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.
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