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1792 Bottled in Bond

Posted on by Eric Burke

I've been reading a lot of old 1950s and 1960s magazines lately. I'm reading them for the history but, as I create ads for a living, I can't help but be struck by the advertisements as well. And of course, these particular magazines have a lot of booze ads in them. 

Knowing that the bourbon crash was only a few years away, I am struck by the differences between the bourbon ads and the ads for clear spirits. The bourbon ads highlight luxury and impressing those you entertain. They are full of photos of men in tuxedos and women in fancy dresses. They look really old-fashioned. By contrast, the ads for clear spirits are fun. Even half a decade later, they still have a freshness about them. It isn't hard to see why bourbon lost the war for the 1960s and 70s drinker. 

I did find it interesting though that bourbon was advertising itself as a luxury item for the ultra-rich and swanky. When I first started drinking alcohol, you could barely give bourbon away. When I first started drinking bourbon, it was an affordable luxury. You could get something old and really delicious for $30-40. Of course, these days the pendulum has swung back again. I saw an article touting an 11-year old bourbon from a major producer for $110 today. $10 per year of age, from the big guys, seems a bit ludicrous to me, but then there is a reason I'm the guy who runs the "Bottom-Shelf Brackets."

Luckily for those of us who drink on a budget, there is one producer who seems to have found their niche producing affordable limited edition bourbons. Sazerac's Barton distillery has been quietly putting out delicious, affordable bourbon after delicious, affordable bourbon in the 1792 line. Tonight I have a glass of the 1792 Bottled-in-Bond. Let's see how it tastes. 

1792 Bottled-in-Bond

Purchase info: $39.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN

Details: 50% ABV. Distilled and bottled at DSP-KY-12. Non-age stated though the bottle says "well-aged."

Nose: Almond, Caramel, and cinnamon.

Mouth: Good heat with cinnamon and nutmeg followed by brown sugar and mint. 

Finish: Spicy and long with a heat that sort of creeps back up on you right in the middle of the chest.

 Image: a hand-drawn smiley face

Thoughts: This is a tasty bourbon. Spicy and warm, it doesn't have the almost overwhelming heat of the 1792 Full Proof. Instead, it feels like a warm blanket straight from the dryer: pure comfort. It won't knock your socks off, but then you won't need to mortgage the house to afford it either. It sums up what brought me to bourbon in the first place: a tasty, affordable, luxury. 
 


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A pair of Knob Creek Rye Single Barrel picks

Posted on by Eric Burke

Almost on a whim, I decided to go to Kentucky this past weekend. I was officially going to pick up the bottle of Wilderness Trail Family Reserve Bottled in Bond Bourbon (that we had been on "the list" to get for over four years). But honestly, the bourbon was a perfect excuse to get away and spend a long weekend with my wife. And maybe meet up with a few friends while we were at it. 

As I do every time I go to Kentucky, I did a little shopping. This time around, I was specifically on the outlook for private selections from stores where I had good luck in the past. And I did well this time around. I think I brought back around four or five different store picks. I got an Elijah Craig, a Four Roses and, some Limestone Branch Wheated Bourbon. What I didn't see was a bottle of Knob Creek Single Barrel Rye. 

Knob Creek Single Barrel Rye is, as you might have guessed, a single barrel version of Knob Creek Rye. And much like the single barrel version of Knob Creek Bourbon, this rye comes in at a higher proof than it's batched brother. 115° proof to be exact. 

Though I can get the standard, batched version of Knob Creek Rye for $25 per 750 mL bottle, I splurged on the two-pack from Ace Spirits a while ago. $95 for two 750 bottles. Let's see if barrel selection and a 15° proof bump are worth twice the price.

Knob Creek Rye, Single Barrel: Barrels #5722 and #5858

Purchase Info: $94.98 for the pair of 750 mL bottles at Ace Spirits, Hopkins, MN.

Details: 57.5% ABV. 6 years old (not listed, but I asked Louis, the owner at Ace, for the age and he confirmed both of these are six years old, he just declined to have the info put on the bottle). 

5722 Nose: Spicy with backing spices, mint, caramel, and oak.
5858 Nose: Dusty oak and spearmint.

5722 Mouth: Mint, sharp oak, peanut, and baking spices. Quite hot. 
5858 Mouth: Nice mouthfeel. Sweet honey, mint, strong baking spices and oak. 

5722 Finish: Very warm and long. Lingering peanut butter and baking spice. 
5858 Finish: Warm and long. Lingering sharp oak, baking spice, and peanut.

 Image: hand-drawn smiley face

Thoughts: Both of these are good, doubly so if you are a Knob Creek Rye fan. I am getting a lot more peanut in them than I would have expected, especially since I don't remember ever getting that on the batched version. As for how they compare, 5722 has a much richer nose and is hotter with a lot of peanut notes. 5858 is sweeter with a nicer mouthfeel, but the nose isn't as nice as 5722. I'm happy to have bought either of these. If I were buying just one, I'd get the 5858. 

One of the reasons I buy Rye is to use it in cocktails. I found that this one didn't work as well in typical Rye Cocktails, but worked great in ones that often call for bourbon. When I made a Sazerac, I would often mix it in a 50/50 ratio with Bulleit Rye to up the Rye notes.

As to the question of if either of these is worth twice the recent local price of the standard Knob Creek Rye. I'll just say, I'm happy to have purchased both of these once, but I'd be hard-pressed to justify a second bottle of either at current prices. If Knob Creek Rye goes back to its regular price, that might change though.


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Tattersall Straight Rye Whiskey

Posted on by Eric Burke

About two and a half years ago, I paid a behind-the-scenes visit to Tattersall Distilling in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I walked away impressed with what they were doing and how they were doing it. The one thing I was a bit sad about was the lack of whiskey. But, knowing that better times (or at least times filled with more whiskey) were ahead, I wrote the following: 

The notable exception is whiskey. Right now the cocktail room uses a bourbon that is sourced from a distillery in Kentucky and bottled by them for use in their cocktails. 
Don’t be sad though. They have started production on a rye whiskey as well as wheated and rye bourbons. The rye whiskey will be 100% rye using rye grain and rye malt and aged for at least two years. They want to put out a straight product. 

Well, it looks like days full of whiskey have arrived for Tattersall as their two-year-old rye whiskey is now for sale at many fine liquor stores in the state of Minnesota. As soon as I saw the announcement I ran out to buy a bottle. 

Tattersall Straight Rye Whiskey

Purchase Info: $34.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN

Details: 50% ABV. 100% Rye mash. 

Nose: Dark rye bread

Mouth: Nice, thick mouthfeel. Rye bread, molasses, mint, and nutmeg.

Finish: Not very hot but the flavors of wintergreen and molasses last a very long time.

Thoughts: This is a very interesting whiskey. Based on the timeframe and the fact that they say it is 100% rye, I have to assume that they stuck with the rye and rye malt recipe that they mentioned to me a couple years ago. If so, I think you should try this whiskey. Maybe at a bar, but give it a try. I admit this will not be to everyone's tastes but I like it. I like the idea of more rye styles than barely legal rye (51% rye) and 95-5 rye (MGP) being on the market even more.

Curious on what else Tattersall is doing? Well, when this came out they also put out a whiskey made from Stargrazer, a beer from local brewer Bauhaus Brewlabs. And looking back at that old post I found this tidbit: 

For the bourbons, though they wouldn’t tell me the ingredient ratios, they did let me know that they are using different malts for both the wheat and the rye bourbons as well as a specialty yeast that was developed in Scotland. 

Hmmm.... this might be one to keep an eye on.


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My Wandering Eye: Copper & Kings Phoenix Barrel (Ace Spirits pick)

Posted on by Eric Burke

My wandering eye is a series reacting to the crazy rising prices in the bourbon world. We’ve reached a place where even average products have hit the range where they compete price-wise with other types of aged spirits. If I’m going be asked to drop $40 to $70 on a mid-range bourbon, I might as well see what else I can get for that money. See if another spirits category offers something that is downright tasty in that price range. The goal isn’t to find cheap spirits, but to maximize the quality, I’m getting at a particular price point.

As I've mentioned before, my father is a brandy drinker. His favorite way to drink his brandy is on the rocks in a glass full of ice cubes. Since the brandy he drinks is almost always 80 proof, I never understood why he liked it that way. But heck, if one drinker doesn't like the way another drinker drinks spirits, they are both right.

But I have to say, I've finally found a couple of brandies that beg to be served with ice. And tonight's is one of them. This particular brandy comes out of the bottle at 128 proof. And boy, oh boy, does it pack a punch!

I picked up this particular version of Copper & Kings brandy solely because I really liked the last cask-strength brandy of theirs that I had from Ace Spirits. When I got it, I realized that this wasn't the same style as the previous bottle I had from the two of them. This one was something called the Phoenix Barrel. And it was described as "Oloroso Sherry Wood Fired New American Oak Cask." My first thought was "that is a lot of words strung together." 

Now, I know I am not the smartest man on the planet but, I did pretty well back in the day when I studied Astrophysics and Literature, and I can usually figure these things out. But not this time. So I did just what any consumer would do: went to their website. 

What I found there, made that string of words make perfect sense. (Isn't it funny how when you are given the answer, it often seems pretty obvious?) This project involved charing barrels on a fire that was burning broken staves that had previously been used in Oloroso Sherry casks. Did it do anything? No idea, but it makes a good story none-the-less.  

But most importantly: how does it taste?

Copper & Kings Phoenix Barrel (Ace Spirits pick)

Purchase info: $64.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Ace Spirits, Hopkins, MN

Details: 64% ABV, Aged in a barrel charred on a fire burning Oloroso Sherry casks staves.

Nose: Brown sugar, caramel, red fruits, apple, and baking spice.

Mouth: Very warm, but not as hot as I'd have expected it to be at almost 130 proof. Caramel, red fruits, and baking spices show up after you get past the heat.

Finish: Hot and lasts for days. Lingering caramel, ripe fruits, and a little mint. 

 Image: a hand drawn smiley face

Thoughts: I like this but it is certainly a bourbon drinker's brandy. Maybe too much so? I'm not getting a lot of "brandy character" out of this. My wife agrees. She likes it too. And this might be the first brandy that dedicated bourbon-drinker has liked. 


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Yellowstone Bourbon Partners with NPCA

Posted on by Eric Burke

Twice a summer, when I was a kid, my father would take us kids on a 5-hour drive to Northern Minnesota to spend an extended weekend camping and fishing. For a while, we would camp in a State Forest. Eventually, we moved to Voyageurs National Park. Now, I wasn't aware that the area was a National Park at the time, I'm not sure that I even knew what a National Park was. But I did know that I loved spending time outdoors in an area that was quiet, unspoiled, and beautiful. 

Since that time, I have fallen in love with the National Parks. I've made it a goal to make it to as many Park Service units as I can before I shuffle off this mortal coil. I try to make sure that every vacation contains at least one stop at one of our National Parks. (To this point, I've made it to 65 of the 417 different units of the National Park System including 25 of 59 National Parks. As you can see, I've got a little ways to go.) My favorites have been Zion National Park, a desert oasis, that pt overwhelming feeling of being very small next to the canyon walls that tower above you, Rocky Mountain National Park for the sheer beauty, and Isle Royal National Park for the peaceful solitude I found there. 

When I find myself with enough of a cushion in my freelance work that I feel comfortable making a charitable donation, it is almost always to an organization that helps a Park. Sometimes it is a local "Friends of the" park organization, but lately, it has been to a national non-profit named the National Parks Conservation Association. 

And so it was with great pleasure that I read a press release from Limestone Branch this morning. I don't typically report on press releases, but since it touches on multiple subjects that are close to my heart, I'm going to pass along this one.


Yellowstone® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Launches Program Supporting America’s National Parks

Brand partners with National Parks Conservation Association

LEBANON, KY (May 1, 2018) – Yellowstone Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has launched a cause marketing program that harkens back to its iconic roots, as the bourbon was originally named after Yellowstone National Park. The brand is partnering with National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). Since their founding in 1919 – and with their 1.3 million members and supporters – NPCA has been an independent, nonpartisan voice working to strengthen and protect America’s national parks.

“When Yellowstone Bourbon was first launched in 1872, it was given its name to honor Yellowstone National Park, the new national treasure at the time and our first national park,” says Steve Beam, head distiller at Limestone Branch Distillery. “We are thrilled to be able to able to help preserve our national parks one bottle at a time.”

Beginning on May 1, the brand will be donating a portion of its sales proceeds to National Parks Conservation Association, to help ensure the nation’s 417 national park sites are protected for their 330+ million annual guests.

“NPCA is proud to partner with Limestone Branch Distillery, whose history is so richly aligned with one of our most iconic national parks,” said Theresa Pierno, president and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association. “Partnerships like this one are so critical to our work, both in funding our park protection efforts and in introducing new people to national parks. We look forward to coming together with Limestone Branch Distillery to protect these places now – and for generations to come.”

In addition, the brand has also launched an online contest where consumers are encouraged to show their pioneer spirit for the chance to win a trip to Yellowstone National Park, as well as branded outdoor merchandise. The grand prize will allow five winners and guests to enjoy an all-expense paid to Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 2019. The contest runs from May until August of 2018. To enter, simply snap a photo enjoying the great outdoors and submit it at www.yellowstonebourboncontest.com.

About Limestone Branch Distillery
Steve Beam and his brother Paul Beam opened Limestone Branch Distillery in 2011, with the goal of crafting the finest whiskey in small batches, honoring their long family heritage. With a history of distilling on both sides of their family – Beam and Dant – the brothers are seventh-generation distillers. In 2015, by partnering with Luxco, they brought the Yellowstone brand back to the family, just in time to commemorate the brand’s 105th anniversary. As one of the founding members of the Kentucky Craft Bourbon Trail, Limestone Branch Distillery is located in Lebanon, Ky., in the heart of bourbon country. The distillery is well-known for its handcrafted products, including Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Yellowstone Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey. 

For more information on Limestone Branch Distillery and Yellowstone Bourbon, please visit www.limestonebranch.com,www.yellowstonebourbon.com or www.facebook.com/limestone-branch-distillery

About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.

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