BMC Bourbon – Bib + Tucker 10 year 66.6%

Can I admit sometimes I find the American whiskey industry just a tad confusing? Rather than distinct distilleries, we stumble across brands which may (or may not) be from a particular state and/or distillery or possibly a blend of several, made from barley or corn or rye or wheat a mix of many grains. Throw change in ownership or associations into the mix and it becomes even more confounding.

Such is the case with Bib & Tucker... Is it American? Yes… It was originally the brainchild of California’s 3 Badge Beverage Corp (previously 35 Maple Street with a Canadian connect), initially reputed to be bourbon from an undisclosed distillery in Tennessee… or was it Kentucky?

Fast forward to 2017 and you will see it is part of a Connecticut based Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. As for where the golden liquid is actually from and how was it made and from what? I found both TN and KY on the bottle in small print but beyond that… tough to tell…

A different cask bottled at 64% was reputed to be from Kentucky Springs Distilling Co with a mash of 70% corn, 26% rye and 4% malted barley. The grains were distilled twice – through a column still and an old-fashioned copper pot still – then matured in No. 1 charred American white oak barrels… in other words charred for the least amount of time ie approx 15 seconds.

Whereas the one we tried clocked in at whopping 66.6% and I certainly couldn’t track it down… which isn’t so surprising given there are only 159 bottles of this particular expression in existence!

Setting aside my clearly inadequate detective skills, what matters most to us is what did we think? (as I can practically here the gents chaff with “Would you stop your blathering lassie so we can get on with the tasting??”)

Bib & Tucker 10 year Cask C130712 133.2 Proof 66.6%, Bottle 017 / 159

  • Colour – Burnished copper orange
  • Nose – Burnt caramel, tea leaves, toasted grain, dates and prunes, sweet spices particularly cinnamon, apricot salt tart, plum liqueur, a Chinese sour cherry, a bit of leather… as it opened, it became increasingly sour, cinnamon, almost camomile, then sweet with vanilla cream custard
  • Palate – Wow! There was no mistaking the 1st hit of alcohol and power behind this bourbon! If you had any taste buds remaining after the 1st singe, the embers continued to burn… however just as the nose evolved and opened up, so too did the palate… after time it even took on a lovely apricot too
  • Finish – A slightly bitter nutty edge came out after the spice dampened down
  • Water – A few much preferred it with water finding it brought out the tart sourness
  • Ice – Whereas others found it best with a nice chunk of ice

Overall? We thought it has quite an interesting nose that evolved as it opened up. And what a reaction to the 1st sip! The first gent to dive in had taken a good swig – burst out with “Woah!” and looked like he had been kicked by a mule. I kid you not. But slow down and take a wee sip? And be rewarded with a lovely flavourful rolling spice fire in your mouth.

This one certainly grew on us… and after the cigar was part-way through, most switched to the Bib & Tucker to pair and puff away the balance of our evening.

And what do the Bib & Tucker folks have to say? Well… this particular 10 year expression doesn’t seem to have on-line tasting notes however the 6 year is described as:

  • aroma  BIB & TUCKER leads with a strong vanilla scent along with fresh cut sweet grass, wet stone and old leatherbound books.
  • taste  With a smooth entry, the bourbon is nicely balanced with a hint of sweetness. It fulfills the promise of its nose before evolving into a warm, lightly crisp,spicy sensation.
  • finish  BIB & TUCKER lingers in the mouth with a complex, yet balanced chestnutty taste.

While not the same expression, can certainly see some similarity in profile between the standard 6 year vs the 10 year one we tried.

BMC’s Bourbon Night

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BMC Bourbon – Breaker Bourbon Port Barrel Finish 45%

When I tried to find out more about this bourbon, it turns out it is more a brand than a specific new distillery entering the fray.

The folks over at Ascendant are quiet about the origins and details on their website. While the company is based in California, according to Distiller.com, the bourbon has a mash bill of corn, rye and malted barley which is sourced from  Indiana where it is distilled and aged for a minimum of five years, then blended and bottled in California.

Breaker Bourbon Port Barrel Finish Batch No 5 45% Bottle 727

  • Colour – Burnished ruby
  • Nose – Sweet and sour, yhesty, herbal, basil, dry spices of cardamon and cloves, black peppercorn… increasingly sweet then sour mash
  • Palate – Yhesty malt on the palate, dry, milder than expected, even a bit bitter
  • Finish – Hmm… there but… what exactly?
  • Water – Evens it out a bit

This was a strange one. There was no discernible influence from the Port finish – none of the stewed fruits or dark berries or even grapes of any kind. We simply weren’t sure about it so we set it aside.

And when we returned? No… just no… seriously no.

Let’s see what the folks over at Ascendant have to say:

This special edition Breaker Bourbon starts with fully matured bourbon and is finished in port wine barrels. It boasts a distinct hue and complex flavors of vanilla, cereal grains, oak, spice, and rich stewed fruit leading to a dry finish. Citrus and spice linger on the palate with baked apple notes beneath.

We certainly didn’t find much in common with the tasting notes. Pity.

BMC’s Bourbon Night

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BMC Bourbon – Clyde May’s Straight Bourbon 46%

Clyde May’s takes inspiration from the story of Clyde May’s moonshine days in Alabama with their Conecuh Ridge style spirit which was essentially corn moonshine matured for a year in charred oak barrels with dried apples.

As for its modern avatar?  Kentucky Bourbon Distillers stepped in to produce the bourbon, though the branding retained a nod to Alabama. Why? Simply put prior to 2013, it was illegal to distill spirits in Alabama! However once the laws changed, rumour has it plans were hatched to build a distillery in Troy Alabama with developments at “an advanced stage.”

But what about the bourbon?

Clyde May’s Straight Bourbon Batch CM0791 Recipe No 2 92 Proof 46%

  • Colour – Caramel red gold
  • Nose – Musty granary then mellows out, mild wood, ripe banana but not the typical bold bananas of a rough bourbon but instead a soft nuanced banana loaf, peaches, then brewed tea chilled to make ice tea with lemon slices, then the wood comes back on top, followed by apples… almost like a honey sweet apple brandy
  • Palate – Back of the tongue banana, sweet, so much more interesting on the palate than we hand anticipated, honey and fruits, simply beautiful, mild and easy sipping
  • Finish – Oolong tea, truly lovely finish
  • Water – For those who gadded, found it became even sweeter, the fruits came out to the fore even more, burnt sugar with a nice peppery finish

The longer is sat in the glass, the more enjoyable the aromas. Particularly with the revisit, we found this a clear desert dram.

And with ice? Banana cream and baked apple pie, simply fabulous! Then shifts to orange blossoms and vanilla cream. However don’t let it get watered down… overly diluted it becomes sugar water and insipid. Instead, keep it topped up and enjoy!

As for paired with our bourbon soaked Gurkha? First half of the cigar was equally sweet and the Clyde May’s was a perfect complement. However by the time we got to the heavier spicier part of the cigar, this was no longer quite the right fit… instead we shifted to Bib & Tucker 10 year bourbon.

And what do the Clyde May’s folks have to say?

Aged 4 to 5 years in new 53 gallon oak barrels and is non-chill filtered. You get dried orchard fruits on the nose and spice on the palate. A full and smooth choice, best either on the rocks or in a May’s Manhattan.

  • Appearance: Rich crimson.
  • Nose: Soft and sweet on the nose with aromas of brown sugar, baked apricot, wild strawberry, and nutmeg.
  • Palate: Wonderfully soft with complex aromas of barrel spice, fruit, and oiled leather.
  • Finishes long and delicious.

When I reached out to what I could find for a contact of Clyde May’s, John Soden,
International Sales Director of Belfast Distillery Company Ltd/Conecuh Brands kindly stepped in to further share details about the bourbon:

  • Mash Bill is 78% Corn, 12% Rye and 10% Malted Barley
  • Char #4 barrels, non-chill filtered, aged for 4-5 years

While the Alabama element is adding apples, this can’t done with the straight bourbon we sampled for it to qualify as bourbon. They also clarified that while they have plans to build their own distillery, currently the whiskey is sourced with a “very strict set of criteria with regard to age/quality, production methods and ingredients.”

Bottom line, did we like it? Why yes we did!

BMC’s Bourbon Night

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BMC Bourbon – Four Roses Small Batch 45%

This Kentucky small batch bourbon wasn’t originally part of the trio, however our host received it as a rather timely gift and decided to bring it along as an “appetizer” to our main “meal.”

As we poured, we compared notes on our preferred standard bourbons… names that came to mind included Blanton’s, Elijah Craig and yes – Four Roses… ideally with a nice large chunk of ice.

However, true to our tasting traditions… we sampled each first neat, then some added water, then each bourbon was set aside until all were tasted for a revisit… followed by closing which whisk(e)y we thought could best partner our cigar.

Four Roses Small Batch 45%

  • Colour – Bright yellow straw
  • Nose – Musty sweet mash, wood, bit of citrus, pear drops, oily orange, sweet tobacco leaf or sweet grass, loads of sour mash, hay…
  • Palate – Very smooth and a bit peppery
  • Finish – Orange zest with some thinking perhaps a chaser of anise
  • Water – Makes it spicier initially then once it settles down simply dilutes
  • Revisit – Coming back for a revisit after sampling the others – wow! Pear with sweet white flowers, certainly very easy going

Overall? We were reminded of why this bourbon came to mind in our collective short list. Truth be told, most of us are not typically bourbon drinkers unless it happens to be cocktail hour! In which case, having a base with more power is preferred.

As for what the folks over at Four Roses have to say?

  • Nose – Mellow spice, rich fruit, hints of sweet oak & caramel.
  • Palate – Mellow, ripened red berries, dried spice, well-balanced, rich.
  • Finish – Soft, smooth & pleasantly long.

We tried it from a closed bottle in Mumbai on March 2019.

As for what this would set you back? It remains quite affordable… currently selling on Master of Malt for approx $30.

BMC’s Bourbon Night

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BMC Bourbon Night Take 2 – Four Roses, Clyde May’s, Breaker, Bib + Tucker

A personal connect often is the magic link in our sourcing efforts… Which is exactly why our Bombay Malt & Cigar group has enjoyed a decidedly Norther American “twang” to some of our tastings…

One member’s spouse is Canadian with a recent trip leading to  a Canadian Club tasting and another’s spouse is American. This member last brought us a Westland Trio and now a special evening focused purely on Bourbon!

But these were no ordinary run of the mill bourbons – nope! Other than Four Roses just to whet our whistles, the other three from Alabama to California are not your standard garden variety brash bourbons.

What did we think? Read on and discover!

BMC’s Bourbon Night

Our favourite? There was zero doubt that the Clyde May‘s came out on top for its delightful sweetness plus made a terrific complement to the cigar initially.

And next up? The Bib & Tucker was the most interesting… and as the cigar became spicier, most of us shifted to pairing with it instead.

For the rest? Four Roses the most accessible – both in palate and as a bourbon.

Whereas the Breaker Bourbon Port Barrel Finish? Not sure it quite worked for us… pity.

Interested in other Bourbon focused evenings? A few memorable ones include:

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Cleveland Underground Apple Bourbon Whiskey Sour

Ah… there are times when a chilled whisky sour just hits the spot! Which is exactly why our bourbon evening closed with a non-traditional take on this whiskey cocktail standard.

This isn’t quite what we tried but pretty close…

Underground Whiskey Sour
  • 1 ½ oz Underground Bourbon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 drunken cherry
  • Chickpea froth
DIRECTIONS
  1. In an old fashioned glass, add Underground Bourbon, lemon juice, and sugar
  2. Shake with ice and strain into chilled tulip glass
  3. Add the froth
  4. Garnish with a cherry

Often it is made with frothed egg white… in our case we had a less traditional “vegetarian” version made with the froth from boiling chickpeas – which works surprisingly well.

Our Bourbon trio included:

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Mithcher’s Small Batch Bourbon Sazerac Cocktail

After sampling Mitcher’s Small Batch Bourbon solo, we had a change to try it in a different avatar – an exceedingly good Sazerac… so good that a few even had a repeat!

Mitcher’s Small Batch Bourbon L16F747 45.7% (91.4 proof)

This isn’t quite what we tried but pretty close…

  • 2 1/2 oz. Mitcher’s small batch bourbon whisky
  • sugar cube
  • dashes bitters
  • Absinthe
  • Lemon peel
  • Old-fashioned glass
Directions:
  1. In an Old-Fashioned glass, muddle a sugar cube with a few drops of water.
  2. Add several small ice cubes and the whiskey and bitters.
  3. Stir well and strain into a second, chilled, Old-Fashioned glass in which you have rolled around a few drops of absinthe until its inside is thoroughly coated, pouring off the excess.
  4. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel

The quality of the absinthe makes all the difference. In our case, we had a Czech absinthe – Bairnsfather;’s Reality Absinth – that was truly exceptional.

Our Bourbon trio included:

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FEW Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail

After enjoying the FEW Bourbon straight up, it was time for cocktails!

While I’m not sure if this is exactly what was whipped up for us, this is in the same territory…

FEW Bourbon Manhattan

  • 2 oz. FEW Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Italian vermouth
  • dashes Angostura Bitters
Directions
  1. Stir the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters well with cracked ice.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a twist or a maraschino cherry.

In this case, the cherry was soaked in a rather fine bourbon, and naturally it was also a quality vermouth, hence the results were frankly fabulous.

Our Bourbon trio included:

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