Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Review

About – “In 1789, Elijah Craig discovered greatness when he first charred oak barrels to make Bourbon. Today, we honor his innovative spirit with Toasted Barrel: a unique expression that is charred to start and toasted to finish. This expression takes our award-winning Small Batch and finishes it in a second, custom toasted barrel for an added layer of sweet oak complexity. The result is a 94-proof Bourbon with notes of baking spices & chocolate, and a long, smooth finish.” This new release in the Elijah Craig joins the list of other distilleries with a toasted barrel finished bourbon. Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel is an allocated release and comes with a retail price of $60.

Nose – The toasted element is there, but not as deeply as with other toasted barrel products. Along with that is a rich toffee and baking spice. If you dig a little deeper there is a chocolate note that comes out as well.

Palate – Chocolate leads the ways along with graham cracker that comes in on the mid palate. There is a good amount of oak that comes in towards the back palate and is joined by cinnamon and nutmeg leading into a medium length sweet and spicy finish.

Score – C+

Verdict – In comparison to to other toasted barrel bourbons, particularly Woodford Double Oaked, this release just falls flat. I would venture to say that Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel has spent less time finishing in that toasted barrel. I wish they would have really swung for the fences on the toasted element instead of trying to stay down the middle of the road. I am sure a lot of people will love this release, but after tasting it I wouldn’t feel bad if I had missed out on getting a bottle.

Traverse City Whiskey Co. American Cherry Edition Review

About – “When you live in the “Cherry Capital of the World” and come from a multi-generational cherry farming family, a cherry whiskey is a bit of a must. Our American Cherry Edition is different than most cherry whiskies on the market today and is steeped with Montmorency cherries grown on our family’s farm. We like to say that its flavor profile resembles “whiskey with a hint of cherry, not the other way around.” This is a bourbon whiskey that has been infused with cherries. It is bottled at 74 proof and retails for around $40.

Nose – Cherry juice and vanilla are dominant, but are followed by oak and spice letting you know that legitimate bourbon has been used in this product.

Palate – Just like the nose, cherry juice on vanilla jump out first on the palate and are followed by oak and spice leading into a short, clean finish.

Score – 4.5/5 🍒

Verdict – This is a really quality product. Usually flavored whiskey is over sugary and artificial tasting. This is not one of those whiskies. The cherry flavor really shines through but doesn’t completely overpower the bourbon. It is easy drinking and at 74 proof should appeal the masses. I think I would enjoy a higher proofed version a little more, and Traverse City did just release a barrel proof version for this year’s cherry fest so it is out there for those of us wanting a little more proof.

Chattanooga Rye Review

About – “Tennessee Rye Malt is our rich, malt-forward approach to rye. Inspired by one of our Experimental Distillery’s first batches of whiskey, our version of this rare and flavorful style was made from an abundance of slow toasted and drum roasted rye malt. The result is a bold reinvention of rye, brimming with sweet and savory notes of candied fruit, herbs, and spice.” As with their bourbon offering Chattanooga focuses on malted grains and features and extended 7 day fermentation period. Chattanooga rye is unfiltered, bottled at 99 proof, and has a retail price of $42.99.

Nose – The thing I notice immediately is how sweet this comes across for a rye whiskey. The predominant notes are a dense brown sugar and cinnamon. It gives the nose a nice sting more so from the amount of cinnamon spice than from the ethanol. As the cinnamon begins to fade out spearmint moves in and the brown sugar is still hanging around in the background.

Palate – Just like the nose this rye hits the palate with a lot of sweetness. I am getting a lot of cola flavor, there is some plum hanging around with that, and as it sits on the palate the cinnamon from the nose takes over leading into a medium finish that switches over to spearmint and leaves your mouth pleasantly tingling.

Score – B-

Verdict – Chattanooga may be a small distillery, but they are doing big things. This ranks up there among the most unique flavor profiles I have encountered in a rye whiskey. Overall it is a very good release. If there is any downside it is that I find it a bit too sweet for me personally. It leaves me almost with the feeling that I have had a mixed drink. If you have a strong sweet tooth this is probably right up your alley.

Resilient 14 year straight bourbon review (barrel 182)

About – Resilient is a brand owned by BC Merchants (a distributor in the Chicago area). The line is made up of sourced bourbon and rye. The bourbon is currently being sourced from Dickel and the rye from MGP. It is bottled as a single barrel product and they are extremely transparent about what is in the bottle. The label on the front lists the barrel number (they have tasting notes for every barrel on their site), bottle #, barrel fill date, bottled date, char level, mashbill, and proof (this is an uncut product so proof varies from barrel to barrel). This review is for barrel 182 and is bottled at 104 proof. I have seen this product locally for around $75 but price may vary by market.

Nose – Dark sweetness nearing cocoa powder with a slight orange behind that. The longer it opens up sweet corn comes to the front, but not in the dominant way that it can with Dickel products.

Palate – Dark fruit is the first thing I notice most closely resembling plum. The palate dries out pretty quickly with a flash of sawdust. A really sweet vanilla sugar cookie comes in behind that leading into the finish. The finish is pretty short in length and is mostly vanilla with a hint of spice.

Score – B-

Verdict – This particular barrel is giving me a few things I don’t normally get from Dickel sourced products. I love the packaging and really love the transparency provided on the front label. Overall this is a well put together brand offering a quality product. The only thing lacking on this particular barrel is a better finish. If you are a fan of Dickel products I highly recommend checking out Resilient.

Old Bardstown Estate Bottled Review

About – As I mention in my review for Old Bardstown Bottled in Bond, the history of the Old Bardstown label is difficult to trace. What we can say for sure is that this bourbon is distilled and aged by Willett and is at least 4 years old. It is a step up in price and proof from the bottled in bond offering, clocking in at 101 proof with a price of $30.

Nose – Big bold nose. Plenty of sweetness to go around with caramel, apple, and cherry. There is just a touch of grain and oak. Also hanging around is an herbal mint that I have found in other Willett offerings most notable Noah’s Mill. Much more complex than I had expected.

Palate – Starts off with a big blast of caramel and oak hitting all of the traditional bourbon notes. A fruity sweetness washes through shifting between cherry and orange peel. A splash of cinnamon shows up on the backend leading into a medium length finish that fads into oak and orange.

Score – B

Verdict – Very on profile with what I tasted in Old Bardstown Bottled in Bond but elevated and more complex. I really enjoy the Willett profile and this is no exception. At $30 I consider this a bargain and recommend it to anyone who enjoys other Willett products.

Budget Bourbon Bracket Challenge Ep. 1