Rant/Rave: Bourbon

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Swirls
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Re: Rant/Rave: Bourbon

Post by Swirls »

Anyone ever try Tincup whiskey? They were giving out free samples after the Twin Cities Tough Mudder a week or so back. They were only like 1/4 oz pours (or perhaps even less), so it was really hard to gauge. Especially since you were tired and dehydrated as [expletive] after the run.

I thought it was good (for what little I actually had), but would like to hear other opinions.
Last edited by Swirls on July 23 19, 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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33anda3rd
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Re: Rant/Rave: Bourbon

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thrill wrote:33, I'm sure you've probably covered them before, but what are your thoughts on FEW? It's a little harder to run into in Arizona and Florida, but seems pretty widespread here in the Peoria area. I really like the Rye.
Yeah, I like the rye too, but it's been a while. The Breakfast Gin is probably my favorite of their products.

My favorite new IL distiller is Whiskey Acres in DeKalb. Jim and his son Jamie own the farm, Jim is a Master Farmer, Jamie is on his way. Jamie is 50 or so, they're older guys. They grow corn and rye. Everything except the malted barley (they have no means to malt yet) is done there, it's from the seed to your glass done there, which is pretty unique. After decades of growing yellow dent corn and shipping it west for ethanol or feed, Jim thought "We need to make something that can be a local product with our corn." They met Nick Nagele, also from a farming family, and decided to put a distillery in the farm.

Here's where the story goes from mundane to really [expletive] cool. They don't know how to distill, but they know how to farm, and they want to know if different strains of corn will produce different flavors in whiskey. Since they don't know how to distill, they reach out to Dave Pickerell, who was the Master Distiller at Maker's Mark and who launched Whistle Pig among other post-Maker's projects that basically made him the George Washington of Craft Whiskey in the US. Dave helps them build a distillery in a barn on site. Beautiful copper Vendome hybrid still from Louisville. Dave helps them build a rickhouse in another old barn. He shows them what to do to set up shop, they hire a distiller, Rob, who's not really experienced but is smart and ready to learn. Now, Rob is about to complete his masters at Heriot-Watt in Scotland via long-distance practical study at the distillery. I did an aroma sensory panel out there a couple weeks ago to assist him with that masters thesis, it was really fun. We nosed a dozen different white dogs, no tasting, and gave descriptor notes.

The thing that got Dave jazzed was the idea of the corn strains. He wanted to do something like that at Maker's but never could. Now he's passed, but the project lives on and it's pretty rad. They have long grown one strain of yellow dent corn for yield purposes. That's still about 90% of their farming--commodity--but now they grow a bunch of strains in small experimental crops. In the tasting room now there is one they call X-20 and one they call X-67. Distilled one day apart, same mash bill of corn/rye/malted barley but with a different corn strain for each, rested next to one another in the barn/rickhouse, in barrels from the same batch, aged for the same length of time. The X-20 is astringent, harsh, kind of unpleasant. The X-67 is one of the best things I've tasted, rich and round, that thing where a bourbon tastes like those caramel candies with the white swirl in them from the bottom of grandma's purse. Extraordinary, thrill. So good. Both are blended into their standard bottling with two other strains. They're still going, and plan to have several bottlings of single-varietals available in market in Illinois over the next few years. They even planted a small crop of blue popcorn and distilled it, it's being rested now to find out if popcorn bourbon would be good.

They also make a rye that's even better than the bourbon. They invested $200K a few years ago to turning the whole farm solar, including the distillery and the two homes on the land. They have a water-return system that guarantees they're not wasting a drop. It's really remarkable, you should take a drive up to DeKalb and check it out, it's really very nice and intimate, you get the opportunity to be right up there in the workspace, it's night and day from touring an urban distillery or a big factory in KY. If you don't see it in a store down there, ask the buyer to get you one from Heritage Wine Cellars, that's the distributor. If they have Plantation Rum or Koval on the shelves they are already buying from Heritage and can probably tack a special order on for you.
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thrill
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Re: Rant/Rave: Bourbon

Post by thrill »

That's a beautiful local ag story. I will have to get up there and tour sometime.
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33anda3rd
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Re: Rant/Rave: Bourbon

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Had this bottle of Knob Creek 120 proof single barrel with “aged nine years” on the label in the back of a cabinet forever, decided to open it up. Hot, but delicious with a drop or two of water.
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Re: Rant/Rave: Bourbon

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GeddyWrox wrote:Devils River is just meh. It's not swill, but it isn't great either. I liked the Wild Turkey 101 I just finished MUCH better.
Thought I remembered them being mentioned, have them on my kitchen counter tonight.

The bourbon is fine for $23.99 or whatever it will retail for.

The rye is pretty solid, nice to have something that's NDP but not coming out of MGP with the same dilly 95/5 mash that is all over the place. It's 51% rye, so just scrapes the mark that makes it legally a rye, with 10% barley and 39% corn IIRC. That's a pretty rare mash bill, it's nice to have a smoother rye to sell that's more a bourbon drinker's rye. Though it's not my jam, I tend to like things that push the edges and take risks--very high-rye bourbon, barrel proof bourbon, wheated and very smooth bourbon, high-proof rye. This lives in the middle, agreeable and smooth, presents a nice option to a customer and at like $28 on the shelf it's a good deal. This is a winner IMO.

The barrel strength, you can tell it's young, like 2 years old. Kind of dark gold, you can spot the youth easily. You can see and smell the proof. Give it a swirl and the legs are sticky, thick, slow to run, and there's a burn on the nose that tells you this isn't 80 proof. On the palate it's very astringent almost to an off-putting degree. I get some tobacco, but like stale cigarette tobacco, some oak that is a bit unpleasant. I assume because it's aging in TX where there are two diurnal shifts in weather a day (There are only 2/year in KY) that this is getting heavy wood influence, but the juice is getting the wood without the benefit of enough time to all marry together and harmonize. I wouldn't be surprised if they are using smaller barrels to speed this up even further. In the barrel proof segment, it's tough. It's virtually impossible to get a bottle of Willett Family Reserve, Stagg Jr runs in the mid-$50s when you can find it, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof only comes 3X year and is gone in a heartbeat in the $60s-70s, Makers Cask Strength is expensive. A barrel proof bourbon at 117 with good flavor and a nice higher rye mash under $40 is a decent value, but this is probably strictly for the people who really like oak and ethanol burn, or people who are going to make barrel strength bourbon Manhattans or Boulevardiers or Old Fashioneds at home.
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Swirls
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Re: Rant/Rave: Bourbon

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Barrel strength cocktails in general sound like a very bad idea.

And yes, that includes making jungle juice in college with Everclear.
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Re: Rant/Rave: Bourbon

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Barrel strength generally doesn't get to Everclear levels. Even a really high-proof rum, like Plantation OFTD, is only hitting like 138 proof. I like barrel strength whiskey, navy strength gin/rum in a cocktail because it has a better backbone to stand up with N/A mixers.
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Re: Rant/Rave: Bourbon

Post by GeddyWrox »

It is almost bourbon o'clock, [expletive]!
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Re: Rant/Rave: Bourbon

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Here's a good one for you guys, and also IMO a really good Xmas gift for a whiskey drinker: Wilderness Trail.

There's a rye, a bottled in bond bourbon and a bourbon. I'd probably rank them in that order. The rye and bonded bourbon are also all single barrels.

If you're in Chicago there are two private barrel store picks of bourbon at local Binny's, there's one that ends A and one that ends B, the A is really big and round and the B is oaky. I was in the big Binny's last week and talked to Joe and Pat who are 2/3 of the team that picks their barrels they told me they were the two best single barrels they feel like they've picked in a year or two and so I picked up both and I'm really blown away. At $60 they're not cheap (the non private barrels are $50) but they're very much worth it.

The deal on the distillery, which I'd never heard of until last week, is that this guy is a huge yeast nerd and is playing around with a lot of different strains--so each bottle of the private barrel picks has the yeast strain listed, who picked the barrel, the age, etc. Most don't focus on the yeast like that. Many new distilleries do 2 things while getting up and running:
1. make vodka and gin to have cashflow from unaged spirits
2. buy some whiskey from MGP or other to sell some sourced whiskey for cashflow
They did neither. They started distilling and started laying whiskey down in barrels and decided they wouldn't sell anything until it was mature and ready to go, which as I understand it means they waited over 4 years, just distilling and doing test fermentations with different yeast and laying whiskey down without selling anything. This level of patience is pretty remarkable.

Definitely recommend these for when you need an upscale sipper or your need a gift for that relative or friend who likes their whiskey and has had everything but hasn't had this. I'd not be surprised if these guys gain a Willett-like hardcore following.
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Re: Rant/Rave: Bourbon

Post by haltz »

Checking out their website to see if it's available in MO (not yet), they've definitely been doing a vodka off their bourbon mashbill for a while. Also they have a Kentucky sorghum rum using second-fill bourbon barrels that looks, uh, loosely defined and possibly cool - obviously they had to sit on that one for a little bit.
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