The Whiskey Council

In 2017 my eyes were open to the wonderful world of whiskey. I tried everything I could get my hands on, bought several bottles, watched and read reviews on line, but most of all tried to enjoy the spirit. It is my goal for 2018 to post my feeling and thoughts about each new bottle I obtain. This might be about the experience of researching the bottle, buying the bottle or the juice inside the bottle. I might post about single drams I’m drinking or comment on whiskey news as well. Lets see how it goes. I hope to post at least once a month. You can follow me on Instagram @thewhiskeycouncil or Twitter @whiskeycouncil. 5 Final Blue

Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey

IMG-8783Look what the Easter Bunny brought us. We have been looking for this whiskey everywhere. For months it has been what we ask for when entering a new store. We even emailed the fine people over at Heaven Hill to see where we might be able to find a bottle. They gave us the name of four shops in NYC. That’s a bit of a hike, so we kept searching in our neck of the woods. A few weeks ago we peeked into a new shop and there it was sitting on the shelf. Even at an inflated $55, we scooped it up to take a test and it didn’t disappoint. We have really been enjoying ryes in 2018 and this was a nice addition to the collection.

Here is the review:

Whiskey: Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey

Date: 3/31/18

Location: Home

Distillery: Heaven Hill

Proof: 110

Type: Rye

Price: $55

Age Statement (if any): At Least 6 Years

Color: Pale Amber

Notes:

  • Nose – Chocolate espresso cookies were being baked in the house when we first started nosing this powerful beauty. Going between the smell of the cookies and the juice we found a similar aroma. Pikesvilles website states that you might find a “Dusty cocoa notes with oaky smoke underneath.” We can’t say much about this oaky smoke, but we did pick up hints of cocoa that mixed nicely with the cookies. On our second visit with Pikesville we did get a whiff of a fresh cut apple that has been lightly cinnamoned. Be careful when you go in for a nosing. The 110 proof does show up here on occasion.
  • Palate – On the taste we get a pretty sweet flavor for such a spicy, high proof rye. It was pretty surprising at first, but soon after that first sip the pepper spicy started to creek up. There is a hint of vanilla that we normally find in its bourbon cousins. Surprisingly the high alcohol content doesn’t create any type of harshness. There is a nice circular mouth feel that allows you to take your time before going in for a second sip. We get a hint of a familiar medical liquid that brings us back to our childhood. Unfortunately we couldn’t put our finger on it.

Observations: We are fans of the Rittenhouse rye which is also a Heaven Hill product. It’s a great rye for the price. We found our bottle for only $22. Not bad for a bottled in bond rye. The Pikesville is aged for an additional 2 years and beats the Rittenhouse by 10 proof. Unfortunately, it’s more than double the price. We were happy to find the bottle and have really enjoyed it, but are not sure that it’s worth the premium price tag. That being said we will enjoy draining this bottle of the upcoming weeks and will most likely keep a bottle in stock for comparison purposes. It’s a very nice pour, but we recommend that you order a dram a a local pub before laying down the money for a full bottle.

Evaluation:

  • Recommended with category – Yes
  • Recommended overall – Yes
  • Interesting – No
  • Unusual – No

In A Single Word: Spicy

Our Score: 87

Henry McKenna 10 Year Single Barrel BiB Bourbon

 

IMG_7828.jpgThis is a whiskey that I keep reading about. Everyone who talks about it seems to love it and are afraid that it will be the next one to reach impossible to find status. I see it all the time around me for about $30 a bottle. I pick this bottle up back in November for that price and it has been sitting in the closet with a bunch of other bottles waiting to be opened. Last week I finally decided to try it out for myself and boy are the critics right. This might be my favorite bourbon in this price range. I really like the 12 year old Elijah Craig, but let me tell you something this one is better. If you see it pick it up. I will be getting a few more bottles that next time i head out to the store.

Here is the review:

Whiskey: Henry McKenna 10 Year Single Barrel BiB Bourbon

 

Date: 2/9/18

Location: Home

Distillery: Heaven Hill

Proof: 100

Type: Bourbon

Price: $30

Age Statement (if any): 10 year

Color: A Dark Amber

 

Notes:

  • Nose-I have been nosing this one for awhile now and I think the wood is the main thing I pick up. It’s surprising to me that even at 100 proof i really have to take a big wiff to get an alcohol scent. I get a hint of caramel, but the nose isn’t what really does it for me with this one.

 

  • Palate- On the taste I get a nice burn on the cheeks and front part of my tongue. This spice is what makes me love this type of bourbon. Nothing really stands out here, but the taste is good. The finish lingers a bit and after I suck all the flavors from my mouth I can’t wait to take the next sip. Taking a very small sip allows me to pull out some more caramel that I could pick up on the nose. The oak from the barrel is definitely there, but in a good way. It mixes nicely with the 100 proof and the caramel.

 

Observations: This particular bottle was barrelled on 3/12/07. It’s barrel number is 3430. I absolutely love the fact that right on the bottle it tells you the date in which this liquid gold entered the barrel. I totally have a collector’s mindset and being able to get such great information off of the bottle is a big plus in my mind. I’m told that the mashbill is 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% Malted Barley. I do tend to lean toward high rye bourbons, so it make sense that I’m a fan of this bottle. I have to say I have not had too many bourbons at this price level which actually bring a smile to my face. I normally like to try different things, but ever since I opened this bottle, whenever I go for a pour I grab this one. I hope that they don’t change anything about this one. Please keep the bottle in bond notation, the 100 proof and the 10 year age statement. All of it just works.

 

Evaluation:

  • Recommended with category – Yes
  • Recommended overall – Hell Yes
  • Interesting – No
  • Unusual – No

 

In A Single Word: More

My Score: 88

Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Bourbon

IMG-7448

So this is my first new bottle of 2018. I originally got a taste of this beauty over a friends house during the holidays. His wife had pick up a bottle for him for Christmas at a local store for $180. As soon as I tasted that first dram I knew this would be a bottle I would need to pick up at some point.

A coworker who also works at a local liquor store gave me the heads up that his store had just gotten a bottle in stock. I told him I would love to add the bottle to my collection and was able to score it for $120. I of course immediately opened the bottle, because whiskey is meant to be drank, and poured my coworker a nice two ounce sample, because whiskey is meant to be shared.

Here is the review:

Whiskey: Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Bourbon

Date: 1/16/18

Location: Home

Distillery: non-distiller producer (NDP)

Proof: 94.4

Type: Bourbon

Price: $120

Age Statement (if any): 10 year

Color: A light honey

 

Notes:

  • Nose-From the second I nosed the glass I knew this one was a keeper. I can’t say it’s sweet, but the lack of a strong alcohol smell allowed me to keep at it until I picked up a trace of carmel. This is the note I seem to be able to pull from bourbons. The nose was definitely more delicate than other bourbons I have tasted.
  • Palate- This is one smooth bourbon. There is a little bit of burn on the front of my tongue, but even after giving it a little swish my mouth just wants some more. Just when you think there is going to be a big bite that low tingle just stays and never develops into anything too overpowering. I want to keep drinking it, but know that it’s a “special occasion” bourbon and should really be enjoyed with others. I love the light numb feeling that is left in my mouth. The after taste is wonderful and even my wife, who hates bourbon, said that she like the taste it left in her mouth.

Observations: Although the pre-revolutionary war story is all but BS, I still love this bourbon. Everything about it from the mesh net around the bottle at purchase, to the label, to the liquid … all of it it wonderful. In fact the only thing I didn’t enjoy is how difficult it was to open. They really need to fix that top. I thought I was going to break the bottle trying to open it. I would definitely buy this one again and look forward to sharing it with friends and family on a special occasion.

 

Evaluation:

  • Recommended with category – Yes
  • Recommended overall – Hell Yes
  • Interesting – No
  • Unusual – No

 

In A Single Word: Decadent

My Score: 91