Saturday, June 23, 2018

FEW Bourbon Whiskey

- $23/200 ml bottle
- 93 Proof
- < 4 years
- Batch 15-6
- Illinois

FEW bourbon, a local spirit that is not only on shelves everywhere, but also in nearly every venue, has simply not appealed to me. I first sampled it at the distillery maybe four to five years ago. While I enjoyed their rye a lot, I just didn't find anything to like about the bourbon. It had that flavor I get in young, craft bourbons so often--rotten apple. I can't seem to get away from it, and when it's there, it's all I notice.

A couple years ago I gave FEW bourbon another try at a bar. Again, I got that young, rotten apple taste, and I was turned off again. At Christmas, however, a friend gave me this 200 ml bottle. Figuring it's been a few (no pun intended) years now, and the whiskey should be more matured than when I last tasted it, I figured I'd give it another go.

Unfortunately, things haven't changed a whole lot. I was optimistic at first, as the nose was great.  I got some caramel and baked apple that were delicious together, along with cinnamon spice. The nose was soft, inoffensive and inviting.

When I went in for my first sip, even, I got brown sugar right up front. It was sweet and delicious. Unfortunately, it was closely followed by that not unfamiliar but completely unwelcome flavor of over-ripe apples that had turned brown. I wanted it to not be there so bad, but there it was, front and center.

I will say, it did seem to be tempered a bit compared to past experiences. It wasn't offensive, it just wasn't good. On the back end I got a bit of a piney note as well. It wasn't quite a Pine Sol flavor, but rather a muted car freshener flavor (or at least what I assume one of those car fresheners would taste like if I ever ate one).

This bottle was good for two solid pours. On the second pour, I noticed a peanut flavor as well. This new flavor wasn't bad, but was just odd when mixed with the other odd, not-so-great flavors of this bourbon.

I wanted this bourbon to be good. I really did. But, I think I may be done giving it a chance. It's a shame that I just can't bring myself to like it.  I think I'll just stick to their ryes from here on out, which they do very well.

Grade: D+

Monday, June 4, 2018

Eagle Rare Binny's Single Barrel Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Barrel #061

- $35
- 90 Proof
- 10 Years
- Barrel #061
- Kentucky

Oh how I do love me some Eagle Rare. I heard about this particular release from one of the various bourbon groups I belong to on Facebook. I saw a message there that Binny's had just released two new Eagle Rare barrel picks. I first texted my friends to let them know (because sharing is caring), and then I was at my local Binny's five minutes later. I wasn't the only one with this idea, either, as two other people walked in immediately ahead of me asking for the same thing.

On the nose it has that old, familiar eagle rare scent. It's got a bunch of cinnamon and vanilla, making for a nice, sweet but spicy aroma. Caramel and even a fruity note come through on the nose as well, like candied cherries.

The flavor surprised me a bit, though, particularly after that nose. I fully expected to also taste the same old Eagle Rare. This had a little something more to it, though, that I loved. It still had that familiar cinnamon spice to it. The vanilla was certainly there as well, providing that stable foundation for all the other flavors.

However, what I really found myself enjoying was a nice, chocolate note. IT wasn't the bitter dark chocolate note that I sometimes get, but it wasn't sweet, milk chocolate either. It found a nice, comfortable spot right about halfway between the two, and it was great!

Unfortunately, about halfway through the bottle that chocolate flavor that I was loving seemed to fade away. Granted, other tasty flavors took its place, including some sweet caramel notes as well as a sort of graham cracker-y note. It still drank on the sweeter end, like a dessert bourbon, and it still had that great cinnamon spice to it, but I missed that early chocolate note.

I think it transformed, to some degree, developing not only those caramel and graham cracker characteristics, but also a delicious dark cherry note. That note had a little bit to it, almost a sour cherry (sounds weird in a bourbon, I know, but it was actually pretty good).

Overall, this was a fantastic bourbon, one that had me wishing I had grabbed a second bottle. It's also one of the few bottles where I enjoyed it more at the start than I did at the end. I really loved that chocolate note with the spice, and I just wish it hadn't faded away. Still completely delicious, though

Grade: A-