Tag Archives: Whiskey

Gentleman Jack

                                                                                      Talking Bourbon is once again tasting an American icon in the whiskey business, Gentleman Jack from Jack Daniels. This is a slightly upgraded version of the wildly popular Jack Daniels Old Number 7 Brand.  TB says slightly because all they have done is run the Old Number 7 through the sugar maple charcoal a 2nd time. Both get filtered before barreling, Gentleman then gets a 2nd pass through the charcoal before bottling.

Gentleman Jack can be found most places that liquor is sold, cost around $26 for the 750ml and is bottled at 80 proof.  Gentleman comes in a slender, more elegant looking bottle than the the regular Jack Daniels.

So will the 2nd pass through the charcoal make Gentleman much different than JB? Hope so because TB wasn’t very kind to Jack Daniels back in November of 2015.


TB:   Not the most complex nose with a sweetness and the smell of banana taffy being the most prominent. Also get a little bit of wood and apricot. And just like Jack, get a plastic/varnish type aroma.


TB:    Definitely smoother than ordinary Jack but not much flavor. Get a little of the sweet banana that was on the nose, a little bit of smoke and some fruitiness. Behind that a very, very  slight taste of caramel.


TB:    Short to medium short with not much else, maybe a bit more sweetness.


TB:    Not impressed. At least Jack has some character, Gentleman just taste like watered down whiskey.

Nose       3 out of 5

Taste       7 out of 10

Finish       2.5 out of 5

Total score        12.5 out of 20 barrels.

Well the extra filtering didn’t really impress Talking Bourbon. While it was smoother and maybe even more Bourbon like than Jack, there was just not a lot going on. It is not that great straight and is too weak to be a good mixer. Hate to say this but would choose Jack over Gentleman in a cocktail.

The price point is low enough that you could try for yourself, and would not be terrible choice for a first timer. Having said that, Talking Bourbon will not be buying another bottle and would recommend you buying something better as well.


Trader Joe’s Bourbon

                                                                      Today Talking Bourbon is tasting Trader Joe’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, yes that’s right, the unique grocery store chain has it’s own Bourbon now. The stores in Indiana do not sell hard liquor, just beer and wine. So TB wants to thank Stacy Van Deman of Van Deman Photography for the bottle. She was down in Kentucky, saw the Bourbon, thought about TB and picked up a bottle. Unfortunately  Stacy does not drink Bourbon(crazy) so she can not assist in the tasting. In fact it will just be TB tasting today, no guest.

Trader Joe’s Bourbon is bottled at 90 proof, comes in a short, squat, screw top bottle that sells for around $16 for the 750 ml. Couldn’t find an age statement so assume by the name that it is around 4 years old. As stated above it is not available in Indiana. While it is made by Buffalo Trace, Trader Joe’s insists it is not just the regular Buffalo Trace re-branded, but is in fact a unique item.


TB:    A very sweet aroma reminding one of banana taffy and sweetened dried cherries.  Not much depth.


TB:    Pretty much the same sweetness without the bananas. Pick up the cherries from the nose as well as little wood and caramel. Also get faint traces of a nuttiness and nutmeg. Goes down pretty smooth. Better on the tongue than the nose.


TB:    Medium finish with, surprisingly, a little bitterness to it.


TB:    While this Bourbon might have benefited from low expectations, for the price it really wasn’t that bad especially if you like your Bourbon on the sweeter side.

Nose        2.5 out of 5

Taste        7 out of 10

Finish      3 out of 5

Total score        12.5 out of 20 barrels.

While the score was not that great, it really was a decent Bourbon. It just doesn’t have much character. Very smooth neat and makes a decent Bourbon cocktail like an Old Fashioned. This would be a nice Bourbon for your non Bourbon drinking friends to try.

All in all, Talking Bourbon would buy it at the aforementioned price, but wouldn’t go out of the way to get a bottle of Trader Joe’s Bourbon.

George T Stagg

                                                                Today’s tasting, like the last one, involves a very rare and hard to find legendary Bourbon. For the last blog it was Old Rip VanWinkle, for this one, George T Stagg. Like Rip, Talking Bourbon has not seen a bottle of GTS for sale for quite some time, and like Rip, TB had to rely on it’s guest taster to supply the bottle(more on that later).

George T Stagg Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is part of Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection series. It is unfiltered and uncut, the latter making for a very high proof, in this case 129.2. It has been aged approximately 15 years and comes in a tall, sleek looking corked bottle with the well known antlers. As stated before it is very hard to find, at least here in the Indianapolis area.

Helping review George T Stagg is Chip Snyder, and as mentioned before, he brought the bottle of Stagg to the tasting. Chip entered a lottery to win the right to buy a bottle of Stagg and actually won(lucky for us). He paid $200 which might sound high until you see what people are asking for it online, we have seen over $800.


Chip:   Honey and oak upfront with some caramel and hickory coming in behind that.

TB:   A very nice nose that surprisingly does not smell hot.  Like Chip, TB gets the strong scents of honey, oak and caramel along with black fruit, tobacco and toffee. Also getting a slight hint of cocoa and even slighter hint of vanilla.


Chip:     Upfront I taste the caramel and wood that I got on the nose. Secondary flavors include spice, smoke and a slight floral taste. This is not a taste but it seems almost creamy.

TB:    Very good neat even though a little water definitely opens it up. Strong tastes of caramel, leather and oak. Coming in behind that is a nuttiness, a mustiness and a fruitiness. TB really likes.


Chip:    Very long sweet finish.

TB:   Long to very long finish with a slight chocolate taste.


Chip:   I like it, tastes nothing like any Bourbon I have ever had.

TB:       Love this stuff! Love everything about this Bourbon.

Nose     4.75 out of 5

Taste     9.5 out of 10

Finish    4.5 out of 5

Total score       18.75 out of 20 barrels

Talking Bourbon wishes this was their bottle seeing as how it is one of the finest, in TB’s opinion, Bourbons you can drink. GTS has it all, from the cool bottle and the mystique surrounding it to the great nose, taste and finish, nothing not to like. Sad it is so hard to find.

If you can find it, even at $200, TB recommends buying a bottle of George T Stagg. You will not be disappointed.


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.


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.


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.


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

Ron:  Medium long sweet finish.


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.

Crown Royal Rye


Crown Royal Rye, a new product from “The Legendary Import” that brings us Crown Royal. CRR comes in the same easily recognizable bottle as the rest of the Crown line. It sells for around $25 and is bottled at 90 proof. We could not find an age statement on the bottle or online. It is available everywhere.

We have stated numerous times that we are not big fans of Canadian Blended Whiskeys. They all are pretty smooth but don’t have a lot of flavor or depth.  Will CRR be the same?

Also today we have for the first time a repeat guest taster. Kelsey joins us again.


Kelsey:   I detected caramel on the nose, but I always detect a caramel aroma from Bourbon/Rye. I also got some oak, a little raisin, and a slight medicinal smell.

Todd:  I got a big nice nose of pear. Once I got the pear it was hard to get it out of my mind. With some time and effort I started to detect some citrus, spice and brown sugar.

Ron:   I got aromas of apricot, vanilla and spice. I picked up on the raisin that Kelsey got. Also got a scent that reminded me of circus peanuts, you know that orange soft candy that I am not sure they sell anymore.  Brought back some good memories of childhood.

Todd:    Hopefully you are talking about the circus peanuts and not the Booze. Strange, once Ron told me about the circus peanuts I also got that. Power of suggestion?

Kelsey:  Didn’t work on me.


Kelsey:  I tasted the apricot that Ron got on the nose. Along with cedar and a sweet yeasty flavor.

Ron:   I tasted the raisin and spice that I got on the nose. I also got caramel, yeast, and a little pepper.

Todd:  I got a clean taste with a lot of pear up front. I also tasted a little bread and some spice. Not overly hot for 90 proof.


Kelsey:  Medium finish with much of the same flavors I got up front.

Ron:    Medium finish with some sweet/spiciness.

Todd:   A sweet medium finish.


Kelsey:   Very smooth and tasty.

Ron:  Very smooth but not extremely complex. Can be enjoyed on all occasions, but to me seems better fitted to sip on in cold weather.

Todd:   I agree, very smooth, not overly complex. Having said that, I really liked this stuff.

Nose     4 out of 5

Taste     8.5 out of 10

Finish    3.5 out of 5

Total            16 out of 20 Barrels

The score doesn’t reflect how much we all enjoyed sipping on Crown Royal Rye. In our minds, it is a lot better than their flagship, Crown Royal Blended Whiskey. Yes it does not have a lot of depth, but that should not stop you from trying it.

At $25 it  is at a good price point, comes in a cool bottle, good either straight or on the rocks, and makes a decent Old Fashioned.

This would also make a good introduction for novices or your friends who don’t think they like a Bourbon/Rye.