Toronto Whisky Society High Proof Bourbon tasting night

The Toronto Whisky Society got together for a high proof bourbon tasting that’s been in the works for a few months. We finally found a day that worked for everyone and trekked up to Devoz‘s house for the event.

right up front, big thank you to texacer of the Whisky network on Reddit for helping us pick out the bourbons to try. all of us sent lists of bourbons we had that were 90 proof or higher, and Tex picked which ones we should bring. this kept it completely blind RE: what bourbons were in the mix. we brought them in sample bottles, and huge thanks to Devoz‘s wife who graciously helped us by pouring them in a random order, half oz pours each. we would then jot down some notes and make a 100% blind guess. once all bourbons were done, the list was revealed and we re-guessed, after which each person scored up their correct answers. going in, we all expected to do terribly, and put the over/under on total correct round 1 guesses at 4 out of 63. I personally assumed I’d get none right.

participants were boy86 devoz tomodera slackerdude lasidar jolarbear Bryan, and devoz‘s wife. AND special thanks to Kinohead who couldn’t make it last minute but sent a sample anyway, and neversafeforlife for sending a mystery sample in the mail to make the night even drunker!

here are the reviews… remember, i expected to get none right… spoiler… i won’t disappoint.


  • Nose: fruity, banana, oak
  • Taste: oaky, bitter, banana again, some sweetness
  • Finish: sweet and bitter. Weird.
  • Score: 82
  • Overall: very straightforward, nothing too surprising here for dram #1.
  • Round 1 Guess: WT101
  • Round 2 Guess: WT101
  • Reveal: Smooth Ambler Old Scout


  • Nose: floral, sweet, less oak
  • Taste: is this wheated? Higher rye than the first one. Banana again? Fruity
  • Finish: bitter
  • Score: 86
  • Overall: higher proof than #1 I think.
  • Round 1 Guess: FRSB high rye mashbill, O yeast
  • Round 2 Guess: Woodford Double Oaked
  • Reveal: Fighting Cock


  • Nose: hotter, oaky, some fruit
  • Taste: much hotter. Is this finished in something? Very sweet and fruity
  • Finish: banana after 30 seconds
  • Score: 83
  • Overall: nice but quite hot. Nice flavour.
  • Round 1 Guess: Blanton’s SFTB
  • Round 2 Guess: MMCS
  • Reveal: Baker’s


  • Nose: hotter still, more caramel.
  • Taste: really hot! Sugary, weird. Oak. Spice. Feathers?
  • Finish: strange… off note in there
  • Score: 74
  • Round 1 Guess: something from Dickel
  • Round 2 Guess: Michter US*1
  • Reveal: Makers Mark Cask Strength


  • Nose: that is really different… tons of fruit. Sugar. Is this finished? Twizzlers was a comment made and it fits. Maple
  • Taste: Maple Syrup. Tons of fruit. Strange, not like a bourbon at all. Tastes finished
  • Finish: sweet, sugary. Finished for sure
  • Score: 79
  • Round 1 Guess: no idea… sample from /u/neversafeforlife?
  • Round 2 Guess: Smooth Ambler Old Scout?
  • Reveal: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked


  • Nose: more standard. Oaky, caramel
  • Taste: mid rye, rich and fruity. Quite nice. Oak and vanilla
  • Finish: fruity and delicious
  • Score: 85
  • Round 1 Guess: Baker’s
  • Round 2 Guess: EC12
  • Reveal: Elijah Craig 12


  • at this point my notes start becoming much more sparse.. You can tell we were a few in.
  • Nose: nice oak, vanilla, caramel
  • Taste: “damnit, this cheese is f***ing up my palate.” Lots of oak. Nice.
  • Finish: oaky and tasty
  • Score: 83
  • Round 1 Guess: EC12 (guessed by 4 of us, blind… strange)
  • Round 2 Guess: Baker’s
  • Reveal: Michter’s US*1


  • Nose: higher rye, spicy
  • Taste: really nice. Great balance of oak and fruit. Definitely high proof.
  • Finish: rich, spicy delicious
  • Score: 87
  • Round 1 Guess: something from BTAC?
  • Round 2 Guess: Fighting Cock
  • Reveal: Wild Turkey Rare Breed


  • last one I scored highest… who knows if that’s because I was drunk or not.
  • Nose: hot. Very oaky. Spicy
  • Taste: hot spicy, weird sweet wine flavour. Fruit and oak. Sawdust. Popcorn
  • Finish: hot and heavy, spicy
  • Score: 88
  • Round 1 Guess: FR SmB
  • Round 2 Guess: Wild Turkey Rare Breed
  • Reveal: Wild Turkey 101

so, as predicted, I got zero correct on the first round of blind guesses, and only 1 correct on the second round of semi-blind guesses. (but i did get the right distillery for #9… little victories i know). however, on round 1, one person got 2 right and 1 person got 1 correct… the rest of us all got zero. and a few of us added a single point on round 2. pretty terrible, but doesn’t matter, got drunk.

what blows my mind is that I scored WT101 the highest (which also happens to be the bottle i brought). I bought it for about $30 at duty free for 1L, and knew i liked it, but didn’t think it would out-perform the rest. i mean, it was #9 of 9, so i was probably pretty drunk and inflating scores. but still.. i rated it an 84 back in my third bourbon review, so it wasn’t inflated a ton. I also really liked the Rare Breed, so maybe I just really like their spirit. either way, i’ll be getting another bottle of WT101 now that mine is empty!

thanks guys for an awesome night, lots of fun. proved that my bourbon palate sucks as suspected, but that’s ok. till next time!

3 thoughts on “Toronto Whisky Society High Proof Bourbon tasting night

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