Tuesday, May 04, 2010


So I got a bit busy, and haven't had a chance to actually sit down and do some good tastings of anything recently, so I'm going to recap everything I have tasted recently, basing the reviews on what was going on at that moment.

Ancient Age 90 proof - sitting in a kitchen, all I remember is the smell of alcohol. But hey, it was $12.00. Need to explore more budget bourbons to find something workable.

Hudson Bay Baby Bourbon - nice surprise. DJing a party filled with cheap beer, and some guy walks in with a small bottle of this. It was a party for the Kentucky Derby, and we had been drinking Mint Juleps made with Bulleit since 3pm, and I'd switched to drinking it neat by the time this came around. Also, I should mention, Nashville was flooding, and the basement of the house I was in was had flooded. Shit was crazy.
They poured me some of the Hudson Bay, which I flipped out on the guy when I saw it, since I didn't know we had it around here. Really, my tastebuds were shot, and I was kinda drunk, so I can't really comment on how it actually tasted, except that it was sweeter than I expected, and pretty tame, short finish.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bottle # 4 - Evan Williams Single Barrel (1998)

Evan Williams Single Barrel was one of the whiskeys that we tasted at Heaven Hill (along with Elijah Craig 18), and honestly, I don't remember too much about it, apart from thinking it was a decent bourbon. Not really sure what vintage it was either.

However, when I saw a 1998 bottling at my local store, sitting alone on the top shelf, I took a chance on it. The packaging (which they've sadly done away with) was impressive, and it was the holy grail of bourbon, the single barrel, for under $30.

Really, this is probably one of the best bargains out there, and I need to pick up the 2000 bottling, as it's supposed to be superb.

But, the 1998. Let's taste this sucker. It's 86 proof, and has a dark amber color.

For the nose, I'm picking up maple syrup and citrus notes.

Tasting it, the spice hits first. This is thick, and it stays with you, coating the mouth. It has a long, dry finish. This bourbon is, so far, one of my favorites. This is a stay-at-home-on-a-winter's-night-and-watch-an-Eastwood-western type of bourbon. Or sit at home and watch 30 Rock, which is currently my situation. Maybe I'll throw on High Plains Drifter. Or the Outlaw Josey Wales. Too many choices.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kate Bush - Wuthering Heights



Monday, February 15, 2010

Screw this, let's gate that reverb.

If you've ever played music with me/talked music with me/slyly scoped out my record collection, you'll know I have a love for 80's music and terrible synth sounds. I actively enjoy "Cold Wave" music. I'm weird. Anyways, my wife hates 80's music. One time I put on a Kate Bush album on, and she made me turn it off. Kate Bush! The f*ck!

Anyways, this week I'm on furlough from work. I'm going to play one record each day that Tara won't let me play when she's in the house. Today, it's The Fixx - Reach the Beach.

That's it. Bet you can't wait for tomorrow.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bottle # 3 - Charter 101

On Wednesday nights, you can usually find me a my friend Justen's house, hunched over a few MIDI controllers and laptops, making terrible noises.

As has become the custom recently, I bring with me a bottle of whiskey to share during our noise-making, dragging Justen (un)willingly into my new hobby. He's bravely joined me in sampling whatever I pull out of my bag, most of the time probably hating every bit of it.

This weeks edition was Charter 101. What do you need to know about Charter 101? It's some light stuff. We tried it over ice, and though the initial sip was a bit too much, when the ice began to melt a bit, it really opened up, and we both found it to be much more enjoyable. On the nose, you get hints of vanilla and floral notes. The taste is sweet, with the vanilla hitting, and some wood, but that's about it. The finish is short.

With the water added, this thing became smooth and easy to drink, and it went down great over some noisy synths and drum machines. I wouldn't call this a spectacular bourbon, but it is what it is, easy to drink over ice, probably best suited for a time when you don't really want to contemplate your bourbon, but just have a good drink to pass the time, shooting the shit with some friends, or adjusting the cutoff and arpeggiator knobs in Massive.

Recommended listening: Neon Indian. For real.


Saturday, February 06, 2010

Bottle # 2 - 1792 Ridgemont Reserve

I was clued into this bourbon by my friend Chris Smallwood, while driving around Louisville, KY. My wife and I were in town for a weekend, after having trekked through Mammoth Cave and visited the Heaven Hill & Jim Beam distilleries. Chris was the only person we knew in town kind enough to show us around and indulge our late night quest for pie. It also helped that he'd been my roommate for 2 years in college, and I guess he owed me for not doing the dishes once or twice.

At this point, I hadn't tasted a lot of bourbon, mainly Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, & Woodford Reserve...a few that even the bourbon uneducated might be able to name and have tasted. The Heaven Hill tour & tasting definitely launched me into a bourbon quest, and when Chris (proud, native bourbon loving Kentuckian) mentioned that 1792 Ridgemont Reserve was his favorite pour, I made a note to pick up a bottle.

1792 is distilled by Barton, out of Bardstown, and is a 8 year old small batch bourbon. If you do any research into it, you'll find that it was sued by Woodford Reserve for the naming similarities, as it used to be called Ridgewood Reserve. Clever, Barton, as I was once almost fooled when I saw this on sale at Frugal McDougals in Nashville and thought it was Woodford before looking a bit closer. So, they changed the name to Ridgemont, and went on their way.

The first thing that strikes you about this bourbon is the bottle. Seriously, this is my favorite bottle of all time (close 2nd by Black Bottle Scotch). It just looks beautiful. I've been drinking this bottle so slowly because I can't bear the thought of having to recycle it.

RR is 93.7 proof, which I love because it's so random...most bourbons stick to nice, whole numbers. I guess the master distiller at Barton happens to think that this is the best at the proof, but any insight anyone has would be welcomed.

So, onto the tasting (soundtracked by the Bruce Springsteen 5lp live album, record 4).

On the nose, it's not very strong, but I'm picking up vanilla and oak, and maybe what a lot of reviewers on Bourbon Enthusiast deem "leather."

The taste is initially sweet, and then goes straight for rye and char. The finish is moderate, and the taste of rye and pepper linger at the end.

Overall, I like this bourbon. I might love the bottle even more. It's really good neat, and goes well with a raging fire and a copy of Bill Simmons' The Book of Basketball (which I've just started, and it's amazing). For about $27 a bottle, it's a good value, but I believe I'd pick up a bottle of Four Roses Small Batch or Evan Williams Single Barrel before I'd go for this. If it goes on sale, then I'd probably stock up, but until then, this bottle will have to hold down the fort. Sorry, Chris.


Friday, January 22, 2010

New Maker's Mark?

According to a few of the forums I frequent, and with confirmation from the master distiller himself on the comments section of this post, there's going to be a new expression of Maker's Mark coming out soon.
It looks like they're adding toasted oak staves the barrel, and increasing the bottled proof. Pretty cool, considering the variations of MM have been really limited (I like the mint julep version, since I can't make an actual mint julep to save my life). Not sure when the ETA is for stores, but I'll definitely check it out.