A recent sample swap from South Shields, Tyne & Wear, England not Indiana, USA delivered a set of five interesting whiskies. I've tried a few bourbon and rye drams in my time and got a bit of a taste from them on a recent holiday to the States but this was the first time I'd tried these ones. Many thanks to @Bobafett2k6 for the sample swap!
First up was High West's Rendezvous Rye at 46% ABV
Dark gold in the glass, sticky swirls leading to slow fat legs.
Nose: sweet brown sugar, honey and some tropical fruits. Hints of spice develop. Time in the glass enhances the fruit notes. Yummy!
Palate: starts off as smooth watered honey but quickly develops a spicy ginger. Lots of sweetness and fruit on the tongue, mirroring the nose, but every sip finishes with the spice kick.
Finish: is long and spicy with a little hint of smoke. Lovely dram!
Next was Breaking & Entering Bourbon from St George Spirits at 43% ABV
Lovely gold colour in the glass with swirls that develop into slow thin legs.
Nose: is immediately sweet and spicy, burnt sugar and honey notes mix with cinnamon. There's hints of banana and toffee here too as the dram breaths a bit
Palate: another watery honey delivery but with a definite sour note. A little fruit as the nose but no sign of the toffee. There some hazelnut notes as I try more sips. The spice is quite mild on this one.
Finish: shortish finish with vanilla, cinnamon and a hint of smoke. Nice dram!
Third of the set was Knob Creeks' 9yo Single Cask Reserve Kentucky
Straight Bourbon Whisky at 60% ABV
In the glass a deep dark gold from heavily (level 4) charred casks, swirls lead to slow fat legs.
Nose: huge amounts of vanilla and toffee with a hint of smoke, after some time in the glass there's a great note of apple pie and cinnamon.
Palate: a smooth watery honey arrival again but with a huge cinnamon spice kick, hides the 60% really well. There's loads of vanilla and the apple pie from the nose - this is a pudding in a glass! There's some hazelnut influence and loads of toffee. Really smooth for 60%
Finish: a slight sour apple note and again that hint of smoke but deliciously spicy and long!
Penultimate dram of the set was an Aiden blend of Poor Man's Pappy - a blend of 60% Weller Antique and 40% Weller 12yo, a wheated bourbon at approx 50% ABV
In the glass a dark gold colour, gravity defying swirls, bead up and form very slow running legs.
Nose: Bee's wax polish, very sweet with brown sugar, toffee and dark cherries. A spicy note there too!
Palate: very smooth arrival of brown sugar laced honey, an immediate spicy cinnamon kick and some strawberry jam.There's a big hint of oak and some of the toffee from the nose, loads of thick mouthfeel and very drying. This is yummy!The cinnamon kick at the end isn't particularly big but it's in balance with the smooth mouthfeel.
Finish: Finish is long and warming with more of the toffee and cinnamon.
Final dram of the set was Buffalo Trace's Stagg Jr. (Batch 10) at 63.2% ABV
In the glass a dark gold colour, gravity defying swirls, bead up but don't form legs!
Nose: Loads of toffee and vanilla initially with some oak and hints of orange.
Palate: WOW, the 63.2% hits you immediately - loads of spice and heat not much in the way of flavour. Persevering for a while before adding water! Most of the the notes from the nose carry on to the palate but the ABV is just too overpowering, in with the H2O. With the added water the nose opens up a little giving some more fruity notes - strawberries, raspberries and some pear. On the palate it's a much more approachable dram which, whilst still retaining the spicy heat, has flavours of toffee, dark bitter chocolate and dark cherries.
Finish: Hot and spicy, almost burning, there's a big cinnamon kick and loads of smoke. Slightly bitter notes follow with a dryness. Yummy but add water!
Many thanks to Aiden for the sample swap and a great introduction to American whiskey!