Elijah Craig Single Barrel 18 year Barrel no 4219 Barreled on 11-18-97

This single barrel bourbon isn’t like the normal blends from multiple barrels that other bourbons are usually created from. Tagged as “Super Premium”, this whisky is aged in a single barrel for the full 18 years and then bottled when deemed ready by Master Distillers Parker and Craig Beam. First introduced in 1994, they discontinued the 18 year in 2012 after the demand for whiskey grew too great and there weren’t enough 18 year old barrels to meet it. They did however bring it back in 2015. Back for good? Not too sure, but we snagged a couple bottles to taste and see what all the hubbub is about.

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Elijah Craig Single Barrel 18 year

C: Sunset orange with glints of reddish orange around the rim.

N: The smell you get from peeling an orange is the first thing that I get on the nose. That spritz of orange essential oils spraying into the air and perfuming everything, even your fingers and everything you touch afterwards. That is immediately followed by old oak, a little stale and musty saturated oak. Like under-ripe plum skins and over ripe apples sitting on your kitchen countertop that should have been eaten last week. It definitely smells rich and powerful, just not too sure yet if that’s a good thing or not. Oh, and a very faint ripe banana smell.

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Elijah Craig 18 year ScotcNSniff Glencairn

P: It is rich. And I’m immediately slapped in the face with oak, followed by that random banana. 90 proof plays the slow roll and gently singes the outer ends of your tongue. It’s spicy though, not to be mistaken with alcohol burn. The oak is extremely present but dark cocoa and stale cinnamon spice are layering up a defense to add something to the playing field. Smyrna Figs come through in a layer followed with raisins and black strap molasses. This is far better than the 23 year, you can actually taste things. Yeah, the figs are strong in this one.

F: The finish is full flavored. Full of spice, dry cocoa, nutmeg, dusty old cinnamon that you should have used 5 years ago, white pepper, a toothpick you should have stopped chewing on 10 minutes ago and vanilla extract. The oak is ever present in this expression, slightly dominating every aspect of the tasting, but somehow it does work. This bottle is a niche type of bourbon that a certain super premium bourbon buyer will want to have in there collection. There are definitely better values out there and I truly believe you’re not missing out on anything not buying this. But it is unique and always fun to explore.

[Scotch]

BACKROOM Bourbon review

This blend of Bourbon straight whiskeys from District Distilling Co. seems to have popped up out of nowhere. One day I walk into my local liquor store and see the regular old faces, the next day I see this bright orange label staring back at me. I try to support local people whenever I have the chance and I noticed that this company is basically right down the street from where I live. So I think, let’s give it a go!

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BACKROOM Bourbon

C: The color is vivid orange, like the label, with bright spots around the edges. There is sediment in my glass, which looks like barrel char, but the bottle doesn’t state whether it’s non-chill filtered, chill filtered or filtered period.

N: Surprisingly enough, even at 48.5% abv, I can still stick my nose straight into the glass and smell nothing but sweet fig, toffee and caramel goodness. Not quite sure of what the mash bill is for the bottle, the company is going to email us with a response, but it definitely smells like it has a high corn ratio and definitely some spice richness from rye. We’ll have to update this post as soon as we hear back. Continuing to nose, I get black licorice, not something that I normally find while nosing whisk(e)y but this one sticks out. A little bit of toasted oak and then more of the vanilla sweet stuff. The nose is a little short and one-sided and maybe needs some time or water to open it up.

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BACKROOM Bourbon

P: Initial taste is a soft-ish floral vanilla sweetness and spice, slow to build in the mouth. Second sip reveals a little tobacco mixed with light brown sugar. The mouth feel is light and a soft creaminess develops as it coats my palate. All of the flavor, spice and warmth seem to be lingering right at the front of my mouth, leaving the mid-palate and back of my mouth as if I haven’t sipped anything. Peculiar.

F: Short. Stronger oak replaces the sweetness and licorice type spice. A little burn continues under the front of my tongue, but again, silence in the background. A little bit of water added to the glass reveals more minty characteristics and brings out oaky woodiness a little more, without the wood-sour aspect that water can sometimes do.

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BACKROOM Bourbon a blend of straight bourbon whiskeys

The website says that this bourbon is perfect on ice or in your favorite cocktail. I would completely agree with that. It has a strong enough flavor to withstand vermouth, lemon juice or even mint. I purchased this bottle for $45 and if I had a decision to purchase this bottle of “local” bourbon or some other $45 bourbon, I would buy this Backroom Bourbon again. I can’t wait to try something that District Distilling Co. distills on their own though, that’ll be the true test.

[Scotch]

Bourbon Review : Pappy Van Winkle 23

[Scotch] and myself aren’t much into buying bottles to sell them in the future. It’s not that we aren’t into the idea of collecting artifacts but life is too short not to enjoy some of the finest things you come across. With that said, we were fortunate enough to grab a bottle of the infamous Pappy Van Winkle 23 from a local store. So today, much to the chagrin of my wallet, we bring you a real review about a bottle that most of us have dreamed of but none of us have wanted to pay the market price for. I’ve placed our personal reviews back to back below and do hope you enjoy them 🙂

Oh, and if you learn ANYTHING from our reviews… do NOT add water or ice to PVW23. That seems to be the death knell for this tasty tipple.

 

***** [Sniff]’s review *****

The unicorn.

The nose does take a solid few moments (minutes more like it) to open up, even in a glencairn glass. Neat, the nose is like eggnog. Think baking spices over custard and cream. There’s a bit of charred oak under the sweat cream.

It’s soft it hits the tongue, like the velvet bag that is home to the bottle. It quickly ramps up to a layer of fiery oak. As soon as the oak makes its bow, caramel and cream venture their way to the front of the stage. There is just a hint of charred oak and light cinnamon lingering behind them giving it all that eggnog appeal.

The finish is light with the most faint trails of astringency in the mouth. It’s REALLY good.

Let’s add water to the unicorn even though it is easily managed neat even at 47.8% ABV.

The nose changes a bit and reverses the palate without water. It becomes more oaky and the cream gets buried. This is interesting.

The palate becomes an oak monster. Again, the cream still hangs around in the background but it really gives way to some over-oaked notes.

For all of the folks who claim that the PVW23 is past its prime, I wonder how many of them poured it over ice or prematurely added water. There’s a reason you don’t pour water on a unicorn.

For the suggested retail price of $250, I can say this is a pretty great value, doubly so considering the age. For $500, as a birthday bottle, I wouldn’t be let down at all. It would be a solid winner. For the amount I paid? It’s solid. For the $2500+ that it’s going for online? No way. I’d say it tops out at a grand as a value. Beyond that, it’s hype. Really, tasty, buffalo trace hype. 😛

Those are my two cents.

Slainte!

-Sniff

***** [Scotch]’s review *****
I wonder how many people who say that the Pappy 23yr is an oak monster have actually tried it. There are a lot of trolls out there and “Collectors” who gather up as many limited edition bottlings of something as they can, only to hoard it and never actually taste it. We here at scotchNsniff, think that is a travesty. To have whisky and not drink it is a crime and this crime shall not go unpunished. We shall CRACK open those bottles and CONSUME from the ELIXIR that has been hiding in those oak barrels and relay our reviews HERE!! On with the review =)

The color is a deep mahogany. It reminds me of making caramel but starting with brown sugar first and then going almost to being burnt but pulling it off the stove. Reddish hues dance in the glass. You can really see the red when it’s placed next to ordinary whisky.

On the nose, upon swirling the glass, that caramel that we were talking about, enrobes a red delicious apple. Vanilla whipped cream, piped on a custard pie. Brown sugar and a little oak resin mix with nutmeg and very very extremely light mint. There is oak, but it’s not the overwhelming oak monster that one would expect after 23 years of sitting in a barrel. The nose is so gentle, sweet and round. Shortbread cookies with a citrusy marmalade. As soon as the oak wafts in, the sweetness and spice and everything nice, pushes back and balances the bourbon.

My initial sip is slightly astringent, no alcohol bite even though its 47.8%, and then come the support team to bring happiness to the land. Creme brûlée all day baby. Buttered biscuits with citrus and vanilla double cream. If you haven’t had double cream in your life, it’s basically butter mixed with cream, creating an amazingly rich double cream that you spread on things like scones and biscuits. My second sip now starts off with the sweetness and vanilla that you nose in the glass. Swirling the mix in my mouth, that light mint comes forward with a rich spice on the front of the tongue. The oak shows it’s teeth along with some floral notes, like rose hips and creates a delicious sweet herbal mix. What a delicious bourbon.

After adding a scant capful of water to the bourbon the nose goes cold. The blast of flavors that I initially smelled neat, mellowed, as well as the palate. I completely agree with Sniff that this is when the Oak monster rises from the depths of the earth and unleashes his earthen roots on us all. The astringency turns me off and I regret ever adding water to this. The sweetness has died down as well as roundness and becomes a tad harsh and sharp.

If there is anything you learn from this review, drink Pappy 23 year neat. Any addition of water, either through ice melting or by way of dropper, buries the good stuff and brings out the nasty side of things. Sniff brought up the mention of cost and worth. I would agree with him that $1000 should be the upper limit of what this stuff should be able to fetch, but I’ve recently seen auctions sell bottles into the $2000 range. All I know is, I could buy a lot of great bottles of whisky with $2000 or even $1000.

Scotch, Out.