Booker's Bourbon Batch 2018-3

Danger! Approach with caution!

Let's tall about Booker's bourbon for a minute shall we?
To say that this will be the final taste test of mine of Bookers would be foolhardy, as the bottles can vary wildly from month to month..this in particular happens to be the 2018-03 batch , pulled from the depths of 8 different barrels from 8 different warehouses of pure, unadulterated liver hatred.
I'd normally be giving you a history or at least some form of anecdotal story about the distillery in this part of the review, but alas, you have Google and I have had more than one of these 3 finger tall lobotomies so let's get right to the meat and potatoes:
The cork pop is similar to opening up a can of glade in a room...the Vanilla immediately permeates the room, at least until the booziness kicks in.
Hitting the gravity of 126.7 proof, this is not your average ingredient for hot toddies...
The nose is strong and pleasant, lots of vanilla, the pour opens "tight", meaning the scent is mainly boozy and devoid of the pleasant introduction. When introduced to ice, the cubes beg for mercy before succumbing to the inevitable, this elixir clearly dropping a hard hint that " love is fleeting, so is the production of new liver cells"..  
The sip is not kind, if anything I'd say it goes out of it's way to say "hey, here's a middle finger to your taste buds " ...yet that is just the beginning of the ride.
Due to proof, you are mainly left to judge this libation on after taste alone, as the pleasant sip of vanilla and mild oak never see your tongue, but instead stain your nasal passages as you succumb to the realization that you can never taste this bourbon directly, rather you experience it after the fact. This is a flavor that tries patience, it is not immediate gratification by any means. The final word for me, this is some elephant's foot worthy hooch, brain cells be damned on the second or 3rd pour. The after effects of flavor are well worth revisiting. Also, there wont be a 4th pour... unless one of your life goals includes pillow drool and advil.


1792 small batch; yes "that" one.
The distiller that lost 13000 barrels of hooch because of two collapses within the same warehouse inside of 6 months during an expansion.
Some conspiracy theorists go so far as to say that it was a well executed pricing scam designed to drive up the cost ..though these theories fall pretty flat when you examine how much cash soaked into the ground (not to mention the colossal ongoing cleanup costs). All rocks glass shaped tinfoil hats aside, this bottle followed me home from New Jersey and was swiftly adopted. (NJ metal madness!!!)
Onto the booze;
1792 is the US's oldest bourbon distillery, founded in ......1879! (1792 was the year Kentucky joined the United states as the 15th state...yeah, fucked me up too) .
Interesting background aside, it isn't one of the more widely recognized brands in the Northeast , I blame craft beer and avocado toast....but it is worth checking out if you can find it.
Weighing in at 93.7 proof, you might be surprised to find the cork pop doesn't cause temporary blindness, in fact the first note is a mellow vanilla. The sip is deceptive, there is no real burn to speak of, rather a light tingle on the tongue to remind you this is in fact a libation at all. To pin a flavor on the sip is to me somewhere between that vanilla, a little clove without being too sweet..the oak is present but not overly so. The finish is warm and pleasant, practically inviting another sip.
Originally I had read that this giggle juice was barreled for 8 years, so that may be a reason for its mellow demeanor , but they've since removed that info from the bottle so other than basic bourbon standards, I don't know how long the modern bottle has actually laid on splinters until flooding the little corked booze aquariums with the liquid silk.
All in all, 1792 is a pack of lies...the dark color gives the impression that one might find a harsher, oily juice, the label even claims "brash and bold" , then there's the whole 1879 thing...filled with deception!
What I think 1792 really is to me is a smooth,
Well rounded imbibement with a more than interesting history (both recent and a century plus old) that gives you a well balanced experience , I would recommend this for the cabinet if you can find it here, in which case, I'd also recommend you bring me one too.

Monkey Shoulder

Today was absolute shit, therefore it's a fine time for a review of tasty libations;
"Monkey Shoulder";
The name is based on distillery workers that lug the barrels to and fro, giving them the lopsided stance from years of shoulder carrying said oak stave continued cargo.
It's a sharp play on "insider" industry history, but I think lacks the certain sheen that the product deserves.
It's a blended scotch, which personally goes against every fiber of my being, but lo and behold there is no confusion in the flavor.
Unlike most blends (and a few single malts) the "monkey" has it's own distinct presentation. From nose to finish, it's a well planned scotch, al be it light on the peat. The first nose gives you a sweet yet mild oaky introduction. Tip it back and you find the balance of sweet to tart ratio err's on the side of sweet while being well balanced on the finish. Ice definitely helps mellow the sweet to let the oak come through, which also allows for the classic antiseptic sheen of the scotch to remind you what is in the glass. All in all I have to say, as a scotch, I dont have enough middle fingers to tell it how much it needs to fuck right off, but as a smooth whisky, i would definitely keep it on the shelf, assuming i wouldn't destroy my liver on it on any given day..

Makers Mark Select

Roots; that's the first thing that popped into my head on the Makers Mark private select .. I cut my teeth on Makers (and probably burned a good hole in the liver to boot). The heavy caramel nose, the sting to the inner cheek and a bit of nostalgia is what is familiar with its mid shelf brethren. In fairness , that's also where the similarities end. Private select clocks in around 110 proof (varies by barrel) so this red waxed coated cork is doing all it can to contain the rage within. One of the biggest differences is the type/amount of oak staving that happens to this ambrosia to summarily Chloroform and beat the genie into the bottle with...8 staves and 4 different varieties thereof .. (to the uninitiated; staves are the shaped planks of wood that make up a barrel for aging in, it's common practice to "float" staves from other Misc. Distillates in order to impart a unique flavor to the whisky.) So...hows the oak in this one you may ask? Like a peppermint patty , it will put images in your head of crisp, serene forests..with you running through it buck ass naked , flailing a 32" skip tooth logging saw at wide open throttle just hammering through trees as you go...or something there abouts.
Once you get past the initial "I just licked a hornet's nether regions" sting, the flavors initially shock, but eventually show themselves in layers. Allow me to qualify that statement;
1st tip back = all the subtleties of the Grave digger monster truck being driven by a t rex in line at a funeral procession. Upon letting the flavor unpack a bit, you get the strong , almost molasses note that rises calmly over the "my balls are literally on fire" burn of the proof. It's kind of a sadomasochistic pour really, you like it after you hate it for punishing you..a little or just enough. The nose immediately after the swallow give the distinct Maker's Mark branding, right on your septum. The finish is a bit dirty and confused, think of your favorite MMA fighter, only drunk and punching your tonsils.
This is not a pretty bourbon, this is an angry one. Like scotch bonnet suppository angry.As the ice cubes degrade with hopeless surrender , the caramel and elbow to the neck oak remain, but the finish becomes a much smoother landing, this is definitely a recipe that wants ice to shine, al be it briefly.  
As the ice continues to mellow, you are found being sweet talked into a appreciation of trying to taste the effort that went into this is complex, its deep and it pulls at the palate like a team of oxen.
This is not a "daily" bourbon, nor is it a "friendly" one.. What this is (assuming what they were going for ) was a statement on attitude of the "no bullshit" approach to a high test offering of the brand.
It will drink well, provided you have the genital fortitude to do so. Turn back if you're looking for a smoother experience (personally, as a hateful man I'm enjoying every drop) look elsewhere, this is not for the faint of heart.

Scotland, revisited


Scotch, an often debated libation due to the presumption of what "good" scotch should be..
Therefore, with that in mind I need to preface this "review" for lack of a better word with 2 facts;

1) I am not an expert of all things scotch..but I've definitely tried my share. People get sensitive about in childhood wounded kind of I will summarily do my absolute best to....not give a fuck about your feelings.

2) Your palette will differ from my own, so I can only speak of my own experience of the given caramel colored ambrosia. Should any form of posterior flare ups occur , see #1.

Cardhu was initially introduced to me via one of its own, a transplant from the motherland with an inside scoop on whats tasty and whats "Yankee shite for peathead bollucks" or some such paraphrasing. (Cardhu is now readily available in the states, making liquor stores great again)
 So after a trip to the isle, they returned with the square bottle in tow, complete with the arm twist of "you need to try this". And I did.

....threaten me with a good here goes;

When you pop the bottle, you don't get dragon kicked in the nards with peat...its there, but mixed with the smoke aroma and a hint of sherry cask, the initial nose is almost desert like...and that is exactly where that little deception ends.

Upon a warm pour, you will get some of that woody sweetness, rocks tame that back and put it just underneath a very mild peat antiseptic.
If you're looking for a peaty , dentist like antiseptic, this plants a gigantic middle finger in your moss dirt loving face ...then whispers in a pillow talk tone ..."fuck you" it never seems to hit the back of your throat and heads straight to liver junction like its on rails and has a head full of steam.
The finish is relatively clean given all of these subdued undertones, only a slight nose of "sweet" oak and a little peat remain ...this shit is balanced better than an f1 car in that regard.

The overall take on it;

I'd pour this giggle juice on my cheerios if I didn't mind having to live in a box under a bridge somewhere..alas, responsibilities and my addiction to food, plumbing, etc...
So in short, it would be fair to say that Cardhu is a whisky drinkers scotch...the peat snobs might turn a nose up, but while they pretend to enjoy some over aged, over priced bottle of mud taint, for the sake of keeping appearance , they would secretly stash this in the back of the closet for when a tall glass of dirt teabag just won't do.


By Bryan Reilly

I like bourbon. I like bourbon, a lot.
Whistle pig isn't bourbon, its rye and that's okay.

The difference between rye and bourbon has been explained ad nausium via the interwebs, so just to point to the glaring difference, bourbon = 51% corn mash , 49% other stuff (including rye)
Rye = 51% (you guessed it!) Rye, 49% other stuff.

Moving on...

Rye tends to be a dryer flavor than bourbon, due to the ingredients yet not so unfamiliar that a bourbon fan wouldn't enjoy it. In fact, if you like the dry bourbons, maybe you should give rye a shot. 

Also worthy of note, thank a shiftless hipster for rye's return from the brink of extinction. Had it not been for the faux lumberjack dressed hapless fuckwits, they could have gone the way of the dodo ...but thanks to the need to be different yet part of a huge trend , the re-emergence of rye is due to your Batista wallet (or more likely their parents).

Onto tonight's quarry , Whistle pig, 10 y.o.Rye:

Crack the cork and you can smell the rye...EVERYWHERE..unlike your typical dry nose this stuff sports a non typical aroma ...a pleasing I would bathe in it or exorcise demons with it...or both at the same time...because its that pleasing to the booger cave.

The pour is done over ice to see if the notes of flavor and aroma change with water (which they do immensely )

First nose full and its an AA meeting free pass..its boozy but Smokey ...there is the slightest hint of antiseptic twinge..its like a Scot breaking up a brawl only to punch both of the participants in the nose.

The first tip back = is my tongue on fire?? Because its on oak fueled fire with a strong rye aroma...and the fire doesn't spread at all...its on the tongue but not the throat

The 2nd tip back = Fires gone, flavor is amazing..unlike most rye, you don't get the "holy shit is this straight gluten and bitters strained through aunt Martha's colostomy bag??" But instead get a nice bouquet of rye, mash and wood. Seems the mix is suited for my palate exclusively...

The finish; smooth as silk, only word that best describes it is "refill".
the overall;
I'm glad to report the two facts that make Whistle Pig great which are,
1. This is one of the best ryes I've had in a long time and
2. I'm happy that the price point while not absurd, is high enough to prevent me from dying from it.



 Or rather, my personal take on Founders new offering; I'm not much of an IPA guy, I tend to gravitate to the dark side..meaning stouts and such..but  when something called "DOOM" that gets aged in bourbon casks is being offered, I can't help but pour it all over my liver. 

The nose: Definitely milder than any IPA I've ever had..doesn't have the whole "breathe in the skunk anus deeply" kind of thing, more of a " fart cats are in the booze barrel" experience..which is decidedly less than terrible for IPA hounds and non "basically smells like cabbage" drinkers alike. The smell is somewhere between Kentucky caramel and mini me. 

The first sip: "da faq did I get myself into?!"... Bourbon notes sprayed over a pot smoothie...but the second sip suddenly tasted completely in all the sudden, its a golden ambrosia of citrus and the old school Werthers original...sans sour socks. Made my bad eye pay attention. 

The finish: the complexity, while welcomed, delivers the expected IPA after taste of giving CPR to a skunks butt hole with hints of sweet hobo sweat..but holy shit this beer makes you want to stay away from sharp objects..oddly enough, its enjoyable to the point of wanting a refill, then realizing you probably shouldn't . 

The over all: I would buy this again, mainly because the booziness of it made me miss a bunch of other more subtle flavors that I'd like a second shot bare in mind..I HATE IPA.

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