Two Rather Dusty Bourbons

by Oliver Klimek on August 26, 2014

A few days ago I tasted four American bottom shelf whiskies sent to me by fellow blogger Joshua Feldman. But the package he sent me did not only contain those but also two samples of bourbon from rather a long time ago, probably to make sure that I will not lose the faith in American whisky in general by only tasting the cheap blends.

Old Ren 1936/1944 – 50%

You can read about the interesting story of this one-off botlling at the Coopered Tot blog

Colour: Dark copper
Nose: Quite massive and slightly oily, toasted nuts, dark caramel, strong vanilla, waxed leather and hints of orange marmalade, cinnamon and hints of camphor.
Palate: A strong sweet and almost herbal attack on the palate that gives way to candied citrus fruit and caramelized pecans, vanilla, mixed gingerbread spices and hints of sassafras root beer.
Finish: Long, creamy and spicy with a slight woody driness.
Overall: A thick and rich bourbon with a lot of wood influence but without being overly spiced. You really feel transferred to another era.

Rating: 90/100

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond 1959/1966 – 50%

From the good old Stitzel-Weller days

Colour: Medium copper
Nose: A bit more fragrant and lighter than the Old Ren, dried apricots, paint stripper in a good way, polished oak, hints of roasted peanuts, cardamom and nutmeg.
Palate: Caramelized apricots, vanilla fudge, buttered cinnamon rolls, a minimal hint of something floral, cinnamon and cardamom.
Finish: Long, mildly sweet and slighty fruity.
Overall: This is much closer to the bourbon style we know today. But don’t be fooled by the light overall character, there is a lot going on on nose and palate

Rating: 87/100

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Josh Feldman August 26, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Wow – Great reviews, Oliver. I had these scores in reverse – but both are certainly superb Bourbons. Certainly the Old Fitz is a huge mania in the US right now. Graham Distillery, which produced the Old Ren, is almost entirely forgotten and unknown. To the extent it is ever acknowledged, it is given little respect.

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Oliver Klimek August 26, 2014 at 5:59 pm

I have never heard of Graham Distillery before either, quite a shame with that quality. I tasted the two side by side and for me the smooth boldness of the Old Ren made the (small) difference.

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