Review of Starlight Single Barrel Rye (21 Kings x #Greg’s Pick Private Selection)

The words ‘Distilled In Indiana’ on a whiskey label used to automatically mean one thing: This whiskey was sourced by Midwest Grain Products (MGP). Well, not anymore. THE HISTORY OF STARLIGHT DISTILLERY The Starlight Distillery Rickhouse Starlight Distillery may seem to have burst onto the scene like another hot craft whiskey start-up, but it is actually part of a now...

Review of Four Roses 2020 Small Batch Limited Edition

Once a year, Four Roses releases its Small Batch Limited Edition (SmBLE) bourbon, a unique blend orchestrated by Master Distiller Brent Elliott. You won’t see a bottle sitting on a shelf unless the store is asking over $400 for it, and even then you might not see one. The reason is simple: These are consistently among the strongest whiskey releases of the year. Among the many reasons Four...

Review of Wilderness Trail Settler’s Select Rye

One of my absolute favorite Kentucky traditions is our barrel picking group’s “hotel room double blind tasting” the night before our annual fall charity event. Each year, Brian Gomolka outdoes himself and I find myself searching for a new favorite bottle. This past November, the stars all aligned like never before. In a field of what ended up being six rye whiskies, two stood out above...

How The Bourbon Crusaders Determined the Best Bourbons on the Shelf

On Monday, November 5 2018, the Bourbon world was abuzz about a little charity event that raised over $340,000 for the American Cancer Society over the weekend. For more about the auction itself, Fred Minnick’s excellent Forbes piece captures it beautifully. What may have been overshadowed by the shocking and magical live auction at “Willett To Be Cured” was the months-long, massive blind...

Taste More, Listen Less

In a Louisville hotel room overlooking the Haymarket whiskey bar, my friend Brian had arranged something special. As I entered the room, I instantly spotted three rows of semi-filled glasses, each row dead-ending at an amber bottle marked with the letters ‘X’, ‘Y’ and ‘Z’. “Oh, hell yes!” I giddily exclaimed. Nothing brings a room of whiskey ‘experts’ back down to earth like...

Review of Kentucky Owl Rye Batch #1

From the press release: “This unique offering is produced from a collection of barrels blended and brought to proof to accentuate both the delicate profile and the full-flavored body of the whiskey. Master Blender, Dixon Dedman, crafted the small batch rye with the same passion and high quality that goes into his family's award-winning bourbon. On the heels of a seven-market release of...

The Big Blind Bourbon Tasting

Last year, we gathered 22 whiskey fans in the tasting room at Omaha’s Spirit World for the Ultimate Blind Rye Tasting and learned that a sub-$30 shelf rye can hold its own against a seldom-seen $100 bottle. For that tasting, we strategically grouped those ryes into specific pairings for purposes of direct comparisons. This year, Andy and I presented Laurie and Alzuri with a new idea: We wanted...

Battle of the Blanton’s: Buyer Beware!

Imagine being told, “Son we’re not hiring any hands today,” at your job interview and then 35 years later honoring the same man that turned you down by naming the world’s first single barrel bourbon after him. That man was Albert B. Blanton and the young man he told to take a hike in 1949 was Elmer T. Lee. In 1984, Lee launched the now-legendary Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon by...