September is Bourbon Heritage Month, a time when bourbon fans celebrate the history and art of distilling America’s “Native Spirit.” Last night Seattle Whiskey Collective members celebrated in style.
We have some great friends in Seattle. Two friends we are very thankful for are Dave Kearns, Whiskey Specialist for Jim Beam/Suntory, and The Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen in Ballard. Last night Dave hosted a private tasting of four bourbons for SWC members. Kickin’ boot provided more delicious barbecue than we could consume in one sitting. Our group was very surprised to see the bourbons Dave chose for us.
Maker’s Mark Cask Strength
Maker’s Mark has been around for over 55 years. For nearly fifty years they only produced one product until the introduction of Maker’s 46. Maker’s Mark Cask Strength was released this summer and is only available at the distillery. I have it on good authority (can you guess where that came from) that it’s coming to Washington in very limited quantities.
Being that this is 113 proof, there wasn’t as much burn as I thought there would be. The nose was rich with caramel and oak. There is a lot of vanilla, oak, and mint on the palate. I was shocked at how exceptional this bourbon was and I will definitely pick some up when it’s released here.
Jim Beam Distiller’s Masterpiece Sherry Cask Finished
This third edition of the Distiller’s Masterpiece series was released in May of 2013. This whiskey is 10-year old bourbon that’s been barrel finished in Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry casks. In addition, the whiskey is packaged in a special wooden case.
This is the most exclusive whiskey Jim Beam makes. It’s only available at the distillery in Kentucky but again, it will make an appearance in Washington soon and will be extremely limited.
This was one of the sweetest bourbons I’ve ever had and I loved it. It’s a vanilla explosion and the sherry comes through strong. Unfortunately at $200 a bottle (plus tax) I’m afraid it’s a little out of my price range.
Years before Booker’s was sold to the public, Booker Noe sipped on this bourbon with his family and friends. Finally, someone asked him if he would be willing to release it and he agreed. Today it’s the most reasonably priced quality high proof bourbon. The bottle we tried was 131 proof.
I’m not a high proof guy (typically) so Booker’s is a little too much for me. If you haven’t tried it grab a pour at Kickin’ Boot and see what you think. You’ll either love it or it will feel like a kick in the ass.
Knob Creek Single Barrel
The fourth whiskey was a bourbon that isn’t sold. Anywhere. And it’s exceptional.
The nose on this one is incredibly delicious. The proof was 138.6 but again I was surprised at the lack of intensity on the burn. This one tastes like Christmas. Strong notes of ginger bread or ginger snaps, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, orange, and lots of oak.
Each time we hold an event like this I’m kind of blown away at how people like Dave let us sample such unique whiskeys. Over the last year we’ve had one awesome experience after another and I hate to toot our own horn here but if you’re a whiskey fan and you’re not a member of the Seattle Whiskey Collective, you’re really missing out.