All posts by Ron-Todd

Few Rye Whiskey

                                                                                      Today we start a new format here at Talking Bourbon.  Going forward, instead of having two voices, Ron and Todd, it will just be Talking Bourbon(TB).  If we have a guest taster, which we plan on having more of, they will still have their unique voice.

Having said that, lets get started. Today we are sampling Few Rye Whiskey from FEW Spirits. The FEW Spirits distillery in Evanston, Illinois also makes Bourbon and gin. Yes gin, this definitely raised our antennas and planted a seed of doubt about how good this stuff would be. Kind of a jack of all trades, master of none type thing.

FEW Rye is 93 proof, aged just 3 years and comes in a squared off corked bottle with a fountain on the label.  FEW Rye sells from $50 to $60 for the 750ml. Availability is hit or miss. Seems everyone had it a few(pun not intended) years ago, then for a while it was hard to find. Lately we are seeing it again in most nicer spirit stores.

Strangely the name, according to their web site, is after a lady named Francis Elizabeth Willard. She and her temperance supporters had kept Evanston alcohol free for over 100 years.

Tasting with TB today is James, James is usually an Irish Whisky man but said he would like to expand his drinking world.

NOSE

TB:    While no dominant aroma, more complex than anticipated. Picking up scents of Rye, a sweetness reminiscent of honey and brown sugar along with pepper and citrus. Also get a slight scent of oak even though it is only aged 3 years.

James:   Well I get the sweetness and the wood that TB got but not much else.  I did get a little caramel or maybe butterscotch.

TASTE

TB:  Pretty much taste like it smells,  Rye, brown sugar, pepper, citrus and wood. Also picked up some spice that I could not identify.

James:  I  like it, picking up notes of caramel, spice and a tobacco like taste.  A little behind that is dark fruit and oak.

FINISH

TB:    A medium to long finish with touches of vanilla and more sweetness and spice.

James:   A nice finish with hints of cedar.

OVERALL

TB:   While not overly complex, FEW Rye is very good. Having said that we are not sure it is worth $60.

James:   Agree, I really like it. Not sure where the money falls in comparison to other Bourbons and Rye, my go to Irish Whisky is under $30, so yeah, $60 seems high.

TB:   You can get some decent juice for under $20, and you can also pay in the hundreds, there is a lot of good Bourbons and Rye that fall between $20 and $70. So this is on the high end.

Nose       4.25 out of 5

Taste         8 out of 10

Finish       4.25 out of 5

Total score         16.5 out of 20 Barrels.

Nice nose, good taste and decent finish makes for a good pour. But while we all liked FEW Rye, none of us really loved it. A little too steep of a price considering it is only aged 3 years. FEW Rye does make a good cocktail, but again, at that price we don’t like using it as a mixer.

All in all, if you found this Rye on sale for $49.99 or lower, go ahead and give it a try. We are sure you will like it.

 

Pikesville Rye

                                                             Today Talking Bourbon is tasting Pikesville Rye, we know, it’s a tough job but somebody has to do it. Pikesville is made by Heaven Hill and according to their web site was first made in Maryland in the 1890s. The site also states that Maryland had a booming Rye industry until prohibition ended it. News to us.

Pikesville Rye is available in most liquor stores, sells for around $50 for the 750 ml and comes in a nondescript corked bottle. It is aged for 6 years and bottled at 110 proof.

On a side note, if you like Rittenhouse Rye, which we do, Pikesville Rye is the same mash bill aged 2 more years and bottled at a higher proof.

NOSE

Ron:   A sweet and spicy peppery aroma upfront along with some grain and citrus. Also catch lesser scents of Rye and anise, and even less of caramel, cedar and cinnamon. Hope it taste as good as it smells,

Todd:   Sometimes we are just in sync my brother from another mother. I too get the sweet pepper and citrus upfront. I also get the lesser scents of caramel, cedar and even the cinnamon. The only thing I can add is a little bit of leather.

Ron:   Remember readers, we don’t talk until we have both wrote everything down.

TASTE

Ron:  Pretty hot neat but to be expected at 110 proof. I get the same sweet, spicy pepper, and citrus that I got on the nose.The grain morphed into Rye. Not a lot of secondary flavors, a little clove and a bitter sweetness that reminds me of dark chocolate.

Todd:   I feel if I am not needed, I also get the sweet, spice and citrus upfront. I also taste the hint of chocolate but not the bitterness. Thankfully I do get a bit of caramel so I can feel like I contributed.

FINISH

Medium long with more of the dark chocolate coming through.

Todd:   Nice medium long finish with a touch of the bitterness than Ron got on the taste.

OVERALL

Ron:  I really enjoyed drinking Pikesville, though I am not sure it is worth being double in price compared to Rittenhouse.

Todd:  Count me in as a fan of Pikesville Rye. While I somewhat agree with Ron on the price issue regarding Rittenhouse, this is good stuff and worth the bump up in cost.

Nose   4.25 out of 5

Taste    8.75 out of 10

Finish    4 out of 5

Total score      17 out of 20 barrels.

Talking bourbon has spoken and we like Pikesville Rye. We understand that the price can be somewhat prohibitive for some. Even if you have to save up, buy a bottle, you will thank us later.

And as we have stated before, you can always just pull out the bottle every other month or so for just a small pour. We both own bottles that we have had for over 5 years.

Now, back to enjoying some Pikesville Rye.

Michter’s American Whiskey

                                                             As readers of this blog know, we here at Talking Bourbon love us some Michter’s. Whether it is their Bourbon, Rye or Toasted barrel, we love them all. Somehow though, we have never tried their American Whiskey. Both of us are familiar with it and have seen it for sale but for some reason never pulled the trigger when it came to buying a bottle. Well that has changed.

Michter’s Small Batch Unblended American Whiskey comes in the standard Michter’s corked bottle. It is bottled at 83.4 proof, sells for around $40 and while fairly available, it is not sold everywhere. Try as we might, we could not find an age statement, clarification of the mash bill or just what this stuff exactly is. Their website states that it is aged in Bourbon soaked barrels, thus the reason it can’t be called Bourbon. But is that the only dis-qualifier?

Also, we couldn’t get a clear definition of the term Unblended. Since it is not a single barrel product, one would think it is a blend of barrels. Maybe someone reading this has a little insight. Hopefully these discrepancies won’t take from our enjoyment.

NOSE

Todd:   Very nice sweet aromas of caramel and a grain that reminded me of whole wheat products. Not quite as upfront are scents of dark chocolate, raspberries and toast.

Ron:   Lovely aromas of cake bread, brown sugar, caramel, honey, leather and toffee. Also pick up slight scents of cinnamon and oak and some sweet scent that I can’t quite pinpoint, maybe maple.

TASTE

Todd:    Very smooth neat with an oily texture on the tongue and a strong flavor of caramel upfront. Lots of lesser taste come behind, including cocoa, cedar, oak, and toffee. I taste the whole wheat that I got on the nose as well as the maple that Ron maybe got on the nose. Also pick up a slight hint of sherry. Very good!

Ron:    Sweet tastes of caramel, honey and maple dominate. I also get strong flavors of toast and vanilla. Lingering slightly behind is wood and leather. Definitely enjoyed.

FINISH

Todd:   Medium long with more sweetness and a slight bit of spice.

Ron:  Medium long sweet finish.

OVERALL

Todd:    This stuff is damn good! I don’t care what it is called or what they mean by unblended.

Ron:   This is not your typical Michter’s. It goes down almost like a dessert drink or aperitif, think Angel’s Envy Rye. Very good!

Nose       4.5 out of 5

Taste       9.25 out of 10

Finish       4 out of 5

Total score      17.75 out of 20 barrels

Well it seems Michter’s has another hit, at least with Talking Bourbon. From the great nose to the sweet but yet still complex taste, this has it all. Really the only thing that held back the score a little was the finish, and that was still 4 out of 5.

At under $40, Michter’s American Whiskey should be part of your collection. It will definitely always be part of ours.

Stagg Jr

                                                             Most Bourbon lovers are familiar with the legendary George T Stagg Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. A lot fewer have actually tried it being that a bottle is very hard to procure and it is pretty pricey, around $90. Think of Stagg Jr just as the name implies, an offspring of GTS, and like all sons, they are younger than their dad. So while the father is aged 15 to 17 years, the son, Stagg jr, is aged 8-9 years.

Stagg Jr varies in proof but is usually pretty high, our bottle clocked in at a whooping 132.1 proof. It comes in a short corked bottle with deer antlers which is somewhat different than the tall, lean GTS bottle. Jr sells for around $50 for the 750ml. When we first got a bottle of this a few years back it seemed a novelty and we didn’t review it thinking that it wouldn’t be around long or be impossible to find. Lately we have seen it in a lot of stores.

We both love, I mean LOVE the father George T Stagg. Hopefully the child won’t disappoint.

NOSE

Ron:   Does not have the flaming nose that I expected with the 132 proof. Somewhat subtle and needs a little water to open up aromas of brown sugar, caramel, oak and vanilla. Also get a slight hint of white pepper. All in all a very nice nose.

Todd:    It definitely opens up with some water. Upfront I get the caramel and brown sugar that Ron caught. Lingering behind this is secondary aromas of cherries, toffee, oak, raisin and vanilla. Also got a very slight presence of cinnamon.

TASTE

Ron:     Most definitely needs a melted cube to bring out the tastes. Strong flavors of caramel, leather, oak and pepper dominate on the front end. Behind that I get some nice flavors of brown sugar, tobacco and cinnamon.

Todd:    Too hot neat, I get nothing but the burn and maybe a little wood. With a couple of melted cubes the flavors really come out. I now get cedar and oak instead of just wood. Also get a strong taste of caramel. Some secondary flavors include leather, raisin and almonds.

FINISH

Ron:   A medium-long to long malty finish with some sweetness.

Todd:    Long sweet finish with more of the cedar.

OVERALL

Ron:     I really enjoyed drinking Stagg Jr. A good nose and a complex taste makes for a good Bourbon.

Todd:    I agree, really like this stuff.  A lot happening on the nose and tongue. All followed by a nice finish.

Nose       4.25 out of 5

Taste       8.75 out of 10

Finish      4.25 out of 5

Total score      17.25 out of 20  Barrels

Well the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. While not quite as good as pops, Stagg Jr is a very good Bourbon and a lot easier to find.  The price is a little on the high side but with such a high proof you can cut it liberally with water, thus bringing the overall cost down.

Our Recommendation,  Even if you have to save up a little, go out and buy a bottle. You will thanks us even if you only take a small drink every other month or so. Enjoy.

 

 

YellowStone Select

                                                             Here is example where one word makes all the difference.   Yellowstone Select is not to be confused with bottom shelf dweller Yellowstone original. While both are Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskies, only one says Select. To confuse you a bit more, there is also Yellowstone Limited Edition, which sells well over $100 for a 750ml bottle. We are not fans of the original version. Ron recalls a “brain killer” of a headache the morning after too much of the original bottom shelf stuff. To this day he is sticking to the story that it was not the volume consumed, but who could know for sure.

Yellowstone Select is a blend of 4 to 7 year old Bourbons and sells for around $45-$50. It comes in an elegant, if somewhat plain tall corked bottle. It is bottled at 93 proof and while somewhat available, it is not everywhere.

This was a little difficult to investigate but after some exploring the web, Yellowstone Bourbon started in the 1880’s by J. B. Dant, son of legendary J. W. Dant and was named after the newly opened National Park. In the 1960s it was the largest selling brand of Bourbon in Kentucky. Over the 120 year history the Yellowstone brand changed hands 5 times with the last sale, in 2004, to Luxco (formerly known as David Sherman Co.). In 2015 Luxco bought a 50% stake in Limestone Branch, which produces the Yellowstone Select as well as Yellowstone Limited Edition Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Now that is a lot of history to process!

NOSE

Ron:     Caramel and pear hit me first followed by hints of vanilla, wood and toasted nuts.

Todd:    A decent nose even though the only dominant scent was of multi-grain bread. I get nice secondary aromas of leather, oak, cedar, tobacco and black fruit.

TASTE

Ron:    Mostly get on the tongue what I got on the nose. Sweet caramel, vanilla and toasted nuts. Not much in the way of secondary tastes, maybe just a slight bitter, medicinal flavor.

Todd:   Like the nose, nothing dominates. I get hints of the grain, leather, tobacco and oak that I got on the nose. Also pick up faint tastes of yeast and the bitterness that Ron mentioned.

FINISH

Ron:    A sweet medium-long finish with just a trace of something that is reminiscent of walnut shells.

Todd:     Medium to medium-long finish with a nutty sweetness.

OVERALL

Ron:    This was a bottle Todd picked up at a Bourbon lottery last December, and while I liked it I am not sure it is worth the premium price. One note, I did like it slightly moreso once a cube had melted.

Todd:     Yeah, I remember the lottery and how this was about the only thing left that I didn’t have or hadn’t tasted. I have to echo Ron’s sentiments, enjoyed it but probably not worth $45-$50.

Nose     4 out of 5

Taste      8 out of 10

Finish     3.75 out of 5

Final score      15.75 out of 20 barrels

As we have stated many times we take price into consideration and while this Bourbon was enjoyable to drink, it is priced a little too high. At $45-$50 plus, it is too expensive to mix with anything but water, and not complex enough neat or on the rocks to justify the price.

Final Verdict, If you see Yellowstone Kentucky Straight Bourbon Select on sale for under $40, give it a try. If not, there are others more deserving of your hard earned cash.

Baker’s

                                          Today we are reviewing Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This is another offering from Jim Beam’s Small Batch Collection. This is a special edition blog post from Talking Bourbon. We were invited to talk at the monthly meeting of the Bourbon Society of Indianapolis, by their president Kyle LeClere. After a brief speech about us and our new book, we lead them in a tasting of Baker’s. Everyone was provided with one our tasting sheets to fill out and return to us. So many were returned we decided to combined their results to a single voice called BSOI or “the group”.

Baker’s sells for around $55 for the 750 ml bottle, comes in a fairly nondescript corked bottle and can sometimes be a little difficult to find. It is aged 7 years and bottled at 107 proof. The Jim Beam website states that it is barreled and aged in small batches which are then stored in the center racks of the rick house, not near the bottom or top, for aging.

Like everything that comes from Beam, we are always skeptical that we are just getting a higher proof, longer aged, more expensive version of the highly popular, but very unpopular here at TB, Jim Beam White label. There are exceptions though, we both like Booker’s and to a lesser degree Basil Hayden’s.

NOSE

Todd:   A sweet scent of caramel is the most prevalent. Behind this are aromas of grain, citrus and spice. Not bad but expect a little more considering the price.

Ron:   I get clean spicy vanilla upfront. This is followed by smells of toast, wood and Rye. Finally a very slight nose of almonds.

BSOI:   Corn, spice and grain seems to be the most popular response from the group.  Second is fruit, wood, and caramel.

TASTE

Todd:   I taste the caramel, citrus and grain that I got on the nose along with some oak. I get some background taste of black fruit and leather.

Ron:  Lots of great flavors, including strong tastes of wood/oak, spice and sweetness. I also get a slight hint of leather and even slighter hint of clove.

BSOI:   The majority get a nutty spicy taste along with caramel. Secondary flavors included tobacco, pepper, leather, and Rye.

FINISH

Todd:  Medium long with a nice sweetness and maybe a bit more citrus.

Ron:   Medium long to long with a warming caramel.

BSOI:   A dry medium long finish with some saying bitter and others saying sweet. Caramel and oak also get some mention.

OVERALL

Todd:   I liked Baker’s but I probably wouldn’t pay $55 for a bottle.

Ron:    Some good things going on but have to agree with Todd.

BSOI:   Good stuff but about $25 too high.

Nose      4 out of 5

Taste      8 out of 10

Finish     3.75 out of 5

Total score     15.75 out of 20 Barrels

Baker’s did convince us that it is not just an older, higher proof version of Beam White label. In fact it doesn’t even taste like the same mash bill, which is a good thing.

Baker’s is actually a good Bourbon, but as our readers know, we do take price in consideration. At this price point or under, there are just too many things we would recommend over Baker’s.  Having said that, if you do buy a bottle and pour yourself a glass, we are confident you will enjoy it and there are a lot worse things than that.

Thanks again to the Bourbon Society of Indianapolis for inviting us to talk and in helping taste Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Rebel Yell Rye

                                                             Today we are sipping on Rebel Yell Small Batch Rye. This is the slightly more expensive, Rye version of the Wheated Bourbon Rebel Yell. We reviewed the regular Rebel Yell and gave it pretty good marks considering it sells for around $15 for the 750ml bottle. We will see if swapping the Wheat for Rye is worth the price upgrade. Ironically, Wheated Bourbons are typically more expensive to produce.

Rebel Yell Small Batch Rye (meaning less than 100 barrels in the batch) comes in the same medicinal looking, synthetic corked bottle as the rest of the RY lines. It is bottled at 90 proof, sells for around $23 for the 750ml bottle and is fairly available. Regrettably, it is only aged 2 years, while there are exceptions, we have not found very many good, 2 year old juice.

A side note, please read our review of the original Rebel Yell for some interesting trivia about the name and its history.

NOSE

Ron:     Strange, I get wheat and corn on the nose, not Rye. Also get a nice aroma of pear and some slight scents of citrus and almonds. The nose was somewhat elusive for me, didn’t get a lot and what I did get took patience.

Todd:  While I catch more Rye than Ron, it does seam to smell more like a traditional Bourbon than a Rye. A smell that reminds me of a candy of my childhood, Bit-O-Honey, was the most prevalent. This was followed by spice, citrus and some kind of black fruit.

TASTE

Ron:    On the tongue I get that big hit of Rye that eluded my nose. Also taste the citrus and pear that I did get on the nose. Secondary flavors included spice, malt and honey.

Todd:    Definitely the spicy Rye is prominent along with a nice bit of sweet caramel. Didn’t really get much more.

FINISH

Ron:   A medium finish with some more malt and spice.

Todd:   Medium-long with a nice sweet finish with just a touch of mint.

OVERALL

Ron:    Not a bad buy for the price. I have to say, this Rye tastes older that 2 years.

Todd:  Pretty much just have to echo what Ron said. Good buy for the price and tastes older than 2 years. I would buy again.

Nose      3.5 out of 5

Taste      8.5 out of 10

Finish     4 out of 5

Total score        16 out of 20 barrels.

Well we both think that this is a pretty good drink, especially considering the price. Not too bad neat, nice on the rocks and the 90 proof with the strong Rye makes for a decent cocktail. It has a nice price point that is a little above Rittenhouse Rye and a little below Bulleit Rye.

Final verdict, if you like Rye, go ahead and give Rebel Yell Small Batch Rye a try. If if you don’t like Rye, give it a shot anyways, maybe it will change your tune.

 

 

 

 

Ron’s Nearly World Famous Maraschino Cherries

This is a must try if you like Cherries to garnish your cocktails. It is my rendition from a multitude of recipes I researched, homogenizing them and tweaking to it to make, in my opinion, the Best Maraschino Cherries, Period!

Just for clarification, what I am calling real Maraschino Cherries is not what I grew up knowing them to be. Those types of Cherries are readily available in supermarkets which are blanched to the point of being almost clear then dumped in a vat of sucrose or corn syrup with massive amounts of red dye. These are NOT real Maraschino Cherries, even though the jar may indicate so on the label. My Cherries are of the “Old School” type where Maraschino Liqueur and real Cane Sugar are the base ingredients with a variety of natural spices. I am not a fan of the thick syrup that is typically found in commercially available real Maraschino Cherries so I have reduced the amount of Sugar in my recipe. My syrup is much lighter and does not have the consistency of motor oil. I also reduced the amount of Maraschino Liqueur ever-so-slightly, replacing it with Bourbon (or Rye). Additionally, making your own Cherries is rewarding, better tasting and more cost effective than paying $20 for a small jar of mushy Cherries with a fancy label made commercially.

Ingredients for 1 pound of Cherries:

·    1 Pound of fresh Cherries, pitted with stems removed (I prefer using Michigan Bings)

·    ¾ Cup of Cane Sugar

·    ¾ cup of water

·    ½ cup of Maraschino Liqueur (I use Luxardo but can be substituted with other manufacturers)

·    ¼ cup of Bourbon (or Rye if desired)

·    ¼ Vanilla Bean, scraped (1 Tsp of Vanilla Extract if Vanilla Bean is not available)

·    ½ Tsp of Almond Extract

·    1 Cinnamon Stick (I cut mine in fourths)

·    Juice from 1 Lemon (2 Tbsp. of Lemon Juice if real Lemons are not available)

·    4 individual orbs of Allspice

Preparation:

·        In a medium sized saucepan (or larger pan if making a multi-batch) add the cane sugar and scraped vanilla bean caviar (or 1 Tsp of Vanilla Extract). Cook on medium, add the cinnamon sticks, allspice, juice from 1 lemon and water. Bring contents to a boil then turn down to a simmer for +/- 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

·        Add the fresh Cherries, continue cooking at a simmer for +/- 5 minutes and are slightly softened. Remove from the heat and stir in Maraschino liqueur and Bourbon. Allow the contents to cool down slightly warmer than room temperature (100* F) while continuing to stir occasionally.

·        Fill the canning jars with Cherries to the jars shoulders and back-fill with the juice to just cover the Cherries. If you are canning, follow the proper canning prep procedures. If you are not canning them you must put them directly in the refrigerator. Have the jars ready and warm or slightly hot, timing them to the point to where the Cherries are ready to be placed in them. I have found that the short 8 oz. Ball jars work best as their size does not lend to too much product in one container especially if you cannot consume the entire jar inside of 6 weeks or are giving them away as a gift. For a stronger aroma of Allspice and Cinnamon, leave the residual remains of the spices in the batch and include them in your stored jars otherwise you may want to remove them before canning or cook with the spices in a mesh bag. You will need about 3-4 jars per 1 lb. of fresh Cherries used. I have tried the recipe both ways, by canning them then storing in a pantry and placing them directly in the refrigerator. There is a big difference in texture between storing in a pantry and refrigerating them. The texture of the Cherries is a bit mushy stored in a pantry and much firmer if stored directly in a refrigerator.

Making Maraschino Cherries in winter:

Since fresh Cherries are simply nonexistent in the winter, you can substitute frozen for the fresh Cherries. You will get a bit different taste, usually a bit sweeter, due to the sugars crystallizing during the flash-freeze process but they are not as large or firm. The prep is nearly identical as with fresh Cherries with the difference being you must cook them a bit longer if not thawed prior to adding them to the sauce pan. If they are added frozen, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 7-10 minutes. On a side note, I experimented with 4 different types/brands of frozen Cherries and have found the Trader Joe’s “sweet dark” variety to be the best. I found them to be larger in size, firmer and sweeter than any of the others.

Voila!

You now have your very own homemade Maraschino Cherries that will surpass anything you can buy, by both taste and quality. You can eat them straight-away but it is best to let the flavors marry for 2-3 days. If you don’t can them, they will last up to 6 weeks in the fridge. If you can them, they will last up to 6 months or more (if not opened). After the canned Cherries have been opened, the shelf life is the same as not canning them, up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator. Always keep them refrigerated if they are not canned or after they are opened.

These Cherries are great for an out-of-this world Old-Fashioned or Manhattan. I typically enjoy my Cherries in Bourbon on the rocks adding a teaspoonful of the juice and a splash or two of my favorite Bitters. Of course, you could always use them on ice cream but why? Bourbon is so much better!

Cheers, Ron!

Canadian Club Rye

                                                             As you have read in our previous Canadian Whisky reviews,  you know we are not huge fans of Canadian juice. They are not terrible, but the ones we have tried lacked complexity and character with the one exception being Crown Royal Northern Rye. So maybe our neighbors to the North have figured out how to make a decent Rye, we will see.

Canadian Club 100% Rye comes with a synthetic cork in a short rectangular bottle, which is very different from the original CC bottle and sports a green label. It is bottled at a Whisky standard minimum of 80 proof (like almost all Canadian juice), sells for around $18 for the 750 ml bottle and seems to be widely available. There is no age statement on the bottle and we couldn’t get clarification of its age researching the Internet. It seems to be around 2 years old.

One thing our research did uncover is that the regular CC is made of corn, Rye, and barley. While this in itself is not news, how it all comes together is enlightening. All three ingredients are distilled and aged separately then are blended just prior to bottling. Traditionally the mash bill of Rye and all Bourbon is distilled together, then aged in oak until matured, and finally bottled. So this is just the same Rye ingredient of the traditional CC before it is blended and bottled. This process seems to resemble an assembly line rather than a traditional Whiskey producer.

NOSE

Todd:  Like almost all Rye that has not been aged very long, I get a nose of bad Irish Whisky and varnish. I also get some faint hints of toast, malt and a oily-smoky odor. Strange, being 100% Rye it didn’t really smell like a Rye.

Ron:   First thought, it’s Canadian! I get the varnish and slight bit of malt that Todd picked up. Nothing really jumps out though, just secondary aromas of wet wood, ethanol and a hint of Rye. I also get an ever so slight scent of brown sugar.

TASTE

Todd:  I get the same varnish and bad Irish Whisky upfront that I got on the nose. Also like the nose, this doesn’t taste like a Rye. Secondary taste included malt, oil and a touch of floral. Somewhat hot for 80 proof but fairly smooth.

Ron:   Agree, hot for 80 proof. I get the varnish, malt and ethanol that I got on the nose. Add to that, some spice and bitterness.

FINISH

Todd:   Medium with more varnish.

Ron:    Medium-short with more bitterness and ethanol.

OVERALL

Todd:  I did not really enjoy this Whisky, it actually took me a while to get the taste out of my mouth.

Ron:   Simply not impressed one bit. I don’t need a bottle taking up valuable real estate in my cabinet.

Nose      2.5 out of 5

Taste      6.5 out of 10

Finish     2.5 out of 5

Total score      11.5 out of 20 Barrels

We know the bottle only sells for around $18 but we both like the original CC better. You can often find the original in the 1.75 ml jug for under $20. This tastes more like varnish or paint than a Rye. We both had to wash out our glasses and mouths before we enjoyed a real Rye on our second pour (you will have to read our next blog to find out what it was).

Our recommendation to you, avoid! Our recommendation to CC, use Canadian Club 100% Rye for its original purpose, as an ingredient in the original Canadian Club.

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.

NOSE

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.

TASTE

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.

FINISH

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

Todd:   A medium, sweet, flat finish.

OVERALL

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.