Sonoma County Distilling, located in Rohnert Park, CA and opened in 2010, uses direct-fired copper alembic pot stills for its whiskies, which are twice-distilled (like most single-malt scotches, which are also distilled in pot stills). The West of Kentucky Bourbon No. 2 has a mashbill of Midwest yellow corn, unmalted Canadian wheat, and malted barley from Wyoming.
Of the big bourbon brands, I’ve said before that Knob Creek with its good price point and nice balance of classic bourbon flavors with a little extra fruit and citrus and an actual age statement has made it a regular in my drinks cabinet. … This single barrel release is made from a low-rye mash bill (77% corn, 13% rye, 10% malted barley) and bottled at a paint-stripping 60% ABV.
Owned and distilled by the Jim Beam company, Old Grand-Dad is named after famed distiller Basil Hayden. … Old Grand-Dad 114 is named, appropriately, for its 114 proof (57% ABV). This is not quite cask-strength, as they must water the whiskey down to hit a consistent 57% ABV, but it’s close. … Old Grand-Dad bourbons are purportedly from a “high rye” mash bill, despite a total lack of definitive information on the subject.
Basil Hayden is named after the famed distiller by that name who established a farm distillery in Kentucky in 1796. … In 1992 the Jim Beam distillery (which now owns the brand and produces Old Grand-Dad whiskey) produced a small-batch product named after Basil Hayden and using a high-rye mash bill. The whisky is bottled at 40% ABV and claimed an 8 year age-statement until 2014, when the age-statement disappeared from bottles.
The Benchmark Old No. 8 brand was purchased by Sazerac (Buffalo Trace) from Seagram in 1992, when it was originally distilled at the Four Roses distillery. Sazerac moved production to the Buffalo Trace Distillery and tacked “McAfee’s” onto the name, in honor of the McAfee brothers who surveyed the site of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1775, long before it was built.
Unlike Batch 1, Batch 3 consists of a blend of two different casks of bonded bourbon. … Together, these casks yielded a batch of 466 bottles at 50% ABV (100 proof, a requirement for the Bottled-in-Bond label). … So, can I finally salve my conscience (and simultaneously ease my anxiety about the reliability of my palate) by evaluating Batch 3?
The same bourbon that goes into 1792 Small-Batch is aged for an additional 2 years in port wine barrels, and then bottled at the odd choice of 44.45% ABV. The extra aging means a price premium, so expect to shell out an additional $10 or so. That turns the very budget-friendly 1792 into a bit of a splurge, for a bourbon.
As usual, Angel’s Envy cask strength brings a wealth of intense flavor at a tongue-searing proof. You pay for the robust, dense flavors of berries and complex caramelized sugars in dead taste buds and the inability to smell for a few hours after. By all means, proof it down, but you might as well experience the full force of the 124.6 proof that you paid for. And paid well, I should add, at around $180.
This special edition of the Scotch Noob is brought to you by Tom at Tom’s Foolery, who asked that I take another look at his bourbon (which I kinda panned), with two things in mind: First, that I make sure the bottle has been open to oxidize a little bit (it has, at 75% full for a few weeks), and second that I compare it to Wyoming Whisky.
Tom’s Foolery is actually made by an Ohio man named Tom (take that, modern whisky marketing!). He does this on a pair of pot-stills and ages his bottled-in-bond Ohio Straight Bourbon in an honest-to-goodness US bonded warehouse for four years in new charred American oak barrels.