I have no reservations about telling you were I finally found this bourbon. (http://www.scrooges.com/) my only complaint is not knowing how old this stuff is. The best I can get is that it has some whisky that is 20 years old in it. Which means that the bourbon is at least ‘Straight’ bourbon but no more than that. This is bottle number 202 of 2400 from batch 113.
Now that I’ve sounded like a prick that doesn’t like JR, let me clarify things.
This is some very fine bourbon whiskey/whisky. I’m a single barrel guy and if I can get it, a barrel proof guy. This is a small batch, a ‘very’ small batch. Meaning that more than one barrel and less than the rest of the warehouse was involved in the process. Given that there were 2400 bottles there are probably about 20 barrels involved (give or take a few).
I broke in my new Glencairn ‘Nosing’ glass for this one (ginger jar top and all) and I’m glad I did.
I prefer to let my glass sit for at least five minutes after the poor and often as long as ten minutes. This one sat with the lid on for five minutes.
Color – Looks like bourbon. Not a hint of red and not pale (like some recent single malts I’ve had) but very amber and clean.
Runs – Where are they? I cleaned the glass in hot salty water, there should be runs even if this was water. I gave it another 30 seconds and there they were. I have never seen such long, fine sparse and distinct runs in any whiskey/whisky.
First nose – WOW, did I say WOW already. I have to check this against another whiskey to be sure but when I lifted the lid and took that first nose, I was floored. The fruity vapors were rich and the 90.2 proof was evident. But, where is the spice I keep reading about. I didn’t expect nutmeg but I was looking for some walnut at least. Even after that first nosing, the runs continue to develop. I did mention that this is fruity didn’t I? Well I get a hint of burnt cherry and apricot from this – others say “orange rind”. I haven’t had this smell in years (My first whiff of 17 yo Willett Family Reserve for the Bourbon Society about eight years ago) and I know exactly where it came from.
Taste – First, I have to admit, I swirled this again with the lid on to get that aroma before I took the first swallow. – Man o man I could just sit and smell this forever – So, ok, the taste. Impressive to say the least. This stuff flows across the tongue and swirls around the cheeks like nothing I have ever had before. That fruity burnt cherry reminds me of fresh cherry cobbler with a bit of bourbon in it (note to self – make a cobbler tonight). The apricot is gone and I never got any spice out of the nose or taste. I have to wonder if there is any Rye in the mashbill at all.
Finish – Well I been sitting here typing this up for about ten minutes and I’m still waiting for the bell to ring. This is a very sweet, corn liquor with a good body of sweet cherry. I usually like a little spice but I don’t miss it at all in this stuff.
Closing – I’m more impressed than I thought I would be but I don’t think this was worth the $48 I paid for it. I still won’t use it to make a cocktail with and will reserve it as a “Now try this” whiskey. I have had almost as good for less and better for less.