Archive for whiskey

High West Rendezvous Rye

Posted in rye with tags , , on January 3, 2010 by Mick

I think we can thank Mad Men for rye having the comeback its having.  I remember for a hot minute, there were probably 4 or 5 big ryes out there that were available at some liquor stores. Now you can buy it in the grocery store. (Out of state peeps – In CA you can buy liquor in supermarkets)

My point is, with all of these “new” options, (i used new loosely, as its new to me)  it was time that BABAC (Bay Area Bourbon Aficionado’s Club) did a one-off and had a rye night.

To me, rye isnt the best thing to drink straight. Im not into the harsh bitter end you find in most ryes, and the empty middle. So we made sure we had two testings. Straight and a classic Manhattan. In both catagories, High West DESTROYED the competition. Like, when i say destroy, i mean imagine a 1-on-1 game between LeBron James and Stephen Hawking.  I know….that was harsh. But this rye wasnt.

Why? It tasted like a goddamn bourbon. Caramel? Butterscotch? Deep earthy oak notes? WTF? Are we being punked? I remember looking around for Ashton Kutcher’s goofy ass….nope. This is a RYE.

A little more research told us why. High West creates a blend of two of their ryes; a 6-year old 95% rye and a 16-year old 80% rye. With this mixture, you get the bourbon caramel and maple notes, but the sharper rye finishes youd expect. And at about 92 proof, its smooooooth.

Make no mistake, im no rye expert by any means, mainly because i said “I like this rye alot. Because it tastes like a bourbon.” Any rye drinker would slap my Bearded cheeks for saying that. But, its a start.

Im probably out of my gourd for saying this, but until i have another rye as good as this one, ill just assume THIS rye is amazing.

My score – 97 out of 100.

Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon

Posted in bourbon with tags , , on June 20, 2009 by Mick

BlantonsLiving in the Bay Area, we are completely spoiled by the selection of great restaurants and bars. The choices are sometimes so vast, that its completely overwhelming. We pick away here and there, and last night, we hit A Cote in Oakland.

As a pretty seasoned bourbon drinker, (i mean that figuratively and literally) my eyes usually focus on the bar to the slight translucency of BROWN. And then i saw it across the bar.

The faceted bottle…the horse on the top…..Blanton’s. Like a butterscotch jewel from afar….

I became excited….like that rush you get when someone tells you “Pssst…i forgot to tell you, i have a house in Tuscany….and you can have it.” I knew it was rare for a bar, let alone a restaurant to have it, so i decided that after dinner, id knock it down.

Once our delicious dinner of flank steak, salmon and gnocci ended, i got my Blanton’s. It was served neat WITH an extra glass of ice on the side. Holy fuck, right?

I am coming from two camps on this one. I usually drink bourbon on the rocks….but admittedly, i regret having poured this one over rocks. It was definitely better neat….the legs, so viscous and thick….like a port wine.

The taste is like DisneyWorld in your mouth. Chaotic, colorful and hot. The initally sip is surprisingly smooth for it being 93 proof, with immediate caramel notes and the oakiness of Pop’s tobacco and his old leather sofa. At the next level, you get vanillas and creaminess which soften the next-to- follow minty spice finish. Am i eating Indian food, or drinking bourbon here? Its amazing.

And then after that first sip warms your belly, the second one is just as enjoyable.

I dont think this is a bourbon i would have all the time….this is the one you keep hidden from people.

Like me….hide your Blanton’s from me because i WILL steal it from you.

My score – 99 out of 100

Nothing’s perfect. But this is as close as it gets.

Booker’s 8 Year Bourbon

Posted in bourbon with tags , , , on May 31, 2009 by Mick

bookersJesus Ca-Ripes on 12 red wigs.


THIS is what bourbon is all about. Ive been a fan of Booker’s for a minute, but for some reason, i never really appreciated it until recently. I think my pallette matured or even got smart. Because daddy likey.




Lets start with the initial aroma that can only be the same as Ivan Drago punching you in the fucking face with a handful of molten caramel. Such an intense INTENSE complexity, it is a bit surprising. The most intense smell i get is a smokey citrusey vanilla oakiness. Like if you were to set a stripper’s casket on fire.


Ooof….too much? Too intense? I told you…this is a badass bourbon.


Then there is the taste. 


Imagine the greatest grand marsala that has ever touched your lips with a meritage of a thousand spices and smells while 14 ninjas were hitting you in the face with throwing stars made out of cloves and set ablaze. This is the kid you graduated that disappeared for a year and came back with a Beard, knowing 9 different disciplines of martial arts. This is all that of the bourbon family.


Where do you begin with the flavors….think of what a burnt orange tastes like just moments after you eat a Werther’s original. 


Its a little hot on the lips at first, as it weighs in at a Leviathan sized 126 proof. And believe it or not, its amazing neat or on rocks. I even had it with just a little spritz of water. Anyway you slice it, this bourbon IS why people move to Kentucky.


That and horses. Big, badass horses.


My score – 98 out of 100. Best. Bourbon. Ever. So far…….

Rebel Yell Bourbon

Posted in bourbon with tags , on April 17, 2009 by Mick

rebSome of you Trader Joe’s shoppers may recognize this as the very Rebel Yell that sells for $9.99. Indeed…it’s the same stuff.


Being adventurous (incredibly adventurous) i will try anything once. And i will drink anything at least once. Hopefully, ill actually enjoy it and go back a second time…


On first glance, you pull a “Here we go….” because its a very LIGHT brown for a bourbon….almost too light. 


But i took a good hearty pull off of it, and was blown away by how NOT weak it was….it wasnt strong, but it was pretty complicated for a cheap bourbon. It was creamier (think butter and maple syrup at the same time) than some, and had a really smooth finish.


Also, its worthy to note that this is one of the only wheated bourbons left.


I dig this little bourbon, and though it wont make history for me, its definitely wirth keeping around the home bar.


My score – 83 out of 100.

Macallan’s 10 Year Fine Oak Scotch

Posted in scotch with tags , , on March 9, 2009 by Mick



Scotch isnt for everyone…im really trying to get into it…mainly because i almost feel like i need to.


Being someone who claims to have impeccable tastes in spirits, ive historically fallen short in conversations about scotch. Why?


I could never get over how strong the tastes were. Even in food, ive always been super sensitive to saffron, how leathery it was, or how tobaccoo-ey it was.


Maybe it was that time in HS when i ate a cigarette on a dare.


Who knows….but at any rate, this particular scotch is aged at 10 years in three different casks. Two sherry barrels (an American barrel and a European barrel) which gives it the stronger smokey notes, and an American oak barrel aged in bourbon, that gives this scotch a fruity citrus tinge, and softens the hard leather taste associated with it.


I can only assume at 10 years, its probably a good beginner’s scotch, as i know Macallan’s name to be somewhat respected in the Scottish whiskey community.


I liked this scotch, and might even be eager for a smokier, oakier flavor.


My score – 84 out of 100

Maker’s Mark

Posted in bourbon with tags , , , on March 6, 2009 by Mick


Weve all been there…


On an elevator, in a club, wherever…someone walks by you, or stands next to you, and then it hits you.


The smell….this can either be a terrible moment (if they smell like a homeless person took a shit in a burning tire) or an incredible moment that youll never forget (like when that hot chick brushed her fingers through her hair and you felt realllly creepy for taking a whiff).


Maker’s Mark did that to me. The first time ive ever had it was in a dimly lit bar in Rhode Island. I pulled the glass slowly to my mouth and before wetting my lips, i took in the most lucious smells of butterscotch and oak. It just about knocked me on my ass, the way the smell of burnt marshmallows makes you feel 8 again.


See…its the quality of ingredients that enables Maker’s Mark to have such an amazing finish, smell (nose as the snobs will say) and texture. You may have heard this…”All bourbons are whiskeys, but not all whiskeys are bourbons”.  As a bourbon, Maker’s is made of ingredients ONLY indiginous to Bourbon County, KY.  Primarily, bourbons (and whiskeys) are made of 70% corn, and the rest a malted grain like barley. The corn is what lends whiskeys its sweetness.


To me, Maker’s is one of the sweetest, smoothest bourbons ive ever had. To be a 90 proof bourbon (45% alcohol) and finish so smooth is a feat in itself.


Plus, for whatever reason, Maker’s Mark doesnt make me fucking psychotic in large doses like SOME whiskeys ill mention later.


I highly recommend this neat or with rocks, but under NO circumstances should you mix this with anything.


It would be like using rare truffle oil to doctor a Big Mac. Fuck that.


Maker’s is the perfect compliment to the end of a meal, a day at the office or punching a clown.


Hey, its your day… you deserve it.


My score – 93