"Best of the Best": Whisky Magazine tasting in Bar

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Unread postby cowdery » Wed Dec 01, 2004 9:11 pm

Here are my notes from the tasting. They are not as extensive as Mike's. It was interesting to taste blind and comparatively. As I mentioned at the time, when tasting several whiskies at once I think the one that is most different, so long as it's not vile, may tend to taste the best.

It should also be noted that one flaw in the competition, which WHISKY recognizes, is that to even be considered a whiskey has to have been reviewed by the magazine in the last two years, and such reviews tend to be limited to new products so, for example, Maker's Mark and many other standard expression were not even eligible.

What follows is directly from my notes. No editing. Let the chips fall where they may. (In other words, I can't believe I liked Old Potrero so much. See "difference" theory above.)

Anyway, from flight 4, bourbons under 10 years old:

Knob Creek: immature, grainy, cut hay and nougut.

Woodford Reserve: spicy, grassy, citrus and wood, with a hot finish.

Ridgemont 1792: banana and smoke, with a hot finish.

Blanton's: vanilla, almost toothpaste minty.

Four Roses SB: perfumy, spicy, spearmint. Lingering finish. Reminded me of butter creame candy, melts in your mouth.

Evan Williams SG: must, wet wood, licorice.

Old Potrero: vanilla, caramel, anise, mint, pipe tobacco in the finish. Very nice, loads of flavor.

Flight 5, bourbons over 10 years old:

Russell's Reserve: vanilla

Elijah Craig 12: mint

Pappy 15/107: light, teasing nose, maple syrup and cola on the tongue, smoke and caramel in the finish. Very rich, WOW, maybe too aggressive.

Stagg: hot, spicy.

ER 17: (no notes)

Elijah Craig 18: banana, allspice, ginger.

Sazerac Rye 18: dark chocolate, anise, spice. Clean finish. Very rich.

Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye: old leather, smoked meat, grapefruit. Very long finish. Very rich.
- Chuck Cowdery

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Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Dec 02, 2004 1:52 pm

Chuck,
You were not the only one suprised by the Old Potrero. I snagged what was left in the bottle after the tasting just so I could try it again and I still agreed with the first impression.
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Unread postby dgonano » Thu Dec 02, 2004 3:01 pm

Mike or Chuck,

Was the OldPotrero 7 yrs old? I thought the Straight rye was 3 to 4yrs.

Is this the new cheaper version?
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Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Dec 02, 2004 4:46 pm

Mark,
The bottle does not have an age statement but I could swear I heard them say it was a 7yo version. I would find it hard to believe that this type of flavor would be found in less than 7 yo product.
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Unread postby bourbonv » Sat Dec 04, 2004 11:06 am

Chuck,
I have another question that you may be able to answer. You said the product had to be reviewed in Whisky Magazine in the last two years to be part of this tasting. What about specialty bottlings such as Geo.T. Stagg? It was this year's Stagg we tasted but which Stagg was reviewed? Each year has been very different and really could be considered a seperate product of their own with only a common label.

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Unread postby cowdery » Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:48 pm

I don't know the answer to that and I suspect the nuance you articulated was entirely lost on the folks at WHISKY.
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Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Dec 07, 2004 4:47 pm

Chuck,
I thought the value of a Magazine such as Whisky Magazine, was to educate people about those types of nuances. They need to let you do more articles so the readers can be more informed on bourbon.
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Unread postby Mark » Tue Dec 07, 2004 5:43 pm

bourbonv wrote:Chuck,
I thought the value of a Magazine such as Whisky Magazine, was to educate people about those types of nuances. They need to let you do more articles so the readers can be more informed on bourbon.
Mike Veach


Yeah Chuck, they need to let you write more articles like this one. <Ok, insert shameless plug here> :lol:

Really though Chuck, Mike is right, they should let you write more about bourbon in there so people who read it can broaden their horizons a bit with American Whiskey/Bourbon... You've got great knowledge you can share with many in that magazine.
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Unread postby cowdery » Thu Dec 09, 2004 8:38 pm

Thanks for all the kind words. I think I have a good relationship with the people at WHISKY and I believe Dominic (the editor) sincerely wants to do more with American whiskey and he very much enjoys his visits to Kentucky, but he gets pushback from the scotch makers who, truth be told, don't really want to acknowledge that anyone makes whiskey but them. At least with me WHISKY has someone who doesn't treat American whiskey as a novelty, which is how scotch writers usually approach it.
- Chuck Cowdery

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Unread postby Strayed » Thu Dec 09, 2004 11:34 pm

Despite arriving at this thread a little late, let me add my own "amen" to Chuck's contributions to the rest of the world's knowledge of bourbon.

In fact, I've noticed that we have folks from Europe. Maybe Asia, too. Let's hear from those whose interest in American whiskey has been tweaked by having read some of Chuck Cowdery's fine articles. Years ago, when my experience of bourbon was limited to Jim Beam White, Jack Daniels, and Evan Williams, it was Chuck's articles (along with the Regans and Mark Waymack) that led me down the road to ruin, in the form of this fascinating and wonderful passion. How many others here owe their interest in part to Chuck's writings?

I once speculated how an American Whiskey magazine (with token articles on Scotch and Irish) would do. I decided it wouldn't. John Hansel's Malt Advocate is a great example. John is an experimenter and a provocateur who isn't afraid to rile the advertisers with content that they'd rather not have published. Whisky Mag is beginning to emulate it now, but John (whose mag was originally pure Single Malt) has already been there. Good for John. Unfortunately, it doesn't pay. Americans seem to think of a whiskey magazine as another form of pornography. It's only the rest of the world who will support such sinful publishing, and they're all Single Malt Scotch-oriented. Chuck's position at Whisky Mag is the best shot American whiskey has at being introduced to the world, and I can't imagine a better writer to take on that challenge. Well, me, maybe, but that's just my ego talking :tongue:
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Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:51 pm

The Old Potero in this tasting is what I would like to see brought to Louisville for others to try. It might not be possible if this was a product of limited distribution.

Mike Veach
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Unread postby BourbonBalls » Fri Aug 19, 2005 8:59 am

Chuck, I'll do my best to find this type of Old Potero here in California....If I do, I'll bring it to the Bistro dinner on Wednesday nite...
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Unread postby Chaz7 » Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:51 pm

Chuck & Mike, thank you very much for sharing your tasting notes with all of us viewing BE. We have Old Potrero here, so I hope to have the luck you both seemed to have. As far as Whisky mag, I only see that and Malt Advocate at the stands (and then only sporadically); so any attention spent on bourbon is welcome. Wonderful job, both of you.
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