I recently got together with a couple of friends for a Blind Tasting of 5 unique bourbons – I contributed two (known only to me) and my friend, Ryan, brought three (known only to him).
If you haven’t had the opportunity to conduct a tasting, check out my thoughts here. Whether you disclose as you go, or go in blind, it can be a ton of fun. Check out our thoughts on this solid line-up and see the big reveal for what we were drinking.
The Pours Revealed
First, let’s state for the record that there wasn’t a bad bourbon in the bunch. These were 5 stellar bourbons to review, sight-unseen. Second, it’s rare to pick up the same notes or rankings from one tasting to another; one bourbon you like today, may taste completely different tomorrow.
Pour #1: Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel This is one that really surprised us with its poor showing. This is one of my favorites as I’ve highlighted in reviews and top picks for the holidays. It’s a great bargain, but didn’t score as well when tasted blind, especially with my buddy, Ryan, who is a staunch Wild Turkey fan.
Pour #2: Old Forester 1910 This was the ringer and one of the bottles I provided. Similar in character to Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, the deep color and very caramel and vanilla flavors reflect a second barreling, as well as deep notes of chocolate and marzipan. This has scored well in prior reviews and is one I truly enjoy.
Pour #3: Maker’s Mark 101 This new addition to the Maker’s Mark lineup also scored very well, surprising my Wild Turkey-loving buddy (who isn’t a fan of regular Maker’s Mark). Denny Potter and his crew at Clermont have scored a hit with this one. I’m glad it’s no longer only available at the Duty-Free store.
Pour #4: Blade & Bow This was the sleeper in the bunch. I wouldn’t have been able to blind-guess this bourbon without a hint. I’ve enjoyed this bourbon in the past, but haven’t always been able to justify the $50-something price tag. It hit solidly with my palate and I really enjoyed it.
Pour #5: Angels Envy Port Finish Definitely the wildcard in the bunch and completely different from the rest. Similar to an earlier review, I caught the prominent fruit notes from the port cask finishing. It was good, but it’s hard to place barrel finishes against a more traditional bourbon.