Haven’t reviewed much American whiskey recently but I had a great chance to try some in Spain back in May, along with a certain infamous whisky reviewer whose name will remain anonymous for the moment.
This reputable, irrefutable reviewer is quite the fan of American whisky and claims to have tasted more rye whiskey than any other human on earth, so it was interesting to see him at work and taste some of the following with or in close proximity to him.
Willet Bourbon 47%
Colour: Dark Gold
Nose: Corn, lots of it, oak, lots of it, old crystallised honey, toffee apple, sweeter as it opens up, some nutty pistachio coming through?
Taste: Oaky hit then caramel, green apple and honey before darker notes of coffee and dark chocolate, pretty oaky all the way.
Finish: Long. Still quite oaky here, very dry, more floral oak.
I do quite like this one, despite all the oak.
FEW Bourbon 46.5%
Colour: Dark Bronze
Nose: A better balance than I remember the rye having. Dark caramel, marshmallow, deep oak, clove, quite rye forward.
Taste: Soft, quite oily mouthfeel, rye, clove, liquorice root, lots of oaky spice coming in with some marshmallow, tannins.
Finish: Long. Spicy but a bit flat here, flat tannins.
Not bad but any stretch for craft American, the nose in particular is pleasant.
Blanton's Original 46.5%
Colour: Dark Gold
Nose: Fragrant and full bodied, orange peel, lots of oak, dark caramel, quite nutty with Brazil nuts, floral oak, cherry lip gloss. Very good nose.
Taste: Soft arrival, builds well with fresh orange citrus and good oak, eucalyptus, oily mouthfeel, plenty of spice, red and black liquorice, mixed peppercorns.
Finish: Long. Very oaky here, but good and dark, very strong black Americano.
Single barrel. Good nose but a bit too much oak to taste, still, one of those Bourbons I like. My companion loved this one in particular and I wonder if a certain award might be swinging the way of Buffalo Trace this year…?
Blanton's Gold 51.5%
Nose: Pretty bloody good, lovely balance of fresh citrus-y orange, fragrant floral oak and clove and liquorice spice. Dark chocolate with walnuts, a little sugary almond paste, and a single apple pastry.
Taste: Soft arrival, quite delicate in the mouth (in a really lovely way) before developing more power, dark chocolate, coffee bean, tobacco leaf, dry great quality oak coming in then very lovely dark chocolate powder into the finish. Did I mention mouthfeel is spot on too?
Finish: Long length. Very great here too. Dark chocolate powder, soft oak whispering away,
One of my favourite ever Bourbon's. What I love here is the balance and effortlessness, which, in my book, puts it above the Pappies 20 & 23. Barrel 187 was clearly a very, very good one.
Thanks for reading!
American Review #56-#59
Whisky Network Review #779-#782
Network Average: 75.0
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
75-79 Very Good
Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as a Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.