Maker’s 46 Bourbon

Maker’s 46 is basically Maker’s Mark with an additional 10 weeks of aging with 10 “seared” French Oak barrel staves inserted into the casks, and bottled at an extra 2% ABV (at 47%). The process is done during the winter in the coolest parts of the warehouse, to minimize the movement of whiskey through the wood. This treatment (the 46th attempt, hence the name) is supposed to intensify the vanilla and caramel notes of the bourbon without adding additional bitterness from barrel tannin.

Russell’s Reserve (10 year) Bourbon

The line of Russell’s Reserve bourbons and ryes are crafted by (and named after) legendary master distiller Jimmy Russell and his son Eddie Russell. Aged a full 10 years (hear, hear for age statements!) and bottled in small batches (a meaningless term, these days, basically an excuse for batch variability), Russell’s Reserve is reportedly made from a mashbill of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley. The barrels used in each batch are chosen by Jimmy and Eddie, and are from the center of the Wild Turkey rickhouses.

I.W. Harper Bourbon

The “other” Diageo Bourbon, I.W. Harper is another resurrected brand. The Bernheim brothers began selling I.W. Harper in 1879 and it has been (like most Bourbon brands) sold several times since. It saw a 20-year hiatus in the US, although it has been sold continuously in Japan. Now, Diageo is bringing it back in two forms.

Bernheim Original (7 year) Small Batch Wheat Whiskey

Bernheim Original, although it looks and tastes like bourbon, is not in fact bourbon. It is however a straight wheat whiskey and thus shares with bourbon an aging (of minimum 2 years) in new charred oak barrels and cannot contain flavoring or coloring agents. Bernheim Original, owned by Heaven Hill Distilleries, is made primarily from soft winter wheat, aged at least 7 years, and is bottled in batches containing no more than 100 barrels (thus the “small batch” designation).

Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon (2015)

This is a damn tasty whiskey. What I’ve always liked about Angel’s Envy is its ability to transcend the bourbon clich├ęs and deliver both subtlety and complexity in a way that other, heavier bourbons just can’t. At cask strength, you have an iron fist in a velvet glove – those same subtle, complex elements are thrust in your face and burned onto your tongue, for better or for worse.

Review: Beyond Barrels Aging Mast

The maker of Beyond Barrels Aging Masts contacted me with an interesting twist on the sticks-in-bottles concept: Minimize the amount of end grain while maintaining a liquid-to-wood-surface-area ratio identical to that of a 53-gallon oak barrel, heat-treat the wood without charring it (charred wood makes spirits taste like char), and then focus on adding interesting flavors through the use of French Oak, Cherry, and even Peach wood.

Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon – 2015

Every year around mid-September, Four Roses releases the coveted Limited Editions. 2015 also marks another transition at Four Roses: Legendary Master Distiller and American whiskey celebrity Jim Rutledge will be retiring this Fall. That makes the 2015 Limited Edition Small Batch the last limited release made under Jim’s direction. If you do secure a bottle, you’re in for a treat. A mixture of 4 different bourbons, using 3 recipes (out of the 10 Four Roses recipes) at unusually high ages: 16 year-old OBSK, 11 year-old OBSV, 15 year-old OESK, and 14 year-old OESK.