Tag Archives: Bourbon

#72 – Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection – Four Wood

Distillery: Woodford Reserve
Name: Master’s Collection – Four Wood
Age: N/A
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 47.2%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £144 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Rich, maple syrup, toffee, ripe fruits, nutty
Taste: Smooth, spicy, oaky, nutmeg, berries
Finish: Long, dry, spicy
Rating: 9/10

I couldn’t resist buying a sample of this when doing a recent Master of Malt order, it just sounds so interesting. Initially matured in American oak, finished in barrels made from Maple Wood, Oloroso Sherry Wood and Port Wood, how awesome is that?

Huge depth to this one, great body to it. There is a sweetness present from the maple, toffee and ripe fruits, it’s not a sickly sweetness though. There is a spice presence too, I can’t pick it out but it makes me think of cake, so I’m guessing something used in baking. Given a few minutes I can pickup on some subtle walnut and the cake style sweetness begins to develop more. Very impressive.

The palate is very rich, silky smooth and viscous with a lovely level of spice. There is a fruity and maple sweetness there but reasonably subtle as the oaky dryness quickly reins it in, taking the sweetness but leaving the flavour. There is a hint of nutmeg and maybe some dark berries in there too. The finish is long with a warming spice and just a little dryness to it.

Exceptionally good dram this one, it has definitely lived up to my expectation. Very complex, continues to develop over time making it a great savouring bourbon. At £144 it is not cheap, but I’ve had more expensive whiskies that are not as good, I’d say it’s worth the money to be honest.

#71- Old Forester Bourbon

Distillery: Old Forester
Name: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Age: N/A
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £34 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Baked fruit, slight citrus, marzipan
Taste: Caramel, oaky, dry
Finish: Long, dry, spicy
Rating: 6/10
As it’s a bank holiday weekend I thought I’d spend my time wisely, doing another whisky review or two. Today it’s bourbons’ turn.
There is good body to the nose from some baked fruit notes, I’m thinking pears, but it also has a lightness about it from a citrus quality and marzipan sweetness. It’s a very pleasant aroma, well balanced.
You get an initial caramel sweetness on the palate, not overly sweet though, more of a dark toffee sweetness maybe. This quickly gives way to the oak however, lots of oak and the dry, spiciness that accompanies it. There is also a fair bit of ABV burn at first and definitely benefits from a drop of water or ice.
Overall it is a pleasant, well priced bourbon. I have to admit that I have had ice with it throughout most of the bottle due to that ABV burn. I’m not really a cocktail man but I could see it being a good option to tame any sweeter concoction due to the heavy oak and dryness.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof

Distillery: Wild Turkey
Name: Rare Breed Barrel Proof
Region: Kentucky
Age: N/A
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 54.1%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £48 (70cl)
Nose: Rich, hot, dark toffee, orange
Taste: Rich, spicy, dry, dark chocolate, coffee
Finish: Long, spicy, dry
Rating: 7/10

So I’ve had this sample in for a while now to be honest (curtsey of @Tom_Blumsom), only just getting around to trying it. This particular Wild Turkey is made using a blend of 6, 8 and 12 year old stock so it should be pretty good, lets see.

Straight of there is a real rich depth to the nose but that ABV is also present with a slight burn there too. There is some sweetness there but more of a dark toffee sweetness which is not as strong but more caramel. After a couple of minutes it starts to lighten up a bit, becoming more citrus, not as light a lemon or lime, orange I guess, maybe just orange peel.

Can the palate live up to that fantastic nose? Big hit of both spice and ABV heat that just keep on building, amazingly it holds up to it though. That rich body with the dark chocolate and coffee notes put up a good fight to claw there way into view, have a strut around on your tongue and then get pushed back during the dry finish.

Somewhat different to the bog standard Wild Turkey that I have tried tried before. Fantastic nose to it and a palate that does live up to it. I would like to thank (@Tom_Blumsom) for the sample.

Cooper’s Cask Coffee – Whiskey Coffee

Well this is a first for me that’s for sure, a coffee review. I was contacted by Cooper’s Cask Coffee via this blog informing me of their Whiskey Barrel Aged coffee and asked if I would be interested in conducting a review. Since I love whisky (believe it or not) and I am a fan of good quality coffee, I jumped at the chance, this should be a very interesting combination.

Producer: Cooper’s Cask Coffee
Roast Level: Medium
Batch: #2
Roasted: 2015-07-17
Bean Origin: Unknown
Website: http://www.cooperscaskcoffee.com/

The Beans

The beans are sourced as fresh, green, unroasted coffee beans which ‘exhibit the subtle flavours and aromas that will match and compliment the whiskey barrel ageing’. There is no mention as to what country the beans are sourced from unfortunately, that would be nice to know. The guys at Cooper’s Cask Coffee have been testing various roasting levels and ageing time to get what they feel is the ideal balance of coffee and whiskey from the single malt whiskey barrels.

The beans themselves have a lovely aroma, the whiskey presence is obvious but not overpowering. There is a slight sweetness there, some notes of dark chocolate and I also get a hint of cigar tobacco too. I can pickup on some fruit also but I can’t put my finger on what it is, the guys at Cooper’s Cask Coffee say papaya.

When ground you get all of the same qualities, just slightly enhanced, the whiskey aroma does come out a little more at this point.

Brewing Equipment

I recently broke my Bodum cafetiere which was rather annoying as I had this coffee on it’s way for me to review. As I was about to purchase another I remembered a colleague of mine saying that he uses a Aerobie AeroPress coffee maker and he has said that it was a wonderful bit of kit, so I decided to give one of those ago instead. I have made a couple of brews with it since it has arrived and can confirm, it is a wonderful bit of kit.

Water was heated to 80 degrees as suggested by the folks at Aerobie.

Americano

I decided to start with an Americano, or Black Coffee as I would usually call it. This is firstly because it is how I usually drink my coffee but also because I think trying it as an Espresso is best saved until after due to the intensity of the flavour.

On the nose it has a lovely sweetness from the whiskey which is again clearly there but not overpowering. The fruitiness also carries over very well, and I now think I know what I am getting, strawberry flavoured chocolates, subtle though. There is still another fruit there but I can’t place it yet.

Onto the palate and the whiskey is really well balanced, it is again present but not overpowering, which I imagine could have been an easy balance to get wrong. There is an initial sweetness from the whiskey and fruit quality, I still get a little of the strawberry chocolate. It is lovely and smooth with just a slight woody dryness at the very end. This is a very fruity coffee but light, refreshing, summer fruits for me making it an easy drinking and refreshing summer evening coffee.

Espresso

As an espresso I find the base coffee aroma is far more prominent than as an Americano, you still get that whiskey presence but not as much, not what I expected to be honest. The fruitiness is still there, though I hardly get the strawberries now, still get the dark chocolate though. It has a slightly dryer aroma to it, more of the cigar tobacco than as an Americano and a slight smoky quality.

The palate is definitely dryer with intense dark chocolate and tobacco. The fruit flavour is still there but the sweetness is not, though the whiskey flavour picks up at the end to lighten it a little. The finish is long and dry with a slight bitterness which is not present on the initial palate. It turns in to more of a cold winter evening coffee as an Espresso for me.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed doing this review, I have never just sat and concentrated on a coffee like this before. What I liked about the Cooper’s Cask Coffee is that it is both a summer and a winter coffee depending on how you have it. Either way it is an evening coffee though in my eyes, it is one that you want to sit down and really enjoy after work.

I was impressed with the balance that they have managed with this, the coffee is smooth, not too bitter and the whiskey is not overpowering.

On a side note, I also tried the coffee made with my spare cafetiere, it’s not a great one though, and I have to say that I did prefer the results of the AeroPress. Although the cafetiere produces a quality brew, the AeroPress gets the same level of flavour out in a much shorter time, resulting in a smoother, less bitter coffee.

Buffalo Trace Tweet Tasting

Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Name: Bourbon
Region: Kentucky
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £22 (Master of Malt 70cl)
NoseSweet, baked fruits, slight spice, creamy
TasteCaramel, hint of lime, woody, spice
Finish: Medium length, slightly dry
Rating: 5/10

I had the pleasure of partaking in another Tweet Tasting on 24th September thanks to Steve at @TheWhiskyWire, this time it was the turn of the Buffalo Trace group.

First up was the Buffalo Trace. I found this to be a great entry into bourbon, it has a nice level of sweetness with some lovely baked fruits like pears, along with a little spice, all wrapped up in a lovely creamy aroma.

Onto the palate and you get a good amount of caramel with this really interesting and unexpected hint of lime. It also carries that slight spice over well and also some woodiness, giving it a medium length finish that has a slight dryness.

This went down fairly well by all accounts for it’s ease of drinking, good level of flavour and also price.

Distillery: Eagle Rare
Name: N/A
Region: Kentucky
Age: 10
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 45%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £37 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Rich, powerful, marzipan, oak, dried leaves, caramel
TasteThick, rich, powerful, dark chocolate, spicy, dark caramel, wood, aniseed
Finish: Medium, light, dryness, spice
Rating: 9/10

I actually had a bottle of this in anyway, and at time of writing, this is the best bourbon I have tried. Such a powerful aroma with the caramel, marzipan and oak along with an earthiness that is like dried leaves, think walking through the woods in autumn.

Then the palate comes along and throws everything at you, dark chocolate and caramel, that oak in there again with a little aniseed thrown in for good measure. This is all rolled into a thick and smooth texture, just wonderful. It has not done with you yet though, the finish of medium length but for all it’s power on the palate, it picks up a little and lightens, still with some oaky dryness and spice though.

One of those that I will always try to keep a bottle of I think, which is saying something, because I rarely buy a second bottle of anything, there are too many new ones out there to try.

Distillery: The Barton 1792
Name: Ridgemont Reserve
Region: Kentucky
Age: 8+
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 46.85%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £50 (Master of Malt 70cl)
Nose: Light, baked fruits, apricot, pear drops, lavender, pine trees, glue
TasteWarm, light, fruity, almonds, floral
Finish: Medium, slightly dry, spicy
Rating: 8/10

The final of the evening was The Barton 1792 Ridgemont Reserve, or just the 1792 as we all referred to it as. At £50 I think this is the most expensive bourbon I have tried so was looking forward to seeing what you get for the higher end of the bourbon market.

The 1792 did not disappoint, the nose was very different to the previous two but like the Eagle Rare, had lots to offer. Really fruity, moving into floral with some lavender and pine. A lot of people picked up on glue, I only got a hint of this personally.

The palate was as much a delight as the nose, a real warmth to it, partly from the higher ABV, light and again lots of fruit, pear and apricot coming through again. This started to develop into a slight floral note much like the nose but not before throwing a few almonds your way first.

The finish is of medium length like the others and has a slight dryness and hint of spice to it. The balance of sweet and dryness is just right for me, I was expecting something a little sweeter from the nose but was pleasantly surprised.

Conclusion

I thoroughly enjoyed an evening of Tweet Tasting again and would like to thank Steve at @TheWhiskyWire and also @BuffaloTraceUK for a wonderful evening. It was a good education into bourbon shared with some great friends and new associates.

Balcones True Blue

Distillery: Balcones
Name: True Blue
Region: Texas
Age: NAS
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 50%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £5.32 (for 3cl)
Nose: Rich, spicy, slight sweetness, bourbon
Taste: Rich, spicy, fiery (abv), dry
Finish: Long, rich, spicy
Rating: 8/10

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Balcones so have been looking forward to trying a couple. I can honestly say I am not disappointed. Another unusual one to be honest; it has the deep, rich complexity on the nose, a level that you might expect from a sherry cask single malt, although it is matured in virgin oak, with a sweetness and I get a bourbon aroma coming through towards the end.

On the palate it does not disappoint either, a mass of flavour hits you instantly, with a great spiciness and some real alcohol burn around the mouth, which strangely stays in the mouth, it does not work it’s way down too much. It actually reminds me of Adnams Triple Grain, just Americanised you could say, more boisterous; maybe it’s an age thing, the Triple Grain is quite young but then the True Blue is only slightly older I believe, either way there is a similarity for me. It is still that mix of a complex single malt with the bourbon finish, a perfect bourbon maybe?

The finish is strong, very strong, and very long, it’s awesome. The spiciness continues here also, with just a touch of dryness that works really well. I tried it with water also due to the abv and it unsurprisingly handles it very well. The nose is softened but still has all that spice, the extra sweetness (above the bourbon sweetness) is gone though. On the palate it is still intense, and awesome. The burn is lessened but was still there a touch and the finish was still long and powerful.

Overall I will just say that this is a superb dram and Balcones must be very proud. It has most definitely lived up to it’s reputation. I would like to thank @WhiskyDiscovery for the sample, it was much appreciated.

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 Year Old Bourbon

Distillery: Smooth Ambler
Name: Old Scout
Region: West Viginia
Age: 7
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 49.5%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £3.89 (£47 for 75cl)
Colour: Amber
Nose: Dry, rye, a little sweetness, oak, burnt wood
Taste: Slight sweetness, rye, smooth, creamy
Finish: Long, spicy, sweet, dry
Rating: 8/10
Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 Year Old Bourbon

I actually won this in a raffle at my local pub, The Victoria Newcastle-under-Lyme, as part of their Drinks By The Drink Whisky Advent Calendar competition. Each day they have been raffling off that days’ dram and giving all of the takings to charity.

It has a lovely nose to it, softer that a lot of the bourbons I have had before, not as sweet and a little more complex. Once covered for a little while the oak and burnt wood aromas really stood out. Once left to aerate a while the dryness mellows and the sweetness picks up a little, still not really sweet though.

At 49.5% this has a bit of an alcohol bite to it at first, but that fades to reveal a slight initial sweetness that quickly gives way to the rye. At 36% rye in the mashbill I believe this is quite high (feel free to correct me on this) and it has ensured that this bourbon not too sweet and has just enough rye on the nose and palate. On second sip, and given time to aerate a little, the alcohol bite lessens to reveal the smoothness and creaminess of this bourbon that makes it so moreish. The addition of water really takes that bite away and smoothens it out more, although a surprisingly small amount is needed to achieve this given its ABV.

The finish is long with a lovely warming spiciness to it that leads into a seemingly sweeter taste than is present on the nose or palate; after this there is a dryness as the final finish.

To be honest I haven’t really sat down and really ‘tasted’ bourbons before, they have just been drams I have had when out, usually after a few beers, or around friends whilst chatting, so I have never really appreciated them that much in the past. This one however has really opened my eyes to how good they can be, it is a real contender to gain a place in my collection, not as a replacement to a single malt, they are like chalk and cheese, two completely different drinks, it would be an addition for when I fancy something different.