Aged Spirits  

Fahrenheit 173 - Aged Spirits

"If it's not good enough to drink slowly, then it's not worth drinking"

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. (83 p)

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. (87 p)

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.) (88 p)

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.) (89 p)

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. (90 p)

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! =)

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