The mad scientist Bryan Davis is back … and he’s released a pair of whiskies very much in line with Lost Spirits’ previous editions. … Bryan has gone old-school and bought actual Islay whisky to perform his depraved alchemical rituals upon. Sourced from an undisclosed distillery on Islay (his only hint: it’s not Caol Ila), and rapid-aged in his biochemical reactor using American oak staves that have been toasted (or charred, see below) and soaked in late-harvest Riesling.
In a refreshing departure from mainstream bourbon brands releasing LDI/MGP rye under their own labels and then claiming some kind of “heritage” of rye distillation, Brown Forman’s Woodford Reserve actually went out and – gasp! – made themselves a rye! … made from a combination of pot-still rye whiskey from the historic Woodford Reserve distillery and column-still rye whiskey from the Brown Forman distillery in Shively, KY.
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.
James E. Pepper, an historic brand established (purportedly) in 1780 but mothballed in 1958 was distilled at several sites in Kentucky, including the now-abandoned James E. Pepper distillery in Lexington, KY. In 2008 the rights to the brand were purchased by the Georgetown Trading Co., and re-launched using sourced whisky from various distilleries.
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?
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.
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.