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Newest Bourbon Review: Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon

December 6, 2011

Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon

This bourbon is made by the Corner creek Distilling Co. and is bottled by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. Bardstown, KY. This is the same company that makes all of the Willett Family bourbons.

The distillery has this to say about their bourbon, “Using only the finest wheat, rye, and corn and aged in oak, Corner Creek is a selection of the distillery’s finest barrels. Smoothed to perfection with pure Kentucky limestone water, Corner Creek is produced only in very small quantities.

The label, an original drawing of Corner Creek by noted artist William Nagle, is one that brings back the good, relaxed feeling of sitting by the old creek, listening to the rushing water while sipping on fine bourbon whiskey. In a slope shouldered bottle, with the art dominating the front label, and a smokey blue neck wrap, the bottle will not only stand out on the shelf, but also on the back bar”.

To the bourbon:

88 Proof Small Batch

Age: 8 years

Bottle Statements:

Aged is New American Oak

An exceptional marriage of the finest selected grains.

“… lightly filtered so that it retains all its complex flavor and is bottled in a natural state…”

First notes:

This is an extremely tasty 8 year old bourbon and is economical price for what lies within. It is presented in a wine bottle that has a slight green tint to it. The bourbon boons a rich reddish tint while in the bottle. The topper is cork and the label appears to have a hand drawn image of the creek.

Color:

The color is beautiful for an 8 year old. Has a golden amber hue with a slight buckwheat honey or molasses tint to it.

First nose:

The first nose right out of the bottle is of the barrel. Light oak, molasses and rye notes emerge.

Nose in a glass:

Sweet corn and wheat are the strongest notes here. This batch is made up of Corn, Rye and wheat and is interesting that the rye and wheat notes come out at different points. Hints of spiced apples and oak char round things out.

Taste:

Very nice and very tasty! A nice oaky and nutty after palate presence appears at the end. A few other bourbons have too much “Woody/Oaky” palate presence (i.e. Knob Creek). Corner Creek has a nice balance between flavors and palate intensity. It has just enough flavor to it  and with a nice rye/pepper intensity that lingers around on your tongue. Pleasant corn sweetness arrives just after the apex of palate presence.

Best enjoyed neat or right out of the freezer, if you enjoy your bourbon cold (as I do). This bourbon has just enough of a spicy rye presence for you to add a slight drop of spring water but, only a drop. On a side note: If you happen to enjoy 1792 Ridgemont Reserve and wanted to try something with just a bit of char and oaky finish, then I would recommend Corner Creek Reserve.

Final:

This expression is a great one and has become a staple of mine for some time and is very nice yet, it could be exceptional if allowed to age a bit longer and bottled at a slightly higher proof. I would serve this bourbon without worry that someone would not like for it. It has a very nice mingling of rye and wheat and some definite nuttiness to round this off. The nicest thing about this Small Batch is that it has Not been raped of its character and flavor from over filtering.

I believe that Corner Creek Reserve out does a number of other 8 year old bourbons; such as Jim Beam Double aged 8 year old, McAfee Benchmark Old No. 8, Old Charter 8 year old and certainly out does a number of other bourbons in it price range. This bourbon would be a great first time introduction to bourbon or could be enjoyed by an enthusiast as well. Corner Creek  is just another reason that price does not mean everything in the world of Bourbon and was recently awarded a 92 Rating by the Beverage Testing Institute.

Outsider review:

Bright light amber color. Sweet roasted corn, clay, and buttery pistachio praline aromas follow through on a round, supple entry to a dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body with dried fruits, toffee, dusty grain, and oak spice notes. Finishes with a nice lingering resonant earthy, spicy fade. Very solid and old school bourbon to be enjoyed by all.

There will be a new review about every week. Stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have a specific bourbon you would like a review on next!

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Newest Bourbon Review: Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bourbon

November 28, 2011

Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bourbon

This bourbon comes from Heaven Hill Distillery. Its brother bourbons are Elijah Craig, Evan Williams and Heaven Hill. The distillery states that this is a bourbon that “…this is extra-aged and bottled in bond as a Single Barrel Bourbon. Henry McKenna Single Barrel is aged 10 years before each “honey barrel” is dumped and bottled as is. At 10 years and 100 proof, it meets the exacting US government standards for a true bottled in bond Bourbon”. I believe all of it except the bottled “as is” statement. There are only a few bourbons currently being produced that are at or under 100 Proof without being cut and filtered. They come from a much different bourbon maker. Nevertheless I do enjoy Heaven Hills bourbon expressions and I hope to enjoy this one as well.

To the bourbon:

100 Proof Single Barrel

Age: 10 years

Bottle Statements:

Bottled in Bond “Aged 10 years”

Barrel No. 645

Barreled On 11/8/2000

First notes:

The bottle is very dressed up. Green is the staple color which dresses it and a copper stamped tag hangs from its side. The tag reads “Bottled in Bond”. There is also a leaflet on the front of the bottle which has some history and information; which is entitled, “The Connoisseurs Edition”. I do not recommend opening it or removing it if you would like to keep the presentation of the bottle intact. It is glued together and presents some difficulty removing/opening it. Side note: The bottle is very dressed up but, it has a screw topper. One would think that the bottle would have a nice cork topper but, it does not. I guess the distillery decided to spend the money on the outside presentation of the bottle.

Color:

The color has a deep and rich amber tone to it.

First nose:

The first nose right out of the bottle is of sweet corn. Zero nose of the Proof within.

Nose in a glass:

The proof shows itself in the glass a bit more. Notes of corn, spice, caramel and ripe peaches present themselves.

Taste:

The taste and palate presence is much different from the nose. A rich peppery spice and rye notes envelop the mouth and tongue. Nutty, oak and char notes come out in the end. The flavor is much different from other bourbons. Not much vanilla or caramel is presented in this 10 year. The palate intensity and presence is nice but, the flavor is quite different. There are definite notes of peach in the middle to end of the profile which create a bit of unwanted pungency. The intensity is medium and could be enjoyed neat or with a bit of ice or water (may be preferred for first time bourbon drinkers).

Final:

This bourbon will grow on you, if you let it; and each barrel may be a bit different. The first time that I tasted this bourbon was not the most pleasurable experience. I could not get over the bit of unwanted pungency. After a few sips (or glasses) it can grow on you and you may even come to enjoy it. This may end up starting a controversy among enthusiast but, so be it. I feel some may like it and others may not. Another bourbon similar (only in the sense of having a different taste and palate presence) is Johnny Drum Private Stock – to be reviewed at a later date.

Henry McKenna Single Barrel may not be an everyday drinker for me but, it is certainly much better than many other whiskeys. It does have a bit more flavor and complexity than its brother bourbons but, it may not stack up against them. On a Side Note: I am also a little bummed about the screw topper on this bottle. Most of the time, a screw topper does not concern me. If the bourbon is phenomenal then I do not care that it has a screw topper (which does happen more often than not). But, sometimes if the bourbon is a bit under par for quality, flavor or bottle presentation then a lowly screw topper becomes problematic.

Outsider review:

Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bourbon 10 Year has a peppery nose with a touch of spice and citrus that leads to a palate of oak and vanilla with rounded notes of rye and malt. Best enjoyed over ice or with just a touch of water to get the rye aromatics lifted over the glass’ rim

There will be a new review about every week. Stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have a specific bourbon you would like a review on next!

Newest Bourbon Review: Pure Kentucky XO Single Barrel Bourbon

November 25, 2011

Pure Kentucky XO Single Barrel Bourbon

The Willett family distillery produces some of the finest bourbons period. Pure Kentucky is certainly one of them. This is a Straight 107 Proof, Single barrel, Small batch, 12 year old bourbon that comes from the heart of Kentucky’s bourbon country.  This is a single barrel yet, it is made in very small batches and only a few select barrels are chosen to become “Pure Kentucky”. The distillery is currently under reconstruction and will be reopening for public tours once completed. The distillery is nestled in a small pocket of forest just outside of downtown Bradstown, KY. Many of the Willett family of bourbons are highly acclaimed and hold many awards. Some other bourbons that in the family are Vintage Bourbon (17 year Single Barrel), Kentucky Vintage (Small Batch), Willett Single Barrel, Noah’s Mill (15 year Single Barrel) and many more.

To the bourbon:

107 Proof Single Barrel

Age: 12 years

Bottle Statements:

Small Batch Boutique Bourbon

Original- Small Batch bourbon; handmade in Kentucky

Aged in new charred oak barrels; hand bottled in Kentucky

Batch QBC No. 11-138

First notes:

The presentation is quite nice. A bronze wax stamp is on the breast of the bottle which reads” Small Batch XO Bourbon”. The topper is a screw cap but, is masked by the blue wax atop the head.

Color:

The color has a dark molasses hue to it with a hint of blood orange.

First nose:

The first nose right out of the bottle is of light char and sweet bourbon corn.

Nose in a glass:

The nose shows off the proof of the bourbon but, there are hints of burnt sugar, very light mint and vanilla and light spice.

Taste:

Caramel Corn, char, rye are first while dark coco, ripe bananas, cinnamon and hint of heavy cream round this off. This is a simply amazing 107 proof bourbon. It should be enjoyed neat but, a very small amount of spring water or a single ice cube will work well. This bourbon does have a hint of rye spice which responds well to a very small amount water. It opens up the nose and flavor profile.

The palate intensity is nearly zero considering it is a 107 proof but, has a nice bell curve of flavor and palate presence. There is a small amount of cinnamon at first which latches onto the roof of your mouth but, then subsides quickly. Lingering rye and corn stays on the roof of your mouth and top of your throat for much longer than anticipated. Very, very yummy.

Final:

Again, another bourbon that is Very, Very smooth from front to back. But, has enough flavors to last. This is a completely well round single barrel. It is very hard to achieve such complexity while being a well-rounded bourbon only out of one barrel. Many bourbons need to be mingled with other barrels in order to achieve what this single barrel has to offer. This is just another shining example of a Willett Family Bourbon that has touched my heart and I will never let it go. Seriously, this is a great bourbon and it should be enjoyed by all. Pick up a bottle the next time you see it. You will not be let down.

Outsider review:

Pure Kentucky Single Barrel Bourbon XO is a Small Batch Bourbon made up of 12 year or older Bourbons. With a nose that is lightly sweet with hints of butterscotch and caramel, the palate delivers rich notes of sweet corn, citrus and vanilla with a touch of spice. Enjoy this straight up or with a touch of water for a full expression of flavor.

There will be a new review about every week. Stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have a specific bourbon you would like a review on next!

Newly Visited: Micro Distillery and Pictures

November 14, 2011

Barrel House Distillery: Located in the heart of Lexington, KY

Product:

Moonshine: Devil John

Note: They also make Vodka and aged Rum (will be on the market soon)

History:

Devil John Moonshine is made in honor of the legendary Devil John, Civil War soldier, lawman & moonshiner from Kentucky. This small batch spirit looks back to a time when many a still ran in the hills of Kentucky to quench the thirst of men like Devil John and his crew. Devil John Moonshine is handcrafted by Barrel House Distilling Co. in building no. 9 at 90 proof with the highest quality and attention to detail.

Distillery Pictures:

Newest Bourbon Review: Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch

November 3, 2011

Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch Bourbon

Evan Williams has a very long and proud tradition for bourbon making. This Small Batch represents a multitude of that long heritage. The Evan Williams distillery was established in 1783 and is now the Heaven Hill distillery. This particular Evan Williams expression is a Sour Mash No. 10 Brand Bourbon whiskey. It is ten (10) years old and is one of the lowest priced 10 year old bourbons that you will be able to find on the market today. Yet, just because it is priced economically does not mean that it taste that way.

To the bourbon:

86 Proof Small Batch

Age: 10 years

Bottle Statements:

Sour Mash Small Batch

No. 10 Brand

First notes:

The presentation of this bottle on your shelf will be very nice even though it has a screw cap. It is black and is not as noticeable as other caps. The label is crystal clear so that you can see the splendor within.

Color:

The color has a deep coppery hue to it with a very slight hit of rubicund tones.

First nose:

The first nose right out of the bottle is one of light corn.

Nose in a glass:

This bourbon has the distinctive nose that of many other Evan Williams bourbons. Light char and oakyness appears on the front while fresh bread and caramel rounds things off.

Taste:

Very easy to enjoy! This is a very nicely balanced Small Batch. Some earthy coco, leather and apple undertones come out at the end. There is almost zero plate intensity. Just a twinge of pepperiness that presents itself on the roof of your mouth. Very easy drinking yet, it still has just enough flavor to last from sip to sip. Char, burnt sugar beans and very mild oakyness is one of the finial flavors that present itself. This is one bourbon that I do not recommend putting water in. Some bourbons respond well to water (mainly peppery, dryer and higher rye content mash bills) by opening up the nose or flavors within. This is not one of them. It is great neat or from the freezer, if you like it cold (which I do). Although, it is OK to add ONE (1) ice cube. This won’t add much water and will slightly chill your expression.

Final:

This is another bourbon that is Very, Very smooth from front to back. This is an 86 proof that has enough age that could be in the 90’s somewhere (wishful thinking). This bourbon is the same stuff that the Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbons are drawn from yet, these barrels were joined to make this Small Batch. Small Batches are supposed to round the palate flavors and intensity and Mr. Williams got this one dead-on. For the age and the price, you cannot beat this No. 10 Small Batch Bourbon.

Outsider review:

Evan Williams 1783 No. 10 is a straight forward bourbon that shows a bit of chocolate and dark spice on the nose that leads to a spicy, nutty finish. This bourbon is made up of a very limited number of barrels that are specially chosen and mingled together, making this genuinely classics-smooth, rich and bourbon that is worthy of its name.

There will be a new review about every week. Stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have a specific bourbon you would like a review on next!

Newest Bourbon Review: Hirsch Selection Small Batch Reserve

November 2, 2011

Hirsch Selection Small Batch Reserve Bourbon

Preiss Imports is the lucky and proud owners of the few remaining Hirsch Brand Bourbon Barrels. A man named Adolf Hirsch bought the remaining and still coveted Michter’s distillery bourbon barrels from the late 1980’s. This is just after the distillery shut down and closed their doors for good. Since then the bourbon has changed hands twice and is now in the hands of Preiss Imports. The very dwindling supply is hard to come by and is extremely delightful. In the past the Hirsch Brand has come out with other expressions such as the 16 and the 28 year old Straight Bourbon Whiskeys. These bottles now are extremely hard to come by and when you do you will be shilling out top dollar, as well you should. Another large Preiss Brands name in the world of whiskey is that of OLD POTRERO Whiskey and many others.

To the bourbon:

92 Proof Small Batch

No age statement

Bottle Statements:

Small Batch Reserve

First notes:

The bottle is very simple with a nice end grain wooden cork topper.

Color:

The color has a very golden amber hue.

First nose:

The first nose right out of the bottle is one of floral blossoms. Corn and vanilla are apparent as well.

Nose in a glass:

This bourbon has a medium to high intensity nose right out of the bottle. It is very interesting; it is like the nose has a very distinctive palate range much like the taste would have. Corn sweetness in front with an abrupt halt of the fragrance and then it comes back with hints of raisins.

Taste:

Wow! It is completely and perfectly balanced while being so different from the nose. Don’t ever touch this bourbon with water or ice; store it in the freezer if you would like it cold. Notes of light oat and char are on the finish. Corn, oak and very light rye on the front burner. The palate intensity is extremely minimal. Slight mint and very slight pepper, orange and ripe pear hints in the middle of the flavor range.

Final:

Very, Very smooth from front to back. All of the flavor is absorbed into your tongue and cheeks before your throat gets a chance for a taste. This Small Batch is very delightful and is one of the mildest 90 proof bourbons that you will ever encounter. Yet, there is just enough velvety flavor to keep you coming back to the glass. It is not very complex but, has just enough complexity, piquancy and sweetness to round things out. If you are looking for a rare, smooth bourbon with a slight touch of sweetness, then this bourbon is for you! There are other bourbons out there that have a similar palate presence and intensity (for example: Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon) but, does not have as many esters as this Hirsch does. I would say that this Small Batch Hirsch could even be enjoyed for breakfast (I don’t recommend it; unless you are on vacations or something) or for brunch if you would ever be so inclined. Share this rare find with your friends and family! Well may be just a taste or so. Or, better yet, let’s just keep this bourbon to ourselves!

Outsider review:

Hirsch Small Batch Reserve Bourbon is a flat-out delicious, complex dram with oaky, resinous, sweet-and-savory aromas. The palate is concentrated and layered, evoking dried fruit, cedar, baking spice, pepper, vanilla, caramel, and maple

The Quintessential American Spirit — Preiss Imports is honored to unveil the Hirsch Selection™ Small Batch Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Given an unprecedented demand from home and abroad, high quality bourbon is in very short supply. With only limited stocks on hand, Hirsch Selection™ Small Batch Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was selected expressly for connoisseurs of small batch fine spirits. This Special Reserve Bourbon is a worthy addition to illustrious Hirsch Selection™ hand-picked series of single barrel whiskeys.

There will be a new review about every week. Stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have a specific bourbon you would like a review on next!

Newest Bourbon Review: W. L. Weller 12 Year Small Batch Bourbon

October 23, 2011

W. L. Weller 12 Year Small Batch Bourbon

This is another great bourbon coming from Buffalo Trace Distillery. William Larue Weller’s family recipe mixes things up a bit with the second most predominant grain being wheat. This brings a totally different complexity to this bourbon and the older it gets the better it becomes.

To the bourbon:

90 Proof Small Batch

Aged 12 years

Bottle Statements:

Aged 12 years

“The Original Wheated Bourbon”

“Since 1849”

First notes:

Many of W.L. Weller’s bourbons are bottle alike but, when you have an age stamp that is within the vintage range (9-14 years) it is going to be something special. Also, this bottle is special because it has a raised insignia of two (2) crossed sprigs of wheat with the phrase “Since 1849″ on the breast of the bottle. The lower aged Weller Bourbons come in a very similar bottle but, does not have this special distinguished marking.

Color:

The color of this 12 year old is about right for its age. It has a deep orange haze to it while being medium to dark amber in tone.

First nose:

The nose is very appealing. Wheat and corn is strongly apparent. Sweet honeysuckle blossoms in the nose shortly after and then hints of wild cheery become apparent.

Nose in a glass:

This bourbon has a very smooth nose in the glass. Notes of dry oak, corn and wheat and hints of mint, burnt sugar and thyme balance this out. This is a bourbon that has a nose that should be captured and sold by itself.

Taste:

Very pleasant! The taste is almost nothing like the nose (this is a nice transformation). Somehow they have been able to not only make a well balanced small batch but, when the nose of it complements the taste, it is very nice. This is a very smooth 90 proof that is worth keeping around. Burnt corn, oak char with a very interest note of fresh picked green beans is very nice on the finish. Since the batch does not have much rye the finish is not very dry yet, has a bit of sweetness to it. The plate flavors do not stay for long but, while it is in the mouth it is very pleasing. Notes of caramel and a short bit of cinnamon and pepper present themselves in front. There is not overwhelming intensity in this 12 year old and finally I keep noticing hints of dark coco and nugget popping up from time-to-time.

Final:

While this is not the most complex bourbon expression produced it is one that I do not mind adding a drop of ice or a spot of spring water to. When you do the plate intensity and flavors open up and stay on the tongue longer than if it were enjoyed neat. Regardless, however you have it; it is very nice and much smoother and flavorful than its baby brothers (Antique 107 and Special Reserve, both 7 year olds, to be reviewed at a later time). You will be hard pressed to find another 12 year old bourbon (Wheated or not) that is this good for the price. To note: This is a bourbon that does not stay around forever. There is sometimes not enough to pass around from the distillery. Even the big named liquor stores are unable to keep it on their shelves for long. People and bourbon enthusiast alike, know that this 12 year old Weller is something special and for the price you had better buy two bottles before they sell out again. Buffalo Trace does come out with it every year but, sometimes the stores are unable to keep it on hand.

Outsider review:

W.L.Weller 12 year old Small Batch Bourbon has a deep bronze color that beautifully reflects the light — perfect purity; the initial nosing pass finds fully nature aromas of lanolin, almond oil, and creamed corn — in the middle stage sniffing’s, following several minutes of air contact, a toasty oaky/vanilla perfume takes the aromatic helm. The finish is sweet, oaky, and intensely grainy; follows in the footprints of the legendary Centennial and delivers the goods, all for an unbelievable price.

There will be a new review about every week. Stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have a specific bourbon you would like a review on next!