• September 1, 2019

30 Days of Bourbon

Each day we will be posting a different pour online, including distillery, proof, and our tasting notes. Be sure to share your sips as well. Use the tags #lbs, #30daysofbourbon, and #bourbonheritagemonth on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

[Image: What will be your favorite pour during Bourbon Heritage Month?]

Each day we will be posting a different pour online, including distillery, proof, and our tasting notes. Be sure to share your sips as well. Use the tags #lbs#30daysofbourbon, and #bourbonheritagemonth on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Day 1: Weller Full Proof from Buffalo Trace

Day 2: Rare Breed from Wild Turkey

Day 3: Old Fitzgerald BIB 11 from Heaven Hill

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond 11 year. The brand was first registered in 1884 by S.C. Herbst, and was eventually sold to Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle during Prohibition. Pappy moved production of Old Fitz to his distillery where it became the first great Wheated Bourbon. In 1999, Heaven Hill bought the Old Fitzgerald brand and began distilling it at the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville.

Old Fitz 11 year.
Color: Rich amber
Nose: Green caramel apple
Flavor: Oak forward
Finish: Long finish, caramel saltwater taffy


Day 4: Old Forester 2013 Birthday Bourbon from Brown-Forman

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. This special annual release started in September 2002 and varies year to year based on age, warehouse location, and number of barrels used. The 2013 bottling of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon marks the first year that specific information about the release was removed from the label.

Old Forester 2013 Birthday Bourbon.
Color: Rich amber
Nose: Presents spicy cinnamon and caramel.
Flavor: This year had lots of heat on the front and finish.
Finish: Complex notes of spice, tobacco, and burnt brown sugar can be appreciated with discerning palates.

September 2nd marks the birthday of George Garvin Brown, one of the founders of Brown-Forman. To honor him, Brown-Forman releases an Old Forester Birthday Bourbon around this time each year.


Day 5: Hancock's Presidential Reserve from Buffalo Trace

Hancock’s Presidential Reserve. ”Is this better than Blanton’s?” (“Gasp!”) Maybe not better, though the higher Rye heritage is evident. Blanton’s comes across more “smoking jacket.” Refined, balanced, and floral. I find Hancock’s a bit more spicy, more fruity, and “business casual”...a character that some personally prefer over the more pricey and elegant sibling. It is definitely a buy when found.

Hancock's Presidential Reserve.
Proof: 88.9
Color: Deep amber with a Garnet tint
Nose: A perfume note that hides a fruity character...suggests more proof than the label advertises
Flavor: Viscous and surprisingly thick and coating on the palate. Lightly toasted almonds, cherries, vanilla extract and hints of baking chocolate or powdered cocoa
Finish: Medium with rye spice prevalent and the sweetness of peach cobbler


Day 6: Blanton's SFTB from Buffalo Trace

Blanton’s SFTB (Straight From The Barrel). This wonderful bourbon is only sold in select non-U.S. markets and select domestic duty free stores which is a shame. This version of Blanton’s offers a unique chance to see what Blanton’s tastes like when it’s cranked up to full strength, and boy does it deliver on that promise.

Blanton's SFTB.
Color: Golden brown, long legs
Nose: Oak, honey 
Flavor: Oak, vanilla, notes of cinnamon
Finish: Heavy oak tannins, long and warm


Day 7: Maker's Mark Private Select from Maker's Mark

Maker's Mark Private Select. We love the unique experience you get at Maker's Mark by crafting your own barrel pick allowing you to combine finishing staves into your own expression of Maker's Mark Private Select. Starting with their flagship Maker's Mark (at cask strength), their Private Select adds 10 wooden finishing staves from up to 5 toasted wood types to each barrel. It is then aged for the selected profile. The different notes achieved in the Private Select compared to their flagship Maker's Mark is 100% due to the finishing staves.

Maker's Mark Private Select (Keeneland Pick)
Color: Deep amber
Nose: Sweet french spice with some faint heat notes
Flavor: Very comforting sweet and spice note that was smooth
Finish: Since this particular Private Select was a release by Keeneland, the finish reminds us of sitting in the grand stands watching the ponies run, and cheering on our favorite horse!


Day 8: Angel's Envy Oloroso Sherry Cask Finished from Angel's Envy

Angel's Envy Oloroso Sherry Cask Finished bourbon. This rare spirit spent an extended finishing period in Oloroso barrels, and the lengthened oxidation process resulted in a remarkable sequence of flavors that are unlike any other whiskey we’ve ever tasted. Each sip carries unique raisin and fruit qualities with just a hint of hazelnut on the nose.

Angel's Envy Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish.
Color: Golden amber, toffee
Nose: Light oak, peaches, honey
Flavor: Pecan, peaches, with a hint of sour cherry
Finish: Smooth and sweet, short-medium finish with the sweetness lingering - a good dessert bourbon, and definitely an easy sip


Day 9: Wilderness Trail Single Barrel from Wilderness Trail

Wilderness Trail Single Barrel. This pick from Wine+Market in Lexington, KY is a 4 year and 1 month old bourbon. It was the second-only pick from this distillery, and several Lexington Bourbon Society members attended this pick. Wilderness Trail proudly uses Kentucky-grown Heritage rye from a local farm, a sweet mash process (most large distilleries use sour mash), and low barrel proof entry into a barrel for aging. When it comes time to dump the bourbon out of the barrel for bottling, Wilderness Trail’s bourbon and rye whiskeys are bottled at maturity with no chill filtration. That allows more flavor to stay in the bottle. It may also mean fans will see a bit of cloudiness in the bottle at times, and that’s ok.

Wilderness Trail Single Barrel (Wine+Market pick)
Color: Amber
Nose: Sweet spicy notes of pepper and a slight ethanol burn
Flavor: A sweet pepper note followed by a pleasing oily mouth coat
Finish: The sweetness takes over the profile for the finish


Day 10: Town Branch 10 Year Single Barrel from Town Branch Distillery

Town Branch 10 Year Single Barrel. Town Branch is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey brand produced by the Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company of Lexington, Kentucky which is owned by Alltech. It is the first distillery to be built in Lexington in more than 100 years. The distillery houses production for Alltech's four spirits: Town Branch Bourbon, Pearse Lyons Reserve (a single malt whiskey), Town Branch Rye Whiskey, and Bluegrass Sundown (a bourbon-infused coffee drink). The Town Branch 10 Year is a new addition to the family, and for a very limited time you may be able to find this one of a kind bourbon to purchase.

Town Branch 10 Year Single Barrel (Wine+Market pick)
Color: Deep amber
Nose: The barley and char is evident on the nose with nutty chocolate notes
Flavor: You can taste the barley, which is very pleasant, and dark notes of oak, chocolate, and coffee are evident
Finish: Brown sugar chocolate finish that leaves you a smile


Day 11: Wild Turkey Master's Keep from Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Bourbon. This bourbon is aged 17 years, and hand selected by Eddie Russell himself. Wild Turkey Master's Keep is the longest aged bourbon that the distillery produces, and has a lower proof than a lot of other bourbons at just 86.8, which enhances the flavor profile and lends a silkiness on the palate.

Wild Turkey Master's Keep
Color: Gold
Nose: Oak and caramel and vanilla notes
Palate: Spice and sweetness.
Flavor: Similar to the nose, oak can be appreciated. There is some tobacco, and seasoned wood layer overtop a hint of dark brown sugar with a light mouthfeel
Finish: Short to medium flavor notes which are dominated by wood characteristics and no off-putting tannins


Day 12: Jefferson's Reserve Twin Oak Custom Barrel from Kentucky Artisan Distillery

Jefferson's Reserve Twin Oak Custom Barrel. This bourbon is a collaboration between the Kentucky Artisan Distillery and Independent Stave Company. This product starts with 10 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, and then ages in custom barrels for an extra four months. Those custom barrels from Independent Stave Company have grooved staves which lend more surface area contact for the spirit to obtain all the notes of an excellent bourbon in a shorter amount of time.

Jefferson's Reserve Twin Oak Custom Barrel
Nose: Sweet fruit like fruit snacks, and caramel
Flavor: There is a sour-sweetness, like a caramel apple, followed by a spice that is woody and not like rye
Finish: Medium, leaves with oak char


Day 13: Old Pepper 10 Year from James E. Pepper Distillery

Old Pepper 10 Year. This is a Lexington hometown favorite bourbon labeled under the Old Pepper name. In 2008, the brand was relaunched by whiskey entrepreneur Amir Peay. A decade-long campaign of thorough historical research and collection of historic materials was used to retell the lost story of this iconic American whiskey brand and to distill new stocks of "Pepper” whiskey. This small batch, Old Pepper 10 Year Single Barrel Bourbon, was distilled in 2008 and received a double gold medal at the San Francisco Spirits Competition. Crafted from a high rye mash bill along with corn and touch of barley, it’s aged ten full years and bottled at 43% ABV in very limited quantities.

Color: Dark amber
Nose: Aromas of caramel and honey mixed with cinnamon candy, dried corn and a nice hit of black pepper
Flavor: The palate has a warming spice of clove, turbanado sugar, honey and apricot preserves
Finish: A medium finish with not too much spice even though it is a high rye


Day 14: Old Cabin Still Bourbon from Heaven Hill

Old Cabin Still Bourbon. Old Cabin Still is originally from William LaRue Weller, and came via Pappy Van Winkle to Stitzel-Weller and was a respected brand for decades. A huge corporation, Norton Simon, had been clumsily dabbling in bourbon and found themselves in a jam with a bunch of bad whiskey they couldn't sell, They bought Stitzel-Weller so they could gradually dump their failed whiskey into their bottom-of-the-line Old Cabin Still brand. This ruined the whiskey - effectively murdering the brand. When United Distillers dumped 70 brands to Heaven Hill in 1993 (who then dumped many to Luxco), with Old Cabin Still listed among them, it fell away into the mists of obscurity. Currently the brand name "Cabin Still" doesn't appear on either Heaven Hill's or Luxco's web site. It's not distributed in the Kentucky area (although it is still made and distributed in the Midwest and Europe). It's a moribund brand, while plenty of other brands with less excellence in their histories are still plugging along.


Day 15: RockCastle Bourbon from Barrel House Distillery

RockCastle Small Batch, Barrel Proof Bourbon. A rich contender from the Barrel House Distillery in Lexington, Kentucky, this entry is a namesake for the county producing limestone rich spring water. RockCastle has seen 8 batch releases since its inception, with proofs ranging from 112.6 to 119.6. Though this product is aged for 2 years, it boasts strong flavors and is a welcomed addition to any bourbon aficionado collection.

Color: Golden amber
Nose: Lots of oak, pepper, baking spice
Flavor: Heavy oak, licorice, brown sugar
Finish: This starts with a punch of flavor, and then mellows into a medium sweetness. The finish is fairly short with little to no burn despite it being more than 100 proof. We would love to see this age a little longer comparing a 4 year product to their 2 year product.


Day 16: Michter's Limited Release Barrel Strength from Michter's Distillery

Michter’s Limited Release Barrel Strength. In the summer of 2017, Michter's Distillery released their US1 Kentucky Straight Barrel Strength Bourbon for the first time ever. Due to limited stocks, this was only available in Kentucky and we are happy that they distributed locally for this delicious bourbon.

Michter's Limited Release Barrel Strength
Proof: 106.8
Nose: Caramel and toffee, balanced by vanilla
Flavor: Hints of apricot, cherry, and other stone fruits
Finish: Roasted pecans and molasses with some charred oak highlights


ABOUT THE AUTHORBarry Brinegar is a Lexington Bourbon Society board member and advocate. He lives in Lexington, Kentucky.