Saturday, June 22, 2019

J.T.S. Brown Bottled In Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon

VITALS:
- $18
- 100 Proof
- NAS
- Kentucky

While I feel as though I've been enjoying some really good whiskey lately, including store picks and some harder to find bottles, I keep reminding myself to try some of those standards that I've never gotten around to. I feel like I'd be doing myself a disservice if I simply ignored those affordable and readily available bottles because I'm too busy chasing down the allocated stuff.

After trying Heaven Hill's J.W. Dant, the next logical choice for a bottle that fits this bill was J.T.S. Brown. This is one of the uglier labels on the market, and perhaps that's the reason that I've taken this long to get around to trying it. But, that being said, it's Heaven Hill bourbon, it's bottled in bond, and it's a mere $18. This is one of those purchases where I knew that, even if it's not great, for the price and what I'm getting, I knew I couldn't go wrong.

The nose was very good, giving off all the traditional notes, but with a little kick. It was primarily toffee with some clove spice added. I also got some black pepper as well as vanilla, an odd but good combination. It also had an earthiness to it, a bit of a tobacco and leather smell that I just wasn't quite sure I liked. It was interesting, but I don't know if I'd go so far as to say it was enjoyable.

The flavor was very spice forward. I got a healthy dose of clove mixed with anise. I tend not to be a fan of anise-forward whiskeys, but in this case, the anise was light enough that it did not put me off in any way. Rather, it just added a bit of tang to the spicy clove notes.

I did get the traditional notes of caramel and toffee throughout. They provided a nice baseline. However, I also got a decent amount of orange. At first it was a brighter, citrusy orange flavor. At some point, though, it seemed to turn into more of a bitter orange note, like orange peel.

While this bourbon surprisingly had a nice, oily texture to it, unfortunately I found that it coated my mouth with the flavors that I didn't particularly enjoy. The bitter orange and the anise were the two flavors that seemed to stick around, while the caramel and clove notes seemed to fade quickly. This left an odd flavor lingering in my mouth and at the back of my throat, and I found it caused me to reach for a different bottle whenever I was ready for that next pour.

Ultimately, this to me was just a slightly above average bourbon. Even at this price point there are certainly better ones to be had. In fact, given that they're both from the same distillery, both bottled in bond, both in the same price range, and often times both found next to each other on the shelf, I'd easily take J.W. Dant over this bottle. It just didn't do a whole lot for me.

Grade: C+

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