Peerless Small Batch Bourbon

I’ve been aware of Peerless Small Batch for some time now. I simply didn’t feel the need to purchase an expensive bottle of young whiskey. After discovering mini bottles for sale, I reconsidered. Barrel-proof, NCF Kentucky straight bourbon – it should at least be decent, right?


Pour: Peerless Small Batch Bourbon
Proof: 110.0 (barrel proof)
Age: at least 4 years
Color: rich copper
Nose: buttered corn, stewed apples, chewing tobacco
Taste: dense caramel, black licorice, tilled soil
Finish: moderately long w/ black tea, oak char, earthy spice


Overall: Perhaps I set my expectations a little higher than warranted. Peerless Small Batch tastes as it arguably should – like craft whiskey with potential. That being said, if you love earthy, dirty “root-like” notes, give this bourbon a try.

Rating: Peers abound.

New Riff Single Barrel Rye

I’ve been a fan of New Riff’s bourbon for some time now. What they can do in a handful of years is remarkable. Until today, I’ve yet to experience their straight rye whiskey, and I’m doing so with their single-barrel expression, bottled NCF at full barrel proof. Cue the riff!


Pour: New Riff Single Barrel KY Straight Rye Whiskey 16-2074
Proof: 105.2
Age: 4 years
Color: amber
Nose: apple, honey-butter, lemon zest, floral spice
Taste: cake frosting, lemon-lime soda, hints of ginger
Finish: moderately long – toffee drizzle, peppery oak, faint leather


Overall: A zesty, enjoyable Kentucky rye. While there’s a trace of youth here, it’s not at all distracting. In fact, I’d argue the vibrancy enhances its character. New Riff Single Barrel Rye is flavorful, sips its proof, and as such, gets my recommendation.

Rating: Refreshing.

Larceny Barrel Proof B520

When Larceny Barrel Proof was first announced, whiskey fans went nuts. A barrel-proof 6-8-year wheated bourbon? Sounds like a winner, right? In a world of Pappymania, you’d think. Unfortunately, Heaven Hill has seldom shone in the wheated department. Maybe batch B520 will.


Pour: Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon B520
Proof: 122.2
Age: NAS (reportedly 6-8 years)
Color: dense copper
Nose: toasted butterscotch, oak char, brown sugar
Taste: nutty vanilla, roasted marshmallow, black licorice
Finish: moderately long – salted peanuts, English toffee, sassafras 


Overall: I hate to label this as a one-trick pony, but inevitably, that’s what Larceny Barrel Proof B520 is. Not that it’s a boring bourbon. It’s just a handful of similar notes trekking and trotting within a hefty, yet easily sippable high-ABV whiskey.

Rating: Bold Fitz.

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof Rye

Several days ago, I reviewed Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof, an excellent TN Whiskey (BOURBON). Today, I’m giving Jack Daniel’s “Special Release” Barrel Proof Rye a go. I’ve heard nothing but good things – different levels of good, but good nonetheless. Let’s pour!


Pour: Jack Daniel’s SiB Barrel Proof Rye 20-06941
Proof: 131.9
Age: not stated
Color: deep rosy copper
Nose: hummingbird cake, vanilla pudding, blood orange
Taste: rye pancakes, thick molasses, boozy citrus
Finish: long & intense – dark-fruity caramel, lemon-pepper, holiday spice


Overall: Folks, this is a grand slam. The viscosity, the depth, the complexity, the balance … it carries it effortlessly at a remarkably palatable 131.9 proof. It’s a single-barrel release, so there’s always that; but, if you see this rye don’t sleep on it.

Rating: Outstanding.

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof

However familiar your palate may be with Jack Daniel’s, it’s wildly incomplete until you’ve tasted Jack at barrel strength. I probably shouldn’t spoil this review so early, but preconceived notions be damned. This Tennessee whiskey will knock your bourbon snob socks off.


Pour: Jack Daniel’s SiB Barrel Proof 18-8417
Proof: 128.3
Age: not stated
Color: dense copper
Nose: toasted vanilla bean, English toffee, buttery oak char
Taste: caramel chews, creme brulee, thick sweet molasses
Finish: long & sticky – brown sugar, rich honey-maple, baked cinnamon


Overall: This ain’t your daddy’s Jack. Ain’t Sinatra’s either. This is intense, in-your-face, full-flavored BOURBON from the last place you might expect it. Debate classifications all you’d like, but this whiskey sports a gold label for a reason.

Rating: Michael Anthony’s bass.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof C920

They say it’s one of the best values on the market today. They’re not wrong. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is a full-barrel-strength, 12-year Kentucky bourbon behemoth typically found for $70 (often less). Impressive? Damn right. But how does it taste? Funny you should ask …


Pour: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof C920
Proof: 132.8
Age: 12 years
Color: dense rosy copper
Nose: rich molasses, vanilla bean, heavily steeped black tea
Taste: burnt brown sugar, sweet charred oak, peppery toffee
Finish: chocolate caramel corn, thick honey-maple, tobacco, sassafras


Overall: Wow. While I’m not as well-versed with ECBP as others, I’ve had my share. Batch C920 is no slouch. No ma’am, no sir. Notable maturity, intense complexity (doesn’t hurt to add water), and balanced in spite of it all. Y’all still chasing Geo. T. Stagg?

Rating: Excellent.