December 13, 2012

Bourbon Tasting: Some of the Best

Recently, my good buddy from Thirsty South invited me to taste a selection of rare American whiskeys from some of the best distillers in the country. We tasted through a terrific lineup of boutique bourbons, and one whiskey, produced in small quantities and costing more than most of us should probably spend on a single bottle of hard liquor. While I've had my share of expensive bourbons from Pappy Van Winkle, Elijah Craig, and others, this was truly a stellar collection. The lineup was as follows:
St. George's Single Malt Whiskey, 30th Anniversary Edition, Bottle 689/715, 94.6 Proof
2012 Parker’s Heritage Collection Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 131.6 Proof
William Larue Weller Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 2011 and 2012 Releases, 123.4 Proof
Elijah Craig, 12 years old, Barrel Strength, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 128.5 Proof
Four Roses Single Barrel, 13 years and 10 months old, and 17 Years. Old, 126 Proof
Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 15 Years, 2008 bottling, 107 Proof
I'm nowhere talented enough as a bourbon taster to offer notes on all of these, and Thirsty South already has a great post up on our tasting. However, I can say that some of the tastes clearly separated themselves from the pack and are worth noting.
St. George's Single-Malt Whiskey, 30th Anniversary Edition belongs in a class of it's own. A singular tasting experience, it's a whiskey that gives off a nose that is a dead-ringer for an aged Riesling. Never smelled anything like it in a whiskey. It also shows citrus and pear notes on the clean and crisp palate. Not sure I'd want copious amounts of this, but it was amazing to taste. Yours for $400 a bottle if you can find it.
Another standout was the 2011 release of the William Larue Weller bourbon. This was the all-around package to me, and the best bourbon of the night. It showed a beautiful perfumed and fragrant nose and impeccable balance on the palate. At over 123 proof, I was expecting a good bit of aggressive heat, but it was surprisingly supple and smooth on the palate. This is a bourbon I will seek out. At around $70 it is a relative steal.  Also showing really well were the Four Roses Single Barrel 13 years and 10 months, and the Pappy Van Winkle 15. That's picking nits a bit as all of these bourbons were first class, and I'd be happy to drink any one of them.

Thanks again to Thirsty South and Jason at Sour Mash Manifesto.


  1. Turns out several places around town are getting in that St. George 30th Anniversary single malt. If only it weren't $400!!! I'm still thinking about that one.

  2. I'll help you drink it if you get some!