Knob Creek Rye

A bottle of Knob Creek Rye

A bottle of Knob Creek Rye

Intro

Left the review til the last minute again. Luckily today it will be on a brand I have already reviewed before :) which means less history and more whiskey enjoyment on my part!

A small bit of history

For a history of the brand as a whole please see my review on Knob Creek 9yo, as this will only be about the Rye of the same name.

In fact for the most part I would just read that review for the history of this drink as the only difference is that this is their Rye alternative created late in the reemergence of Rye as a vastly profitable product in 2012. By law this will mean it will be made with over 51% rye in the mash.

Unlike Knob Creek 9yo this one carries no age statement but as it is a Straight Rye it will have been required to be aged at least 2 years. Though the removal of ages from bottles might hurt the industry as a whole in the long run, my love of Knob Creek is too great to stay angry at them over it.

Noteworthy awards

  • 2013 Silver Medal by IWSC
  • 2013 Double Gold Medal by San Fransisco World Spirits

Taste notes

The nose is very similar to Knob Creek 9yo, very sweet and toffee like with nice nutty undertones.

The palette is the first time you will realise it is a Rye, but it is not at all overpowering, it is a tickling of rye accompanied by the oaky, vanilla and caramel undertones of a bourbon.

As the palette fades away to the finish it is met with a spicy finish with a slight orange zest and undertones of ginger.

Very much enjoyed! 😀

When I suggest drinking it

This is a Rye that tastes a lot more like a Bourbon and as such has made a special place in my heart. This is the only Rye I have actually stocked in my house for an extended period of time and is definitely worth a try if you have never tried Rye before. Use it to dip your toe in 😉

Mellow Corn Bottled-In-Bond

A dram of Mellow Corn

A dram of Mellow Corn

Intro

Going to be another short one today, revising for an exam that I will be sitting tomorrow morning and am still very unprepared for it! Still, I have to review Mellow Corn at some point so might as well be now.

A (yet again, very) small bit of history

I have posted before about the history of moonshine, about the traditionally rebellious nature of whiskey makers in America and of their firm belief that taxes, and government intervention were a form of oppression. Though the makers of Mellow Corn (As part of Heaven Hill, little bit of their history here) are unlikely to totally subscribe to these views, Corn Whiskey itself is part of the same age old tradition of trying to let the government take as little tax as possible from a bottle of spirit.

Mellow Corn on it’s own does not have much of a history (other than being created by Heaven Hill as cheap corn whiskey) and the story of the Heaven Hill distillery itself should be told in a later article on one of their flagship brands I feel. It is however worth mentioning that corn whiskey might have died out if it wasn’t for the actions of Heaven Hill who were one of the few who kept the recipes alive (and made money doing so obviously) up until recently, when there has been a bit of a resurgence.

For a product to be a bourbon the mash needs to be 51% corn or more and be made in fresh oak barrels. A corn whiskey however goes well beyond that percentage of corn, going into the 80% or sometimes (like in this instance) over 90% and can be put in old bourbon barrels. Also unlike bourbon it is very rarely aged at all, sometimes it is left in a cask for only a few months or (in the case of of Georgia Moon, another Heaven Hill corn whiskey) 30 days.

Mellow Corn however is one of the exceptions to this aging trend, by proclaiming the words ‘bottled in bond’ on their bottle they are assuring us that the spirit will have been aged for at least 4 years (that’s right, one more year than Scotch :P) and has gone through a similar strict set of rules as bourbon to ensure colorings and flavorings are not added.

Noteworthy awards

None that I could find. I am not saying for certain that it has not won any, but I suspect most competitions would find it hard to reward such a product. It is in Ian Buxton’s 101 to try before you die though!

Taste notes

The nose was very pleasant for me personally, it had the strong smell of buttery popcorn with just a light floral touch.

Going in for a sip it certainly packs a larger punch than the smell would suggest. The popcorn flavour from before is joined by a slight taste of toffee(loving it) and you might notice the texture of the drink being a lot more oily than what your used to.

The finish is quite a long one, the toffee taste remains throughout and is joined by a nice oakiness (just enough to remind you that this was actually aged!)

When I suggest drinking it

I was sure I was not going to like this whiskey. Having previously tried Georgia Moon (rough stuff) I was expecting something of the same taste. I could not have been more wrong! This is actually a fine drink in my opinion and would be a welcome addition to anyone’s cupboard! Please give it a try if you have not already!

Wild Turkey 81

A bottle of Wild Turkey 81

Hello there!

Intro

Actually managed to grab a big bottle of this in Tesco last year, quite nice to see something other than Jack Daniel’s or Jim Beam on the shelf representing the US for once.

A (again, very) small bit of history

For more history of the brand please see my previous reviews on Wild Turkey 101 (their signature) and Wild Turkey American Honey as I will only be covering Wild Turkey 81. Let’s do this thing.

For many years Wild Turkey produced 2 mainstream products. One was Wild Turkey 101 and the other was Wild Turkey 80. Though the 101 was widely regarded as one of the better bourbons on the market (and a staple for bourbon lovers), the 80 was regarded as the unrelated 4 years aged cheap stuff and was best with a large mixer.

In 2011 however, they changed that. Eddie Russell, the son of master distiller Jimmy, had been wanting to escape the 80 for a little while, and was given the chance to put his thoughts into action. By ruling out anything aged less than 6 years, using the same high-rye mash bill as the 101 and aging it in the same barrels, they managed to create a drink that is roughly the same price as the 80 but has the same complexity as the 101.

Sorry there is not more history, but this is an only recently created product. If anything else interesting happens with this, I will come back I promise :)

Noteworthy awards

  • 2013 Silver Medal by San Francisco World Spirits
  • 2012 Silver Medal by IWSC
  • 2012 Silver Medal by San Francisco World Spirits
  • 2011 Best in Class by IWSC*
  • 2011 Bronze Medal by San Francisco World Spirits

* I have emailed Wild Turkey because their records seem to be in disagreement with the IWSC ones. Wild Turkey believe this award belongs to 101 and not 81. Will update when I know for sure.

Taste notes

The smell is a very sweet one and consists mainly of caramel and vanilla, but there is an undertone of mint and a subtle but fiery hint of cinnamon be that cannot be brushed aside, almost certainly from the rye.

Going in for a sip you will find the caramel remains but is joined by a taste of oak with spicy undertones, the cinnamon also remains but is as subtle as ever, more of a bonus treat than the main event.

The oak flavour lingers into the finish which is rather short and falls away finally to a taste of vanilla again… a pleasant cycle.

When I suggest drinking it

This bourbon was made to replace Wild Turkey 80 and as such they were aiming to get a drink that would do well in mixers. What they ended up with was a drink that beyond a doubt stands up on its own (most of our bottle was drunk neat). That being said if I were hosting a whiskey cocktail party I would be tempted to grab a bottle, the flavours are subtle enough to get on well with others but complex enough to not be drowned out by its peers.