Friday, September 30, 2016

Whiskey Review of Baker's Bourbon - A Jim Beam Small Batch Collection

The Jim Beam Small Batch collection.  We all know it.  We all love it.  I was introduced to this Kentucky fixture as soon as I arrived to Lexington in the late 90s.  There is nothing better for a rookie in the whiskey drinking business than a sample pack of 4 bourbons from a world famous distiller in beautiful packaging!  

There is no need to say this but I am no longer a rookie.  Not only do I drink the brown water with friends, discuss tasting notes with my mom and dad but I also thoroughly enjoy writing about it.  All this “tasting” can sometimes take you away from the standards which enjoy a consistent flavor and a true following of bourbon lovers.  I like to take a step back from the newest-bottles-to-market on occasion and re-visit the classics and marvel at the consistency and beauty of how these whiskies are crafted.  

Today we discuss 25% of the Small Batch Collection – Baker’s.  Named after Baker Beam, the cousin of Booker – the brand’s Master Distiller.  Baker’s remains a standby in the industry while still sporting an age stamp of 7 years and rolling in at a perfect 107 proof.  The mashbill of Baker’s is 73% corn and 13% rye.  

Noted for it’s consistency, smooth & silky texture and full-bodied flavors, Baker’s tastes today as it always has.  On the nose you get strong notes of citrus accented by orange marmalade and lemon.  The aromas quickly lead to hearty flavors of ripe banana and warm buttered bread.  Drinking this bourbon is reminiscent of cracking into a crusty loaf of fresh baked bread straight from the oven. 
The palate develops herbal notes of cardamom and allspice.  As we tasted, we noted flavors of metal (we all taste something different) and a few comments on the smoothness but lacking of the rich flavor of a typical 7 year bourbon. 

Finally, the subtle sweetness of rye, blackberry and black cherry form on the back of the palate leading to a soft, almost mouth numbing finish thanks to the higher proof.  

As you can tell from this article, there are multitudes of flavors at every level of this whiskey- a true mark of a well-crafted spirit.  Each of us found different notes to consider.  This is certainly an easy daily drinker and worth a re-visit if you haven’t had the chance in some time.    

Average Price - $40 - 49.99


Thursday, September 1, 2016

One on One with Kentucky Artisan Distillery and Whiskey Row Bourbon Whiskey

Kentucky Artisan Distillers is a small but growing distillery East of Louisville in Crestwood, Kentucky.  Many bourbon heads may know them as the home of Jefferson's Reserve but they also boast a quite tasty offering under the Whiskey Row label.  I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeremy Dever, the Facility Director at Kentucky Artisan to discuss the background, philosophy and future of the spirit.

Four Barrels: First tell us about the bottle.

JD: The label presents a picture of Main Street Louisville around the year 1864.  We are shooting for a nostalgic feel around the times when bourbon started flowing down the Ohio River.

FB: and the story?
JD: Keeping in line with others who are looking back at the heritage of the Kentucky native spirit, the thinking around this bourbon is to show its origins and how it used to be made.  Ships used to travel down the Ohio River and at each stop, additional distillate would be combined with the previous stop.  Eventually, the trip down to Louisiana would allow these whiskeys time to mingle and create a unique product.

FB: Talk about how this bourbon is produced.

JD: The most recent edition of batch 4 is purposely different from each of the previous 3.  This edition is a blend of 3-5 whiskeys sourced from Kentucky distilleries.  Each of those within the blend are 4-7 years old.  This is a 4 grain whiskey - predominantly wheat.

We blend, chill filter and bottle on site in Crestwood.  Each batch is different and is based on a flavor profile sought by owner and Master Blender Steve Thompson (former Brown Foreman Executive).  Each batch is limited to approximately 12-15 barrels and will be differentiated by the color of the bottle neck.  Batch 4 is red.

FB reaction:
The nose is brief but the initial flavor makes up for it.  I found lots of oak, accented by flavors of banana and white chocolate.

This is certainly sipping bourbon.  There is a significant amount of spice on the palate - even though the dominant grain is wheat.  You can taste the age and feel the impact of the wood.
The finish seems about right.  Not at all brief and certainly does not linger on the tongue.
I am certainly glad to see distilleries such as Kentucky Artisan in the Bluegrass.  On a recent trip to the distillery, I was given a tour along with hints about the future of the brand.  They offer multiple samples at the end including a few Jefferson's products.  Definitely worth checking out yourself.

Website:  Kentucky Artisan Distillery

Jeffersons Bourbon 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Toast The Trees with Angles Envy during National Bourbon Heritage Month

World’s Highest-Rated Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Wine Barrels
Will Plant a White Oak Tree for Every Picture Posted
This September with the Hashtag #AE4THETREES

Louisville, Kentucky (September 1, 2016) – Louisville Distilling Co. LLC, producers of the highly celebrated Angel’s Envy super-premium bourbon, will once again Toast the Trees this September in celebration of National Bourbon Heritage Month, in an effort to ensure that there are always enough American white oak trees for future generations of whiskey lovers.

Angel’s Envy is proud to continue its partnership with The Arbor Day Foundation—now in its third year. Angel’s Envy will plant a white oak tree for every Angel’s Envy drink that its fans share this September—neat, on-the-rocks or in a cocktail. To plant your tree, simply snap a picture of your drink and share it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #AE4THETREES, and Angel’s Envy will work with The Arbor Day Foundation to ensure that a tree is planted. Additional opportunities will be available through the Angel’s Envy newsletter as well, which can be joined through its website at  

This year’s program builds on the successful social media initiative last year which culminated in the planting of 4,000 white oak trees to help restore the original composition of the Daniel Boone National Forest in Laurel County, Kentucky, and to make the site more productive for wildlife. 

“The ‘trees’ initiative is a great way to engage our consumers and fans in a fun and meaningful way via social media,” said James Kempland, Marketing Director, Angel’s Envy. “Toast the Trees helps us to preserve the future of bourbon through planning and sustainability.”

About Angel’s Envy  
The small batch artisan bourbon is the culmination of the late Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson's storied career. One of the original pioneers of the premium bourbon and whiskey categories in the U.S., Lincoln came out of retirement to create the world's finest bourbon on his own terms - with a simple desire to enjoy the art of making whiskey. In addition to the flagship bourbon port cask finish, the Company offers Angel’s Envy Cask Strength and Angel’s Envy Rye. Each Expression exhibits a passion for experimenting outside of conventional norms and producing unique whiskey steeped in tradition, but finished with a twist.

-       Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Wine Barrels, distilled for an unparalleled smoothness, aged for 4-6 years in American white oak barrels and finished in hand-selected port wine barrels for an incremental 3-6 months.  Now available across the U.S., the expression earned a 98/100 points from Wine Enthusiast magazine – the highest-ever rating for a bourbon – and five stars (highest recommendation) from F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal.

-       Cask Strength, aged to the perfect level of richness and maturity in the few American white oak barrels that made the cut (and are available each year) and then finished in port wine barrels for up to 18 months. The inaugural releases sold out in weeks. Paul Pacult of Spirit Journal named the Cask Strength “Best Spirit in the World,” giving it five stars and noting it “deserves a sixth rating star.”  Available in select U.S. markets for the suggested retail price (750ml bottle) of $179. 

-       Rye Finished in Rum Barrels, made with 95% rye and 5% malted barley that’s aged for as much as six years in new American, charred oak barrels and finished in hand-selected Caribbean rum casks for up to 18 months. Both The Tasting Panel and Wine Enthusiast magazines awarded Rye with 94/100 points. Available in select U.S. markets for the suggested retail price (750ml bottle) of $79.99. 

For more information, please visit us at or on Facebook and twitter (@angels_envy).

The ANGEL’S ENVY™ brand is part of the portfolio of Bacardi Limited, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited.

Angel’s Envy™ 2016. Heaven Can Wait. Please Drink Responsibly. 

About the Arbor Day Foundation
Founded in 1972, the centennial of the first Arbor Day observance in the 19th century, the Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with over one million members, supporters, and valued partners. The impact we make on our world is accomplished through our conservation and education programs.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Review of the Corbin Cash Merced Rye Whiskey - A Whiskey from Down on the Farm

Corbin Cash is a distillery hailing from California in the San Joaquin Valley.  Their primary spirit is vodka – produced from the farm’s specialty of sweet potatoes.  They also make a tasty rye using “ultra-rare, 100 percent California native Merced Rye” per the website.  Wrapped in beautiful packaging, CC Rye boasts a whiskey aged roughly 3.5 years.

The nose is typical of 3-4 year rye with bold notes of caramel, tobacco and toffee.  Compared to the myriad of ryes on the market, I think this whiskey has a greater note of caramelization - maybe the unique Merced rye makes the difference.  

The initial palate is sharp with flavors of unripe bananas with a nice balance – neither sweet nor savory.  I got hints of almonds and typical flavors you may find in beer such as yeast. 
We first tried the product neat.  We found a very different experience when we added a small piece of ice.  

Adding ice really accentuated the nose with pronounced aromas of grass and peat.  The front of the palate was no longer as spicy as when we drank it neat – the bite was gone.  However, the flavor still enveloped the tongue.  We still found the notes of almond but now this drank more like a young scotch.  

The finish is brief, short and focused.  There was a bit of residual sweetness on the back of the palate.  

This is certainly a unique product.  I am a huge fan of Rye and to find a product that differentiates itself in so many ways to be a great surprise. 

Corbin Cash also produces gin and a blended vodka/rye bottling of individually aged sweet potato spirit and rye – described by the distillery as “bourbon-esque”.  We will gladly share more on this product shortly.  

Expected Retail Price - $46 - $55