I’m a big Smooth Ambler fan. Not that it should matter. But, more context is needed around bourbon and whiskey reviews today. It’s possible that these preferences make their way into reviews but I do my best to block them out. I should also say that this wasn’t a distillery or PR sample. I purchased this bottle on my own. I like Smooth Ambler because they make and bottle great bourbon. So do many other distilleries and brands. I’m a fan because of how they handle their business and interact with customers. They’ve always been straightforward with their customers. Even when it’s bad news. I see Smooth Ambler guys hop into the bourbon Facebook groups to answer questions. Even when it’s criticism or negative feedback. They appear to genuinely care about the people buying their products.
This is the review for Knob Creek 25th Anniversary Bourbon. This is a new format for Bourbonr. For this review, I’ve included a live review I did on the Bourbonr Facebook group. Forgive the awkward fumbling and pauses. It seems so much more natural live 🙂 I do these reviews live and taste for the first time. I like to get my first reaction to a bourbon instead of taking the time to think about it. After the review, I go back and taste again and see how I feel. For the tasting part two, I’ll include my thoughts below the video.
Spoiler alert. I was wrong about Old Forester 1920. If you follow Bourbonr you probably know that I’m not a fan of Brown-Forman. Nothing against the company as a whole. As far as I can tell they run a great organization. They’re responsible for some of the most popular whiskeys in the market (Jack Daniels, Woodford Reserve, and Old Forester to name a few). However, I’ve never loved anything they put out. I pick up a yearly Old Forester Birthday Bourbon but it seems to have decreased since 2013 with an increased price tag. You can read my review of Old Forester 1870 here. Because of my experience with other Old Forester bottles, I was hesitant to try the “Whiskey Row” series.
Located in Bardstown, KY (The Bourbon Capital of The World), Barton 1792 distillery is the oldest fully operated distillery in Bardstown. Barton was acquired by Sazerac in early 2009. The 1792 brand sat untouched for many years after the acquisition. That was until 2015. The 1792 brand received a makeover and the addition of several new releases. The 1972 brand introduced Sweet Wheat, Port Finish, Single Barrel, Full Proof and now High Rye.
Micther’s Barrel Strength Rye was released in 2015 and an instant hit with rye fanatics. If you’re looking for a barrel proof Kentucky rye whiskey, your options are limited. Nothing against MGP,they make some of my favorite ryes. But, it’s nice to have a barrel proof, more traditional rye whiskey available. The bottle in this review is from the 2016 release.
Jim Beam released two new whiskeys this spring, Booker’s Rye and Knob Creek 2001. The Knob Creek brand started in 1992 as a part of the Beam Small Batch Bourbon Collection (although Chuck Cowdery has a great post about how the brand may go back even further). It’s one of my perennial favorite everyday bourbons so I was pretty excited about this release.
This week, me and several other whiskey writers got an opportunity to take part in the first tastings of the new Booker’s Rye. Tasting whiskey at a distillery is always fun, and it was an honor to be a part of it. This one will go down as one of my favorite bourbon/whiskey experiences so far. Here are the details of the release.
After a years hiatus, Michter’s has released their 2016 10-year Michter’s rye. Michter’s, originally an NDP (Non-Distiller Producer), has now opened the doors on their distillery in Louisville. They’ve become famous in the bourbon community for their aged, limited releases. The absence of their rye in 2015 was notable but here’s why it wasn’t released.
This past summer Heaven Hill doubled down on the rise of rye whiskey and released Pikesville Straight Rye. “Pikesville” the name can trace it’s lineage back to Maryland in the 1895’s. Stories are cool. A great product is even cooler.
First, some details about Pikesville Straight Rye. It’s a 6 year, 110 proof whiskey that retails for around $50-$60. The Heaven Hill rye mash bill is estimated to be 23/65/12 corn/rye/barley.
2015 Four Roses SmBLE Review
Every fall Four Roses releases their “small batch” limited edition. The small batch limited edition (SmBLE) release marries several different mash bills to create something exceptional. In total, Four Roses has 10 different mash bills but usually selects 3-4 to be a part of the SmBLE. The 2015 release is a combination of the following mash bills: OESK, OBSV and OBSK.