Mini Barrel Aging Experiment (Day 98)

Mini Barrel Aging Experiment 10After taking a brief hiatus from my experiment in order to allow my whiskey to mature without interruption, I am back at it, and trying another sample.  Today is Day 98, and the spirit in my barrel hasn’t been touched since April 12th.  Let’s get into it.

This whiskey is certainly developing in its color as it has rested in the barrel.  I suppose more than three months exposed to charred oak will do that.  However, it’s still not as dark as many of the ryes that have sat on my shelf, which is my first indicator that this is still relatively “young”.

On the nose, this whiskey is still very much in its development stage.  It’s young, but continues to pick up smoky characteristics from the wood.

The taste on this whisky is really starting to get good.  The malted rye is beginning to make a defined appearance, along with woody, earthy smoke.  It’s exciting to literally taste the progress this is making.

On the finish, it’s still young, and the new make taste (Corsair Wry Moon) remains apparent.

I am still enjoying this experiment, but recognize that significantly more Mini Barrel Aging Experiment 11time in the barrel is needed.
We will re-visit this on Day 154 (August 2nd).

Edit: final post on this experiment can be found here.



Jefferson’s Bourbon – Review

Jefferson's BourbonJefferson’s Very Small Batch Kentucky Straight Whiskey

82.3 Proof

Price Point: $25 – $35 for 750 ML

Distiller: McLain & Kyne



A little more than a year ago, I reviewed Jefferson’s 10 Year Old Rye.  In the “Background” section, I mentioned my first experience with this brand, in which I was unimpressed with their trade show representation, and their bourbon.  Because I really enjoy their rye, I thought I would give their bourbon another shot, as admittedly, I may have been biased during my first tasting.  Below are my unbiased findings.



The nose on Jefferson’s Bourbon starts with toasted oak.  Soon, it becomes slightly nutty, with corn and rye.  It’s a little spicy (peppery) and bitter, but pretty mellow overall.

Candy-like sweetness on the tip of the tongue gets the taste of Jefferson’s Bourbon started.  Next, there’s corn and oak, with an overall light mouthfeel.  I would really prefer a higher proof on this whiskey, as I have a difficult time picking out anything else too interesting.

There’s a touch of caramel on a relatively brief, bitter finish.


Rating & Recommendations

This “very small batch” bourbon falls a bit flat at a rating of 78 out of 100.

As stated before, a little bit higher of a proof may have saved this otherwise uninteresting whiskey.



Bulleit Bourbon – Review

Bulleit BourbonBulleit Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

90 Proof

Price Point: $20 – $30 for 750 ML

Distiller: Bulleit Distilling Co.



Bulleit is another one of those bourbons that I see on the shelf frequently, but have never actually purchased. In fact, this review is from a borrowed bottle. It’s not that it’s too expensive or that I don’t like it (I’ve had it on several occasions at the bar), it’s just nothing all that special in my opinion. Many will argue that it’s higher-than-average amount of rye on the mashbill makes Bulleit unique, but to me, it’s just an ordinary bourbon.

Of course, this is just my opinion, and readers of this blog are welcomed and encouraged to voice their own in the comments.



The nose on Bulleit Bourbon starts with a nice balance of corn, rye, and wheat.  There’s a fair amount of charred oak smoke, followed by a bit of mint and some sweet vanilla.

In the mouth, there’s more rye and corn.  Bulleit Bourbon tastes a little young, but nicely balanced, with a decent bite for 90 proof.  This whiskey is peppery yet also sweet.  I like this bourbon but I can’t say it has anything uniquely defining about it.

Bulleit’s finish is surprisingly lengthy; it bites you back.


Rating & Recommendations

Bulleit Bourbon earns an okay rating of 83 out of 100.

Not a bad whiskey, but not something I would seek out.  This is an entry level bourbon that serves its purpose; would probably be interesting for cocktail experimentation.



Jura Superstition Scotch – Review

Jura Superstition ScotchJura Superstition Lightly Peated Single Malt Scotch Whisky

86 Proof

Price Point: $45 – $55 for 750 ML

Distiller: Jura Distillery



No age statement whiskeys seem to have become more and more prevalent in recent years.  The mainstay Scotch brands such as Glenlivet and Glenfiddich still rely on their standard 12, 15, and 18 year old offerings, but many other brands are releasing expressions that are unique mixes of the distillery’s single malts at different ages. What this tells me is that consumers are less worried about the prestige of an older whiskey, and more concerned about taste. I can get on board with that concept.

Jura Superstition is a blend of Jura’sfinest young and aged (up to 21 years) whiskies“. It is lightly peated, according to the label, and should make for an interesting piece to their portfolio opposite the 10 Year Old that I already reviewed.



The nose on Jura Superstition is malty and yeasty, with some light smoke and peat.  There’s sourdough bread and a little bit of candy (licorice?). I also detect honey akin to a Balvenie.  Superstition’s nose is complex and certainly interesting.

In the mouth, Superstition has more peat and smoke, with a thin mouthfeel. It’s a little disappointing, although it tasted better the second time I went to review.  I get a touch of fruity sweetness with malt toward the end.  This whisky is very smooth, with some unique grass notes.

Jura Superstition’s finish is malty, spicy, and mid-length.


Rating & Recommendations

This tasty dram earns a rating of 82 out of 100.

Although incredibly smooth, Jura Superstition was not what I expected (and hoped) it would be.  This is a very good whisky on the nose, but disappoints later in the tasting experience.



Collingwood Canadian Whisky – Review

Collingwood Canadian WhiskyCollingwood Hand-Crafted Blended Canadian Whisky

80 Proof

Price Point: $20 – $30 for 750 ML

Distiller: Brown-Forman Beverages



Much to my surprise upon writing this, I have only reviewed one other Canadian whisky on this blog – Forty Creek. I admitted in that review that I am not partial to Canadian whisky in general, as I feel that, for the most part, it lacks the character and complexity of other whiskies from around the world.

Enter Collingwood, my second Canadian whisky review. Will it break the mold of dull Canadian whiskies, or will it be another reason to spend less time in that aisle in the liquor store?



The nose on this whisky starts out light and unmistakably Canadian.  Collingwood slowly transitions from dull to interesting, with lightly toasted marshmallows and a slightly nutty aroma.  This is a toned-down version of Forty Creek.

The taste is all walnuts and almonds.  Collingwood is much more interesting than the initial nose predicted.  It’s a little thin in mouthfeel and flavor.  It’s grainy and young tasting, but very smooth.

Collingwood Canadian finishes with more alcohol than elsewhere in the experience, and is also rather dry.


Rating & Recommendations

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Collingwood Canadian to a friend, given its rating of 80 out of 100.

This is a nice Canadian (aren’t all Canadians nice?), but still not something I would go out of my way to recommend.  There are certainly better ones out there.



Mini Barrel Aging Experiment (Day 42)

Mini Barrel Aging Experiment 09Day 42 of the mini barrel aging experiment has arrived. What started as moonshine on March 1st has been resting in a barrel for almost a month and a half, and the progress has been interesting.

The whiskey is slowly but surely changing in color and transparency.

The nose is very similar to two weeks ago, while it continues to pick up characteristics from the charred oak.

In the mouth, the whiskey is starting to get a nicer mouthfeel, although it’s still untamed and youthful in spirit. Still lots of grainy wood chips and plenty of rye.

Afterward, this whiskey is starting to develop a nice finish, with a touch of smoke. I can see this whiskey going places.

I am finding that reviewing in two week increments just isn’t long enough for the whiskey to change dramatically. Therefore, I plan to wait until Day 98 (June 7th) until I sample again. Stay tuned…



Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Small Batch Bourbon – Review

Colonel E. H. Taylor Small Batch BourbonColonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Small Batch Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

100 Proof

Price Point: $30 – $40 for 750 ML

Distiller: Old Fashioned Copper Distillery



Many times when reviewing a family of whiskeys, I like to start from the bottom (relatively speaking) and move my way up. Many times I will review the younger whiskey first, and move to the older one to show the progression in the barrel.

In the case of Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr.’s portfolio, I started at the “top” with the Barrel Proof release, and am now moving to the “bottom” with the Small Batch. Sometimes my OCD just can’t sort these types of things out. Next on the list is the Single Barrel, but that will have to wait for another time.



When nosing this whiskey, I quickly noticed how sweet and crisp it is.  Colonel Taylor Small Batch is akin to Bowman Brothers Bourbon on the nose.  It has nice charred oak characteristics, and the corn, rye, and wheat are all harmoniously evident.

There’s sweet corn and charred oak in the taste of this bourbon.  It’s well-balanced and at an ideal proof (for my tastes).  It’s not too high where it dries your mouth out, but not too low where you can’t taste your whiskey.  Colonel Taylor Small Batch has a little black cherry on the tail-end to round out its taste.

The finish is pleasant – peppery and nice with a decent length.


Rating & Recommendations

Colonel Taylor Small Batch stacks up among the top-shelf bourbons I have reviewed, earning a rating of 87 out of 100.

This is one of the nicer small batch bourbons out there, and certainly reasonably priced.



Mini Barrel Aging Experiment (Day 28)

Mini Barrel Aging Experiment 08Nearly a month has passed since I started the mini barrel aging experiment, and the whiskey has certainly changed.

Since two weeks ago, the color has altered slightly. It is now a little bit darker and denser, although it’s tough to tell in the photograph. For the most part, it’s translucent, but it does have a slight cloudiness to it.

On the nose, this whiskey is starting to develop further and continuing to pick up notes from the oak barrel. However, it is still incredibly young. Hints of charred oak are surfacing, and I continue to get green apple as I did in my last post.

Once again I am getting high alcohol in the taste, followed by the distinct flavor (although I’ve never eaten them) of wood chips. The grainy rye is still very evident; it’s spicy in a good way. It’s beginning to get a little smokier, especially as it leads into the finish.

The finish is pretty lengthy, but nothing remarkable yet.

As difficult as it is to be patient when aging whiskey, it is clear after two samplings that this stuff needs significantly more time in the barrel to mature. Once again, we will wait another two weeks and see how things shape up on Day 42.



Tullamore Dew 10 Year Old Irish Whiskey – Review

Tullamore Dew 10 Year Old Irish WhiskeyTullamore Dew 10 Year Old Four Cask Finish Single Malt Irish Whiskey

80 Proof

Price Point: $35 – $45 for 750 ML

Distiller: Tullamore Dew Company Ltd.



This past Monday was St. Patrick’s Day, a day in which many people of Irish heritage (and many without a drop of Irish blood in their body) choose to enjoy the drink that may or may not be derived from the Emerald Isle – whiskey.

Although a few days late, I would like to acknowledge this “spirited” holiday by reviewing, you guessed it, an Irish whiskey.  Specifically Tullamore Dew 10 Year Old.

I reviewed this whiskey’s younger brother (Tullamore Dew’s standard expression) well over a year ago.  I was not overly impressed.  Let’s see if a little bit of extra time in the barrel, along with some unique maturing methods (for an Irish, that is; single malt, “four cask finish”), have improved upon this whiskey.



This is the most complex Irish whiskey I have nosed to date (sorry Connemara and Redbreast).  Tullamore Dew 10 Year Old has the same classic Emerald Isle high notes, balanced out by rich sherry (blueberries?) and creamy cherry pie.

Tullamore Dew 10 Year Old starts out with honey and fruit.  It’s extremely well-balanced; smooth with just enough bite (impressive for 40%).  This whiskey is malty (obviously); a refreshing change of pace among grainy Irish whiskeys.

This is a tasty finish with green apples followed much later by berries.  A much longer finish than expected.


Rating & Recommendations

Tullamore Dew 10 Year Old is a very impressive Irish whiskey, earning a rating of 86 out of 100.

This edges out Redbreast 12 Year Old for best Irish whiskey I have reviewed thus far.  This is a complex whiskey I would put up against the better single malt Scotches.



Mini Barrel Aging Experiment (Day 14)

Mini Barrel Aging Experiment 06
Two weeks ago, I wrote Part One of this experiment.  In that post, I outlined my thoughts behind maturing whiskey in a miniature barrel, including picking a worthy new spirit (in this case, I chose Corsair Wry Moon).

Two weeks later, we’re ready to sample what’s been maturing in the barrel.

After pouring roughly one fluid ounce into a sample container, I poured just a little bit into a Glencairn glass for some closer observation.

The color is about what I expected it to be.  It’s like a very light chardonnay, translucent, with just a hint of cloudiness.

On the nose, it’s still very young (as expected).  The white dog has been mellowed slightly by the oak, but this stuff is very much still Wry Moon.  After swirling the spirit in my glass a little bit and letting it breathe, I get a much sweeter nose with hints of green apple.

The first thing I get after taking a sip is wood chips, followed by the intensity of a very young whiskey.  This two week old rye is earthy with a bit of rye spiciness and a subtle hint of charred oak.  Then “poof”, it’s gone, and Wry Moon is back in its unaged glory.

When it comes to the finish, I wouldn’t say it’s much more mellow than two weeks ago, but it’s certainly different.  Again, I get a distinct flavor of wood chips.

Mini Barrel Aging Experiment 07

This is about what I expected for the first sampling of this whiskey as it matures.  It is on its way, but needs significantly more time in the barrel before it can be a drinkable/enjoyable whiskey.  The good news is that there is nothing dramatically wrong with the whiskey thus far (no negative effects from the barrel).

We will re-visit this experiment in two more weeks for Part Three!