Monday, December 7, 2015

New Releases You Don't Need

Given that we are fullt into the holiday season, I thought I would make this easy and review a bunch of new whiskey releases that you don't need to buy.

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2015, 12 yo, 50% abv ($80)

I've often been critical of this annual release from Brown Forman (though I did like last year's). This year's release isn't bad. It's got oak and maple syrup on the nose, a touch of acid and vanilla on the palate and a light vanilla finish. It's inoffensive and decent, but why on earth anyone would pay $80 for it, I don't know, especially when you can still get the Old Forester 1897, which is better, for cheaper.  

Maker's 46 Cask Strength, 54.45% ($40 for 375 ml; available only at the distillery gift shop)

I was a big fan of the regular Maker's Mark Cask Strength, and I generally like Maker's 46, so I was excited to try this cask strength version of the barrel stave finished Maker's 46. The nose is floral, earthy and fruity. The palate comes on with sickly sweet candy notes, like Kool-Aid. The sweetness dissipates after a few seconds but there's nothing much left, or whatever is left is so dominated by the initial sweetness that it's undetectable. The finish tastes like artificial sweetener. Yuck. Stay away!

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Barrel Proof, Barrel 15-4962, 66.1% abv ($65)

Jack Daniel's finally gives us a barrel proof offering with this new version of the single barrel. The nose starts with bananas foster and ends with rotten bananas. The palate is banana liqueur and the finish is banana candy. Surprisingly, it's not too hot for the high abv. Well, JD delivers the bananas, which I suppose their fans must like. I don't much like bananas, so I thought this one was worse than the Maker's Kool-Aid.

For those of you who love to buy every special release, I just saved you $185 (plus tax) and who knows how much on the secondary market!  You're welcome.

Thanks to The Whiskey Jug and Steve Neese for the samples.


Anonymous said...

You say that one "can still get" Old Forester 1897 so does that mean that it's no longer being made? Thanks.

sku said...

Anon, I just meant that you can find it on shelves. I believe they are still making it, but I don't know what the plan is for that brand.

Josh Feldman said...

Best tasting notes of the month. Bordering on modern art, Sku. Entertaining to read and just saved me lots of money (except for the Jack ... I'm going to have to have that.)

JCR said...

great post. love the theme.

was really underwhelmed by the JDBP. i actually enjoyed a regular JD single barrel much more than i expected to, so i was eager to try the BP, but quite disappointed with the result.

also disappointing to hear on the m46cs. was with you on enjoying both the mmcs and normal m46. maybe with that label this is all a big joke that they're trying to see just how far they can push it and keep up demand.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like there is some variability in the JDSBBP. I've had bottles with 2 different proofs that had no banana at all and lots of nice dark cherry flavors. SOme really good stuff

sku said...

Anon, that's always a possibility with single barrel releases.

Florin said...

Sku, I understand that there is a lot of variability in the JDSBBP. Look at the back label. Does it say "Now with banana flavor"? That could explain it. Mine is "dark cherry". I've also seen it in "sandalwood", "bubble gum", and "wintergreen".

Anonymous said...

I've been released from the need to buy. Just found a half-gallon of 1982 Jack Daniels at a yardsale. Oh boy is it good. Twenty dollars out the door.

M. Rond said...

I've enjoyed my Jack Barrel Proof. Some banana but plenty more flavor (melon, black tea, herbs & brown sugar) to complement. Robust, round palette and lingering finish. Overall, a worthy purchase in my opinion and special because there's not much that tastes similar. Very different flavor profile overall. With all of the talk about barrel variation, I'm curious to try another!