Over the past couple of decades there has been a lot of innovation in the whiskey industry. One particular type of “innovation” took whiskey back to its roots and allowed for a pure form of whiskey to come back into the market. The “single barrel” whiskey is how whiskey used to be. They’d distill it, they’d barrel it, and they’d drink it. Simple, unassuming, basic. But what happens when you put together today’s technology of distilling practices to get a very uniform distillate, along with what we know about barrel aging practices? Quite frankly we have been treated to works of art.
Master Distillers have made some of the most wonderful whiskey expressions one barrel at a time, and like the single barreled shotgun shown above have taken something basic and simple and made it into something unique and artisan…
I believe I have discovered a trend in Single Barrel bourbons. I went back and looked at several reviews I have done of Single barrel bourbons, three in all, and thought about several other single barrel expressions I have had, and came to a very important conclusion: The higher the proof, the better the flavor.
This stands to reason based on just my reviews as limited as they are. The first single barrel whiskey I reviewed was Four Roses. I loved the stuff, and I am actually very excited, because it is now carried in the Idaho Liquor Stores. This is 100 proof and very full bodied, aromatic, and has a big, long, satisfying finish. The next one was Wathen’s Single Barrel. This is a 94 proof bourbon that was satisfying, but I began to notice a bit of (for lack of a better term) body fade. It just didn’t seem to be as complex or have the same structure that other bourbons had. It seemed incomplete. The last Single Barrel Bourbon I reviewed was Evan Williams Single Barrel. This is an 86.6 proof bourbon that I thought had serious flaws. It was missing large spectrums in the flavor wheel, and had a serious lack of finish.
I had just about given up on the whole concept of Single Barrel bourbon as an inferior product, when Wild Turkey sent me a bottle of their 101 proof Kentucky Spirit for a bloggers event they held. The event was good, but the whiskey was much better. See I had forgotten that I absolutely loved Four Roses, and that the Wathens was good, and all I remembered was that the Evan Williams wasn’t up to par. But Kentucky Spirit fixed that, and I was again reminded that single barrel bourbon can be a wonderful treat.
So why go on like this? Because, I am about to do my first Whiskey Throwdown on the blog. I have done several beer throwdowns, but none for whiskey. This throwdown will feature Single Barreled Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit against Four Roses Single Barrel. Stay Tuned.