Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey x 4
| 24 Nov 2011 |
Maker's Mark (45%):
Fragrant nose with nice notes of vanilla, apricot, peach, almonds and oak. Fairly prickly however, but mellows with
a little water. Powerful, fruity, zesty palate. Also oaky, fairly dry and slightly earthy. With water it's milder, sweeter
and richer. Nice, oaky, spicy finish with a note of mint. A bit hot at 45% but with a drop of water it's an easy
drinking session bourbon.
Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select (batch #70, 43.2%):
Huge nose with oak and linseed oil but also surprisingly complex with nice notes of vanilla, marzipan, allspice and orange
marmalade. Nice but a bit rough around the edges. The palate is quite oaky but surprisingly smooth. Rich with notes of
mint and vanilla. Nice heat. Oaky, dry finish (disappointing). All in all powerful yet complex, rather nice but uneven.
Eagle Rare Single Barrel 10 y.o. (45%):
Fragrant nose with vanilla, oak, ginger, apricot and orange. Fruity iced tea. Nice! The palate is fairly rich and sweet
with notes of vanilla, oak and caramelized sugar. Develops nice fruity notes of orange and peach, also mint. Drying,
develops oak and a note of lemon. The finish is oaky, peppery and fairly hot. Warming. All in all balanced and very nice.
(Doesn't need water but a drop won't hurt.)
Blanton's Straight From The Barrel (65.45%):
Big, fragrant, fruity nose with apricot, peach, vanilla, oak shavings and a note of rye. Water brings out crème brûlée,
more oak, black tea and gingerbread. Very nice! Powerful palate with notes of vanilla, mint, citrus, oak and marzipan.
Nice balance between sweet corn and dry oak. The finish is oaky and fairly dry, peppery, almost fiery.
(Needs less water than expected; I found it best at ~50%. From barrel 122, dumped on 5-16-11.)
A.H. Hirsch Reserve 1974 16 y.o. (45.8%):
Subtle, very nice nose with oak and dried fruits (like a Spanish brandy). Also vanilla, gingerbread, marzipan and
a note of mint. The palate is sweet, smooth and balanced. Very nice and (for a bourbon) very mild. Drying, develops oak.
Dry, spicy, quite oaky finish but the oak is very nice. All in all a unique, fascinating bourbon.
The Eagle Rare and the Blanton's were even better than I expected. Especially the latter - I had to
dig up an old favourite, the Hirsch Reserve, to put it in perspective. Blanton's is more powerful
than the Eagle Rare but also more complex. On the other hand, the Eagle is instantly enjoyable
whereas I need to fiddle a bit with water to reach my preferred dilution of the Blanton's (around 50%).
This means I'm more likely to reach for the Eagle Rare the next time I feel like having
a good bourbon. I guess I ought to buy Blanton's "Gold Edition" next - it's bottled at 51.5% which
would save me the trouble of diluting it! =)
The history of Maker's Mark (by Chuck Cowdery)
The history of A.H. Hirsch bourbon (Chuck Cowdery, again)
All my tasting notes on American whiskey
A review of single malts from the Czech Republic, England, Germany, India, Sweden and Taiwain.
Six Irish whiskeys
A review of Green Spot, Yellow Spot, Tullamore Dew 12, Redbreast 12, Powers John's Lane and Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy.
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