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digamma 07-10-2011 01:31 AM

digamma's Whiskey Rebellion
I may have mentioned in threads in the OT forum that I collect bourbons and other American whiskeys. I have upwards of 40+ bottles. I thought this place was as good as any to detail some tasting notes, as well as to post some other thoughts about bourbon or whiskey as I enjoy a glass from time to time.

Here goes...

digamma 07-10-2011 01:43 AM

First a little background...

Like all my jolly good fellows, I drink my whiskey clear,
I'm a ramblin' gamblin' helluvan' engineer!

College football fans may recognize that as the close of the Georgia Tech fight song. In addition to singing the entire fight song to my son each night I put him to bed, I use the last two lines as my guide to tasting whiskey. I will generally pour a glass neat (standard one to two finger depth) and have a taste. I can then adjust with either ice or water to open up the flavor or, in some cases, cool it down.

What is bourbon?

Bourbon is an American whiskey made primarily of corn. There are a lot of legal requirements a distiller must meet in order to call his whiskey bourbon. One of them is not that he/she be located in Bourbon County, Kentucky. This is a common urban legend.

Bourbon must be at least 51% corn and at least 80 proof (40% alcohol).

What other types of American whiskey are there?

Several. People are probably most familiar with Jack Daniels, which is a Tennessee Whiskey. Tennessee whiskey, which is just distilled in Tennessee, undergoes a filtering process in which the mash is run through a charcoal maple sugar.

In addition to Tennessee whiskey, there are ryes (51% rye), wheat whiskeys (51% wheat), corn whiskey (at least 80% corn) and a few others.

digamma 07-10-2011 01:58 AM

Whiskey Review #1

Tonight after dinner, I decided to have a glass of Black Maple Hill 23 Year Rye Whiskey. I have been on a bit of a rye kick lately. Ryes are best known as being the ingredient in a "proper" Manhattan cocktail (though many Manhattans are made with bourbon today). Ryes are generally a little spicier or hotter than bourbons.

I got this bottle of BMH a couple of years ago as a gift. I've only recently opened it.

Black Maple Hill's 23 Year Rye is a great whiskey. On the nose it is part oak, part pepper, part maple/brown sugar. BMH may be on the sweeter side of ryes. The taste is definitely spicy, but not overly so. I get some oak/woodiness from the barrels, and some peppery/spice/cinnamon flavor. It is not overpowering. I definitely also taste the brown sugar flavor.

The cool thing about BMH is the different tastes as the drink moves from the front of your mouth to the back. It opens sweeter and finishes spicier. The spices and pepper linger.

I really like Black Maple Hill's 23 Year Rye. It is not cheap though ($75-100 a bottle), so I'd say it is a bottle worth having in a collection, but not an every day drink. I need to preserve this bottle.

JonInMiddleGA 07-10-2011 02:30 AM


wheat whiskeys (51% wheat)

Don't think I knew there was such a thing. Is there a name(s) that I'd know but just never realized was wheat?

Izulde 07-10-2011 11:07 AM

I love these alcohol review threads, even though I don't drink beer and normally don't drink hard liquor straight.

Maybe I'll create a wine review thread some day, even though my reviews would be terrible and make those who know what they're talking about cry.

digamma 07-10-2011 11:29 AM


Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA (Post 2494870)
Don't think I knew there was such a thing. Is there a name(s) that I'd know but just never realized was wheat?

Probably not. They are fairly uncommon. They are on the sweeter side of the spectrum. My favorite is a brand called Bernheim.

digamma 08-07-2011 01:43 AM

Whiskey Review #2

Tonight I had a drink of Hudson's Four Grain Bourbon. This was another gift. It is a fairly unique bourbon because it is one of the few not made in Kentucky. Hudson's is based out of NY, and they make a few different kinds of whiskey. The four grain qualifies as a bourbon, but also has wheat, rye and malted barley in the recipe. It checks in at 92 proof.

Hudson's four grain is light on the nose, not very distinctive. The taste is immediately sweet, somewhere between caramel and vanilla, but not necessarily distinctive between the two. The finish has a little bit of spice and fire, but it is not too much.

Overall, I like the drink, but I'm not sure I would buy this one in the store. Hudson's makes 375 ml bottles (normal is 750 ml), but they price the 375 ml competitively with other 750 ml. It is a good bourbon, nothing offensive, but it doesn't do enough for me to make it twice as good as a competitor.

Radii 08-07-2011 02:21 AM


Originally Posted by digamma (Post 2494860)
In addition to singing the entire fight song to my son each night I put him to bed

So awesome :D

digamma 08-19-2011 02:27 PM

Whiskey Review #3

Last night, I brought a bottle of Angel's Envy to a friend's birthday party. He had requested a bourbon that was medium sweet and not too hot. I had never had Angel's Envy before, but based on the description on the bottle it seemed like it might fit my buddy's tastes. The key to the bottle description is that it is finished in Port barrels. I figured that would add some sweetness, and at 86 proof, I knew that it would be manageable.

The smell of Angel's Envy was really nice. Definitely a hint of sweetness and you could pick up the port. To taste, it was sweet, but not in the pure caramel/vanilla you get from most sweet bourbons. I'd classify it as a little fruitier (again likely due to the port barrel), maybe cherry, but not giving up the full whiskey taste. The finish was smooth, with just about the right amount of spice.

I tried it again with an ice cube, but preferred it neat. The ice dilluted it a little too much for me.

At about $45 a bottle, Angel's Envy moves near the top of my list for mid-range bourbons. I really enjoyed it.

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