We’re On Our Way Back

Prohibition

Fellow Bourbon Evangelists,

Our big announcement is that we’re biting the bullet and are going to give you an in-depth study of that horrible, dry, wasteland in our national history: Prohibition. The 18th Amendment to our great Constitution.

This topic is big. We aren’t messing around. You will get three (3) sections, over three (3) podcasts:

A Nation of Drunks: Drinking in America before Prohibition

A Nation of Criminals: Drinking During Prohibition

A Nation of Mixed Drinkers: Drinking After the 21st Amendment

These three segments will be the meat of our next three podcasts. You’ll still get our usual podcast content as well: News, Bourbon Cocktail of the Day, Tasting, and 2/2 M.D.’s agree. We’ve been researching and reading quite a bit, it’s going to be great, and we hope you enjoy it! Throw one back for freedom in the meantime!

P.S. If you haven’t yet, follow us on Twitter at @BOTBBourbon or on our Facebook page here. We try and update these a lot with stuff that isn’t big enough for the podcast blog. Particularly now that it’s bourbon hunting season!

Old Weller Antique vs. Maker’s Mark Cask Strength, A Brief Musing

So in the amazing response we’ve had to our Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Review (wow, 3500 visitors came fast), we had an interesting question arise. What would happen if Maker’s Cask Strength was pitted against Old Weller Antique 107. Here are my brief thoughts:

The noses are remarkably similar. I do pick up the slightly higher ethanol content of the Maker’s, as well as a slightly more rough around the edges character. There is  bit more baking spice as well as a more graham cracker scent on the Maker’s, but also more of the raw white dog/moonshine overtones. Overall these are very, very similar though. 

On tasting, the amazing fullness we’ve grown to love on the Weller comes to fruition. The dried fruit and apple pie-like notes soar in the Weller and continue on the long finish. I also pick up more tannins on the Weller. I still get the salted caramel I found on the Maker’s upon initial tasting, but side by side I find the OWA a far richer experience. 

Overall, both are good, but especially for the price, I’m still a big fan of the OWA. 

 

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Review

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OK, so you guys know we don’t do traditional written reviews on this site (mostly because so many people are already doing that), but this is an exception. I haven’t really seen anything about the new Maker’s Mark Cask Strength out on the interwebs, and I’ve been excited about it for quite some time having tasted some that ‘fell off a truck’ awhile back. This may be because Maker’s decided to release it with pretty much no fanfare whatsoever and only at the distillery. Either way, I wanted to pass along my thoughts to you guys, and that is as good of a place to start as any to talk about this new release. 

The best I can figure, the company is viewing this as an ‘isn’t that neat’ attraction at the distillery itself. Sort of like the white dog most places sell but people rarely buy more than once. Maybe I’m wrong, but selling it in a half bottle size and the fairly quiet rollout make me think this may be the case. The plans I’ve heard were that they would release it to bartenders and at the distillery first, and then eventually to the retail market. I have no idea if any of this is accurate, but on the tour I had to specifically bring up the fact that it was being released today because our guide didn’t until it was in front of us at the tasting. They seemed to be upselling the 46 far more than the Cask Strength as well. 

The price. I knew they were going to sell this in a 375ml format, for the time being anyhow, but I didn’t know it would be $39.99 until a couple days before the release. This is expensive for Maker’s. At an effective $80 for a regular bottle, this puts it up there with premium once a year releases and nearly 4 times as expensive as their flagship. It is what it is I guess, and of course we’re all rushing out to buy it, so I guess it worked.

OK, enough blabbering, let’s taste the damn thing. 

The Vitals:

Mashbill: 70% Corn, 16% Red Winter Wheat, 14% Barley (Did you know there was this much barley in it? Because I didn’t)

Age: Between 5+ and 7 years, ‘never more than 7′, because it turns into a pumpkin or something, I don’t know

Char: 40 seconds on the barrel, which I think equates to a 4 (alligator) char at Independent Stave

Proof: 113.2 on this first release

The Color: This looks like good bourbon. Despite its younger age this has a nice deep reddish amber color. It’s got good legs on the glass too indicative of the higher proof. 

The Nose: Oddly enough, the first thing I noticed was opening the bottle. The wax was so fresh it was still soft and smelled of paraffin. Irrelevant, but cool I thought. As for the whiskey itself, it smells big, and that’s good. None of the usual thin candy shop you get off of regular Maker’s. All the good barrel notes are there (vanilla, toffee, etc), but there’s an unexpected baking spice scent. A little bit of chocolate if you close your eyes and have someone suggest it to you. 

The Taste: Heavy, sweet alcohol on the front that evolves into nice notes of bitter orange on the top of the palate. Further sips reveal a salted caramel character, with good barrel note filler. Hints of the chocolate that was on the nose, and again that baking spice (allspice/clove). The mid-palate is really the high point of this bourbon, as the finish is of average length with a certain degree of thinness to it. That could be due to the age or the fact that is a wheater. 

The Verdict: This is good, and if you live within an hour or two of the distillery, I highly recommend you go get some for yourself. It is a little too expensive and a few years too young in my opinion, so I would hold off on the secondary market purchases. Especially if it starts going for as much as I anticipate it will. This is by far my favorite thing that has come out of Maker’s Mark and makes me sad that they have been watering it down for so long. Make it 39.99 for a 750ml bottle and this would become a standard in my bar. As of now, it’s an excellent treat and definitely fun to try. I look forward to seeing how it changes as the bottle stays open. 

Cheers guys!

Four Roses 2014 Small Batch Limited Edition Announced

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Thanks to the good people over at BourbonBlog, we now know the recipe for this year’s Four Roses barrel proof small batch release. They’re combining 13-year-old OBSV, 12-year-old OESV, 11-year-old OBSF and 9-year-old OBSK. They’re also going to be releasing a lot more bottles this time around, with 11,000 reported instead of last year’s 8,000. Knowing how much Jim Rutledge likes bourbons in the younger range, +/- 10 years old, I’m excited about this one. The 125th was an absolute thing of beauty and had an unheard of for Four Roses 18 year old maturate in it, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this one stacks up with the younger average. Release is set for mid-September, and if we can get our hands on one, we’ll let you know what we think ASAP. Of course, I think everyone will, and probably should, buy this regardless of what we say though. Let us know what your favorite Small Batch release was from Four Roses in the comments or on our Facebook page!

Here’s the link to the Bourbon Blog post: http://www.bourbonblog.com/blog/2014/08/28/four-roses-2014-limited-edition-small-batch-bourbon/