Whiskey Review – 1792 Ridgemont Reserve and Eagle Rare

Well, then.  That was a nice little break, now wasn’t it?

Sorry for the radio silence.  Life got in the way a bit, but I’m glad to say that I’m back at it, pouring brown liquids down the hatch and letting you know what I think.  Today’s topic?  Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.  Two iterations, in fact (I’m blogging so slowly that I’m falling behind my drinking, hence the doubling up).  You see, I was watching the Final Four and the national championship game, witnessing the utter dominance of Anthony Davis and his freakishly talented teammates, and I figured that now is as good a time as any to highlight some Kentucky juice.

Before I get to the tasting, a word on Calipari & Co.  The Wildcats were an amazing team, they played hard, they played the game right, and they were absolutely deserving of the title.  But I think that Green Bay Packers Tight End Tom Crabtree (@TCrabtree83) put it best when, with Kansas trailing toward the end of the game, he Tweeted: “Kansas can either comeback and win this thing now, or win it in 3-5 years when Kentucky is forced to vacate it.”  In other words, John Calipari, while a top recruiter, master motivator and a hell of an in-game coach, has the moral compass of a mug of bongwater.  Both UMass and Memphis have had to vacate successful seasons from his time there, and it won’t be a surprise when Kentucky will have to do the same.

Enough of that downer, though.  In honor of Kentucky’s victory, and the upcoming Kentucky Derby, here are my tasting notes.

I’m a bad photographer.

1792 Ridgemont Reserve Barrel Select (Aged 8 Years)

Nose – Just lovely.  I’m fond of so many bourbons on the nose, and this one doesn’t disappoint.  Some green pepper/stony scent.  Floral perfume.  Wood chips.  And some fruit – banana perhaps?  I’d like this to be my cologne.

Taste – Wow.  This goes from sweet and quaint on the nose to a monster on the palate.  Big, mouth-filling, puckering flavors.  Very heavy on the oak.  Licorice.  I get almost no sweetness whatsoever.  Something of a rye-type of flavor.

Finish – Pretty long, and like I said, it infuses your entire mouth and nose with the flavor.  Still that oak, but a hint of something like tobacco and just a whiff of lavender?

Comment – An interesting whiskey.  I know a lot of people are into it, but I’m learning that I really need that sweet note at some point, and I don’t get it here (which is somewhat strange, as I’ve read some other reviews describing it as overly sweet).

ScoreB-.  Obviously not my favorite, but I can see how others enjoy it.  To me, it was like taking a big bite of wood chips with a couple of flower petals mixed in.

Other, better reviews:

Official tasting notes

Sipology

The Beverage Baron

$25

No, seriously. I’m terrible.

Eagle Rare Single Barrel (Aged 10 Years)

Nose – Again, a lot of oak and green pepper.  Molasses and something like a latte.  Singes the nose hairs a bit.

Taste – Starts with big oak right up front, then comes some brown sugar/creme brulee.  Dark Chocolate and leather.

Finish – While not the longest finish, it seems to be active.  Things are happening in your mouth.  Good things.  Still with the wood, but also vanilla and a hint of lemon.  Somewhat drying.

Comment – Another big, mouth-filling whiskey.  Not light or refreshing.  Similar to the Ridgemont Reserve on the nose and with the huge oak on the palate, but differing in the considerable sweet flavors.

ScoreB+.  Of the two bourbons, I obviously preferred this one, but it isn’t the type of whiskey that you’ll spend an afternoon sipping.  Just a nice glass here and there for something interesting and somewhat different.

Other, better reviews:

Official tasting notes

Stogie Guys

Whisk(e)y Apostle

$25

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Whiskey Review – Bushmills Black Bush and Redbreast 12

As it is (late on) St. Patrick’s day, I decided that I’d follow the lead of every whiskey blogger and put up a review of an Irish Whiskey.  Then I figured that, as a new blogger, I should differentiate myself.  So I am really going to shock you.  I’m going to review … two Irish Whiskeys.  I’ll give you a minute to compose yourselves.

My two Irish right now (in keeping with my 4 Scotch/2 Irish/2 Bourbon format) are both what you’d call “premium” Irish whiskeys.  Or “luxury” Irish whiskeys.  I’m making those terms up, of course, but the point being that they are each a step above the baseline Irish juice that you’ll find in most bars.  Bushmills Black Bush is a step up from the distillery’s iconic white label, and  Redbreast 12 is a step up from … well, nothing, because Redbreast don’t mess around with no ordinary whiskey.

Enough blathering, let’s get to it, starting with the lower-priced Black Bush:

Nose – An interesting nose, not dominated by one note.  I get some lemon custard, some mineral scent, and a little bit of floral.  Also getting a fair amount of alcohol burn.  Not the most pleasant.

Taste – One trap that I think I tend to fall into a bit as a rookie whiskey blogger is that I tend to  look for the scents on the nose as flavors on the palate.  Here, that was rather easy to avoid.  I get a little bit of bitter chocolate, something like hand soap, and a lot of heat at the end.

Finish – Mostly warm/alocol-based heat.  Ends quickly.

Comment – Tasting the Black Bush is a many-seconds-long experience.  Here is what my tongue thinks as it goes through that experience (yes, my tongue has its own brain): “Hmmm… here comes a liquid.  Booze, yes!  It has that ‘here comes some whiskey’ start.  A nice oily mouthfeel.  And … wait, where did it go?  Where’s all the flavor?”  In other words, it is just muted on the palate.  Almost like drinking a slightly whiskey-flavored candlewax.  The heat at the end is unpleasant.

I’ve heard so many good comments about Black Bush that I almost wonder if I got a bad bottle, or if my bottle came from a bad batch.  I’m willing to try again, but this just didn’t float my boat.

Score – C.  A disappointment, especially considering the slightly elevated price tag.  I enjoy most Irish whiskeys I try, but this just didn’t have enough flavor, and alcohol played too prominently in the taste.  One thing I’ll note – the longer the bottle was open, the more I enjoyed it.  I’ve heard (not really experienced this) that whiskeys often lose some character due to age after opening.  This one actually seemed to gain.

Other, better reviews:

Official review from Bushmills

Drinkhacker

Jason’s Scotch Whisky Reviews

$29.

Sorry for the St. Patty’s downer.  Let’s see if that Redbreast 12 (non-cask strength) can improve upon things.

Nose – Floral.  Little Bitty Bits (my wife’s new name, now that she’s blogging) describes it as “female-friendly.”  Lots of apple.  Lots of oak and vanilla.  More and more apple.  Sharp sting of heat.

Taste – Man, there’s all kinds of things going on here.  Vanilla.  Apple and brown sugar.  Licorice. Spicy, creamy, and not to sound like a hypocrite considering my comments in the above review, but the bite of alcohol in this, while strong, mixes in with the spice perfectly.  Everything plays together so well.  It is like a group of notes being hit at once to make a chord.

Finish – A warm, slightly sour note that seems to sit like a little ball of heat in your throat.  Rather long lasting.

Comment – I obviously prefer this to the Black Bush.  The interesting contrast in the two, in my opinion, is the effect of the alcohol burn on the palate.  In the Black Bush, it just shows up unannounced and takes over.  In the Redbreast, it slots itself in amongst the other flavors, mixing well with the considerable spice and apple-y sweetness.

ScoreA-. Here’s how my drinking usually progresses on a given night.  I start out by targeting one bottle that I want to be sure to be my first, unblemished taste of the night.  Maybe it is new, or maybe I haven’t tasted it in awhile, maybe I’m reviewing it next – for whatever reason, that one goes first.  Then, after that first glass, I decide what will be my “rest of the night” drink (whether that be one more glass for a regular night, or 3 or even 4 more if things are getting a little bit inappropriate).  Well, every time I look for my “rest of the night” drink, my eyes instinctively turn to this Redbreast.  For the sake of variety, it isn’t always my choice, but it is always near the top of my list.

Other, better reviews:

(No official website?)

Pork ‘n Whisk(e)y

Sipology

$49.