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It’s the beginning of Bourbon Heritage Month and the Bourbon silly season is upon us. To kick of the silly season we have the latest press release from Buffalo Trace regarding the fall release of their very popular Antique Collection!

Here are the details!

FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (Sept. 4, 2014) Whiskey aficionados can start their holiday shopping early once Buffalo Trace Distillery releases its 2014 Antique Collection in late September. The highly anticipated collection will once again feature five limited-release whiskeys of various ages, recipes and proofs. Here’s what loyal fans can expect:

George T. Stagg

The 2013 release of this perennial favorite received the prestigious Chairman’s Trophy during the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Barrels for this year’s George T. Stagg bottling were selected from Warehouses C, H, I, K, L, P, and Q. This uncut and unfiltered bourbon was distilled back in the spring of 1998 and weighs in at 138.1 proof. Although still highly allocated, happily there are a few more bottles available this year, since Buffalo Trace increased distillation for George T. Stagg back in 1997. This whiskey tastes of dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and dates.

William Larue Weller

The Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated recipe bourbon is William Larue Weller. The previous edition was given a “95” rating by Whisky Advocate Magazine. The 2014 offering was distilled in the spring of 2002 and aged on the second, third, fourth, and sixth floors of Warehouses D, K, and L. This bourbon registers in at 140.2 proof – the strongest Weller release ever. The bold flavors include dark molasses, plums, and toffee.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye

Thomas H. Handy is the uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. The 2013 edition was named “World’s Best Rye Whiskey” at the 2014 World Whiskies Awards. This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2008, aged on the fifth floor of Warehouse M and weighs in at 129.2 proof. The flavor has been described as Christmas cake, allspice, coconut, and clove.

Eagle Rare 17 Year Old

The previous edition of this bourbon was honored with a Silver Outstanding Medal at the 2013 International Wine and Spirits Competition. The 2014 edition has been aging on the second, third and sixth floors of Warehouses I and K. This bourbon was aged nearly two decades and tastes of oak, leather, cinnamon, and tobacco.

Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old

Last year Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old was awarded a Gold Medal from Whisky Magazine’s World Whisky Awards. This 2014 straight rye whiskey release was aged in Warehouse K and has notable flavor of all-spice, molasses and hints of mint, along with a long, dry finish.

The Antique Collection was introduced more than a decade ago and has become a cult favorite among whiskey connoisseurs. Since 2000 these whiskeys have garnered numerous awards from such notable publications as Whisky Advocate Magazine, Spirit Journal, and Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.

The 2014 Antique Collection whiskeys will be available in limited quantities starting in late September or early October. Suggested retail price is $80 each. For more information visit www.greatbourbon.com.

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Every now and again, we have the opportunity to try something new. What does not happen every day is experiencing a resurrected brand that has been dormant for 95 years.

Orginal Kentucky Owl Bottle - Photo courtesy of Dixon Dedman

Orginal Kentucky Owl Bottle – Photo courtesy of Dixon Dedman

The story of the Kentucky Owl dates back to 1879 in north Mercer County. The original distillery was started by C.M. Dedman, an orphan who was adopted by a judge that gifted Dedman the distillery as a wedding present. Dedman operated the distillery until 1916 when the government shut down the operation and confiscated around 250,000 gallons of bourbon aging at the time. Sometime in 1919, after the passing of the Volstead Act, a mysterious fire destroyed the warehouse. It is speculated that the fire burned only bright enough to make the warehouse unusable and that a great deal of the bourbon made it out unscathed before the fire was set: It is thought that the bourbon made it into the hands of those that would sell it in speakeasies across the country. T.C. Dedman, the son of C.M. would fight tooth and nail to receive compensation for the loss, but never saw a dime. Despite insurmountable odds, the family came into ownership of the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, KY, which is run by the Dedmans to this day.  

Fast forward five generations, and the Inn is now operated by Dixon Dedman, 33, whose hands-on approach to the management of the Inn speaks volumes of doing things “the proper way” (Beaumont Inn). Several years ago, Dixon met Mark Carter, fellow innkeeper and proprietor of Carter Cellars in Napa Valley, California (Carter Cellars). After long discussions (and a few drinks), plans to bring back the Kentucky Owl, “the Wise Man’s Bourbon,” started taking shape. Dixon and Mark wanted to make sure that this first batch was done correctly and in a way that would pay tribute to the many generations that came before them. With that philosophy in mind, they decided that the first batch would come in at barrel proof and be uncut/unfiltered. Dixon and Mark believe that “the consumer should decide how they want to drink it.”  After several iterations and consultation with some of the most respected folks in the bourbon industry, they decided on a blend of five hand-selected barrels that would yield a little more than 1,500 bottles.  

We were thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to be one of the first to review this bottle.    

IMG_3740.JPGKentucky Owl

Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Batch 1 Bottle 1366/1506

ABV: 59.2% 118.4 Proof

Price: TBD

We allowed the bourbon to sit for about twenty minutes and did not add water to the first part of the tasting.

Nose: The nose was complex and evolved the longer the pour was in the glass. The aromas of vanilla custard/creme brulee/caramel, mandarin orange, dried apricot and ginger were well represented.

Palate: The palate was remarkably different than the nose. The initial hit to the front palate delivered a viscous mouthfeel that carried flavors of cinnamon candy, savory wood, evergreen, and molasses with an oily disposition.  

There was little burn that did not make itself present until the finish. The finish is long lasting and pleasant with evolving citrus and candied fruit flavors. After adding a bit of water, we found that the savory wood was diluted, leaving more pronounced corn sweetness. If one were to use this in a cocktail, it would likely hold up well to ice and bitters. 

Concluding thoughts: Overall we enjoyed this pour. One would not think this to be the first batch as the quality of the bourbon spoke volumes of the time that was invested to resurrect this brand. While we believe there is always some room for improvement, this pour was very nice. The bottle should be available in limited quantities in August and will be released only in Kentucky.  

Overall grade: 90/100,  Buy if you can find it.

If you want to experience Dixon’s hospitality, make a point to venture to Harrodsburg and stay at his Inn. There you can experience a variety of bourbons at the Old Owl Tavern, enjoy the historic charm of the Inn, and even make arrangements to have a bourbon tasting with Dixon. 

 Thank you to Bill Whitlow and the staff at Wiseguys Bar and Lounge for allowing us to use their venue. (http://www.goodfellaspizzeria.com/wiseguy.php

 

The results are in! The Bourbon Guys and DEPs Fine Wine & Spirits hit a home run (well, two actually!) with the Russell’s Reserve Private Barrels, released on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, under the watchful eye of Wild Turkey Master Distiller, Jimmy Russell. With 40+ in attendance, Bourbon Guy Tim Beckelhimer led a group of bourbon drinkers that ranged from novice to professional through a variety of Wild Turkey selections. Beginning with an “off-the-shelf” Russell’s Reserve, attendees next enjoyed Wild Turkey 101 before experiencing the two Russell’s Reserve Private Barrel selections, then finishing up with Russell’s Reserve 6 Year Old Rye.

By night’s end, one barrel was nearly sold out! Should you find yourself in need of a truly excellent bourbon for sipping, mixing, or just as a gift, make your way to DEPs Fine Wines in Fort Thomas, KY or Covington, KY for a bottle of The Bourbon Guys & DEPS Russell’s Reserve Private Barrels. You better hurry, though, because they’re going fast and won’t come again!

Thanks to all who came and made this event such a resounding success!

(Images courtesy of Bourbon Guy Wife, Julie Parece.)

And So, the SECOND of our Long-Awaited announcements is here!

WE’RE HAVING A PARTY!

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The Bourbon Guys, in collaboration with our friends at DEPs Fine Wine & Spirits, are inviting 30 or so of our closest friends to attend our first Private Barrel Launch Party. DEPs is hosting the event on Tuesday, 5/27/14, at 6:30 p.m. at their Fort Thomas location just off of I-471. If you haven’t been to this facility, we are sure you will be amazed at the vast selection of wines and spirits!

In attendan5e36f2af-7bcf-4824-a475-d8e927ab9de8ce will be the legendary Jimmy Russell, Master Distiller of Wild Turkey, to share some of his vast knowledge on bourbon and its history (and sign a bottle or two!). Jimmy is a warm and welcoming Kentucky gentleman, a treasure of the commonwealth who you won’t want to miss! Molly

It is also our very special pleasure to have entrepreneur and mixologist extraordinaire, Molly Wellmann, in attendance. Molly is an author, bourbon champion, proprietor of several of the most popular gathering spots in town, and a great friend to The Bourbon Guys.

But this gathering is about the bourbon!

You will have the opportunity to taste (and purchase!) two very special Private Selection Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbons, chosen by The Bourbon Guys (Jason, Larry,  & Tim) and the staff at DEPs Fine Wine & Spirits! Space is very limited, so PLEASE RSVP if you are able to attend. We will send out confirmations to the first 30 people who respond. This is a very special and very limited release, something you won’t want to miss! We look forward to seeing you there!

You can find directions to the DEPs location right here.

The moment has arrived for the

FIRST of our LONG-AWAITED ANNOUNCEMENTS!

 The Bourbon Guys are growing! Of course, we have been building a following organically (through the invaluable support of all of You Wonderful People!), but now we have added a new Bourbon Guy! Friend and contributor, Jason Farler, has agreed to come on board as the third Bourbon Guy (Why? We have no idea! But we chose to capitalize on his momentary lapse in judgement and lock him in!) Expect to see more posts, articles and opinions from this incredibly knowledgeable and down-right likable (and somewhat mysterious) resource!

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Jason Farler, The Bourbon Guy

20140501-213150.jpgAs many of you probably know, a new distillery is budding on the banks of the Ohio River. Situated at 24 Distillery Way in Newport Kentucky (that’s right, it has its very own street!), New Riff Distillery is the long-awaited addition to the bourbon scene of Greater Cincinnati. With many wonderful establishments such as The Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar, Arnold’s, Wise Guy’s Lounge, Japps Since 1879, and so very many more, the greatest gap in the area’s bourbon offerings was a functioning local distillery. Well, the folks at The Party Source have seen fit to fill that gap with the off-shoot that is New Riff. Brian Sprance, long-time brewer at barrelhouse. Brewing and Sam Adams Brewery, has been tapped as the New Riff Head Distiller. We know what you’re saying, “A Brew Master distilling whiskey!? Unconscionable!” Let us assure you, it makes perfect sense. Decision makers at New Riff wanted to make whiskey in a certain way, and they didn’t want their new Head Distiller to have to unlearn old habits. At the same time, they had a consultant waiting in the wings to provide decades of distilling knowledge gleaned from one of the largest distilleries in the industry. Larry Ebersold was engaged to guide Brian in the finer points of distillation used in the juices that so many other outfits have been purchasing from Seagram’s/LDI/MGP in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. You couldn’t ask for a better pedigree!

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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

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