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October 2020
ROUNDUP

Old Fitzgerald Bottled In Bond Fall 2020 Edition

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Heaven Hill

Distillery: Heaven Hill

Release Date: September 2020

Proof: 100

Age: 14 Years

Mashbill: 75% Corn, 20% Wheat, 5% Malted Barley

Color: Dark Bronze

MSRP: $140

Official Website

Nose: Layered caramel | Homemade biscuits | Custard | Raw peanut | Light grape | Tempered oak | Very well done

Palate: Perfect balance of caramel & vanilla | Backend hit of sweet fruit | Hint of lemon | Buttery | Light dry oak | Gentle & warming | Excellent

Finish: Oak | Dry | Fleeting | Short

Overall
: Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond has quickly proven to be yet another constantly solid release from Heaven Hill. The Fall 2020 release may not be an overall complex affair, but it completely nails its nose and palate with an amazingly balanced sip - one of the best of the year actually. Sadly, its finish is severely lacking. The Fall 2020 release isn’t going to impress you with much in the way of fireworks and with it, fully justify its price tag for some. Despite that, what you’re getting is an excellent crafted delivery of flavors that unfortunately falls flat in its final act.

Written By: Eric
October 1, 2020

Little Book Chapter 4 “Lessons Honored”

Classification: Straight Whiskey

Company: Beam Suntory

Distillery: Jim Beam

Release Date: August 2020

Proof: 122.8

Age: NAS

Mashbill: Undisclosed (Blend of 4-year-old Kentucky Straight Brown Rice Bourbon, 8-year-old Kentucky Straight "high rye" Rye Whiskey, and 7-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey)

Color: Copper

MSRP: $125

Official Website

Nose: Grass | Herbal | Apple | Light oak | Light brown sugar | Mild oak | Faint ethanol | Spicy at the tail end

Palate: Heavy cinnamon | Baking spice | Old oak | dark brown sugar | Heavy and fast ramp up of heat | Intense

Finish: Lingering cinnamon | Spicy red pepper | Black pepper | Damp oak | Mild dryness

Beam releases a lot of great Booker’s Bourbon batches every year, but one knock against them is they sort of blend together. Their annual Little Book release does a lot to quell this complaint, with each “Chapter” standing out for something unique.

Out of the gate, Chapter 4’s blend of three different mashbill whiskeys (one of which is a brown rice bourbon) is special for Beam. As a result, its nose is the opposite of any Booker’s I’ve ever had featuring much more grassy and herbal notes. When it comes to the palate and finish though, they are predictably bold and surprisingly in the same flavor wheelhouse as Booker’s. Despite its complex blend, Chapter 4’s sip is decidedly not so.

But where Chapter 4 stands out is it cranks its cinnamon intensity to an 11. It’s beyond intense and combined with its red pepper spice, creates an explosion in your mouth. The difference this time is the flavors are doing the heavy lifting and not the proof. This results in a whiskey that is memorable in all of the right ways.

Written By: Eric
October 2, 2020

Starward Two-Fold Double Grain Australian Whiskey

Classification: Whiskey

Company: Starward Whisky

Distillery: New World Whisky Distillery

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 80

Age: 2 Years

Mashbill: Blend of 100% Wheat Whiskey (60% of blend) and 100% Malted Barley Whiskey (40% of blend)

Color: Hay

MSRP: $35 (2020)

Official Website

Nose: Roasted malt | Vanilla cream | Hint of youth

Palate: Malty | Summer berries | Vanilla | Light spice | Soft & sweet

Finish: Brown sugar | Berries | Dry | Gentle | Lingering sweetness

Originating from Melbourne, Australia, this two grain whiskey is aged in Australian red wine barrels. The blend of the wheat and malted barley whiskeys results in a flavor profile that is gentle, sweet, and well rounded despite showing obvious signs of youth. However this youth could be eliminated with a little more time in the barrel. The red wine barrels, which are said to be lightly charred or quickly blasted with steam before use, impart subtle but noticeable influence to the resulting whiskey.

Written By: Nick
October 3, 2020

Starward Nova Single Malt Whisky

Classification: Single Malt Aged in Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, & Pinot Noir Cask Barrels

Company: Starward Whisky

Distillery: New World Whisky Distillery

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 82

Age: 2 Years

Mashbill: 100% Malt

Color: Light Amber

MSRP: $50 (2020)

Official Website

Nose: Red grapes | Malt | Roses | Sugar coated gumdrops | Light oak | Overall light but effective

Palate: Shiraz | Strawberry | Cranberry | Cherry | Sweet

Finish: Dark grape | Oak | Mild smoke | Tempered bitterness | Dry | Winey aftertaste

If a whisky from Australia somehow isn’t enough to catch your attention, a single malt that’s aged in three different wine casks definitely might. This 2 year old single malt doesn’t necessarily hide its age well, but instead uses it as an accent note against its more prevalent wine finishing influence. Light and sweet overall, this whiskey puts forth a very fruit-forward flavor profile. Its finish can take a few sips to get acclimated to, as it finishes like a dry wine. Well suited for wine lovers looking to venture into whiskey, or whiskey drinkers looking for more in-your-face fruit notes in their whiskey.

Written By: Eric
October 21, 2020

Heaven’s Door Tennessee Bourbon

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Heaven’s Door Spirits

Distillery: Sourced (from undisclosed distillery[ies])

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 90

Age: 8 Years

Mashbill: 70% Corn, 30% Rye & Malted Barley

Color: Cooper

MSRP: $50 (2020)

Official Website

Nose: Orange marmalade | Caramel | Strawberry nougat | Honey | Vanilla | Oak | Nice intensity

Palate: Rich caramel | Buttered biscuits | Cherry | Vanilla | Sweet

Finish: Toasted vanilla | Burnt caramel | Pepper | Spice | Little dryness | Ramp up in heat

There’s a lot to enjoy with this easy-sipper. Its sweet palate gracefully transforms into a more toasted and spicy affair that nicely presents a contrasting tasting experience. In addition, despite being 90 proof, the whiskey has good intensity and its flavors are well presented before it ramps up the heat during its finish. What it lacks in wow factor it makes up for in a solid delivery that justifies its $50 asking price. It’s worth noting that despite this being sourced from Tennessee  - where one wouldn’t be blamed for automatically concluding it's from George Dickel - the mashbill doesn't line up, adding an interesting level of intrigue about this whiskey’s true origins.

Written By: Eric
October 5, 2020

Barrell Bourbon Batch 025

Classification: Blend of Straight Bourbons

Company: Barrell Craft Spirits

Distillery: Sourced (from undisclosed distilleries in Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky)

Release Date: August 2020

Proof: 113.4 (Cask Strength)

Age: 5 Years, 6 Months (Blend of 5.5, 9, 13,15 year old barrels per company website)

Mashbill: Undisclosed

Color: Golden Copper

MSRP: $80 (2020)

Official Website

Nose: Fruit-forward | Strawberry | Lemon zest | Plum | Sunflower seeds | Soft oak | Mild but complex

Palate: Oak infused fruit punch | Rhubarb pie | Marmalade | Floral | Mouthcoating & thick | Excellent

Finish: Ramp of oak & heat | Marzipan | Leather | Coconut | Dry | Some bitterness

It’s been a heck of a journey Barrell has taken us all on over the last 24 bourbon batches, and it would be expected that Barrell would pull out all the stops for their 25th. Looking at the label for their latest batch, it’s hard not to notice the 5.5 year age statement. It doesn’t exactly scream special. This is a great example of don’t judge a book by its cover since it’s the TTB’s regulations that require companies to state the youngest whiskey in their blend. This in fact includes 9, 13, and 15 year old bourbons.

What Barrell does deliver with Batch 025 is what you’d expect: a crowd-pleaser. From its complex nose and its delicious oak infused fruit-forward palate, it’s only the finish that comes up a bit short. There’s way too much to love with this release than find fault with, and it easily falls into the buy category. Batch 025 is a fitting tribute to what Barrell Craft Spirits has accomplished so far.

Written By: Eric
October 7, 2020

Barrell Armida

Classification: Bourbon Whiskeys Finished in Pear Brandy, Jamaican Rum, and Sicilian Amaro Casks

Company: Barrell Craft Spirits

Distillery: Undisclosed distillery(ies) in Tennessee

Release Date: October 2020

Proof: 112.10

Age: NAS

Mashbill: Undisclosed

Color: Deep Rose Gold

MSRP: $90 (2020)

Official Website

Nose: Ripe pear up front | Floral | Light vanilla & caramel in the background | Exceptionally fragrant

Palate: Ripe pear | Mix of dark fruits | Anise | Sweet molasses | Baking spices | Rich & full of flavor with a dynamic shift from fruit to sweet-spicy notes

Finish: Tobacco | Seasoned oak | Hint of aged oak | Slight dryness | Medium length

The release is comprised of only 3,700 bottles, and is a blend of three straight bourbons, separately finished in Pear Brandy, Jamaican Rum, and Sicilian Amaro casks. While each of these individual finishes has been done before, they are still just making their way into bourbon finishing and as a result are rather rare. Moreover, the combination of blending these three finishes into a single blend results in one of the more interesting creations ever attempted with bourbon. Like the unique name for this product, which was inspired by company founder Joe Beatrice’s mother’s formal name, the resulting flavor profile is as unique as it sounds.

I was initially shocked by Armida, as it delivers a combination of flavors I can confidently say I have never experienced in a whiskey. In fact, I had to revisit a number of times to ground myself in what I was experiencing, and in-so-doing found myself really enjoying this intriguing blend. As you journey through this whiskey from its aroma to its palate and finally to its finish, you realize it’s on an entirely different level. The integration of the three separately finished bourbons not only exposes, but rather highlights qualities of all three finishes in a rather potent form. Despite the gripping intensity of the finishes however, the underlying bourbon offers just enough structure to tie everything together. Armida is such a complex and unexpected combination of flavors it will challenge even the most experienced whiskey drinkers.

Written By: Nick
October 19, 2020

Barrell Rye Batch 003

Classification: Blend of Straight Ryes

Company: Barrell Craft Spirits

Distillery: Sourced (from undisclosed distilleries in Indiana, Tennessee, Poland, and Canada)

Release Date: March 2020

Proof: 116.7 (Cask Strength)

Age: 4 Years (Blend of 4-14 year old barrels per company website)

Mashbill: Undisclosed

Color: Light Gold

MSRP: $80 (2020)

Official Website

Nose: Caramel | Cornbread | Grass | Peppermint | Lemon

Palate: Roasted nut | Leather | Green apple | Oily mouthfeel

Finish: Rye bread | Spice | Dryness | Old oak


After a hiatus, Barrell Craft Spirits is back with a new rye batch that turns up the dial on its blending complexity by featuring ryes from four origins and up to 14 years of age. This type of blend is highly unusual for the rye market which typically doesn’t get to experience the same blending creativity as much as bourbon does. The result is a grounded rye that is heavy on earthier notes and more oak forward than most ryes. Yet it also features a great mouthfeel that helps highlight the palate’s complexity by bringing forth the brightness the four base ryes produce together. This isn’t a rye you might now immediately declare your love for, but one you’ll take out at a rye tasting and prove just how unique ryes can actually be.

Written By: Eric
October 23, 2020

Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye

Classification: Straight Rye

Company: Sugarlands Distilling Company

Distillery: Sugarlands Distilling Company

Release Date: 2020

Proof: 119.6 (Cask Strength)

Age: Blend of 3 Years, 8 Months & 3 Years, 4 Months

Mashbill: 51% Rye, 45% Corn, 4% Malted Barley

Color: Caramel

MSRP: $50 (375ml) (2020)

Official Website

Nose: Raisins | Grain | Caramel | Light plum | Dark fruit

Palate: Rye spice | Orange chocolate | Grain | Light oak | Oily mouthfeel

Finish: Raisins | Rye spice | Apple | Vanilla | Oak | Long lasting

Much like its younger iteration, Roaming Man packs a punch. At 119.6 proof, its heavy rye spice backbone is evident throughout its sip. The whiskey still has some grainy notes present, although these are showing signs of retreating as the oak becomes more established. Its oily mouthfeel in conjunction with its proof helps highlight its raisin, plum, and port-like flavor profile, but more development is needed to tame the grain and intensify the oak. Sugarlands will have something special here in due time.

Written By: Eric
October 9, 2020

The Mattie Gladden (Bottled in Bond) Bourbon

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Spirits of French Lick

Distillery: Spirits of French Lick

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 100

Age: 4 Years

Mashbill: 55% Corn, 35% Rye, 10% Malted Barley

Color: Dark Copper

MSRP: $45 (2020)

Official Website

Nose: Summer fruits | Apple | Cinnamon | Smoke | Youthful with predominant fruit notes

Palate: Apricot | Anise | Apple pie | Rye spice | Fresh oak  

Finish: Caramel | Vanilla extract | Ginger spice | Lingering rye spice

Refreshing disclosure on the label gives way to a new Bottled in Bond bourbon that’s flown under the radar. Presenting dominant fruit notes, this bourbon offers a unique mix of flavors originating from Spirits of French Lick’s Indiana-based distillery. This is definitely an up-and-coming distillery to pay attention to!

Written By: Nick
October 12, 2020

Coppercraft Rye Whiskey

Classification: Rye

Company: Coppercraft Distillery

Distillery: Coppercraft Distillery & Undisclosed Distillery[ies]

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 90

Age: NAS (Website states 2+ years)

Mashbill: Undisclosed

Color: Copper

MSRP: $43

Official Website

Nose: Rye spice | Baking spice | Tobacco leaves | Oak | Light menthol | Intriguing

Palate: Rye spice | Peppercorn | Sweet vanilla | Honey | Cinnamon | Dried raisins & cherries | Pine | Oak | Full of flavor

Finish: Oak | Light rye grain | Baking spices | Hint of marshmallow | Leather | Lingering combination of sweet and dry flavors

Coppercraft Rye is bursting with flavor right from the start. The entire sip is a combination of traditional rye spice that mingles nicely with a wide range of flavors. While the ratio of the blend between in-house distillate and sourced rye barrels isn’t disclosed, the combination works well in this case. Despite being only  2+ years old, this rye drinks much older than that. This is a fantastic reminder that young whiskey can hold a lot of surprises.

Written By: Jordan
October 14, 2020

Parker's Heritage Collection: 10 Year Old Heavy Char Bourbon

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Heaven Hill

Distillery: Heaven Hill

Release Date: October 2020

Proof: 120

Age: 10 Years

Mashbill: 78% Corn, 12% Malted Barley, 10% Rye

Color: Dark Copper

MSRP: $120

Official Website

Nose: Heavy charred oak | Vanilla | Slight rye spice & caramel | Bold ethanol | Every scent is amplified including the ethanol

Palate: Sweet caramel | Vanilla | Baking spices | Peppercorn | Slight hint of dark cherries | Barrel char | Punchy spice

Finish: Caramel | Flashes of dark fruits | Charred oak | Dry leather | Big bold spice | Long & full of heat

Parker’s Heritage Heavy Char Bourbon is the 14th edition of this annual release. Following up on the heels of last year’s release of Heavy Char Rye, the company once again is focusing on the utilization of a char Level 5 to be the distinguishing factor of this release. This differs from the customary Level 3 that Heaven HIll normally uses. Unlike last year though, Heaven Hill has chosen to amplify the age and proof even higher, resulting in a 10 year 120 proof bourbon.

Where last year’s Parker’s Heritage edition was an overall disappointment, the bourbon version of Heaven Hill’s heavy char experiment thankfully is redemption for this often lauded and popular brand. While heat and char are still big factors, they thankfully don’t drown out the other flavors or make things too lopsided. Instead, the end result is a big bold high proof bourbon that balances its age and heavy char flavor profile against traditional bourbon flavor profiles and bold spice. This year’s  Heavy Char Bourbon isn’t the best Parker’s Heritage Collection bottle ever released, but it’s a big upgrade from last year’s rye release and one that is sure to please those looking for a bold high proof pour.

Written By: Jordan
October 16, 2020

Courage & Conviction - Batch: Dr. George G. Moore

Classification: American Single Malt Matured in Former Sherry, Cuvee, and Bourbon Casks

Company: Virginia Distillery Co.

Distillery: Virginia Distillery Co.

Release Date: April 2020 (Ongoing)

Proof: 92

Age: 3 Years

Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley

Color: Hay

MSRP: $75 (2020)

Official Website

Nose: Floral | Dried apricot | Caramel | Honey | Lemon

Palate: Light malt | Apricot | Summer fruit | Citrusy | Ginger | Light & sweet

Finish: Honey | Orange zest | Apricot | Spicy note develops | Long

Virginia Distillery Co.’s website provides a wealth of information about this release and an example for every other distillery out there to strive for. As noted, a total of 37 used casks were used for this batch, which included 21 bourbon, 10 cuvée, and 6 sherry casks making for a total of 2,554 gallons of whiskey. This resulted in a final blend of approximately 50% ex-bourbon casks, 25% ex-cuvée casks, and 25% ex-sherry casks. Like the light color of this whiskey, the flavor profile is light and airy, which lends itself to sweeter and more floral and fruity notes. I enjoyed this whiskey and it stands out among most on my shelf, but I would love to taste it with more time in the barrel. Based on this release Virginia Distillery Co. is definitely on my radar as a distillery to watch.

Written By: Nick
October 26, 2020

Buffalo Trace Kosher Wheat Recipe (2020 Release)

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Sazerac Company

Distillery: Buffalo Trace

Release Date: Annual Release

Proof: 94

Age: 7 Years

Mashbill: Undisclosed (Buffalo Trace “Wheated” Mashbill - Corn, Wheat, Malted Barley)

Color: Caramel

MSRP: $40 (2020)

Official Website

Nose: Cinnamon | Soft vanilla | Floral | Summer fruits | Soft & pleasant

Palate: Mild cinnamon | Dark fruits | Slightly creamy | Sweet & straightforward

Finish: Leather | Dry oak | Slight bitterness | Short

Buffalo Trace’s three Kosher Whiskeys are the first Kosher whiskeys from a major U.S. whiskey distillery. The Wheat Recipe will likely gather the most attention for its ties to the company’s uber-popular Weller brand. Those hoping it would be a new easy to find “Poor Man’s Pappy” will unfortunately be disappointed as its flavor profile shares little with the iconic brand. Instead, it has much more in common with the Weller brand as it's sweeter and lighter than Special Reserve, yet features a touch more cinnamon and oak like Antique 107 does. It would be wise to keep expectations in check, as the Wheat Recipe is an enjoyable sipper and nothing more.

Written By: Eric
October 27, 2020

Buffalo Trace Kosher Rye Recipe (2020 Release)

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Sazerac Company

Distillery: Buffalo Trace

Release Date: Annual Release

Proof: 94

Age: 7 Years

Mashbill: Undisclosed Percentages of Corn, Rye, Malted Barley

Color: Chestnut

MSRP: $40 (2020)

Official Website

Nose: Raspberry | Baking spice | Leather | Burnt caramel | Good intensity

Palate: Mixed berries | Oak | Light citrus

Finish: Rye spice | Strawberry cream | Seasoned oak | Slightly dry | Flourish of heat

Buffalo Trace’s three Kosher Whiskeys are the first Kosher whiskeys from a major U.S. whiskey distillery. Likely a surprise to some, the Rye Recipe is in fact a bourbon, with “rye” referring to the whiskey’s secondary grain. At seven years old, there is ample oak and leather woven throughout. The whiskey's fruit notes are its highlight, bringing a nice balance to the oak and injecting much needed dimension. Despite being largely straightforward and even somewhat boring at times, the whiskey is a rather enjoyable sip when its fruit notes open up. The Rye Recipe would actually make a great everyday bourbon if you could in fact find it on any given day in a store. Unfortunately, that probably won’t be the case.

Written By: Eric
October 29, 2020

Charbay R5 Lot No. 5

Classification: Hop Flavored Whiskey

Company: Charbay Distillery

Distillery: Charbay Distillery

Release Date: 2019

Proof: 99

Age: NAS (Brand material states 5 years)

Mashbill: Undisclosed

Color: Yellow Straw

MSRP: $60

Official Website

Nose: Huge dose of wild grapes on a vine | Hints of mellon | Fresh & unexpected

Palate: Baking chocolate | Sweet mellon | Light ground pepper | Earthy tones | Complex and incredibly intriguing

Finish: Oak | Earthy tones | Vine grapes | Hint of hay | Lingering

There are intriguing whiskeys and then there is Charbay R5 Lot 5. This is the 5th release of Charbay R5 and it is composed of a 10 barrel run that is double-distilled from Bear Republic Brewery's award-winning Racer 5 IPA beer (7% ABV). This latest batch was distilled in 2013 and aged for 5 years.

Lot 5 is one of the more complex and intriguing whiskeys on the market. It combines an incredibly fresh and sweet nose with a more earthy and complex palate. The sip ends with a combo of both earthy and sweet, and makes you sit back and ponder how this was created. It is unlike anything else being produced in the American whiskey market and will instantly be a love-it or hate-it whiskey for most. To me this is one of the most challenging and different whiskeys I’ve tried, and I love that it pushes you to really ponder it. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of what can constitute a whiskey, look no further than Charbay R5 Lot 5.

Written By: Jordan
October 28, 2020

Widow Jane Aged 10 Years - Batch 224

Classification: Blend of Straight Bourbons

Company: Widow Jane Distillery

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

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 91

Age: 10 Years

Mashbill: Undisclosed

Color: Mahogany

MSRP: $75 (2020)

Official Website

Nose: Aged oak | Walnut | Graham cracker | Cigar box

Palate: Barrel char | Aged oak | Tobacco | Caramel | Age is evident with a highlight on oak

Finish: Black pepper | Tobacco | Leather | Dry | Medium length with trailing spice

In March 2018, Jordan reviewed the single barrel version of Widow Jane 10 Year which was sourced exclusively from Kentucky and thought it was just average. Now over two and a half years later, the bourbon has transitioned to a batched product consisting of five barrels per batch and includes bourbons sourced from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. Overall I really enjoyed this pour, and found it nicely showing its age with a highlight on oak, possibly even hinting towards some whiskeys in the blend being older than 12 years. Despite this, it manages to strike a balance between the oak and other flavors, making this a reasonably accessible bourbon with a highlight on its higher age. I would definitely recommend picking up a bottle if you enjoy oak-forward, higher aged bourbons.

Written By: Nick
October 30, 2020

Atticus Jones Rye Batch 1

Classification: Straight Rye

Company: The Family Jones

Distillery: The Family Jones

Release Date: October 2019

Proof: 94

Age: 2 Years

Mashbill: 75% Rye, 15% Corn, 10% Malted Barley

Color: Golden Hay

MSRP: $55 (2020)

Official Website

Nose: Grain | Rye spice | Fresh baked bread | Light oak | Youthful

Palate: Smoked grain | Light vanilla | Rye spice | White peppercorn

Finish: Light vanilla | Grain | Lightly charred oak | Straightforward

It’s always nice to see transparency by smaller distilleries such as The Family Jones. Their Atticus Jones Rye is aged for a minimum of two years in Cooper’s Select American Oak char #3 barrels. The rye presents a very youth-heavy flavor profile with the palate showing enough hints to make you wonder what it may taste like with more time in the wood. Overall it’s the highlighting of the grain as the predominant trait throughout the sip that leaves Atticus Jones Rye coming across as overlay youthful and lacking in depth. The bottle being reviewed is number 1175.

Written By: Jordan
October 31, 2020
The samples used for these reviews were provided at no cost courtesy of their respective companies. We thank them for allowing us to review them with no strings attached.
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