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Nose:Â There’s not the hit that you get from other whiskeys when it’s not watered down.Â (Don’t worry.Â Just as a test I took a sniff of another whiskey and yeah, my sense of nose is, unfortunately, not impaired – or at least wasn’t before I sniffed the worse one.)Â Â I definitely get a forest smell, almost like I’m smelling the oak tree.Â There are all kinds of levels behind that, like you’re sniffing complexity almost.Â That sounds, possibly, ludicrous, and makes me think that maybe four whiskeys should be the limit.
Tasting:Â When you first pull it unadulterated into your mouth it reminds of the first time you had a “grown up” dessert.Â As a kid, your sweets are usually fairly simple – one or two strong flavors.Â As you get older you can appreciate complexities a lot more, and when you have a huge, luscious, complex dessert and you can taste and feel and smell every little flavor in it – you’re lost in it.Â It overwhelms you.Â I almost think of having a bite out of a one of those “fourteen kinds of chocolate” cakes, you taste them all, and together, they blow out small portions of your brain to keep them from every truly appreciating cake in that kind of way again.
Maker’s Mark Bottled by Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc., Star Hill Farm, Loretto, KY45% ABV (90 proof) In college this was the much more common “good stuff”.Â You went with Jim Beam for day to day bourbon, such as on game day, or maybe Evan Williams if you were that kind of guy.Â I, like my friend Ed, was more of an Evan Williams man, especially after downing a 1.75L bottle of Jim Beam over the course of a bus trip from Charlottesville, VA, to Miami, FL, for a bowl game.Â Not my brightest move, but I survived (somewhat) intact, and in some ways it was a rite of passage, as I’d heard tales of my dad doing the same thing (drinking a handle of Beam) when he was in college.
As befitting someone who loves bourbon, I thought I’d start with that.Â Anthony Dias Blue’s recommends doing between three and six bourbons, sipping each.Â I’ll do that, then taking a swallow, and only then perhaps mixing with water (I’m doing about equal portions water to bourbon at that point).
Tasting: This one definitely has a more distinctive burn in the swallow of it and doesn’t quite cover the mouth like the Jefferson’s.Â It leaves a lingering tingle in the gums that isn’t completely pleasant but not completely bad, either.Â Note that it is a slightly stronger bourbon.Â There’s a depth to the taste there, like in the smell, that confounds my palette more than the Jefferson’s did, however, and for some reason I’m reminded of the taste of Licor 43, perhaps due to vanilla tastes.Â The splash of water really opens up the taste to it, but it’s still not something that I would drink casually on the rocks – to me, it is a bourbon with a strong enough punch to it that it really wants to be part of a drink.Â A good drink, mind you, not casually dumped into a Coke and swilled at a football game (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but I would love to make an Old Fashioned with it.
Second batch is Maker’s Mark, another classic one from college that I’ve rediscovered in the past year, and Buffalo Trace, a bourbon I just tasted recently – I believe the first time was at the restaurant Bourbon in Adams Morgan – and grew fond of using in cocktails.
Not wanting to kill myself tonight, I’m doing one ounce of each bourbon, two bourbons at a time.Â I’m using Riedel white wine glasses, washed out with cold water, no soap.Â Each has pictures – admittedly dark ones, I know.Â I’ll try to describe the nose first, then the taste (to me), before washing my mouth out with water and going to the next.
(And, of course, as soon as I’m about to begin my roommates have to clean the cat’s litter boxes while his fiancee experiments with Chanel No. 1727Bottled by Mc Lain & Kyne, Bardstown, Kentucky41.15% ABV (82.3 proof) It was interesting for me to find just regular Jefferson’s.Â For the longest time I’d always seen their Reserve, which I’d tried once or twice and found exquisite if expensive.Â While shopping at a different ABC store than usual I saw the Jefferson’s and picked it up.Â It quickly became one of my favorites in this price range.
5, so I pause for a while to let my nose clear.) First batch: Jefferson’s and Woodford Reserve. Nose:Â The overwhelming smell I seem to pick up on is vanilla.Â I feel like I also pick up some kind of floral nose to it. 02748Bottled by Labrot & Graham (I believe)45.2% ABV (90.4 proof) Woodford is one of the classics – a bourbon I can remember drinking as far back as college, though not on any kind of a regular basis back then, but it was something I remembered upperclassmen and alumni buying as “the good stuff” (along with bourbons such as Maker’s Mark).