Thanks to the generous hosting of Eskwar, seven of us were able to gather for an afternoon of sharing and tasting. I’d have to say that the highlight of the day was a tasting of some dusty (paper label) Weller 12 Year and Old Weller Antique and the subsequent blending into a 50/50 StraightBourbon Blend. We were also able to do a side-by-side comparison with current bottles of each as well as the blend. Unfortunately, this demonstrates how superior the old products were and how much better they blended. On the positive side, StraightBourbon Blend is quite competent with the current stock and I must put these on my list to buy and blend.
Here’s the list of what I tasted for the first time:
- Four Roses Single Barrel Private Selection OESO Barrel Proof – woody with some mild heat
- Four Roses Single Barrel Private Selection OESF Barrel Proof – more caramel and vanilla than OESF, still the same wood with mild heat
- High West 21 Year Rocky Mountain Rye – mild spice, mild wood, mild flavor, not much here for a rye
- Jefferson 10 Year Rye – not much flavor or spice for a rye, more dry than sweet
- Yamasaki 12 Year – woody with honey, grass, bitter through to finish
- Hookers House Bourbon – Pinot noir finished and its noticeable on the finish especially, tobacco, plum, raisin without sweetness, menthol, reminds me of wine finished ER10
- Evan Williams Vintage Single Barrel 1998 – caramel, cherry, nice sweetness, tobacco, short finish but very good
- Black Maple Hill Bourbon – sweet, menthol, tobacco, dark fruit, cocoa
- StraightBourbon Blend – definitely better than either Weller 12 or Old Weller Antique, tends more to OWA
- StraightBourbon Dusty (Paper Label) Blend – less sweet and bit more wood than the newer blend with a longer finish
- Tom Moore Bottled-in-Bond – really solid bourbon at around $20 for a handle
My pick of the day was Hooker’s House Bourbon because of it’s unique flavor profile. The wine finishing really worked better than I expected it to. This is only available in California as far as I know, so I’ll have to be on the lookout on my travels. The other standouts were the StraightBourbon blends, Black Maple Hill and the old Evan Williams Single Barrel. I did come home with a bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel OESF, thanks to a generous fellow StraightBourbon forum member, so that’s worth mentioning, too. Oh, I almost forgot about my final pour of the day, Tom Moore BIB, which was very good. I plan on looking for a bottle of this one so that I can study it a bit more, but I was very impressed with my quick introduction and the price makes it a bargain.