Bourbon 2017
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Bourbon – 2017

 

The Fifty Best Bourbon Tasting of 2017

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 17 bourbon whiskies with a panel of 20 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 room temperature. Each of the bourbons were judged and scored separately. Only ice water, unflavored unsalted 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 were awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no Bronze medals awarded in 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

Low Gap Straight Bourbon California Whiskey
86.4° proof  (American Craft Whiskey Distillery, California)

Nose: Toffee, butterscotch, caramel, molasses, sugarcane, vanilla, cream, chocolate, candy apple, tropical fruit, dried fruit, blossoms, rose, nutty, cereal, allspice, musty, earthy, mineral, oak.
Palate: Caramel, butterscotch, brown sugar, sugarcane, honey, maple, vanilla, Valrhona, cherry, red apple, orange, lemon, apricot, dates, walnut, spices, cinnamon, oak, smooth.
Finish: Toffee, caramel, clotted cream, medium creamy, toasted sugar, vanilla, marzipan, lemon, almond, nutty, spice, tobacco, woody, soft, smooth, balanced.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



   Low Gap Straight Bourbon California Whiskey



Eighteen 33 Straight Bourbon Whiskey
90.8° proof  (Boone County Distilling, Kentucky / Distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana)

Nose: Toasted caramel, fudge, molasses, demerara sugar, honey, vanilla, sweet corn, cocoa, cherry, pineapple, green apple, citrus, ginger, rose, nuts, almonds, saffron, black tea, grassy, dried hay, tobacco, woody, cedar.
Palate: Butterscotch, caramel, fudge, molasses, cane sugar, vanilla, strawberry, apricot, fruit syrup, citrus, sweet tea, rose, peppermint, nutty, filbert, dark chocolate, sherry, coffee, spice, tobacco, deep oak.
Finish: Butterscotch, toffee, chocolate, demerara sugar, marzipan, mint, cinnamon, clove, coriander seed, cumin seed, spice, black pepper, black tea, coffee, tobacco, oak, smooth, complex.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Eighteen 33 Straight Bourbon Whiskey



JSB Reserve Single Barrel
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

88° proof  (Jane’s Saddle Bag, Crestwood, Kentucky)

Nose: Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, clotted cream, cocoa powder, corn, popcorn, dark berry, nutmeg, allspice, anise, cardamom, bay leaf, grass, hay, leather, musty, wet wood, oak.
Palate: Toffee, butterscotch, caramel, molasses, light brown sugar, sugarcane, honey, vanilla, apricot, coconut, banana, citrus, corn, nutty, eucalyptus, peppermint, mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, coffee, grass, tea leaves, tobacco, leather, peat, wood up front, oak, full flavored.
Finish: Vanilla, chocolate, creamy, buttery, nutty, clove, cinnamon, spice, bay leaf, mint, wintergreen, black tea, tobacco, charcoal, smoky, wood, oak, soft, rich.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



JSB Reserve Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Breckenridge Blend of Straight Bourbon Whiskeys
86° proof  (Breckenridge Distillery, Colorado)

Nose: Butterscotch, light brown sugar, honey, vanilla, strawberry, citrus, lime, dried apricot, floral, rose, eucalyptus, nutty, cinnamon, nutmeg, grass, iodine, charcoal, oak, pine.
Palate: Caramel, fudge, creamy, vanilla, cherry, citrus, orange, lime, banana, coconut, pineapple, lemon peel, fruit syrup, rosewater, elderflower, ginger, grass, bay leaf, nutty, spicy, corn, grainy, peppercorn, black pepper, tea, tobacco, untoasted oak, crisp, round, rich.
Finish: Butterscotch, sour apple, floral, eucalyptus, cereal, nutty, green tea, spicy, peppery, wood, pine.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Breckenridge Blend of Straight Bourbon Whiskeys



Hirsch Small Batch Reserve
Selected Straight Bourbon Whiskey

92° proof  (Hirsch Distillers, Ohio)

Nose: Caramel, treacle, brown sugar, cream, clotted cream, vanilla, pineapple, tropical fruit, fig, green apple, wildflowers, green leaves, bison grass, wintergreen, bay leaf, almond, light toast, oak barrel, pine.
Palate: Caramel, toffee, fudge, light brown sugar, honey, maple, butter, vanilla, pineapple, orange, citrus, corn, almond (marzipan), floral, elderflower, rose, eucalyptus, bay leaf, peppermint, sweet mild spice, spicy, sherry, bitter chocolate, coffee grinds, woody, oak.
Finish: Cocoa, demerara, nutty, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, eucalyptus, charcoal, sweet wood, oak, pine, smooth, nice, gentle.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Hirsch Small Batch Reserve Selected Straight Bourbon Whiskey



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Town Branch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
80° proof  (Alltech’s Lexington Distillery, Kentucky)

Nose: Caramel, cream, maple syrup, honey, apple, orange, pineapple, dried fruit, corn, burnt biscuit, hay, green leaves, tea, spearmint, licorice, pleasant perfume, sherry, light oak.
Palate: Butterscotch, caramel, toffee, honey, vanilla, mild sweet apples, pear, citrus, banana, tropical fruit, raisins, cereal, filbert, licorice, anise, eucalyptus, spice, cinnamon, clove, tea leaves, lavender, rose, Amontillado sherry, pinewood, smooth.
Finish: Toffee, butterscotch, cream, cocoa dust, lemon, cherry pit, toast, grain, tea, woody, soft, smooth, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Town Branch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey



The Steward's Solera Bourbon Whiskey
100° proof  (Woody Creek Distillery by Paradise Distribution, Colorado)

Nose: Toffee, caramel, molasses, cane sugar, honey, vanilla, clotted cream, chocolate, corn, marzipan, orange, currants, raisins, jasmine, cinnamon, cracked pepper, earthy, toasted oak, clean oak, sweet wood.
Palate: Toffee, burnt caramel, molasses, maple, honey, creamy, vanilla, apple, orange, dates, light corn, nuts, licorice, mint, peppermint, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, spice, ginger, bay leaf, black pepper, oak, pine, woody, smooth.
Butterscotch, creamy, vanilla, ginger, clove, pepper, pink peppercorn, lingering spice, wood, round mouthfeel, balanced, silky, smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



The Steward's Solera Bourbon Whiskey



St. Augustine’s Florida Double Cask Bourbon Whiskey
93.8° proof  (St. Augustine Distillery, Florida)

Nose: Butterscotch, toffee, caramel, treacle, dark sugar, honey, maple, vanilla, sweet corn, peach, apple, orange, raisin, cinnamon, nutmeg, tea leaves, mushroom, leather, peat, charcoal, toast, oak, deep wood.
Palate: Toffee, treacle, dark sugar, sugarcane, vanilla, strawberry, citrus, orange, Grand Marnier, prune, raisin, licorice, fennel, elderflower, nutty, nutmeg, coriander seed, spice, cocoa, coffee, sherry, peat, charcoal, pine, heavy oak, toasted oak.
Finish: Lemon, orange peel, coffee with cream, pleasant nuttiness, hay, eucalyptus, spicy, tobacco, earthy, mineral, cedar, rich.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



St. Augustine’s Florida Double Cask Bourbon Whiskey



Kinsey Bourbon Whiskey
99° proof  (Millstone Spirits Group, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Nose: Caramel, honey, vanilla, banana, citrus, dried fruit, faint floral, green leaves, cinnamon, nutmeg, leather, fresh hay, corn, oak, new wood, bourbon barrel.
Palate: Toffee, caramel, molasses, vanilla, cherry, apple, lemon, banana, pineapple, rose, violet, nutty, spicy, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, tea leaves, sherry, tobacco, leather, smoky, oak, new wood.
Finish: Vanilla, creamy, sugarcane, cherry, pear, fruity, cereal, nutty, floral, mint, basil, cinnamon, clove, spice, tobacco, toasted oak, assertive, smooth, pleasant.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Kinsey Bourbon Whiskey



Adirondack High Rye Bourbon Whiskey, Batch #1
83° proof  (Springbrook Farm Distillery, Queensbury, NY)

Nose: Toffee, caramel, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, butter, unripe banana, citrus, orange, orange peel, cinnamon, cereal, grain, tobacco, mineral, woody, oak.
Palate: Caramel, treacle, honey, maple, vanilla, buttery, orange, grape, mild citrus, dark fruit, dried fruit, cinnamon, spicy, tangy, grain, cedar, oak, woody, rounded, fireworks display of flavors, smooth.
Finish: Maple, vanilla, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, light spice, pepper, grassy, woody, oak, smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Adirondack High Rye Bourbon Whiskey



Ezra Brooks Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
90° proof  (Ezra Brooks Distilling, Louisville, Kentucky)

Nose: Butterscotch, toffee, fudge, sugarcane, honey, vanilla, melon, orange peel, tropical fruit, grape, light floral, nutty, cinnamon, sherry, hay, deep grass root, dry wood, light oak.
Palate: Toffee, caramel, creamy, chocolate, mocha, vanilla, apple, pear, banana, citrus, orange, corn, cereal, walnut, lively floral, elderflower, tea leaves, spicy, tobacco, peat, oak, cedar, smooth.
Finish: Coconut, nutty, cocoa powder, floral garden, allspice, mint, tea, cereal, hay, tobacco, wood, soft, elegant.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Ezra Brooks Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr.
Small Batch Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

100° proof  (Old Fashioned Copper Distillery, Frankfort, Kentucky)

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, toffee, maple, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, cherry, apricot, green apple, citrus, lemon, lemon peel, raisin, wintergreen, light spice, chocolate, smoky, oak.
Palate: Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, buttery, chocolate, cherry, pear, coconut, mango, date, raisins, citrus, lemon, apple peel, peppermint, licorice, baking spice, cinnamon, spicy, pepper, rye, grass, leather, scotchy peat, earth, smoky, oak.
Finish: Caramel, berry, cherry, tannic sugars, cinnamon, cardamom, spice, tea leaves, light toast, nutty, leather, sweet sherry touch, peaty, musty, woody, smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey



Dancing Pines Bourbon Whiskey, Batch #44
88° proof  (Dancing Pines Distillery, Colorado)

Nose: Butterscotch, caramel, demerara sugar, sugarcane, vanilla, green apple, light citrus, banana, corn, cornfield, biscuit flour, walnut, nutty, floral, herbal, sage, cinnamon, grassy, hay, tobacco, leather, earthy, wood, delicate.
Palate: butterscotch, caramel, toffee, fudge, buttery, brown sugar, honey, sugarcane, toasted sugar, maple, vanilla, berry, citrus, dates, light mint, nutty, spicy, sweet cinnamon, toasted oak, sweet oak, mouth filling, smooth.
Finish: Caramel, burnt caramel, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, spicy, coffee, tobacco, leather, wood, smooth, pleasant.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Dancing Pines Bourbon Whiskey



The Most Righteous
New York Straight Bourbon Whiskey

85° proof  (Catskill Distilling Company, Bethel, New York)

Nose: Butterscotch, toffee, caramel, crème brulee, cane sugar, dark sugars, honey, vanilla, maple, chocolate, cocoa, bananas foster, cherry, banana, dried fruit, marzipan, honeysuckle, clover, very light spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, bourbon barrel, pine, oak.
Palate: Toffee, demerara sugar, vanilla, cherry, pineapple, banana, apple, lemon, orange peel, corn, cereal, chocolate, creamy, marzipan, almond, walnut, spice, rye, caraway, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, eucalyptus, mint, tea, dry sherry, leather, smoky, woody, oak.
Finish: Toffee, orange peel, raisins, honey, vanilla, cherry pit, bitter almond, spices, clove, tannic, leather, woody, smoky, smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



The Most Righteous New York Straight Bourbon Whiskey



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Featherbone Bourbon Whiskey
Batch 60, Organic

90° proof  (Journeyman Distillery, Michigan)

Nose: Toffee, caramel, molasses, honey, vanilla, pineapple, apple, dried apples, mild citrus, orange peel, sweet corn, cinnamon, nutmeg, cereal, muted oak.
Palate: Caramel, honey, vanilla, creamy, corn, buttered popcorn, apple, orange, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, spicy, dried grass, musty, wood chips, cedar, oak, fresh air, well-balanced, smooth.
Finish: Vanilla, apple, mild citrus, lemongrass, slightly nutty, clove, spicy, light pepper, oak, delicious, great.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Featherbone Bourbon Whiskey



Sherwood Brothers Bourbon Whiskey
80° proof  (Sherwoods Winery & Distillery, Minnesota)

Nose: Molasses, cotton candy, honey, intense vanilla, corn, hay, lemon, green leaves, faint grass, very light new oak, clean, delicate.
Palate: Caramel, molasses, vanilla, honey, apricot, banana, coconut, pineapple, lemon, lemon peel, honeysuckle, nutty, almond, basil, tarragon, biscuit, grainy, clove, pepper, mint, tea leaves, tobacco, bitter wood, creamy oak, pine, very clean.
Finish: Treacle, honey, cocoa, wheat, cereal, floral, tea, clove, anise, sweet peppers, tobacco, woody, soft, smooth, pleasant.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Sherwood Brothers Bourbon Whiskey



Clark & Chesterfield Bourbon Whiskey
107° proof  (New England Sweetwater Farm & Distillery, New Hampshire)

Nose: Maple, truffle honey, vanilla, pear, peach, citrus, tropical fruit, nutty, cardamom, spicy, musty grain, sharp grains, woody, cedar, oak.
Palate: Caramel, dark brown sugar, dark chocolate, bitter chocolate, cotton candy, apple, sour apple, orange, tropical fruit, raisins, spicy, clove, musty grain, leather, wood, oak.
Finish: Caramel, honey, cherry, dried fruit, bitter almond, spicy, peppery, straw, woody, oak, smooth.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Clark & Chesterfield Bourbon Whiskey

 

 

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