The Whiskey Neat Newsletter: October 1st, 2021

Hello Reader,

I hope everyone enjoyed the week and thank goodness we've made it to the weekend. Whiskey season remains in full swing, with several coveted expressions hopefully on their way to store shelves very soon.

Before we get into this week's newsletter, I wanted to promote a quick message for the Whiskey Neat Newsletter. If you're enjoying receiving the weekly newsletter, please always feel free to forward to other friends or family who you think may also enjoy receiving the latest whiskey news and tasting notes. I've gone ahead and included the subscription link below for any of you who may be interested in sharing the link as well:

There is absolutely no requirement or pressure to do so, just as you'd like and as you feel inclined to do so. Word of mouth really helps on our side!

With that, let's get into a full slate of whiskey news, upcoming releases, and the score & tasting of the week!

How Maker’s Mark Bourbon Is Made

The title pretty much covers it here. A very interesting 14 minute YouTube video made by Daniel Geneen that covers everything from sourcing the barrels to the iconic Maker's Mark finishing red wax seal.

Mellow Bourbons To Sip Neat This Fall, Picked By Bartenders

Check it out if you're curious. Pretty good names - some standard, and some a little out there. I've seen the Laws Special Finish Series Four Grain 3 or 4 times in articles just this week so I'm starting to get curious.

Also, I'm always going to keep it honest - I don't think Weller 12 year should be on this list. It's terrific, but doesn't fit the category of the other picked moderately priced bourbons. It's $200 and impossible to find, along with every other Weller, sans the standard special reserve.

Three Buffalo Trace Distillery Bourbons named best in class

Some of the awards were as follows:

Extra recognition

  • W.L. Weller Antique 107 Bourbon – Best in Class, Non-Age-Stated 90 to 110 Proof Bourbon
  • W.L. Weller Full Proof Bourbon – Best in Class, Non-Age-Stated High Proof Bourbon
  • Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel Bourbon

Gold Medal

  • Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon – Best in Class, Non-Age-Stated Bourbon
  • Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Bourbon
  • Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch Bourbon
  • Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. Barrel Proof Bourbon
  • W. L. Weller Special Reserve Bourbon
  • W.L. Weller Single Barrel Bourbon
  • Stagg Jr. Bourbon

No real surprises here, except maybe the lowest tiered in the BT lineup Buffalo Trace bourbon with a gold medal - not bad for a $26 bottle. There's a reason almost all of the BT lineup is incredibly hard to get right now.

Exploring Wheated Bourbon

A quick article on wheated bourbon, including the mash bill, the taste you can expect, and a couple of the products that fit this category (hint: W.L.Weller, Larceny, and 1792).

Fun fact about myself: I didn't really enjoy bourbon for the longest time when I was starting out with the spirit. I thought it was harsh and had indistinguishable tastes among products. It wasn't until I had Weller for the first time and noticed the lighter taste that allowed for the sweeter corn and caramel and vanilla notes to really come through that I finally got into whiskey. From there it was a lot easier to get into more traditional bourbon mash bills and rye because I had the lighter wheated notes to build off of.

Unicorn Scotch Whisky Bottles To Start Building A Collection Around

I'm going to put this in here because I like scotch and unfortunately there's not nearly the same amount of news in the States week to week. However, I want to be upfront and say that I think this article had a lot of potential, but ultimately was a bit of a miss.

In this case, given they are targeting "unicorn" bottles centered around people starting a collection, higher priced items are appropriate. Yet somehow I think they still overshoot. In my opinion, I'd say the average enthusiast would look at $200 bottles if we are legitimately talking about starting a collection that won't be opened for the foreseeable future. Maybe up to $300 for super special future occasions. There's a lot of product to work with in those ranges, and for some reason they included upwards of $1,000 dollar bottles and up to $50,000 in one case.

I get it, it's fun to show and dream about the Ferrari's. I can't help but think though if someone was generally curious about starting a collection that they didn't come away with much here.

Barton 1792 Distillery Completes Warehouse Expansion

1792 (one of the more wheated bourbons discussed two articles above) recently finished an expansion that will increase barrel storage by 25%. Great news and I think all distilleries will likely have to follow the expansion trend started by others to meet demand.

As we know though, with the aging process required, it takes many years to actually see the results of the increased storage supply.

Score of the Week

This week's score was actually a score of late last week, post newsletter release. I picked up a bottle of Stellum single barrel for around $55.

Stellum is "a new national brand created to celebrate the modern-day whiskey drinker, today officially launched its inaugural flagship offerings, including bourbon (blue label), rye (green label), and single barrels, which are all bottled at cask strength." Stellum is produced by Barrell Craft Spirits.

Keeping with my usual theme, I couldn't pass up a newcomer that's also cask strength and single barrel for that price. Hopefully we'll find this is going to be the next big bourbon name in our next tasting of the week.

Side note: I also have a good feeling about this weekend's search for scores. An anonymous tip said that Elijah Crag BP C921 should be hitting shelves soon and the same goes for High West's A Mid Winter Nights Dram.

I'll be hunting!

Tasting of the Week

This week's tasting comes by way of one of my favorite distilleries, High West. I've had a bottle of their Bourye limited sighting for a while now and the cooler weather seemed like a good time to open up and enjoy.

High West Distillery was founded in 2006 and they began distilling in Park City, Utah in 2007. High West’s products  have received various  accolades and awards. In 2016, Whisky Advocate, America’s leading whiskey magazine, named High West its "Distiller of the Year.” 

They offer numerous products, as follows:

  • American Prairie Bourbon
  • Double Rye!
  • Bourye
  • A Midwinter Night's Dram
  • Rendezvous Rye
  • Campfire
  • High Country American Single Malt
  • 14 Year Light Whiskey

The Bourye is a combination of bourbon and rye, hence the combined name that forms Bou-Rye. The mashbill is all follows:

  • Straight Rye Whiskey: 95% rye, 5% barley malt;
  • Straight Bourbon Whiskey: 75% corn, 21% rye, 4% barley malt
  • Straight Bourbon Whiskey: 60% corn, 36% rye, 4% barley malt

On the nose was cinnamon, spices, butter, butterscotch , caramel, and faint notes of banana.

On the palate, a lot of allspice and black pepper comes through from the high rye portion of the blend. However, there’s a subtle sweetness that’s trying its best to pull through.

On the finish, the spice carries over and eventually gives way to leather and oak to finish things off.

Overall, I'm a little biased, but I really enjoy High West and specifically Bourye. All of the combined whiskey's are aged a minimum of 10 years and as such you get a really smooth finish. Even though 2/3 of the combinations are technically bourbon, this definitely drinks more like a rye, which is great for fall.

My only qualms with Bourye is with a blended whiskey like this, I would expect it to be a little more complex on the palate. Like I said, a little bit of sweetness tries to come through on the nose and on the palate, but it remains somewhat one-dimensional. That one dimension is very good though.

My other issue is price, which I believe is around $90. It is a 10 year product on all blends, so it kind of makes sense though. Even with these two "issues" it's a very, very good whiskey, and it's only released once a year as far as I know (and in pretty limited numbers) so I always pick one up when I see it.

With that, let's head into a great October weekend. Until next week's newsletter, stay well.



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