Virgil Kaine Robber Baron Rye Whiskey Review

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Name: Virgil Kaine High Robber Baron Rye Whiskey

ABV: 45.5%

Proof: 91

Nose: Baking Spices, Apples, Light Fruit, Oatmeal

Palate: pears, apricots, light wood, nutmeg

Finish: Moderate and spicy with a strong fruit flavor, mainly apricots and figs

Overall: Robber Baron Rye Whiskey begins with a nice aroma of baking spices, apples, light fruit and a hint of grains. At first sip I got a strong upfront taste of pears and apricots. A nice genuine taste from the fruit flavor and slightly sweet. There is a light wood flavor with a bit of nutmeg flavor that is barely noticeable. The finish is moderate and spicy with a powerful apricot and fig flavor punching through. The flavors seem to linger for a fair amount of time. Overall, this is a good rye whiskey and one that I enjoyed sipping neat. In a cocktail, it has the power to stand up and stand out amongst other rye whiskies. I tried this in a Manhattan and was quite impressed with the resulting cocktail. The sweet and spicy flavors of this whiskey are spot on and the unique flavors of pear and figs are flavors rarely detected in whiskey. If you are somewhat of a fan of rye whiskey and enjoy a decent mid grade rye than give this one a go, I’m confident you will like it. For around $28-$35 it is worth a try as it won’t break the bank.

History: Virgil Kaine spirits are crafted in Charleston, South Carolina and inspired by flavor first. As chefs, we are guided by our years in the kitchen and apply our culinary know-how to each of our unique whiskeys. What sets Virgil Kaine apart is this chef-driven approach to whiskey making and a passion for always sourcing the finest whiskey and the highest quality ingredients.


Virgil Kaine High Rye Bourbon Review

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Name: Virgil Kaine High Rye Bourbon

ABV: 45%

Proof: 90

Nose: Butterscotch, Toffee, Caramel

Palate: Butterscotch, Toffee, Corn, Spice, Apricots

Finish: Short with black pepper and robust tobacco

Overall: Virgil Kaine High Rye Bourbon is a sweet and spicy bourbon with some a decent flavor profile. Let’s dive in an take a closer look. On the nose you can easily detect the butterscotch and caramel aroma which reminded me of a sundae. There is a light toffee scent in there as well. At first sip I was hit with the same butterscotch flavor with toffee close beside, followed by corn, apricots, and a fair amount of spice. The smooth butterscotch and toffee flavors end abruptly as the corn, spice, and fruit flavors take over. The finish is short with a stronger black pepper and robust tobacco taste throughout. I enjoyed the butterscotch and toffee flavors with this whiskey and thought they added a great mouthfeel to the whiskey. I also enjoyed the fact that this whiskey starts out smooth and brings the heat on at the end. The flavors tasted genuine and I enjoyed the whiskey. The butterscotch aroma on the nose is easy to notice even from a good distance from the glass. I enjoyed this whiskey neat for this review but I will be trying it again in a cocktail. Virgil Kaine High Rye Bourbon retails for $27-$35 per bottle.

History: Virgil Kaine spirits are crafted in Charleston, South Carolina and inspired by flavor first. As chefs, we are guided by our years in the kitchen and apply our culinary know-how to each of our unique whiskeys. What sets Virgil Kaine apart is this chef-driven approach to whiskey making and a passion for always sourcing the finest whiskey and the highest quality ingredients.


Ranger Creek .36 White Whiskey Review

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Name: .36 White Whiskey

ABV: 50%

Proof: 100

Nose: Raisins, Oats, Sweet Corn, Walnuts, Light Fruit, Wood

Palate: Dried fruit, Raisins, Pepper, Corn, Citrus

Finish: Long, smooth, with a bit of heat and a subtle fruit flavor

Overall: This will be the 4th product from Ranger Creek that I have reviewed and it is another solid product from the brand. It begins with a unique aroma with light notes of fruit up front and a bit of a hidden lumberyard scent. At first sip there is a unique flavor of raisins and oats, almost like a raisin bran flavor without the sugar flavor. There is a nice pepper flavor in there but it is light not as up front as the other flavors. There are also some sweet corn flavors and a bit of citrus fruits. The finish is long and smooth and has some heat on the back end with a bit more of the fruit flavors throughout. This whiskey is very unique and one that I have not experienced these flavors with before. Ranger Creek .36 White Whiskey has a great mouthfeel to it and the flavors taste authentic. I enjoyed this whiskey best neat, but it can be used to make a number of great cocktails. At around $30-$35 a bottle you can’t go wrong with picking this one up for your shelf. It is a whiskey that truly stands out like most of the Ranger Creek Products. Keep your eye on this brand as they continuously win awards and craft some solid products.

History: Ranger Creek’s Small Caliber Series is a line of creative, limited edition whiskeys aged in small barrels. They put these whiskeys in small bottles to represent the small barrels in which they have been matured. The small barrels accelerate the maturation process by increasing the wood to liquid ratio in the barrel. This imparts unique, interesting flavors and allows us to experiment with new products. In the spirit of being truly craft, they still use local ingredients and innovative ideas to release a new Small Caliber Series product each year. Each bottle is hand labeled with the batch number, bottle number, season, and maturation time.

Note: I had a bottle of Ranger Creek Rimfire Mesquite Smoked Texas Single Malt Whiskey on hand and so I crafted a version of an Old Fashioned using 1 part Texas Single Malt Whiskey and 1 part .36 White Whiskey, some Dashfire orange bitters, and the usual ingredients for an Old Fashioned. The resulting cocktail was light and smoky with a delicious citrus flavor. If you happen to have both spirits on hand, give it a go and give us your thoughts on the cocktail.

 

 

 


Bowman Brothers Small Batch Review

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Name: Bowman Brothers Small Batch

ABV: 45%

Proof: 90

Nose: Light Fruit, Apples, Vanilla, Sweet Corn

Palate: Caramel, Apples, Light Fruit, Maple Syrup, Light Wood

Finish: Fairly long, with some more familiar fruit flavors and a hint of cinnamon.

Overall: Bowman Brothers Small Batch has a unique taste that I’ve yet to find with any other bourbon. The caramel flavor up front is mellow and allows the crisp apple flavors to come into play with some other fruit flavors in the background such as grapes, apricots, and pears. There is a touch of maple syrup flavor and a faint wood taste. The finish is fairly long and filled with fruit flavors. There is a slight touch of cinnamon at the very end as it the flavors fades. I thought this was a delicious whiskey. It has a soft mouthfeel and it is a light whiskey. There is almost no heat or burn with this one. It could have used a bit more in my opinion. Overall, this is a good whiskey that I will have no hesitation recommending to anyone who hasn’t yet tried it.

History: A Smith Bowman bought the Sunset Hills estate farm in 1927 and opened up a dairy and granary. The farm was so abundant that he needed a use for the excess grain from his fields. In 1935, after the repeal of prohibition in the state of Virginia, he built and licensed the distillery. His sons maintained that tradition, continuing to feed the distillers grains to the dairy cattle, which were known to be the most contented cows in Virginia.

In response to the rising real estate prices and property taxes of Northern Virginia, in 1988 the distillery was moved to the current location in Spotsylvania County near the city of Fredericksburg, 60 miles away from the original location.

As a small and American family owned company, A. Smith Bowman Distillery balances time-honored traditions with innovation and creativity to produce hand-crafted spirits. Distilled from the finest ingredients, the premium products created at A Smith Bowman Distillery honor the legacy and ground breaking spirit of Virginia’s pioneers.

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Note: If you enjoy pairing your bourbon with a good cigar, John J. Bowman Single Barrel will match up perfectly with a puff from a Perdomo 20th Anniversary Champagne Cigar.  This medium yet complex stogie will bring notes of nuts and oak flavors to pair with the rich flavors that comes with this single barrel beauty.  Purchase Some Perdomo’s at Famous Smoke Shop Online.


John J. Bowman Single Barrel

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Name: John J. Bowman Single Barrel

ABV: 50%

Proof: 100

Nose: Vanilla, Corn, Caramel, Classic Bourbon Smell

Palate: Caramel, Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar, Very Sweet

Finish: Moderate, with more sweet flavors and a little spice towards the end that slowly fades.

Overall: John J. Bowman Single Barrel is a good classic tasting bourbon. It is a very sweet bourbon with flavors of caramel, syrup, and sugar up front. There are some tart cherry flavors in there as well as apples and a nice citrus orange flavor. There is some slight heat the end that seems to linger for a bit before slowly fading out. I enjoyed this bourbon. I thought that it had just the right amount of heat and flavor profile was delicious. The texture with this one was spot on and just the right consistency. I enjoyed this one best neat. For around $55. a bottle, I feel it is priced right for what you get. You get plenty of flavor and a higher proof. This is definitely a whiskey that I will keeping on hand and one that I will be including in some future group tastings. It is just a solid bourbon with all the classic flavors and characteristics we all love.

History: A Smith Bowman bought the Sunset Hills estate farm in 1927 and opened up a dairy and granary. The farm was so abundant that he needed a use for the excess grain from his fields. In 1935, after the repeal of prohibition in the state of Virginia, he built and licensed the distillery. His sons maintained that tradition, continuing to feed the distillers grains to the dairy cattle, which were known to be the most contented cows in Virginia.

In response to the rising real estate prices and property taxes of Northern Virginia, in 1988 the distillery was moved to the current location in Spotsylvania County near the city of Fredericksburg, 60 miles away from the original location.

As a small and American family owned company, A. Smith Bowman Distillery balances time-honored traditions with innovation and creativity to produce hand-crafted spirits. Distilled from the finest ingredients, the premium products created at A Smith Bowman Distillery honor the legacy and ground breaking spirit of Virginia’s pioneers.

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Note: If you enjoy pairing your bourbon with a good cigar, John J. Bowman Single Barrel will match up perfectly with a puff from a Perdomo 20th Anniversary Champagne Cigar.  This medium yet complex stogie will bring notes of nuts and oak flavors to pair with the rich flavors that comes with this single barrel beauty.  Purchase Some Perdomo’s at Famous Smoke Shop Online.


Knob Creek Rye Whiskey Review

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Name: Knob Creek Rye Whiskey

ABV: 50%

Proof: 100

Nose: Vanilla, Wood, Fresh Herbs, Spice

Palate: Oak, Rich Caramel, Distinctive Rye Spice

Finish: Long, warm, with a peppery spicy flavor that lingers.

Overall: When I think of rye whiskey my mind immediately goes to the thought of a good, stiff Manhattan in a good jazz or blues lounge. There’s nothing like a good Manhattan crafted the right way. In my opinion you need a rye that can stand tall in this cocktail. A whiskey that can bring a unique flavor and is able to standout from the other flavors of the drink and Knob Creek Rye does a great job at this. On the nose Knob Creek Rye has an aroma of vanilla, aged woods, spice, and fresh herbs. The palate is filled with good flavors; aged oak, rich caramel, and a fair amount of spicy rye flavors. These flavors seem to separate themselves from one another enough to give you the chance to taste each one individually. The finish is long and warm, there is a good amount of crisp, zesty pepper flavor that lingers for a while. I tried this rye neat and I really enjoyed it. It was definitely a spicy sipper but I really enjoyed the flavors throughout. In a Manhattan this whiskey shines and without a doubt makes the drink. Overall, this is a great rye if you like them spicy. It is priced right in my opinion and widely available. If you haven’t tried this one yet, I recommend giving it a go. If Manhattans are your drink, you’re going to be pleased with cocktail you craft with this.


Onyx Secret Stash Reserve Review

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Name: Onyx Secret Stash Reserve

ABV: 41.5%

Proof: 83

Nose: Vanilla, Caramel, Maple Syrup

Palate: Molasses, Maple Syrup, Vanilla, Cherries, Nutmeg

Finish: Moderate and smooth with some cherry and almond flavors.

Overall: On the nose Onyx Secret Stash has a rich vanilla aroma with some notes of caramel and maple syrup. The deep flavors of molasses, maple syrup, and vanilla seem to play well with the tart cherries and spicy nutmeg flavors. The finish is moderate with some more tart cherry flavors and almonds. The mouthfeel of this whiskey felt thicker than most and I enjoyed that especially since the overall flavors reminded me of eating dessert. Secret Stash is a very smooth easy sipping whiskey with absolutely no burn. The flavors seemed authentic and not artificial which is one of the qualities I enjoyed most about this whiskey. I tried this neat, with a splash, and in a cocktail and I enjoyed it best neat. There are a great deal of cocktail options with this whiskey given the rich flavors throughout. After trying this whiskey, it leaves no doubt what a little time in a barrel can do. Overall, this is a delicious whiskey and one that I plan on keeping on hand.

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I tried this whiskey a second time after getting a cigar recommendation and it was equally as good but the cigar brought out some more of the rich flavors. The Macanudo Cafe Court Cigar is a great compliment to this whiskey. It is a mild cigar with a light Connecticut wrapper a smooth creamy taste.

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You can quickly and easily pick up some Macanudo’s at Famous Smoke.


Besamim Aromatic Spice Liqueur Review

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Name: Besamim Aromatic Spice Liqueur

ABV: 37%

Proof: 74

Nose: Cinnamon, Clove, Anise, Nutmeg

Palate: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Pecans, Tobacco, Cloves

Overall: Besamim Aromatic Spice Liqueur was supplied to us for review from Sukkah Hill Spirits and in addition they included some recipe ideas. We decided to try Besamim and Bourbon. In this cocktail, I used equal parts bourbon and Besamim Liqueur over ice. Besamim Liqueur has a pleasant cinnamon and nutmeg flavor and it is incredibly smooth. When mixed with bourbon it brings out some more spice flavor. I am not a fan of flavored whiskies but mixing Besamim and bourbon created a drink that is what I wish cinnamon whiskey tasted like. The cocktail tasted authentic and homemade, like good eggnog with warm cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. This is a great choice for a winter cocktail and like the Etrog, Besamim is a spirit you could get very creative with. Besamim is exceptionally smooth, even when mixed with bourbon and holds up well. The subtle spice flavors of Besamim taste authentic and are not overwhelming and artificial tasting like other spiced spirits. The recipe we used for this review is listed below. For more information on Besamim Aromatic Spice Liqueur click here.

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1.5 oz. Besamim Aromatic Spice Liqueur

1.5 oz. Old Forester Bourbon or bourbon of choice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons sugar

Pour sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl and mix gently. Wet the rim of a rocks glass and dip the glass in the mixture to get a coating on the rim of the glass. Fill rocks glass with ice. Add Besamim Liqueur and bourbon and stir gently for 30 seconds. Enjoy!


Etrog Liqueur Review

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Name: Etrog Liqueur

ABV: 38%

Proof: 76

Nose: Crisp Apples, Lemons, Limes, and Orange Zest

Palate: Lemonade, Lime, Honey, Apple, Grapefruit

Overall: Etrogs are an ancient heirloom citrus fruit traditionally grown in Southern Italy, North Africa, and Israel. Etrog Liqueur was supplied to us for review from Sukkah Hill Spirits and in addition they included some recipe ideas. This was my first time of learning about and Etrog and Etrog Liqueur. We decided to keep our cocktail simple and tried Etrog and Bourbon. In my cocktail I used equal parts bourbon and Etrog Liqueur over ice with a sprig of mint to garnish. The cocktail was refreshing and light; this would be a great summer drink. It was smooth with some fresh citrus notes such as lemons, grapefruits, and limes. It was similar to a glass of ice tea with lemon or an Arnold Palmer (half ice tea, half lemonade). What I enjoyed most about this drink is the fact that the Etrog Liqueur was able to hold up well against the bourbon. I have not had the chance to try any other cocktails using Etrog, but this is one drink that you could easily get creative with and I have no doubt it would add a great deal of flavor to a number of different cocktails. The recipe we used for this review is listed below. For more information on Etrog Liqueur click here.

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1.5 oz. Etrog Liqueur

1.5 oz. Old Forester Bourbon or bourbon of choice

Sprig of mint for garnish

Fill a rocks glass with ice. Pour Etrog Liqueur and bourbon over ice and stir for 30 seconds. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Enjoy!


Famous Grouse Review

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Name: Famous Grouse

ABV: 40%

Proof: 80

Nose: Crisp and clean, notes of apple, wheat, apricot, tobacco

Palate: Malt, smoke, grains, apricot, cinnamon, peppers

Finish: Moderate, sweet with notes of malts and dried fruit

Overall: Most folks associate this whiskey with Christmas, mostly due to the advertising this spirit used to receive that time of year, but also with gifts they give or receive. No matter what time of year, Famous Grouse is a great choice for an everyday blended scotch. Famous Grouse is a simple, straightforward blended whiskey, which has a unique flavor and great finish. I tried this one neat, on the rocks, and with a splash and this one is best suited on the rocks. Overall, Famous Grouse is not one that is going to impress the serious scotch drinker, but it is a solid choice if you want a unique tasting, budget friendly blended scotch. I generally reach for Famous Grouse over Johnny Walker Red and Black Labels.