TNT Blog roll
Booker’s Bourbon Batch 2019-01 “Teresa’s Batch”

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Beam Suntory

Distillery: Jim Beam

Proof: 125.9

Age: 6 Years, 3 Months, 1 Day

Mashbill: 77% Corn, 13% Rye, 10% Malted Barley

MSRP: $80 (2019)

Official Website

Booker’s Bourbon’s first batch of 2019 is named in honor of Teresa Wittemer, a 30+ year veteran at Jim Beam, and selected by Booker Noe to work on his namesake brand. During her career she has worked in the quality control department and became well acquainted with Noe’s desired flavor profile. She now helps his son, Fred Noe, select batches of Booker’s Bourbon and maintain the distinct flavor profile that the brand has become known for.

When the company moved to named batches, they began to experiment playing within Booker’s desired flavor profile. While never straying too far from the line, Fred has found interesting ways to offer Booker’s Bourbon drinkers a reason to pick up different batches. They’ve never quite tasted night and day different from one another, but fans of the brand will probably notice the biggest differences over casual Booker’s drinkers.

“Teresa’s Batch” opens with a burst of sweet caramel, vanilla, and brown sugar. Oak is layered upon these flavors and presents an extremely sweet and sugary aroma. The palate features much more spice against its sweet base of caramel and vanilla. Like the nose, brown sugar is also quite prevalent in the palate, but balanced against notes of chestnut, seasoned oak, and baking spice. It finishes hot like you’d expect from any Booker’s Bourbon batch and brings with it additional notes of roasted peanuts, nutmeg, and leather.

Booker’s Bourbon maintains its track record of quietly releasing batches that are satisfying and well crafted. They don’t quite get the attention or reach the heights of say a good Barrell Bourbon batch sometimes does, but more often than not, any named batch of Booker’s Bourbon is a solid drinker.

‍The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Jim Beam. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.

Written By: Eric
Belle Meade Bourbon Honey Cask Finish 2019

Classification: Bourbon finished in Belle Meade Single Barrel Bourbon barrels that were also used to age Trubee Barrel Aged Honey

Company: Nelson's Green Brier Distillery

Distillery: MGP

Proof: 111.8

Age: NAS on bottle; 11 years stated on website

Mashbill: Undisclosed

MSRP: $125 (2019)

Official Website

Belle Meade Bourbon Honey Cask Finish is part of Belle Meade’s Craftsman Cask Collection. This series features limited edition spirits that can only be found at the distillery gift shop. To create the Honey Cask Finish, Belle Meade gave used 11 year Belle Meade single barrel bourbon barrels to Trubee Honey. Trubee Honey filled these bourbon barrels with local wildflower honey, and after dumping the honey, returned the barrels to Belle Meade. Belle Meade then refilled the barrels with 11 year old high rye bourbon (30% rye) again and let them rest for a few months before finally bottling the bourbon.

Unlike an artificially sweetened bourbon that some distilleries release, Belle Meade Honey Cask Finish nails the balance between the honey influence and the underpinning bourbon that originally went into the barrel. Sweet on the nose, vanilla, wild flowers, honey, and a dash of cinnamon mix with aged oak. The honey influence is clearly evident, as the palate is full of rich sweet sugars. Honey, vanilla, and a massive dose of cinnamon pull through. The finish is long and drawing, full of baking spices, honey, and a sweet rich cinnamon spice that leaves a warming heat.

I’m a big fan of distilleries experimenting. The end result may not always be great, but no matter what, it’s fun to see how they turn out. In this case, Belle Meade Honey Cask Finish is one of the more unique bourbons I’ve had in awhile. The honey influence is clear from start to finish, and imparts an unusually deep influence to the bourbon that you probably wouldn’t get by just blending bourbon and honey together. Kudos to Belle Meade for going out on a limb and trying this type of experimentation as the end result is really great, and makes me wish this would become a permanent product line from them.

‍The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Nelson's Green Brier Distillery. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.

Written By: Jordan
Saint Cloud Kentucky Bourbon - 2016 Batch #1

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Saint Cloud Kentucky Bourbon

Distillery: Undisclosed

Proof: 120

Age: Under 4 Years

Mashbill: Undisclosed (Includes corn, rye, and malted barley)

MSRP: $93 (2019)

Official Website

Saint Cloud Kentucky Bourbon doesn’t look like a typical bourbon. Adorned in upscale packaging with a small, understated side label and rounded shoulders offset by a copper medallion and heavy copper stopper, it feels different. Like seeing a European sports car amid a range of more familiar pickup trucks, muscle cars, and the like. Rolling the bourbon around in the bottle I can see a healthy amount of sediment - a pleasing attribute as it typically means the bourbon has been minimally filtered. I later learned it was not filtered at all.

The bourbon is full bodied on the nose, with apple, summer fruits, and sweet caramel emanating from the glass. On the sip, it has a viscous, oily consistency. There’s a healthy dose of spice in the form of cinnamon and black pepper. The spice is countered by sweet black currants. As the spice fades, a summer fruit sweetness comes into play on the lingering finish.

Overall it’s robust, full-flavored, and unique tasting. There are echoes of youth, but not in the same way you might usually describe a young tasting bourbon. Rather, the lack of typical barrel and wood notes suggests youth - there is an absence of typical higher aged elements as opposed to a presence of the typical lesser aged flavors.

The side label bears a small gold signature - Ray Walker. Intrigued by the bottle design and flavor profile, I was excited to speak with Walker about this inaugural release. Saint Cloud Kentucky Bourbon is Walker's comeback story, but also a new beginning that honors Walker’s past with a family history that, according to Walker, has roots in Kentucky. Walker’s experience making wine - a spectacular rise to the top and fall to the bottom - is now being transitioned to his bourbon. His goal is exploration into the not-so-typical. In this case, a mashbill of more than 70% corn, less than 20% rye, and more than 10% malted barley (exact percentages were not disclosed), combined with a copper pot still, aging in french oak barrels, and then bottling at cask strength with no filtering results in something with a not-so-typical flavor profile. The current batch of 12 barrels, with a 3,000 bottle yield, is the first of many. Walker seeks to experiment, and see where each release - the aim being keeping them small - takes him.

Batch 1 is unique, and despite its young age really intrigued me. While it is pricey for a young bourbon, if you’re looking for something not-so-typical this fits the bill.

The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Saint Cloud. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.

Written By: Nick
Old Forester Single Barrel - Crossroads Wine & Spirits Selection

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Brown-Forman Distilling Company

Distillery: Brown-Forman Distilling Company

Proof: 90

Age: NAS

Mashbill: 72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley

MSRP: $30 (2019)

Official Website

Anyone that’s been in liquor stores over the past year has probably noticed an uptick in private selections of Old Forester Single Barrel. This may have to do with other brands' private selection programs' lack of availability, or more with Brown-Forman rapidly expanding their program. Whatever the reason, it’s easier than ever to get your hands on a single barrel bottle of Old Forester.

We’ve noted before the brand’s inconsistencies in quality and the lack of excitement surrounding it. We found that changed for the better in our recent review of the much improved Old Forester 100 Signature. Using that release as a new baseline, it will be interesting to see if the brand’s overall quality bump and improved flavor profile carries over to their single barrel selections. Or do these single barrel releases repeat the sins of the brand’s past?

Much like the Old Forester Signature nose, caramel, cherry, and oak spring from the glass despite being 10 proof points less. Pecan takes a stronger presence with this single barrel, which makes for a very delicious smelling nose.

The palate and finish flow into each other with heavy oak and nut present, along with pepper and bitterness, which is typical with Old Forester products. These notes are more upfront compared to Old Forester Signature. At 90 proof, the bourbon is surprisingly quite punchy and bold. It does offer a slight variation of Signature’s flavor profile. It’s less sweet and focuses more on oak, nut, and dark fruits.

This single barrel is very much in the wheelhouse of the Old Forester flavor profile, and while this shouldn’t surprise anyone, the main benefit of single barrels is providing a variation of a standard product. For fans of heavier flavor profiles that lean towards dark fruits, leather, and dry oak as opposed to sweet oak, you’ll enjoy this single barrel.

The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Crossroads Wine & Spirits. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.

Written By: Eric
Peerless Straight Rye Single Barrel Whiskey 3 Year

Classification: Straight Rye

Company: Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company

Distillery: Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company

Proof: 108.4

Age: 3 Years

Mashbill: Undisclosed

MSRP: $125 (2019)

Official Website

In 2014, the Peerless brand was reborn as Corky and Carson Taylor refurbished a building in downtown Louisville and obtained the original Kentucky Distilled Spirits Plant Number (DSP-KY-50) from the original Peerless Distillery in the 1800’s. In March of 2015 they barreled their first rye. The bottle being tasted was selected by Corky Taylor and Mitch Pats. It’s labeled number 150910103 and its. barrel was given the name “Project Black Friday.” It was September 11, 2015 and bottled on September 11, 2018, making this rye exactly 3 years old to the day.

Strong ethanol on the nose announces the 108.4 proof for this single barrel. Behind the ethanol are summer fruits, rye grain, and hints of banana chips and brown butter. The palate brings forth a wild ride. It’s both full of juicy summer fruit flavors yet with a defined rye spice, while still being very clear that it’s also a youthful whiskey and one that has a thinner mouthfeel. The sip ends by being dominated by an in-your-face fiery finish which consists of black pepper, rye grain, oak, and hints of leather.

This is still a youthful rye, and one that carries an inflated MSRP. This 3 year is developing nicely and is trending in a positive direction compared to the initial 2 year offering Peerless put out. This positive trend does make me excited to see what Peerless puts out once this rye has spent a few more years in the barrel. The extra time should also help finally justify the asking price that Peerless feels it should command. In the meantime however, this single barrel does make it clear that Corky and company have a knack for picking out unique tasting barrels that showcase the Peerless brand.

The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Cask Cartel. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.

Written By: Jordan
Barrell Bourbon Batch 018 & 019

Barrell Bourbon Batch 018

Classification: Blend of Straight Bourbons

Company: Barrell Craft Spirits

Distillery: Sourced (From undisclosed distilleries in Kentucky and Tennessee)

Proof: 111.56

Age: 11 Years (Blend of 11, 14, and 15 year old barrels)

Mashbill: Undisclosed (Includes corn, rye, and malted barley)

MSRP: $90 (2019)

Official Website


Barrell Bourbon Batch 019

Classification: Blend of Straight Bourbons

Company: Barrell Craft Spirits

Distillery: Sourced (From undisclosed distilleries in Kentucky and Tennessee)

Proof: 109.4

Age: 9.5 Years (Blend of 9.5 to 14 year old barrels)

Mashbill: Undisclosed (Includes corn, rye, and malted barley)

MSRP: $90 (2019)

Official Website

Batches 018 and 019 are the latest in Barrell Craft Spirits’ Barrell Bourbon line, where each batch is unique and released at barrel proof.

The batches share distillation sources in Kentucky and Tennessee, along with a similar age and proof. While the labels denote the lowest age of whiskey contained in each blend, the company website provides more detail indicating older bourbon incorporated into each bottle. True to the nature of Barrell Bourbon batches, the blend of barrels from multiple distilleries and of varying ages (and, presumably, flavor profiles), suggests careful and purposeful curation.

Batch 018: According to the company, this blend started with an 11 year old blend, which was then given structure by incorporating 14 and 15 year old bourbons. Dark cherries and honey with a rye spice backbone form the aroma. This gives way to a full-bodied sip, with honey and caramel joined by graham crackers. A touch of heat introduces the finish, with a tidal wave of cinnamon spice transitioning to cane sugar and caramel sweetness. The bourbon handles its high proof nicely, giving the cinnamon spice note the spotlight while allowing sweeter flavors to complement it, all the while keeping any trace of excessive heat in check while still maintaining a healthy amount of spice.

Batch 019: According to the company, a careful selection of 9.5 to 14 year old barrels from Kentucky and Tennessee were sorted into five groups. Portions of those five groups were then blended together to maximize unique qualities of each. Sweet aromas are on display, with vanilla and maple syrup joined by dried apricots. The palate gives way to an assembly of sweets - maple sugar candy, candied raisins, and a caramel note reminiscent of Werther’s Original candies. Dark cherries complement the candy flavors. A light spice develops on the tongue, with a warming peppery rye that morphs to a lingering rock candy note on the finish. Overall a complex bourbon with a traditional flavor profile that should satisfy bourbon purists.

While they appear similar on the surface, batches 018 and 019 deliver very different drinking experiences. In my discussions with company founder Joe Beatrice over the years, it’s clear blending is a meticulous and careful process the company takes seriously. The nuances that arise in the end result are proof of concept, and evident with the batches here.

As you’re probably wondering which batch I prefer, the answer is simply that it depends on my mood. Batch 018 offers up a healthy dose of spice, arousing the senses with cinnamon spice as the star of the show. Batch 019 is more of a quintessential bourbon, with dark fruit and sweeter notes delivered in what forms a complex array of flavors. Interestingly, sipping these side by side reminds me of Batch 005 and Batch 006, my first experience with Barrell Bourbon. I liken Batch 018 to 005 with its dominant spice notes, while Batch 019 shares Batch 006’s impeccable balance and complexity. With these latest batches Barrell continues to impress, and live up to its premium price point.

The samples used for this review are from production bottles and were provided at no cost courtesy of Barrell Craft Spirits. We thank them for the samples and for allowing us to review them with no strings attached.

Written By: Nick
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof - Batch B519

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Heaven Hill

Distillery: Heaven Hill

Proof: 122.2

Age: 12 Years

Mashbill: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley

MSRP: $60 (2019)

Official Website

Hot off the heels of Batch A119, which we tasted a few weeks ago, comes the latest batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.

This particular batch is noteworthy as it clocks in at a lower proof than ever before for the brand. This makes it inherently easier to drink, as the brand often lands on the hot side of 130 proof. Instead of having to water down a previous batch to match this release, this is batched uncut at 122.2 proof. Theoretically, this makes its flavor profile taste rather potent despite being lower in proof than previous releases as the lower proof should allow more flavor to show through. For that reason, this particular batch might get more attention than normal.

The nose features very traditional bourbon aromas at first whiff. Steadfast scents of vanilla, caramel, and oak flow out of the glass and signal its high proof. Additional notes of apple, apricot, and faint orange rind help add some complexity. On the palate, it’s surprisingly citrusy at first sip, with lemon and lime greeting your tongue before creamy caramel, toffee, and dark fruits take over. The finish is heavy on oak, which translates into a long, dry, and mildly bitter aftertaste. Some sweetness is present, before spice rolls in.

Heaven Hill long ago proved the value and quality consistency of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. It would be more of a surprise nowadays if they released a batch that was less than great. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof may not always be the most complex barrel proof bourbon on the market, but it's known for its richness and continues to be a great buy..

Overall Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B519 is a very palatable sipper that allows the brand’s flavor profile to shine a bit more, instead of fighting against its proof. Coincidently, last year’s George T. Stagg also came in its lowest released proof at 124.9. We noted this allowed the depth of flavors to really come through without a mask of heat. That is true here too, but Elijah Craig doesn’t quite have the same overly unique flavor profile that Stagg has. This means Batch B519’s flavor intensity might not be tasted to the same degree as last year’s Stagg experienced. Because of this lower proof, I also wouldn’t be surprised at all if some called this batch their favorite Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batch yet.  

Written By: Eric
Jim Beam Single Barrel - CrossRoads Wine & Spirits

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Beam Suntory

Distillery: Jim Beam Distillery

Proof: 95

Age: NAS

Mashbill: 77% Corn 13% Rye, 10% Malted Barley

MSRP: $30 (2019)

Official Website

Jim Beam is a fairly expansive brand, ranging in proof, age, whiskey types, and even released in a variety of flavors (though once flavor is added it’s no longer considered bourbon). Jim Beam Bourbon is the flagship brand, though it shares a mashbill with other Beam bourbons including Knob Creek, Baker’s, and Booker’s. Unlike the latter three, however, Jim Beam generally seems to cater less to the bourbon enthusiast crowd. Despite this, Jim Beam Single Barrel is offered as a standalone bottling as well as a private selection option, giving enthusiasts the opportunity to discover something a little more special. This particular barrel was selected by CrossRoads Wine & Spirits located in the small city of Bryant, Arkansas. It comes in at the standard 95 proof and is from barrel JB7079.

On the nose apples, rye spice, and vanilla compete with a healthy dose of ethanol. The ethanol disappears with the sip, instead brining a well rounded mix of caramel, brown sugar, graham crackers, rye spice, and oak. While the mouthfeel is on the thin side at first, it coats the mouth, lingering into the finish. Sweeter notes of caramel and vanilla dominate the finish, with a hint of apricot and trace of rye spice sticking around.

I’ve always found Jim Beam to be a pretty boring bourbon, including the off-the-shelf Single Barrel version. This particular barrel brings an element of intrigue I’ve yet to find in the brand. Aside from the heavy-handed dose of ethanol on the nose, the rest of the sip offers an enjoyable experience.  

The sample used for this review is from a production bottle and was provided at no cost courtesy of CrossRoads Wine & Spirits. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.

Written By: Nick
Smugglers’ Notch Straight Bourbon

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Smugglers’ Notch Distillery

Distillery: Sourced

Proof: 90

Age: NAS

Mashbill: Undisclosed

MSRP: $50 (2019)

Official Website

Jeffersonville, Vermont is known for the numerous ski resorts nearby, but more interestingly, it’s also located by the foothills of Smugglers’ Notch. During the 1800’s, the U.S. Congress placed an embargo on the imports of all English goods. In an attempt to skirt this, the British shipped their goods to Canada and smuggled them down what became known as Smugglers’ Notch Pass. Why this is important (besides being a cool bit of history), is because that same trail was again used during Prohibition to smuggle alcohol.

With this little bit of interesting booze history in tow, the father and son team of Ron and Jeremy Elliott opened Smugglers’ Notch Distillery in 2006. Ron, a retired business executive, and Jeremy, a research chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, used their backgrounds to open a distillery well before the craft distillery boom, and focused on all types of spirits. Their current whiskey lineup consists of a straight bourbon, rye, wheated whiskey, and a bourbon finished with 100% pure Vermont maple syrup.

Smugglers’ Notch Straight Bourbon opens with a rush of vanilla and caramel followed by lemon and orange citrus on the nose. It’s traditional, yet satisfying. The palate is quite sweet at first sip, allowing for an interesting interplay with the bourbon’s spicer and hotter side. This caramel and butterscotch sweetness also makes it an easy sipper for a 90 proof bourbon. Oak takes over on the finish providing a heavy contrast to the palate.

This is a bourbon very segmented, unlike some bourbons’ palates that gently flow into their finish. It also has a lingering aftertaste of chocolate, caramel, and grain notes that adds to this bourbon’s distinct parts.

Smugglers’ Notch Straight Bourbon isn’t necessarily a cohesive bourbon and instead provides a bit of a roller coaster ride of its flavor profile. Despite being open since 2006, surprisingly this is a sourced bourbon, which the Elliotts then age, blend, proof with Vermont water, and bottle in Vermont. It does taste a little grainy on the aftertaste, but overall it’s a fun sipper.

Written By: Eric
Pursuit Spirits Episodes 006 - 009

Pursuit Series Episode 006

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Pursuit Spirits

Distillery: Undisclosed (sourced from TN)

Proof: 104

Age: 11 Years

Mashbill: Undisclosed

MSRP: $80 (2019)

Official Website


Pursuit Series Episode 007

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Pursuit Spirits

Distillery: Undisclosed (sourced from TN)

Proof: 110

Age: 14 Years

Mashbill: Undisclosed

MSRP: $110 (2019)

Official Website


Pursuit Series Episode 008

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Pursuit Spirits

Distillery: Undisclosed (sourced from TN)

Proof: 103.8

Age: 9 Years

Mashbill: Undisclosed

MSRP: $75 (2019)

Official Website


Pursuit Series Episode 009

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Pursuit Spirits

Distillery: Undisclosed (sourced from TN)

Proof: 106.3

Age: 14 Years

Mashbill: Undisclosed

MSRP: $110 (2019)

Official Website

Pursuit Spirits was created by Kenny Coleman and Ryan Cecil who also host the Bourbon Pursuit Podcast. Their bourbon is currently bottled under the Pursuit Series brand, with each distinct single barrel being designated as a different Episode. For a more in-depth look at the brand, check out the interview Nick conducted with the co-founders last year.

Episode 006: A light sip overall, the nose displays light notes of brown sugar and marshmallows. The palate is sweeter with brown sugar, vanilla, light caramel, and marshmallows carrying through. The sip finishes short and sweet. Honey and brown sugar mingle with hints of leather and oak.

Episode 007: The sip starts with a really expressive nose that draws you in. It’s comprised of extremely rich baking spices that mix with a nice base of oak and chocolate Babka. The palate is a butterscotch and vanilla mix with leather and slightly tannic oak. The sip finishes with baking spice and a slight amount of warm heat. Spice lingers for a long time with charred oak coming forth at the end. A really great sip that makes me want to drink this around a fire on a crisp fall night.

Episode 008: The simplest of the four. A simple nose of charred oak and vanilla flows into a simple palate of sweet vanilla, oak, and light caramel. The finish follows in the same vein with vanilla and lightly charred oak. This stands out  more for the fact that it’s so simple and unremarkable compared to the rest.

Episode 009: This Episode is in a similar vein to Episode 007. The nose contains those baking spices and oak but they’re not as bold. The palate is sweet yet more tannic, with caramel and vanilla being most prominent along with tannic oak. It finishes with a warming heat which showcases marshmallows, burnt brown sugar, and lightly charred oak.

While all of the Episodes are distinct, they also clearly contain a familiar backbone. They’re all interesting, however Episodes 007 and 009 stand out well above the rest. These truly piqued my interest, with Episode 007 drawing me back in for sip after sip and a bottle I’ll try to pick up before they’re all gone. Tasting all Episodes side by side was a good reminder of just how different single barrel bottlings can be from one another.

The samples used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Pursuit Spirits. We thank them for the samples and for allowing us to review them with no strings attached.

Written By: Jordan
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof - Batch A119

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Heaven Hill

Distillery: Heaven Hill

Proof: 135.2

Age: 12 Years

Mashbill: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley

MSRP: $60 (2019)

Official Website

Heaven Hill launched Elijah Craig Barrel Proof as a brand extension of their popular Elijah Craig brand in 2013. Since the initial launch, the brand has blossomed in popularity and the three yearly batches are still highly sought after by consumers. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof still carries a 12 year age statement and in a sea of barrel proof bourbons, is sold at a competitive price point.

Barrel proof bourbon batches can typically be identified by their proof, though that can be misleading as the proof could be the same from batch to batch depending how the cards fall. Fortunately, Heaven Hill makes identifying batches an easy task by assigning each a code - this one being “A” (for first batch of the year) - “1” (released in January) - “19” (released in 2019).

Surprisingly light on ethanol for the proof, the nose delivers a rich dose of dark fruits, oak, burnt caramel, toffee, and a hint of fresh baked pie crust. An oily sip coats the mouth and delivers a touch of sweetness along with vanilla, tannic oak, and a healthy dose of heat. The heat from the sip is carried over dominating the start of the finish. As it starts to diminish, slight hints of vanilla, caramel, and the dark fruits from the nose re-emerge. The finish is long and lingering with heat and mild oak.

Overall this is a big bold batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof that delivers a rich pour from start all the way to finish. The nose is fantastic and lulls you into believing that this will be a tamer batch for the brand until you take a sip and get plowed over by the intensity of its 135 plus proofpoint. While it may not win accolades like Batch B517 did in 2017, overall this is a great representation of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof and will please many who seek higher proof bourbons.

The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Heaven Hill. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.

Written By: Jordan
Penelope Four Grain Bourbon

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Penelope Bourbon

Distillery: MGP

Proof: 80

Age: 2 Years

Mashbill: Undisclosed blend of wheated and rye bourbons

MSRP: $40 (2019)

Official Website

Penelope Bourbon was created in 2018 by lifelong friends Mike Paladini and Danny Polise. The name is a nod to Mike’s daughter Penelope. The bourbon is a blend of wheat and rye bourbon mashbills, which are aged separately before being blended and bottled. The bourbon is aged in barrels charred with #4 staves and #2 heads. This first batch of Penelope Bourbon is comprised of 6 barrels totaling 1,900 bottles.

The bourbon’s youth is evident as you bring the glass to your nose. Grain, corn, vanilla, and hints of Tabasco make up this lighter and slightly spicy nose. The softness from the wheat along with the lower proof lends to a soft, thinner palate. Vanilla and oak are present along with hints of orange zest and sweet raisins, although you have to really hunt to find them. A dash of light pepper, reminiscent of the Tabasco flavor found on the nose along with a touch of vanilla make up the shorter finish.

There’s no denying that this is a young bourbon as its youth is present throughout. With little distinguishing traits, long time bourbon drinkers will most likely walk away indifferent to Penelope Bourbon. That said, this bourbon seems to be aimed squarely at those new to the world of whiskey, specifically from their choice of marketing as an under 100 calorie pour, to using a wheated bourbon to soften its flavor profile. The end result though is exactly the type of whiskey I’d pour for someone looking to try bourbon for the first time. It’s a light, easy sipper that will make those new to bourbon realize that yes, bourbon can be an approachable spirit that is enjoyable to drink neat or on the rocks.

The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Penelope Bourbon. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.

Written By: Jordan
Old Fourth Distillery Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Old Fourth Distillery

Distillery: MGP

Proof: 100

Age: 4 Years

Mashbill: 75% Corn 21% Rye, 4% Malted Barley

MSRP: $50 (2019)

Official Website

Old Fourth Distillery was launched by five friends (two of whom are also brothers) in 2013 with the aid of a Kickstarter campaign. Atlanta’s first legal distillery since 1906, Old Fourth Distillery started distilling in November 2014. Initially releasing vodka and gin, bourbon and whiskey were always part of the plan. But the friends decided to give it time. In February 2019 they decided to go big with a Bottled in Bond bourbon comprised of 75 barrels originally laid down in January 2015. An additional 120 barrels are expected to be released in 2020.

Each bottle is adorned in their ornate design featuring metallic emblems and a handwritten bottle and barrel number. The back of the bottle features an image of an old trolley maintenance barn that used to be located on the same street as the distillery. Looking closely at the back of the bottle reveals a DSP number, DSP-IN-15023, worked into the image above the door of the trolley barn. The number heralds from the transfer in bond paperwork provided by MGP, who Old Fourth contracted to distill this bourbon (though it does not match MGP's DSP number of IN-15016 listed in the TTB database). According to company co-founder and head distiller Jeffrey Moore, Old Fourth created their mash bill and distillation methods in Atlanta beginning in 2012-2013 with a small fractional still made by a company called Ferromit. They later obtained and installed a CARL 450 liter still, but demand for vodka production and plans for larger quantities of whiskey production caused them to search for a contract distiller who could meet their expected demand needs.

The aromas lead with a complex bouquet of honey, dark fruits, raisins, and floral notes. The bourbon has an oily texture, most likely attributed to the fact that it’s simply filtered through a single cotton plate to remove any barrel char fragments. The spice ramps up here, bringing cinnamon and nutmeg into the mix along with a healthy dose of caramel. Transitioning to the finish the spice continues to intensify, and once it dissipates sweet flavors of butterscotch and caramel linger.

The sample used for this review is from a production bottle and was provided at no cost courtesy of Old Fourth Distillery. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.

Written By: Nick
Tommy Rotter Triple Barrel American Whiskey

Classification: American Whiskey

Company: Tommy Rotter Distillery

Distillery: Sourced from distilleries in Tennessee & Indiana

Proof: 92

Age: NAS (The youngest whiskey in the blend is aged 1 year)

Mashbill: Undislcosed

MSRP: $39 (2019)

Official Website

Tommy Rotter Distillery is named after a band of rebellious artisans who in the early 20th century who broke rank from the Arts and Crafts Movement to create for creation’s sake, according to the company’s website. Located in downtown Buffalo, NY in a 115-year-old paper box factory, owners Bobby Finan and Sean Insalaco seek to capture this conscientious spirit with their distillery and products. Like all of their products, this whiskey is presented in the company’s simple and trendy label design which is accented with thin type and a single bold color for each product.

The company’s Triple Barrel American Whiskey is a blend of two sourced bourbons made in Indiana and a whiskey made in Tennessee, then finished in French oak red wine barrels. The youngest whiskey in the blend is a year old, which probably accounts for the whiskey’s very light coloring. The nose features very mild notes of grain and oak that are overtaken by slightly stronger flourishes of grape, raspberry, and vanilla. Light and fruity, the nose is quite welcoming. The whiskey tastes on the thin side with flavors of vanilla and grape struggling to spring forward. It’s not at all overly grain-forward despite of this or its age. It finishes a bit hot for a 92 proof whiskey, which makes it hard for its flavor profile to shine. Despite this, Tommy Rotter Triple Barrel American Whiskey is a nice sipper in its current state, but it’s clear the whiskey needs some additional time in the barrel for the flavor to develop into a stronger presentation.

The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Tommy Rotter Distillery. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.

Written By: Eric
Bare Knuckle Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: KO Distilling

Distillery: KO Distilling

Proof: 90

Age: 2 Years

Mashbill: 70% Corn, 20% Wheat, 10% Malted Barley

MSRP: $41 (2019)

Official Website

KO Distilling was founded in 2013 by Bill Karlson and John O’Mara. In 2015, the distillery opened their doors in Manassas, VA with their first aged whiskey hitting the market in 2016. Bare Knuckle Straight Bourbon Whiskey is their oldest aged offering to date at two years old.

Its youth is readily apparent as the nose brings forth a lot of grain and young oak. Corn leads the way with soft wheat, crisp apple, and a layer of young oak lingering behind. Sweet corn and vanilla form the majority of the palate with a thin layer of caramel hiding beneath. The finish again brings forward the youth of the bourbon with grain and wood dominating along with a slight dose of heat.

This is a young bourbon and it readily shows its age. The youthful notes are apparent throughout the sip. However youth isn’t necessarily a connotation for bad, and it will be interesting to see what a few additional years in the barrel brings forth for this line. In the meantime I’m looking forward to using this to mix up some cocktails that call for a more of a grain forward profile.

The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of KO Distilling. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.

Written By: Jordan
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