[Book] Bourbon Empire

Price: Who gives a shit? It’s a book. They’re priceless. | Rating: 4

Normally I ain’t in the business of doing book reports because let’s face it I ain’t no fuckin Carol Joyce Oats. But it’s summer, hotter than hell out and I haven’t been to the shop or bar lately to try any new stuff. To be honest, I’ve been over in the gin world enjoying some G&Ts watching some Netflix and waiting for winter to hurry up and get here. But this weekend I chilled with Reid Mitenbuler’s Bourbon Empire book, and I have to say it’s the first book I’ve read about whiskey where the author isn’t full of shit or trying to blow themselves in public about how much they know (“hey I found this parchment linking some dude with bad teeth to this bourbon company, ain’t I clean?”). This dude doesn’t take himself too seriously, and it makes for an enjoyable read. You know what it’s like? It’s like hanging out with your friend who really knows a shit ton about a subject, but isn’t bragging or flexing nuts about how much they know, and then you’re like, sitting at a campfire on vacation and you’re like “dude, tell me some awesome shit you know about bourbon” and then he tells you, but doesn’t make you want to jump head first into the campfire with boring details and totally unnecessary factoids. I know I’m totally late and this book came out in 2015, but normally I read shit about recurrence plots or Russian oil futures so I’m a bit behind most people in their bourbon book knowledge. Looking at amazon right now, it seems like there are a lot of them. I’m sure most of them are shit, but I’m sure there are a few that are pretty good, like this one.

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[Review] Coopers Craft

Proof: 82.2 | Price: $30 | Rating: 2.5

In our last episode, a certain Brown-Forman company broke my heart with their latest experimental, gift store only bottle and I vowed never to spend money on one of their gift shop bottles again. I’m staying true to that but then I saw that Brown Forman has a new thing out called Coopers Craft. At $30 a pop I figured it can’t be *that* bad but I’m still shaking things off a bit, so I went down to my watering hole and gripped a sample instead. Looking at the bottle I got bummed out again, Franklin. 82 proof? No age statement? My guess is that Brown, Forman and Chris Morris all got in a conference room together, had a meeting with some Cheetos and went “how can we possibly piss off every bourbon snob and blogger on the internet with one bottle that is a giant f-you to everything you like?” and then Chris Morris was like “I got just the thing, yo.”

So while this is all swirling around in my head I tried it and surprise! It’s as advertised. Sweet fruit on the nose, light and easy on the taste. There’s like no potency to this whatsoever. I’m finding it hard to believe it’s even 82 proof. Some other usual suspects on the taste (vanilla, limpy wimpy oak) and then a light finish that is short to medium. I guess this might be good for a mixer or an entry bourbon for someone who texts you “hey I’m at the store and I need to get a bourbon and I’ve never tried bourbon what is cheap and good”. This sort of qualifies in that category, but I ain’t buying in any time soon. I can’t even bother with posting up a bottle image or anything.

Posted in 2.5, Bourbon, Rating, Review | Comments Off on [Review] Coopers Craft

[Review] Woodford Reserve Five Malt

Woodford Reserve Five MaltProof: 90.4 | Price: $50 | Rating: 1.5

Dags, I’ve been blagging at this blag for about two years now on and off and on and off and I think I’ve been fair and honest when it comes to the distillery down in my hood. I tells it like it is when it’s good, and I tells it like it is when its bad. I got it bad and that ain’t good on this one.

First off, stupid ass me didn’t even see this was only aged maybe 6 months and I guess I should have tipped it off by how light the color is. But this isn’t a bourbon, it’s a five malt whiskey, so that should have been strike two. Nope. I’m a complete dumbass for throwing down change for this, but I figured I’d been loyal to buying the gift shop bottles up until this point, why stop? Gotta support the local crew.

That ain’t happening anymore. It tastes exactly how you’d think it tastes: an underaged Scotch. You’d think this was something from “Stone & Flatulence Investor Capitalist’s Downhome Startup Whiskey Company And Microbrewery” or some bourbon-boom absurdity, and not Woodford Reserve. It’s got some malt on the nose along with faint sweetness like caramel. A little bit of that caramel and vanilla shows up on the taste, but it’s too sweet, almost medicinal, for my tastes. The finish is long but weird, almost like I drank this whiskey out of a used coffee cup.

I give them credit for trying some new stuff, but like the Buffalo Trace Experiments, it’s just too high a price range for a constant subscription, especially when you have no idea what you’re gonna get. I’ll keep trying them, but I ain’t buying em.

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[Review] Four Roses 2016 Limited Edition Single Barrel Elliot’s Select

Four Roses Elliott Select

Wham bam thank you maam!

Proof: | Price: $130 (+/-) | Rating: 4

Okay so a few weeks back there was this big bourbon to-do again and people came from all over to like, I dunno, go bear trapping with Fred Noe and grease wrestling with Eddie Russell or whatever. I don’t go to these things but it’s a big thing where rich people throw a lot of money at bourbon distilleries and they’re like “okay we’ll take your money, have some pecan pie, yee haw the south!” and everyone goes home drunk and happy. Which is how it should be. But one of the big bottles coming out of this event was the Four Roses 2016 Limited Edition Single Barrel Elliot’s Select. I can imagine people who ain’t into Days of Our Bourbon knowing who Elliot is. So basically, the master distiller at Four Roses Jim Rutledge retired and this guy named Brent Elliott was promoted.

Straight up: this is good shit. Nice and complex. Oak and beautiful vanilla, a wee bit of fruit. I almost didn’t take my time on this part because I wanted to just jump on in and taste this bad boy. Honey and vanilla, a bit of fruit and a whole mess of punch. This is not one to take lightly. This is a beautiful sipper. A long finish that has some mint and it really is similar to some of the beautiful single barrel selects I’ve had. Bravo.

Usually Four Roses does special releases yearly, so this is just keeping on with that tradition but homeboy makes a strong debut, even though it’s weird that his name and picture is on it. This time around the mashbill is OESK and it’s 14 years old. If you need a primer on Four Roses and what in the hell OESK is, here you go. Shout out to Bourbonr for this blueprint. Buy this badass on sight.

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[Review] Benchmark Old No. 8

Benchmark Old No. 8Proof: 80 | Price: $15 (+/-) | Rating: 2

Well summer is in full effect and I’m not really buying too much these days simply because I ain’t about to sit out in line for the new stuff and I don’t have a hookup anymore now that my guy went to jail. So this time around we are gonna do up a bottom shelfer that ain’t that bad but for some reason Buffalo Trace is adding flavors to it like apple, cinnamon, rubber tire blah blah. Benchmark is a value and I think it gets a bad rep because of it but really it comes from the same mashbill as some pretty heavy hitters . No age statement here but whatever you’re paying like $15 for a bottle so take what you get. Your usual bourbon hits on the nose (vanilla, orange, honey) and then you get a vanilla taste with a bit of corn muddled in there. My main beef is the weak ass finish. Wimpy as hell. Might be good as a mixer. Like I mentioned earlier, they’re doing flavored stuff under this name now and I haven’t tried it and I probably won’t unless forced at gunpoint. It doesn’t work as a replacement for the value bourbon I so love and miss (Ancient Ancient Age) but you know what? It ain’t bad.

I”m looking forward to this holiday weekend coming up. I wrote a lot this month. Need a bit of a break. Hard damn work trying to find interesting things to say about bourbon that y’all haven’t heard before elsewhere. I’ll probably do one or two more things before I take off for freedom day. If any of y’all are in near Millville KY and want to go skating on some ramps hit me up. Planning on doing a lot of that and drinking this weekend. Solid. Later.

Posted in 2, Bourbon, Rating, Review | Comments Off on [Review] Benchmark Old No. 8

[Complaint] Marketing People

Gang Marketing People,

I don’t do twitter so this is basically my sandbox to bitch in, and considering I guess there’s about 7 of you reading, y’all don’t mind if I take a second to file a complaint.

Marketing people:

– I ain’t “circling back” for a damn thing. I don’t even know what the hell you’re talking about. Move forward like a normal person. If you’re “circling back” just say you want to “check in” to find out why I haven’t responded to your email. Better look. Trust.

– Don’t “ping” me either. I had to look up what the hell you were talking about, and that wasted more of my time. I don’t “ping” you, so no “pinging”.

– I will take your samples, but if you read the about page you’d know that. I will tell you what’s up (see previous two things) and be straight up honest, which is refreshing and the seven people reading appreciate it. It’s how I’ve managed to double known readership (from 3 to 6) in just two years. They “circle back” and “ping” my reviews often when I’m in the mood to write them.

– Don’t send me recipes. I ain’t giving a damn about your artisan mixologist and what torch they used to weld together a cup for a julep.

I know this sounds like I’m some cranky old man at a Denny’s shitting trousers in the corner booth. I am. I am what I am. You are what you is.

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[Comment] Brexit Bourbon

Woke up the same way you did: in front of the TV watching Sky News calling the Brexit referendum on the side of folks who want out of the EU. Now I ain’t gonna get political on this, because I have my opinions, you got yours and we’ll drink to that. But there are some things to talk about. Thinking about Brexit, bourbon and whiskey in general. Damnit, here’s some hot takes over coffee. Keep in mind this shit may or may not happen, I’m just guessing here. That’s all this is. No gospel. Stephen A Smith has called so many shit predictions, and I’m afraid of being lumped in with him. Confidence is zero right now.

  • Scotland gonna maybe try and break away again. Maybe Ireland too. If that happens, we could see billiard balls go crazy at the break, especially when it comes to exports, pricing, and global competition. Uncertainty surrounding trade could make distributors weary. Banks could pull investments.
  • Last time I checked about 20% of Scotland’s exports are from the malt. That ain’t no small change. Higher taxes, lower supply of aged barrels, increase in NAS all could turn off die hard buyers.
  • Would also probably see sell offs by the giants of under performing brands. Diageo, Brown-Forman and others would be all like “screw it. I don’t need this shit” and start selling or ghosting up some distilleries. You could possibly see them stop investment in the area and see it shift elsewhere. Maybe more bourbon (hooray! more shitty Orphan Barrel!), maybe Japan, maybe Canada or India. There are markets that will be unfazed. That’s where they’ll hang until this calms down.
  • Casual buyers or those even just buying a every day low shelf bottle consistently, they’re gonna be saving their euros/pounds/whatever because who the fuck knows what’s gonna happen next?
  • Okay so now we get to bourbon (finally). Angry Soros is already saying this could turn into a Black Friday and at 10am the Dow is down 400. I don’t think it’ll get that bad, but again at this point WTFKWGHN. Bourbon’s enjoying that mighty fine golden age right now, but if people overseas stop importing, we could have a wee bit of a problem. Growth may slow, as would expansion and investment. All of those barrels aging could be staying there a bit longer (a bonus for us fans of aging). But Obama has already said there’s really no rush to negotiate new trade agreements with the UK, so that could hurt a key export market.
  • Looking at early stocks (again, 10am) the hit seems minimal: Diageo down 3%, B-F 2.8%, Campari 3%.

But whatever. There’s a lot of panic out there, as usual. Most importantly: no one’s had a heart to heart with the mash tanks and barrels about Brexit, and I doubt they give a shit what we do. They just want to keep aging. Keep calm and carry on, I guess.

Brexit Bourbon

Axl Rose: hold up before you freak out.

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[Review] Blanton’s Bourbon

B_originalProof: 93 | Price: $50 | Rating: 4.5

Was looking back on the bottles I’ve blagged on and I noticed I never blagged a review on Blanton’s. My bad, crew. Blanton’s has been a mainstay on the shelf for so long it’s one of those things I take fore granted. I know everyone’s just dyin to hear what I think so let’s get down to it, crew!

I hate the cult of collecting the cutesy horse figurines. Keep that shit to grandma’s and shitty stores that sell “world crafts”. I like the velvet pouch and the design of the bottle. I’m sure soon I’m gonna write a rant on the lack of creativity on glass bottle design in this new bourbon renaissance, but that’ll be later. Blanton’s is special, so special that I’m giving it unusually high rating numbers so you feel me on the specialness of Blanton’s. All that orange and cloves and spice everywhere all over is perfectly married together with that char and oak. Total boss. Never had a bad cocktail where I’ve used this as a mixer, never had a bad glass when I’ve drank it straight.

This is the shit you bust out when a friend’s like “Hey I read about bourbon on a website whats a good one to have? Do you have that Pappy? Can I have some?” and then after you bludgeon them and they regain consciousness, they learn their lesson and you pour them a glass of this. I won’t say this is the Jay-Z or Beyonce of bourbons, because that’s just straight up foolishness. This travels beyond comparison into a solar system of its own. I know I’m hyping this up but once you get that first sip …neat, splash of water, ice, however…you’ll know what I’m talking about if you don’t already. Store picks or standard edition, I’ve never had a bottle where I was like “what in the hell happened here?”. Those triflin’ fools at BT get some stuff way wrong, but they get this right again and again. And that’s why I love them.

Posted in 4.5, Bourbon, Review | Comments Off on [Review] Blanton’s Bourbon

[Review] Knob Creek 2001

KnobCreekPrice: $130 | Proof: 100 | Rating: 2.5

Look man, I know it’s cool to bash everything lately: prices too high, free samples too low, supply almost gone, flippers going crazy, companies greedy blah blah blah blah blah. I’m just as guilty of it as the next skater. I’m not exactly stoked to throw down this kind of cash on Knob Creek, and I like me some KC. Even the maple syrup stuff most people hate. That’s alright though I’ll do mine and you drink yours.

I get it but I don’t dig on it, even if there’s a fun little story about Booker (Kid Rock’s grandfather) and Fred (Kid Rock’s dad) I ain’t down with the cost of this ticket. So I went over to my rich ass neighbor’s house because he was smart enough to wait in line and plop down $130 (thanks Nathan) so I didn’t have to. I just like…got really excited about it and so he got excited about it like a puppy. Then when he called me to tell me he got it I was like “awww man I was too late, I’m sure glad you were able to buy a bottle. let me come over and I’ll trade you a sample!” I gave him Medley Bros).

So I went over and watched some bad TV and drank a glass. I swear I don’t see what the big deal is here. I’m sure there is one, but I don’t taste it. It smells like Knob Creek (spice, a bit of tobacco, some vanilla), it tastes like Knob Creek (caramel, more vanilla, more spice) and finishes like a damn Knob Creek (spicy, oak, dry with medium finish). Everything you dig about Knob Creek is here, a bit amplified, including the price. I’ve had better barrel picks than this. Approach with caution.

This is a limited edition of about 1.2 million, so best get down and get yours soon before it runs out!

Posted in 2.5, Bourbon, Rating, Review | Comments Off on [Review] Knob Creek 2001

[Review] Elmer T. Lee Bourbon, 2016 Release

ElmerTLee_0Proof: 90 | Price: $50 | Rating: 4
So with one of the kings Elmer T. Lee having been gone for almost three years now I haven’t really had that much excitement to revisit this. Why? Because I was worried someone at Sazerac would fuck it up. Demand making the price go up, the quality of the barrel picks possibly going down, etc etc. Say what you will about Buffalo Trace but sometimes they’re can be like a bro with no guitar skills picking up Jimi Hendrix’s guitar to play and then they think this makes them a guitar god. Especially with the latest news on EH Taylor. Totally dumbing that product line down. So hell yes I was worried.

Didn’t need to be. Thank god. BT’s managed to keep this going strong and the quality has not seemed to suffer. So a pat on the back and slice of pizza to the person overseeing this right now. You done good Johnny. Still lovely with an easy going vanilla nose, sweet maple on the front and wood on the back end of the tasting and then amazing finish that’s nice and lingering of pipe tobacco and oak.

Even with people freaking out about other things, its still going to be impossible to find. I didn’t even know it was out until the dude at Kroger Spirits and Wine said they had three bottles under the counter. I stumbled into this purchase with some dumb luck. You’ll need it too.

Posted in 4, Bourbon, Rating, Review | Comments Off on [Review] Elmer T. Lee Bourbon, 2016 Release