Rowan’s Creek Bourbon

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Hooray for trying new things!  Rowan’s Creek is yet another bourbon we’ve had our eyes on for at least a year but never got around to purchasing until now.  It’s made by Willett Distillery, which obviously makes the Willett whiskey line and also Johnny Drum bourbon, which we found to be a pretty good tasting bourbon at a bottom shelf price point.

Rowan’s Creek has a rich golden color.  Its nose is a nice balance of vanilla, raisin, and apples.  Rachel also found hints of cherry blossom.  It’s a bit spicier than expected for a 100-proof bourbon, though not overpowering.  In fact, it’s actually pretty well balanced.  Apple, raisin, and vanilla sweetness work together to cut the spice down.  Its linger is long and peppery.  The only thing keeping Rowan’s Creek from being an all-around hit is its lightness.  The rye and corn flavors from the mash seem be completely separate instead of combining to make one unified flavor.  Perhaps a fuller-bodied bourbon would round these flavors together.

March 12, 2014 | Comments | Permalink |

Tags: whiskey bourbon reviews Rowan's Creek willett 

2 notes

Wild Turkey Rye

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Rye Week continues into its second week because we feel like drinking more rye.  This time we’re drinking Wild Turkey Rye.  Since Wild Turkey is famous for its bourbon, we were curious to see what the rest of their whiskey catalog had to offer.

The first thing to note is this whiskey’s relatively low 81 proof, as it sets up the entire drinking experience.  Overall, Wild Turkey rye is a balanced, light whiskey.  It has a light gold color and very subtle aroma.  I couldn’t pick up any specifics when giving it a whiff, but Rachel found hints of nectarine or white peach.  It has some of the vanilla and raisin sweetness from the wood, but is (as expected) less sweet than Wild Turkey Bourbon.  Overall, it’s a well-balanced, light whiskey.  It’s not heavy on any flavors, but it doesn’t lack flavor either.  There are hints of malt, corn, and spice throughout each sip.  Its linger is long but subtle and slightly spicy.  It makes for a nice sipping rye and we can easily understand why this is repeatedly mentioned as a favorite by bartenders.

*Even though this nightcap was on Wild Turkey’s tab, we will always review products honestly.  Contrary to popular belief, free drinks don’t automatically taste better.

February 24, 2014 | Comments | Permalink |

Tags: whiskey rye Rye Week Wild Turkey reviews 

17 notes

Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey

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We are going to have an impromptu Rye Week here because sometimes we like to drink other kinds of whiskey besides bourbon.  First up is Hudson Manhattan Rye from Tuthilltown Spirits.  We decided to start with Manhattan Rye because Tuthilltown’s Four Grain Bourbon is one of our favorites.  On the other hand, we were lukewarm on their Baby Bourbon, but mostly because we like full-bodied whiskeys more than the lighter stuff.  Feeling in the mood to treat ourselves, we finally picked up one of these mini bottles of rye.

We had high expectations, and we’re happy to say the Manhattan Rye met them.  Like their other whiskeys, this rye is pot-distilled and aged in small barrels for less than four years.  The color is a dark red, amber color.  I thought the nose was mostly floral and full bodied, while Rachel got hints of cherry and amaretto.  We agreed on the flavor, tasting a lot of raisin, apple, vanilla, and of course rye.  The finish was lightly peppery and stuck around long enough to make you want to drink more.  I also thought there was a slight char flavor in the aftertaste that rounded out the overall sip.  We really, really like it.  At 92 proof, it’s right about average for most whiskeys.  The only real drawback of this—and the other Tuthilltown Sprits—is the cost.  At $45 for 375ml, the Manhattan Rye becomes a special occasion spirit.

February 17, 2014 | Comments | Permalink |

Tags: whiskey reviews rye Rye Week Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Manhattan Rye hudson whiskey 

16 notes

Temperance Trader Straight Bourbon Whiskey Barrel Strength

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We’ve been really excited about getting our hands on more Temperance Trader Bourbon ever since we toured the Bull Run Distillery last summer.  We tasted a variety of Bull Run’s products at that time, and we enjoyed them so much that we knew we’d be buying a bottle for more…research.  BECAUSE WE ARE A BLOG FOR THE PEOPLE!

This barrel strength bourbon is the stronger version of Temperance Trader, and the one we prefer. The bottle we purchased is actually slightly higher proof (115) than what we tasted at our tour (113), which makes sense that there would be a slight variation from barrel to barrel.  Temperance is distilled in Indiana and bottled in Portland.  Its color is a dark amber, slightly caramel color.  Rachel caught notes of crème brûlée and banana, while my cold-congested nose only got so far as sweet and alcohol.  Luckily I was able to taste more than I could smell, because this is a very delicious bourbon.  It’s very balanced, with sweet vanilla, apple, and raisin flavors, but also the deep flavors usually from a mash with high wheat or malted barley contents.  Rachel thought it was very spicy with a smooth, medium length finish with hints of cherry, while I thought only the finish was spicy and it lingered very nicely for a long time.  We both enjoyed this very much and would encourage all of you to pick it up and let us know what you think.

December 17, 2013 | Comments | Permalink |

Tags: whiskey bourbon Bull Run Distillery reviews 

14 notes

A Second Review of Woodinville Whiskey Co. Bourbon

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Last year, we reviewed the Woodinville Whiskey Co. Bourbon.  The general opinion back then was that the wood from the barrels overpowered all the other flavors.  We wrote that the whiskey didn’t taste bad, it was just a one-note experience.  Well, we recently received an email from Woodinville Whiskey Co. saying they read our review, they’ve been working on their process, and would we be interested in tasting the new product.

We agreed for a couple of reasons.  It’s not very often anyone gets an opportunity to taste the progression of a product.  Also, it shows that Woodinville Whiskey Co. is seeking out feedback and attempting to improve their product.  Trying to get better is always respectable.

We noticed a difference as soon as we unwrapped the bottle.  The color of the whiskey was noticeably darker than before.  The biggest takeaway from this tasting is that this bourbon is much more balanced than the bourbon we tasted a year ago.  While we could still smell and taste the vanilla and oak from the barrels, this time we noted some floral, cherry, and raisin notes both in the smell and taste.  It’s also much smoother than before, though we wish the finish would linger for a bit longer than it does.  At one point, we discussed how it was very interesting to taste a product where we could taste that it was the same product we had before, only a better version of it.

*Even though this nightcap was on Woodinville Whiskey’s tab, we will always review products honestly.  Contrary to popular belief, free drinks don’t automatically taste better.

November 7, 2013 | Comments | Permalink |

Tags: Woodinville Whiskey bourbon reviews whiskey 

16 notes

Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

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We reviewed both Four Roses Small Batch and Four Roses (Yellow) back when we first started this blog.  Despite liking both of those variations, we never got around to picking up other Four Roses products, mainly because there are so many different bourbons to try, with new products being released all the time.  Luckily, we recently received a bottle to review.

One of the first things we noticed was the small leather belt around the bottle’s neck.  It’s attention to those small details that signifies a high level of quality that we’d expect to carry through to the actual whiskey in the bottle.  Four Roses Single Barrel doesn’t disappoint, either.  It has a dark gold color and a light fruity scent that carried pretty much through our entire house.  The fruit comes through on first taste, followed by a long spicy finish.  Maple and pear flavors complement each other well and provide a nice sweetness before the spice comes in, creating a very nice balance.  At 100 proof, it falls right into our proof wheelhouse for bourbon.  We also tasted it with ice because 95 degrees is too many degrees to drink anything without ice.  Ice smooths out Four Roses Single Barrel a lot, making it incredibly mellow without losing any of the flavor.  This bourbon will definitely find a consistent place on our home bar. 

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Even though this nightcap was on Four Rose’s tab, we will always review products honestly.  Contrary to popular belief, free drinks don’t automatically taste better.

September 12, 2013 | Comments | Permalink |

Tags: whiskey bourbon Four Roses Single Barrel reviews 

11 notes

Big House Tupelo Honey Whiskey

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Big House Tupelo Honey is the second of two new whiskeys by Big House, a division of Underdog Spirits.  Tupelo Honey begins with Big House Bourbon (which we recently tried and enjoyed) then is blended with honey liqueur.

The most polite way to say this is simply that Tupelo Honey is not made for us.  We like whiskey and bourbon (obviously), and we feel that flavored whiskeys are an attempt to expand the market and make whiskey more appealing to non-whiskey drinkers.  That being said, we found Tupelo Honey far too sweet and syrupy to enjoy.  Oddly, its scent was overpoweringly alcoholic, which is unexpected considering its very low 70 proof.  We’d recommend spending your $20 on Big House Bourbon over Tupelo Honey.

Even though this nightcap was on Big House’s tab, we will always review products honestly.  Contrary to popular belief, free drinks don’t automatically taste better.

September 3, 2013 | Comments | Permalink |

Tags: whiskey big house bourbon honey reviews 

1 note

Big House Bourbon Whiskey

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Big House Bourbon is a new bourbon from Underdog Spirits.  Though Underdog is based in California, their whiskey is actually distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.  Underdog is responsible for a number of wines and other spirits, including Cupcake Vodka and Big House wines.  Like the wine, Big House Bourbon comes with a heavy prison schtick that seems a bit over the top.  But we can appreciate that their website also includes a thorough fact sheet about how their bourbon is made from beginning to end.

Big House is made with a mash of 60% corn, 35% rye, and 5% malted barley and is aged for six years.  It has a golden-reddish color.  Its nose is very smooth and light, with caramel, peach, and apricot notes.  The caramel continues into its taste, where there is also light fruity flavors like apples, honey, and even lemon.  At 90 proof, there isn’t much of a burn and not much spice to the finish.  Though it can be a little one-note and on the lighter side, Big House makes for a nice bourbon to sip on a warm summer day.  It has a few rough edges that could be smoothed out, as it felt like each sip wasn’t totally consistent.  Overall though, it’s a decent bourbon and well worth trying at about $20 a bottle.

Even though this nightcap was on Big House’s tab, we will always review products honestly.  Contrary to popular belief, free drinks don’t automatically taste better.

August 13, 2013 | Comments | Permalink |

Tags: whiskey bourbon Big House reviews 

3 notes

Kirkland Signature Premium Small Batch Bourbon

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Some people would scoff at drinking liquor from Costco’s in-house brand Kirkland Signature, but we are not those people.  In fact, we’ve been known to swoop on bottles of Kirkland Signature vodka on the rare occasion we’ve been able to find it.  (Liquor laws in different states sometimes dictates if Costco can sell alcohol at all.)  Plus, we knew where Costco’s bourbon was coming from, but more on that later.

We first saw Costco’s bourbon a few years ago, but we didn’t buy it at the time.  Though we remained intrigued by it, we never ended up buying it because the only Costco that sold liquor in Massachusetts was an hour’s drive away.  Luckily, a person close to us recently bought us a bottle to welcome us back to the Pacific Northwest.

Before we get into our review, we should tell you that when we first found Kirkland Signature Bourbon, we immediately did some research to find out where it was coming from.  After some Interneting and a call to a friend who works at Costco, we confirmed that Costco’s bourbon is made by Jim Beam.  We’re guessing this is some variation of Knob Creek, though it’s aged only seven years compared to Knob Creek’s nine years.  Its proof is also slightly higher than Knob Creek (103 to 100).  It’s been a long time since we’ve had a standard bottle of Knob Creek (we’ve been meaning to try it again), but we did find some similarities between the two.

Kirkland Signature Bourbon has an amber-red color with a hint of gold in it.  I thought its nose was mostly the expected vanilla and caramel sweetness of bourbon, and Rachel also picked up some caramelized banana.  I thought the sweetness also overpowered this bourbon’s flavor, which was a little unexpected considering the high proof.  The high alcohol content does tame the vanilla, oaky sweetness a bit, but not enough in my opinion.  Rachel noted some cardamom hints as well.  Overall, it’s not a bad option at a slightly lower price than Knob Creek, especially if you really like Knob Creek.

August 6, 2013 | Comments | Permalink |

Tags: bourbon reviews Jim Beam Costco Knob Creek Kirkland Signature whiskey 

13 notes

Knob Creek Rye Whiskey

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Continuing with our rye week, last night we tasted Knob Creek Rye Whiskey.  Originally released in July 2012, Knob Creek Rye is the newest offering from Knob Creek. 

There isn’t a whole lot of info about this rye on the bottle, but overall it’s a very enjoyable whiskey.  It has a nice golden color and a nose with light touches of vanilla, oak, and some herbal qualities.  Rachel specifically noted basil and mint in the scent.  Knob Creek’s taste has the spice we expect from a rye.  The spiciness starts out subtle and then builds on the tongue with the longish linger, though it never overwhelms.  There’s also a hint of vanilla and pear sweetness that provides a bit of complexity.  We think this is a rye that finishes like a bourbon.

We’re not sure of the mash bill, and the only information we could find is that Knob Creek Rye is “made with a blend” of rye grains.  The only age statement is that this whiskey is “aged patiently.”  Knob Creek can be found in most places for about $41.  We enjoyed Knob Creek Rye very much and would recommend it to any bourbon drinkers who are considering dabbling in rye.

Even though this nightcap was on Knob Creek’s tab, we will always review products honestly.  Contrary to popular belief, free drinks don’t automatically taste better.

March 20, 2013 | Comments | Permalink |

Tags: reviews whiskey rye Knob Creek 

5 notes

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