New Bourbon Added: Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Basil Haydens

Name: Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distiller: Jim Beam Distillery
Type: High-Rye
Color: Mahogany
Proof: 80
Age: 8 Years
Price: $40


About: Basil Hayden’s is one of four Bourbons that make up Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. Baker’s, Knob Creek and Booker’s round out the Small Batch Collection with Basil Hayden’s being the lightest of the four Bourbonscoming in at 80 proof, which makes it a fantastic Bourbon for those who are new to Bourbon and want to take a measured approach to their tasting journey.

 

New Bourbon Added: Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Angles Envy V2

Name: Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distiller: Louisville Distilling
Type: High-Rye
Color: Copper/Gold
Proof: 86.6
Age: 4 Years
Price: $43


About: In Bourbon making parlance, “angel’s share” refers to the portion of whiskey lost to evaporation during the aging process. After crafting his latest Bourbon, seasoned whiskey producer Lincoln Henderson (formerly of Woodford Reserve and Old Forester, and who has since passed away) declared his new concoction “Angel’s Envy,” claiming that the heavenly beings would no doubt want even more of this divine drink.

The Bourbon starts with corn and rye, is aged in American white oak barrels for four to six years, and then aged for three to six additional months in port casks. Displaying a luminous gold-copper color, this newcomer to the Bourbon world exhibits a light, playful flavor on the tongue followed by a long finish with hints of orange zest, making it both seductive and accessible to those wary of whiskey. 

New Bourbon Added: Black Maple Hill 8yr Small Batch

Black Hill

Name: Black Maple Hill 8yr Small Batch
Distiller: Heaven Hill Distillery
Type: High-Rye
Color: Red/Amber
Proof: 95
Age: 8 Years
Price: $32


About: We’ll start with our only complaint: a sealer wax and short cork combination that makes getting to the juice difficult, but the effort pays off handsomely. There is controversy over where this super-premium Bourbon is actually distilled, but few dispute its exalted position in the pantheon of brown liquor. 

Once we won our battle with the top, we enjoyed the smell of victory with molasses and brown sugar on the nose. On the palate, Black Maple Hill is sweet as Bourbons can be, but in a masculine sort of way, like maple syrup enjoyed by a lumberjack. It has a supple mouthfeel, filling the mouth with sweet and satisfying honey-tinged flavor, and a finish that seems to never end. It’s so smooth, there’s no need for ice. Despite its 95-proof strength, there’s not a hint of burn even when enjoyed neat. We can’t wait to meet her 21-year-old sister. 

New Bourbon Added: Four Roses Small Batch

Four Roses

Name: Four Roses Small Batch
Distiller: Four Roses
Type: High-Rye
Color: Deep Amber
Proof: 90
Age: 9 Years
Price: $35


About: Despite a history dating back to 1888, the iconic name, and its popularity, Four Roses stopped selling Bourbon in the US for forty years. The whiskey was so popular in Asia that Kirin, the Japanese beer maker, bought the company in 2002 and started selling Bourbon stateside. The Kentucky-based distillery combines its two mash recipes with five yeast strains to produce ten different Bourbons. All ten are used in their signature Bourbon, only one goes into their single barrel product, while Four Roses Small Batch uses four different whiskeys. 

We find Four Roses Small Batch to be understated, with a very subtle aroma. It feels stronger than its 90 proof on the palate, but can still be enjoyed neat. We taste sweet oak along with caramel before experiencing a long, clean, vanilla finish. 

New Bourbon Added: Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit

Wild turkey

Name: Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit
Distiller: Austin Nichols
Type: High-Rye
Color: Amber
Proof: 101
Age: 12 Years
Price: $50


About: The Dirty Bird…The Screaming Eagle… The Kicking Chicken… The flagship Wild Turkey Whiskey has been acclaimed in movie and song for its bad-boy ways, and has enough nicknames to fill a small phonebook. But we were impressed with its lesser-known cousin, Kentucky Spirit, which shares the same 101-proof strength. The Kentucky product has some similarities to Blanton’s: it’s a single barrel Bourbon which bears the number of the barrel, warehouse and even the rick (barrel shelf) where it was stored on each distinctive bottle. Legend has it that Master Distiller and Bourbon Guru Jimmy Russell, who has worked for the distillery since 1954, personally selects the barrels that will be used in the specialty product.

There’s brown sugar and nutmeg on the nose, citrus on the palate, and a zesty finish. But what makes Kentucky Spirit truly stand out is its viscosity; one sip of this amber potion and our lips are coated with sweet goodness. Hirsute men should prepare for sweet and sticky mustaches.


New Bourbon Added: Blanton’s Single Barrel

Blantons single

Name: Blanton’s Single Barrel
Distiller: Buffalo Trace
Type: High-Rye
Color: Red/Amber
Proof: 93
Age: 12 Years
Price: $65


About: The Blanton family made Bourbon before the Civil War, but their breakthrough came in 1984 when they introduced the first single barrel Bourbon. Along with variations between bottles caused by each individual barrel being bottled unblended, there are also eight different racehorse and jockey poses on the stoppers. (Collect them all!) When we first pulled our stopper, its toffee-caramel aroma actually caused our spouse to declare, “That smells good!” The reddish-amber Bourbon has a lovely jolt of orange zest and burnt sugar on the palate. Exuding flavors, one sip feels like it fills our entire mouth. 

New Bourbon Added: Makers 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

Makers 46

Name: Makers 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
Distiller: Makers Mark
Type: Wheated
Color: Red/Amber
Proof: 94
Age: 6 Years
Price: $40


About: Maker’s Mark has been making only one bourbon for more than fifty years. Unlike other business executives concerned with growth, the owners felt that the bourbon was the best that it could be, so what would be the point of selling another? But this year they will double their product line with the introduction of Maker’s 46. Think of it not as an entirely new bourbon, but as a new interpretation of the classic whiskey.

Master Distiller Bill Samuels told GAYOT.com that his goal was “…to ramp up the flavor intensity, but keep the same flavor profile. The challenge was how to ramp up flavor without an increase in tannic acid. We wanted to be able to hold it on the tongue without biting.” The solution to keep the acids out came from a cooper.

And what is the basis of the new bourbon? Matured Maker’s Mark! The new product follows the same production path and aging process as the original until a winemaking process is employed: after emptying the barrel, additional staves of seared French oak are threaded on a dowel which is drilled into the sides. Searing the wood caramelizes the sugars therein, creating a unique flavor on the front of the tongue. The whiskey is then poured back in the enhanced barrel to age a few months.

Says Samuels, “Like a Pittsburgh-style steak is charred to lock in flavors, charring the staves lock tannins in. The process adds a little spice, not bitterness, while magnifying vanilla and caramel flavors.”

We wholeheartedly agree that the caramel and vanilla flavors shine through despite the higher alcohol content. Maker’s 46 is being released at 94 proof as opposed to the original’s 90. We found the taste stronger than its older brother, but there is no alcohol in the oaky nose or burn during the long, satisfying finish. Overall, the spirit seems more mature and complex than its namesake. We found no need for ice or water, let alone a mixer, to enjoy it.

In its Master Collection releases, Woodford Reserve often changes its barrels in order to create a different flavor profile in a limited release. This similar technique works well in this case, and it’s a good thing, as Maker’s is hoping that this second offering will be around for a long time. We’re looking forward to trying the third Maker’s Mark bourbon, which at the current pace should be released around 2062.

New Bourbon Added: Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve

Pappy Van winkle

Name:Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve
Distiller: Old Rip Van Winkle
Type: Wheated
Color: Deep Amber
Proof: 107
Age: 15 Years
Price: $250


About: The Van Winkle name is more than steeped in American tradition. Its four generations of bourbon-making date back to 1935, when Julian P. Van Winkle, Sr. opened the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in South Louisville, Ky. “Pappy,” as he was fondly called, played an active role in his distillery until his death in 1965 at the age of 91. As a tribute to him and the family, grandson Julian Van Winkle III created a special “Family Reserve” line, a small-batch bourbon that includes a 15-, 20- and 23-year-old malt.

What’s special about this bourbon — and most other Van Winkle bourbons — is that it incorporates wheat, not rye, into its corn mash. Wheated bourbon generally gives the spirit a sweeter, smoother taste than rye bourbons and allows it to age for longer periods of time. But don’t let the word smooth fool you. Although full of sweet flavors like vanilla and toasty oak, Pappy’s bourbon packs heat, which expresses itself in the long, spicy finish. The 23 Year is the smoothest of the three and is characterized by a deep amber color and complex flavors of honey and toffee, although its lengthy aging time also makes it the rarest. If it is unavailable, look for the two younger versions of Pappy’s elixir, a must-try for American whiskey enthusiasts.

New Bourbon Added: Parker’s Heritage Collection 27 Yr Small Batch

Parker 27yr

Name:Parker’s Heritage Collection 27 Yr Small Batch
Distiller: Jim Beam
Type: Wheated
Color: Dark Amber
Proof: 96
Age: 27 Years
Price: $200


About: Bulleit Bourbon has trod a long road to its current renown. Originally conceived in the 1830s by Augustus Bulleit, the bourbon was promptly lost to history as Augustus disappeared while transporting his original batch between Kentucky and New Orleans. More than one hundred years later, his great-great-grandson, Tom Bulleit, decided to re-enter the family trade, sticking as closely as he could to his relation’s recipe and style. The result is Bulleit Bourbon — a drink that crackles with the rough character of its pioneer roots.

Every facet of Bulleit is designed to recall the bourbon’s past, from its recipe to its “Old West”-style bottles which feature the phrase “Frontier Whiskey.” Even its name makes it sound like it belongs with a Colt .45. So, despite the praline and vanilla aftertastes, some may find its smoky aromas and aggressive taste too harsh for sippin’. To civilize the flavor without burying it, we recommend the following simple recipe.

New Bourbon Added: Woodford Reserve Seasoned Oak Finish

WR Seasoned Oak

Name:Woodford Reserve Seasoned Oak Finish
Distiller: Woodford Reserve
Type: Traditional
Color: Mahogany
Proof: 100.4
Age: 6 Years
Price: $90


About: Unlike many other storied Bourbons, Woodford Reserve has only been around since 1996. Despite its youth, we’re big fans of the brand. The Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby always makes us feel like we’re in the winner’s circle. But every once in a while, the distillery — based in Woodford County, Kentucky — puts out a limited edition that surpasses the original. 

Our favorite Woodford Reserve’s Masters Collection, the fourth released, is a bold and spicy concoction. As per its name, it is finished in seasoned oak barrels that have been exposed to the outdoors for three to five years — as opposed to the standard three to five months — resulting in a complex flavor profile that combines hints of wood and pepper with smooth and satisfying caramel. The 100.4-proof Seasoned Oak Finish Bourbon is also noticeably stronger than the distillery’s classic 90.4-proof product, providing a substantial bite while still finishing smoothly.