Tag Archives: Bourbon

Stagg Jr.


Stagg Jr Taste ProfileStats – 67.2% alcohol, from Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY
Price – $50 (list)
Color – Dark maple
Nose – Cherries and toasted coconut
Palate – Aimed at being the more available offspring of the annually released and whiskey-nerd favorite, George T. Stagg. While being made from a blend of bourbons ranging from 8-9 years old (as opposed to the 17 years found in the George T. Stagg), this still comes uncut and weighs in at a whopping 134.4 proof. True to form, Buffalo Trace continues to be one of the most consistent distilleries in the US. Stagg Jr. is rich and mouth-filling with buttery caramel, shortbread cookies and a crème brûlée smoothness. The biscuity and salty qualities are matched with lots of stone fruit characters like sweet plums and maraschino cherries. The heavy-handed dose of alcohol brings some burn with it, but it isn’t as harsh as you would expect for something this strong.  A splash of water allows the dark cherry and plums to bloom and brings in more dry cinnamon spices. The finish is spicy with cloves and dry with leather and oak. This is warm and forceful, but isn’t outlandish or dominant. While this was meant to satisfy bourbon enthusiasts while anxiously awaiting the next George T. Stagg release, making a direct comparison to Stagg-the-Elder may not be fair. When treated as the distinct expression this is, it more than holds its own against other whiskeys in the 50 dollar range, assuming you can still find this one at list price (Master of Malt already has this one priced over $120).

Stagg Jr. Tastes Like:

  1. Sullivans Cove – Double Cask (90%)
  2. Mortlach 17 Year – AD Rattray (87%)
  3. Willett Single Barrel Rye (86%)

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Breckenridge Bourbon


Breckenridge Bourbon Taste ProfileStats – 43% alcohol, 2-3 years old, Breckenridge, CO
Price – $45
Color – Rich Amber
Nose – Spicy, green apples
Palate – Breckenridge Distillery‘s critically acclaimed bourbon claims to be the “world’s highest distillery” which we can only assume relates more to the elevation of the production rather than Colorado’s relaxed laws on marijuana. With a mashbill of 56% corn, 38% green rye (again, we can only assume this means it’s unmalted rather than, well never mind you get the picture), and 6% unmalted barley. This is honey sweet and pleasant with a floral heather note. Some spice builds from the amount of rye, with hints of black pepper, cardamon, and ginger. The finish is dry and a little bitter, but not overwhelmingly so. The kick of rye is juxtaposed nicely by a green freshness. As this one breathes the sweetness intensifies and gets a nice vanilla quality. This isn’t far from Kentucky’s finest. Even though it is young, the aforementioned altitude makes a unique challenge to distillers. The average humidity is about 30% year-round in Breckenridge which speeds up the aging process in the barrel. Colorado’s fresh mountain air and clean snowmelt water lend itself nicely to producing whiskey. Pick this one up online at Caskers for only $43.

Breckenridge Bourbon Tastes Like:

  1. Mellow Corn (94%)
  2. Cardhu 12 Year (93%)
  3. Dry Fly – Bourbon 101 (87%)

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Breaking & Entering Bourbon


Breaking & Entering Bourbon Taste ProfileStats – 43% alcohol, blend of several Kentucky bourbons, from St. George Spirits, Alameda, CA
Price – $35
Color – Bright gold
Nose – Sweet orange peels and cherry cordials
Palate – When the producers of Hangar 1 Vodka decided to release a bourbon they thought what better way to start than by pilfering some juice from some of the best in Kentucky. They blended the boosted booze to produce Breaking & Entering Bourbon. It’s dry upfront and melds quickly to candied citrus peels and cherries. Sweet vanilla and coconut come through at the midpoint. The finish has some oily pecans and oak. This bourbon stays bright and upbeat without out being too weighty or complex. It’s also spicy without bringing in too much heat, just the right amount of star anise and licorice. At the tail end of the finish, it ends where it began to tie up loose ends with a good dry tang. There’s plenty of “Bluegreass State” swagger in this bottle, but perhaps too much. There isn’t much here to differentiate this whiskey from those of full Kentucky pedigree, but a decent effort for 35 bucks none-the-less.

Breaking & Entering Bourbon Tastes Like:

  1. Mellow Corn (84%)
  2. Russel’s Reserve – Single Barrel (84%)
  3. Greenore 8 Year (83%)

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Russel’s Reserve – Single Barrel


Russel's Reserve - Single Barrel Taste ProfileStats – 55% alcohol, Lawerenceburg, KY
Price – $55
Color – Dark chestnut and burnt orange
Nose – Sweet rich and bit of campfire ash
Palate – Named after the Master Distiller Jimmy Russel at Wild Turkey. This straight bourbon is aged in heavily charred barrels. Rich and spicy out of the gate, yet still more mellow than a full-bore rye. Black peppercorns and a lick of orange or lemon rind which dries this out a little. The charred oak brings out some coconut and vanilla, and at the back-end a long finish of smoldering charcoal. Drier and more astringent than most bourbons, but the oak and heat has a lighter touch than some ryes, but has just the right amount of bristle and gruff. This is great for any Wild Turkey fans looking to up the ante in not just proof, but character as well.  You can pick this up online at DrinkUpNY or KLWines.

Russel’s Reserve tastes most like:

  1. Templeton Rye (90%)
  2. Dry Fly – Bourbon 101 (89%)
  3. Michters US*1 Whiskey (89%)

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Thanks Uncle Phil!


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Dry Fly – Bourbon 101


Dry Fly - Bourbon 101 Taste ProfileStats – 50.5% alcohol, Spokane, WA
Price – $35 for 375mL
Color – Copper and maple
Nose – Chocolate, cherries, sweet corn, and oak
Palate – Weighing in at a sturdy 50.5% alcohol content, which brings it to its namesake 101 proof, this small release from the creative minds over at Dry Fly as part of their “Creel Collection(which also includes the Port Finished Wheat Whiskey, and the Triticale Whiskey). This one is very dry with lots of oak tannins which are imparted from the wood during aging. This may have spent a bit more time in a barrel than necessary though. It almost comes across as dusty, with the bitterness it’s like the bourbon cousin to Italian aperitifs like Campari. Caramel and bitter dark chocolate keep it sweet. There’s also a citrus rind astringency at play to help cut the dryness, and also a good buttery richness. There is plenty of bourbon qualities to like from these talented distillers from Washington state.  Pick some up online at Binny’s.

Alternatives:

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