Bring on the bourbon and rye!

Finally proper whisky drinking weather in Mumbai! A hint of chill in the sea breeze just in time for the marriage marathons and seasonal festivities of the December / January ‘seasons.’

Our last monthly malt meeting of 2014 had a decidedly American twang with two Bourbons and a Rye! Given that the US now has over 2,000 whiskey listings with 600 new distilleries, it is no surprise that there are plenty of options to sample.
As none of us had tried these American offerings, we dispensed with our usual blind tasting and merrily went straight for the bottles!
We toured three different states – Kentucky, New York and Colorado.
Russel's Reserve

Russell’s Reserve

Small batch Kentucky straight bourbon matured in ‘alligator-charred’ virgin American oak casks.
  • Colour – bright amber (don’t let the pic fool you!)
  • Nose – banana caramel desert, vanilla, spirity with a slightly peaty element, agarbati smoke, curry leaves with a faint hint of fresh mint sprigs
  • Taste – bitter kerela, baby puke sour, dry and oaky
  • Finish – still bitter
  • Water – BLAND, tamed the sharpness but added nothing new
Conclusion – A nice, easy drinking whisky. And we all enjoy a bit of that from time to time!
Rough Rider

Rough Rider

This rye is matured only one year and is made from a mash of 95% rye and 5% malted barley, matured in 3 barrels – new American oak, straight bourbon cask, then finished in casks used to age Pine Barrens Single Malt Whiskey. The ‘Bull Moose’ name comes from the nickname of Roosevelt’s Progressive Party, formed in 1912. True Americana!
  • Colour – deeper amber than the Russell’s Reserve
  • Nose – lemon soapy scented bubble bath, fresh sawdust
  • Tastepoppins, ruafza, sweet on the tongue while harsh at the back, wine notes with a chardonnay brightness or gewürztraminer sweetness, smooth
  • Finish – very surface level, slightly sour
  • One thought had slightly synthetic flavour
  • Another suggested would be best drunk at a brunch, paired with a lemon tart
  • For a one-year old baccha, not bad… but certainly not one to go into the favourites category


From Colorado, Breckenridge is aged 2 years in charred new American oak barrels. Its key claim to fame is that it uses water from “snow melted from the rocky mountains.”
  • Nose – reassuringly bourbon banana sweet mellow raisins, fruity
  • Taste – the closest to being Scottish in taste, a bit chewy sweet, good whisky but no specific character hence slightly tricky to describe
  • Finish – light spicy finish
Best quote of the evening:
  • “Feel like cowboys / gals in leather chaps riding off to the sunset just like in those old Westerns. Yeehaw!”
Rough Rider, Breckenridge, Russel's Reserve

Rough Rider, Breckenridge, Russel’s Reserve

And just when we thought the tastings for the evening was over… out popped a repeat from an earlier session consistent with our evenings theme – Blanton’s Single-Barrel Bourbon. With its trademark Blanton stoppers – we have yet to collect each in the series to see the race in action!
20141218-Blanton Label 20141218-Blanton
2014 brought several opportunities to sample brash whiskies from North America, however my personal preference remains single malts from Scotland or a few favourites from Ireland and Japan. You?
Other American whisky evenings:

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