Corsair Wry Moon Unaged Whiskey – Review

Corsair Wry MoonCorsair Wry Moon Unaged Kentucky Whiskey

92 Proof

Price Point: $30 – $40 for 750 ML

Distiller: Corsair Artisan LLC



If you caught my post last Saturday, you would know that I recently embarked on a new “experiment” – one in which I am taking new spirit and aging it in a one liter barrel for a to-be-determined period of time.  The first step in this experiment was finding the right white dog.

At first I considered going the “cheap” route (I use the term loosely) and using XXX Shine Corn Whiskey, as it was the best of the choices I had to begin with.  However, when I ventured to another liquor store with a bit more selection, I happened upon the 92 proof Corsair Wry Moon.  This unaged Kentucky new spirit was pot distilled from malted rye by the Corsair Artisan Distillery.  These guys are doing interesting things with spirits, and my experience with their Triple Smoke has me all confused about American whiskey.

In order to gain a better understanding of the whiskey as it matures in my barrel, I would like to first explore the new spirit that started it all.



The nose is crisp and clean.  It has the unmistakable aroma of new spirit, with a heavy rye influence (duh!).  To me, Wry Moon is much more pleasant than Buffalo Trace White Dog or Dad’s Hat White Rye.

This unaged whiskey is surprisingly tasty and balanced.  It’s peppery at 46% ABV, and much more manageable than Buffalo Trace Mash #1.  It’s a little malty, with syrupy sweetness rounded out by cinnamon.  Wry Moon has a bit of a cereal taste on the back-end, almost like a multivitamin pill.

This white dog has a long lasting, gasoline-like finish.  Wry Moon has almost a chlorine aftertaste (not sure if that is a positive or a negative).


Rating & Recommendations

Once again, the guys at Corsair have changed my mind about certain types of spirits, and Wry Moon has made me think twice about white dog.  This stuff gets a rating of 79 out of 100 from me.

I have to admit that this is surprisingly drinkable for a white dog.  I’m looking forward to tasting this as it matures in my barrel.



Mini Barrel Aging Experiment (Day 1)

Mini Barrel Aging Experiment 01 Mini Barrel Aging Experiment 02 Mini Barrel Aging Experiment 03 Mini Barrel Aging Experiment 04 Mini Barrel Aging Experiment 05First of all, I am not a scientist.  This “experiment” is not really an experiment – I’m just a whiskey enthusiast with a mini barrel and some white dog.

Now that we have the disclaimer out of the way, let’s get started.

My wife bought me a mini barrel from Thousand Oaks Barrels for Christmas this past year.  I have always wanted to play around with aging whiskey as the whole process (obviously) fascinates me.

The first step in preparing the barrel for aging spirits is to “cure” the inside.  Last Saturday (February 22, 2014), I filled the barrel with near-boiling water.  Next, I sealed off the bung and let it sit for a week.  This helps the wood in the barrel swell to prevent any leaks and limits the amount of alcohol absorbed in the barrel during the aging process.

While I let the barrel cure, I had to find the perfect new spirit to use.  If you’ve read some of my past reviews (here and here), you’ll realize that I do not particularly like white dog.  I wanted to pick something unique, so I bought Corsair Wry Moon, an unaged Kentucky new spirit pot distilled from malted rye.  Corsair does some interesting things with whiskey experimentation, so I thought this was only appropriate.  This particular white dog is 92 proof, which I prefer over the lower proof choices available, as the whiskey should lose its potency over time in the barrel.  Since the barrel holds one liter of liquid (and it’s wise to fill it up completely), I had to purchase two 750 ML bottles of Wry Moon.  For what it’s worth, I decided to buy two bottles from the same “batch” – #51.

Now that I have my new spirit and the barrel has been cured, it’s time to get started.  First, I drained the water that had been curing the inside of the barrel.  Next, I rinsed it out two more times with hot water.  Now the fun begins.

I fit a funnel into the bung on the top of the barrel, and began pouring the Wry Moon into the barrel.  After the first bottle was empty, I proceeded to pour from the second.  I was careful not to overfill the barrel.  Once the barrel was completely full, I removed the funnel and replaced the bung.

My goals for this “experiment” are as follows:

  • Determine how long it takes the whiskey to mature to my tastes.  I will do this by sampling the whiskey from this barrel once every two weeks and writing a new post about it.  This will go on indefinitely until I feel the whiskey is aged to my liking.
  • Find out (generally) how the proof of the whiskey changes as it ages.
  • Determine the amount of whiskey gone to the angel’s share.

Check back in two weeks for Part Two



Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon – Review

Wild Turkey Rare Breed BourbonWild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

108.2 Proof

Price Point: $35 – $45 for 750 ML

Distiller: Austin, Nichols Distilling Company



One of the great things about writing a blog is that I get to have back-and-forth dialogue with my readers about whiskey.  It’s not just a one-way conversation – I interact with people who follow my blog through email, the comments sections, and on social media.  Just as I have persuaded people to purchase whiskeys through my reviews, I have also been recommended some whiskeys that I may have otherwise passed over.

In a past review, a reader recommended Wild Turkey Rare Breed; he said I “needed” to try it.  I took him up on his suggestion, and below is the review it has earned.



This whiskey noses very much like Wild Turkey 101.  How can it not, being only a few percentage points higher in proof?  There’s sweet grainy notes surrounded by high alcohol aroma.  This is all rounded out by vanilla and a little bit of spice.

In the mouth, Wild Turkey Rare Breed is sweet with rich caramel notes.  It’s surprisingly smooth – Wild Turkey’s website claims that this bourbon is so mellow because of its unique mixture of 6, 8, and 12 year old whiskeys.  It is buttery in texture (coats the inside of your mouth).  Wild Turkey Rare Breed is spicy with notes of nutmeg, while also peppery with a touch of leather and coffee.

The finish is sweet, long, and warming.  This is a very flavorful finish to a nice bourbon.


Rating & Recommendations

Wild Turkey Rare Breed earns a respectable rating of 85 out of 100.

This is certainly a tasty barrel-proof bourbon, but I would go with Wild Turkey 101 over this one given the price difference.  With Wild Turkey Rare Breed, I feel that you’re more or less paying for the novelty of the words “barrel-proof” on the label.



Maker’s Mark Bourbon – Review

Maker's Mark BourbonMaker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

90 Proof

Price Point: $25 – $35 for 750 ML

Distiller: Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc.



Just like Glenlivet 12 Year Old, Jameson Irish, and Jack Daniel’s, Maker’s Mark is just one of those whiskies you can find at virtually any bar or restaurant.  Its lightly tanned label and iconic red-waxed bottle top can be spotted from across the room, and its taste is as recognizable as any whisky.

This is one of those whiskies that doesn’t claim to be anything unique – it’s a wheated bourbon that stays consistent from year to year, even though Maker’s is in fact a small batch.  For how mainstream this bourbon can be, it’s clear from their website that a lot of thought and care goes into their product.  But let’s see how it tastes…



Maker’s Mark noses like a wheated bourbon should; soft but not too sweet.  It’s simple and nice, and very comforting.

This whisky is delicate in the mouth with soft wheat.  Maker’s Mark has no overwhelming (trademark) tastes.  This is just a simple bourbon that’s smooth and easy to drink.  It’s slightly nutty from the barley in the mashbill (almost the same percentage as the wheat – Maker’s Mark is 70% corn, 16% wheat, and 14% barley).

The finish is a little short and unremarkable, but what did you expect?


Rating & Recommendations

Although there are plenty of tastier bourbons out there, Maker’s Mark fits its purpose a simple whisky, earning a rating of 81 out of 100.

Maker’s Mark is a smooth whisky for beginners.  I would liken it the bourbon version of Jameson Irish Whiskey; use this to introduce your friends to the world of whisky.



What’s on Your Shelf? (Part 2)

Whisky Collection February 2014It’s fun once in a while to share not only one whiskey on my shelf with my readers, but all of them.  Back in July, I posted Part 1 of the “What’s on Your Shelf?” series.  My collection has changed since then, and here it is:

What do you currently have in your cabinet or on your shelf?  Let me know in the comments below.



W.L. Weller Bourbon – Review

W. L. Weller BourbonW.L. Weller Special Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

90 Proof

Price Point: $15 – $25 for 750 ML

Distiller: W.L. Weller & Sons



About a year ago, I reviewed William Larue Weller Bourbon, one of the coveted whiskeys from Sazerac’s Antique Collection.  This was a wheated bourbon bottled at barrel proof (67.4%).

Today we are examining William Larue’s younger brother – W.L. Weller Bourbon.  This bourbon is bottled at a slightly lower ABV – 45%.  It is still a wheated bourbon, and still a whiskey worth examining, despite its dramatically lower price point.  Let’s get into it…



The nose on W.L. Weller has plenty of wheat and corn.  It’s a little alcohol intense at first, and very woody for a bourbon with no specific age statement.

On your first sip, you’ll notice more wheat and corn.  W.L. Weller perhaps presents a touch of rye, and a nice amount of burn at 90 proof.  It’s a little thin in its mouthfeel, and could certainly have more flavor and complexity.  But hey – you get what you pay for sometimes.  This wheated bourbon is not quite as smooth as other notables from the same genre (such as Maker’s Mark or Rebel Reserve), but the whiskey drinkers who prefer a “bite” may appreciate this more.

This bourbon finishes with a pleasant, mellow aftertaste with sweet, syrupy notes.


Rating & Recommendations

W.L. Weller is a nice bourbon to have on hand, and certainly worthy of a respectable 81 out of 100 rating.

This is a whiskey to sit on your shelf above Evan Williams and below Eagle Rare.



Blackadder 1966 Tullibardine Distillery Scotch – Review

Blackadder 1966 Tullibardine Distillery ScotchBlackadder 1966 Tullibardine Distillery Raw Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky

109.6 Proof

Price Point: Unknown for 750 ML

Distiller: Tullibardine Distillery



We’ve reached the end of the Blackadder series.  Well, not the entire Blackadder series; just the ones I have had the good fortune of reviewing.

We’ve checked out expressions from Longmorn, Springbank, Highland Park, Edradour, Blairfindy, and Ben Nevis.  We’ve tasted proofs ranging from 90 to 112.2 and ages from 13 years old to 34 years old.

But, this must come to an end, so it might as well end with a good one.  Today I am reviewing the Blackadder Tullibardine 1966 Raw Cask whisky.  This single malt Scotch came from a single sherry oak cask from the aforementioned Highland distillery.  So far I have enjoyed the sherried whiskies from this collection.  Let’s hope that we end this on a high note.



The nose of Blackadder Tullibardine starts with black cherries, leather and mature, charred oak.  It then transitions to a Sharpie marker smell (I noticed this in the Blackadder Edradour, as well).  It’s creamy with heavy sherry influence and a touch of malt.

This whisky is a flavor blast right from the start.  It has an oily mouthfeel, and a splash of water really opens this one up.  Blackadder Tullibardine has notes of mixed berries followed by leathery, mature oak and charcoal.  This one is smoky but not from peat.  It has maple syrup in the taste, and certainly tastes heavily sherried (which it is!).  Blackadder Tullibardine is very smooth for a raw cask whisky – outstanding!

This whisky has a tasty finish with good length, as it should be with a cask strength whisky.  Lots of smoky oak finish out a really nice Scotch.


Rating & Recommendations

Blackadder Tullibardine is an excellent whisky, and my favorite of the Blackadder series, earning a rating of 92 out of 100.

There’s a good reason why they say “save the best for last”.  This is a fabulous whisky, and certainly one that ranks high on my all-time list.



Blackadder 1966 Ben Nevis Distillery Scotch – Review

Blackadder 1966 Ben Nevis Distillery ScotchBlackadder 1966 Ben Nevis Distillery Raw Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky

99.4 Proof

Price Point: Unknown for 750 ML

Distiller: Ben Nevis Distillery



Last time, I reviewed Blackadder Ben Nevis Distillery 32 Year Old.  The 90 proofer ranks pretty high on my all-time list (90 out of 100), and is certainly deserving of that spot.

Today, I’m reviewing its older brother, Blackadder 1966 Ben Nevis, which is technically a 34 Year Old whisky since it was bottled in 2000 (someone may want to check my math for me).  Considering it has two years on the last one and nearly ten additional proof points, I think I may be in for a treat with this dram.



The nose starts out sweet and rum-like.  Blackadder Ben Nevis 1966 has an earthy/grassy undertone, with charcoal and pine.  There’s also candy canes and perhaps a touch of grassy (not peat) smoke.

In the mouth, Blackadder Ben Nevis 1966 is very, very spicy and peppery; it tingles on your tongue.  There’s more oak here with lots of charcoal.  Again, there’s a bread-like taste, similar to Bruichladdich Rocks.  This whisky drinks hot, but what should I expect from a cask strength whisky?  This Scotch is very tasty and complex, and vastly different than the 32 Year Old.

The finish is long and spicy.  A very pleasant finish with even more grassy notes.


Rating & Recommendations

Blackadder Ben Nevis 1966 is another solid offering from Blackadder, earning a rating of 89 out of 100.

Contrary to my usual preferences of age and strength, I prefer the 90 proof 32 Year Old over this cask strength 34 Year Old.  However, this is still a very nice whisky.



Blackadder Ben Nevis Distillery 32 Year Old Scotch – Review

Blackadder Ben Nevis Distillery 32 Year Old ScotchBlackadder Ben Nevis Distillery 32 Year Old Single Highland Malt Whisky

90 Proof

Price Point: Unknown for 750 ML

Distiller: Ben Nevis Distillery



Today we are reviewing Blackadder’s Ben Nevis 32 Year Old Scotch.  Despite the number of whiskies I have tasted, I know very little about Ben Nevis and its range.  According to Wikipedia:

Ben Nevis Distillery is a distillery in Scotland that distills Ben Nevis 10 Years Old and Ben Nevis 21 Years Old whisky.  It is located at Lochy Bridge in Fort William and sits just at the base of Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain, which rises to 4,406 feet above sea level.  A coastal distillery in the Western Highlands, Ben Nevis draws its water from the Allt a’Mhuilinn which originates from two pools, Coire Leis and Coire na’Ciste.  The distillery was founded in 1825 by ‘Long John’ McDonald, a 6’ 4” descendant of a ruler of the western Scottish kingdom of Argyll (after whom the renowned blended Scotch, Long John, was named).



The nose on Blackadder Ben Nevis 32 Year Old starts out creamy, with caramel high notes on the first whiff.  Digging a little deeper, I get more pine-like aromas with a lot of oak (bourbon barrel influence?).  I also get toasted marshmallows and a bread-like (yeasty) aroma once again similar to Bruichladdich Rocks.

Once on the palate, Ben Nevis 32 Year Old is very complex with lots of interesting spices.  It’s also very floral, which I was not expecting from the nose.  There’s more wood in the taste from three decades of charred oak exposure, along with an oily mouthfeel.  It can, at times, be creamy like birthday cake frosting.  I also get the same bourbon-like sweetness, which suits my tastes well.

This whisky finishes a lot like a bourbon with a sweet and spicy taste; really a pleasant ending to a great whisky.  This is really a Scotch that evolves nicely from nose to taste to finish.


Rating & Recommendations

Ben Nevis 32 Year Old is a really enjoyable whisky, earning a rating of 90 out of 100.

This is one of the more complex whiskies I have had the pleasure to review, and certainly one of the best of the Blackadder series.  Next on my list is its older brother, the 1966 (34 Year Old) Ben Nevis Blackadder.  How will it compare?  Stay tuned…



Blairfindy 1976 Natural Strength Sherry Cask Scotch – Review

Blairfindy 1976 Natural Strength Sherry Cask ScotchBlairfindy 1976 Natural Strength Sherry Cask Single Speyside Malt Whisky

102.2 Proof

Price Point: Unknown for 750 ML

Distiller: Blairfindy (Glenfarclas)



A Google search of “Blairfindy” will yield some interesting results.  According to the Blackadder website, “Blairfindy is a single malt from the only family owned distillery on Speyside at Marypark, Ballindalloch.  For legal reasons we can never put the actual distillery name of this whisky on the label.  We use the name Blairfindy because this is the name of the farm that the owning family, the Grants, came from.  They are historically referred to as the ‘Blairfindy Grants.’

After a little more digging through the interwebs, I’ve found that this was indeed distilled by the Glenfarclas distillery.

The whisky reviewed here was distilled on May 10, 1976 and bottled in September 2000.  If my math is correct, that makes this bottle of whisky 24 years old.



The nose on Blackadder Blairfindy 1976 starts with a lot of malt and a big sherry influence.  It’s a tad leathery with strawberries and cream (Glenlivet 15, anyone?).  This seems well-aged from the nose alone.

In the mouth, this whisky tastes very mature with big sherry and lots of leather.  Blairfindy 1976 is creamy with lots of sweet malt, and definite Speyside characteristics likening it to the Glenlivet (in my opinion).  There’s a touch of pine, some sweet sugar cane, and tiny bit of peppermint here.  Lots of bold flavor at 51.1% ABV.

The finish starts out very sweet, followed by a lingering, spicy/sherry-filled taste.


Rating & Recommendations

I really enjoyed Blackadder Blairfindy 1976, so it has earned a rating of 91 out of 100.

This is my favorite of the Blackadder series thus far.  It may be because I favor sherried single malts, or perhaps that this is just a superior dram.