Following on from Part 1/2, here’s Part 2 of my WLP-idiosyncratic/random look at O&R whiskey from the USA via a haul of American whiskey miniatures I bought at auction in March 2016 [WA] – many of which derive from the 1970/80s.
Honey Pie: Will the wind that blew her boat across the sea, kindly send her sailing back to me? Tee, tee, tee‘. Let’s see if we can sail a little better today.
Jessie James 6yo Ob. Kentucky Rare De Luxe Straight Bourbon Whiskey 40% [5cl] WB64
We begin this second session with what initially appears to be the softest of the flight, as well as the lowest, abv-wise.
- N: Starting very light indeed, it takes at least an hour to open up. Plasticy,… wood glue/Blu-tac,… [a hint of] violets?,… hot cross buns, bins in a scorching-hot alley in Spain [Ashley] ~ a cabbage-y fustiness,…
- T: Though not as underpowered as expected, we’ve [still] a soft, iffy-sweet, soft-plastic-y, grease=WD40 [bike workshop] arrival, with a waxy wood spiciness rumbling underneath thereafter.
- F: A little dusty with very fine peppery > nutmeg-y/nondescript spicy heat, becoming greasy-dry and sooty at the death with something of mezcal – though perhaps that’s to do with some deterioration in the glass?
- C: Meh,… s’ok.
Scores 79 points
Early Times 4yo [1980s] Ob. Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Italian Import 86 proof/43% [4.7cl] [WB]85
WF: ‘This is rather cheap, a brand by Brown-Forman that’s exported as ‘bourbon’, but sold as ‘Kentucky whisky’ in the US’.
- N: All-American bourbon on buttered toffee, butterscotch, caramel, peanut butter, a touch of fruity-ish jelly beans, a hint of molasses – all with an industrial vail.
- T: Industrial indeed, column-y/[vodka/rum-like] spirit-generic with a cardboard-y=breadiness, light grainy/cinnamon,… runny molasses [with only suggestions of butterscotch now].
- F: Little to no finish, sharp dry side/roof of mouth-feel.
- C: Not quite a sipper.
Scores a near miss
- N: Plenty of sawdust, something meaty and fruity – duck a l’orange? Nah, more orange~cherry red wine-like hard boiled sweets, fruity cinnamon,.. varnish-y column still vibes, again.
- T: A muddled/blended amalgamation of industrial fruity=pongy=woody all-sorts on arrival with more of a runny toffee journey, albeit short.
- F: Woody/sawdusty,… and simply a little dusty.
- C: The Johnnie Walker [choose your colour] of bourbon, perhaps?
Scores 79 points
- N: Potpourri rum-like banana~soft pond water-like/dunder vibes, some dry oiliness,…. and despite all this, there remains that blended genericness in keeping with our previous exhibits.
- T: Softer arrival than expected. It chews ok if a little sharp, coupled with more [blend-y] murkiness.
- F: Soft peppery and soft woody finish with a barley sugar-like conclusion.
- C: Another product of scale. The nose, however, indicates greater potential.
Scores 76 points
Largely devoid of sour or bitter notes, so far it’s been sweet & spice in the main with little that has touched more than the front and/or front sides of the palate. Let’s see if we can ramp things up a little with [what looks like] a more contemporary bottle from rightly popular Buffalo Trace.
Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky Ob. 45% [50ml] WB83
- N: Rum-like [a common thread], toasted sweetbreads, pancakes, agave syrup. All round, general quality is up.
- T: Nicely rounded bourbon displaying bits of everything including a nuttiness,… We’ve even some notes hitting further back on the palate [the first of this line-up?], a [desirable] dry oakiness throughout, and a harmless building heat.
- F: A faithful hum of what’s gone,.. more agave syrup,… more ’roundness’, oak, little vanilla.
- C: A decent all-rounder that covers more ground than its predecessors.
Scores 82 points
One more then. Have I saved the best till last?
Wild Turkey 8yo  Ob./Austin Nichols Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey [Italian Import] 101 proof/50.5% [1.6 oz] WB86
This is an Austin Nichols Wild Turkey, the brand and distillery – previously known as the Boulevard Distillery – bought out by Pernod Ricard in 1980. Campari acquired all in 2009 [wiki].
- N: Phew, we’ve got a bite! Buttery, creamy, some [fusty honeyed] depth,… cumin seeds, dry honeyed hessian, alluring faint bitters and light liquorice woody sugars.
- T: Yep! Just the right abv punch and a cinnamon/aniseed~cachaca-wood[s] edginess. It travels as a creamy melted waxy soft squidgy acetone-ish spirit with sustained power.
- F: Sustaining/potent oIliness and cinnamon-y woodiness.
- C: Cask ageing of 8+ years and a significant bump up in abv can’t help but make this one stand out from the others. And, for a miniature bottled 29 years ago, what of bottle ageing?
Scores 84 points
It’s been a bit of a struggle, but we got somewhere in the end.
With thanks to Ashley for her photography.