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Jim Beam Signature Craft: Triticale

Posted on by Eric Burke

Over the course of the past month, I've been taking a look at the Jim Beam Signature Craft Harvest Bourbon Collection. Tonight we reach the final review in the bunch. Triticale. But before we get into what I thought of it, let's recap where we've been. 

Even though each of these typically retail for about $50 per 375 mL bottle, a local retailer had them for sale at $20 each or the full set of six for $100. I'm not sure if they were sitting on too many or if the distributor was, but in any case, that is a screaming deal. Basically, one-third of the suggested retail price. So when I got the email, I like a lot of other people decided that the time was right to pounce on it. And after sitting on them for a few weeks, I found room in the editorial calendar to slot in six reviews.

The first one we tried was the Six Row Barley. It didn't impress while tasting it in a Glencairn, but was really quite good in a rocks glass under normal drinking conditions. So good that I immediately ran back to the store and picked up another set of six. 

Next was the Wheat. The wheat was less impressive than the Barley, and I was surprised by that. I had expected to like the Wheat more than the Barley. 

Brown Rice was the only real dud of the bunch. Even though it was an 11-year-old bourbon, I had a hard time finding much to say about it. That I compared it to Bud Light should tell you something about it.

The Rolled Oat was the surprise of the group for me. Fruity, nutty, and very minty and I really enjoyed that. 

The High Rye was one that I just assumed I would like. And I did, though it was for different reasons than I would have expected. This is made by the same folks who produce Old Grand-Dad another High-Rye Bourbon. It, however, doesn't use the OGD mash bill or yeast. So it is an entirely different product. And it shows. It was herbal and delicious. So much Anise that I tried it in a Sazerac riff.

Which brings us to the Triticale, my favorite of the bunch. It, though, suffers from the same flaw that the rest of these do. It typically retails for about twice as much as I feel it should. Most of these would be good at $50 for a 750 mL (not the Rice one...that's a dud) but are crazily overpriced at $50 for a 375 mL bottle. 

Bottom line: if you find any of these for a good sale (Ace still has them and does ship*), I'd recommend giving them a shot. If you can only find them for retail though, I'd pass on all of them. None are $100 bottles of whiskey. 

Jim Beam Signature Craft: Triticale

Purchase info: $16.67 for a 375 mL bottle (on sale) at Ace Spirits, Hopkins, MN

Details: 11 years old, 45% ABV, Triticale used as flavoring grain.

Nose: Vanilla, fruit, rose petals and oak.

Mouth: Sweet and spicy with a delicate floral note dominating.

Finish: Dry with a decent length. Lingering grain and oak. 

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Thoughts: This is a fantastic bourbon. To be honest, it reminds me of Old Grand-Dad with more age (even though it's made with a different flavoring grain and yeast). It has a nice spice, and the floral notes are delicious. I'm really, really impressed by this one. 

*This isn't sponsored by Ace, I just like passing along a good deal.


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!

Jim Beam Signature Craft: High Rye

Posted on by Eric Burke

I've been on a bit of a cocktail kick lately. The thing I like about cocktails is the same thing I like about cooking, the interplay of flavors. Really, it's one of the things I like about whiskey too. But unlike whiskey where someone else has determined what works together, with a cocktail you are the one who decides what to put together. And it may be amazing or it might not. 

As I was doing the tasting for tonight's bourbon, I was struck by the distinct anise notes that presented themselves. Now anise is a fairly major flavor component in my favorite cocktail, the Sazerac. I know a traditional Sazerac uses Rye Whiskey. But since the Rye was a replacement for the original Cognac, I didn't feel too bad about substituting a High Rye Bourbon. Especially since the difference between a High Rye Bourbon and the barely legal Rye whiskey that's often called for is a few percentage points of Rye at most.

And it was good! It had a nice thick mouthfeel; the spice was a bit more nutmeg and cinnamon than in the Rye version I normally make. Speaking of that, I made another Sazerac cocktail using Sazerac Rye to compare to it. And by way of comparison, the Rye-based one fell a bit flat. Of course, by a weird turn of events, the Sazerac Rye is one of my least favorite Ryes to use in a Sazerac so who knows what would have happened with a better Rye. But that's the point, keep experimenting. You never really know how things are going to turn out until you do.

Jim Beam Signature Craft: High Rye Bourbon

Purchase info: $16.67 for a 375 mL bottle (on sale) at Ace Spirits, Hopkins, MN

Details: 11 years old, 45% ABV, more Rye than usual used as flavoring grain.

Nose: Floral, Anise, and Oak.

Mouth: Sweet with Anise, Spice, and Oak.

Finish: Warm and long with lingering sweet Anise. 

Thoughts: This one is delicious. Top two or three of the six for sure. I'm a big fan. Reaffirms my decision to snag another batch of six at the sale price. 

 

This is the fifth of six posts looking at the Jim Beam Signature Craft, Harvest Bourbon Collection. Previous posts can be found here: Six Row Barley, Soft Red Wheat, Brown Rice, Whole Rolled Oats.


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!

3 Whiskeys from Florida's Timber Creek Distillery

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 Timber Creek Distillery for providing this sample to me with no strings attached. 

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by the PR firm that works with Timber Creek Distillery to see if I would like to review some of their products. At first, I was a little leery since, unfortunately, I've sort of soured on trying new craft whiskey lately. At this point, they have to be interesting on some level to even get me to respond anymore. I've just been burned too many times. 

But as I was reading through some of the notes that came along with the offer, I thought to myself, "what the heck? I probably won't be back to Florida for a while, and the rye says it's made with a Florida specific strain of Rye grain." So I said yes to the offer of samples. The worst that would happen is that I would have something to make another batch of Cherry Bounce this summer. 

Timber Creek is located in the Florida Panhandle near the town of Crestview, about 70 miles north and east of Pensacola). In talking to Camden Ford, the proprietor, I was intrigued by a few of things. First, he is very particular about where he gets his barrels. He sources 15-gallon barrels from McGinnis Wood Products in Cuba, MO and 53-gallon barrels from Canton Cooperage in Lebanon, KY. Both sizes are charred to a #3 char level. (I was glad to hear he shared my opinion of the Minnesota produced barrels you often see small distillers use. I've had very little good whiskey that came out of them.) 

I liked the idea that they were doing things a little differently than the big guys. They use a roller mill to crack the grains instead of a hammer mill. Then they lauter them before fermentation (in other words they filter out the grains as you would in making beer) and ferment the wort instead of distilling with the grains still in. They also produce their whiskey in the Canadian manner. They grind, ferment, distill and age each of the grains individually and then blend them after aging. To my knowledge, I've never had an American Whiskey that was created this way.  

So yes, they make their own products. These whiskeys are young. The age statements are nine months on each of them. But as they are blending product from small and large barrels, this isn't surprising, particularly in the heat of Florida. Their standard Bourbon is a wheated bourbon made from corn, wheat, and less than 5% barley. The Reserve Bourbon is a four-grain Bourbon made from corn, wheat, less than 5% barley, and a Florida-specific strain of rye called Florida 401 or Black Rye. The Black Rye Whiskey is made from 100% Florida Black Rye.

Timber Creek Florida Bourbon

Purchase info: This bottle was provided to me for review purposes by the distillery. Doing a little digging shows that it is available for purchase online for $40. 

Details: 9 months old, 46.5% ABV

Nose: Young with raisin, cinnamon, and cedar.

Mouth: Peppery with dried fruit and a lot of baking spice.

Finish: Short and gentle with lingering dried fruit notes.

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Thoughts: If you are generally a fan of craft bourbon, you are probably also a fan of very young whiskey. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with liking a young, well-crafted whiskey. And while this certainly is a well-crafted whiskey, it is not my preferred style. There's no nice way to say this. For me, this tastes way too young. 

Timber Creek Florida Reserve Bourbon

Purchase info: This bottle was provided to me for review purposes by the distillery. Doing a little digging shows that, it is available for purchase online for $50. 

Details: 9 months old, 50% ABV

Nose: Young with raisins, brown sugar, and almonds. 

Mouth: Sweet with wintergreen, brown sugar, raisin, and ginger.

Finish: Short with lingering wintergreen, ginger, and sweetness.

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Thoughts: On the first taste of this, I am finding it much more palatable than the previous bourbon in tonight's review. It's still young tasting, but the sweetness, ginger and wintergreen add a nice counter to the young grain/raisin notes. As far as young bourbons go, this is pretty interesting. I'm going to say that I like this, but if you are turned off by young bourbons, you probably won't.

Timber Creek Florida Black Rye

Purchase info: This bottle was provided to me for review purposes by the distillery. Doing a little digging shows that it is available for purchase online for $51. 

Details: 9 months old, 46.5% ABV

Nose: Sweetness with raisin, anise, cedar and a hint of wintergreen.

Mouth: Gentle in the mouth with dried fruit, wintergreen, baking spice and a generic sweetness.

Finish: Short and gentle with lingering wintergreen and granola.

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Thoughts: This is definitely the most interesting of the three as it was distilled from a local Florida grain I have never encountered before. I'm actually very happy that this one wasn't aged too long as too much barrel influence might well overwhelm what makes it different from other rye strains. 


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!

Blanton's from a friend

Posted on by Eric Burke

Tonight a tornado hit the town where I grew up. My family is ok, no worries. Property damage, but no injuries reported from them so far. But as I was calling around, checking to make sure everyone was alright and learning about the damage they'd suffered, I thought about how important friends and family are. I don't live near most of my family, and that is by design. I enjoy a different lifestyle than would be possible in a small town in rural Wisconsin. But on nights like this, when their power is out, and they are only available by cell phone, I kinda wish I was closer. 

Friends, however, are a different matter entirely. I have a lot of friends, and I value every one of them. It doesn't matter where I visit; I probably have a friend nearby. That's the beauty of the internet. I have good friends that I have never met in real life and good friends that I knew online well before I knew they lived near me. I even have friends from places I've never visited, but that I see almost every year in Kentucky. 

One of the latter is Josh from Sipology Blog. I see him nearly every year at BourbonFest. Recently he reviewed a private selection of Blanton's from a retailer near him, and when he offered me a sample of that very interesting sounding bourbon, I jumped at the chance. Blanton's is a bourbon that, I'm surprised to say I've never reviewed on the site before. And come to think of it, that's probably because I've never purchased it. I've had it at bars and always enjoyed it, but every time I'm in the liquor store with $60 in my pocket I always seem to turn to something besides this Single Barrel Buffalo Trace product. I think the next time I see it, that will have to change.

Blanton's Single Barrel - Holiday Market Selection

Purchase info: This sample was graciously shared by Josh at SipologyBlog.com. He lists the Michigan state minimum as $60.

Details: 46.5% ABV. Warehouse H, Rick 15, Barrel 66.

Nose: Very fruity on the nose with mixed berries, oak and honey. 

Mouth: Earthy honey, ripe fruit, oak and some spice.

Finish: Gentle, but not timid. Warm, but not overpowering. Lingering green apple, oak and spice. 

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Thoughts: This is a very tasty bourbon that was provided by a friend in Michigan. I'm enjoying the heck out of it. I'm loving the fruitiness and spice. I gotta agree with Josh, this one is recommended. 


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!

Jim Beam Signature Craft: Whole Rolled Oat

Posted on by Eric Burke

WOW! Has it ever been a busy time in the BourbonGuy household. This week, my major client has been on vacation so, since the weather is nice, I am busy trying to get caught up with all the projects I want to build for the Etsy store (BourbonGuyGifts.com should you want to check it out). 

I love working with wood and I have some new things coming up that I am really proud of and hope everyone likes them as much as I do. Probably won't show up until next week though. 

So why am I talking about that instead of the bourbon I'm reviewing tonight? Well, how much more can I say? I've already reviewed three of the six in the lineup (Brown Rice, Red Wheat, and Barley), and honestly, there isn't much more to say. Beam did a little experimenting. They changed the flavoring grain and/or flavoring grain ratio in their bourbon and then let it age for 11 years.  They then released it at an absurdly high price, but I got a screaming good deal on the pack of six, so much so that I went back to get another six-pack.

Jim Beam Signature Craft: Whole Rolled Oat

Purchase info: $16.67 for a 375 mL bottle (on sale) at Ace Spirits, Hopkins, MN

Details: 11 years old, 45% ABV, Whole Rolled Oats used as flavoring grain.

Nose: Tropical fruit, caramel and oak. 

Mouth: Peppery heat with spearmint and fruit along with a nice sweetness and nuttiness.

Finish: Long and peppery with oak and a hint of smokiness. 

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Thoughts: As you can see from the fill level above, I liked this one. I really liked it. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from the oat version of this. But man, the fruit and the strong spearmint are fun and fantastic. And though I get nutty notes from this, I wouldn't have ever guessed that it was a Jim Beam product if I had been served it blind. Very, very nice.


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!