Tag Archives: Bourbon

Rúa American Single Malt, 46% & Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, 45%

American Single Malt Whiskey is a growing category.

I thought a back to back with one of the new breed of American Distillery’s releases against a more established Bourbon producer was in order.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar

Rúa American Single Malt, 46%

Distilled at the Great Wagon Road Distillery in North Carolina & claiming Irish heritage with the Rúa name is this non chill filtered , natural colour organic, non GMO barley offering.

A lovely richness to the nose. Mild & mellow on the palate. Slowly builds developing into a very attractive & enjoyable array of flavours which dance merrily away.

A very well presented single malt.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, 45%

Hailing from the long established & popular Four Roses Distillery in Kentucky is this Small Batch release. A blend of different bourbon mash-bills with varying degrees of rye content.

I immediately get a warm dry nose – indicative of the high rye content Four Roses is known for. A satisfying mouthfeel where the dry spiciness of the rye interplays with the smooth sweet corn influence. Leaves with that signature prickly spice.

Nice & easy.

Thoughts

I enjoyed both of these!

Trying to pick a winner is a bit tricky.

Do I go for the subtle yet engaging flavours of the newcomer single malt?

Or stick with the bolder rye spices of the established player?

Four Roses are relatively easy to encounter – but I do think Rúa is worth seeking out.

It’s constantly seeking new experiences that engage me on this spirit journey – so Rúa it is!

Sláinte

Whiskey & Philosophy, Editors Fritz Allhoff & Marcus P Adams

Wow!

I’ve never read a whiskey book like this before.

Authors from differing disciplines were invited to submit essays on varying aspects relating to whiskey.

The results are highly entertaining, thought provoking and at times – challenging.

Can you apply Hegelian thought, Aristotle virtue, the philosophy of Dualism, Buddhism or plain old group think & social cohesion to tasting a whiskey?

It’s all in the mix of this publication.

Why do you like one whiskey over another?

Is taste malleable?

Does knowing the master blender, visiting the distillery, being part of the clan, liking the manufacturing techniques, agreeing with the sustainable policies, bottle design, price point all alter our experience of drinking whiskey?

I certainly have my views of the above – and they’ve been further enlightened by the discourse within the pages of this book.

Whiskey & Philosophy is a bold publication full of complexity & rich depth. The diverse elements combine elegantly giving creative excitement to this blended entity.

Highly recommended!

Sláinte

2 Controversial Whiskey Blends, John L Sullivan, 40% & Celtic Nations, 46%

Both these whiskeys attracted a degree of controversy when originally released.

Most of it centred around the interpretation of ‘rules’ – but I was curious to taste the results.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

John L Sullivan Irish Whiskey, 40%

Named after a famous Irish/American boxer of the late 1800’s – which attracted initial upset – an original bottling of John L Sullivan displayed the legend ‘Irish Bourbon’.

Image courtesy Whiskey Jug

Attempting to celebrate the Irish/American heritage with a blend of Irish & Bourbon whiskeys fell foul of labelling laws & the bottle was withdrawn.

Before me is a sample from a bottle labelled John L Sullivan Irish Whiskey – aged in bourbon casks.

Pale straw in colour, shy nose, not giving much away, smooth easy palate, gentle growing warmth with a hug of sweet vanilla & caramel, flourish of mild spice on the rear.

An easy going entry level offering.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Celtic Nations, 46%

A collaboration between the Irish Teeling Whiskey Co & Scotch Bruichladdich Distillery to create a harmonious blend of single malts to celebrate the 2 nations spirits.

Didn’t meet the approval of the SWA & was banned.

Pale straw colour, gorgeous expressive nose of gentle peat coming through, the palate displays more soft Irish notes before the embers of a peat fire warms up the finish.

An entertaining soft peater.

Thoughts

Both of these whiskeys had great potential.

The pugilist inspired John L Sullivan pre-dated the global success of Proper Twelve & there’s been subsequent Irish/American Whiskey/Bourbon collaborations on the market since.

Cross nation blends have been a staple earning for both Scotch & Irish distilleries over the years – mainly for the lower end of the market. Perhaps this high profile open & transparent offering was just too much for the SWA?

Whatever the reasons – controversy is not a tasting note I encountered in either of these blends.

Sláinte

Foxes Bow Irish Whiskey , 43%, Blend

There’s a bright new shiny brand of Irish Whiskey from Limerick creating a few waves.

Using artwork designed by a local illustrator Foxes Bow strikes a bold, fresh & contemporary pose – and that’s only the bottle label!

So what of the liquid?

Positively sparkles on my palate!

A light, clean & fresh nose offers up hints of peppery spice.

Smooth mouth coating palate.

Dries out towards the finish but leaves a fruity juiciness gently fading away too.

The bourbon cask maturation with Oloroso & Rye barrel finishing has created a highly entertaining blend with an engaging array of flavours to tease out.

Very enjoyable!

Sláinte

All images courtesy Foxes Bow website & social media.

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

Lyre’s American Malt, 0%

Cognisant of the rise in non-alcoholic drinks – when this American Malt appeared in my local SuperValu I was intrigued enough to purchase one.

Promising a taste experience similar to bourbon – other offerings are available – could it deliver?

It certainly looks like a bourbon – although the legs are watery & limpid.

It even nosed like an entry level bourbon – caramels, vanilla & hints of toasty oak – despite no 51% corn or virgin oak barrel ageing.

On the palate it fell apart – watery & weak mouthfeel – but recovered on the finish leaving a warm spiciness that lasted a long time.

I’m not exactly the target audience – but the branding is good, the presentation is fine & despite the watery experience – it possesses some bourbony qualities.

Non-alcoholic drinks are clearly a growing market & Lyre’s appear to be leading trend setters.

I wish them well – but think I’ll stick to the real thing myself.

Sláinte

All images courtesy Whiskey Nut

Bacoo, 4 Year Old Rum, 40%, Dominican Republic

Aldi are upping their spirits game.

Established brands are now hitting the shelves in addition to Aldi’s own offerings.

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Benchmark No 8 c/othewhiskeynut

Benchmark No 8 – a decent high rye bourbon from the Buffalo Trace stable in Kentucky – represents the whiskey category.

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Bacoo in a Tuath glass. c/othewhiskeynut

Bacoo 4yo does the honours for rum.

Presented in an attractively embossed bottle – common throughout the range – Bacoo offers  ‘Made with Fresh Cane Juice’  &  ‘Aged in Ex-Bourbon Barrels’  as temptation.

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Yummy! c/othewhiskeynut

Fresh & fruity notes greeted me, touches of sugarcane grassiness, slight funk & dollops of demerara too.

Vanillas & caramel dominated the palate over that sweet sugarcane base.

A flourish of welcoming spice wrapped up this smooth – if rather sugar heavy offering.

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Bacoo back label c/othewhiskeynut

A fun, easy going rum vying for sweet dessert status.

Sláinte

Good Logo

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

Good Logo

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

Good Logo