Thursday, June 6, 2013

Knob Creek - I got me a headache...

by Keith Adams

Knob Creek
Knob Creek Distillery Clermont, KY

It's been a while... Since my last article they've killed off half the Stark family on Game of Thrones and Arrested Development aired an entire season. After the last episode of GoT I needed a drink that packed a punch so I went to the liquor cabinet. There it was, the bottle of Knob Creek taunting me with a fucking reminder that I hadn't yet reviewed this bourbon I purchased month's ago. You see, I've been putting off this review intentionally for a month or two now.  I know what you're thinking.... come on, there are so many awesome jokes and euphemisms for a bourbon named Knob Creek that an entire article could be written on that alone.  So what's taken me so long you ask. Well trust me, it's not the name that's been slowing me down. The knobstacle in my way is the after effects of this stuff.

The Good: This is a great tasting bourbon. At 100 proof it starts out hot and aged for 9 years gives it a nice sweet/woody taste.  You literally take a drink and ponder the joke possibilities of a bourbon with knob in the name that tastes like hot wood. I don't care who you are, there is some funny shit to be had right there! Beyond that it's a pretty one dimensional bourbon.  It has a very dry woody oak finish which is a nice characteristic that usually gets a bourbon a thumbs up in my book.

The Bad: This shit gives me a headache like you wouldn't believe the next day. We're talking a Frank Black type Headache here.

I've tried it 4 or 5 times now and it's the same result every time for me. This bottle will have to sit on the shelf and continue to taunt me until someone comes over and drinks the rest.

Taste: Sweet Wood/Spices
Price $30
Purchase Again: Not me but I would recommend others give it a try

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Four Roses Single Barrel is Legit

by Matt Adams

Four Roses Single Barrel
Four Roses Distillery

So this season of Game of Thrones is almost over, Deadliest Catch is kind of boring and I'm 3 weeks behind on Mad Men. I heard Don Draper gets stoned on something weird? I don't know. It was a long ass winter indoors and I'm about ready to throw everything to the wind as far as media devices go and spend the rest of my days outside until it snows again. Which will probably be in a few weeks.  

Something that's not weird to get "Don Draper" stoned on is this Four Roses Single Barrel. When I picked up this bottle the old lady at the check out asked me, "So when did you start drinking the higher end bourbons?" I thought to myself, "What the fuck did I get myself into? The price didn't seem that out of hand as it was on sale." I chuckled and said something like, "I like bourbon." I received a look from her like Ralph from A Christmas Story gives that a-sexual "girl?" wearing a pair of fucking flight goggles when "she/he"  says, "I like the tin-man". Just utterly annoyed and disgusted with the entire situation.

Fuck it. Little did I know that the bourbon I bought that day would indeed be a good purchase that I can safely recommend to anyone who wants to drink a good bourbon. 

Four Roses Single Barrel is the shit. It's got a kick ass nose, it's fruity and sweet.  It's not overwhelmingly oak flavored and is well-organized in the finish as well as up front. I usually like an oak finish to my bourbons, but this one has a overall sweetness throughout.  It's a lot like the Four Roses Small Batch bourbon, very smooth and easy going down, even at 100 proof. I drank this one neat a few times, but drop in some ice and a splash of water and it became my go to drink above Makers Mark.

Highly recommend this one above a lot of others I've reviewed and would venture to say that if you're looking to start drinking bourbon regularly, grab a bottle Four Roses Single Barrel. 

So up next in my cabinet I have some W.L. Weller wheated and some Buffalo Trace. I did spot the Woodford Reserve Double Oak at the booze store the crusty old lady works at. I might have to stop in there and blow her mind with another stellar Matt quote. 

Taste: YUM! Fruit, Sweet
Price: $45-$55
Purchase Again: Yes. Absolutely.

I need to talk with my cousin about starting an interactive timeline or maybe even a bourbon bracket that sorts the bourbons we've tried and narrow this shit down. Maybe a top 5 would be best. Having it available at all times on the side bar or in the banner too would be a good placement in case you bastards don't want to sit and read this shit.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Templeton Rye – “The Good Stuff”

By: Keith Adams

Templeton Rye
Templeton Rye Spirits

There has been brief mention of Templeton Rye on this site, which amounted to:

"Surprising. I'm definitely going to try some more Rye."
"Was a prohibition recipe, so this shit must be good."
"I'm buying this."

While these are certainly words of encouragement, the Templeton admittedly came out late in the night of tasting. Not that all things tasted at the end of the night are good.  Someday maybe I’ll tell you about my experience with Crown Maple. Holy shit that was an experience that took days to recover... but I digress.  So anyway, it seemed only fair to follow through, buy a bottle and give Templeton a fair review.

The history of Templeton Rye is enough to make you want to give it a chance. It was made in Templeton, Iowa throughout the prohibition era, later adopted as a favorite of Al Capone and then disappeared until the recipe was resurrected in 2001. While still based in Templeton, it is distilled in Indiana and trucked to Iowa for bottling. I don’t know how much of the back-story is true but who really gives a shit. It’s a compelling story that brought out the rave review above, "Was a prohibition recipe, so this shit must be good."

At first smell, I sense the overwhelming scent of candy red hots/cinnamon followed by a stronger vanilla. The vanilla carries into the first drink which is followed by a cinnamon/red hot finish, with a little bit of pepper thrown in to heat things up.  That said, it isn’t really what I would consider “hot.”  It’s actually a pretty mild whisky that is easy to drink neat. For a whiskey that bills itself as “The Good Stuff,” I’d have to agree.  They have a good product that I’d definitely recommend.  

I mentioned in my Bulliet Rye review that I wasn’t a huge fan of that one.  Templeton definitely holds it’s own when comparing them side by side. For me, the clear winner is Templeton and it's opened up an interest in trying more rye.

Taste: Vanilla/Candy Red Hots
Price: $30-$40
Purchase Again: Yes 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Wild Turkey 101 - Fire Walk with Me

By: Keith Adams

Wild Turkey 101
Austin Nichols Distilling Co

To be completely honest, I had no intention of reviewing this Bourbon.  It wasn't on my radar and any suggestion would normally be shrugged off as a lower tier bourbon that didn't interest me. In a moment of weakness I told a friend I would do this as my next review. I still consider him a friend but only because I subjected him to Rebecca Black's "Friday" when it was released.

With that disclaimer out of the way, I have to admit that this was much better than I expected. It has a nice vanilla/carmel scent and at 101 proof I was definitely expecting this thing to be packing some heat. You can imagine my surprise when I took my first swallow of this bourbon and it went down smoother than many I have tried. This was followed by 5-10 seconds of me evaluating the taste when the full heat hit me. Breathing became a chore and there is a fire that erupts from your belly up into the chest and into the esophagus.  Once you get used to that "holy shit" moment, you begin to appreciate what this bourbon really has to offer. The caramel and vanilla stay with it in the finish where it's joined by a nice cinnamon flavor.

Wild Turkey was definitely better than I expected and I'm glad I had a chance to give it a try.  For the record, I gave the remainder of the bottle to my daughter's boyfriend to finish.  There are better bourbons out there for me to spend my time with but in a pinch I would drink more Wild Turkey.

Taste: Carmel, Sweet, and when we kiss... FIRE!
Price: $20-$25
Purchase Again: No (unless stranded in a small town and your other options are Beam and Jack)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Four Roses Small Batch... I went back

By: Matt Adams

Four Roses Small Batch
From the Four Roses Distillery

So I went back and got the Four Roses after feeling guilty for not finishing the under $20 reviews properly. My motivations for getting through this bottle are purely selfish because I want to get into some other things on the checklist before spring.

This is a really drinkable bourbon on it's own and is even more so with a splash of water. It's a smooth drink that's not nearly as harsh as others I've sampled. With my untrained nose I get fruit and vanilla. There isn't much more to it other than that. I've read some other reviews where tasters have gotten black pepper, but I haven't gotten any of that shit. Up front it's very smooth and there isn't much of a burn. It is a nice introduction to bourbon if you're looking for a really smooth one to drink. Very pleasing taste on the palate which is mostly fruit, vanilla and sweetness. I don't get the barrel until the finish and even then it's not over powering and REALLY subtle. I personally like to get the barrel up front and enjoy a very heavy wood char taste, but others might like that surprise at the end. Happy endings always rule. The finish is very smooth and sweet. Everything I was expecting when I smelled it. I am curious to try the Four Roses Single Barrel next time around. If it's as smooth as this bottle of booze, I think I might have one that's going to be in the cabinet more than once. Take it this way... This is a very happy drink that's going to go down smooth and not piss you off for spending money on. I can safely say you can buy this if you're looking for something that won't disappoint you when you crack the damn seal. My personal jury is out on this one still. Is this the best Four Roses has in their repertoire? I'm not going to buy this again until I know for sure. 

Taste: Smooth, Sweet, very easy to drink
Price: $20 -$30
Purchase Again: No. Only for the hopes of other Four Roses brands being better! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Woodford Reserve... Fantastic Voyage

By Matt Adams

First off. This blog started out as a personal journey with bourbon and has now become a voyage with my cousin! He's buying into the search for the best of the best with me and now we're taking this son of a bitch head on together. Not only does this make more sense financially, but it's giving us more opportunities to try twice as many spirits. I also need to get this off my chest... Keith, the Breckenridge you brought over is in the shelf with all the weird schnapps and liquors for mixers. It will probably be living a long life up there in the dust bowl of drinking. If anyone ever wants to try some paint thinner, come on over! You can chase it with some nasty apple liqour that's right behind this bottle in my cupboard.

Onto the good stuff. 

Woodford Reserve

Last time Keith came up he brought over a bottle of Woodford and I went back to the liquor store and bought that Four Roses I passed on for the under $20 reviews. I'll get to that one in another post because I've only gone back to that one twice since having the official bourbon of the Kentuky Derby in the house. As for the smell or the "nose" for you snobs out there. You get a kick ass whiff of oranges, really deep cinnamon and almost a sweet pipe tobacco smell. It's a great combination of rich sweet goodness. Up front on the taste it's HOT and I'm not really comfortable with the burn. Once the finish comes on, it's worth it. It's a very complex sweetness with a lot of fruit and spice that I was waiting for when I smelled the shit. The oak in Woodford is really subtle compared to a Hudson Baby Bourbon or even the Rowan's Creek where you're hit with Oak at all times. I wasn't going to stick with this bourbon because I didn't like the burn on the front. The damn trick on the Woodford for me is to cut the burn with a splash of water when I ice it. I've been enjoying this one along side Makers Mark with the trick in place! It might be a cheat, but it's becoming one of my favorites. You know what. I'm also going to establish something right here and the pure reviewers out there might scoff at me, but I've learned a valuable lesson with Woodford. If you don't like something about a bourbon, try to fix it and you might like it better. Not everything needs to be enjoyed neat. I've also learned to enjoy bourbon with a little lemon or orange slice in it. In coffee tasting they pair food with certain beans to bring out the flavors and you can do the same with bourbon. Some might like the heat, but MY ass out the kitchen and on a mission with a splash of water in the Woodford. Fantastic Voyage and a good one to pick up.

Taste: Oranges, cinnamon, pipe tobacco. 
Price: $25-$30
Purchase Again: Yes

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Four riders behind me, 3 Bulleits left…

By: Keith Adams

Have you ever looked at a word and thought, “How the hell do I say that without sounding stupid?” That’s exactly how I felt when I came across Bulleit Bourbon. A wise man would have passed on principle alone but it was the Frontier Whiskey part that sealed the deal for me. There is some draw in believing I’m about to drink whiskey made from an old frontier recipe. The Gold Rush crew would probably love the shit out of this stuff, they live like frontiersmen.

On to the Bourbon… Since Bulleit offers 3 different whiskeys, (only 2 are technically bourbons) I decided to pick up the trifecta.

Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey

This is a very good offering.  It has a nice caramel/vanilla nose with a taste to match.  Something I didn’t notice in the scent but could definitely taste was a heavy cinnamon, almost red-hot flavor.  The cinnamon and vanilla hang around as a nice aftertaste. It’s a little dry but not 1792 dry. It didn’t really remind me of the old frontier, but I’m not sure what I was expecting.  It would probably need to taste like dust and cobwebs or something. At this point I’m going to say the taste was preferable to a frontier flavor and it’s a must try bourbon.

Taste: Very Good/Good
Price: $25
Purchase Again: Yes

Bulleit 10 Year Old Bourbon Frontier Whiskey

This is like the original Frontier Whiskey on roids! It’s bigger, bolder and carries a lot more punch. It holds onto that vanilla, caramel flavor but the cinnamon is lost to me and replaced with a much more pronounced wood flavor. If the original Bulleit was dry, then I’d say this one could be used to mop up the floor when the kids spill shit on it.  Closer to the dryness level of the 1792 I tested. This one is definitely more complex and a much stronger offering. I’m not sure it’s really worth the extra bones for that added punch, but if someone’s offering it, definitely have them pour you a glass.

Taste: Very Good - Complex
Price: $45
Purchase Again: On the fence (Not sure it’s worth the premium over the standard Bulleit)

Bulleit 95 Rye

To round out the trifecta I broke into the Bulliet 95 Rye. The 95 is a reference to the 95% rye grain mash.  I’ve gotta admit, I can’t even look at rye whiskey without hearing Jim-Tom singing the rye whiskey song - That alone made me want to add this one to the review. This one had me confused from the start. I thought I smelled a pine tree in the bottle when I opened it but that was quickly replaced with a minty cinnamon scent. That cinnamon stays true throughout the tasting and the finish, leaving you with the feeling that you just had some red-hots. I’m starting to think Bulleit is dissolving red-hots in their damn whiskey! I’d probably pass on a second bottle of this stuff; it’s not bad, rye whiskey may just not be my thing. My outlook on this may change by the time I finish the bottle.

Taste: Good
Price: $25
Purchase Again: No (Don’t let me sway you if you like a strong rye)
This brings me to the title of the article… Bulleit is pronounced like bullet, not boo-lay so it seemed only appropriate to include some frontier like song reference. Bullet The Blue Sky was an obvious choice but it was lacking that frontier punch I was looking for.  Instead I went with Marie by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers ( which may also be a good tequila drinking song. Give it a listen, if nothing else it will help get Jim-Tom out of your head.