April 2017 Pick of the Month

Each month, Flight Club selects a club-endorsed “Pick of the Month.”  The parameters on the Pick of the Month are (a) locally available in Wichita, Kansas (b) under $40 and (c) something believed to be a good value or limited availability at the moment.  We invite everyone (Club members or not) to break open a bottle and provide comment and feedback. 

Wheat State Gin
Bottle: Wheat State Distilling Gin (Batch 2) (Available at the distillery or in area liquor stores)

Continue reading “April 2017 Pick of the Month”

High Proof Rye Blind Tasting

Willett, Col. E.H. Taylor Straight Rye, Pikesville Straight Rye, Thomas H. Handy

I recently acquired (shout out to Chris Crow) my first bottle of Willett Straight Rye – a recently released 3-year cask strength (111.2 proof) bottle. It actually features a blend of Willett’s high-rye mashbill (74% rye, 11% corn, 15% malted barley) and its low-rye mashbill (51% rye, 34% corn, 15% malted barley).

This particular bottle interested me because it is the first rye batch that Willett has distilled since the early 1980’s. Between the 1980’s and 2012, Willett functioned as a non-distilling producer, aging and releasing bourbon and rye that many believe was sourced from Heaven Hill (which is about a half mile down the street in Bardstown, Kentucky).

To aid in my introduction to Willett rye, about a week after sampling the bottle, I decided I should compare it to some other high-proof ryes. So, I selected three others: Pikesville Straight Rye (110-proof, reviewed here and here), Colonel E.H. Taylor Straight Rye (100-proof, reviewed here), and Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye (126.2-proof, reviewed here and here).

To further enhance the experience, I also decided to arrange them blind. Below are my notes, guesses, and then the reveal:

Continue reading “High Proof Rye Blind Tasting”

A Beginner’s Guide to Bourbon Brands

“Can you taste that Jim Beam funk?”

“This has that typical Buffalo Trace sweetness.”

These, and many more, are all statements that I hear when sampling the many different whiskey brands produced by the small handful of extremely large and diverse bourbon producers.

These statements have often caused me to wonder what, if any, definable characteristics makes each bourbon product line* unique.  This post provides one man’s observations** of just that – six major bourbon distilleries and six basic descriptions of what to expect from each.

Click here to expand.

Continue reading “A Beginner’s Guide to Bourbon Brands”