicinal looking corked bottle, and is widely available. Templeton Rye is 4 years old and is bottled at a somewhat weak 80 proof.

One note, we did our tasting before we learned all this.


Todd:   Heavy Rye, pepper/spice along with some wood come to me first and seem to be the most dominate. I also smell a little raisin, some bitterness and a scent that reminded me of sherry or maybe Irish Whisky. Not bad but wasn’t overly impressed.

Ron:   No denying this is a Rye. Also catch strong scents of oak, grain, grass and spice. Reminds me a little of scotch and I get the slight bitterness that Todd got.


Todd:   Very smooth, can easily be drank neat(probably owing to the low proof). No real stand out taste, just a few secondary ones. I get a little citrus, a touch of smoke, a bit of malt and a slight bread taste. Also taste that Irish Whisky that I got on the nose.

Ron:   Big Rye taste and pleased I didn’t get the scotch that I got on the nose. I pretty much tasted everything else I got on the nose, the grain, grass, oak/wood and the bitterness. Even more faint was a taste of walnut and the citrus that Todd tasted.


Todd:   Long sweet finish with more of the bitterness.

Ron:   A warm medium-long bitter finish.


Todd:   A decent Rye but nothing to shout about. There is a lot better Rye out there at and below this price.

Ron:   I agree even though I like it better than Todd.

Nose     3.25 out of 5

Taste      7 out of 10

Finish      4 out of 5

Total score      14.25 out of 20 barrels

All in all a decent drink but way over priced. There is just too much Rye on the market to justify recommending Templeton Rye. And where are they getting this price? They buy in bulk and only age it 4 years. The price and low proof also make it prohibitive for a mixer.

Now, as to the top of the blog, we will never buy this product again. They were misleading as to the origin, the batch size and a good, well made Rye doesn’t need a chemical flavor added to it.

Stay away from Templeton Rye!

Evan Williams White Label

                                                                                             A few weeks back we reviewed EW Black label, the mega seller from Heaven Hill, and gave it a somewhat mediocre rating. We got an email from a reader suggesting we try the White label, saying it was considerately better.  We were skeptical seeing how the White label is only the Black at 100 proof instead of 86.

Evan Williams White Label, also called EW Bottled in Bond, meaning among other things it is bottled at the aforementioned 100 proof. EW White comes in the same shaped, screw top bottle as the Black label. It sells for around $15 or so for the 750ml which is a couple of bucks higher than the Black label. It is at least 4 years old and while widely available, not quite as easy to find as the Black label.


Ron:   I do not pick up a lot of heat in this mild mellow nose. I do pick up decent aromas of apricot and wood. Lingering behind is scents of leather, caramel and yellow cake batter.

Todd:   Agree, doesn’t smell like it’s 100 proof. I Also get the caramel but more upfront along with cedar. I pick up secondary aromas of chocolate, leather, praline and a slight mustiness. No apricot or cake batter here.


Ron:  Very smooth neat but nothing jumping out. As my ice melts I start to get a spiciness followed by cherries, bread and a slight musty/ethanol flavor

Todd:   Yes, very smooth neat but needs water to bring out some flavors. Even then there is no dominant taste, just a lot of secondary ones. In descending order I get grain, cedar, white pepper, caramel, leather and almonds.


Ron:  A medium finish with some warm toffee and yeasty bread.

Todd:   Medium to medium long with a taste I just can’t nail down. I do pick up the yeasty finish that Ron mentions.


Ron:    A good Bourbon for the price and I do like it better than the Black label.

Todd:    A very pleasant drink at a very good price. Not as sweet as I remember the Black label. Will definitely buy again.

Nose     4 out of 5

Taste     7.5 out of 10

Finish    4 out of 5

Total score     15.5 out of 20 barrels

Well we both liked the White label considerately more than the Black label. For just a few dollars more you get a better drink and a higher proof. The higher proof makes it an even better deal, seeing as how you get more for your money. The higher proof also makes for a better cocktail.

Bottom line, most of can’t drink super premiums with every pour. Evan Williams Bottled in Bond White label is a great second glass.


Talking Bourbon E-Book

We are excited to announce that Talking Bourbon has a new book out on Kindle. It is a collection of the over 70 reviews from our blog along with terminology, recipes, cocktails and more.

Below is the link to Amazon.

Thanks to all in advance who purchase the book. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did putting it together.

Fighting Cock

                                                                                              Fighting Cock? Yes, a strange name and odd looking label for a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This and the somewhat low price probably  points to a marketing strategy aimed at younger drinkers. So is this a gimmick bottle like others we have reviewed? Read on.

Fighting Cock sells for just under $20 for the 750ml, comes in a standard looking screw top bottle with the aforementioned label that shows a chicken in the air with it’s talons out. It is aged 6 years, bottled at 103 proof and is pretty readily available.


Todd:  Caramel up front with some hints of black fruit and vanilla. Also a nice nutty praline type aroma along with a little corn.

Ron:    A spicy hot alcohol smell leads the way. Behind those were slight scents of honey, citrus, cake, corn and pralines. Not bad.


Todd:   Somewhat smooth considering the proof and the price. No big dominating taste. I got some Rye, some corn and a little bit of mustiness.

Ron:    Agree, not too harsh for 103 proof. Sweet and spicy with a touch of almonds and toffee. Farther back a little cinnamon and the mustiness that Todd tasted.


Todd:   Medium with a lot of sweetness.

Ron:   A warm, sweet, medium finish with a touch of corn.


Todd:     Not a bad drink for the price. For some reason I seem to want to compare this to Wild Turkey.  I guess the name and the price point. To me Wild Turkey wins, but maybe I’m sentimental.

Ron:   I agree, not bad considering the price. I also like the higher proof, seems like I am getting even more for my money.

Nose     4 out of 5

Taste     7.5 out of 10

Finish    3.5 out of 5

Total score       15 out of 20 barrels

There is better Bourbon at this price point, including the Wild Turkey mentioned above. As always with something under $20, we recommend trying it out for yourself. The high proof does lend itself to a decent cocktail.

In the end, not a lot of complexity, no big overriding taste and just a so so finish. We would probably pass on Fighting Cock.