Ever since summer I got back into bourbon. Of course, having been drinking whisky for the better part of two decades a lot of the entry level bourbons are familiar, so I skipped that step.
That means you get into the slightly more rare and obscure stuff right away. And with bourbon being insanely popular in America, there’s not that much coming over to the EU. There’s still more than enough, but the balance between price and quality sometimes leaves something to be desired.
But, with random shops offering random stuff all across the country, and auctions sometimes having acceptable prices, my collection of American whisky has grown rather quickly over the last six months.
These two were ones I picked up sometime during autumn because of their reputation and proof. I don’t necessarily prefer high proof, but I do think it offers a different perspective on what many Europeans still think of as an inferior type of whisky.
1792 Full Proof, 62.5%, a version bottled for a German importer
Some chili pepper and a lot of fruit. Berries, cherries, something more tropical too. Syrup and vanilla sweetness. It gets more straw and oak after a while.
Very dry and hot. Hotter than I expected. Lots of pepper and dry oak. Leather, some tropical fruit. Oak and some nuts. A second sip is sweeter and a bit more friendly. Rich stuff, this.
The finish mellows rapidly. Dry oak, slightly leathery, red fruit.
This is quite a delicious whisky. I understand why the brand has quite a high reputation stateside. There’s a lot going on in depth and complexity with the tropical fruits not being something that’s very common in bourbon.
A bottle like this should set you back around € 80 or € 90, but they’re hard to find.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof C918, Release #18, 65.7%
Dry autumn leaves, tobacco, wood chips. Hints of chocolate, cherry, cinnamon. Oaky sweetness with vanilla.
Syrupy, and quite hot. Dry with oak and cork. It becomes truly hot when you let it swim. Leather, cherry, almonds. Wood, sweetness and vanilla. Cinnamon.
Dry, quite mellow compared to the palate. More focus on the cask with some oaky bitterness. Quite long.
While this is quite different to the 1792, it is as delicious. Slightly less complex, but it is a very good representation of what bourbon is about. The cherry and oak with quite some sweetness is rather typical.
This one is a lot easier to find and is available in The Netherlands for around € 100
While these drams are definitely not whiskies to start an evening with, they sure are a good way to end them! They’re quite capable of blowing other, more subtle whiskies out of the water. If you happen to like a bourbon every now and then, these are worthy of checking out!