Bourbon 2016
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Best Bourbon - 2016

 

The Fifty Best Bourbon Tasting of 2016

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 20 bourbon whiskies with a panel of 15 judges. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. The bourbons were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. Each of the bourbons were evaluated and scored separately. Only ice water, neutral unflavored crackers and chips were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no bronze medals awarded for this tasting. The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The states of origin are identified for each brand.



DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Spirit of America
86° proof  (Indiana)

Nose: Dried figs, subtle dried fruit, light butterscotch, vanilla, pear, green apple, dandelion, blossoms, mint, dinner mints, grass, peppery, pecan, wheat, oak, clean, fresh.
Palate: Fudge, caramel, vanilla, pineapple, tropical fruit, strawberry, sultana, pear, toasted coconut, dried fruit, sherry, wild flowers, blossom, subtle wheat, hay, walnut, almond, licorice, mint, nutmeg, peppery, spicy, tobacco, leather, well balanced.
Finish: Fruity, honey, almond, mint, clove, spicy, salty, smooth, soft, elegant.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



   Spirit of America Bourbon



Buffalo Trace
90° proof  (Kentucky)

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, sweet corn, green apple, sour apple, pear, cherry, persimmon, pineapple, peaches, dried apricots, coconut, honeysuckle, tea leaves, green leaves, grassy, mint, tarragon, hay, oak.
Palate: Caramel, toffee, molasses, buttery, vanilla, citrus, orange, marmalade, fruit preserves, cherry cobbler, apple peel, apple, sweet grains, dates, marzipan, sherry, rose petals, mint, nutmeg, pepper, pine, clean, delicate.
Finish: Apple, hazelnut, toast, tea, mint, spicy, oak, nice, easy.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Buffalo Trace Bourbon



Hudson Baby Bourbon
92° proof  (New York)

Nose: Caramel, cream, vanilla, honey, molasses, sugar cane, demerara, toffee, dried dark fruit, sherry, popcorn, toast, hay, grass, mint, peppermint, rye, nutty, new oak, tobacco, pipe tobacco, leather.
Palate: Toffee, caramel, butterscotch, buttery, vanilla, honey, molasses, dried fruit, prune, coconut, walnut, oak, peppermint, patchouli, clove, cinnamon, spice, white pepper, smoky, tannins, smooth.
Finish: Coffee, caramel, maple, creamy, licorice, peppermint, pepper, woody, leather, well balanced, smooth, flavorful.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Hudson Baby Bourbon



1792 Small Batch
93.75° proof  (Kentucky)

Nose: Dark chocolate, toffee, butterscotch candy, butter, cream, vanilla, honey, sugarcane, subtle molasses, papaya, orange, eucalyptus, rose petals, hay, pine, oak.
Palate: Toffee, butterscotch, buttery, caramel, candy corn, creamy, vanilla, honey, green apple, orange, peach, pear, coconut, walnut, elderflower, sweet tea, licorice, nutmeg, spice, mint, grass, pine, oak, smoky, smooth, bright, nicely done.
Finish: Nice spice, floral, peppery, hazelnut, nutty, wood, smooth.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



1792 Small Batch Bourbon



High West American Prairie
92° proof  (Utah)

Nose: Butterscotch, caramel, toffee, vanilla, cane sugar, toasted coconut, honey, cola, dates, dried prunes, sherry, licorice, hay, banana leaf, grass, tea leaves, oak.
Palate: Toffee, caramel, cola, honey, toasted sugar, sugarcane, orange, orange zest, apple, dried prunes, dried fruit, hazelnut, nuts, cinnamon, allspice, coriander, clove, mint, eucalyptus, grass, oak, cognac notes, woody, flavorful, balanced, delicate, elegant.
Finish: Fruity, apple peel, vanilla cream, slight spice, salty, minty, pine, woody, leather, flavorful.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



High West American Prairie Bourbon



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Colorado Gold Straight Bourbon Whiskey
90° proof  (Colorado)

Nose: Toffee, caramel, chocolate, clotted cream, toasted sugar, molasses, honey, tropical fruit, banana, pineapple, ripe fruits, dried fruit, marzipan, blossom, hibiscus, floral, herbal, oloroso, spice, popcorn, hay, oak.
Palate: Chocolate, vanilla, caramel, creamy, sugarcane, honey, sweet corn, coconut, dried figs, dates, raisins, sherry, biscuit, hazelnut, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, pepper, pipe tobacco, nice wood.
Finish: Toffee, caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, coconut, nutty, coffee, pepper, spicy, woody, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Colorado Gold Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Broken Bell
90° proof  (Minnesota)

Nose: Raisins, dates, dried fruit, pineapple, banana pudding, vanilla custard, vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, nougat, honey, molasses, Graham cracker, maple syrup, corn, blossom, hay, green leaves, grass, pine, oak.
Palate: Butterscotch, toffee, caramel, cream, honeycomb, honey, orange marmalade, orange peel, lemony, citrus, strawberry, apricot, cantaloupe, banana, coconut, roasted nuts, almond, licorice, rose, tea leaves, mint, grass, pine, pepper, black pepper, light spice, oak.
Finish: Apple peel, fruity, buttery, licorice, walnut, clove, spicy, oak, smooth, soft.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Broken Bell Bourbon



Paddleford Creek
83° proof  (Minnesota)

Nose: Chocolate, molasses, butterscotch, vanilla, buttermilk, banana, lemon, citrus, green apple, apple peel, dried fruit, maple, licorice, sambuca, walnut, nutmeg, pine, earthy.
Palate: Toffee, caramel, crème brûlée, creamy, buttermilk, coconut, corn, honeysuckle, apricot, pear, ginger, eucalyptus, mint, licorice, tea, hay, oak, ultra-light, silky, smooth.
Finish: Buttery, creamy, candy corn, floral, cinnamon, spicy, oak, smooth, elegant.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Paddleford Creek Bourbon



Beanball Small Batch Bourbon
90° proof  (New York)

Nose: Caramel, creamy, vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, treacle, popcorn jellybean, honey, banana, bananas foster, coconut, dried fruit, apple brandy, lavender, hay, rye, tobacco, leather, pine, oak.
Palate: Honey, cane sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, creamy, butterscotch, toffee, caramel corn, gulab jamun, banana, orange peel, sultana, sherry, mint, elegant smoke, oak, soft.
Finish: Fruity, apple peel, honey, marzipan, licorice, mint, tea, spicy, leather, smooth, beautifully balanced.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Beanball Small Batch Bourbon



Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon
80° proof  (Kentucky)

Nose: Caramel, toffee, whipped cream, cane sugar, honey, vanilla, pound cake, toasted oats, coconut, pecan, pineapple, apple, lemon, citrus, green tea, grassy, tobacco, oak, leather.
Palate: Toffee, caramel, Werther's Original, vanilla, cream, honey, brown sugar, sweet corn, biscuit, coconut, pecan, apple, pear, banana, berry notes, lemon, lemon peel, citrus, green tea, light spice, clove, nutmeg, walnut, young wood, oak, very correct.
Finish: Vanilla, banana, citrus, marzipan, pecan, cinnamon, oak, wood notes, mellow, smooth, elegant.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Black Dirt
90° proof  (New York)

Nose: Honey, maple, lemon zest, tea, tea leaves, black tea, wormwood, sandalwood, patchouli, sage, nutmeg, nutty, pine, woody, leather.
Palate: Toffee, caramel, vanilla, honey, Golden Grahams, molasses, maple, sherry, almond, chamomile, elderflower, peppermint, black tea leaves, hazelnut, rye, oak.
Finish: Dark sugar, pear, nutmeg, allspice, spicy, green tea, eucalyptus, touch of wood, well balanced, bold, beautiful.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Black Dirt Bourbon



Copper Fiddle
92° proof  (Illinois)

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, cream, custard, chocolate, nutella, coconut, hazelnut, fruitcake, dried fruit, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, mole sauce, toast, grain, coffee, nutty, charcoal, smoky, pine, leather.
Palate: Butterscotch, toffee, fudge, Cracker Jack, molasses, vanilla, vanilla custard, dates, coconut, pear, apricot, fruitcake, marzipan, licorice, hay, clove, allspice, mixed spices, peppery, coffee, smoky, tobacco, oak, full flavored, balanced, pleasant.
Finish: Honey, maple, chocolate, nutty, spicy, smoke, toast, oak, smooth, velvety, balanced.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Copper Fiddle Bourbon



Wyoming Whiskey
88° proof  (Wyoming)

Nose: Honey, vanilla, clotted cream, sugarcane, molasses, maple, toffee, faint caramel, coconut, banana, pineapple, dried apricot, fruity, citrus, green tea, grassy, hay, cinnamon.
Palate: Vanilla, honey, molasses, caramel, toffee notes, banana, coconut, raisins, apple, pear, sweet potato, sweet sherry, floral, almond, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea leaves, tobacco, pepper, oak.
Finish: Caramel, honey, faint coconut, cinnamon, peppery, leather, oak, clean, smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Wyoming Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey



Widow Jane
91° proof  (New York)

Nose: Toffee, chocolate, butterscotch, brown sugar, honey, honey oat, vanilla, fruitcake, dried fruit, corn, nutmeg, tobacco, apple peel, citrus, floral, cut grass, hay, pine, wood barrel, oak.
Palate: Caramel, butterscotch, chocolate notes, creamy, vanilla, honey, banana, banana peel, fresh coconut, orange, prune, apple, elderflower, musk, licorice, anise, clove, mint, eucalyptus, tarragon, allspice, coffee, pepper, wood, leather.
Finish: Honey, creamy, almond, licorice, eucalyptus, tea, pepper, spicy, woody.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Widow Jane Bourbon



Jimmy's Texas Bourbon
90° proof  (Texas)

Nose: Toffee, vanilla, brown sugar, honey, caramel apple, dried fruit, banana bread, ripe banana, pear, grape, citrus, blossom, floral, hay, tea, cinnamon, clove, nutty.
Palate: Chocolate, toffee, molasses, vanilla, caramel, creamy, honey, fig, dates, banana, sherry, flowers, lavender, almond, walnut, clove, eucalyptus, white pepper, wheat, toast, smoky, woody, oak, smooth, balanced.
Finish: Lemon peel, ginger, mint, eucalyptus, spicy, wood, oak, well balanced, smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Jimmy's Texas Bourbon



J. Henry & Sons
92 proof 5 yr aged Bourbon

92° proof  (Wisconsin)

Nose: Banana, pineapple, orange, tropical fruit, butterscotch, toffee, honey, chocolate, maple, green leaves, grass, clove, oak, lovely applewood.
Palate: Toffee, butterscotch, chocolate, creamy, vanilla, treacle, maple, ripe banana, orange zest, marmalade, apple, blossoms, cinnamon, tarragon, tea leaves, green leaves, tobacco, pepper, oak, soft, elegant.
Finish: Citrus, maple, nutty, salty, tarragon, spicy, woody, oak.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



J. Henry & Sons 5 yr old 92 proof Bourbon



J. Henry & Sons
5 yr old Cask Strength Patton Road Reserve Bourbon

127° proof  (Wisconsin)

Nose: Butterscotch, caramel, toffee, buttery, cream, honey, vanilla, cola, plum, apricot, peach, citrus, floral, sherry notes, cinnamon, green leaves, toast, woody.
Palate: Butterscotch, toffee, caramel, creamy, vanilla, banana, sweet corn, cherry, sultana, sour peach, citrus, bright mint, spearmint, eucalyptus, peppery, cinnamon, spicy, mineral, smooth.
Finish: Fruity, spicy, clove, pine.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



J. Henry & Sons 5 yr old Cask Strength Patton Road Reserve Bourbon



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Black Fly
(New York)

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, toffee, molasses, treacle, vanilla, light maple, raisins, dried fruit, agave, grass, moss, pine, floral, hay, tobacco, leather, clove, oak.
Palate: Melted caramel, butterscotch, fudge, chocolate, cocoa, honey, clover honey, sugarcane, banana, green apple, dates, almond, marzipan, licorice, lavender, patchouli, wintergreen, spearmint, sage, tea leaves, woody, oak, smoke, leather.
Finish: Cocoa, brown sugar, fruity, floral, tea, spicy.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Black Fly Bourbon



Better Days Wine Barrel Finished Bourbon
(Colorado)

Nose: Cane sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, caramel, candy corn, butterscotch, ripe banana, banana peel, carob, raisins, mint, green leaves, grass, moss, pine, spice, nutmeg, smoky.
Palate: Vanilla, maple syrup, molasses, pear, citrus, raisins, prune, dates, sherry, toast, coffee, walnut, nutty, floral, light herbal, mint, peppermint, clove, eucalyptus, grassy, sweet wood, pine, tannic, white pepper, cayenne, spice, has character.
Finish: Vanilla, caramel, rose, mint, spicy, sour dough, leather.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Better Days Wine Barrel Finished Bourbon



Orange County Distillery Bourbon
90° proof  (New York)

Nose: Molasses, toffee, raw chestnuts, toast, burnt coconut, roasted filberts, tobacco, tea, sage, green apple, green leaves, wet grass, new wood, pine, oak, moss, earth, leather.
Palate: Toffee, fudge, caramel, molasses, creamy, sugarcane, multicolored corn, cereal, herbal, licorice, tea leaves, grass, peppermint, cinnamon, tobacco, tannic, pine, oak, cedar, pepper, leather.
Finish: Chocolate, banana, herbal, mint, green grass, salty, woody, oak, gentle.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Orange County Distillery Bourbon

 

 

 

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