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July 2, 2015


Young Americans four by four, part three

Let’s go on with this. Today we’ll have variants of the babies we tried yesterday or the day before. It’s going to be ‘crafty’…

Rock Town 'Bourbon' (46%, OB, USA, Arkansas, +/-2015)

Rock Town 'Bourbon' (46%, OB, USA, Arkansas, +/-2015) Three starsThis is their ‘standard’ release bourbon. 81% corn, 9% Wheat, 9% Malted Barley. Hold on, 1% is missing! All grains are grown locally. Oh and we’ll try to add some music by Black Oak Arkansas, quite loved that band back in the 1970s, my dad used to bring me back their records from the US, as you couldn’t find them in France. But we’re digressing again… Colour: gold amber. Nose: the oak’s loud. I’m rather less fond of this style, which seems to be totally oak-driven, although I wouldn’t say the distillate is weak, not at all. It’s just that this is gentler than the rye-fuelled babies, and that you’d rather like maple syrup, vanilla, and pencil shavings. Mouth: good, solid, oaky, vanilla-ed, creamy, slightly spicy. I find it a little plankish, but on the other hand, some toasted cake and cinnamon cake do make up for that. Finish: less personality, less idiosyncrasies, this is rather UMC young bourbon, I’d say. Well crafted, just less interesting. But I enjoy mucho the caramel. Comments: in fact, I like the ‘Young Bourbon Whiskey’ version, which is younger, rather better. How bad is it, Doctor? SGP:551 - 80 points.

Dad's Hat 'Vermouth Barrel Finish' (47%, OB, Pennsylvania Rye, USA, +/-2014)

Dad's Hat 'Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey' (45%, OB, USA, Pennsylvania, +/-2014) Three stars The vermouthy version was very fine, let’s check this one. According to the very excellent people at K&L, this is ‘made from 80% rye, 15% malted barley, and 5% malted barley’. Ahem, that could be the Mai Tai effect ;-). Colour: gold (lovely colour). Nose: same feelings, it’s a milder, easier version of Dad’s Hat. Soft breads, soft breads, and soft reads. Leaven, gingerbread, sweet brioche, violet and lavender ice creams (you should really try them, really. Go to Provence!)… There’s also a discreet earthiness – an asset, for sure. Mouth: cancel that, this works a treat. Rye aplenty, breads, cakes, pastries… It’s like visiting a baker friend early in the morning while he starts working (and you’ve just left the nightclub). Orgeat, spicy bread, caraway, cinnamon, geranium syrup (ever tasted that?)… Finish: long, spicy, a tad drying once again. It’s probably hard to come up with a great finish when you’re using very active oak on some young distillate. The craft distiller’s dilemma, as FZ would have said. Comments: very great effort nonetheless. There is some depth to this young baby. SGP:451 - 82 points.

Let’s find another young one… Oh, this!

Willet 4 yo 'Single Barrel Rye' (55%, OB, USA, +/-2015)

Willet 4 yo 'Single Barrel Rye' (55%, OB, USA, +/-2015) Two stars So, we’ve tried quite a few old Willetts, and they have been great. But we’ve heard that following bottlings have been ‘sourced’ (oh the very horror), while newer distillates have been made in-house. Not too sure, and I do not want to spend hours online trying to separate the wheat from the chaff (so to speak). Hell, let’s just drink this! Colour: gold. Nose: oh? There’s an estery sweetness that’s not too pleasant. Reminds me of Indian whiskies – not Amrut or Paul John, mind you. Molasses, oranges, overripe apples, toasted bread. Not too sure… With water: and sweet beer. Mouth (neat): ah, now we’re talking. It’s small chat, but it’s chat. Fruit drops, hay, apple juice, spicy oak, Mars bar. A much thinner body after the rye-driven whiskies. With water: good easy sweet fruity. The youth comes out (more). Finish: some vanilla. Comments: not a very rye-y rye, I’d say. We’re kind of far from the old Willetts. But things may happen in the future. SGP:440 - 73 points.

One to go… Let’s have some fun!

Early Times 'Fire Eater' (35%, OB, USA, cinnamon liqueur with whiskey, +/-2015)

Early Times 'Fire Eater' (35%, OB, USA, cinnamon liqueur with whiskey, +/-2015) Some dreadful packaging that would make Stevie Nicks cry and Jeb Bush apply for French citizenship, we must be in Fireball territories! Jesus Mary and Joseph, we’re not joking, I am trying this. Colour: straw (eh? Ran out of caramel?) Nose: oh my oh my oh my. Cinnamon liqueur, cinnamon cake, cinnamon mints, Wrigley’s cinnamon-flavoured bubblegum and cinnamon syrup. Just not genuine cinnamon. Mouth: I guess there’s more sugar than in Coca-Cola. I know why only 35% vol., that’s because saccharin took all the room. Now, seriously, on plenty of ice, and provided you enjoy sweet cake-y cinnamon (bordering on crystallised ginger), this ain’t too bad. Fireball is – excuse me, was – even worse. Finish: long, cloying, sugary, horrible. Ginger-from-a-suburban-Chinese-restaurant. A dentist’s worst nightmare. Comments: a waste of whisky. Coz there’s genuine whisky in this, am I not right? Let’s protect our young people, and prohibit these sugary monstrosities! SGP:922 - 26 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all American whiskies I've tasted so far



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