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Bourbon Supreme, Williamsburg Decanter, bottled in 1969, emptied in 2016

Posted on by Eric Burke

In the past, I've talked about my antique-bottle project. I spend a lot of time in antique stores looking for the information for my spreadsheet. Of course, I almost never go into a store intending to purchase anything. But, of course, intend is the key word there. 

Tonight's review comes from one of my antique store finds. It is a decanter of Bourbon Supreme from 1969. When I bought it, the cork was intact, and the tax seal was intact. So I decided to decant the liquid out and give it a look. 

These days, Bourbon Supreme is a blended bourbon produced for select markets by Luxco. But in days of yore, Bourbon Supreme was a product of the American Distilling Company out of Pekin, Illinois. American Distilling Company was an old company, at least as far as US companies are concerned. Pre-ProWhiskeyMen mentions that the company was formed in the mid-1890s and, after taking over a few other companies, by 1908 was mashing 6000 bushels of grain per day. The company continued to grow from there, though. A 1964 article in the Chicago Tribune Magazine states that capacity had grown to 12,000 bushels per day. Of course, in the end, all things must pass and Mike Veach says that by the early 1980s American itself had been acquired by Standard Brands who was acquired by other companies until pieces of what used to be American Distilling Company found itself part of Diageo.

The Bourbon Supreme brand though did not go with the American Distilling Company. In the thread mentioned above, Mike Veach mentions that the brand passed through the hands of either Heaven Hill or Barton to its final resting spot, the David Sherman Company, today's Luxco.

Today's Bourbon Supreme doesn't sound much like anything I'd want to try, but let's see how a version from almost 50 years ago tastes. 

Bourbon Supreme, Williamsburg Decanter, 1969

Purchase Info: Some antique mall in St. Paul, MN for I'm guessing under $20. (It's been a while).

Details: 86° proof, 74 months old (my label is partially torn, this info was found by searching eBay for images of the bottle)

Nose: The nose starts with vanilla and coconut that transition to fruit, caramel, and floral notes. After more time, the fruit and floral wander away to be replaced by rich leather...mmmm...caramelly leather. 

Mouth: Sweet butterscotch with a little oak spice. 

Finish: Light and short with distinct floral notes. 

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Thoughts: This has a wonderful nose, an ok mouth, and a terrible finish. It's very interesting but this might just stay a curiosity for friends to try when they visit. Serious meh on this one. Maybe it's how the decanter was handled for the last half century or maybe the stuff put into the decanter just wasn't that good to begin with.

A word on lead: There is a forum thread on straightbourbon.com that details the story of a man getting the whiskey from one of his decanters tested for lead and finding very high levels of it. I do not have the equipment to test this myself. I did, however, allow the bourbon from this decanter to evaporate and then drip the contents of a lead paint tester into the residue (saving a drop or two for the confirmation strip) and there was no red for lead. I won’t say this bourbon doesn’t contain lead or that any of the bourbons from old decanters you find will or will not contain lead. But this test satisfied my curiosity enough to allow me to do the small tasting I did for this post without fear of too much harm.

For more information on lead poisoning visit: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002473.htm


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the generosity of our patrons and by the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to become a patron visit patreon.com/arok or if you'd like to shop for bourbon goods, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

Lazy River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Posted on by Eric Burke

Lazy River Straight Bourbon

Every so often, Total Wine will have a display of miniature bottles in the bourbon aisle. I have often picked them up. I have also often regretted doing that (see the Parker Hayes Reserve review). But even though I don't often care for what is being pushed, I still keep doing it. 

For one thing, it's an inexpensive way to get content. And seriously, I do have a lot of fun unloading the day's frustration on a terrible whiskey. But the other reason I keep buying them is that I am an eternal optimist. I keep hoping that just one of them is going to turn out to be something that is a good everyday drinker. One that isn't expensive, but also doesn't taste awful.

It's ok. You can wish me good luck on that. I'm not offended, the miniatures they push in this way don't have the best track record. If I were anyone but a blogger looking for content I'd probably write that placement off as the kiss of death for a product at this point. 

Until tonight's selection, that is. This one looks to be another Total Wine exclusive, (though you can buy it online at Ace Spirits for cheaper should you wish). Unlike many of the Total Wine house brands though, this doesn't look to be a Terra Pure product or to be produced by Sazerac. In fact, a little digging shows that the COLA belongs to Frank-Lin Distiller's Products. They are the company who owns the Medley and Wathen brands of bourbon. Not the greatest bourbons, but also not bad either.

Lazy River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Purchase Info: $1.99 for a 50 mL bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN.

Details: 45% ABV. No age statement.

Nose: Granulated white sugar, juicy fruit gum, mint and a touch of oak.

Mouth: Peppery spice, sweetness, and a general fruitiness. 

Finish: Short to medium length. Peppery spice with a good hit of dry oak.

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Thoughts: This is not a bad bourbon. Not at all. It isn't fantastic. But around $25 it is certainly worth giving a shot, especially since you can pick up a 50 mL for just a couple bucks. It straddles the line between meh and liking it for me. Your mileage may vary though.
 


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the generosity of our patrons and by the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to become a patron visit patreon.com/arok or if you'd like to shop for bourbon goods, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

Four Roses Elliot's Select Single Barrel, 2016

Posted on by Eric Burke

If you follow me on Twitter, you might realize that I am a passionate guy. Whether the topic is politics, football or my loved ones, my opinion is out there for the world to see. But there is no topic that I am more passionate about than my wife. Over the years, I've lost count of the number of times that I've slept in a hospital chair as she recovered from surgery. But the one that happened about five years ago was the worst by far because that was the time she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. 

One of the reasons that I love my wife so much is that she has an unconquerable spirit. Instead of just quietly accepting her illness, she took every bit of her doctor's advice. She not only went through the chemotherapy but, to quote her, she did her very best not to let it "get in the way of living." Three months after Chemo was over, with her full strength just starting to return, she hiked up a mountain in the Rockies. 

My wife truly is the best thing in my life. And so on Monday, when she got back from her cancer doctor and said that the doctor didn't need to see her anymore, we felt it was worth celebrating. And yesterday when we got the final test results back, we felt like celebrating again. Now yesterday's dram was pretty special. During one of her last Chemo treatments, we read the news that Elijah Craig 18 year was going on hiatus. She had me run out the next day and buy her two bottles. One to drink then, and one to put away until she officially reached five years cancer-free. Last night we opened that bottle to celebrate. It was the tastiest bourbon I've ever tasted, and it had almost nothing to do with what was inside the bottle. 

Oh and the one we celebrated with on Monday? Well, that was a sample generously shared with me by a friend of mine. It was last year's Four Roses Elliot's Select. We have been big fans of Four Roses for a long time. Just about five years in fact... 

See, my wife was sitting down in the chair for her first Chemo treatment. She was nervous as hell, as you might expect and earlier that morning she'd posted such on Twitter. Once her treatment began she basically just had to sit in the chair until it was done. When she opened her phone, she found a simple message from the Four Roses Twitter account: "Get well soon! You are in our thoughts." It's weird how much the fact that someone who wasn't a friend or family was thinking of her affected us both. From that moment on, I've been an unashamed Four Roses fanboy. So celebrating with a glass of Elliot's Select just seemed appropriate.

Four Roses Elliot's Select Single Barrel, 2016

Purchase Info: This large sample was a generous gift to us by one of our whiskey loving friends.

Details: 14 years old. OESK recipe. 58.6% ABV. Warehouse QN. Barrel 532W. Bottle 9483 of 10,224.

Nose: Brown Sugar, cedar, and a lovely floral note.

Mouth: Hot and sweet. Floral, nutmeg, and anise. The mouthfeel is lovely and viscous. 

Finish: Long and hot with lingering floral notes. 

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Thoughts: (I did these tasting notes before we got the good news, so it didn't affect what I am about to say) I love this. I never seek out the Limited Single Barrels because they are mostly sold closer to the tall buildings here in the metro than I regularly venture. I really wish I had sought it out. I love floral Four Roses bourbons and much to my surprise, this OESK had that in spades. Just so much love!


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the generosity of our patrons and by the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to become a patron visit patreon.com/arok or if you'd like to shop for bourbon goods, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

If You've Had... the Jim Beam Edition

Posted on by Eric Burke

I've always envisioned this site as a place where people can come to learn. Learn a little history. Learn a little about what they like. Learn what they should check out (whether it is bourbon or not). And ultimately learn enough to make informed decisions about where they put their money.

Of course, I write tasting notes. And tasting notes are a great way for you to get an idea of my feelings on a particular whiskey. Or at least, an impression of how I felt about something on a particular day. And cumulatively, they can certainly tell you a lot about the types of things that I'm reminded of. But they aren't always a great way to compare whiskeys one to another unless I happen to be reviewing a couple at a time.

To that end, for the last year and a half or so, I've been running a series on the blog that I call "If you've had...". The setup is like this: "If you've had Whiskey A then Whiskey B is..." hotter, spicier, sweeter, more floral, etc. Each section is written as compared to one of the whiskeys in the lineup. So if you've had that one, but not the others, then that section will be of the most use to you. Remember there are no value judgments here. You get to decide based on what you know of Whiskey A if Whiskey B sounds like something you'd want to try.

This is the sixth entry in the series and it is by far the biggest. We did this over the course of four nights and the spit cup was our best friend (seriously, each night used 4-8 ounces of whiskey, we'd be dead otherwise). Tonight we are discussing a large portion of the Jim Beam line of products. I chose seven bourbons that are labeled with the Jim Beam name. Jim Beam White Label, Jim Beam Black, Jim Beam Double Oak, Jim Beam Devil's Cut, Jim Beam Bonded, a local store pick of Jim Beam Single Barrel and Jim Beam Choice. Normal caveats with the Single Barrel, your mileage may vary. Especially since this is a store pick. I included the Choice even though it has been discontinued because maybe that was your only exposure to Jim Beam and you've been wondering if you were missing anything. I'm ordering these by proof. Please remember these are notes as compared to one another

If you've had Jim Beam White Label then...

Jim Beam Choice is: a little fruitier on the nose. The mouth shows less dried grain, more bubblegum, and a touch more oak. The finish is a little longer and has a touch more baking spice.

Jim Beam Black is: very similar on the nose, maybe a touch sweeter. The mouth shows fewer cereal grains, but more spice. The finish shows more oak tannins.  

Jim Beam Double Oak is: sweeter on the nose showing less dried grain. The mouth shows more cocoa, oak, and cinnamon. The finish shows more cinnamon and oak.

Jim Beam Devil's Cut: shows less grain and more spice on the nose. The mouth is fruitier with more baking spice. The finish shows less grain.

Jim Beam Single Barrel (store pick) is: more herbal on the nose. Similar, but with less pronounced grain and more cinnamon and oak. The mouthfeel is more viscous and the finish is warmer and longer. 

Jim Beam Bonded is: fuller on the nose showing more pronounced fruit gum and spice. The mouth is more viscous and sweeter, showing less grain and more spice. the finish is warmer with more spice.

If you've had Jim Beam Choice then...

Jim Beam White Label: shows more grain on the nose, mouth, and finish. 

Jim Beam Black is: sweeter on the nose, showing more caramel. The mouth shows more baking spice and oak tannins. The finish features more oak and spice. 

Jim Beam Double Oak is: a little fruitier on the nose and shows more oak. The mouth shows less dried grain and more almond and oak. The finish is warmer, longer and has more oak.

Jim Beam Devil's Cut is: very similar on the nose, maybe showing it's proof with a little more alcohol. The mouth is more peppery and shows more baking spice. The finish is warmer and longer.

Jim Beam Single Barrel (store pick) is: more herbal on the nose, showing less grain. The mouth shows more cinnamon and clove. The finish is hotter with more intense flavor. 

Jim Beam Bonded: shows more caramel and spice on the nose. The mouthfeel is more viscous and the mouth showcases more intense flavors of spice, chocolate, and leather. The finish is warmer with more spice and oak flavors. 

If you've had Jim Beam Black then...

Jim Beam White Label is: very similar on the nose. The mouth shows more grain and fruit. The finish shows less oak and more grain. 

Jim Beam Choice is: showing more cereal on the nose. The mouth shows more mint and grain, but less oak. The finish is more grain-forward.

Jim Beam Double Oak is: sweeter on the nose showing more maple. The mouth is sweeter, with more vanilla and caramel. the finish has less oak and is sweeter.

Jim Beam Devil's Cut is: similar on the nose, though it shows a few more herbal notes. The mouth has more "burn" as it shows off it's higher proof. It also shows more fruit and grain. The finish has more baking spice, but less heat.

Jim Beam Single Barrel (store pick) is: more herbal on the nose. The mouth has more ripe fruit and caramel. The finish has more concentrated flavors. 

Jim Beam Bonded is: sweeter on the nose showing more vanilla and less oak. The mouth is less fruity and nuttier with more cinnamon. The finish follows the mouth. 

If you've had Jim Beam Double Oak then...

Jim Beam White Label is: more grain forward on the nose mouth and finish.  

Jim Beam Choice: shows less caramel and almond on the nose. The mouth shows more grain and less oak and almond. the finish is less spicy with less oak.

Jim Beam Black is: less sweet and oakier on the nose. the mouth is drier with more oak. The finish shows more oak. 

Jim Beam Devil's Cut is: drier with more grain on the nose. The mouth shows more baking spices and oak. The finish is drier, showing more dark chocolate. 

Jim Beam Single Barrel (store pick) is: more herbal and sweeter on the nose. The mouth is sweeter, showing more baking spice and caramel. It has a fuller finish with more concentrated flavors. 

Jim Beam Bonded is: shows more fruit gum and spice on the nose. The mouth shows more grain and less chocolate. The finish is spicier with more grain and peanut.

If you've had Jim Beam Devil's Cut then...

Jim Beam White Label is: more grain-forward on the nose. The mouth is softer and more grain-forward. The finish is gentler with more grain and less oak. 

Jim Beam Choice is: very similar on the nose. The mouth is more gentle showing more grain. The finish also shows more grain and is more bitter.

Jim Beam Black is: fruitier on the nose. The mouth shows more oak and the finish is warmer, oakier and a bit more bitter.  

Jim Beam Double Oak is: sweeter on the nose, showing more caramel and vanilla. The mouth is sweeter with more grain notes. The finish is sweeter showing more grain and less heat. .

Jim Beam Single Barrel (store pick) is: more herbal and sweeter on the nose. The mouth is hotter, spicier and sweeter on the mouth. the finish is longer, warmer and more herbal.

Jim Beam Bonded is: fruitier and sweeter on the nose. The mouth is spicier and hotter with more peanut. The finish is hotter showing more peanut. 

If you've had Jim Beam Single Barrel then...

Jim Beam White Label is: less complex with less sweetness on the nose. The mouth is less sweet and shows much more dried grain. The mouthfeel is thinner and the finish shows more grain and mint.  

Jim Beam Choice is: drier, showing more oak and (strangely) more grain on the nose. The mouth has more mint and grain. The finish is gentler. 

Jim Beam Black is: similar on the nose, though showing some green apple and more oak. The mouth has more baking spice, peanut, and oak. The finish shows more peanut and oak. 

Jim Beam Double Oak: shows more chocolate on the nose. the mouth shows more peanut and oak. The finish follows the mouth. 

Jim Beam Devil's Cut is: a touch oakier on the nose. The mouth shows more green apple and oak. The finish has more baking spice.

Jim Beam Bonded is: showing less oak and more bubblegum. the mouth is hotter with more baking spice. The finish is warmer with more cinnamon red hot candies.

If you've had Jim Beam Bonded then...

Jim Beam White Label is: grassier on the nose with some more mint and grain. The mouthfeel is thinner, showing more grain. The finish is shorter with more bitter grain flavors.

Jim Beam Choice is: drier on the nose. The mouthfeel is thinner and the flavors more delicate. The finish is gentler and shows more grain. 

Jim Beam Black is: drier on the nose, showing more oak. The mouthfeel is thinner and less sweetness and more oak. The finish shows more oak and less peanut. 

Jim Beam Double Oak is: sweeter on the nose, showing more maple. The mouth is sweeter, showing chocolate notes. The finish is sweeter and has less peanut. 

Jim Beam Devil's Cut is: drier on the nose. The mouth is drier with less spice and peanut. The finish is drier with less peanut.

Jim Beam Single Barrel (store pick) is: more herbal and sweeter. The mouth is sweeter, with a thinner mouthfeel. The finish is sweeter with more herbal notes. 


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the generosity of our patrons and by the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to become a patron visit patreon.com/arok or if you'd like to shop for bourbon goods, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

Blood Oath, Pact No. 3

Posted on by Eric Burke

I state in my Statement of Ethics that if I accept a review sample, I will disclose it at the beginning of the article. Please consider it disclosed. I’d like to thank Common Ground PR for providing this sample to me with no strings attached. 

If you've been a reader of this site for a while now, you will know that when I am really unhappy with a product, I tend not to pull any punches. Whether it is an objectively bad product or just a "meh" product that is grossly overpriced, I will call it out. Sometimes in a sarcastic and amusing fashion (at least amusing to me).

One of these was the initial release of Blood Oath, Pact No. 1. I think I played off of their marketing speak to say something about being very glad it wasn't going to be made again. In fact, I was so disappointed by that purchase that I didn't even take the opportunity to try Pact 2 at an event I was at where it was being served for free. 

Well, skipping that opportunity may have been a mistake. Because these days, I am very impressed with the quality of liquid Luxco is releasing in their premium labels. And so, when I saw the opportunity to request a review sample of Blood Oath Pact Number 3. I made sure not to make the same mistake again. 

Blood Oath Pact No. 3

Purchase info: Common Ground PR provided this sample. Suggested retail price is $99.99.

Details: 49.3% ABV. Blend of three bourbons ranging from 7 to 12 years of age. Finished in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels.

Nose: Leads off with floral notes. Leather, caramel, and almond notes follow.

Mouth: As with the nose, floral notes leap to the forefront. Following that are peppery spice notes, dried orange peel, leather, caramel, and anise.

Finish: Long and warm with lingering cinnamon, clove, mint and anise notes. 

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Thoughts: Floral and spicy are good ways to go if you want me to like your bourbon. And boy, do I like this bourbon. If, like me, you were turned off by Pact No. 1 of Blood Oath, consider giving this a chance. I don't often say this, but I think I'm going to pay the $100 price if I see it on the shelf.

Oh, and FYI, I revisited the samples of Pact 1 in my library and I still wasn't impressed. Just in case you were thinking I was going soft.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the generosity of our patrons and by the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to become a patron visit patreon.com/arok or if you'd like to shop for bourbon goods, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!