Tasting Report: Jack Rose Premier Drams 2023






After a little bit of back-and-forth on the date, whiskey mecca Jack Rose Eating Saloon lastly landed on October 2nd for this yr’s Premier Drams competition. We might have truthfully rescheduled a liver transplant to make it, and after the embarrassment of brown water riches on supply this yr, we simply might need to in 2024. Two intrepid Drinkhacker writers have been fortunate sufficient to attend and supply their very own tasting notes for some spotlight (and the uncommon lowlight) drams. As all the time, this has been recounted to the perfect of our recollections. We’ll have full opinions of most of those up within the close to future. Get pleasure from! — Jonathan Glover and Drew Beard


Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged – This was such a well-liked request, the Suntory Beam desk needed to cover it in a Laphroaig-branded Hunter boot. “Ask for the boot pour,” they mentioned! It didn’t actually maintain a candle to the one cask Scotches on the identical desk, however I’m starting to get the hype round this one. It’s what many bourbon followers who lower their enamel on Maker’s have secretly wished for from the model for years now: a deeper, richer profile, displaying an older oak dimension however nonetheless balanced, and caramel candy whereas nonetheless being nuanced and sophisticated. A- DB

Inexperienced River Single Barrel Bourbon – Whiskey competition professional tip: all the time style the bottles with “Pattern” labels on them. Inexperienced River rolled out its first full proof single barrel providing earlier this yr, and whereas that whiskey was initially restricted to the reward store in Owensboro, the distillery has been sharing different examples broadly at festivals to construct pleasure for his or her single barrel program. This instance clocked in a yr older and barely larger proof (124.5) than what I reviewed initially, and it was equally spectacular. Peppery and stuffed with baking spice on the nostril with that very same vibrant and candy stone fruit observe on the palate, accentuated by an oily and balanced physique. A- DB

Bardstown Bourbon Discovery Sequence #11 – In mid-February, I attended a launch occasion for Bardstown’s Origin Sequence the place I presumptuously requested VP Dan Callaway how the Discovery Sequence would remodel with the introduction of their very own juice. On reflection his response was painfully well mannered given the implication that future blends can be compromised not directly with the introduction of home distillate. This self-reflection occurred the second I put liquid to lips. A cinnamony, Beam-ish Kentucky delight rivaling the earliest Discovery batches. Distinctive.  A- JG

Bardstown Bourbon Collaborative Sequence Goose Island – Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout (together with Founders Breakfast Stout) was considered one of my largest gateways into the realm of craft beer. So I used to be clearly excited to do that collab that includes a 9-year previous Kentucky bourbon blended with 6- and 7-year Kentucky bourbons aged in stout barrels for 12 months. And, boy, do I think about it to be a grower. Darkish, malted chocolate and raisins on the nostril and palate segue into a cool, lingering end. What I anticipated to be consolation meals was difficult and mushroomy inside the context of the day. C+ JG

Barrell Basis Bourbon – “Why does this must exist?” I, an fool, requested just a few months in the past upon seeing this label present up on the TTB web site. “As a result of it will probably,” Barrell, an award-winning model and blender, responded on the day of Premier Drams. What a scrumptious, easy-drinking shock. Pastel grape and cherry enrobed in vibrant, crunchy toffee. Whereas I’m uncertain of the $60 worth level, I can’t deny it’d be a welcome luxurious as a every day drinker and mixer. B JG

New Riff Excessive Word Bohemian Wheat Bourbon – New Riff is at its greatest when at play with fascinating and heirloom grains and, for my cash, that is up there with their most interesting experiments. That includes Bohemian wheat, a grain sometimes utilized in hefeweizen and witbier, it reveals effectively on this context. The place I anticipated coriander I bought heat bread, the place I feared banana I bought candied raspberry. A distinct-yet-accessible spin on the barrel proof wheater. B+ JG

Willett Household Property Bourbon “Slacker #5” 10 Years Outdated 139.4 Proof – The longest line of the day. A line so lengthy that it nearly went out the door. A line so lengthy that I missed out on the entire goodies on the A. Smith Bowman sales space which have been obscured by mentioned line. Was it value it? I’m undecided, however this single barrel made a big sufficient impression on me that, of the six choices, I remembered its identify. Roasted peanuts, leather-based, burnt caramel, and a dusty funk paying homage to my favourite Household Property hazmats. A- JG

Abraham Bowman Gingerbread End #2 – I used to be luckier than Jonathan and managed to sip just a few Bowman goodies along with a Willett pour (though the throngs of Willett bros saved me from figuring out precisely which). An unreleased 15-year-old cider completed Bowman bourbon was spectacular, if a bit of sizzling, however the star of the desk was this limited-edition launch from 2020, a 10-year bourbon that spent three full years in Gingerbread Stout casks. Deep and darkish with an intense baking spice profile, this was all the things you possibly can need in a winter bourbon from its praline and pie spice aroma to a wealthy palate of graham cracker, darkish fruits, and milk chocolate. A DB

4 Roses one hundred and thirty fifth Anniversary Restricted Version Small Batch – Whereas the tidy, winding line for Willett led all the way in which to the edge of Jack Rose, the basement of The Imperial subsequent door held a most-untidy assortment of our bodies funneling towards the 4 Roses sales space and 5 years of Restricted Version Small Batch. Are you able to blame us? Everybody has their favourite (I desire(crimson) the a hundred and thirtieth Anniversary LE), however this was my first tasting of the latest launch and I discovered it fascinating simply how… exemplary it was. It nearly reads like a love letter to the ten recipes of the model, more than likely as a result of 40 p.c of the mix being OESK, the fruit-forward, natural spine of loads of the model’s flagship releases. The stingy 5 p.c 25-year previous OBSV recipe does rear its head, giving the bottle a little bit of heft and agedness with out ever showing over-oaked. It’s fruity, it’s spicy, it’s 4 Roses. And simply perhaps the perfect one but. A JG


Inexperienced River Rye Whiskey – You go to Premier Drams for the restricted editions and the long-gone favorites but in addition for issues so new they haven’t even hit the shelf but. This Inexperienced River rye was one such instance, aged 4-6 years and distilled in Owensboro from the well-established 95/5 recipe. Clear and vibrant, this was a light-bodied however nonetheless well-rounded rye with a honeyed sweetness, smooth spice, and gently natural profile. If it clocks in as inexpensive as the remainder of the core vary, it’s positive to be a crowd pleaser. B+ DB

Hughes “Belle of Bedford” Toasted Rye – Pennsylvanian by the use of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, the toasting course of tones down or eliminates the entire notes sometimes related to MGP’s 95/5 rye (and by extension most trendy rye). It’s dessert-like: creamy, nutty, with a bit of little bit of spice that reveals as black pepper, and never a dill pickle in sight. It’s a facsimile of a bygone period of Pennsylvania rye then and, like its ornate bottle, a fairly first rate one at that. B JG

Peerless Absinthe Barrel Completed Rye – That is a type of bottles I’d seen floating round on socials that I’d by no means encountered within the wild. I discovered firsthand {that a}) it’s meant for socials because it’s apparently one thing produced on-demand for tastings and b) it’s scrumptious. I used to be afraid it could lean medicinal, however it’s predominantly hyper-sweet, stone fruit-forward anise. Cherry and strawberry Twizzlers; this isn’t simply touched by the end however reworked by it and, as such, a stunning spotlight. B+ JG

Wilderness Path Rye Whiskey 7 Years Outdated – He could have made headlines together with his large Campari payday, however Wilderness Path co-founder Pat Heist was removed from retirement and nonetheless showcasing his labors of affection which included this well-aged rye from a few of the Danville-based distillery’s earliest column distillate. Balanced and spherical on the palate, this rye sings with darkish brown sugar and a great deal of contemporary, floral mint. A ready-made Derby Day cocktail. A- DB

Leopold Bros Three Chamber Rye Bottled in Bond – An amazing instance of how Premier Drams is a lot greater than your customary whiskey competition was discovered on the George Dickel desk the place Grasp Distiller Nicole Austin was seated with Leopold Bros co-founder and distiller Todd Leopold showcasing their collaboration rye and diving deep into its parts. For individuals who took the time to have interaction them, it was a CliffsNotes masterclass in trendy distilling, booze advertising and marketing, and innovation. I walked away with a brand new appreciation for this traditional rye model, the type of whiskey that might (and would) solely be made by a smaller-scale craft producer. Not like most something in the marketplace in the present day, it showcases a memorably creamy palate with balanced rye spice and flavors of chocolate, caramel, and mint. A- DB


Laphroaig Jack Rose Single Cask “PX I Love You Too” – For the reason that pandemic, Jack Rose has been leaning exhausting into single cask picks, that includes their picks at frequent tasting occasions and likewise promoting them on-premise. Distinctive and scrumptious picks like this cask power, PX-aged Laphroaig are a main instance of how this whiskey bar isn’t providing merely the identical previous single barrels. Nutty, smoky, and candy, this single malt was all the things I really like about Laphroaig slathered in Kansas Metropolis BBQ sauce and roasted over a beachside campfire. A DB

Glendronach Cask Power Batch 8 – The brand new Glenglassaugh portfolio was poured freely all day, together with a powerful number of Benriach single casks, however when you needed a Glendronach, it took one thing of a wink and a nod, as these bottles hid on a again shelf. Maybe they have been simply restricted on house. Both method, I used to be excited to revisit this 2019 bottling of cask power Glendronach, a giant, brashly-sherried single malt that pulled no punches with notes of roasted nuts and marmalade on toast. B+ DB

SMWS 1.279 DEEEP – The members-only Scotch Malt Whisky Society all the time brings just a few gems to Premier Drams (the bar’s late companion, Harvey Fry, was one of many largest non-public collectors of SMWS bottlings). There have been a number of standouts, however this first-fill oloroso Glenfarclas took the crown with a vibrant, fruity profile. Wine-poached fruit on the nostril gave solution to an oily, wealthy palate of lemon curd and almond cake with chocolate and citrus peel on a eternally end. A DB

Single Cask Nation Inchgower 10 Years Outdated – Towards the top of the competition’s three hours (not sufficient!), I seen a number of whiskey lovers discussing their high drams of the day. Granted, nobody was precisely sober, however this obscure Inchgower single malt from unbiased bottler Single Cask Nation made sufficient lists that I shortly grabbed the final sip earlier than the home lights got here on. Sober or no, these people weren’t fallacious. This marriage of refill bourbon and first-fill oloroso hogshead was wealthy with darkish barley sugar and impressively earthy notes of cigar wrapper and previous oak. A becoming cherry on high of one other nice Premier Drams competition. A- DB

Pictures by Drew Beard and Sara Glover

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