B-Sides: Blends & Bourbons

Digging into my archives on a cold & grey Friday afternoon, these notes surfaced:


White Horse [1970’s] Ob. Fine Old Scotch Whisky 70 proof [5cl]

White Horse [1970’s] Ob. Fine Old Scotch Whisky 70 proof [5cl].jpg

  • N: First impressions: yeasty sweaty & youthful,… Clynelish? Of course it’s not. It is however a dusty, fruity and honeyed dense sugary, bone-dry beauty, the OBE not so obvious just yet. [Months pass]. This old consolidated sooty honeyed [Canadian-esque]-thin barley juice simply rocks. The phenols have turned to a dusty sootiness over the decades.
  • T: Burnt tarragon, herbal butter becoming somewhat dirty, metallic, sour and then bitter. Second time around [months later], I simply dug the consolidated sootiness. It even takes water, producing apples & pears. limes and sweet lemons, and travels with this fruit basket in a manner utterly unknown in blended whisky today. More dusty sootiness,… and some dead skin!
  • F: Still buttery with Jerusalem artichokes (with the soil on), and suggestion of buttered greens. There’s a funny dryness before it turns surprisingly rich at the long & lingering death.
  • C: The calibre of each bottle of White Horse varies enormously depending on how and where these samples have been kept through the decades. Easily dismissed or alternatively deeply appreciated – I’ve been in both camps – these oldies can’t be understood or appreciated right away. After consideration, this is a good ‘un. Let’s try another example.

Scores 86 points


White Horse [1970’s] Ob. Fine Old Scotch Whisky 70 proof [5cl]

White Horse [1970’s] Ob. Fine Old Scotch Whisky 70 proof

  • N: Thin yet rich OBE-ed malt with a little Bovril.
  • T: Slightly metallic lightly meaty and with only slight OBE on the palate. No doubt this has fallen well below its original bottling strength.
  • F: Only a brief finish, but one showing clear signs of a decent malt content and quality grain [from memory, a 40/60 split]. The finish sees a touch of lip-smacking through puckered lips.
  • C: Pleasant solid old skool malt if a touch monochrome.

Scores 82 points


Tenuta’s 8yo Kentucky Deluxe Bourbon [1950’s-60’s] Old Joe Distillery Co. Bottled for John & Ralph Tenuta 86 proof [1/10 pint – 4.7cl]

Tenuta’s 8yo Kentucky Deluxe bourbon [1950’s-60’s] Old Joe Distillery Co. Bottled for John & Ralph Tenuta 86 proof.jpeg

W.A says: ‘This was distilled and bottled by The Old Joe Distillery Co. and distributed by The Stewart Chase Co. This was specially bottled for John and Ralph Tenuta, we estimate in the 1950s to 1960s’.

  • N: Rich moorish well-aged oaky bourbon with a pinch of rye-like spice.
  • T: Uh oh. There’s an OBE issue certainly, but the presence of perfumed hair spray almost always means things have gone awry.
  • F: Whilst the palate has all but given up the ghost, the finish brings this old bourbon back from the brink, somewhat. It’s not too long before herbal bitter cinnamon bubblegum moves in. Violet-y bitter elderflower & rose soap concludes proceedings.
  • C: So much promise. I reckon a more intact sample may deliver big time. Until then.

[Not scored]


Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky Ob./Brown Foreman Distillers Italian Import 86 proof/43 G.L. [1/10 pint-4.73cl] [WB0] [WB0]

This is a bourbon enjoyed on Port Ellen beach back in 2018.

Old Forester Brown Foreman distillers Italian import 1:10 pint 43 GL 86 proof BACK

  • N: I pick up on Illusions of Madeira wine with a squidgy cereal-maltiness thereafter. From the by-gone era certainly.
  • T: Despite the old skool nose, the palate welcomes a vibrant contemporary-styled straight-ahead bourbon. Becomes fairly soft with water yet very silky.
  • F: There’s that sweet chalky fungal/dunnage-like note you often find mainly in well-aged single malts aged in ex-bourbon casks. Is there a dunnage molecule? Neatly concludes with lychee & vanilla.
  • C: Whilst the nose harks closest to an older skool era, the main is surprisingly contemporary and generic in style despite being produced around +/- 50 years ago. Excellent bourbon all the same.

Scores 86 points


[The] American Distilling Company Rare Bourbon Supreme Ob. 86 proof/43% [1/10 pint – 5cl] WB0

The original price of this miniature was Price 6D. I bought it at auction in 2016 for peanuts.

American Distilling Company Rare Bourbon Supreme Ob. 86 proof:43% .jpeg

  • N: “This has legs like an octopus!”, I say. The Foz replies with “Forget Jerry Hall. Octopussy’s don’t have legs”. Nosing, we have a dessert fruitiness in the form of apples & pears with one heaped dessert spoon of homemade custard accompanied by black pepper, curry leaves and cardboard-y Shreddies.
  • T: Arrives as straight bourbon before a welcomed old skool corn wave with a malty-like depth. There are bitter sour notes but still within sweeter corn confines.
  • F: Grain sherbet, blueberry muffin and bitter oaky chocolate with one whole black peppercorn at the death.
  • C: Excellent Pappy-esque bourbon.

Scores [between 88/87 so,] 88 points






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