Thursday, August 23, 2012

Good Bye Benchmark and Michael Collins

I'm on a roll!  I've had some success in draining those low fill bottles.  It's a bittersweet success though as some of these selections are not in production any more and chances are, I won't find more. 

A 1978 Benchmark gave up its last the other night.  One of tastiest and smoothest dusty bourbons I have is the Benchmark.  This particular bottle was non-age stated (NAS) and came in at 86 proof although I suspect it was older than 4 years just by the depth of flavor and long finish.  Whenever I drink this bourbon, I think of velvet.

Second dead bottle was a Single Malt Irish, Michael Collins coming in at 10 years old and 80 proof.  This particular Irish has nice transitions for a low proof.  Fruit, spice and sugar coated nuts.  A very pleasant whiskey.

So now I'm on to other selections on the list.  The BTAC stuff is going to take some time as I don't hit those that often; not sure why, but I don't.  My tastes have changed over time and I'm less inclined to hit the big barrel proof bruisers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Good Bye Old Crow and Old Fitz

Back almost 3 years ago to the day, I posted an Exam-o-dram for a 1969 Old Crow 10 year.  I've been on a mission to drain my low fill bottles.  As someone posted on this very blog, I have bottles with low fill and if I let them sit too long, they could over oxidize and turn on me.

So, rather than taking my normal eclectic approach to drinking, I've decided to focus on those bottles that just need to be killed off.  Two bottles I focused on in the last week or so was the Old Crow and a '82 Old Fitz BIB.  After being open for a number of years, they were both still very enjoyable and tasty to the last drop.

The short list of low fill that I'll be concentrating on in the coming weeks will be:

70's vintage Cream of Kentucky
1959 Old Forester BIB
1992 Old Fitz Prime
1978 Benchmark
1984 Wild Turkey 101
Various BTAC
Various Willett
Michael Collins 10 year
Redbreast 12 year

Actually, that's not a short list after all.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Abraham Bowman 17 year

Over the course of my bourbon education, one thing I've learned is that a single sip doesn't tell the whole story on a bourbon or whiskey.  As many of you enthusiasts may know, oxidation can make quite a difference. There's been many of bourbon that when first opened is tight, hot, flat, etc.  Given enough air time, magical things can happen.

Unfortunately, neither Tinker Bell nor Harry Potter can do anything to help this latest release from Bowman.  I'll caveat once again, this is my impression only; I leave final judgement up to those that drink it and come to their own determination.  I have friend in MD that loves this stuff.....he says the more heat and wood the better.

This latest release from Bowman is cask strength at 147.5 pf and 17 years old.  Color is a golden hue with shades of amber.  Nose is actually interesting giving up caramel and barrel notes but the heat really gets in the way of doing proper nosing. 

First taste is nothing but heat that attacks the palate first thing which masks any flavor components on the front end of the sip.  As the heat subsides around mid palate, there's hints of burnt sugar, wood and a bitter note that detracts from the overall profile.  From mid palate to finish, it's rather flat and one dimensional.  I added water taking it down to about 100 pf and while there's a touch of sweetness that pops up, the heat is still way too dominate to enjoy.

Bowman released an 18 year last year and it's fantastic.  In a previous post, I blogged about our 14 year old barrel pick and that one is also fantastic so I had fairly high expectations of this 17 year.  Unfortunately, it's really not a bourbon I would add to my bunker nor drink.  I hate to be this critical of this bourbon but that's the way I taste it and my taster typically doesn't steer me wrong.

I revisited  this bourbon a couple of times and it's just not going to get any better.  If you enjoy heat and wood, go for this bottle.  Other than that, I would recommend the big bypass on this one.  It's just too one dimensional to invest nearly $70 for a bottle.