Monday, April 18, 2016

Corti Brothers Good Honest Whiskey

I was a big fan of the Corti Brothers Exquisite Whiskey, a Kentucky bourbon aged in dessert wine casks which Amador Distillery released for Corti Brothers gourmet market in Sacramento two years ago. Now, there is a new, younger version. Corti Brothers Good Honest Whiskey is a four year old Kentucky bourbon with a mashbill of 70% corn, 21% rye, 9% barley. It was distilled in 2012 and finished for almost a year in the same Mission del Sol barrels that were used to finish the Exquisite Whiskey (making them second fill barrels) before being bottled this spring.

Corti Brothers Good Honest Whiskey, 4 yo, 46% abv ($50)

The nose is a fairly traditional bourbon profile, a light one like Beam with a touch of sweet wine. The palate has three distinct parts. It starts with a bourbon note, similar to the nose. As it lingers, it starts to pick up the dessert wine notes. The final flavor is a sherry like intensive wine note which carries into the finish.

It's interesting to compare this to the Exquisite Whiskey, which is three years older and was finished in first fill casks. The Exquisite is the American equivalent of a sherry-bomb. You taste the cask much more than the whiskey. The Good Honest Whiskey is much more balanced. It is more distinctively bourbon with bourbon notes dominating the nose and the first part of the palate. It's not until the mid-palate that you start to pick up the wine influence which carries through to the finish.

Which one is better? That's tough because they are very different spirits. I loved the Exquisite Whiskey though less in the way that I love whiskey and more in the way that I love Spanish brandy or sherried Scotch (and, it should be noted, many of my whiskey pals had decidedly negative reactions to it). The Good Honest Whiskey is much more whiskey-like in profile so probably will be more popular among whiskey folks, though the wine influence is still quite prominent.

As for me, while I would happily drink both, if I had to pick just one, I would probably pick the Exquisite Whiskey for its uniqueness. That being said, both of these are very good and a lot of fun. Kudos to Corti Brothers and Amador Distillery for giving us these tasty, innovative whiskeys.


tanstaafl2 said...

There is certainly one sign of the times with this new release. This one is about three years younger than the other and yet this one costs the same as the original whiskey did 2 years ago.

I was more in the likely minority with you on the original release because I too really enjoyed its unique character (and still seek out unusual bottles like two recent finds I have enjoyed from the malt world, Spirit of Hven Sankt Claus fully matured in French Merlot and the Hautes Glaces cask 31 fully matured in Condrieu Viognier).

So I will likely give this one a try as well if I can get access to a bottle just to see for myself. But I kind of think I would be more interested in a whiskey that is truly unique like the original whiskey and hope that I too still find the wine influence to be in the forefront here.

Noel Hastings said...

I have all Darrel's releases by the case and lover them all. The second release of Exquisite is quite different and probably my least favorite. I agree, this whiskey is much more mainstream and accessible and I love it. I have developed a wall full of unique experiences each good for it's own purpose. I think those that found Exquisite too much of something different should give this a try. What else do you need to spend that $50 on anyway?