Sunday, January 16, 2011

Review: The Bourbons

Thanks to a nefarious little promotion by the good folks at Master of Malt, I found myself in the possession of neat little boxes containing 5 drams of whisky.  Encouraged by the hopes of perhaps winning a free Gold membership in their new Dram Club, I ordered a tasting set. For my first, I chose from my home country and got bourbons.

The Bourbons!
Now, don't be fooled into thinking that I consider Jack Daniels to be a good bourbon. It's not. It's Tennessee Whiskey, and I don't really like it. I like GOOD bourbons. You know...the expensive ones.  But as they're wicked hard to get over here (the only shop locally that had any stopped stocking them), I figured the "try before you buy" option was pretty great, and merrily justified it by hoping I might just win the contest.

So what's in the box?

1. Buffalo Trace. 45% abv.
2. Parker's 27 Year, Heritage Collection. 48% abv.
3. Noah's Mill. 57.15% abv.
4. Rock Hill Farms Bourbon. 50% abv.
5. William Larue Weller. 67.4% abv.

Now, let's  not be fooling ourselves. If you're reading this you probably aren't some tasting aficionado, and if by chance you are, get thee to the website and read the tasting notes for yourself.  Now, for the rest of you. All five are really good, classic bourbons. They all have those good familiar flavors of vanilla and some spices.  They are, as you can see, very strong, and it shows.  The Buffalo Trace, Noah's Mill, and William Larue Weller were all very boozy and tempted me to add a dash of water to mellow them out.  Definitely sippin' whiskeys.

I prefer a bourbon I don't have to water, and although the Rock Hill Farms was very yummy, I was most impressed by the Parker's.  At 96-proof you'd think it'd pack a wallop, but no where in the mix did I get the boozy overtones. It was smooth and incredibly easy to drink neat. Dangerously easy to drink neat.  A quick check of the bottle details tells me why: it's currently out-of-stock and runs just under £150. I always did have a taste for the expensive.

If you're in the mood for something a bit more affordable, I'd suggest grabbing a bottle of Knob Creek or Baker's.  You can always get one for me while you're at it.

Coming soon: More tasting sets and Master of Malt's new bitters!