An End of 2012 Updating of the Stash

As I was cataloging my whiskey collection...

That's not weird right? I've found that I tend to catalog things in the stage where I have more than I can keep track of just by looking, but not so many that I'd need a database to keep track of it. I used to catalog my library of music...too big now. I used to catalog my library of books...too big now. So now because I feel a deep seated need to keep track of things and unlike books or music, stuff actually leaves this collection, whiskey is the perfect outlet. Anyway as I was saying:

I was cataloging my whiskey collection and noticed that I hadn't updated my stash in a while. Things have been added that I hadn't noted and others have left. This can't stand. However will random strangers know what types of whiskey I might be drinking at any given moment if I don't keep this list up to date?

Because there are random strangers who wonder this, aren't there? Say yes! Say YES!

ahem...excuse me

Since the last time I updated this, I've lost a few friends. Most have been mentioned here. 

Wild Turkey Rare Breed, this one will be coming back. It's one of our favorites.
Parker's Heritage Collection, Barrel Finished, I want this one to come back, but doubt it will due to limited availability.
Corner Creek Reserve, this one was taking up space. I'm kinda glad it's gone. 

But don't be too sad, I've also gained a few friends as well.

Col. E. H. Taylor Rye was a gift from my wife and is sitting in the bunker waiting for shelf space.
Four Roses Small Batch was a gift from my daughter's boyfriend (trying to get on my good side)
1792 Ridgemont Reserve was bought to compare to the Liquor Barn Private Selection. Bunkered.
Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond was bought to compare to both the 12 year Very Special Old Fitz. and the Larceny.
MB Roland White Dog was a gift from two very good friends
Old Grand Dad 114 proof was bought because it is extremely tasty. Bunkered.
Breckenridge Bourbon and Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey are both in the bunker waiting for shelf space after a recent trip to Colorado. 

So there you have it. I'm up to about 47 bottles with one duplicate. As you can see some of these are very similar. If you are perceptive you might pick up on some plans for 2013 in the list. At least as soon as I kick this cold and can taste things again...

An Empty: Parker's Heritage Collection, Barrel Finished

So yes, I realize that this isn't an empty bottle in this photo. But, I guarantee you this, by the time I finish this blog post it will be sitting in two glasses, ready to be enjoyed by my wife and I. So I call it close enough. 

I bought this bottle on a whim. At the time I liked to dole out my monthly whiskey money over the course of a couple weeks. And over the course of a couple of bottles. But I thought to myself: "20 bourbons is a lot, I've got enough bottles on hand. I'm going to buy myself something nice"

Apparently I thought that way for approximately a month since I'm sitting somewhere north of 45 right now. But to be fair, a lot of them are "nice."

And this was the one I picked up. I distinctly remember buying this bottle because I remember the nod the clerk behind the counter gave me as he looked at the bottle. Was it admiration? Awe? Lust? Wonder...that anyone would pay $80 for a bourbon (yes, sometimes the stores I frequent are more of the beer-run variety). In any case, I took it to mean I had something special on my hands.

After bringing it home, I realized...it was ok. Not blow your socks off good, but fine. My wife didn't like it. She just gave me a look that said: "Really? $80? Gone just like that, huh?" Needless to say, as we revisited it, we've both changed our opinions of this one. This is one damn fine whiskey.

Color: This one is a deep reddish amber.

Nose: Carmel apples, cola and baking spice.

Taste: Initially sweet, think toffee or honey. There's more spice, this is a hot one.

Finish: I found that this had a sweet finish that faded to a mouth puckering dryness as time went on.

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So, yes. I love this whiskey. I bought it on an excited whim and was initially disappointed. I don't know if I just wasn't feeling it that day. It was my first "finished bourbon' maybe my palette just wasn't ready for it. As I spent more time with it, I grew to love it more and more. And since my local stores are out of it, I will miss it. But there's always a new one to try so I won't miss it for too long.

New Stash Additions-no reviews

Just got back from a week in Kentucky, culminated by the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. I won't be talking about that. There will be a bunch of posts about that. About distillery tours and new bourbons...

Wait. I bought a bunch of new bourbons. That means I need to add them to the Stash. There will be tasting notes and talk about each in time. But until then here they are, each is either not available in Minnesota (or not carried near me), or has a special reason for me buying it: 

Ancient Ancient Age 10 year
Very Old Barton 86 proof
Very Old Barton 100 proof
1792 Ridgemont Reserve (selected by Liquor Barn)
Bowman Brothers Small Batch
Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition Small Batch  
Four Roses Single Barrel OBSV (17 year)
Four Roses Single Barrel OBSK (13 year)
Evan Williams 1783
Rittenhouse Rye 100 proof
Larceny
Old Pogue Master's Select
Willet Family Estate Single Barrel Rye 5 year
Maker's Mark (Hand dipped by my wife) 

I'm excited to get all of these. The 1792 that was hand-selected by Liquor Barn is (according to our tour guide) as close to a 1792 Single Barrel as you'll get so I need to buy a regular one to taste against. I think I want to buy an Old Fitzgerald to taste against the Larceny. I'll also need to get a Evan Williams Black to compare with the 1783 that I'd never had before. What's this mean for you...head to head reviews! I love reading them so I'm planning at least 7 different head to heads in the coming months with these new ones acting as the basis. I'm excited and hope you'll be on the look out for them.

Another Empty? Old Grand-Dad, Bonded

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Another Empty? Yes. I needed to make room on my shelf. I have a few bottles that have been around too long (too long = becoming the oldest bottle on the shelf with the least in it). The Rip Van Winkle was the first. This time around I emptied my bottle of Old Grand Dad, Bottled in Bond. I have a unique opportunity here to do something that I haven't seen done before. I wrote a review of this when I first got it. I'm going to post that here. Then I will add my current feelings about this bourbon, which have changed drastically.

It was last September. Yes. I've had this bottle a long time. 

Old Grand Dad Bottled in Bond 100 Proof has an oily, thick mouthfeel with a sweet almost sugery taste that clings with you almost until the next drink. The finish is nice and long. It’s spicy turning sweet as it goes. 

This is better with an above average splash of water than it is with just the few ice cubes I normally put in a drink as the high proof almost feels like it burns your mouth. Odd since I’ve had higher proof ones that doesn’t act this way.

Overall, I will finish the bottle. As of now, it was an interesting experiment, but I probably won’t buy again I can find a lot more that I like better for the same price. Of course, that opinion might change after a few more drinks. I’ll update if it does.

So now an update from today. My opinion of this has changed. I didn't like it originally. I tried to find any way to use this that didn't involve drinking it. I cooked with it when I knew it wasn't going to be a main flavor component. I used it in experiments. Anything to not drink it. But then something odd happened. Sometime in the last 3-4 months this bourbon grew on me.

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I like it. I will buy it again, though I'm thinking next time I do, it will be the 114 proof version instead. I still add a bit more water than usual to this in order to tame and soften the rough edges on it. But as far as I'm concerned this is one to come back to. The only downside? This bottle is butt-ugly (orange, gold and green) and really draws attention to itself on the shelf. Just not in a good way.

An empty and a short review: Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year

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This is my first empty since posting the stash online. Kind of momentous in a way.

I tend to get all nostalgic when a bottle is emptied. When I have something in my possession for long enough, I become sentimental about it. I once had a pen for 4 years. Nothing special, just a bic clicker with the University of Minnesota logo screen printed on it. I almost cried when I lost it. Ok, not really. But I did feel this momentary pang of loss. Whiskey is much the same way. Though I've never had one last a year much less, the four of that lovely, lovely pen...sigh...ahem. Err. Sorry.

I try not to have multiple bottles of the same thing on the shelf. So when something is gone, there is a very real chance that it is gone for the foreseeable future. Add to that, the fact that this whiskey was just a bit special to me and you have something else that I felt just a bit of a pang over. At least until I drank it and realized I'd kept it just a bit too long. (You can do that, in case you didn't know, so drink up.) 

So why was this whiskey special? Not because it was particularly good. It is good, very good, but will never be a go-to-gotta-have-it-on-the-shelf sort of bottle. I liked it, I just never really found myself going to it all that often. It was special because I found this the on my first trip to one of my favorite liquor stores. While that probably doesn't mean much to folks who just make a stop off for a case of beer, it is a special occasion in the life of a whiskey drinker. It means you found a place where people don't stop and give you funny looks for standing next to the "hard-likker" or even funnier looks when they see you holding one that has a price tag above $25. A good liquor store is a place where you can get recommendations and even some conversation in while you are there. So I found this bottle when I found that place. And that made me think kindly of it.

But now it's gone. Things have been shuffled around so you would have never known it was there. It only lives now in my memory and in these tasting notes from very shortly after I opened it...due to that whole keeping it too long thing. So forgive their brevity, I'd assumed I'd go back and fluff them out some more later.

Buckwheat honey and brown sugar on the nose. Later a hint of fruitiness appears. Mouth is sweet with a hint of mintiness, very low burn. The finish lasts a decent length of time.

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I like this whiskey, I don't love it. I thought I loved it at first, but found myself consistently choosing others over it. And that's not how you define love. Still, it's very good and I suggest you try it if you run across it and haven't yet.