It was a marathon, but Bourbon Heritage Month was finally behind us. Can it really be October with daily temperatures hovering near 95 degrees?
On this particular October day, we had no desire to brave the heat. With that in mind, we decided it was a good time to escape to Jim’s basement studio, relax and polish off a couple of bottles that were getting a bit low. So, we selected Jim Beam Black, Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whiskey, Henry McKenna Bottled and Bond and Jim’s Private Blend called “Old Hoot”. The last bit of these bottles would never get a chance to joint the infinity bottle.
Jim Beam Black Extra aged, abandoned the 8 year age statement to become extra aged. What happened? Could it have been warehouse issues, a shortage, or just a cost saving brand adjustment after the company was bought by Suntory Holdings? We may never know. Regardless, Jim and I polish off this bottle like race horses out of the gates. The whiskey has a very simple nose with slight hints of oak, caramel and vanilla. It is a bit sharp and dries the palate with just a little spicy oak and sweet caramel. Finishing short to medium, reminding me a little of some bourbons from my past.
As we sipped the Jim Beam Black we talked about Zeggz, a Louisville based breakfast/brunch restaurant who serves a giant 22oz mimosa. Pretty amazing place if you’re in the Louisville area to eat breakfast.
I mentioned we had a very busy September and one of the days included a trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown where we enjoyed a great breakfast with city leaders while enjoying bourbon mimosas. After breakfast, we met up with our friend Jason from the YouTube channel “The Mash and Drum”. Together, we attended a “Science of Maturation” class taught by Moonshine University. After class, we roamed the festival and listened to Steve Coomes Interview Fred Noe and Freddie Noe from Jim Beam. Fred Noe is quite a character!
While in Bardstown, we had time to swing by Lux Row Distillers, taking in a tour and tasting. Hungry as a bear we headed on over to Bardstown Bourbon Company for lunch. Jim and I joined Jason, as well as Scott and Michael from The Bourbon Lens Podcast. We enjoyed some great food at their Bottle & Bond Kitchen and Bar while sipping on some old dusty bourbons from their extensive list.
Getting back to the bottles, we move on to Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky. It is said this expression mimics a whiskey created as a result of a bottling line fire on October 22, 1910. The original whiskey had to be dumped back into secondary barrels to await repairs to the damaged bottling line. What came out was some old fine whiskey.
Today the standard Old Forester is re-barreled in a heavily charred barrel, and out comes a bourbon that is has an aroma of heavy oak and smooth caramels. It hits the lips and tongue with a sugary goodness that is residuals of the heavy char. Dark cherries and with hints of toasted marshmallows are present with its sticky mouthfeel. The finish lingered with a hint of worn leather and tobacco. We both drank on this same bottle before at Churchill Downs and it didn’t disappoint.
Still sipping on the 1910, we talk about our upcoming trip to Nashville with our wives. One of the things we always look forward to is the fried bologna sandwich at Roberts Western World. This World Famous Honky Tonk is a must when visiting. While in town, we plan on hitting up several other establishments such as Hattie B’s (Nashville Hot Chicken), Biscuit Love, Holler and Dash and Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, home of Belle Meade Bourbon.
Our glass is empty again so now it’s time for bottle three, the Henry McKenna Bottled in Bond. The man Henry McKenna, born in Ireland where he would work in a Distillery as a boy would go on to become a legend in the Bourbon world even having a whiskey bill in congress named after him “The McKenna Bill”. He was one of the true patriarchs of Kentucky whiskey. He and his wife settled just north of present day Bardstown, and established a grist mill. Henry needed a way to dispose of the grist waste and decided what better way than to make some damn fine whiskey.
Today’s Henry McKenna 10 year is amazing golden amber goodness has a sweet nose with hints of the oak it has sat in for a decade. Smooth with just a hint of baking spices, honeysuckle and warm toffee chocolate leave you wanting nothing more in life.
Still sipping on the Henry McKenna and feeling pretty good, we discuss infinity bottles. Everyone should have a least one to ensure your spirits don’t turn on you and go to waste. I don’t think old Henry McKenna would approve of that. Finally, Jim and I talk about upcoming bourbon releases expected in the next couple of months. We run down the list of what you can expect to show up on shelves (or behind counters).
Jim gifted me a bottle of his “Old Hoot” private blend for my birthday but wouldn’t divulge his recipe. I believe I tasted a hint of Jim’s daily drinker, Wild Turkey 101. As we sip on this 100 proof blend it is pretty peppery, that almost drinks like a 110 proof whiskey. Jim asked what I would call it and to me it is wild and crazy like old Hank Williams Jr. kicking the stage lights out. This blend will not disappoint! It has notes of oak, spice, honey and vanilla. Jim did a fine job on this blend and maybe one day my friend will slip and tell me what he has put in this bottle. Until then, I am left to wonder! Guess it’s time for me to blend some of my favorite wheated bourbons into “Big Chief’s Wheated Wonder” and return the favor!
It you are a new listener or one of the roadies please reach out to us on social media. Let us know what you want to hear and what we can do better. Until then sit down and grab a pour from a bottle that is almost gone as Jim and I head on down The Bourbon Road, exploring the bottom of near empty bottles.
Mike “Big Chief” Hiatt
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