- 90 Proof
As far as my whiskey hobby goes, I feel like I'm pretty lucky living where I live. Not only do I have a Binny's just minutes from my home, but I can spend 20 minutes driving from my house and back and hit up five different liquor stores other than Binny's, all of which have decent to very good whiskey selections, all of which get their own store picks from time to time, and nearly all have great craft beer selections. It's even the envy of some of my friends who live a bit farther away.
This is just another such example. Liquor 'n' Wine is a local chain here in the Western Suburbs of Chicago with I believe five different locations. They do get the highly sought after allocated stuff like BTAC and Pappy, and they do sell those bottles at a hefty mark-up (sold in packages with 6-7 other bottles that most people looking for these things would otherwise not be interested in). But, I still pop in from time to time, without even glancing at what's on the shelves behind the counter, and go straight to the bourbon wall just for bottles like this where, for $25, I know I'm getting a solid if not really good whiskey.
The nose was interesting. I've come to expect a certain profile from Buffalo Trace, and this one was just slightly off. Sometimes with store picks that's a good thing, sometimes its bad. Here, I wasn't really sure which way this one fell. It had that caramel note I expected, but there were also some spices and bitterness. I got pumpkin pie notes, as well as a rich espresso note on the nose. Don't get me wrong, it smelled sweet, and I even got some delicious chocolate caramel notes at times, but it definitely had some more earthy spices and bitterness to offset.
As to flavor, the brown sugar and caramel that I expected to be there was certainly front and center. It immediately struck me as a sweeter bourbon, as I got minimal spice up front. That brown sugar and caramel eventually seemed to turn into a cola note, and then in later pours into a cherry cola note. I actually really enjoyed these notes.
However, somewhere in the middle of each taste other flavors seemed to pop in, some good and some not so great. As to the good, I got a root beer note, not like the super sugary root beer you get off the shelves at the grocery store, but one of those more flavorful specialty root beers that derive their flavor from something other than a cup of sugar per 12 ounces.
However, I the cherry notes I was getting at times leaned towards anise flavor, and when they did this it seemed to come on a bit strong. Some people might like this. I, however, did not. Also, throughout this bottle I got this really weird note that I likened to wet cardboard. Now, I certainly don't hang out on my couch eating cardboard every night while watching Food Network. But, I've certainly tasted cardboard before, as have most people I'm pretty sure, and this is what I was reminded me of. Not my favorite of tasting notes I've ever had.
The wet carboard note aside, this was still a very solid pour, especially for $25, and I won't ever stop buying these when I see them.