Thanks to /u/devoz, /u/lasidar, /u/texacer, /u/jolarbear , /u/muaddib99, /u/boyd86, /u/neversafeforlife, /u/slackerdude, and honestly other people who I can’t remember your reddit handles but I can remember your real names and saying them out loud would break confidentiality.
So we had our Canadian Mystery Bourbon Tasting (45% or higher Abv.). And let me just say, showing no cockiness at all, that I did pretty well. I identified them as bourbon! That’s pretty good for me.
I suck at blind reviews. Identifying the dram, at least. I’ll say that right now. I can typically tell what I like from what I don’t though, so I don’t feel too bad.
The 9 of us (plus /u/devoz‘s wife, who is an amazing host) sat down for a big ole glass of humble bourbon. It’s like Humble Pie, but alcoholic. Everything was blind, and all we knew was the products were from the US and above 90 proof. Any extra information below is me adding it in after the fact because I did well in school and like to show my work. Or others work.
We had 20 minutes to review each one, and water/crackers/cashews to clean our palate between. No one ate anything too spicy or flavourful before hand.
A little addendum to these reviews for me: I typically take about 1 hour to review a dram. So these reviews will be just the initial reactions to each bourbon. I was drunk as well near the end.
Also each was 1/2 oz. (35cl) where as I’m use to 1-2 oz for a review.
These aren’t reasons why I did poorly or should get better at identifying whiskey. I just should, because that’s how you improve. More so I want to say that these are more like “snap shots” versus my typical reviews.
So there’s my whinging out of the way. Let’s see how these taste, shall we?
Price: N/A in Ontario
Region: West Virginia
Colour: 10YR 6/8
Nose: Creamed corn, sugar cane, pepper, burn
Initial rough smell on this one. Can’t really get passed the corn and sugar cane smell. Peppery as well.
Taste: Sugar, pepper, caramel, peach skin
More odd sweet, not as hot on the tongue. Super sweet in the taste. There’s an earth flavour to it as well.
Finish: Honey, wheat, pear, malt vinegar, thyme
The finish is the best part for me. This maltiness mixed with herbs and honey end it all. Lot more going on than I have time to figure out.
Conclusion: I wonder if this opens up more with time. Based on what I tried, it’s rough at first, and doesn’t do much for me. Simple, corn, and hot/sweet, but not in that “hooker with a heart of gold” way, more in that “boiling STD water” kinda way.
Not my thing.
Actually: Smooth Ambler Old Scout 10 bourbon
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 7/8
Nose: Floral, vanilla, mace, green beans, bubblegum
Lots of initial flavours. Since this review is nothing but initial nose I don’t know why I said initial so many times.
Good amount of sweet and earth though on this one.
Taste: Pepper, hot, rosemary, licorice, butter
Big, simple flavours. Quite hot. Still lots of earth and sweet on it. Still initial. Still redundant to mention that.
Finish: Sea salt, chocolate, candy, basil
Nice sweet finish on this. Granted I’ve been snacking on sea salt chocolate a few times, and it was tasty. So I’m tasting that.
Also: I’m being asked to hurry up a little, as I’m gabbing too much and take way too long to review compared to the other whiskey nerds.
Conclusion: Sweet, earthy, simple. I like this. It’s really, really tasty to me. Big flavours. Sweet. Maybe too sweet. Personally like this one, even though it’s pretty hot. Going to need to revisit this one.
Guess: A Four Roses Single Barrel maybe?
Actually: Fighting Cock NAS
Price: $66.95 (CAD) at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 5/6
Nose: Cotton, quince, lime zest, melon, cream
Soft. I don’t really understand how I smell soft, but I do. Maybe go smell your cotton? I don’t get it.
The floral, acidic, and fruit elements mix together in a nice mix here.
Taste: Caramel, pepper, banana, coffee
Someone mentioned a banana note while drinking, and something clicked. There was some odd fruit, starch flavour that I couldn’t put my finger on.
Probably because you can’t touch flavours. I don’t know. Worried I may have aped it from someone else. However I do like the flavour combo. Very Speyside-esque.
Finish: Dry, apple, thyme, pepper, sand, mushroom
Really dry finish. Somehow fits with the whole fruity mixture. Finishes well, like a good wank. Though in public this time, and without cops.
Conclusion: More complex this time. The nose was gangbusters, and the finish nice and dry, which I’m normally not in love with, yet somehow it worked this time.
This is favourite so far. The fruit and earth/bitter aspects are pretty amazing.
Guess: Wild Turkey Rare Breed?
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #280
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 4/6
Nose: Plum, molasses, candy, mint, cocoa
Different nose on this one. Is it finished with something? No one will fess up. I can’t read people when I’m drinking. Or when I’m not, really. That’s mostly why I am blunt in real life. Probably not helping.
Sweet nose on this one. Almost like a port finish on it.
Taste: Molasses, basil, broccoli, walnut oil
Okay, back in bourbon land again, where everyone has a Southern Accent and sounds like Jim Murray.
Wait, it’s better than that.
Earth, sweet, nutty. There. There’s my bullshit faking as insight I guess. Didn’t get a good read on this one. I’m all over the place. If you told me this was rum, I’d probably believe you.
Finish: Chilli, chocolate, papaya, peanut, wheat
Love the finish. Guessing this is a wheater given it. Uh. Given… I don’t really know. It’s hot though. Good amount of fruit. Not too spicy either.
Conclusion: I’m lost but this is pretty cool. Like the different flavours that is popping out of it. Sometimes I wonder if wheaters and old ass Single Grain Scotches are somehow related (other than the single grains, of course). This shows that depth.
That said, this review is pretty rough. This needed more time. Or I needed more time.
Guess: I’d like to buy a vowel?
Actually: Maker’s Mark Cask Strength
Price: $69.95 (CAD) at the LCBO
Colour: 7.5YR 5/8
Nose: Twizzlers, butter, cocoa, strawberry
Okay, is someone giving me sherry now? Or did I eat something red? No? Okay, cool.
I think I’ve had this before? But it’s slightly off. Or maybe I’m slightly off, what with being mostly drunk at the moment.
Taste: Dry, soft, caramel, maple, melon
Dry flavour. Really sweet. Not as deep as others I’ve had. Less alcohol. Granted I can say that now that I know it for sure. More like my thought at the time was more so “Gee, my skin is bubbly and soft feeling”
Finish: Butterscotch, dry pear, oak, powdered ginger
Dry. Quite a bit of oak. Love the butterscotch. Somewhat short, but not too rough.
Conclusion: So it turns out that I have had this before, and my notes are somewhat off. However the last time it had lower alcohol content.
Yeah, that’s why I got the guess wrong. See, I’m just as human as you. Or Jennifer Lawrence. So fucking relatable.
Jumping back, I think the really sweet nose and dry, dry taste and finish were good here. Mix that in with the speed and low amount that I had, and this is a nice, 1 1/2 oz dram. And I’ll rate it on that. However drinking more may be a little hard.
Guess: Rock Hill Farms?
Actually: Woodford Reserve Double Oak
Price: $45.95 (CAD) at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 7/8
Nose: Candy cane, floral, varnish, floral
Okay, this is the first one that had a varnish note to it. I wrote floral twice. I think I may have been kinda drunk. Or maybe there was a lot of floral aspects. Or rather the varnish threw me off.
Or I was drunk. That sounds about right.
Taste: Floral, butter, anise, earth, pepper, wheat, apple
Oh look, it’s floral again. Drunk man ho!
The taste is a lot more interesting than the nose. Less rough notes, more simple, slightly better but still kinda rough notes. Like less violent horrible person and more kinda dumb FWB who is into BDSM.
Finish: Cashew, pepper, cream
Sad finish. All I could get was nut cream and pepper, and the last time I tasted that I got free garlic bread.
Though Chuck will never call me back.
Conclusion: It’s rough. I’m assuming this is an entry level whisky. Has a lot of flavour for what it does, however the finish probably needs more time. And the nose was just a bunch of varnished flowers, if that’s a thing.
Not really loving this one so much.
Actually: Elijah Craig 12
Price: N/A in Ontario
Colour: 10YR 8/10
Nose: Wood, strawberry, plum, brown sugar
Woody. Sweet too. Lot more fruit than you’d expect. Again, there’s a few potential odd balls. Enough bourbons out there doing too some crazy shit.
Taste: Floral, corn, papaya, salt
More floral points. However that could just be me. Maybe I just need flours.
Gave it some time, drank some more water, hurried up due to my own stupid belief I’m holding everyone up. I mean, sure, I am, but not as much as I think I am.
At least I think that.
Got some fruit and salt on this.
Finish: Maple, dry, apple, oak
Finishes like a slightly more interesting Canadian Whisky but without the pizazz that I expect. This time it’s not complex enough to hold up the dry aspects here.
Conclusion: Meh. I’m not really loving this one. It’s really simple, the flavours don’t really go anywhere, and the finish is just maple-y. Not my thing. Maybe it needed more time to open up, like a good psych patient.
Guess: Elijah Craig 12… again… cause I’m drunk at this point
Actually: Michter’s US*1 Small Batch Bourbon
Price: N/A in Ontario
Colour: 10YR 7/10
Nose: Rice, pepper, popcorn, butter, plum
Wait! I remember this! Or I don’t! Fuck!
Big flavours here. Love the rice, slight heat, and the popcorn. I’m not allowed to have popcorn since “the incident”, so it’s nice.
Taste: Cinnamon, oily, peanut, buttery, rosemary
Really nice mouth feel. Tastes like a mouthful of buttered herbed peanuts. That’s a thing, right? I hope so.
This is what I imagine fresh roasted peanuts taste like.
Finish: Wheat, cereal, dry, garlic, rosemary
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Don’t stick your dick in a wall socket. Especially if you have lady parts.
Also that a dry finish really works when something has big flavours. And while I love the taste, they aren’t big enough for the balance.
Conclusion: Too much garlic, wheat in the finish, however overall a good dram. Nice to have, good flavours, and… well I swore I had had it before, and I didn’t. I thought this was WT 101, but I was wrong. Glad I have a bottle of this, and glad I finally got to try it.
Guess: Wild Turkey 101
Actually: Wild Turkey Rare Breed
101 Whiskies to try before you die review #66
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #281
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 2.5Y 9/8
Nose: Ginger, candy, cream cheese carrot cake, cinnamon, raisin
Sweeter nose. Reminds me of something. Like… when I used to serve Carrot Cake for every day of work and make good tips because of my sweet ass attitude.
Also my ass helped.
Taste: Carrot, mint, caramel, candy, grapefruit
Sweet, simple, nice flavours. A little more tart than others. Granted I’m 8 in so maybe it tastes like socks and I’m drunk.
Finish: Apple, dry, zucchini, thyme, varnish
Tastes very similar to the last one. Again, the dryness needs bigger flavours to balance it out.
Conclusion: I like this one, however it’s missing some of the complexity of the last. A sober me would have recognized the spirit similarities (and totally isn’t a Monday Morning Quarterback).
Good dram overall. Nice amount of flavours, and for someone with a sweet tooth like myself, I’m enjoying this one.
Guess: Is Dickel funny to write down? I should right that down. tee hee hee.
Actually: Wild Turkey 101
Bourbon reviews #101-109, West Virginia review #1, Kentucky reviews #74-81, Whiskey Network review #667-675