Pursuit Series Episode 29 Review

About – Pursuit series is the private label created by Ryan Cecil and Kenny Coleman of the Bourbon Pursuit Podcast. From their website “For us, it was searching for rare whiskey and seeking out the people and stories behind every great bottle. After years of interviews, we learned that memories aren’t created by what’s inside the bottle, but by those who enjoy it together. This inspired us to write our own story. Our pursuit led us to hand select every barrel and bottle it completely untouched. Every barrel chosen is unique, developing its own narrative that becomes an episode in the series. This pursuit is for you. The whiskey geek, enthusiast, aficionado, or whatever you want to call yourself because, after all, we are you.” Sticking with the podcast them, each single barrel release is given an episode number and “show notes” are listed on the front label to give you an idea of the flavor profile. This particular release is a straight rye whiskey from an undisclosed distillery in Tennessee. As with all Pursuit Series releases this rye whiskey is uncut and unfiltered. Episode 29 is aged for 4 years and bottled at 110.1 proof. This release was available at Seelbach’s for $65, but has since sold out.

Nose – Opens up with a light touch of grain that is followed by a floral honeysuckle sweetness. The rye spice is evident on the deep inhale. As it opens up a bit of spearmint becomes to come through.

Palate – Bright at first and quickly hit with the rye spice. Spearmint is in the background trying to fight through, but stays subdued. Cinnamon and figs come through on the mid palate moving into the finish. The medium finish starts with a blast of lime that fades into raw grain that the nose started with.

Score – B

Verdict – The citrus note on the finish is what really sticks with me here. It reminds me of the lemon notes in Traverse City North Coast Rye (review here). That is a note I only seem to get from these “lesser” aged ryes. It seems that those flavors are overtaken by oak in the aging process. Kenny and Ryan have done a great job with the Pursuit Series brand. I have really enjoyed the single barrel releases that I have tried, and am looking forward to their new Pursuit United blend.

High West A Midwinter Night’s Dram (Act 8 Scene 3) Review

About – This yearly release from High West takes their flagship Rendezvous Rye and finishes it in both Port and French Oak Barrels. The Port is used to round of the fruity notes of the rye and the French Oak is used to accentuate the spice. Billed as the perfect Christmas whiskey, A Midwinter Night’s Dram is bottled at 98.6 proof and costs around $120, but is allocated so it could be considerably more depending on the store.

Nose – Nice and bright with stone fruit leading the charge and spearmint moves in swiftly behind that. A subtle baking spice moves in as it opens up along with vanilla and brown sugar.

Palate – Cinnamon graham crackers are the dominant note. Creamy vanilla custard, spearmint, and rye spice move in on the mid palate. Plum comes in on the backend rounding everything out. The finish is on the longer side of medium, starting with that sweet plum before shifting back to that cinnamon graham cracker accompanied by oak tannins that balance out the sweetness and a bit of leather as the finish continues.

Score – A-

Verdict – I am in agreeance on this being a perfect Christmas whiskey. It has all of the decadence you would expect from a whiskey with that billing. The Rendezvous Rye that servers as the base of A Midwinter Night’s Dram has gone through some changes over the years that have attributed directly to this product as well. After starting to incorporate their own distillate the quality dropped a bit, but it has since headed back in the right direction. If you love rye and love Christmas like I do this is a must keep on hand whiskey.

Buffalo Trace Kosher Wheat Recipe Review

About – “Buffalo Trace Distillery produced this Wheat Recipe Bourbon in a partnership with the Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc). Made with the same high quality grains as W.L. Weller Bourbon Whiskey, this Kosher spirit was aged in specifically designated Kosher barrels. In order to satisfy Passover requirements, these barrels were sold to a non-Jewish executive in a ceremony witnessed by a representative from the cRc. After aging for seven years, this Wheat Recipe Bourbon was bottled at 94 proof after ensuring the bottling lines were cleaned beforehand and that no contact was made with non-Kosher spirits.” Buffalo Trace also released Kosher Rye Recipe Bourbon and a Straight Rye. All three variants carry an retail price of around $50.

Nose – Sweet cinnamon and cherry kick things off. There is a floral note behind that tying everything together. As it opens up caramelized sugar moves in, and cinnamon becomes the dominant note.

Palate – Very bright as it hits the tongue with the cherry from the nose being the first thing I pick up. Cinnamon moves in strongly in the form of sweet cinnamon candy. Bitter oak tanning moves in behind that to counter the sweetness. This leads to a medium length finish that starts as oak and ends dominated by cinnamon.

Score – B

Verdict – This Kosher release falls right in line with other Weller products. It has more depth that Weller Special Reserve, but isn’t as well rounded or flavorful as Weller Antique. For someone who needs a Kosher option this is a good one. For anyone else it is worth the retail price if you can find it, but if you have to pay secondary pricing I would probably pass unless you are just a Weller fanatic like me.

Wilderness Trail 6 Year Bottled in Bond Review

About – This latest release from Wilderness Trail was released in two variants. Their wheated bourbon saw a six year release that was distillery only. Their rye recipe bourbon was released with small distribution for those of us not able to make it to the distillery, and is what we will be reviewing today. The mashbill is 64% corn, 24% rye, and 12% malted barley. This 6 year bottled in bond is the oldest release so far from Wilderness Trail. It is non-chill filtered, bottled at 100 proof, and retails for $69.99.

Nose – Apple kicks things off accompanied by cinnamon graham crackers. Fresh milled grain wafts in and out throughout the nose. Vanilla and cherry move in on the backend as it opens up. There is quite a bit going on here.

Palate – Oily mouthfeel coating the palate. Sweet cinnamon sugar hits first follow by bitter oak tannin. One the mid palate the apple comes through in a nice juicy wat. Cinnamon comes back in now on the back palate, but this time brings a darker brown sugar with it. This leads into a medium finish that is a tad on the bitter side for me, and surprisingly there is still a faint trace of youth.

Score – B

Verdict – The more I sip this the more I find myself enjoying it. When I first opened the bottle I hated it, but now it is casting some type of spell on me. This is the first thing I have tasted from Wilderness Trail that I have enjoyed. Some bourbons just require a longer aging time and this seems to be one of them. Hopefully this is an indication of what is to come for Wilderness Trail. If their bourbon is something you already enjoy I would recommend picking up a bottle. Alternately if you have been thinking about trying Wilderness Trail for the first time this is the one to go with.

Riverset Straight Rye Whiskey Review

About – “Riverset is named in honor of the Mississippi River and the iconic riverboats that have long since navigated its waters.  Historically, these riverboats were used to transport cumbersome barrels of whiskey from the hinterlands to the cities. In fact, so much whiskey was transported on the river in the nineteenth century that the Mississippi became known as the “Whiskey River.” Riverset Rye is a product of B.R. Distilling located in Memphis, Tennessee. This is a straight rye whiskey that was distilled in Tennessee and aged for at least four years. It is unfiltered, bottled at 93 proof, and carries a retail price of $29.99.

Nose – General fruitiness that moves towards apple as it opens up. Spearmint lightly moves in and out. Rye spice is there on the backside lightly slightly tingling the nose. All of this is layered with a thick vanilla.

Palate – The apple from the nose has turned to peach on the palate. That sweetness is counterbalanced by a surprising amount of oak tanning. Just like the nose the rye spice is faint here leading into a medium-short finish that fades to peach and finishes with a touch of grain on the way out.

Score – C+

Notes – The flavors presently are fairly light, but they are balanced and enjoyable. Sipping this neat the sweetness of the peach plays well with the spice and the bitter oak tanning. That peach note leads me to believe this would be an excellent rye for summer time cocktails. Given the fairly low price and versatility presented by Riverset Rye I would recommend picking up a bottle.

Old Tub Kentucky Straight Bourbon Review

About – “The limited-edition offering is a nostalgic nod to where it all began for the Beam family over 140 years ago in Bardstown, KY, otherwise known as the Bourbon Capital of the World. This unique bourbon has tasting notes that include oak, complemented along with grain, and a warm caramel. It has a lingering color of golden citrine gemstone with shades of honey and an aroma that carries initial waves of oak followed by vanilla and grain.” Old Tub had previously been a distillery only and later a Kentucky only release in a 375ml format. This release is bottled in bond so we know that it is aged at least 4 years. It is unfiltered, bottled at 100 proof, and priced as a bargain at $20.

Nose – Caramel and fresh milled grain. There is a touch of of clove behind that along with vanilla and a faint spice. The grain becomes more prevalent as it opens up.

Palate – Slightly bitter on the front end with a lot of raw grain. Hot cinnamon flashes through the mid palate leading into a finish that is all cinnamon and grain.

Score – D-

Verdict – I don’t understand what all of the fuss is about with this release. I have seen people score this as high as 5/5 stars and couldn’t disagree more. It is thin, lacking any complexity, and all of the raw grain is off-putting. I was hoping for Repeal Batch at a slightly higher proof, and this isn’t that. Is it drinkable? Yes, but I don’t find anything enjoyable about it. If you enjoy bourbon that tastes like it has been filtered through a hay bale Old Tub may be for you. Otherwise I recommend leaving it on the shelf.

Blue Note Juke Joint Whiskey Review

About – This ongoing release from B.R. distilling is distilled in Kentucky and aged in Memphis. For those who aren’t aware the name Blue Note is a Jazz and Blues term for a note an expressive note that is played at a slightly different pitch than standard. True to the name being distilled in Kentucky and aged in “crafted” in Memphis is slightly different than standard. Juke Joint is labeled as a Straight Bourbon Whiskey, aged 3-4 years, and bottled unfiltered at 93. Proof. Retail price is around $30.

Nose – Burnt sugar and vanilla reminiscent of Creme Brulee. Baking spices and an interesting note of fresh baked yeast bread. A touch of grain on the backside as it opens.

Palate – A really traditional bourbon on the front with vanilla, caramel, and baking spice. It gets a bit more interesting on the finish with a blast of cinnamon heat that is surprising given the proof. The finish is on the shorter side of medium and follows through with the spicy cinnamon. There is also a touch of youthful grain on the very end.

Score – C

Verdict – All things considered it is an easy drinking bourbon with a spicy finish at a decent price point. I like seeing a distillery like B.R. take something a lot of people are doing (sourced whiskey) and find a way to put their own spend on in resulting in a unique product. I also like that they are pricing it where a product of this age should be priced.

Barrell Rye Batch 003 Review

About – “Rye Batch 003 is a blend of rye whiskeys from Indiana, Poland, Tennessee and Canada, all with distinct personalities and varying ages. We started with Tennessee Rye barrels with caramel and dried fruit notes and added the Polish Rye for its nuttiness and mouthfeel. We then carefully layered in 13-year Canadian Rye to bring out earthy notes of grass, spearmint and apple. The Indiana Rye was the finishing touch to highlight the candied fruit and spiciness you expect from a rye.” Barrell Rye Batch 003 is bottled at 116.7 proof and retails for around $80.

Nose – Bold and spicy. Big rye space paired with honey hits the nose first. Spearmint and vanilla are hanging around in the background. The spice is large and in charge picking up a cinnamon note as it opens up. Much later on there is a touch of rye grain as well.

Palate – Unlike the nose sweetness hits first with honey and vanilla. Spearmint hits in the mid palate. The spice comes in quickly from there and leads into a spicy medium to long finish that is fairly dry.

Score – B

Verdict – The thing that stands out most to me is the long spicy finish. Barrell just has a way of crafting these long flavorful finish in their blends. There is nothing that jumps off of the page here, but it is a really well put together rye. Barrell is yet to disappoint me on any of their blends. If you are someone who has been wondering if their offerings is worth the price, the answer is yes. Quit thinking about it and pick up a bottle.