Posts tagged ‘finished’

Filibuster Triple Cask Bourbon Review

Today, I am reviewing a limited release from the D.C.-based company, Filibuster. Filibuster is mostly known for their “Dual Cask” series, which features a bourbon and a rye, both of which involved sourced whiskey finished in French Oak ex-wine casks (neither of which have I tried). However, Filibuster recently released Batch 1 of their limited release, “Triple Cask.”

Like the “Dual Cask” series, the “Triple Cask” is a sourced bourbon from an unnamed distillery and finished in our nation’s capital by Filibuster. The “triple cask” moniker refers to the Sherry casks (both Fino and Pedro Ximenez) that finish this bourbon. The sourced bourbon is about 5 years old, which puts the finished product at about 6-7 years, but there is no age statement on the bottle. Filibuster Triple Cask is a limited release bourbon, only being produced in small batches. It is bottled at cask strength, and Batch 1 clocks in at 117.47 proof (58.74% abv). Many thanks to my good friend, Bryan, for the sample on this one!

Let me just say at the outset, I have not yet tasted a whiskey that has evolved in the bottle quite like this one. When we first cracked this bottle, it was rough. The nose smelled mostly of charred rubber and sweaty leather shoes. The sherry influence came through a bit on the palate, but in funky, sulfuric manner. All throughout, the whiskey had a very harsh edge to it, almost in the vein of rubbing alcohol. The finish was long with burnt corn and wet moss notes. When we first opened this bottle, it was hard to drink.

However, after letting this bottle sit for about three weeks, with about one-fifth of the bottle consumed, it opened up quite a bit. Upon a re-taste, the nose was much more pleasant, with candied ginger, tar, burning wood, and some rubber notes. The palate still presented a type of funky sherry (reminiscent of Edradour), but also some macerated grapes and toasted coconut flavors. The finish was pleasant (the best part of this bourbon), presenting notes of sherry, mahogany, caramel, and butterscotch.

Overall, this whiskey was almost night and day. If I would not have gone back and re-tasted this whiskey, I would have given it a “D.” On the other hand, this whiskey would have gotten a “B-” from me if I had just sampled it halfway through the bottle, which is why I have decided to meet Filibuster Triple Cask somewhere in the middle. There are some very good finished bourbons on the market today (see Angel’s Envy), but I don’t think this belongs in that same category. My grade: C. Price: $60-70/750ml. For the price point, I’d be inclined to leave this one on the shelf unless you are extremely curious about a Sherry-finished bourbon.

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon Review

Kind of makes you want to drink a little bourbon, doesn't it?

Kind of makes you want to drink a little bourbon, doesn’t it?

Every time of year is a great time of year to drink bourbon, and every part of the world is a great place to drink bourbon, but there is something special about a glass of bourbon in the cool autumnal months in New England. The leaves are painting the landscape vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows, and the breeze is crisp enough to warrant the type of warmth only bourbon can provide. Now that I’ve got the romance out of the way, on to the bourbon…

Today, I am reviewing a relatively new bourbon product from Woodford Reserve. About two years ago, Woodford Reserve released their Double Oaked bourbon (90.4 proof/45.2% abv), which starts its life as standard Woodford Reserve before it is transferred into heavily toasted (only lightly charred) barrels for a finishing period of approximately 9 months. The result is a quality bourbon, indicative of Woodford’s craft, but a bourbon that brings a slightly different flavor profile to the finished product.

On the nose, this bourbon is pleasantly sweet with marzipan, toffee, cooked apples, and a bit of cinnamon sugar. The palate is sweet, creamy and medium-bodied with a lot of butterscotch, caramel, toffee, marzipan, candied almonds, and apple pie. The finish is medium in length, with butterscotch and caramel hanging around for a good while. Overall, this is a very sweet inculcation of Woodford Reserve, but it is hardly cloying.

Overall, to my palate, the Double Oaked is a sweeter representation of Woodford Reserve. The rye content of the bourbon seems to get swallowed up in the flavor waves of toffee and butterscotch, which is hardly a bad thing. This bourbon is not quite my favorite style, as I tend to like sharper bourbon, but this is a soft, sexy, approachable bourbon that is soundly worthy of the Woodford name. My grade: B. Price: $45-50/750ml. This is a great bourbon for after a large meal because it is soft, sweet, and it just might be sexy enough to prompt a little lovin’.

Angel’s Envy Rye Review

My review today kicks off a few consecutive reviews I will be doing of rye whiskeys with a review of Angel’s Envy Rye (stay tuned for reviews of George Dickel Rye and High West Rendezvous Rye).  Angel’s Envy Rye is the only rye on shelves from Louisville Distilling Company, and it has certainly attracted some different thoughts from whiskey lovers.  Angel’s Envy’s base rye whiskey is 5-7 year-old rye whiskey sourced from Midwest Grain Products (MGP), which is the company that used to be called LDI.  It is the same source of Bulliet 95, Willett Rye, George Dickel Rye, and many others.

Angel’s Envy’s whiskey uses MGP’s standard 95% rye recipe, but then puts a distinctly “Angel’ Envy” twist into it.  Angel’s Envy takes that 5-7 year-old rye, and dumps the whiskey into ex-Cognac casks that most were most recently used to finish Caribbean rum.  Once the whiskey has taken a 12-18 month nap in the Rum/Cognac casks, Angel’s Envy Rye is bottled at 100 proof (50% abv) and sold in the iconic Angel’s Envy bottles.  (The batch I am reviewing specifically is Batch 1D.)  Without further ado, onto the whiskey itself…

On the nose, Angel’s Envy Rye is its own animal.  The profile of the MGP rye is there, but packaged in something new and unique.  Notes of gingerbread cookies, brown sugar, maple, pine, candied yams, spearmint, and molasses are all present.  The palate is medium to full-bodied, presenting notes of gingerbread, pine sap, mint, and rye spice.  There are also darker sweet flavors in the palate, such as maple sugar and molasses.  The finish is medium in length, with a lot of maple wood and sharp rye hanging around the palate, with a hint of crème brulee.  This whiskey takes water very well, taming down the density of the whiskey, leaving for soft sugary notes on the palate, and only subtle spiciness from the rye.

Overall, this is a whiskey that most people will love or hate.  My guess is that if you don’t like rum or sweet desserts, this will not be your thing.  However, I love rum and sweet desserts, and I really like this rye.  It is not always a bargain buy, but if it is on sale, it is worth the try because of how unique of an experience Angel’s Envy Rye truly is.  My grade: B+.  Price: $70-80/750ml.  I love all the different flavors happening in this one, even if it is on the higher end of what I like paying for a bottle of whiskey.

Much thanks to Louisville Distilling Company for the bottle!

Angel’s Envy Bourbon Review

Angels EnvyToday, I am reviewing a bourbon that a good number of folks have asked me about – Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.  Angel’s Envy is at the edge of mass marketed finished bourbons.  In whiskey language, “finishing” a whiskey means aging the whiskey in some type of wood other than its principle barrel before bottling in order to add another dimension of flavor.  Scotch distilleries have been finishing their whisky for some time, but it has only recently caught on in the bourbon world.  Parker’s Heritage Collection bottled a limited release cognac-finished bourbon in 2011, Big Bottom has released a Zinfandel-finished bourbon and a port-finished bourbon, and Hooker’s House is a bourbon finished in Pinot Noir casks.  Needless to say, there are not a ton of distilleries finishing their bourbons.

In the case of Angel’s Envy, the bourbon is supposedly around 5-8 years old, and finished in port wine barrels.  Angel’s Envy comes out of Louisville Distilling Company, which has since released a barrel-strength version of Angel’s Envy and a Angel’s Envy Rye (finished in Rum casks).  Angel’s Envy is bottled at 86.6 proof (43.3% abv).  At present, the bottle I am reviewing is bottle 1,860 from batch 4G, and what a beautiful bottle it is!

On the nose, Angel’s Envy is soft, sweet, and seductive.  There are notes of craisins, vanilla, honey, toffee, and candied pecans.  The palate is light-bodied and insatiably drinkable.  It is sweet, with notes of honey, sultanas, and vanilla.  There is a bit of a tannic grip, along with some warm, summer florals.  The finish is medium-short, and rather dry (similar to the way a nice, old port can be).  I taste the port mostly in the finish, where honey, tawny port, and oak tannins combine together for a delicious experience.

Overall, I do like Angel’s Envy.  It is a bit sweeter than I like, but I know my good friend, William, over at A Dram Good Time was a huge fan.  If you love Speyside single malts, then I think Angel’s Envy has the potential to become your favorite bourbon.  Personally, I can’t wait to find a bottle of the Angel’s Envy Rye up here in Boston.  Nevertheless, Angel’s Envy bourbon offers a sweet flavor profile in a bourbon that is delicate enough for a Speyside drinker’s palate.  This bourbon is a notable and rare achievement, even though it isn’t really my thing.  My Grade: B.  Price: $45-50/750ml.  This is a fine, unique bourbon that will win a lot of converts over to the bourbon community.

Concannon Irish Whiskey Review

Concannon Irish WhiskeyThis is the third and final installment of my reviews on Irish whiskey.  Today, I am reviewing a quite new product, Concannon Irish Whiskey.  Concannon Irish Whiskey is a blended Irish whiskey, named after the California vineyard where it gets the Petite Sirah casks that help age this whiskey.  Concannon Vineyard has been producing wine since 1883, the oldest Irish-American vineyard in the United States.  In January 2012, Concannon revealed a new product, a blended Irish whiskey.

Like a blended Scotch, a blended Irish whiskey is comprised of some combination of malt whiskey and grain whiskey.  Specifically, Concannon is comprised of a blend of single malt Irish whiskey and Irish corn whiskey.  All of the whiskey in Concannon is distilled at Cooley in Ireland, and aged at least four years in ex-bourbon casks.  What makes this whiskey unique is that some of the single malt is transferred over to Concannon Petite Sirah casks for at least four months before blending.  As explained by Cooley’s Master Blender, Noel Sweeney, the intention was to add the dark berry fruits of a Petite Sirah to a light, sweet spirit, which the vineyard has dubbed “The Concannon Effect.”  The Concannon Effect did impress some folks upon its introduction, winning the award for the Best New Irish Whiskey at the 2012 International Spirits Competition.  Like the other two Irish whiskeys I’ve reviewed, Concannon is bottled at 80 proof (40% abv).  Unfortunately, this whiskey is not available nationwide just yet.  I have yet to see it here in Boston, so a special thanks goes out to Laura at The Baddish Group for sending a few samples my way.

On the nose, Concannon presents fresh bread and sour apples.  On the whole, it is a much drier spirit than other Irish whiskeys I have had.  There are also notes of light honey and blueberries, but there is the occasional whiff of acetone that is off-putting.  The body is light, but there is some good complexity here.  Vanilla, red and green apples, honey, lilac, blueberries, and white toast are all present.  The finish is warming and longer than I expected.  It is a very dry finish, with pleasant honeyed notes, bready qualities, and acidic blueberries.

Overall, Concannon has been my favorite of the three Irish whiskeys in my mini-series.  As you might have gathered, Irish whiskeys are not my favorite whiskeys.  I usually find them light and drinkable, perfect for a warm summer day, but I think the drinkability often leads to a decline in the depth and complexity of the whiskey.  I think the use of wine barrels to the aging process adds a backbone of drying berries to the spirit, just as Noel Sweeney hoped it would.  This whiskey sips nice on its own, but it is a very nice food compliment as well.  My Grade: C+/B-.  Price:  $25-30/750ml.  At the price point, I would much rather drink Concannon over other blends like Jameson or Bushmill’s.  It is a light, drinkable, complex spirit that achieves a lot in four years of aging.

Maker’s 46 Bourbon Review

Maker's 46Today, I am reviewing (and currently enjoying) a glass of Maker’s 46.  As many of you who know me and read the blog know, I am not a Maker’s Mark fan.  Honestly, I really don’t like that stuff.  However, I had been told by some of my bourbon friends and other bourbon blogs that I should get my hands on some Maker’s 46.  I’m glad I listened.

Maker’s 46 is the standard Maker’s Mark recipe aged 6 years just like Maker’s Mark.  Then, the 46 is finished in specially-made barrels that have seared French Oak staves running down the middle of the barrel.  The name “46” comes from the number of the searing recipe that eventually went into new barrels.  After a few weeks/months finishing in the special barrels, Maker’s 46 is ready to go (bottled at 94 proof).  Its a cool process, but the proof is in the pudding.

Maker’s 46 has a rich, dark amber color, and it smells wonderful.  To me, the nose smells like freshly baked banana bread (oh yeah).  There are also notes of cinnamon sugar, vanilla frosting, and drying oak.  The palate follows nicely.  It is sweet up front, big vanilla and caramel.  There is also some hot cinnamon and some bitter tannins.  The finish is long and warming.  The banana bread comes back along with some berries and vanilla frosting.  There is a slight tannic influence that I hope doesn’t take over the whiskey as I go through the bottle, but the tannic zip is not enough to ruin this one.

Overall, this is a monstrous step up from Maker’s Mark.  The palate is more complex and much tastier, and the finish is long, warming, and delicious.  Of course, it is a few dollars more than Maker’s Mark, but I would still reach for this one every time.  My Grade: B+.  Price: $35-40/750ml.  This is a great wheated bourbon, and definitely one of my favorites at the price point.  Pick up a bottle and let it ride!