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

April 12, 2019


Kids in America

Ah, Kim Wilde… … … Now back to American whisky, the problem is similar to that of Ireland or Japan, unless you’re a deep expert you’re never sure whether it’s the name of a proper distillery that’s on the label, or just a very stupid brand slapped on a bastard bottle with some sourced spirit inside (which can make for good whisky, naturally, but there).

McAffee’s Benchmark Bourbon ‘Old Number 8’ (40%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, +/-2018)

McAffee’s Benchmark Bourbon ‘Old Number 8’ (40%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, +/-2018) Two stars
A big number such as an ‘8’ on a label, sure that smells of dirty tactics, but you never know… This is made by Buffalo Trace, apparently. Colour: gold. Nose: fine, easy, nicely spicy and vanilla-ed, with a bready background and some easy whiffs of gingerbread. Also, maple syrup and all-flower honey. A fine, simple nose, no complains so far. Mouth: crushed bananas, vanilla, then softer spices, sweet bread, popcorn, and some gingerbread again. Sadly, it’s all very thin, there isn’t much body and that’s the low strength. Finish: short, with some marmalade, caramel and cinnamon. A sugary touch in the aftertaste, as well as these wee touches of lavender that are often to be encountered in younger bourbons. Comments: very okay, easy, well made, no complains. So, 8 years old indeed?
SGP:430 - 76 points.

Ezra Brooks ‘White Label’ (40%, OB, Blended Whiskey, +/-2018)

Ezra Brooks ‘White Label’ (40%, OB, Blended Whiskey, +/-2018)
Remember Heaven Hill’s Ezra Brooks is officially some ‘Honestly Handcrafted Bourbon’. Not very motivating if you ask me, but it’s cheap, so let’s go… By the way, everybody says it’s a bourbon, but this label says ‘Blended Whiskey’ while some older labels used to say ‘Bourbon Whiskey’. But then again, it’s very cheap…  Colour: gold. Nose: oh my, the Benchmark was a miracle, this is extremely modest, with whiffs of new plank and vanillin, low liqueurs… And that’s pretty all, I’m afraid. Mouth: sugar syrup, sawdust, candy floss, vanillin. Very thin. Finish: almost none. 7up, perhaps? Comments: not ‘flawed’ or ‘bad’, but as far as flavours and aromas go, it’s severely impaired, this poor little El-Cheapo. Why they would export this, I have no idea.
SGP:510 - 50 points.

Woodford Reserve ‘Double Oaked’ (43.2%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, +/-2018)

Woodford Reserve ‘Double Oaked’ (43.2%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, +/-2018) Three stars
Double Oaked? I mean, have they used some new oak twice? That’s extremely scary and frankly, pretty repulsive. Worrying for sure, but let’s see… Colour: deep gold. Nose: vanilla on eleven, caramel on twelve, and fresh sawdust on thirteen. Violets and oranges rather on ten. The worst part is that I rather like this, and that I feel a little shame, consequently. But shh, I ain’t tell you nothing. Mouth: yeah well, indeed I hate it that I rather like it, despite the massive amounts of sawdust. Losing your self-esteem is never good, but there, I had said I would just write what I think, some time back around the year 2000, so there. Burnt caramel, vanilla and oak in perfect sync. Pretty regressive, probably, and I might need to wear a hood if I ever order this in a bar or a pub, but there, yes, I like it. Need to call my analyst. Finish: medium, on huge amounts of fudge and caramel. Comments: the equivalent to a Big Mac with triple bacon and double cheese. You just despise the idea, and yet, when you’re alone and no one can see you…
SGP:720 - 80 points.

Widow Jane 10 yo (45.5%, OB, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, cask #1791, 2018)

Widow Jane 10 yo (45.5%, OB, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, cask #1791, 2018) Two stars
Widow Jane, is that a widow as in Veuve Clicquot? Looks like this is sourced whisky with a good story, good marketeers, good distributors, and friendly staff. Oh and this is New York City, baby. Colour: deep gold. Nose: rather fresh, rather on the oaky side (as expected), and pretty self-restrained, almost ‘malt’ at times. And yet you feel the rye, notes of maize bread, butterscotch, baked apples with a lot of butter and caramel, and earthier grains, not too sure about which ones. Some very nice notes of honey sauce, or very moist molasse-y pipe tobacco in the back. Mouth: much more on bonbons, lavender, violets, orange drops, cranberry juice, and sawdust. Pomegranates. Oaky/spicy background, without full integration. Finish: medium, sugary and liqueury. Loses a lot of points at this stage. Sour fruits plus sawdust, Belgian kriek beer... Comments: could be that the nasty and sexy Woodford Reserve killed this one a wee bit. Totally love NYC, though.
SGP:630 - 75 points.

Evan Williams 2010/2018 'Single Barrel' (43.3%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey)

Evan Williams 2010/2018 'Single Barrel' (43.3%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey) Two stars and a half
Aren’t these getting younger? Ten, nine, eight, some even seven… Hope they’ll stop at, say five. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s the oaky style, displaying huge amounts of fresh sawdust, vanillin, corn syrup, then rather fir cones and the usual cinnamon cakes. It’s actually pretty shy beyond that, as if the distillate was almost silent. It’s a style, as Leonardo used to say. Mouth: good bourbon, easy, softly spicy, oaky of course (cinnamon, vanilla, yada yada yada), and relatively shy, once again. I mean, beyond the massive amounts of sawdust. Sucking wood. Finish: short and extremely plankish. Caramel and corn syrup in the aftertaste. Comments: quite good but it’s the weakness that puzzles me. Sweet oak 10 – Distillate 0.
SGP:620 - 77 points.

Okay cowboy, a last one…

William Larue Weller 12 yo (45%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, +/-2018)

William Larue Weller 12 yo (45%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, +/-2018) Three stars
More stuff by Buffalo Trace. Do you still have buffalos in America, by the way? This is a wheater, meaning that there’s much more wheat (not kidding) and less rye in the bill. Enjoyed this expression quite a lot back in 2015. Colour: deep gold. Nose: goodness gracious sweetness roundness… This is full of honey, maple syrup and buttered bananas. You cannot resist this, it is impossible. It is so simple, so easy, so nice… (despite the boring notes of coconut butter that are starting to rise to your nostrils). Mouth: a little heavy on the oak, but they all are, aren’t they. But I do enjoy this spice mix that almost gives it a wee wine-y side, which takes the biscuit (excuse me?) Mulled wine, aniseed, cinnamon, a little tapioca, even some maize flour. Now it could not climb too high in my book either, the base/spirit remaining a little sweetish and weak. But it’s very good bourbon. Finish: short, a little too oaky for me, but the caramelized side makes it. Comments: good smooth oaky stuff. The best today; I mean, my favourite.
SGP:631 - 82 points.

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