scrapes in decent good excellent sublime
whiskies 1 - 20 of 30:
|Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare 17-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon (2008 edition) (USA) |
The Eagle Rare brand was introduced in 1975 by Canadian distilling giant Joseph E Seagram & Sons Inc, and in 1989 it was acquired by the Sazerac company of New Orleans. In its present incarnation, Eagle Rare is part of Sazerac’s Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, which is updated annually. The latest variant of Eagle Rare, launched last autumn, comprises barrels that were distilled in the spring of 1991.
Big and bold on the nose, with vanilla, wood adhesive and almonds, plus a whiff of leather. Very smooth on the palate, full-bodied and fruity, with rye and a hint of mint. The finish comprises vanilla fudge and a final kick of spice.
45.0% ABV, 70cl, 65.00, specialist whisky merchants.
|Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA) |
Also produced in the Buffalo Trace distillery, Eagle Rare is 10 years old, and the Bourbon equivalent of a single cask Scotch malt whisky. Soft and delicate on the nose, with honey, leather, vanilla and mild oak. Sweet corn and stewed fruits on the palate, with spices, vanilla and developing rye notes. The finish is long and quite sweet, with a hint of ginger. 45.0% ABV, 70cl, £27.99, specialist whisky merchants.
|Buffalo Trace, George T Stagg Kentucky Straight Bourbon (2008 Edition) (USA) |
Part of the annually updated Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, ‘George T Stagg’ takes its name from the one-time owner of what is now Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. During the early 1880s the distillery was in the hands of Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr, who obtained a loan from his friend George T Stagg during difficult economic times. Stagg subsequently foreclosed on Taylor, taking over his company in the process!
Distilled in the spring of 1993, the nose of this imposing, high-strength 15-year-old whiskey presents caramel, vanilla, sweet oak and glace cherries. Full-bodied, with plump corn, butterscotch, spicy oak and pipe tobacco on the palate. The long finish featuring oak, toffee, ginger and cherries.
70.3% ABV, 70cl, £110.00, specialist whisky merchants.
|Buffalo Trace, Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA) |
Distilled by the Sazerac Company Inc at Frankfort in Kentucky, Buffalo Trace Bourbon was released in 2001, two years after the distillery’s name was changed from Ancient Age to Buffalo Trace.
An aroma of gum, vanilla, mint, and molasses. Sweet, fruity and notably spicy on the palate, with emerging brown sugar and oak. Water releases intensive, fruity notes. The finish is long, spicy and comparatively dry, with developing vanilla.
45.0% ABV, 70cl, £19.95, specialist whisky merchants.
|Buffalo Trace, Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old (2008 edition) (USA) |
Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old (2008 edition)
Like Eagle Rare, this 18-year-old expression of Sazerac Rye is part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, and is the oldest rye whiskey currently on the market.
Rye was once the quintessential American whiskey, but fell out of favour with the rise of Bourbon in the years after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. However, the style is now enjoying a deserved revival.
According to Buffalo Trace, “Sazerac 18-Year-Old is a two time winner of the ‘American Whiskey of the Year’ award, the 2008 release is comprised of whiskey that has been aging in Warehouse K on the first floor. The first floor enables the barrels to age slowly and gracefully.’
Rich on the nose, with maple syrup and a hint of menthol, this expression is oily on the palate, fresh and lively, with fruit, pepper and pleasing oak notes. The finish boasts lingering pepper, with returning fruit and a final flavour of molasses.
45.0% ABV, 70cl, 63.00, specialist whisky merchants.
|Buffalo Trace, Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey (USA) |
Buffalo Trace’s Sazerac is big and spicy on the nose, with molasses, sultanas, vanilla and lanolin. Mouth – and glass! – coating, intense and oily rye, with dry spices and a hint of liquorice. Becoming sweeter, with developing ripe bananas. The finish is long, with a sprinkling of pepper, lightly oaky and determinedly dry. A lovely, complex and confident example of America’s true Classic whiskey style. Good to see rye undergoing a modest revival, and spirit as good as this can only help the cause 90.0% ABV, 70cl, £29.99, specialist whisky merchants.
|Buffalo Trace, Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye (2008 Edition) (USA) |
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac is the newest addition to the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. It is an uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey, nnamed after the New Orleans bartender who first used rye whiskey to make the Sazerac Cocktail.
According to the distillers, “The barrels were aged six years and five months on the fifth floor of Warehouse M. It’s very flavourful and will remind drinkers of Christmas cake.”
Summer fruits and pepper notes on the nose. The palate is a lovely blend of soft vanilla and peppery rye, while the finish is long and comforting with oily, spicy oak.
63.8% ABV, 70cl, £100.00, specialist whisky merchants.
|Buffalo Trace, William Larue Weller Kentucky Straight Bourbon (2008 Edition) (USA) |
Also part of Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection, W L Weller is an uncut, unfiltered Bourbon, with wheat as the secondary grain. The latest edition has been matured for just over 11 years. William Larue Weller was a prominent 19th century Kentucky distiller, whose company ultimately merged in 1935 with that of the Stitzel brothers. A new Stitzel-Weller distillery was subsequently constructed in Louisville.
Slick and leathery on the nose, with wood polish and rum and raisin ice cream Notably full bodied, with peach, pepper and oak. The finish is lengthy and drying with banana and custard notes leading into pepper.
62.7% ABV, 70cl, £100.00, specialist whisky merchants.
|Early Times, Straight Kentucky Whiskey (USA) |
Produced in Louisville by the Brown-Forman Corporation, Early Times cannot be described as a Bourbon as it is matured in a mixture of new and used barrels, while Bourbon legislation stipulates the use of only new, charred barrels.
Early Times takes its title from a settlement near Bardstown, where the brand name was first used in 1860, and the process of blending spirit from used barrels, aged for a minimum of three years, with five to seven year old whiskey from new barrels, makes for a lighter-bodied, less woody spirit. The current version of Early Times was introduced in 1981 in order to compete with the increasingly popular, light-bodied Canadian whiskies. The Early Times ‘mashbill’ is made up of 79 per cent corn, 11 per cent rye and ten percent malted barley.
Cut flowers, beeswax and maple syrup on the comparatively light nose. The palate is soft, smooth and undemanding, with honey, nuts and spices, plus ginger, pepper and mild oak in the medium-length palate. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, $15.00, specialist whisky merchants.
|Four Roses, Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA) |
The Four Roses Bourbon brand dates back to the 1880s, but has only recently been introduced to the general UK market, following success in Japan and mainland Europe. The Four Roses distillery is situated in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and boasts a unique Spanish Mission-style of architecture rarely seen in the state. After many years in the hands of the old Seagram organisation of Canada, Four Roses has been owned by the Japanese Kirin Brewery Company since 2002.
The original Four Roses offering, ‘Yellow Label’ is aged for five to six years, according to master distiller Jim Rutledge, and is a comparatively light-bodied Bourbon, with honey, burnt sugar and wood varnish on the nose. Water releases attractive orange and cream notes. Fresh fruits, spice and oak characterise the palate, while ginger nuts and drying oak figure in the medium finish.
40.0% ABV, 70cl, £15.99, specialist whisky merchants.
|Four Roses, Single Barrel Bourbon (USA) |
Undoubtedly the star of the show, ‘Single Barrel’ offers a rich, complex nose, comprising malt, fruits, spices and fudge. Long and mellow in the mouth, with vanilla, oak, and a hint of menthol. The finish is long, spicy and decidedly mellow. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £28.99, specialist whisky merchants.
|Four Roses, Small Batch Bourbon (USA) |
The most recent addition to the Four Roses range, ‘Small Batch’ was launched in the USA at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival last September, and a second bottling run has been undertaken in order to meet demand and supply the UK market. “It’s a unique combination of four original and proprietary Bourbons,” explains Jim Rutledge. “We combine these four flavours to create a smooth and mellow Bourbon that is rich and spicy with fruity aromas. It’s perfect for an enjoyable time with friends or a relaxing night on the town.”
Mild and refined on the nose, with nutmeg and restrained honey. Water releases delicate, toasty, floral notes. Bold and rich on the well-balanced palate, with spices, fruit and honey flavours. The finish is long and insinuating, with developing notes of vanilla.
45.0% ABV, 70cl, TBA, specialist whisky merchants.
|Heaven Hill, Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA) |
The Reverend Elijah Craig was a Baptist minister widely considered the ‘father of bourbon,’ and this expression from Heaven Hill is produced from a dumping of 100 barrels or less. It can justifiably be considered the first ‘small batch’ bourbon, although it predates the introduction of that term.
Elijah Craig is a classic Bourbon, with sweet, mature aromas of caramel, vanilla, spice and honey, plus a sprig of mint. Rich, full-bodied and rounded on the mellow palate, with caramel, malt, corn, rye and a hint of smoke. Sweet oak, liquorice and restrained vanilla dominate the finish.
47.0% ABV, 70cl, £22.99, specialist whisky merchants.
|Heaven Hill, Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon 2000 (USA) |
Evan Williams is the first and only vintage-dated single barrel Bourbon, produced by Heaven Hill in Louisville, Kentucky. The Evan Williams ‘family’ of Bourbons commemorates the man recognized as ‘Kentucky's First Distiller.’ Evans established his distillery in 1783 on the banks of the Ohio River in Louisville.
The Single Barrel expression is the most exclusive in the brand’s range, and was devised in 1986. Each batch is the contents of one individual barrel, selected by Master Distillers Parker and Craig Beam. This example was filled into a barrel in November 2000 and bottled in February 2010.
Rich and inviting on the nose, with cooked banana, maple syrup and flapjacks. Polished oak and leather on the rich and oily palate, along with a touch of honey and fresh fruit notes. Long in the finish, with buttery oak.
43.3% ABV, 70cl, £26.95, specialist whisky merchants.
|Heaven Hill, Mellow Corn Whiskey (USA) |
Corn whiskey is made in the USA from a mash comprising at least 80 per cent corn. It differs from Bourbon in that the latter must be made from a mash containing no more than 79 per cent corn. Frequently regarded as improving little with ageing, corn whiskey has connotations of ‘moonshining,’ and is often assumed to be harsh and unsophisticated.
One of the few corn whiskeys on the UK market is this offering from DSP in Bardstown, Kentucky, and while not the most multi-faceted drink in the world, it is certainly worth sampling.
Wood varnish and vanilla, with floral and herbal notes on the nose. The palate is big and oily, fruity, with toffee apples. More fruit, cinder toffee and understated vanilla complete the finish. Young and boisterous, but fun!
50.0% ABV, 70cl, £18.50, specialist whisky merchants.
|Jack Daniel's, Single Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey (USA) |
Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 is the best-selling whiskey in America, but the ultimate expression of ‘JD’ is Single Barrel, introduced in February 1997 and now widely available outside the USA. The release sampled was sourced from rick no. L-27, barrel no. 9-2204, and was bottled on 24th June 2009. It offers a distinctive aroma of cream soda, apricots, cherry-flavoured cough lozenges and a hint of sweet smoke. The palate is rich, full and slightly oily, with roses, Turkish Delight and smoky oak notes. Nuts, caramel and more oak with the addition of water. Spicy rye, oak and Turkish Delight figure in the lengthy finish.
45.0% ABV, 70cl, £35.00, Tesco, specialist whisky merchants.
|Jim Beam, Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA) |
One of four whiskeys that comprise Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection, Baker’s 7-year-old is named after Baker Beam, formerly Master Distiller at the Clermont Distillery in Kentucky, and great-nephew of the legendary Jim Beam himself. Baker Beam is also a cousin of the late Booker Noe, the distiller credited with pioneering small batch Bourbons. Baker’s is made to the standard Jim Beam formula but is presented at a higher alcoholic strength and is aged for a longer period of time.
Vanilla fudge, Caramac bars, spice and nougat on the confident, rounded nose. Big and soft on the mellow palate, with fruity spices, caramel, and something close to a brandy note. Liquorice root and lingering oak in the leisurely finish. An ideal after-dinner Bourbon, which opens up nicely with a splash of water. 53.5% ABV, 70cl, £43.95, specialist whisky merchants.
|Jim Beam, Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA) |
In addition to its 'mainstream' offerings, Jim Beam has produced four 'small batch' Bourbon brands since the 1990s, namely Baker's, Basil Hayden's, Booker's and Knob Creek. These are produced from hand-picked barrels which are allocated to the best maturing warehouses and are allowed to mature for longer than the standard bottlings. Named after a pioneering Kentucky distiller, Basil Hayden’s is an eight-year-old whiskey produced to a high-rye formula. The nose of Basil Hayden’s is light, aromatic and spicy, with soft rye, wood polish, spices, pepper and vanilla on the palate. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £34.99, specialist whisky merchants.
|Jim Beam, Black Label Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA) |
This eight-year-old expression possesses greater depth than White Label, with more complex fruit and vanilla notes, plus liquorice, vanilla and sweet rye. 45.0% ABV, 70cl, £21.95, specialist whisky merchants.
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|Jim Beam, Honey Spirit Drink (USA) |
Flavoured whiskeys are all the range in the States right now, and have been responsible for some impressive sales figures. Following on the heels of Red Stag, Jim Beam Bourbon has produced a honey-infused Bourbon, which by law must be described as a ‘spirit drink.’
The Beam take on whiskey and honey liqueur offers a floral nose, with coconut ice, honey, cinder toffee and developing vanilla, while the palate offers lots of not unexpected honey, along with caramel. Lingering honey in the soft, smooth finish. This works well when served ‘on the rocks’ or from the freezer.
35.0% ABV, 70cl, £22.95, specialist whisky merchants.