My Father and I did a single sitting taste testing of everything listed here. It took over 2 hours and WOW what an experience it was. Controversial would be a word to describe it, eye opening would be another. Let me back up. I started drinking bourbon about 2 months ago, Iâ€™m a complete foodie, Iâ€™m in my late 30â€™s and just enjoy new experiences. My very first try at real bourbon was the very same bottle of Eagle Rare 10 that we included in this review. I donâ€™t consider myself a connoisseur, nor to I consider myself to have a freak-of-nature palate. My reviews here are written from my point of view for mainly what I tasted during the testing although pieces of others opinions crept in. Iâ€™m also finding that I have a bit of a sweet-tooth and have trouble distinguishing the sweet tastes from one another, I sense them as a low or high sweetness (need to work on that some more). I donâ€™t find a lot of rye very pleasing over all and I'm sure that'll work itself out in the future..
Mainly what Iâ€™m looking for from you gents is what holes I have in my bourbon experience to date. This review represents the whole of my bourbon experience save Makers Mark which I donâ€™t find pleasing.
I hope you enjoy reading our remarks below as much as we enjoyed transcribing them. Suggestions are welcome.. Iâ€™m curious where that next-level bourbon experience lies.. Our top 8 in order from best to worst are at the bottom.
Old Fitzgerald 12 year
Nothing to speak of on the nose, alcohol and oak.. My sniffer may not be that refined..
Taste is a 3 trick pony, slightly sweet on the front immediately giving way to what I perceive is a dry musty rye in the middle (even though this is a wheated bourbon) then slowly tapering off to a glorious long light vanilla way in the back. The front and middle are bit uninteresting, but the vanilla is worth waiting for. When I want my vanilla fix, this one has the most overt vanilla Iâ€™ve found so far. It reminded me of Yuengling Lager. You drink it for the finish..
Is this a 30 dollar bourbon? Iâ€™m still struggling with that one but I do like the vanillaâ€¦
Very Old Barton 6 BiB
On the nose I get alcohol and a licorice/honey type scent.. Alcohol is stronger on the nose than the Weller 12.
My first drink really impressed me for a cheap bourbon. The sweetness lingers then dry rye, then strong toasted oak.. love the wood flavor. My only issue here is the finish, there really isnâ€™t much to the finish besides a slightly dry sweetness on the back of my palate. I almost get a light tobacco/espresso taste through the nose on the finish but itâ€™s ever so subtle. My very last drink there was a peat moss type flavor with the sweetness on the front. Excellent value..
Bernheim Original (Wheat Whiskey)
A high sweetness on the nose very little alcohol and maybe a wine like smell, is this Angels Envy? (I jest of course) but yes, I do get that from it.
Taste is almost no bitterness, slight sweetness, nothing to grap your attention. Does have a weird alcohol bloom toward the end. Thereâ€™s nothing here for me.. this might be a good whiskey for a beginner with an undeveloped palate. Sorry dear, I donâ€™t think this relationship will work.. but thanks for the $10 rebate, it takes away the sting a bitâ€¦
Old Weller Antique 107
I canâ€™t say enough about this bourbon. Is it one of the best bourbon values in the business? I think so. To be 107 proof, itâ€™s smoother on the palate and going down than some of the other 90 proofers here.
Love the long sweet note up front, in the middle strong wheat then light sweetness on the back.. not ĂĽber complex but nice and welcoming like an old friend.
Old Weller 12 Year
On the nose I get high sweet toasted oak.
Very sweet, creamy then dry I would say a more prevalent dryness that Bufflao Trace. Frankly I think this would be a completely different bourbon at a higher proof. I really hate to say it but Iâ€™m still gravitating toward the OWA 107, thereâ€™s just more there. Iâ€™m also probably an idiot for saying that..
On the nose I get little alcohol which is surprising, but I do get a orangey/citrusy note and what I think is sweet prunesâ€¦ Impressive..
Very sweet on the tongue on the front, slightly creamy, slightly dry, a little tart, mild rye kick, alcohol doesnâ€™t bite too much. The finish is dry rye, once that dissipates I get a light/very light hint of the citrus again and poof itâ€™s gone leaving vestigial dryness in my mouth waiting for the next drink
Old Forester Signature 100
On the nose itâ€™s very very sweet, walking through a honeysuckle patch sweet
Wow, did they add sugar to this? Can someone check on that? (just kidding) This sucker is sweet.. Love it. Sweet citrus red old style licorice is what I get.. but thatâ€™s about it, maybe the lightest bit of the nutty barrel oak. The finish just tapers off real smooth. Iâ€™m very impressed. Woah, 2 minutes later, are you fricken kidding me? Vanilla shows up! Not bold and not long like the 12 year Old Fitz, but it surprises me again.. This is one of my top 4 bourbons right now. Iâ€™m just shaking my head in disbelief.
Eagle Rare 10
On the nose sweet maraschino cherries. Shamefully I also get a hint of Vicks 44D cherry.. Itâ€™s pleasant.. but funny.. I smile wryly a the 44D thought..
Sweetness is quick up front and gone.. hey hey, welcome gods of sweet rye carrier wave that brings a little mint along. Not bad.. Finish slightly sweet, just chillinâ€™ then hello soft vanilla. Yeah, for me that vanilla gives it street-cred. Love the vanilla. Not a long finish but nice.
On the nose I can definitely smell those port barrels, unique but not so unique that I didnâ€™t catch a hint of that on the nose of Berhneim. Probably the highest frequency of sweetness on the nose that Iâ€™ve experienced yet.
The first drink the sweet left the party so quick it almost started me then immediately the rye kick.. bang.. hold it, hold it, a little sweet tobacco like grandpaâ€™s pipe back filling the room of my mouth. Ya know it reminds me of Woodford and about as boring as the Bernheim. Feeling like I was just sold a bill of goods at the price.. My Dad puts it a step above Woodford.
Angels Envy doesnâ€™t exactly scream what it is, itâ€™s asking you to search deep down to figure it out and honestly I donâ€™t feel like I should have to.
Sorry yall, overhyped
Russellâ€™s Reserve 10
Paid $31.00 (I think)
High alcoholic sweetness couldnâ€™t put my finger on what, but what Iâ€™m smelling honeysuckle high though.
Has more body, much like the viscosity is higher, thicker, creaminess. Very sweet similar but not quite as sweet as the Forrester Signature. Definitely a mid palate rye punch that lingers and mellows for nearly 45-60 seconds then once the rye is gone, a dry, very very light sweetness.. Smooth.. a keeper for those times when that rye punch is good for what ails ya.
Ancient Ancient Age 10 (not 10 star)
Price Paid Less than $20
On the nose a very pleasant minty cinnamony sweetness
First taste, loads of sweet oak sugar on the palate then immediately a bitterness that dissipates about as quick as it showed up. Then, back to sweet. Finish is short for me and if not a bit dry, I wouldnâ€™t consider my batch as â€śmesmericâ€ť but definitely pleasant. Iâ€™ll keep it around for when Iâ€™m looking for a change but not one of my favorites.
Woodford Reserve Distillers Select
Price (you all know what it costs ;-))
On the nose oaky whispy sweetness with a slight earthiness..
Disclaimer, my bottle is half full and is about a year old. Very sweet up front then about 5 seconds of nothing right after the sweetness is gone. Rye shows up just a bit and tapers with some caramelâ€¦ then a slow fade with a light-sweet taste but not really inviting me back to dance with the ole gal.. Leave my palate feeling clean though, not dry. Meh.. Pretty bottle? ;-)
Four Roses Single Barrel â€“ Barrel 52-G Warehouse NN
Price Paid $32.00
Nose has more alcohol than I expected, lighter than most on the nose
Sweet and velvety honey right up front, the rye kick is lightning fast then yields to more dried muted fruit levels of sweetness. It kind of blooms in your mouth (no pun intended) from front to back. Just really really nice and not confusing. Keeper..
Our Top 8
1. Four Roses Single Barrel
2. Old Forrester Signature
3. Russellâ€™s Reserve 10
4. Old Weller Antique 107
5. Buffalo Trace
6. Eagle Rare 10
7. Very Old Barton BiB 6yr
8. Old Fitzgerald 12