Sipp’n Corn Tasting Notes: Pursuit United

Who comes top of mind in todays’ crowded market of merchant bottlers?  Could it be that some of my friends who run the greatest bourbon podcast around have proven their mettle as blenders too?  I’m afraid that the answer is a resounding yes.

Pursuit United Tasting Notes

Bourbon:Pursuit United Blended Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distilleries:Blend of three straight bourbons from
Kentucky (Bardstown Bourbon Company);
New York (wheated, from Finger Lakes Distilling); and
Tennessee (undisclosed, but not in Tullahoma)
Mashbill:Various
Age:4-5 years
ABV:54% ABV (108 proof)
Cost:$65.00

Appearance:
Old barrel rings.  Darker than expected for the age.

Nose:
In addition to the expected caramel and vanilla, there’s a rich brown sugary, caramelized, sweetness.  It’s balanced with nuttiness, pine, rye spice, maple, and graham cracker.

Taste:
The flavors absolutely shine with light summer fruit, a touch of citrus zest, more caramel and brown sugar, all balanced with the same pine and rye spice from the aromas.  It’s creamy too, so the sweetness is like a glazed cinnamon roll.  I keep looking for the wheated influence, and not really finding it, but that’s OK because I’m enjoying it so much.

Finish:
Medium but it lingers in a warming long fade. 

Bottom Line
I always include a disclaimer when brand managers send me a sample, and that’s true here too.  Rarely, however, does a sample entice me to immediately go buy a bottle.  But that’s exactly what happened here.  And I love that blending is embraced in a way that bourbon brands have tended to shy away from.  This impressive bourbon is priced right and finally calls the out boring bourbon conventions.  We need more of this sort of innovation. I highly recommend that you visit Seelbach’s now, before it’s too late.

Disclaimer: The brand managers kindly
sent me a sample for this review,
without any strings attached. 
Thank you.

2020 BRIAN’S BOOK AND A BOTTLE ™

You can still make 2020 a little brighter with the right bottle of Kentucky Straight Bourbon or Rye Whiskey paired with Bourbon Justice.  We won’t be having the same Holiday events, but this year your gifts will be all the more appreciated, and they’re probably all the more necessary.  Brian’s Book and a Bottle™ has the right suggestion for everyone on your list:

For your business partner:  Bourbon Justice and Four Roses Small Batch Select.  This one went over so well last year, it’s my first-ever repeat.  Look for “Select” and 104 proof because Four Roses also has a standard Small Batch.  You’ll prove yourself again to be the brains of the business.

For your impossible family member:  Bourbon Justice and Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.  If ever the country needed to get back to solid roots, it’s now, and there’s hardly anything as solid as Jimmy Russell, Mater Distiller at Wild Turkey since 1954.  Jimmy has been the heart and soul of Wild Turkey and he can tell you all about family. 

For a host/hostess:  Bourbon Justice and Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey.  Just because Holiday parties are not happening this year, don’t let that dampen your spirits.  People who host a party every year need you to stop by for a socially-distanced “hello.”  Your visit will be all the more memorable with Pikesville’s 110 proof and beautiful presentation.  Sipping Pikesville while getting to know James Crow, James Pepper, and Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr. is the perfect substitute for a cancelled party. 

For your boss or other authority figure:  Bourbon Justice and Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Batch Proof.  These gifts are all about balance, and in this hunt, allowing Master Distiller Chris Morris to take the lead showcases your wisdom.  Bourbon was meant to be barrel proof and this limited release Woodford Reserve is exclusive without being gaudy.  That sensibility balanced with vitality will show that you are a crucial part of the team.

Where to find Bourbon Justice:

Best deal: Bourbon Justice is on a 50% off sale through Potomac until Dec. 31 with promotion code 6HLW20 — Potomac

Fastest Shipping:  Amazon is tough to beat — Amazon

VIP/Limited Edition:  Go to my website for a personally-inscribed book — Bourbon Justice

Please enjoy the Holidays responsibly!

Nose Your Bourbon – Enhancing the Bourbon Experience.

One of the great aspects of so many people getting into bourbon is the creativity that it fosters.  It started with barrel and bottle artwork, accessories, and furniture, but those have their limits.  Now it’s moving into a phase of true appreciation of the bourbon experience, like with the bourbon aroma kit available from Nose Your Bourbon.

There are always at least a few people in every bourbon tasting that I’ve led who half-ashamedly say upfront that they’re “not good at identifying aromas” or “not good at putting it into words.”  I try to encourage people to harken back to their aroma memories—like their grandmother’s kitchen, their favorite candy, walking into a leather shop, or a flowering field in the summer.  These memories are in our bourbon.

But I’ve often wished that I had something more tangible to help identify the most common aromas and to nudge us along.  That’s where Nose Your Bourbon comes in by developing the perfect kit to help guide and train your sensory experience.  Using all-natural ingredients for authentic aromas, the Nose Your Bourbon case includes 18 screw-top containers providing with the most common aromas found in bourbon:  wood, grain, sweetness, spice, fruit, and floral.

I’ve been using the Nose Your Bourbon kit while reviewing samples and writing tasting notes.  It’s helped me realize that nosing is the most under-appreciated part of the bourbon experience and appreciate what science has proven—that over 80% of what we taste comes from what we smell.

Check out Nose Your Bourbon here: Nose Your Bourbon and never get left behind in a tasting.

Sipp’n Corn Tasting Notes: Parker’s Heritage Collection, No. 14, 10-year Heavy Char

Heaven Hill’s annual fall limited release of Parker’s Heritage Collection is one that I try to find every year.  For 2020—the fourteenth edition—Parker’s Heritage Collection is a 10-year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.  Before people say “meh” to the age, remember that the fantastic Promise of Hope (7th edition) was also 10 years, and the highly-acclaimed single barrels from the 11th edition were 11 years old, so don’t be fooled into wanting older bourbon all the time. Heaven Hill has a knack for finding honey barrels at any age.

The uniqueness this year comes from aging this bourbon in heavy char (Level 5) barrels, as opposed to the customary Level 3 for Heaven Hill.  That’s 90 seconds of intense flame!  Composed of 102 barrels aged on the sixth floor of rickhouse Y at the main campus in Bardstown for the past 10 years, this bourbon had plenty of time to interact with this extreme char.

Plus, as with previous years, Heaven Hill continues its support of ALS research in honor of Heaven Hill’s late Master Distiller, Parker Beam.  Since 2013 with the Promise of Hope edition, Heaven Hill has raised more than one million dollars for ALS research and patient care by contributing a portion of the sale from each bottle.  This remarkable effort by Heaven Hill should be much bigger news than it is.

Parker’s Heritage Collection Tasting Notes

Bourbon:Parker’s Heritage Collection 10 Year Old Heavy Char Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distillery:Heaven Hill, Bardstown, Kentucky (distilled in Louisville and aged in Bardstown)
Mashbill:78% corn; 12% malted barley; 10% rye
Age:10 years
ABV:60% (120 proof)
Cost:$120.00

Appearance:
Dark golden brown, but not as dark as I had expected from the heavy char.

Nose:
So many aromas—lots of leather, tobacco, and oak to go with caramel, black pepper, old barn, and a whiff of slight sweetness reminding me of a rich, malty imperial stout.  While I could tell that it’s high proof, I would never have guessed 120 proof.

Taste:
The high ABV was not evident here, either.  While sharing many similarities with what I expect from Heaven Hill (like Elijah Craig 12 year Barrel Proof—and I tasted side-by-side with batches B517 and B520), the caramel in particular was more prominent, and there were flavors of maple syrup that I don’t usually find with Heaven Hill.  With more rich cocoa flavors and robust oak and spice, this Parker’s Heritage Edition is extremely well-balanced and bold.

Finish:
Medium in length led by an initial charge of rich caramel and fading with dryness of tobacco, leather, and toasty oak. 

Bottom Line
Heavy char doesn’t mean more smokiness.  To the contrary, the greater time on fire means more hemicellulose breaking down into sugars, which explains the heavier caramel flavors.  But enough science; this is a great bourbon that combines a robust punch with rich sweetness without the heat distraction that is all too common in high-proof bourbons.  This is a beautiful tribute to Parker Beam and I highly recommend it.

Disclaimer: The brand managers kindly
sent me a sample for this review,
without any strings attached. 
Thank you.

Sipp’n Corn Tasting Notes: Heaven Hill Batches C920 of Elijah Craig 12-Year Barrel Proof and Larceny Barrel Proof.

Bourbon Heritage Month has now passed, fall is in full swing in Kentucky, and after all that has happened in 2020, it’s fitting to start the last quarter of the year with some barrel proof power, especially with the last batches of 2020 of Elijah Craig 12-year Barrel Proof and Larceny Barrel Proof.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof C920 Tasting Notes
Bourbon:        Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
|Distillery:       Heaven Hill
Age:                12 years
ABV:              66.4% (132.8 proof)
Cost:               $60.00

Appearance:
Dark amber brown.

Nose:
Butterscotch, brown sugar, and caramel for sweetness, oak power that is practically a trademark of Elijah Craig, and some faint cocoa and cherry.

Taste:
Brown sugar, again, and honey, along with black pepper and great oak, but hot to start.  Let it rest and cocoa develops with butterscotch and peanut.

Finish:
Long, warm, drying finish.

Larceny Barrel Proof C920 Tasting Notes
Bourbon:        Larceny Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distillery:       Heaven Hill
Age:                NAS, but 6-8 years
ABV:              61.62% (122.4 proof)
Cost:               $49.99

Appearance:
Brown without much amber.

Nose:
This really took until my third pour to open up, but it nailed butterscotch, brown sugar, and cinnamon apples.

Taste:
Whew that’s hot, even when I poured it over an ice sphere.  Let this one air out a little, and you’ll find a classic caramel wheater.

Finish:
Led by a punch from the heat, and the warmth lingers with caramel sweetness.

Bottom Line

So, we’re finally at the end of 2020, at least as it relates to Heaven Hill barrel proof releases.  Elijah Craig Barrel Proof was full of home runs in 2020 with B520 leading the way in my book, but all three prove that Elijah Craig is the top barrel proof brand out there.

And another silver lining for 2020 is that it was the inaugural year for Larceny Barrel Proof, which I’m still betting will ultimately position Larceny as the leading wheated bourbon.  Hopefully we’ll get some more age in Larceny Barrel Proof (again, can you imagine a barrel proof 12-year Larceny to go along with Elijah Craig?!?), but until then, you still need to try these.

Disclaimer: The brand managers kindly
sent me samples for this review,
without any strings attached. 
Thank you.