ETL_710KHe’s back! Long awaited and much anticipated, Elmer T. Lee has returned to store shelves, even if it’s just for a short while. Today, The Bourbon Guys were fortunate enough to lay our hands on a bottle of 1919-2013 Elmer T. Lee, Single Barrel, Sour Mash, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey! A commemorative, limited edition, this offering comes in at 93 proof (in honor of Elmer’s 93 years spent making this world a better place), slightly higher than the traditional Elmer T. Lee. At just a couple of dollars more than its 90 proof brother, 1919-2013 is worthy of a far higher price tag. Continue reading

So you say you want good bourbon?

So you say you want to meet others who appreciate good bourbon?

So you say you want the inside scoop on what’s coming next in the world of bourbon?

Well The Bourbon Guys have news for you!

We are excited to tell you abouTheBourbonSocietyofGreaterCincinnatit the 2nd meeting of The Bourbon Society of Greater Cincinnati, an organization dedicated to providing a forum for people who love bourbon to connect and collaborate. Hosted by Todd Carnes, Chad Finni, Marc Collins and Butch Wilburn, the upcoming meeting will be held on April 14, 2014 at Summit Hills Country Club in Crestview Hills, KY, just 15 minutes from downtown Cincinnati. The Bourbon Guys were fortunate enough to catch the very first meeting of The Society, and what a great night it was. Continue reading

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 Over the past year, The Bourbon Guys have had the honor of tasting many great and different bourbons. As a follow up to last year’s “Sweet 16 of American Whiskey” we have decided to share our list of Sweet Sixteen Bourbons for 2013 and 2014. Once again we also wanted to release this list in honor of March Madness. We see this as fitting because it’s the start of the NCAA Basketball Tournament Sweet 16 and because we are likely to stir up a little “Madness” with our choices. Continue reading

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If you’re reading this you are probably well aware that bourbon is booming. The spirit is seeing a renaissance of incredible magnitude. But how has the recent bourbon boom affected us short term and how will it affect us long term? Continue reading

OldFitzgeraldEarlier this week, we had the unique opportunity to try Old Fitzgerald with our friend, and foremost bourbon historian, Michael Veach of the Filson Historical Society and 64 of our newest friends. This long running product of corn, wheat and malted barley comes in at 100 proof, but it is as smooth as any bourbon at least 10 proof points its junior.

Bourbon Name: Old Fitzgerald 100

Distiller: Heaven Hill Distillery

Proof: 100

Age: At Least 4 Years, but the color implies older components

Year: 2014

Color: Honey Burnt Orange

Nose: The nose began with sweet caramel giving way to that Heaven Hill nuttiness of pecans. One of our dear friends called attention to a silky “buttercup” – MW.

Taste: Pears present on the front palate with a prominent butter pecan. The mid-palate finds pepper spice and a rise in savory barrel elements.

Finish: The pepper carries through the long, long finish where it is met with a sweet vanilla, butter, and a return of the Heaven Hill signature nutty pecan.

Overall Rating: ( 86/ 100 ) Get It

Old Fitzgerald has proven once again why it has so long endured. From distillery to distillery, this label has undergone mild modification over its extensive history, but its quality carries on. At $15.00 per 750 ml, do yourself a favor: Pick up a bottle and have a friend set up a blind tasting with this one in the mix. I think you’ll be surprised at just how much you like it compared to your usual suspects.

OldForesterSignature

A few days ago, we had the opportunity to revisit an old favorite, Old Forester Signature Bourbon. This 100 proof staple from Brown-Forman is a heartier version of its 86 proof sibling, and a solid offering form master distiller Chris Morris. This Straight Bourbon whiskey lacks an age statement, but we would peg it at least four years old. At less than $20 per 750 ml, this bourbon is a star of its price point.

Bourbon Name: Old Forester Signature

Distiller: Brown Forman

Proof: 100

Age: 4+ Years

Year: 2014

Color: Rich amber

Nose: The nose produced sweet elements of apricots and brown sugar. Mild rye spice and cinnamon rise up to balance the experience.

Taste: The front palate is dominated by candied walnuts, leather and brown sugar. Cinnamon spice rises on the mid-palate along with the caramels of charred oak. Mild rye helps to balance the sweetness, but we might have liked a bit more of this savory spice.

Finish: The finish is clean and relatively long for a bourbon of this price point. The sweet apricot notes and pleasant nuttiness return to bring the experience full circle.

Overall Rating: ( 88 / 100 ) A Definite Go-To

Old Forester Signature is an elevated offering from a staple in the bourbon world, Brown Forman. The sweet elements are balanced by pleasant, savory spice on the mid-palate where they become the star straight through to the finish. If you are looking for a well-crafted bourbon at an entry level price point, you may just have found it.

story by The Bourbon Guys contributor Maggie Kimberl

imageThe bourbon industry has long been thought to be a boys’ club.  For years it was run seemingly by men and only men, and men were thought to be the primary consumers of the spirit.  But the more I’ve learned about the bourbon industry, the more I’ve come to realize that women have played a critical part not only as consumers, but also as distillers, tasters, and marketers. Continue reading

Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar Tasting: 2-20-14

Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar Tasting: 2-20-14

We recently had the opportunity to taste the new Jefferson’s Ocean bourbon. This craft offering from Jefferson’s is the latest round of seafaring whiskey in this grand experiment by Trey Zoeller. We had the opportunity to discuss the project with Trey at this year’s Bourbon Classic in Louisville, KY. He told us that the latest Ocean is a blend of roughly seven and eight year old whiskeys that were strapped to the deck of an ocean going vessel, kept out at sea for a full ten months, then proofed down to 90. At roughly $70 per 750 ml, we were particularly eager to see the end result. Continue reading

image   When we first heard about the arrival we were very excited!  After all, we’ve never had the privelege to taste a 10 year version of Booker’s, not to mention a 10 year Bourbon that Booker Noe himself had his hand on before his passing in 2004.

Fred Noe stated on the Jim Beam website that  “These are some 10-year old barrels laid down from the last bourbon Dad made before he passed away. . . . I have the final say, so if you don’t like it, blame Fred. The only thing Dad told me before he died was, ‘Take care of my Booker’s’.” We think it’s safe to say that Fred is taking care of the Booker’s!

Bourbon Name: Booker’s 25th Anniversary Edition Bourbon

Distiller: Jim Beam

Proof: 130.8

Color: Copper, Deep Amber (A little darker than standard Booker’s)

Age: 10 Years

Batch#: 2014-01

Nose: The nose on the 25th Anniversary Booker’s does not pack a lot of heat considering the high proof but that is actually a good thing. The lack of burn on the nose allows you to savor the notes of black cherry and banana with a nice blend of pepper spice and pine. The longer you sniff

you even get a little salted caramel flavor. It’s an excellent nose that allows you to enjoy the sum of its parts without frying your nose. Adding a few drops of water didn’t really add much to the nose.

Taste: When you get around to tasting the Booker’s 25th Anniversary Bourbon you get a rich mouth feel with upfront cherry flavors combined with toasted caramel, bit o honey and black walnut with an excellent peppery rye spice. Not a lot of oak but enough. Adding water added more sweetness but that’s about it. We preferred this Bourbon neat.

Finish: The finish of the Booker’s 25th Anniversary Bourbon seems a little mild at first, but what you soonrealize is that the finish only seems mild because there is absolutely no burn when the Bourbon travels down your throat. This is really unique, especially for Bourbon of this proof. There is a very nice taste: sweet cherry and peppery spice with subtle oak that rests on the back and sides of your tongue. The longer you drink the better it gets. This stuff is dangerously drinkable And has much more finesse than regular Booker’s.

Overall: We are so glad and honored that we were able to acquire a bottle of this fine Bourbon. This is a true sipping whiskey that we prefer drinking neat, but I’m sure you can enjoy this fine Bourbon any way you desire. There were only 6000 bottles of this rare Bourbon produced so this one won’t last long.  This is also a must have Bourbon for anyone that enjoys nice barrel proof Bourbon with a bit of history behind it.  Fred Noe and the rest of the Noe family should be extremely proud of this gem! Get yourself a bottle before this piece of history is gone!

Overall Rating: 93/100

 

20140209-163208.jpgThe Bourbon Guys attended the second annual Bourbon Classic in Louisville Kentucky last weekend, and after a week of recovering we wanted to give you a brief rundown of the highlights of this great event. We would also like to compare this year’s Bourbon Classic to last year’s inaugural Bourbon Classic.

The Bourbon Classic is an annual event that takes place in Louisville and draws Bourbon lovers from all over the country. The two-day event opened on Friday night with a cocktail oriented event and concluded on Saturday with break out sessions that led to an awesome evening of fine food and of course great Bourbon.

Though we weren’t able to make it to the opening night cocktail event, we were told that the event, named “From the Barrel to the Bar,” was once again a great success. We were told that the mixologists prepared excellent drinks to accompany the fine food prepared by many different and well-known chefs.

The main event began on Saturday afternoon at the main theatre when a gathering of some legendary master distillers along with some up and comers to the bourbon industry met for a panel discussion about the Bourbon industry. 20140209-163251.jpg

The distillers on hand were Wes Henderson (Angel’s Envy), Jimmy Russell (Wild Turkey), Harlen Wheatley (Buffalo Trace), Fred Noe (Jim Beam), Drew Kulsveen (Willett), Willie Pratt (Michters), Tom Bulleit (Bulleit), Colin Spoelman (King’s County Distillery),  Dave Schmier (Redemption) and Daniel Preston (Widow Jane). The moderator of the panel discussion was Fred Minnick (Author for the KentuckyDerbyMuseum). Fred Minnick effectively spread around questions to different master distillers. Some of the questions managed to create a good bid of tension among the panel, especially the question regarding the non-distilling bourbon companies and sourced whiskey. That was one reason why this year’s master distiller session was much better than last year’s. The moderator was a better interviewer than last year’s moderator and the format of questioning was much better than last year’s as well. We hope they stick to the same format next year.

20140209-163314.jpgAfter the master distiller’s session ended, the BourbonClassicUniversity sessions began. The sessions covered various bourbon focused topics such as “Entertaining with Bourbon Tastings,” “Bourbon Reflections… A Trip Through Time” and “Exploring the Creative, Culinary Side of Bourbon.” These sessions, just like last year’s, were excellent and very informative. We actually wish we could have attended a few more sessions.20140209-163305.jpg

The few samples of Bourbon that we tasted during the BourbonClassicUniversity sessions helped set the stage for the main event, called “The Ultimate Bourbon Experience.” Similar to last year’s event, there was a lavish spread of food, including pork loin and roast beef along with many other delectable dishes and plenty of Bourbon! Our favorite of the dishes was a tie between the mushroom capped sausage balls and the corn pudding. The food at this year’s Classic was very tasty, but we did feel that the food at last year’s event was a tad better.20140209-163352.jpg

While the food was a highlight, the real reason we were there was for the Bourbon. The selection at “The Ultimate Bourbon Experience” was excellent once again. Bourbon tastings were available from brands such as Willett, Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey, Jefferson’s Reserve, Jim Beam and others. There were, however, some notable omissions to this year’s event. Heaven Hill was not at the event and neither were Four Roses,  Makers Mark or Town Branch. This was a little disappointing as we really enjoy some of the offerings from these distilleries, particularly Four Roses and Heaven Hill. Though we feel that last year’s bourbon selections overall were a little better, there was still plenty of bourbon for the tasting this year.

20140209-163224.jpgThis year’s Classic came to a close at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, and the most notable omission of all was the lack of a public after party. Last year’s event wrapped up with a great closing party hosted by Four Roses. This gave all attendees the opportunity to unwind and relish new friendships and memories of the good time that we all had. This year we had to create our own after party (which actually was fantastic among our group of friends).

Even though we feel that last year’s Bourbon Classic was overall a little better than this year’s, we still had a great time at the 2014 Bourbon Classic and we are already looking forward to next year!

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