Monarch Flights by Flight Club
Flight of the Month - November 2018
Wild Turkey is near and dear to our hearts. While many people mistakenly believe Wild Turkey to be the bottom shelf bourbon that only college kids drank 15 years ago, Wild Turkey has a growing reputation of producing solid products, both in today’s production and in the “dusty” bottles from decades ago.
In 2017, Flight Club started “Wild Turkey Month – 30 Turkeys in 30 Days.” Each day of the month, we wrote about the history of Wild Turkey and its products, and provided reviews from some of the many products produced over the past few decades. In 2018, we decided to bring Part 2 of this challenge. Follow us on our blog for our daily updates of reviews.
This particular flight begins with the lighter, more mellow side of Wild Turkey. This Longbranch product was just introduced this year. It is mesquite charcoal filtered and served at 86 proof to help soften the rough edges.
Next we feature Russell’s Reserve 10 Year. While this is a bit older and oakier at 10 years of age, it is also a bit mellower and refined at 90 proof.
Then we bring marquee Wild Turkey product, the traditional Wild Turkey 101. Wild Turkey proudly brings cinnamon and rye spice in this robust bourbon.
Finally, we bring Wild Turkey’s barrel proof Rare Breed 116.8. This is Wild Turkey just as it came out of the barrels, allowing you to enjoy it without any dilution.
Single Barrel Bourbons
Selected by Flight Club Member Jay Cary
Four Roses Single Barrel (100 Proof)
Dried spice, pear, cocoa, vanilla and maple syrup
John J. Bowman Single Barrel (100 Proof)
Vanilla, toffee and caramel
Old Forester – Monarch Barrel Pick (90 Proof)
Brown sugar, dark fruit and vanilla
Wathen’s Single Barrel (94 Proof)
Caramel, vanilla, berry fruit
Single barrel bourbon is a premium take on whiskey that derives unique attributes from an individual aging barrel. Generally, distilleries blend whiskies from multiple barrels and years to create consistency in color and flavor profiles among their products. In the case of single barrel, however, each barrel is bottled separately, dated and numbered with the specific barrel from which it came. The result is flavors specific to that barrel, which are often amplified from what is generally bottled as a blended product.
Additionally, may single barrels may refrain from chill-filtering, leaving more of the original flavors in the bottle. Some are produced at at cask strength, resulting in a truer expression of the cask. All will be different from barrel to barrel, so your experience with some of these may have tasting notes different from ours.
Clove, vanilla, licorice
Caramel, rye spice, butterscotch
Knob Creek Rye
Toffee, cinnamon, vanilla/maple
Whistle Pig Rye 10 yr.
Vanilla, oak, rye spice
Rye Whiskey has become a distinctly North American product. America’s neighbors to the north appreciate the unique characteristics of the rye grain. And, despite what some hockey fans might tell you, Canada and America can play nicely together, at least when it comes to whiskey. All of the whiskey in this flight is rye whiskey. Some of it is sourced from Canada, some of it from the United States.
Rye whiskey is known for its spiciness and makes a great whiskey for use in cocktails or to sit out on the porch and enjoy with your favorite cigar. The complexity of the rye spice makes the whiskey versatile with the ability to pair with others, or stand on its own. Rye whiskey has seen a recent resurgence since it wide availability prior to prohibition. Whiskey distillers from New York, Vermont, Tennessee, Missouri and many others have hopped on the rye train and are pumping out real quality. Most rye whiskey are currently very affordable. Enjoy the high quality at reasonable prices now because it is only a matter of time before the rest of the whisky world catches on and capitalism steals the hidden gem of these ryes.
Proof by Jim Beam
Jim Beam Single Barrel – 95 proof
Caramel, vanilla and corn
Knob Creek – 100 Proof
Caramel, cherry and peanut
Baker’s – 107 Proof
Butterscotch, caramel and brown sugar
Booker’s – Cask Strength
Vanilla, caramel and oak.
To many, the name Jim Beam equates to the lower-shelf bourbon that many of us drank with Coke in our college days. Those people aren’t wrong – Jim Beam White Label is among the best selling whiskeys in the world for that reason. Most would agree that the standard Jim Beam isn’t a sippin’ whiskey.
Fortunately, Jim Beam offers something a bit more refined for those of who do enjoy just sippin’ on our whiskey. Take a look at our Jim Beam page and the variety of bourbons offered by Beam. Generally speaking, Beam offers three different recipes for their whiskeys – a rye whiskey, a lower-rye bourbon and a higher rye- bourbon. The rye makes up products like Booker’s Rye, Knob Creek Single Barrel Rye and Old Overholt. The high rye bourbons are used in Old Grand Dad and Basil Haydens.
This flight focuses on the lower-rye bourbons offered by Jim Beam. I’ve chosen these because Beam offers something fairly unique in the industry. Beam offers you essentially the same recipe, at various ages and proofs, so that you as the consumer can determine your exact sweet spot for Jim Beam.
We start with the Jim Beam Single Barrel. While there are some slight age differences, this bourbon is essentially the best of what White Label might have to offer, in single barrel form, and proof up to 95 proof. Its likely in the 4-7 year age range.
Next we move on to that same recipe, only this time at 100 proof and a bit older. This Knob Creek is a small batch bourbon, and the average age is still around 9 years. We previously reviewed it here.
Third we move on to one of the least known Beam products, Baker’s. Baker’s is the same recipe (although most suspect a different yeast is used), proofed up to 107 proof. It is 7 years old. We reviewed Baker’s here.
Finally, we sample Booker’s. Booker’s has been a longtime favorite of mine. Its big, its brash and its bold. While each batch of Booker’s is slightly different, all have the robust flavors that you can only find at barrel strength.
World Cup = World Whiskeys
Kavalan Single Malt – Taiwan
Vanilla, nougat and honey
Bastille 1789 Hand Crafted – France
Fruit, vanilla and malt
Compass Box Asyla – UK/Scotland
Earth, malt, spice and citrus fruit
Co. E.H. Taylor small batch – US
Caramel, grain, oak and vanilla
World Cup = World Whiskey
The first time I remember watching a World Cup on TV was in 1990. Every game was a party where friends and family got together to cheer for Brazil.
The World Cup is one of the most popular world sports event that takes place every four years, like the Olympics. This year, the World Cup takes place in Russia where 32 nations will see their team in the biggest and most prestigious soccer stage.
In the spirit of the World Cup, I decided to feature four bottles of whiskey from four different countries. Not all nations here presented made it to the World Cup, but are sure watching the event.
Kavalan Single Barrel (Taiwan): I featured Kavalan during my first tasting event and was most impressed. Not the first place you think of when you think Whiskey.
Brastille (France) and Asyla (England): both are in the World Cup, so why not drink their whiskey.
Col. E.H. Taylor Small Batch (USA): tasted at Flight Club and became a favorite. Always carry a bottle or two at home.
Taste of the Rockies
Selected by Flight Club Member Phillip Horvey
Breckenridge Port Cask Finish
Raisin, port, dry and spicy rye.
High West Campfire
Dried peaches, apricots, heath bar and peat.
Cereal, cedar, and honey.
Tin Cup American Whiskey
Big spice and fruit, apple and cinnamon.
I chose this flight because they are very different in their overall taste. The Breckenridge Port Cask Finish is aged for a minimum of 3 years in charred american oak barrels and then finished in port barrels. It gives this whiskey a unique flavor. I feel this is slowly becoming a trend in both whiskey and rum is to age in oak barrels and finish them in port, wine or cognac barrels, which is producing some fantastic new flavors.
The High West Campfire I chose because of the peat that permeates off the nose reminds of the smokiness of the campfire, while camping with my dad in the Rocky Mountains. It has complex flavor since it is made with bourbon, rye whiskey and blended malt scotch. A very unique blend which gives it a complex taste.
Stranahan’s was chosen because of it being a simple mouth pleasing whiskey. Nose: sweet banana bread with vanilla. Palate: Green apples and straw. Finish is smooth with a slow burn.
Tin Cup has an amazing nose, lots of fruit and sweetness to go along with it. Easy drinking whiskey that is smooth and has lots flavor.
All of these provide a palate of different flavors that showcase the vast diversity of whiskeys available. I think any dad would appreciate sipping one for Father’s Day.
10-Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys
Selected by Flight Club Member Scott Hill
Bulleit 10 Year
Caramel, Vanillla, Oak, Spice
Henry McKenna 10 Year Bottled in Bond
Caramel, Brown Sugar, Oak, Light Peanut
Oak, Dark Chocolate, Brown Sugar, Cherry Cola
Medley’s Private Stock 10 Year
Caramel, Corn, Butter, Maple Syrup
For me, 10-year Bourbons are the sweet spot for aged bourbons. Too much younger than 10 years and many bourbons have not yet had an opportunity to develop some of the rich dark fruit flavors, oak, and some of the other flavors like tobacco and leather. Too much beyond 10 years and I believe many Bourbons suffer from being “over oaked,” where the oak flavors dominate and some harsh astringency starts to develop. Obviously, there are probably more exceptions than the rule, and the sweet spot probably looks more like a range with 10 years being at the center.
This month’s Flight features a variety of Bourbons from a number of different distillers, each of which offers some unique flavors.
Bulleit 10 year is a bit of a higher rye Bourbon than the others here, and will offer more spice. For me, this bottle is most impacted by oak and age than the others here. It is bottled at 91.2 proof. We previously reviewed a pour from Monarch here.
Medley’s is a produced at an undisclosed distillery in Kentucky. It is bottled at 90 proof.
Enjoy this month’s Flight!