By @NNWhisky on 1st Mar 2017, show post
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@NNWhisky, re review # 5, Jim Beam White Label, that is a nice balanced fair and relevant presentation. I respond to Beam White Label about the same way that you do. It is usually satisfactory, but basic, and it IS bottled at the rather dilute 40% abv. Beam produces huge amounts of whiskey, so with this one, as with other mass market products, there can be quite a bit of variation among batches. The "Straight" designation assumes a minimum of 2 years of aging, and a standard of 4 years minimum, if not posted with an age statement specifying either fewer or more than 4 years of aging. One can just assume 4 years old for a NAS Straight bourbon or rye whiskey. The whiskey could be older, but the youngest whiskey present in the case of a mass market NAS product can be assumed to be only 4 years old.
It would be well for you to do a review of Jim Beam Black Label for contrast. Black Label is a nice step up for sipping purposes.
4 months ago 1Who liked this?
@Victor thanks Victor. I'm on the lookout for the black label at a deal price so I'll get it covered eventually
4 months ago 0
Here's the 8th episode of the American series and my 50th review video!
This one is a personal favourte bourbon and an absolute bargain even at RRP
@NNWhisky, very nicely done review. Lots of practical information. Thank you. The amazing thing about Four Roses as a brand is the resurrection that it experienced after its acquisition and stewardship by the Japanese brewer Kirin. 30 years ago the reputation of Four Roses was crap. For the last 10+ years it has been top notch. You are certainly right in describing both Four Roses Single Barrel and Four Roses Small Batch as bargains in the category of quality for money. The same could be said for Yellow Label and all of their allocated products if bought at suggested retail. If the USA were to go into another Prohibition period I would immediately go out and seek to set aside 20 bottles of Four Roses for the years to come.
It took me a long while to warm up to the Four Roses style. Something in their techniques yields the gentlest and most rounded influence of rye grain per percentage of rye content among the major US distillers. I like the sharp-edged rye influences best, so it took me a while to get to like this blunted rye instrument. 35% is very high rye content for a bourbon, and yet the flavours are still rounded and avoiding the typical unmalted rye flavour edge so common in, say, Wild Turkey. As to the menthol flavour, At least one of the yeasts used by Four Roses routinely produces some spearmint flavour, though I do not remember encountering it typically with the standard Single Barrel bourbon. Interesting. I think that certain, and only certain, yeasts fermenting rye grain produce menthol. Personally I love all things mint in general, but do not usually like to taste menthol in either bourbon or rye. For me mint in whisk(e)y is usually a discordant distraction, though often a rather minor one. MGPI ryes very frequently have a strong menthol note included in the mix. But I find that most US straight ryes from non-MGPI sources do not give a menthol flavour. Once again, I think that it is the yeast.
As for vanilla, taste a few unaged corn spirits and you will never ever again believe that vanilla could possibly derive from corn. (and you will also experience that corn spirit before oak aging is sour, without any sweet component remaining. The only way "sweetness from corn sugars" can translate to the spirit is if the fermentation is incomplete.) Vanilla comes from oak, and new first-use oak usually has enormous amounts of vanilla to contribute to the whiskey.
So there will be at least three more reviews of US whiskeys?.
4 months ago 2Who liked this?
@Victor thanks victor. All very valuable information there! This mini series is really opening my eyes.
I do indeed have three more left in this series, although since I started the series I seem to have acquired several other American drams. After this I think I'll back to one random choice a week for a while
@NNWhisky Hi Vin, if you ever get up to Lancashire drop me a line and I will try and arrange for you to get a taste of the Four Roses Small Batch 2015 L.E. blows the standard line away.
@Pete1969 very kind of you Pete, thanks you
I love it when @Victor unloads the bourbon knowledge canon on us.
@MadSingleMalt For sure. Whisky is a journey for me and one where I hope to learn a thing or two everyday. @Victor is invaluable for the knowledge drops
Here's another incredibly recognisable dram, not least because of the red wax dip!
This one is a little different from the other whiskeys in this little series due to it being 'wheated' instead of rye. On a personal level, I think that's all for the better. It makes for a much smoother dram. Also, look out for a Connosr shout out!
Hi Vin! Thank you for your kind greeting at 4:00.
N.B. 45% abv appears to be the US whiskey industry's general consensus as to the ideal strength for mass-appeal 'popular' "sipping whiskeys". The distillers know that there is a group that wants everything to be barrel strength, but they think, probably correctly, that those who are not avid hobbyists prefer their drink not quite as strong.
From 1954 until the 2010 introduction of Maker's 46 there was only this standard Maker's Mark on the market, with no variants. Maker's Mark was advertised as a premium product at a premium price. Over the years bourbon prices have crept up, so now standard Maker's Mark and also the newer Maker's 46 and Maker's Mark Cask Strength products are no longer much more expensive than are most middle shelf bourbon products.
Wheated bourbons and majority wheat US whiskies, e.g. Bernheim Original Straight Wheat Whiskey, are very popular, despite continuing to represent a smallish proportion of the American whiskey production. Try some majority-wheat.Bernheim Original sometime to get the mellow gentle wheat experience it gives.
Over the years I've tasted a lot of standard Maker's Mark from a number of different bottles and batches. This has show me some variation, but probably less variation than from most brands. Usually I find the alcohol greeting from standard Maker's Mark to be unusually strong for a 45% abv whisky (their spelling of whisky). I usually but not always smell and taste more alcohol from 45% Maker's Mark than from bourbons above 65% abv. At its best I don't experience the alcohol in Maker's Mark and under these circumstances I enjoy it a lot more. Mind you, I am not very alcohol sensitive, and if I had the opportunity, would take all of my spirits above 68% abv.
By all means try Maker's Mark 46 also. It is very noticeably different from the standard Maker's Mark.
@Victor Once this series draws to a close I will certainly be on the look out for more whisky produced over the pond. If I'm honest, I think the complexity is superior to a whole lot of scotch available today. Hopefully, we're at the start of a real boom in Bourbon popularity in the UK and I'll be able to get some of the stuff not quite available over here yet
Instead of a monday review, this week I will running a livestream Q&A and taste-a-long.
This will happen on Tuesday 11th July at 10pm UK time on the link below.
The drams I'll have will be the Highland Park 12 year, Hibiki Japanese Harmony and the Eagle Rare 10 year.
Should be a little bit fun, hope to see some of you there!
This weeks new video is on one that I really struggled to get proper information on. I did rather like it, but I was shocked to see the UK price label!
Nice Michter's review, Vin, though your lighting conditions were a little washed out.
There is a lot of history to the Michter's brand, but the present owners, Chatham Imports, are establishing their own legacy now. To review a lot of the history, check out Chuck Cowdery's blog. Chuck is the most reliable no BS person to read on American whiskey. Google "Cowdery blog Michter's" and you will find a number of articles, all relevant and most unflattering to Chatham. In historical context the important point is that contemporary Michter's, and particularly the soon-to-be-experienced self-sourced Michter's is a totally separate entity from the origins of the brand in Pennsylvania.
Michter's started distilling in their own new distillery in August 2015, so it will be some time yet before whiskeys from their own distillate will be sold under the brand name. Up 'til now the whiskey has been sourced from undisclosed distilleries. And yes, as you say, the batches do vary, sometimes a lot, especially when the distilleries from which they are sourced may vary. I do--usually--like the more recent Michter's bourbon quite a lot, but, like you, find it a little pricey relative to others on the market of similar quality, plus I haven't cared for some of Chatham's past shady shenanigans. Their Michter's Rye I have liked less than their bourbon...and their Michter's American Whiskey I have not liked at all. For what it's worth.
@Victor Thanks Victor. I'm struggling with the lighting a bit as I do not currently have a blind in the room I record so the natural light varies quite a bit. This time it happened to be quite bright where as I usually record at night under a single bulb (the culprit of the usual orange tinge). The lighting is something I am investigating improvements on, but without that blind its all for nought!
It's the final episode on my little mini series of American whiskey. Time to go out with a bang!
Vin, yes, the whisk(e)y is for drinking. The price of the greatly increased popularity of whisk(e)y has been the near-total disappearance of the opportunity to purchase the top products at modest prices. I guess that that phenomenon is to be expected, but I liked it better when I was the only person I knew who liked whisk(e)y, and whisk(e)y was an extreme bargain for the money.
As for Mr. Murray, it may be that his recent naming of William Larue Weller as finest whisky in the world was his first go for Weller for the top prize, but I think that if you research his awards that you will see that William Larue Weller is the whisky most often in his top three whiskies of the world.
As to the high ABV of William Larue Weller, there is an adjustment to drinking at that ABV, and you do get used to it. Adding a couple of drops of water is not sinful, and it does typically give some great and contrasting experiences. I am sorry that you did not get the opportunity, yet, of working your way through an entire bottle of WLW, and getting to know it over time. William Larue Weller is one whiskey for which more acquaintance ordinarily breeds more and more love for it.
I have been nursing a 2015 WLW for a 1 1/2 years and unless I can replace it, the remaining 1/2 bottle will last an additional 1 1/2 years. Same goes for my GTS and THH.
@Victor I would absolutely love to get hold of a full bottle one day. I've entered the raffles for the last few years but only ever one this sample. One day!
No new review today. Instead here's a little outtakes video from the this recent run. Enjoy!
This video started out as a bit of a joke, but when I assessed the dram before filming I decided it was the worst whisky I have tried (so far) so I decided to make it a semi-serious review.
Enjoy this unabridged video including all the facial expressions
3 months ago 0
Educational? Yes. Useful contrast? Yes! A habit in the making? Probably not.
Trying the "lesser quality" whiskies does give breadth of perspective and experience for sure. Reviewing them publicly is a public service, as a cautionary tale.
Some of my Canadian Connosr friends have had the occasional "shitty whisky night" in the past just to partake of such delicacies, Scotch usually. I think that the actual experience of those tasting sessions has lessened their ongoing enthusiasm to hold more of them. It sounds like a good and entertaining idea until you really hate what is in your mouth.
Worst drams ever? Lambertus 10 yo grain whisky from Belgium is certainly terrible. Chemical in that case. That Exloo stuff that @Markjedi1 hates is not great, but I liked it better than Lambertus. @Nozinan has some Philippino beverage, probably not actual whisky, which is to me far worse than Lambertus. Smelled like a gutter full of rotting fruit. The taste was worse. Third world "whisky" is in its own 'class'.
3 months ago 1Who liked this?
@Victor It's called Lambanog. It's distilled from the sap of the flower of a particular coconut tree and it's available either as home-brew or from stores.
It's questionable, but it's no Lambertus...
@NNWhisky, re: Outtakes, bravo for accepting the challenge of attempting to conduct cat obedience school lessons while simultaneously producing whisk(e)y reviews! No one wins that challenge.
@Victor my favourite thing about this latest video is all the bad stuff people are telling me about. As you say, I shan't be making a habit of it but I'll definitely be chucking a few stinkers into the mix if I can.
@NNWhisky , my review of Lost Spirits Leviathan III a couple years ago also picked up quite a few nominations for world's worst whisky in the comments section:
@MadSingleMalt I don't think that your review picked up any such nominations other than your own.
I stand by Lambertus... definitely polymicrobial...
Just to save some clicks for anyone who's interested, here are the other nasty whiskies mentioned in that old Leviathan review:
•"Sex Panther Came Alive" Usuikyou, compliments to @numen: connosr.com/1983-usuikyou-25yo-whisky-revi…
• "French Corpse Perfume" Bowmore 21, compliments to LAWS: lawhiskeysociety.com/whiskey/1377/…
•"Knife Fight in a Bottle" Isawa Blend," compliments to @Olivier and MoM:
•Lambertus, compliments to a guy who must've forgotten how to scroll down
•And a few other nasties that I mentioned in passing: Loch Lomond NAS, McClellend's Speyside, and Brenne
Moving on from american whiskey (and something truly awful), it's time go back to scotch.
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