Google American madness, five at a time

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

April 2, 2018


American madness, five at a time

Given that’s I’m currently on American soil (tah-da-da-da-da-daaa), I thought we could as well have a few bourbons and other whiskies from the good old US of A. At random and in all wildness, naturally… Oh by the way, indeed yesterday was April Fools Day, but the tasting notes were genuine?

Early Times ‘Old Reserve’ (40%, OB, bourbon, +/-2018)

Early Times ‘Old Reserve’ (40%, OB, bourbon, +/-2018) one star and a half
As always with whisky, old means young and reserve means 'we've got plenty of that'. . This is rather cheap, and a brand by Brown-Forman. Colour: gold. Nose: very light, caramelly, easy, with notes of buttered popcorn and vanilla, as well as a little sawdust. No deep spirit but it does the job, I suppose. Mouth: sweet, light, not bad at all, oaky and maize-y, but it tends to become a little gritty and oaky, as if the distillate was too shy to stand the wood treatment. Some bubblegum and Fanta, plus oak and a little coconut. Finish: short, a tad sugary. Sugar syrup and sawdust. Comments: not too bad but barely interesting. Lacks texture, I would say. Let’s move on…
SGP:430 - 69 points.

Jack Daniels ‘Sinatra Select’ (45%, OB, Tennessee whiskey, +/-2015)

Jack Daniels ‘Sinatra Select’ (45%, OB, Tennessee whiskey, +/-2015) Two stars
Some expensive celebratory bottling of a ‘bold smooth classic’. Ha! I suppose Frank didn’t select the barrels himself, but it seems that the insides of the barrels have been prepared so that oak/spirit contact would be increased. Some kind of self-finishing, as I understand it. To each his own way… Colour: amber. Nose: cinnamon galore, then cardboard, sesame paste, and sawdust. It’s not unpleasant at all, but it’s all about oak. Quality oak, probably… Mouth: very sweet, then spicier. The distillate’s a little thin while the oak’s a little loud, which tends to make this really sawdusty, but the spices save it. Caraway, cinnamon, caramel… Finish: medium and oaky. More oak spices over a distillate that remains a little thin. Geranium and touches of lavender. Comments: not a big fan (love Sinatra though). JD’s single barrels or Master Distillers series are more to my liking, and much cheaper.
SGP:520 - 72 points.

1792 (46.9%, OB, Kentucky straight bourbon, +/-2017)

1792 (46.9%, OB, Kentucky straight bourbon, +/-2017) Two stars and a half
A brand by Sazerac, said to shelter a higher rye content. No it wasn't distilled in 1792 (that was funny, S.) Colour: amber. Nose: smooth and nutty, pastry-like, pleasant, with some maple honey, sesame, Jaffa cake, and indeed whiffs of spicy bread, that may be the rye. Some toffee too. Mouth: it literally kills the Jack Daniels. Much spicier, firmer and tenser, with some white pepper, nutmeg, gingerbread, cedar wood… It’s actually pretty tannic, but that rather works in this context. Nice bready notes, pumpernickel, rye bread… Finish: medium, oaky and spicy. Cranberries. Nice honey and melon jam plus a lot of cinnamon in the aftertaste. Comments: perhaps a little excessive as far as oak is concerned, but isn’t the whisky industry all about oak anyway these days?
SGP:451 - 78 points.

Elijah Craig ‘Small Batch’ (47%, OB, Kentucky straight bourbon, +/-2018)

Elijah Craig ‘Small Batch’ (47%, OB, Kentucky straight bourbon, +/-2018) Three stars
Formerly a 12 yo, now an NAS, so younger. Of course we have no proof but do not dream. We were having the excellent 12 yo at WF 85 just two years ago. Colour: amber. Nose: well, it’s as nice as it gets, all on cakes, maple syrup, roasted peanuts and pecans, without much varnish this time, but with a lot of custard, then rye bread, pumpernickel, eucalyptus, and thuja wood. Forgot to mention butterscotch. Mouth: very spicy, oak-driven, much less fruity then the earlier batches, with some tea, toasted brown bread, rye, cinnamon… So it could be that power was handed over to the wood here. A feeling of sawdust and just some grenadine or pomegranate syrup at the fruit department. Finish: medium, oaky, tannic, tea-ish. Comments: still pretty good, but you really start to feel the planks this time.
SGP:451 - 80 points.

Wild Turkey ’81’ (40.5%, OB, Kentucky straight bourbon, +/-2018)

Wild Turkey ’81’ (40.5%, OB, Kentucky straight bourbon, +/-2018) Three stars
81° US proof, ain’t that smart? Kind of liked this wee one back in 2013 (WF 79). Colour: gold. Nose: mild and coconutty at first, then slightly rye-y and earthy. A style that I rather enjoy, but it’s all very light here. Extremely light… Diluted maple syrup? Mouth: light but rather clean despite the cinnamony oak. Nice flowery profile, violets, geranium, chamomile, vanilla, cinnamon rolls… Light-bodied but not weak. Finish: short tp medium, rather spicier. More cinnamon, a little ginger, violet sweets, aniseed (anis de Flavigny, a good thing we have here in France)… Comments: I do like this, balance has been found, the oak’s not too embarrassing, this is still all about a nice distillate. Sadly I haven’t got the 101 this time. One more point nonetheless.
SGP:550 - 80 points.

So, no real winners today, but this isn’t over, please stay tuned…

More tasting notesCheck the index of all American whiskies we've tasted so far






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