Category Archives: Bourbon

Old Horseshoe Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, 70 Proof

Well here’s one that almost got away!

I’ve taken to hosting ‘Whiskey By The Water’ tasting evenings in one of my local bars.

The water being the Shannon & the bar Sean’s.

It’s a way of sharing my growing drinks cabinet that would be folly of me to consume on my own.

Old Horseshoe is an Aldi brand from an un-named source.

The 70 Proof is a throwback to the Sikes system of alcohol strength as used in the UK until the 1980’s – they might yet go back to it after leaving Europe.

Deep brown in colour with viscous legs.

I’m getting a classic high-rye bourbon style of nose from Old Horseshoe – very reminiscent of Four Roses.

Quite a dry mouthfeel.

The dry peppery nuttiness is long lasting.

A lovely drop.

Sláinte

Sean’s Bar website here.

Discover The Shannon website here.

Old Horseshoe Aldi website here.

Sikes proof system explanation here.

Old Grand-Dad, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 40%

Usually on tasting whiskey I try to avoid reading reviews or flowery PR to mitigate against any undue influence or bias in my tastings.

Everyone has their own individual & often unique palate preferences as to how they enjoy & experience their whiskey.

With Old Grand-Dad I did pick up it was part of the Beam group – no mention of Suntory on the back of this bottle.

Only Beam here. c/othewhiskeynut

Beam encompasses a worldwide brand portfolio & Old Grand-Dad has been available from the late 1800’s.

It’s also a ‘high rye’ style of bourbon.

Now ‘high rye’ isn’t legally defined. It loosely equates to a rye grain content of between 20 to 35% in the all important mash-bill – along with the 51% minimum corn to be labelled as bourbon.

The rye produces a pleasing dry spiciness over and above the candy floss sweet bourbon which adds a degree of complexity, depth & bite to my palate.

Old Grand-Dad c/othewhiskeynut

Old Grand-Dad certainly is a fine example of this style.

Slightly shy on the nose. The rye is in there – but the 40% ABV might just mute it a little.

Mild & sweet in the palate – it’s not until the finish Old Grand-Dad opens up for me.

That dry, almost biscuity ryeness kicks in above a sugary sweet candy floss leaving an enjoyable prickly tingling slowly departing.

I also read Old Grand-Dad is a ‘cult’ whiskey.

Whether that’s because it’s an old brand given a resurgence, hard to get hold of or limited release – I don’t know.

A happy dram. c/othewhiskeynut

What I do know is Old Grand-Dad offers a lot of flavour for it’s affordable price point.

It also further confirms my high rye bourbon soft spot.

Sláinte

Michter’s Whiskey Launch, Dublin, 2019

There’s some whiskey launches I didn’t get round to writing up – Michter’s being one of them.

It’s nothing to do with the quality of the product – nor the hospitality shown on the day – which were both outstanding I must say – other things & life just got in the way.

So in February 2019 a packed crowd of whiskey fans gathered in a Dublin venue to sample the delights of Michter’s Whiskey. Oh those heady days of pre-COVID freedom!

I was already convinced of the marvels of Michter’s having sampled the core range at Whisky Birmingham.

Michter’s Birmingham 2017 c/othewhiskeynut

A brief history of Michter’s served as an introduction.

Originally founded in 1753 & incorporating the Shenk’s & Bomberger’s families too, Michter’s – along with many others – collapsed during the lean years of the 70’s & 80’s.

A couple of entrepreneurs bought the brand names in the 90’s, selected choice casks from distilleries & proceeded to build up a reputation for fine bourbon & rye. This was Phase 1.

Phase 2 started in the early 2000’s. With dwindling stocks of barrels & increased sales a more steady supply was needed. Contract distilling in Kentucky began with specific mashbills, filling percentages, maturation policy & filtration standards all being controlled by Michter’s exacting standards.

Phase 3 is Michter’s producing their own whiskey in their own distilleries. That is currently in play right now – so for the moment – the whiskeys presented to us at the event were from Phase 2.

9 Michter’s awaiting c/othewhiskeynut

Michter’s Straight Rye, 42.4%

Distinctive rye nose, candy sweet & spicy dry. Smooth & easy palate. Decent complexity with long dry peppery spice on the finish.

A solid rye to start the proceedings.

Michter’s Straight Bourbon, 45.7%

Sweet & surprisingly spicy nose. The rye content isn’t too high – the exact ratios weren’t revealed – & it was suggested the spice emanates from the char 3 level virgin oak casks used. Whatever the method – it resulted in a warmth of flavour rounded up by a long peppery spice finish.

Lovely.

Michter’s Sour Mash, 43%

Being neither 51% corn or rye – Sour Mash has a mixed mashbill offering an intriguing sweet & sour nose. Lovely mouthfeel with soft spices & quite a dry finish.

Entertaining.

Michter’s American Whiskey, 41%

Using 2nd fill barrels for maturation & a corn, rye & barley mashbill – American Whiskey cannot be called Bourbon or Rye. Lighter on the palate than the others, there was still a richness of flavour & slight spice which reeled me in.

Alluring.

The above 4 made up the core range – & very engaging they were too! In a divergence from my love of rye – I have to say the combination of rich warm flavours along with a peppery dry spiciness of Straight Bourbon won me over in this group.

But there’s more!

Crowded table c/othewhiskeynut

Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Straight Bourbon, 45.7%

Part of a limited release range, Toasted Barrel benefits from extra ageing in – no surprises – toasted barrels which impart a slight smokiness to the bourbon. Not a peatiness nor BBQ style however – more a gentle wood fire vibe going on.

Very pleasing.

Then a couple of age statement whiskeys – rare enough for America!

10 Year Old Straight Rye, 47.2%

Great classic rye nose – boosted with more depth & warmth – which flowed through into the palate. Smoother, richer & more complex than before.

A gorgeous rye.

10 Year Old Straight Bourbon, 47.2%

Again this bourbon impressed! A winning combination that just dialled up the overall experience a big notch.

Fabulous.

Yet the goodies kept on coming!

I was particularly looking forward to the next pair from the Legacy Series.

Shenk’s Homestead c/othewhiskeynut

Shenk’s Homestead, 2018, 45.6%

Finished in French Oak Barrels – there was more of a rounded dark fruity sweetness on this one. Very chewy – although the finish fell away a bit quickly.

Luxurious.

Bomberger’s Declarartion c/othewhiskeynut

Bomberger’s Declaration, 2018, 54%

Finished in Chinquapin Oak – a gorgeous dry tannic spice gave wonderful richness & depth to this bottle which immediately propelled it to my top spot!

Stunning.

Such a fabulous showcasing of the Michter’s range & generous hospitality of the brand!

There was much milling around & happy chatting afterwards & I managed a cheeky sampling of the 20 Year Old Straight Bourbon, 57.1%

20yo Michter’s c/othewhiskeynut

Ooops!

Despite being such a rare opportunity – I must admit to finding the dryness & high strength combo being too much for me & obliterating the welcome warmth & engaging flavours of it’s younger stablemates.

So what did I take away from it all?

Well I really enjoyed Michter’s!

Their attention to detail certainly comes through in the fabulous flavours of the range.

For my part, age, high ABV & rye aren’t automatic winners. A combination of elements & ingredients along with careful maturation in varied cask regimes can bring about stunning whiskey.

I wish Michter’s future success with their own distilleries!

Sláinte

TinCup American Whiskey, 42%

The most Northern point on the Island of Ireland is in what is often known as The South.

To access the political North from here you travel South.

TinCup American Whiskey proudly displays it’s Colorado heritage on the attractively embossed bottle – as well as the marketing story.

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TinCup story. c/othewhiskeynut

The bulk of the whiskey is actually distilled in Indiana – blended & cut with some Colorado single malt & ‘Pure Rocky Mountain Water’.

So now that’s all clear – what was I doing in The North?

Simple really.

The North – being a different jurisdiction – stocks a more comprehensive & varied array of spirits than The South. Always keen to pick up something new & interesting I called in on an Asda supermarket on my travels & bagged this American Whiskey.

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I like it! c/othewhiskeynut

The design is cool – the marketing is slick – it’s reasonably priced – it made my basket.

A rich golden brown hue with that classic candyfloss bourbon sweetness tempered by a sawdusty dry rye aroma greeted me.

The palate was relatively mellow – yet gradually opened up with smooth vanilla & gently growing peppery spices building to a gorgeously drying finish leaving a tingling prickliness dancing away.

I found the overall presentation of this whiskey extremely endearing & enticing.

The whiskey itself suitably matched the marketing.

A lovely combination of rugged rye & smooth bourbon – stories of the past & visions for the future.

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Jess Graber c/othewhiskeynut

I look forward to further exploring developments from Jess Graber, Colorado Whiskey & Proximo Spirits..

Happy Independence Day!

Sláinte

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Old Pepper 1780 Straight Whiskey, 43%, in Bourbon St, Gothenburg.

It’s February in Gothenburg.

I’ve had a few – more is promised – a feed is in order.

Don’t all the bars do food?

Bourbon St – maybe a burger will suffice?

Yes – burgers indeed – and what to drink?

Well I’ll stick with the American theme & order that distinctive black & gold labelled square bottle I don’t recognise.

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Old Pepper c/othewhiskeynut

Old Pepper 1780 Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey made my glass.

Mmmmmm!

The usual candy floss sweetness on the nose – but with an attractive spiciness to boot

A decent wholesome mouthfeel.

That spice coming through stronger.  Suggests a high rye content – although the virgin oak tannins could be working their magic too.

A very easy & engaging bourbon with a touch of drying spice on the finish to add character.

Who’s behind this one?

A spot of googling reveals a firm by the name of Venturi Brands.

Old Pepper 1
Trademark dispute c/otrademarkandcopyrightlawblog

Despite the trademark dispute Old Pepper was certainly a tasty little number – along with the enjoyable burger & chips!

Sláinte

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Wild Turkey, Rare Breed, 112.8 Barrel Proof.

Reminisces of times past.

Trying to buy this lovely rich bourbon coming through JFK a while ago was a bit of an experience.

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Bold Turkey c/othewhiskeynut

You don’t get to carry your own purchases to the plane.

It’s ferried to the gate on little trollies.

When boarding begins – an amusing form of bingo starts.

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It’s a numbers game. c/othewhiskeynut

‘Pink 71 – White 24’ is shouted out by staff as harried passengers queue to collect their duty free.

Husbands deserted wifes waiting for perfume.

Wifes deserted husbands waiting for whiskey.

This pantomine slowed up the boarding process & several passengers got irate.

I just smiled – Wild Turkey Barrel Proof is worth waiting for.

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Captured Turkey c/othewhiskeynut

It ended my American travels on an entertaining footnote.

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Jim Beam Black, 8 Year Old, 43%

There’s an attractive quality to miniatures.

The opportunity to try out unknown treasures – or non runners – before buying a full bottle.

The ease of transport – particularly when flying!

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Jim Beam 8 c/othewhiskeynut

And the chance to taste a wide variety of styles without breaking the bank.

This Jim Beam was part of a job lot auction acquisition.

A simple yet bold label design pleased me.

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Packs a punch! c/othewhiskeynut

Signature sweet bourbony notes with a touch of oakiness on the nose.

The charred casks coupled with added ageing had boosted the depth of the palate with more warmth & richness.

At 43% it packed a spirity punch – which I found attractive.

Miniatures are fleeting memories.

Especially when you find out the 8 Year Old was dropped in favour of an NAS – non age statement – I encountered here.

Sláinte

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Rebel Yell, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 40%

I can’t resist humming a few lines from Billy Idol’s 1983 hit “Rebel Yell” whenever I encounter this whiskey.

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King Rocker? c/othewhiskeynut

According to rock legend – Billy wrote the song after attending a party fueled by the aforementioned beverage.

Rock ‘n’ Roll & Whiskey – the perfect mix.

Would Rebel Yell deliver?

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Ready, Steady, Go! c/othewhiskeynut

Well the nose is sweet bourbon – full of popcorn, bubblegum & a touch of spice.

The mouthfeel is smooth, easy & pleasant.

A touch of intensity on the finish as it slowly dries out.

Not raucous rock to me – more bubblegum punk – which both Billy & Rebel Yell Whiskey excel in.

A suitable pairing.

Sláinte

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Jim Beam, Black XA, 43% v’s Signature Craft 12, 43%.

I used to fly.

Probably won’t be doing it for a while now.

One enjoyable pastime at the airport was sampling whiskey.

JFK had a pair of Beams not previously encountered.

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2 Beams c/othewhiskeynut

The Black Extra Aged sported an attractive enough bottle.

‘Black’ is often used in whiskey circles to denote a more refined, aged or even mysterious elixir.

I was happy to explore.

It came across quite soft & sweet – but with an appreciatively appealing bite too.

Not bad!

The Signature Craft 12 Year Old displayed a more rounded & smoother feel – lacking the youthful exuberance of it’s stablemate.

Black won out.

Sláinte

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Brand Ambassador Tasting, Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder, The American Collection.

Following on from the 6 Irish offerings were 2 American Whiskeys courtesy Hi-Spirits Ireland distributors.

Colonel EH Taylor, Small Batch, 50%

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The Colonel c/othewhiskeynut

An extremely well crafted & balanced bourbon. A few not familiar with this category were impressed. Clearly their previous drinking experiences hadn’t matched the quality of EH Taylor.

Using an undisclosed mash bill – #1 for those interested – of corn, rye & malted barley from the mighty Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky – this Bottled In Bond offering displays the tasty highlights bourbon can attain.

A delight to meet it’s acquaintance.

1792 Full Proof 63.5%

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Full Proof c/othewhiskeynut

Not many in Ireland may have had the pleasure of tasting 1792, but they might recall the disastrous rickhouse collapse at the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky where this fine bourbon hails from.

The Full Proof version at a stonking 63.5% is not for the fainthearted.

There is an explosion of taste & flavour followed by an even bigger explosion of alcohol as it literally ‘booms’ on the palate.

Using the same high rye mash bill as the 1792 Small Batch I’d enjoyed at a 4th July tasting in Sean’s Bar, Athlone – Full Proof achieved cult status after Jim Murray gave it Whisky Of The Year in his 2020 Whisky Bible.

Fantastic to have sampled Full Proof, – yet for easy drinking without the high strength drama- Small Batch is still a winner for me.

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Small Batch c/othewhiskeynut

If you’re ever in Sean’s – drop me a line – perhaps we might put it to the test?

Slàinte

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