A Kentucky Straight Bourbon: A Kaleidoscope of Flavors for your Mouth
By Matt Goldstein & Wayne Haines
After a brief (2 year) hiatus the Whiskey Goldmine is back by popular demand. Having written 500 articles on Whiskeys, Bourbons, Cocktails and just some outrageous shenanigans, we couldn’t think of a better subject for our comeback: the Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 20 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon. The Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company was created in early 2014 to locate forgotten barrels of craft whiskey from around the world. The barrels were discovered in warehouses at the Stitzel-Weller facility in Louisville, Ky., and distilled in both the New and Old Bernheim distilleries in Louisville. This is the third Whisky from the Orphan Barrel Project and we are thrilled with the results. Slated to be progressively aged and released over the coming years. The 20 year old to be released this year and the 21 year old in 2015, and so on and so on. After receiving the bottle, we sat on this bourbon for 3 days and allowed the anticipation to build. Teasing ourselves like children waiting for the ice cream man on a hot summer afternoon. The wait was well worth it. This bourbon is a perfectly balanced masterpiece. Smooth, bold, and having serious character, this well-aged bourbon emits a nosy kaleidoscope of oak, vanilla, apple, pear, caramel and cherries. A silky, almost syrupy body awaits the tongue, slightly nutty, bursting with fruit flavor, and reminiscent of a caramel apple. An initial sweetness hits the tip of the tongue, followed by some heat and a mid-palate spiciness, finishing with a somewhat strong rye burn – which we love. The Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 20 Year is simply a classic Kentucky Straight Bourbon and comes with our highest recommendation.
Named after Baker Beam, grand nephew of the legendary Jim Beam, Baker’s Bourbon is aged seven years and hand bottled at 107 proof. Embracing over six generations of distilling experience, Baker’s Bourbon utilizes a special strain of jug yeast that has been in the family for over 60 years. Aged in new American Oak barrels, Baker’s was awarded a gold medal from Wine Enthusiast and a double gold medalist at the San Francisco Spirit Awards.
Baker’s Bourbon Tasting Notes:
With scents of grain and corn and a good sweet complex aftertaste, having notes of sweet coffee, toffee, caramel, Baker’s is a light and flavorful small batch bourbon. A bit thin, but very solid, the Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon fits in very nicely with the Small Batch Collection from Jim Beam; Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s, Booker’s and Baker’s. This is an excellent bourbon. Small Batch Bourbons are made in limited quantities, and aged 6-9 years in newly charred American Oak barrels.
Small Independent Distillery Makes Major Splash in Whiskey and Rum
By Matt Goldstein
The small independent Benjamin Prichard’s distillery out of Kelso Tennessee is well known for their many award winning styles of rum but the wide ranging whiskey styles have also been winning awards lately. The Double Chocolate Bourbon from Prichard’s is absolutely bonkers. Scoring 90 points from the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, the Double Chocolate Bourbon is not just a whiskey with some flavor added to mask the alcohol. This is simply an excellent whiskey with just a touch of chocolate that go together almost perfectly. The small batch hand crafted whiskey is combined with chocolate from the Olive & Sinclair Company. With all of these flavored vodkas and whiskeys hitting the shelves, the Double Chocolate Bourbon could get lost in the fray, but there is simply no comparison. The top shelf Benjamin Prichard’s Double Chocolate Bourbon Whiskey is simply the best flavored spirit we have ever had and comes with our highest recommendation. It’s an absolute must buy and is best served neat. We also recommend other whiskey’s from Prichard’s and our reviews are coming soon.
American Bourbon’s Dominance Over Scotch Whisky Continues!
News Wire: FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY– For the second year in row, George T. Stagg, the iconic uncut, unfiltered bourbon released annually from Buffalo Trace Distillery, has been named the number one spirit in the world by noted spirits reviewer F. Paul Pacult. The list, compiled annually by Pacult, will be released in his June 2012 issue of The Spirit Journal. Last year, George T. Stagg was the first American Whiskey to ever be named number one in The Spirit Journal’s 13 years of tabulating. Stagg knocked off the perennial favorite Highland Park 18 Scotch Whisky for the first time ever, and this year the Stagg beat out a Northern Highlands Single Malt Scotch.
Notes Pacult about this year’s winners, “Spirits are continually getting better and more sophisticated each year. It’s no surprise to us that three of the top five spirits in the world hail from Kentucky, which right now is one of the hotbeds of distilling prowess.”
The George T. Stagg Bourbon Whiskey is part of the Antique Collection that is released each fall from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Long considered the frontrunner of the Collection, the Stagg has collected numerous awards over the years, including the 2012 Bourbon of the Year; the 2012 Second Finest Whiskey in the World from Jim Murray’s 2012 Whisky Bible; 2012 Gold Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition; 2011 Ultimate Spirits Competition Chairman’s Trophy Winner; 2011 Double Gold Winner, Best Bourbon, San Francisco World Spirits Competition; the 2010 American Whiskey of the Year from Jim Murray’s 2010 Whiskey Bible; 2009 Bourbon of the Year and Best Bourbon Aged 13-17 Years from Jim Murray’s 2009 Whiskey Bible; among others.
The 2012 version of the George T. Stagg will be released later this fall with the Antique Collection. Suggested retail pricing of the Stagg is $69.99.
About Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace Distillery is a family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery’s rich distilling tradition dates back to 1787 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee. Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational Distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won seven distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications asWhisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. It was named Whisky Magazine 2010 World Icons of Whisky “Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year.” Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 200 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies.
FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY – For the past year and a half the Whiskey Goldmine has been raving about the Elmer T. Lee Kentucky Straight Bourbon, even selecting it as our #1 Bourbon. Along with the Elmer T. Lee, the Buffalo Trace Bourbon, one of the best in class, have both taken Double Gold Medals at the San Francisco International Spirit Awards. The whiskeys from Buffalo Trace Distillery continue to win significant awards with the latest honors from the 12th annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC), held March 23-25, 2012. Top winners include:
· Double Gold Medal
Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
William Larue Weller Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey
· Gold Medal
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey
George T. Stagg Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
· Silver Medal
Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey
Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky
Royal Canadian Small Batch Canadian Whisky
Benchmark Old No. 8 Bourbon Whiskey
Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey
Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Bourbon Whiskey
· Bronze Medal
Rich & Rare Reserve Canadian Whisky
“We’re always honored when our whiskeys win an award, especially something as prestigious as the San Francisco World Spirits Competition,” said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller. “We’re especially pleased that our flagship bourbon Buffalo Trace earned a double gold.”
A record number of entries into the SFWSC – 1,215 products from 60 countries – were evaluated by 33 of the finest palates in the spirits industry. Complete results of the 2012 competition can be found at http://www.sfspiritscomp.com/results.html.
About Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace Distillery is a family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery’s rich distilling tradition dates back to 1787 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee. Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational Distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won seven distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Malt Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. It was named Whisky Magazine 2010 World Icons of Whisky “Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year.” Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 200 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies.
The film stars Hollywood A-lister and Basil Hayden’s super fan, Jerry Ferrara, who knows that the first step to thinking like a man, is drinking like one! Which is why he loves drinking Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, especially the Basil Hayden’s Monsieur Hayden, which is inspired by the Boulevardier, a classic bourbon cocktail enjoyed by men around the world for decades. The Monsieur Hayden is the perfect cocktail to mix up before a night on the town with your boys or if you’re staying in and mixing up some romance!
Jerry Ferrara loves the trademark spicy finish of Basil Hayden’s so much that he’s made Basil Hayden’s his whiskey. So this weekend, sit back and have a “manly” cocktail or two and follow Jerry’s lead by making Basil Hayden’s your whiskey.
Basil Hayden’s Monsieur Hayden, (Created by Rob Pate)
1 part Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon
1 part Cocci Americano
1 part Campari®
1/4 part Ginger Juice
1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass.
3. Garnish with a cherry.
Louisville, Kentucky – Louisville Distilling Company recently launched Angel’s Envy, a super-premium bourbon of uncompromising character and quality. The highly anticipated small batch artisan bourbon is the culmination of Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson’s storied career. One of the original pioneers of the premium bourbon and whiskey categories in the U.S., Lincoln came out of retirement to create the world’s finest bourbon on his own terms – with a simple desire to enjoy the art of making whiskey. The Master Distiller, which many have called a living legend, brings with him more than 40 years of experience, having worked on world-class brands, such as Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniels.
The Louisville Distilling Company gave Lincoln complete creative freedom to create his bourbon, his own way. He chose to return to the original way of producing whiskey – making decisions based on the specific taste profile he wants to achieve. He will use locally sourced, non-GMO grains, Kentucky limestone water and hand-chosen port barrels shipped directly from Portugal.
Each batch-or Expression, as Lincoln calls it-will be guided by his hand and allowed to develop naturally, creating nuances in the bourbon from year to year. This year’s release is Expression 10/10, which possesses a warm spirit, lacking any hint of edginess with ephemeral hints of port wine and a rich amber hue.
The Expression is distilled for an unparalleled smoothness, aged for 4-6 years in American white oak barrels and finished in hand-selected port casks for an incremental 3-6 months. The final result is exceptionally smooth, nuanced and refined bourbon.
“Angel’s Envy is a lot of things,” says Lincoln Henderson, Master Distiller, Angel’s Envy. “It’s my life’s work. It’s a whiskey of incomparable smoothness. It takes into account over 200 years of bourbon heritage and mingles it with over 400 years of port wine heritage. And it’s something I’m going to let develop each year so every batch will be a natural expression of the distiller’s craft.”
The bottle will be as iconic as the bourbon inside. Made from perfume-grade glass in Italy and ceramic stamped with our iconic wings, the bottle is hand-filled, corked and crated in Louisville, Kentucky.
As far as the name, it’s well accepted in bourbon circles that each distillery owes a percentage of the bourbon in their barrels to the angels – known as the Angel’s Share. But, Lincoln sat the angels down and got them to agree that they could take a larger share if they agreed to leave behind something even better. The result is Angel’s Envy.
Angel’s Envy is available in the following markets: Louisville, New York/New Jersey, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Chicago, San Francisco, Austin, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Houston, Dallas, Nashville, Madison/Milwaukee, Baltimore, Portland, Washington, DC, Detroit and Boulder/Denver.
The suggested retail price for a 750ml bottle, which may vary by market, is $44.99. Angel’s Envy is 86.6 proof and 43.3% alcohol by volume.
Elmer T. Lee Takes the Top Spot with a Signature Rye Mash Style
By Matt Goldstein & Sommelier Tom Pittakas
Over the last few years Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has had a major resurgence as the whiskey and spirit world catch on to the complexities and the excellence of the greatest American Whiskey. Not only Bourbon, but American Rye’s are also in the midst of a renaissance as the country’s best distillers are proving we can rival with any whiskey makers in the world. We’d take a $30 Kentucky Straight Bourbon over a $50 Single Malt Scotch any day of the week. Over the past few years we’ve tasted every bourbon we could possibly get our hands on and these are the best bourbons on the market. We tried to stay away from special releases and bourbons that are simply too expensive as there is no need to spend too much money to find the perfect bourbon. Under U.S. law, Bourbon must be made with a 51% corn mash and aged in newly charred oak barrels. Bourbon must be from Kentucky and aged 2 years in order to be called a Kentucky Straight Bourbon.
A two time gold medalist at the San Francisco World Spirits competition and rated 91 by Wine Enthusiast, Elmer T. Lee is produced and distilled at Buffalo Trace in Frankfort Kentucky. With a heavy rye mash for a Kentucky Straight Bourbon, the Elmer T. Lee is very balanced and subtly is its genius. The Elmer T. Lee bourbon is bottled only when master distiller emeritus, the 91 year old Elmer T. Lee decides that it’s time. After all these years, Elmer T. Lee is still a master at his craft. Not only is this rated our top bourbon, but you can find it in the stores for about $35.00 and Elmer T Lee is simply one of the best buys for any spirit on the shelves. Made with a “Rye Recipe,” the Elmer T. Lee focuses more on the rye and grains than the sweetness of the corn mash. The rye style Bourbon makes a subtle, complex yet easy drinking style. Spicy with hints of cinnamon and honey, the Elmer T. Lee is rounded out by beautiful malts and grains. Perfectly balanced and flavorful, this Bourbon comes with our highest recommendation for any whiskey. Elmer T. Lee is still the master of the bourbon craft.
A special release of the small batch collection by Jim Beam, the Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is 9 years aged in newly charred American Oak Barrels, hand selected, and bottled at 120 proof. Exceptionally smooth for 120 proof, the Single Barrel Reserve has a light but sweet and smoky scent. With flavors of grains, malts, and an overall sweet flavor with notes of oak and wood, vanilla, chocolate and caramel. This bourbon is a flat out masterpiece and perhaps Jim Beam’s magnum Opus, not to be confused with the original Knob Creek, also a stud in the world of bourbon.
3. Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey:
Winning our first ever double blind taste test, even before our web site went live, Blanton’s is considered the original single barrel bourbon, a brilliant idea that has caught fire throughout the industry. An everyday work horse for bourbon, Blanton’s is stored in an iron clad warehouse but continuously heated to age and mature the bourbon. Sweet, smoky and creamy, Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon is an perfectly balanced whiskey and simply one of the best Bourbon’s on the market period.
Selected as the #1 spirit in the world by the Spirit Journal and defeating perennial 5 times champion in a row, Highland Park 18 Year Single Malt Scotch, the George T. Stagg Kentucky Straight Bourbon is now one of the most coveted whiskeys in the world. Winning award after award and finishing 2nd in our very own double blind taste test, the George T. Stagg is one of the most complex bourbons and whiskeys on the planet. Uncut and unfiltered, and bottled at 141 proof, this Bourbon Whiskey is for the serious whiskey drinker, one who appreciates every complexity in the glass. Once the whiskey cools down, flavors of oak, fruit, and vanilla ice cream give a perfect mouth feel.
5. Black Maple Hill 16 Year Small Batch Old Bourbon:
Although we did not want to select a bourbon this expensive, we could not resist adding the Black Maple Hill 16 Year to our top 10 list as it is not only one of the best bourbons in the world but one of the best whiskies period. With flavors of caramel, oak and nut, the Black Maple Hill 16 Year is the quintessential small batch bourbon, made in classic fashion, bottled at 95 proof from a single barrel.
6. Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon:
Bottled at 107 proof, the Pappy Van Winkle 15 was Rated 98 by the Beverage Tasting Institute.
7. Michter’s 10 Year Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon:
Named the “best american whiskey” by Food and Wine Magazine, not only is this one of the best bourbons in the world, but Michter’s American whiskies might even be better than their bourbons. Single Barrel 94.4 proof.
FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky –Those creative distillers have been up to it again at Buffalo Trace Distillery. The latest round of whiskies in the Experimental Collection are two bourbons – one made with rice and one made with oats. And like their breakfast-sounding names, both provide a hearty mouthful without being over powerful.
“For this experiment, we were curious to taste what would happen when we substituted the rye grain in our traditional recipe with other grains like rice and oats,” said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller at Buffalo Trace Distillery. “The results are very different from each other, and different than typical bourbon, but both are pleasant surprises.” This whiskey experiment yielded very few bottles, but some will be available in select U.S. stores in late December.Details are as follows:
Rice Bourbon Whiskey – These barrels were filled on April 30, 2002, and aged on the 7th floor of Warehouse I for 9 years and 5 months. Corn, malt and rice are the ingredients used in the recipe, resulting in a very clean aroma with the barrel notes of caramel and spice. A crisp flavor on the tongue is noticed, without any heaviness or oiliness whatsoever. A slight dryness near the end provides a quick finish. It is a very delicate whiskey. Oat Bourbon Whiskey – These barrels have the same fill date, aging location and aging time as the Rice Bourbon. Corn, malt and oats are the ingredients used in this recipe, resulting in a pleasantly smoky nose with a rich aroma of toasted oats that offers a nice complexity. On the palette, the smokiness intrigues as hints of dried fig and stone fruit come through, and eventually give way to an earthy finish. There are more than 1,500 experimental barrels of whiskey now aging in the warehouses of Buffalo Trace Distillery. Each of these barrels has unique characteristics that differentiate it from all others. Some examples of these experiments include unique mash bills, type of wood and barrel toasts. In order to further increase the scope, flexibility and range of the experimental program, an entire micro distillery, named The Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. “OFC” Micro Distillery, complete with cookers, fermenting tanks and a state-of-the-art micro still has been constructed within Buffalo Trace Distillery.
The Experimental Collection will be packaged in 375ml bottles. Each label will include all the pertinent information unique to that barrel of whiskey. These whiskeys will retail for approximately $46.35 each. They are 45% alcohol by volume. Each experiment is very rare and very limited
What better way to enjoy the fall and the holidays with a beautiful bourbon cocktail to warm you up. Try a Basil Hayden’s Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Cocktail with a little bit of milk stout, some cherry liqueur, and bitters. And if you don’t have all the ingredients, a Basil Hayden’s straight or on the rocks is pretty damn good too. Bourbon is as Bourbon does.
2 Parts Basil Hayden’s Bourbon®
¾ parts Heering® Cherry Liquor
1 dash Fee Brothers® Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters
2 parts Milk Stout Beer
1. Combine Basil Hayden’s, cherry liquor and bitters in a mixing glass.
2. Add ice and shake.
3. Roll in the milk stout beer.
4. Strain into an old fashioned glass with ice.
5. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and cherry on top.