Thanks to /u/devoz for this sample
Elephants. They linger around the room. And the annoying thing is, as with elephants in small rooms, they come up. Someone mentions it. There’s a trunk that slaps you because it’s in musth.
What am I blathering on about? A certain Bible that’s for whisky. Written by a cat eyed person who limits his tastebuds and never swallows. That bastard (because he doesn’t swallow, I’m making a dick joke here, nothing about him, I’ve never met him).
I’ve had many thoughts on Jim Murray. I’ve railed against him when I was annoyed, I named a sexual act about him, I realized later that maybe, just maybe, I went too far (yeah I did) and then I attempted to review his top 3 whiskies for the year. Specifically last year. Or maybe the year before. Being annoyed with him and ignoring him is hard to do at the same time.
Why? Because when I least expect it, someone mentions his book. Or his thoughts. Or that my opinion is wrong because Murray said the whisky was good. And then I sigh, out loud, and try to be the better person, and don’t tell them they can take that bible and use it as a suppository. Sideways. Twice.
So two years ago Colonel E.H. Taylor 4 Grain came out as a limited edition. And much like a wet fart in a hot tub, it went over with “nice try”. The idea was to use corn, rye, wheat, and malted barley, the grains that were available in the late 1800s. Pretty cool. I like that idea.
That said, I’m also Canadian. Grain whisky is our thing. Scotland makes a single grain, and the market requires the price at low and you need to wait a long time (at least 2 and a half decades) before anyone will consider paying for it. Canada or the US do the same? Screw it, it’s innovative.
Then Jimbo said it was the best and the price quintupled overnight. The taters tated, what with their tating, and tated the price up and tated among themselves. I hunted down a sample, which wasn’t easy, because I need to say something about the whisky. Is it worth it? Are my biases about grain whisky wrong and dumb and reasons why I should be tarred and feathered? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: Too much
Bottled: April 4, 2017
Age: 12 years
Colour: 10YR 4/8
Nose: Maple, vanilla, pear, coconut, orange blossom
Maple… Guys, come on, I live in Canada, did it have to be maple? Well of course, because it’s using the same thing. Except it’s aged in a different climate with an virgin cask but… dammit, why did I have to get maple?
More vanilla than other grain heavy whiskies, some nice orange/coconut going on. Cask driven more than grain driven, has some nice strength. Don’t expect anything mind blowing on the nose, but I like a good cask, so that’s something.
Taste: Coconut sugar, oak, peach, maple syrup
More cask influence, but also quite sweet, and then more maple syrup. It’s following that pattern, and even at 12-years-old, I’m not getting too much here.
Finish: Oak, herbal, peach, char, maple, anise
Finish has more of the cask influence again, and the grain pops out to remind us of Quebec/Maine’s main sources of income, which is cool. Good for the tree bleeders, as I call them.
Conclusion: Look, I’m being flippant here because I had this dram, handed to me by Devoz to specifically try something that Jimbo reviewed and loved, and take apart. It’s a good Canadian whisky that Buffalo Trace has made, which means that Jimbo just likes Canadian whiskies, given how much he enjoyed Northern Harvest and CC 41 and this.
From someone who’s had quite a few, I’ll just say this: There’s more interesting things to be done with other whiskies. This certainly used the cask to it’s advantage.
There’s nothing to the hype save for one person’s review. Prior to that review stores were trying to get rid of these. Overnight the price went bonkers. People, if you’re reading this, stop. Start opening your bottles, trying things, reading alternatives. Read alternatives to me. Seriously, you’ve been played for a slightly better Canadian whisky without enough rye to warrant that reaction.
Bourbon review #252, Kentucky review #163, Whiskey review #1735