My wife and I recently had a great weekend in Windsor visiting the Hiram Walker Distillery, Canadian Club Brand Centre, Wolfhead Distillery and just hanging out with good company! We spent the weekend with some friends and he has a fantastic, growing collection of whiskies that he picks up in his business travels. Our weekend also involved a lot of great food including flaming cheese at Santorini’s in Detroit’s Greektown, flatiron steaks made on my buddy’s smoker, and some cocktails we had at a local cocktail bar.
I’ll make a separate post covering the two scotches I tried at his house; this post covers the bourbons. I decided to try a bunch of sourced bourbon rather than the distillery releases, as they’re the ones I’m less likely to get a chance to try in the future. Notes will be pretty short, as I was more focused on socializing than taking detailed notes.
Flatboat Bourbon – 45% ABV
The first is Flatboat Bourbon, which I’d never heard of before. It’s a private label offering for Liquor Barn from Barton distillery. The juice is apparently 6-8yrs old.
- Nose: Banana, corn, very sweet, typical oak spice and caramel.
- Palate: Sharp, bitter, banana, corny, over oaked
- Finish: Short, sweet, bitter
- Score: 74/100
The nose on this is really nice with a pronounced banana note, but the palate and finish kind of disappoints. Barton may have sold some off-profile casks for this bottling.
Wathen’s Single Barrel – 47% ABV
This is a bottling by the Medley Company, which has been doing this for 8 generations. It’s a non-distilling producer, and the source of this juice is unknown. It’s a corn/rye/malted barley mashbill with a 77/10/13 split.
- Nose: some Dill, spice, oak, caramel, corny. Pretty grain forward.
- Palate: Spice, way more rye influence than I expected from something with such a low rye content, oaky caramel.
- Finish: Short spicy
- Score: 80/100
a nice average bourbon that doesn’t wow, but doesn’t disappoint either. Probably a lot of variation given these are single barrel releases, but I’d be tempted to pick this up as a nice cocktail bourbon or simple sipper.
Noah’s Mill – 57.15% ABV
This is the non-age stated version of Noah’s Mill, and I didn’t catch a batch number. This is sourced bourbon, but apparently from the same people who do Willett. I’d heard of it, but never had it before this past weekend.
- Nose: Some rye spice, corn, oak
- Palate: Spicy… Some Laci Bacillus, dill, really musty. Definitely tastes like an off barrel
- Finish: Short & sharp
- Score: 67/100
This had some really bad off notes. Learned at Wiser’s that the mustiness can be due to grain sitting too long in a storage facility where moisture can get in and infection ensues. Looking at the other reviews online, it seems like this is a serious outlier. Unfortunate, and I’ll have to give it another try someday.
Belle Meade 9 Single Barrel – 60.55% ABV
I had never heard of this one before either, but it’s put out by the GreenBrier Distillery and seems to be sourced. This is a store select from Liquor Barn, with 36% rye and 9yrs old.
- Nose: Sour mash, oak corn, sweet, honey, some fruit
- Palate: lots of fruit, caramel, vanilla, lemon, estery, dill, incredibly spicy and peppery
- Finish: medium length and spicy
- Score: 85/100
I liked this a lot, found it well balanced with depth of flavour. Single barrels are so hit and miss, but this was a nice one.
Amador Double Barrel – 43.4% ABV
This is another sourced bourbon, by the Amador Whisky co. They apparently bought 280 barrels between 3-10yrs old and then finished them in Napa wine barrels for another 6 months.
- Nose: Rye spice, fruit, winey, oak, caramel, some sugar, raisins, cinnamon
- Palate: Great rye spice, oaky, very nice light wine notes, red fruit, dried fruit and raisins, sugary, caramel, cinnamon, cloves
- Finish: medium length, sweet, oak
- Score: 87/100
delicious. Fantastic balance of classic bourbon notes and some extra fruitiness from the wine finish. Really really nice. Punches above its weight. If I come across this bottle in the US I’ll very likely buy it.
To our friends, a big thanks for opening up your home and liquor collection for us! Will be sure to return the favour next time you’re in Toronto!