Tag Archives: BT Mash #2

Lost Prophet Bourbon – First Look Review

Lost Prophet Background

Lost Prophet Bourbon from Orphan Barrel
Lost Prophet Bourbon from Orphan Barrel

The next release from Orphan Barrel is Lost Prophet. This is the fourth release in the series with Bourbons of Old Blowhard, Barterhouse, and Rhetoric 20. Lost Prophet is a 22-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon that was originally distilled at George T Stagg Distillery in 1991. The Stagg Distillery is the former name of the Buffalo Trace Distillery, and this makes Lost Prophet unique to the other Orphan Barrel releases. The other releases came from either the old Bernheim Distillery or the rebuilt new Bernheim Distillery. The recipe used for Lost Prophet in fact appears to match what’s believed to be the Buffalo Trace’s #2 mash recipe.

Lost Prophet was aged at least for the later part of its time in barrels at Diageo’s Stitzel-Weller warehouses. It was bottled at the company’s bottling plant in Tullahoma, TN.
The marketing on Orphan Barrel products is that these were long-forgotten barrels sitting in their warehouses. It seems a stretch to suggest they were literally forgotten (they do pay taxes on them, after all), but for whatever reason, perhaps due to corporate acquisitions and trading of brands, the barrels never made it into a bottle or sold to someone else to bottle up. The result is consumers get a chance to drink something, not only uniquely old, but born of the days of whiskey inventory gluts.

Details

22-years-old. Bottled at 45.05%. Mash of 75% corn, 7-10% barley and 15% rye. MSRP is $120, this is a sample provided by Orphan Barrel.

Aroma

Lots going on here. Cinnamon, caramel, cloves, toasted oak, nutty like walnuts. Rich and buttery. Kind of earthy with dusty old leather. Digging deeper, little fruitiness with solvents and hint of latex paint.

Flavor

Thin with some sweetness. Baking spices that I can’t quite single out. Earthy, stale coffee. Sherry flavors. Nuts. Light mint. Oaky but not overly assertive for its age. Tannins are moderate and don’t come up until the finish. Finish is also a touch acrid.

Overall

Drinking Lost Prophet I’m thinking of a one room office with old furniture and stale air. Scuffed up hardwood floors and fading sunlight making long shadows and catching dust in the air. Maybe something out of a film noir. Vintage is a good word to describe Lost Prophet.
Older Bourbons aren’t my favorite thing, so this isn’t the type of bottle I’d pull down on a regular basis. Thankfully my tastes prefer the much more accessible younger Bourbons. Like the other Orphan Barrel releases, for me this would be something to savor to share with others or pour to ponder life in general. Mostly though, Lost Prophet is an exercise in what time does to Bourbon.
For its age, there nothing really offensive. In my sampling I think I like it as much if not better than the other old Orphan Barrel releases I’ve reviewed. It’s a soft drinking whiskey albeit with some roughness in the edges. But it also brings a lot of old, vintage character. As this release rolls out, I’ll be looking to buy a bottle. If I find one, I’ll be sure to give it a formal rating.

Recommendation

This was a sample provided by Orphan Barrel. I only offer recommendations and ratings based on whiskey I’ve purchased. Stay tuned for my full review.

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John J Bowman Single Barrel – Review #37

John J Bowman Background

John J Bowman BottleJohn J Bowman Single Barrel is made at the A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Fredericksburg, Virginia. John J Bowman was a 1770’s Kentucky settler and patriarch of the Bowman lineage that started the distillery in northern Virginia. Abraham Smith Bowman is the great, great nephew of John Bowman and opened his distillery in 1933. He was a farmer and what as was typical he would distill excess crops into a more shelf stable and profitable product as whiskey. In 1988 A. Smith Bowman Distillery opened at its current location and taking on this name and legacy. They began distilling in 1991.

What’s interesting about A. Smith Bowman is while they distill, they don’t do their own mash. Sazerac is their parent company, which is also parent for Buffalo Trace. In some corporate synergy, A. Smith Bowman gets distillate from Buffalo Trace and distills it a third time. Then they barrel it and age it in Virginia. Also interesting is the two distilleries are about the same latitude, but Fredericksburg is on the other side of the Appalachia Mountains and closer to the east coast. It’s said they use the Buffalo Trace #2 mash, so it’s interesting to see differences with that extra distillation and aging locations.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery makes three different Bourbons. There’s the Bowman Brothers Small Batch, John J Bowman Single Barrel, and an annual special release Abraham Bowman.

Details

No Age Statement. Bottled at 50%. Buffalo Trace Mash #2 of about 13-15% Rye. Paid $49.

Aroma

Caramel. Some fruitiness of cherry, apple. Vanilla. Leather. Some nice charred oak.

Flavor

Buttery. Cherry syrup. Toffee and vanilla. Moderately rich sweetness with some charred oak. Cocoa. A little drying and mild spice in the finish. Water brings out more sweetness and a caramel, but this is nice right out of the bottle.

Overall

I’m impressed with both my bottles from A. Smith Bowman. They’re doing something right. John J Bowman is a pretty nice pour and I  thought Bowman Brothers was a particularly good deal. For me, John J Bowman is $20 more than Bowman Brothers and that might be a bit of a tough sell. That’s not a knock on John J Bowman, but just that Bowman Brothers might be under priced in my book. As I’m editing this I’m sipping on a glass debating the $20 thing. Yeah, I say it’s worth it.

Recommendation

Buy Again – 4.5/5.0 Rating

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Buying Options and Further Research

John J Bowman is a standard bourbon with a moderate rye. In this price range some other standard Bourbons worth checking out include Baker’s, Angel Envy, Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, and Dickel 9 Year Barrel Selection. A little higher on the price range worth checking out is Blanton’s. You also can’t lose with the mentioned Bowman Brothers Small Batch.

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Bowman Brothers Small Batch – Review #29

Bowman Brothers Small Batch Background

Bowman Brothers Small Batch BottleBowman Brothers Small Batch from A. Smith Bowman Distillery is an interesting operation. They don’t make their own mash. They actually re-distill product from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Buffalo Trace parent Sazerac owns the distillery, so the link is logical. The process used at A Smith Bowman means the product is triple distilled before it’s put into casks for aging in Fredericksburg Virginia. It seems like Bowman Brothers use Buffalo Trace #2 Mash, so this sort of extends my series of Bourbons using that mash recipe.

The distillery and Bourbon are named after the Bowman family. John J Bowman settled in Kentucky in 1770’s. His great, great nephew Abraham Smith Bowman operated a farm in northern Virginia in the 1920’s. He took his excess grain and built a distillery in 1933. The A. Smith Bowman Distillery is named after this distillery, although at a different place. A. Smith Bowman Distillery opened in 1988 and began its current distilling in the 1991.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery makes three different Bourbons. There’s the Bowman Brothers Small Batch, John J Bowman Single Barrel, and an annual special release Abraham Bowman.

Details

No Age Statement. Bottled at 90-proof. Buffalo Trace Mash #2 of about 13-15% Rye. Paid $30 @ Michigan State Minimum Price.

Aroma

Fruity, Apples. Caramel. Corn Cinnamon. Light oak.

Flavor

Fruity apples, cinnamon and caramel. Sweet and soft. Some maple syrup. A little rye flavor with some of that minty-pine. Some light oak with mild astringency towards the end. A slight spice in the finish warms the mouth. Nicely put together.

Overall

This seems delicate. Soft and sweet. Not a lot of power in this one, nor does it finish strong. I’d like to see this at a higher proof because there’s not much harshness in this pour and it could really amp things up with no ill effects. This is pretty nice drinking.

I was curious how this compared to Elmer T Lee. Same mash and same proof, while this bottle has that extra distillation and is aged in a different location. I tasted them side by side and feel they’re pretty darn close. I’d be curious to hear what others think on that. Elmer T Lee I get more rye in the nose and a little more toffee. Bowman Brothers Small Batch seems lighter, sweeter, and less acetone. I’d give Elmer T Lee the edge, but for a few bucks less Bowman Brothers Small Batch seems a good buy. Especially good buy if Elmer T Lee is in short supply.

Bowman Brothers Small Batch Recommendation

Buy Again – 4.5/5.0 Rating

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Buying Options and Further Research

I classify Bowman Brothers Small Batch a standard bourbon with a moderate rye content. This is a big category with a number of great options around this price. Elmer T Lee, Russell’s Reserve 10 Small Batch, Evan Williams Single Barrel all are I think comparable. If you can’t find Bowman Brothers Small Batch or would like to compare it to something else, that should be a good start.

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Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year – Review #25

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year Background

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year BottleJust when I thought I wrapped up reviews of Buffalo Trace #2 mash, I got my hands on a bottle of Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year. This is not to be confused with Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star, which is probably aged about 3-4 years. This bottle has a 10 year age statement and packs a lot more flavor.

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year has been discontinued and before that it appears to have only been available in Kentucky. It was kind of rare and now it’s gone. This stuff is legendary as both a forbidden fruit and something that drinks well above its price tag. So, this might be an exercise in frustration because odds are you’ll be lucky to find it.

Details

10 years age statement. Bottled at 43%. Buffalo Trace’s #2 mash bill of about 13-15% rye. Got this one on a trade, but retails for $15-$20 or so.

Aroma

Caramel sweetness. A little oak. Fruity. Figs. Citrus, orange peel. Trace of sulfur. Maybe a little herbal-ginger thing going on.

Flavor

Light, sweet, and fruity. Nice caramel. Some hot cinnamon adds for a little complexity. Some rye flavors of pine and spice in the background along with some oak. Finish has a slight astringency and a little funk. Getting a little cardboard.

Overall

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year is pretty refreshing and enjoyable. Really the only ding on this the light proof. There’s also something a little funky going on in the end that I’d rather finish cleaner.

I had Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year side by side with Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star and it’s no comparison. Much more flavor and complexity. I also put it up against some others in the Buffalo Trace #2 Mash. I figured Hancock’s President’s Reserve would be best comparison with its lower bottle proof. I liked it better than Hancock’s President’s Reserve, although I think Hancock has more caramel flavors. I also put it up against Elmer T Lee, and that was a decisive winner as was Blanton’s in my book. I get too much nail polish remover out of Rock Hill Farms, so I’d prefer Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year over that.

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star is 90-proof, and it would be interesting to see the 10 year here at the same power. The big deal through is the cost. I’m not sure of the exact cost for on a full bottle, but for around $15-$20, this seems like it was a winner.  Too bad you can’t buy it anymore.

Recommendation

Try a Glass – 2.5/5 Rating

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Buying Options and Further Research

Well, if you find a bottle of Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year, go ahead and buy it. At the very worst you’ve got a nice cheap collector’s bottle. Either way, I’m sure you’ll find a Bourbon nerd willing to take it off your hands. Otherwise you’ll need to find something else. At this price point in the standard rye Bourbon ring I’d suggest Wild Turkey 81 and for a couple bucks more I’d recommend going for Wild Turkey 101. A lower rye option that I think is similar would be Buffalo Trace. I’m not sure I’d recommend Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star unless you’re really strapped for cash.

Links and Other Reviews

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star – Review #14

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star Background

Ancient Ancient Age 10 StarAncient Ancient Age 10 Star is a part of three Ancient Age family of products. There’s this 90-proof bottle, the regular Ancient Age bottled at 80-proof and and Ancient Ancient Age 10 year. One might assume Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star is aged 10 years, but it’s not. The bottle says aged at least 36 months, so we can probably assume this is 3-4 years old. By law, Bourbons must state minimum age below four years, so likely they wouldn’t tell us 36 months if it were four years old. The actual 10 year bottle apparently isn’t widely available outside of Kentucky and is on hiatus for a while if not outright discontinued. That’s a shame since it seems to be well regarded.

I picked Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star up purely because it was cheap and it’s a part of the Buffalo Trace Mash #2. I previously reviewed Elmer T Lee, Blanton’s, Rock Hill Farms, and Hancock’s President’s Reserve. I doubt I’ll bother picking up the regular Ancient Age, so unless I get my hands on some Blanton’s export, this should wrap up this mini series.

Details

90-proof, Aged minimum 3 years. Uses Buffalo Trace’s Mash #2, which is through to be 13-15% rye. MSRP – $13.99 (2016 Price)

Aroma

Apples, fruity. Bready. Biscuits.

Flavor

Fruity sweetness comes through from the nose. Obvious connections here to the other Mash #2 Bourbons. Bready again and some sourness. Goes down easy. Little to no burn, spice, or flavor.

Overall

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star is cheap stuff, but still well made straight Bourbon. And hey, it’s 90-proof. It’s not rotgut by any means, so if that’s what you’re drinking this would be a budget friendly upgrade. Biggest flaw is its boring, but actually not as bad as the price may suggest. If you’re looking to enjoy Bourbon neat, you’ll want to spend a few more bucks and move up a shelf. There’s no discussion on that point. If, however, you’re prepping for a dystopian future with zombies and such, you could do a lot than worse than stocking a few cases of Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star.

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star Recommendation

Pass – 1.5/5 Rating

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Links and Reviews