Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Ancient Ancient Age 8 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon


- $60
- 86 Proof
- 8 Years
- Japan Release
- Kentucky

I was lucky enough to stumble into this bottle.  A good friend of mine had made a trip to Kentucky and found one of these at Neat Bourbon Bar and Bottle Shop. Of course, I was a bit jealous at his find. But, luckily for me, he ended up heading back to Louisville only a few weeks later, and there was still one of these sitting on the shelf that he was kind enough to buy and mule back from Kentucky for me. 

This is apparently (I say apparently because I truly didn't know such a product existed until he brought it back) a Japan release only, not available here in the United States.  I'm sure at retail it's much cheaper than what I paid, but I was more than willing to pay the premium for something I couldn't get here, particularly where it came with the 8 year age statement. 

The nose was soft, but still had those traditional notes of cinnamon, vanilla and caramel. There was a light peppery note to it as well.  However, on the last few pours the vanilla note really seemed to take hold, providing this great, almost cake-like note that I really enjoyed.

Of course, with the lower proof, it came across as thin and a bit watery. That was to be expected. As were the notes of caramel and vanilla that I got right up front. What wasn't expected, though, was the lack of sweetness. I didn't get those sweet vanilla and caramel notes that I usually get from Buffalo Trace's mashbill #2.  The flavors were there, but not the expected sweetness.

Rather, it had almost a coffee liqueur note to it, with a bit of bitterness to accompany the vanilla and caramel.  There was also a bit of a dark chocolate note, providing that same type of bitterness while at the same time complementing the vanilla and caramel notes.

The finish, as thin and short-lived as it was, was actually quite tasty.  Here some of the sweetness came through, as the chocolate note seemed a bit more like a milk chocolate, losing some of the bitterness. There was also a citrus not that came through, and it reminded me of those chocolate oranges I used to enjoy as a kid. 

In the end, I kind of knew what I was getting into. It's Ancient Age, but with a bit more age on it. It's good, but it's low proof, and it drinks like it is. That said, this was still not only a fun and tasty bottle to try, it was a fun one to share with friends who likewise had never come across such a bottle.

Grade: B-

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Cedar Ridge Distillery No. 9 Reserve Iowa Whiskey

- $80
- 99 Proof
- 4 years
- Iowa

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  I love free whiskey!!!  This particular bottle was a Christmas gift from my sister.  When it comes to gift getting, I don't often get bottles of whiskey because people are usually concerned about whether or not I've had something before. While I certainly wish that train of thought went away, as I love getting bottles as gifts, regardless of whether or not I've had them before, in this instance my sister was very confident that wouldn't be the case. 

This is a collaboration that Cedar Ridge Distillery in Ioway did with Slipknot. It indicates that it's a blend of corn and rye, but it's not labeled as either one, but rather just "Iowa whiskey."  So I have no clue as to the mashbill. But, in any event, I was excited to try Slipknot's whiskey, and just to have something new!!

On the nose I did get a lot of rye notes. It was a good blend of cinnamon and pine resin, along with a rich nutty note, like walnut. There was also a slight licorice or anise note on the nose, which seemed to get stronger over time. I also got a distinct note of oatmeal, like cinnamon raisin oatmeal.

On the flavor, the cinnamon was front and center. It had that big red cinnamon note to it, along with the more natural cinnamon, giving it a place somewhere between cinnamon rolls and red hots.  I definitely got the pine resin notes as well, giving it a bit of mustiness. Also, despite its young age, I got a bit of oak right up front, along with a tannic bitterness.

As I had more pours, it started leaning more towards that oatmeal note I got on the nose.  I definitely got black licorice, very much like the candy I so hated growing up (and am still not much a fan of). But there was also raisin, a cereal note not unlike oatmeal, and loads of brown sugar. I think this combo did betray this whiskey's youth a bit, but I still found it enjoyable. 

On the finish a black pepper spice came through. Normally I would welcome that, but it just didn't seem to really have a place among the healthy amounts of cinnamon and brown sugar that were left lingering. The finish was just a bit all over the place.  

All in all, this was good, just with some rough edges that I needed to get past. I don't know if I would buy it again, but I was glad to have tried it, and did enjoy each glass. 

Grade: C+