Early Times Bottled-in-Bond

Posted on by Eric Burke

I am a recovering comic book nerd. I'm not so into the comics themselves these days. Not for any real reason, I just fell out of love with them somewhere during the last 25 years. But I do love the overabundance of comic-inspired entertainment options we have available these days. It reminds me of when I was a teenager when my favorite place was my local comic shop.

I give every superhero movie and tv show a shot. Some I like and some I don't, but I haven't personally reached oversaturation yet. But because there is so much entertainment to be had, I sometimes need to hold off on watching a particular show or movie. Take the one I finished last night, Netflix and Marvel's Iron Fist

Iron Fist has been out for six months or more now. I started watching it last week. I was a little hesitant to do so since it was almost universally panned by people whose opinion I trust. Like I said, last night I finished it. And I loved it!

It just goes to show that just because you have a notion that you won't like something, it doesn't nessecarily follow that you are correct. You should at least give it a shot if it is something in your wheelhouse. 

Kind of like how I was initially a little hesitant to purchase the Early Times Bottled in Bond. I'd had the previous Early Times bourbon release, Early Times 354. And...I didn't like it. But because I'm a firm believer in trying things for myself instead of passing judgment based on my intuition, I bought the Bonded version the first time I saw it. And guess what? I liked it. 

Now I just hope that history repeats itself and Justice League is good despite the fact that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was complete crap...

Early Times Bottled-in-Bond

Purchase Info: $21.99 for a one-liter bottle at the Party Source, Bellevue, KY.

Details: 50% ABV. Distilled and bottled at DSP-KY-354 and DSP-KY-414 (I'm assuming distilled at the first and bottled at the second...).

Nose: Coconut, brown sugar and a hint of wintergreen.

Mouth: Brown Sugar, wintergreen, and baking spice. 

Finish: Gentle and short with lingering notes of brown sugar and wintergreen.


Thoughts: This is a solid value bourbon. If I had to compare it to something, I'd say that it is of a similar quality to the various Heaven Hill bonded bourbons, though obviously with a different flavor profile. I really like this. I hope that it sticks around as it is nice to have more good bonded options on the market. accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, visit Thanks!

Evan Williams Master Blend

Posted on by Eric Burke

I like blending bourbons. I've mentioned that ad nauseam here on the blog. I think that blending what you have on hand to make "new" bourbons is fun and lends variety to the bourbon shelf that isn't always there otherwise.

Blending is an art celebrated by whiskey producers in other countries. Master Blender is an important title, and media outlets interview those that hold it.

Here is the States? Not so much. We assume that a blend means it contains vodka (mostly because American Blended Whiskey is allowed to be blended with vodka) and so, with a few notable exceptions, we rarely talk about blending. 

So when I was walking through the liquor store and saw a $50 bourbon, from a large manufacturer, with "blend" in the name...well I had to take a look. It turns out that it was a bourbon that was intended to be an exclusive of the Evan Williams Experience. Due to a quirk in Kentucky law, liquor stores are allowed to order them as well, and this one had.

So what was it? Well, it is a blend of various Evan Williams expressions: Black label, Bottled-in-Bond, 1783, Single Barrel, and 23-year-old. That last one possibly to justify the price, because it is a little pricey. I paid $54 for a bottle that is made up of things that normally cost right around $20. Good thing it was a souvenir. Some people overpay for T-Shirts while on vacation, I overpay for whiskey.

Evan Williams Master Blend

Purchase info: $53.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Westport Whiskey and Wine. 

Details: 45% ABV. A blend of 5 Evan Williams products. 

Nose: Floral with vanilla, caramel, nutmeg, dried grain, some oak and a hint of soap. 

Mouth: Good Spice with nutmeg, vanilla/caramel, dried grain, and oak.

Finish: Nice length with a gentle warmth. Lingering baking spices.


Thoughts: I like this. It is a nice blend that captures the essences of its constituent parts. The grain is there from the younger varieties of Evan Williams, but some of the oak is there as well.

So is it worth the price? Not a chance. Evan Williams Master Blend is an interesting souvenir bottle, but nothing more. accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, visit Thanks!

David Nicholson Reserve Bourbon

Posted on by Eric Burke

Sometimes you buy something just because you normally can't. That happened more than once during my last trip to the Party Source in northern Kentucky. In this case, it resulted in me bringing home a bottle of David Nicholson Reserve. 

For most of its life, the David Nicholson brand was owned by the Van Winkle family (you've probably heard of them, so I'll quit there). Today the David Nicholson line of bourbons is owned by Luxco and has only limited distribution. According to their website, it is mostly sold in Missouri and Illinois (though I bought mine in Kentucky). 

And that brings me back to why it ended up in my shopping cart (yes, I need a cart when I shop for bourbon in Kentucky). Simply put, I'd never had it, I can't get it, and so I wanted it. Plus I'd heard good things about it.

Did the bourbon live up to the kind words I'd read though?

David Nicholson Reserve

Purchase Info: $31.99 for 750 mL bottle at the Party Source, Bellevue, KY.

Details: 50% ABV. Non-age stated.

Nose: Vanilla, dusty, dried grain, and mint plants with soil. 

Mouth: Leads off with a nice spice. Mint and more grain follow. 

Finish: Medium length with lingering mint and grain.

Thoughts: Taken in a vacuum this is a tasty enough whiskey and is probably worth the $30 or so that you'd pay for it. It reminds me a lot of Evan Williams Bonded, which makes sense since there is a good chance that they came from the same place. Which, of course, means that it is hard to compare this in a vacuum. Evan Williams Bonded is under $20 per liter, which is less than half what this sells for (if you compare price per milliliter). But that said, $30 is still not a terrible price for a decent, if fairly grain forward, bourbon. accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, visit Thanks!

Old Forester Statesman

Posted on by Eric Burke

Last night I finally got to see the movie Kingsman: the Golden Circle. It was a minor miracle that it happened. My wife hates almost everything about the movie-going experience. She doesn't like spending the money on a ticket or food. She doesn't like all the other people around. She doesn't want to go during the weekend because it is too crowded and she doesn't want to go during the week because she doesn't want to leave the house after working all day. In fact, just about the only thing she does like is the fact that our local movie theater now has a bar and you can carry the drinks into the showing with you.

I, on the other hand, love going to the movies. So much so that I occasionally go by myself. But I don't go to just any movie. I'm married to an accountant, so if I'm going to spend the money, it has to be a spectacle. It has to be big and loud, with amazing special effects. Most of all it needs to be fun. You will almost never find me watching a depressing drama outside of my house. 

The original Kingsman movie was one of the most fun films we'd seen in a while. It was fun, action-packed, and most importantly didn't take itself too seriously. It was fun, and better yet, funny. So when we heard that the sequel had bourbon as a backdrop? Well, that just made it easier for me to convince her to come along. 

I won't give any spoilers, but there is a brand of bourbon called Statesman that is featured rather heavily in the movie. It is Old Forester in all but name. (Shoutout to WhiskyCast for an excellent interview with the folks from Old Forester about that.) In fact, as you go through the film, sharp eyed bottle history buffs will find more than one antique Old Forester bottle as set dressing. Is it any good? Yeah, I thought it was just as fun as the first one. 

Oh, you meant the bourbon? Well, let's find out!

Old Forester Statesman

Purchase Info: $51.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Party Mart, Louisville, KY.

Details: 47.5% ABV. Non-age stated.

Nose: Caramel, cinnamon, ginger ale, bubble gum. 

Mouth: Spicy with ginger and cinnamon spice, sweet vanilla, mint and a touch of astringent oak.

Finish: Medium length with warm spices. 


Thoughts: This is another tasty Old Forester product. If you like Old Forester, give this a shot. I like it. I'm not thrilled with the price though. I'm not sure if I would pay $50+ for it again, maybe if I saw it on sale. accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, visit Thanks!

Old Forester Single Barrel: Liquor Barn/Forecastle Selection

Posted on by Eric Burke

Today I was up and on the road by 6 am to drive the six hours (each way) to Milwaukee to buy some empty bourbon barrels to use as raw materials for my Etsy store, It was a fun and tiring day. Tiring because I was driving for about 12 hours. Fun because I got my hands on four great looking empty bourbon barrels and three very pretty wine barrel heads. I didn't plan on getting any wine barrel heads, I mean my store makes things for bourbon lovers. But they were in good shape, very pretty and the price was right. I'm sure I'll be able to figure out something to do with them.

In a way, those wine barrel heads are kind of like the bourbon I'm drinking tonight. When I bought each of them, I was looking for something else. But in each case the price was right so I grabbed them instead. 

See, around this time every year I try to get a bottle of Birthday Bourbon for my wife. But at a suggested price of around $80 per bottle, I wasn't trying too hard this year. Instead, when I was down in Kentucky. I grabbed a bottle of Old Forester Single Barrel. It was half the price and every bottle I've picked up has been very good. 

This bottle was no exception. 

Old Forester Single Barrel: Liquor Barn/Forecastle Selection

Purchase Info: $38.99 for a 750 mL at Liquor Barn Middleton, Louisville, KY. 

Details: 45% ABV. Chosen for the 15th Anniversary of the Forecastle Festival. Aged in Warehouse H on Floor 5.

Nose: Sweet with vanilla, mint, and almond.

Mouth:  Sweet with a light spice. Notes of vanilla, mint, and almond.

Finish: Nice and spicy with lingering notes of mint and almond. 


Thoughts: This is by far the best bottle of Old Forester Single Barrel I've had. I am really digging it. Which is kind of amazing to me since I basically bought it in place of a limited edition that cost twice as much (and which in recent year's has been kind of lackluster, in my view). 

Damn. Wish I'd thought of that in the store...I would have bought two and felt justified doing it. accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, visit Thanks!