Elijah Craig 12 Review

elijah-craig

Elijah Craig 12 Review

Distillery: Heaven Hill
Expression: Elijah Craig (12)
Category: Bourbon
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 47%

Fine sippin’ indeed. Excellent value at $27 with tons of complexity and depth.

For those of you who are cocktail inclined, it works well in classic cocktails like Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, which highlight bourbon as a main ingredient.

Then again, it works well in just about any bourbons cocktail.

Like a bourbon Swiss Army knife behind the bar.


Elijah Craig 12 Tasting Notes

Nose: Vanilla dark-toasted oak, toffee
Palate: creamy, butter pound cake, baked apples, arching waves of chocolate with lots of spicy rye to keep balance
Finish: Nice length with some vanilla and continued creaminess and oak to the finish line

Score 81 / 100

Bulleit Bourbon Review

Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit Bourbon Review

Distillery: Kirin Brewing Company Four Roses
Expression: Bulleit Bourbon
Category: Bourbon
Region: Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, USA
ABV: 45%

Straight shooter. Elegant. Unsuspectingly mellow for 45%.

Subtle and soft, and doesn’t overpower the palate.

It tips its 10-gallon hat, says what it is, and hops back upon its horse and rides away.

Bulleit Bourbon Tasting Notes

Nose: Caramel, vanilla, orange marmalade
Palate: Vanilla, honey,
Finish: Medium-length with rye, spiced apple and cherries

Score 81 / 100

Jim Beam Black Review

jim beam black

Jim Beam Black Review

Distillery:  Jim Beam
Expression: Jim Beam Black
Category: Bourbon
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 43%

The Jim Beam Black is a nice little step up from Jim Beam White.

It’s a gateway dram into the world of good bourbons.

You’re still a fair bit away from the universe populated by Woodford Reserve and Four Roses (Single Barrel or Small Batch) and light years from the Larue Weller but with Jim Beam Black we do have takeoff. 


Jim Beam Black Tasting Notes

Color: Dark Amber
Nose: Orange peel, Brown sugar
Palate: Brown Sugar, Spice, Vanilla
Finish: Spicy toasted oak. Sweetness continues until the end.  Medium-length, charred finish

Score 78 / 100

Final Results: Taiwan 200 ml Midnight Whisky Run

Taipei Whisky Selection from 7-11

200 ml Whisky Selection at a Taiwanese 7-11

Truth be told, I went into this 200 ml Whisky Challenge a bit skeptical, expecting the worst.

Cheap blends really aren’t my bag baby.

But I came out of the whole shebang a believer in the power of cheap blends.

I discovered that for under NT$200, you can have yourself a pretty darn enjoyable blended-whisky-hullabaloo of an evening.

But when the rubber meets the road and you can only select one, which whisky do you choose?

Here’s a quick roundup of the competition:

McAdams Rye Whisky

McAdams Rye Whisky

Jim Murray called McAdams Rye Whisky “delicious stuff” when he reviewed it in his Whisky Bible.

I find a lot of his reviews to be spot on but the McAdams was pretty unremarkable and bland to my taste buds.

At NT$160 it’s overpriced in this talented field.

At NT$135, the price would be just about right.

Jim Beam (White Label) Bourbon

jim-beam-1l-435910

My rational on this one is pretty simple.
If you’re in the mood for a decent bourbon, pick up the Jim Beam.
You’ve got no other choice.

While I’m never overjoyed to spend a whole evening with Jim Beam (White) it certainly doesn’t deserve the bad reputation it has in some snobbish whisky circles.

Johnny Walker Red

Johnnie Walker Red Label

To be fair, Diageo states pretty clearly that they only recommend using this beast as a mixer, so it’s no surprise that Johnnie Red didn’t perform so well in this contest.

That being said, even if you’re making cocktails for the evening, at NT$159 Johnnie Walker Red is a bit overpriced.

You’re better off going with the Famous Grouse or one of the Suntory twins as a mixer.

Famous Grouse

A bottle of the Famous Grouse

Since the 1980s, Famous Grouse has been the #1 selling blended whisky in Scotland.
I’ve heard wonderful things about The Finest Grouse, The Black Grouse, and the 30-year expression but I don’t see the regular ole’ Grouse making it into the Jerk’s regular rotation of blended whiskies any time soon.

It’s charming for a grainy-blend but like the bird itself the Grouse has some trouble getting off the ground.

Johnnie Walker Black

johnnie-walker-black-review

I quite like Johnnie Walker Black but at this price you gotta be fucking kidding me.

JW black  can compete with the top dogs in this field but it’s nearly twice as expensive.

If you’re a die-hard Johnnie Black fan, go ahead and experiment with the Old Matisse or splurge for a full bottle of Johnnie Walker Black for a much better value.

Suntory Black Kakubin

Suntory-Kakubin-BlackLabel-suntory-43

It’s stronger than its yellow sibling but it lacks the finesse and flavor.

If these two laced em’ up and met in the squared circle, Suntory Black would be Foreman and Suntory Yellow would be as Ali.

Whether you’re mixing or sipping, spend the extra NT$5 (16 cents) and upgrade to the Suntory Yellow.

The Medal Round

Finally we get down to the nitty gritty and we have three horses running neck and neck down the home stretch.

In third place, the bronze medal winner is ….

Prime Blue

A bottle of Prime Blue Malt Blended Scotch Whisky

A lovely little vatted whisky that’s readily available in Taiwan (and throughout Asia) but it’s a little harder to come by in Europe, Canada, or the States.

Overall, it’s a nicely-balanced blend that is definitely worth a try.

And in second place, the silver medal goes to …..

Suntory Yellow Kakubin

 

Suntory-Kakubin-Yellow-review

Really enjoyable, nice introduction to Japanese blended whisky.

It’s got some hints of Irish pot-still goodness while still retaining its own character.

Which means …. the gold medal winner and NEW champion of convenience store whisky in Taiwan is

Old Matisse

A 200 ml bottle of Old Matisse whisky

Don’t let the conservative refined and classy marketing fool you.
This one’s got some funky stuff going on underneath the hood.
Like a chocolate-tier, chewier version of Johnnie Walker Black available at just a fraction of the price.

Dare I say I spotted a 700 ml bottle at the local Welcome Supermarket the other day for under NT$500.

How’s that for value?

Conclusion

So, in the end Old Matisse takes it in a photo finish.

But that’s just our opinion.

What do you think the best convenience store whisky is in Taiwan?

Let us know in the comments below.

Jim Beam White Label Review

jim-beam-1l-435910

Jim Beam (White Label)

Distillery: Jim Beam
Expression: White Label (No Age)
Category: Bourbon
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 40%

Over the years I’ve heard Jim Beam described in a lot of ways.

“That stuffs nasty!”

“It’s like drinking turpentine.”

“I feel like I’m drinking paint thinner.”

But does it deserve this sullied reputation?

While Jim Beam isn’t the spitting image of silky smooth by any means, it DOES NOT have any wicked bite or terrible aftertaste.

It’s certainly not bursting with flavor, but what are you really expecting at price point?

It’s become cool to favor single malts above all else and scoff at bourbons and blended whiskies.

Dissin’ Jim Beam is a way for novices to sound sophisticated about whiskey by parroting something they overheard at a dinner party.

Since Jim Beam is a bourbon in the lower price range with lots of marketing behind it got caught in the cross-hairs.

But at the end of the day, JB White  works great as a mixer and it can even function as sipping whiskey as well.

In fact I would probably take it over a lot of the younger blended scotches and a even a few single malts as well.

Along with Johnnie Walker Black (Scotch) and Jameson (Irish) it fills out that holy trinity of whiskeys that you are certain to find everywhere – from a seedy dive bar to a house party to a 5-star hotel.

Although it’s no Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, or William Larue Weller it’s an old reliable pal you can turn to when the bartender seems a bit off his game and you’ve got an itch for bourbon that needs to be scratched.

Jim Beam White Label Tasting Notes

Nose: Wood dust, Floral, Marzipan
Palate: Strong Oak, Honey, White Pepper
Finish: Very light but surprisingly sweet and balanced. Some vanilla tones.

Score 71 / 100

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select

woodfordReserve

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Review

Distillery: Woodford Reserve Distillery
Expression:
Distiller’s Select
Category
: Bourbon
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 45%

Woodford prides itself on producing “craft bourbon.” And after a few sips of their product, it is evident they’re doing some right to give their product its refreshing and unique taste.

Handcrafted in small batches, Woodford Reserve contains 18% rye, which is rather high for most bourbons and really gives it a feisty charge.

Woodford is also the only bourbon (at least that we know of) that uses copper pot stills imported directly from Scotland and that results in adding some really terrific distinct flavors to this bourbon.

For the final step, it’s aged in charred, white-oak barrels.

As far as bourbons go Woodford Reserve near the TOP of my list.

I’ve gotta say it really toots my whistle every step of the way.

The smooth rounded-glass bottle is a work of art, down to the brilliantly-full popping sound you hear every time you uncork the bottle.

The nose smells so damn good that I’m tempted to dab a bit on my wrists as cologne.

And the balance of chocolate, butterscotch, spice, and oak is near perfection.

If you’re a Scotch fan looking to venture into new territory, let this first-rate whiskey be your gateway drug to the wonderful world of bourbon.

The only thing that keeps this from reaching the absolute upper-echelon of bourbons (William Larue Weller for example) is that this Woodford expression is a tad light in terms of its mouthfeel.

But otherwise, it’s damn near perfect and a steal of a deal for the price.

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Tasting Notes

Nose: banana bread, cocoa powder, Almond Joy bar (Coconut), butterscotch, sweet pear
Palate: chocolate, walnut, vanilla, toffee, green apple, cherry, cinnamon
Finish: Long, smooth, crisp clean finish that is ultra-satisfying.

Score 88/ 100

Four Roses Small Batch

 

4-roses-small-batch

Four Roses Small Batch Review

Distillery: Four Roses (owned by Kirin Brewery Company of Japan)
Expression:
Small Batch (approximately 11-13 years)
Category
: Bourbon
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 45%

Ideally I’d be sampling this bottle in a rocking chair on a Kentucky porch during a  moonlit night while listening to crickets chirp away and breathing in some fresh Kentucky air.

But in the crowded hustle and bustle of Taipei City amidst a symphony of honking car horns  and the smell of 臭豆腐, it’s still a fantastic little bourbon.

Nice improvement on the Four Roses Yellow (Standard).

A well-balanced dram, and the higher rye content gives your pallet a swift kick in the pants.

Four Roses Small Batch Tasting Notes

Nose: Caramel, Nutmeg, Dark cherry, light honey
Palate: Spicy Rye, Oak, Vanilla, Light Cinnamon, Floral and Citrus Notes
Finish: Smooth and pleasant, vanilla, relatively long

Score 88/100

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