Tag Archives: Standard Rye Bourbon

Evan Williams White Label Bottled-in-Bond – Review

Evan Williams White Label Background

Evan Williams White Label
Evan Williams White Label

Evan Williams White Label is a part of the Evan Williams line from Heaven Hill Distillery. There are a number of Evan Williams bottling, but it seem the most popular are the 100-proof Bottled in Bond (AKA White label), 86-proof Black Label, 86.6-proof Evan Williams 1783, and an 86.6-proof Evan Williams Single Barrel.

I’m a fan of the Evan Williams Single Barrel which is available in yearly batches. Actually I dig Heaven Hill in general with a number of pretty great Bourbons for the money. With Evan Williams White Label we’ve got an exceptional value with a lower shelf Bourbon that drinks above its price tag.

Details

Bottled at 100-proof.  No age statement. Standard rye Bourbon thought to be 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley. Paid $15.

Aroma

Corn mash/roasted corn. Nutty. Pecans. Caramel, charred wood. Sawdust.

Flavor

Similar to the nose. Big roasted corn, nutty. On the sweet side. A little alcohol heat and some zip. Some fruitiness. Rich, roasted flavors. Slight drying in the finish.

Overall

On its own Evan Williams White Label isn’t anything special, but factoring in price it becomes  more impressive. There’s a nuttiness that remind me of the Beam flavor profile, but not quite the same. Otherwise seems like typical Heaven Hill to me with full, rich, roasted flavors.

To me, the dominate flavor is corn and is a little hot and lively. Guessing it’s on the younger side. There’s no age statement, but being Bottled-in-Bond it must be at least four years old. The dominant cereal flavor to me is a off-putting, but the rest is just fine. Nice caramel, a little roasted nuts, and like I said, a lively Bourbon with just a little bite.

Price on this is pretty great. If you’re looking for a house mixer, it’s hard to beat this flavor and price. The 100-proof and youth should stand up well with a mixer. Also, if you’re on a budget, this will also do just fine for sipping.

Recommendation

Try a Glass – 2.0 out of 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

Personally, I’d prefer Evan Williams Single Barrel with more mellow flavors, even though it also loses a bunch of character in the upgrade. A similar Henry McKenna 10 Year also from Heaven Hill is a good choice for retaining more of the woody-roasted depth with added mellowness.

A real good alternative, however, in the price range could be Old Ezra also made at Heaven Hill. Getting out to other standard rye Bourbons could be Wild Turkey 101.

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Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 7

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 7
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 7

Last three weeks I’ve been sipping on the latest batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 7. I’ve posted about Batches 3-6 and thought I could mention something about Batch 7. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 7 is the lowest proof of the releases as you can see in the table below. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 7 comes in at 64% / 128-proof. The earlier “hazmat” 140-poof bottle got everyone excited just on proof alone. Being the other end of the spectrum I’m curious how people feel about Batch 7. For me, I don’t really care about the actual proof. I just want a nice big Bourbon to sip on.

Batch 1 – 67.1% / 134.2-Proof
Batch 2 – 68.5% / 137.0-Proof
Batch 3 – 66.6% / 133.2-Proof
Batch 4 – 66.2% / 132.4-Proof
Batch 5 – 67.4% / 134.8-Proof
Batch 6 – 70.1% / 140.2-Proof
Batch 7– 64.0% / 128.0-Proof
Batch 8 – 69.9% / 139.8-Proof
Batch 9 – 67.8% / 135.6-Proof
 Batch 10 – 69.4% /138.8-Proof
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is one of my favorite Bourbons. It’s very rich, and being 12 years old, has a lot of barrel character. Big burnt/char flavors with heavy dark caramel and vanilla goodness. Chasing special Bourbon releases is an exercise in frustration, but these Elijah Craig Barrel Proof releases are relatively easy to obtain. I can usually snag an extra bottle, and since it comes out every 3 months or so, I can easily enjoy one and stash another.
Anyway, I just can’t get motivated to keep reviewing the same Bourbon over and over to pick out slight various between batches. So, I’ll just add some comments.
Batch 7 I get a big caramel-vanilla punch and sweetness up front. Then in comes the burt-char flavors, filled in with oak and astringency. Throughout a steady alcohol burn from the barrel proof. The finish I get some dark fruits like raisins and some acrid residuals.
I’m not sure Batch 7 is my favorite, but there’s nothing here to change my appreciation of these releases.

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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Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 6 @140.2° – Review

Background

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 6
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 6

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is back with a sixth batch. This time around it’s the biggest proof yet at 70.1% / 140.2-proof  (AKA: Hazmat batch). Judging from the web analytics there’s a lot of interest in these new Elijah Craig BP batches, so I’ll post some thoughts on my bottle of batch 6.

I’m not going to compare this batch to previous bottles. I thought about it, but I highly doubt you’ll find yourself deciding which batch to buy. These bottles don’t seem to hang around shelves long enough to be an option. On the other hand, if you bought a previous batch all you want to know whether Batch 6 stacks up against the earlier bottles, the answer is yes.

Batch 1 – 67.1% / 134.2-Proof
Batch 2 – 68.5% / 137.0-Proof
Batch 3 – 66.6% / 133.2-Proof
Batch 4 – 66.2% / 132.4-Proof
Batch 5 – 67.4% / 134.8-Proof
Batch 6 – 70.1% / 140.2-Proof
Batch 7– 64.0% / 128.0-Proof
Batch 8 – 69.9% / 139.8-Proof
Batch 9 – 67.8% / 135.6-Proof

Details

12 year age statement. Bottled at 70.1% / 140.2-proof. Uses Heaven Hill’s mash of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley. Paid $50

Aroma

Woody and roasted. Dark caramel, raisins, vanilla, a bit perfumey. Wood polish. Cherries, mint.

Flavor

Full and woody. Toffee-like and dark brown sugar. Coffee. Burnt popcorn. Has a punch, but even at 140-proof it’s still sippable. Sweetness is balanced out with the strong flavors, but it’s still there. Vanilla pokes out here and there. Residual alcohol burn, minty, and dry astringency finishes it out.

Overall

Except for a few clusters, all the leaves are off the trees here in Michigan. This weekend we lit our first fire of the season and football is on the TV. I’m also revisiting an old friend here in Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. As the weather get chilly, this is a quiet enjoyable sipper.

Elijah Craig BP is one of the better things happening in Bourbon now. It’s big, bold, and has an assertive woody flavor that may not appeal to everyone, but if you ask me it’s a pretty great pour. Stock up for winter.

Booker’s Small Batch Bourbon – Review

Booker’s Background

Booker's Bourbon
Booker’s Bourbon

Booker’s has a special place in my heart as not only one of my first upper shelf Bourbons, but also my first barrel proof Bourbon. I was enjoying Scotch and decided to try some Bourbons and this was one of them. I bought my first Booker’s at the airport in Las Vegas. I was standing waiting for my bags and noticed there was a liquor store right in the airport. Not a duty-free store, but an actual liquor store. This is ingenious! Vegas hotel bars can be hit and miss for decent whisk(e)y, but always expensive. So taking a bottle back to the room from the airport was a neat idea.

Booker’s launched in 1992 by and named after Jim Beam’s grandson and Beam master distiller Booker Noe. Booker’s originally was bottled up by Noe as gifts to friends and family and then was rolled out as a commercial release. Booker’s was noteworthy being “straight from the barrel” as unfiltered and barrel proof Bourbon. Booker’s was way ahead of its time as today unfiltered and barrel proof Bourbons are quite popular among enthusiasts. Booker’s is a part of Beam’s small batch Bourbon collection that includes Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s, and Baker’s.

Booker’s isn’t particularly aged as far as premium Bourbons go at about 6-8 years old. So, one should expect a lively pour in addition to that unadulterated uncut goodness.

Details

7 Years, Aged 3 Months Old. Batch C06-B-15, 63.55%. Mash bill of 73% corn, 13% rye, and 10% barley. MSRP – $59.99 (2016 Price)

Aroma

Nutty, peanuts. Lots of caramel. Popcorn. Rich. Cedar wood. Distinctly Beam.

Flavor

Burnt popcorn. Toffee. Nutty. Biscuity. Roasted flavors. Potent. Dark fruits like raisin and currents. Sticky sweet caramel. Jolly Rancher. Hot alcohols. A little woody tannins in the finish

Overall

Booker’s is beefy both in proof and flavor. A little water dials things down a bit and take the edge off the alcohol. Dominant flavors seem to be corn and burnt sugars. Plus that nuttiness I get from the Beam yeast.

Booker’s can be hit and miss with me. Sometimes I really enjoy it and sometimes the corn and Beam yeast flavors don’t fit my mood. It weird and changes day to day for me. I think Beam Bourbon in general can be a little polarizing, but Booker’s maybe a little more so. It’s an iconic Bourbon, however, so certainly worth a try.

Beam has gotten a little more savvy with batches of Booker’s and in 2013 they stared putting better date codes on bottles. Before it was a typical cryptic industrial code and now it’s simply year and batch number. This bottle I’m reviewing here is from 2012, so before they rolled out the new codes. The more consumer friendly code I think encourages people to collect the bottles, especially with the nifty round table batches that were/are choses by a group of Bourbon nerds. Last couple years I’ve been picking up a bottle just for the heck of it.

Booker’s is priced I think reasonable enough and has been stable over the years. For a big, uncut, unfiltered barrel proof release it’s a good value. I think it’s a must buy for every Bourbon drinker at least once. From there you can decide if you’re a fan of the flavor profile.

Recommendation

Buy Again- 4.0 out of 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

As described Booker’s is a big barrel-proof Bourbon, so we’ll look at similar types around its price. If you can find it, every batch I’ve had of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof has been great. Another strong recommendation would be a private bottling of a Four Roses barrel. You can also check out Noah’s Mill, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel is also a high proof Bourbon, and Stagg Jr could also be something to look into in this price range.

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