New Year’s Eve is a popular time for young professionals to go out and hit some late-night parties, and this year it landed on the last Sunday of the month. This being the case, it seemed unlikely that we would have much of a turnout. My solution was to have a 1-bottle tasting. Every buy-in this month would go toward a single bottle (up to 12 people max). This way everyone gets to have a taste of something a little more high-end to warm up for the evening.

A few people were invited to stick around after the tasting and play Rock Band on our Xbox and smoke some meat with us. The idea was to keep this a brief, casual event so we could all see each other one more time before 2018.

With a total of 6 people buying in, we had a solid budget. However, there weren’t any $120 bottles at the liquor store so I spent $100 on a bottle of Yellow Stone 101 and got a bottle of Bird Dog small batch because it was about $25 and was scored relatively high in the last meeting. I thought it would be fun to taste something really expensive and something relatively cheap that I know the club liked to see if it really was worth money.

Yellow Stone 101 (2016) – Overall – 8.4/10 – burn – 5/10

(Specs) age 7 years | 50.5% or 101 proof | 750 ML $99.99

(Distiller) Limestone Branch Distillery, Lebanon, Kentucky

(Notes) This specific whiskey is limited to 7,000 bottles, and none of us expects to taste this again. Honestly, I think we were all a bit pessimistic about this. We somewhat expected to find that it may be good but not worth $100. It turns out, it was worth every penny. If I could afford to drink expensive whiskey, this would be one I would drink as often as I had a chance to.

This whiskey was complex and brought a new set of flavors on initial taste, while holding it in the mouth, and after swallowing. Even some of the members who usually struggle to find a flavor to describe their sensation found something in this spirit. Here are some flavors we got, not one of which was repeated:

floral, smooth, caramel candies, dried banana chips, light hints of brown sugar, forest, dusty, leather, oatmeal, salty, cedar

(Aftertaste) nutty, smokey, easy, sweet

Bird Dog Small Batch

For the price, this whiskey is exceptional. It’s easy to drink and the club thought it was worth more than it was priced at. If you haven’t read our initial review from the previous month you can check it out here. That said, we drank it immediately after a whiskey priced at 4 times the cost at this meet and it just didn’t hold up. We decided not to score it again because of this. We still believe that Bird Dog small batch is still a great value and decent for the price, but drinking it with Yellow Stone definitely sent home the message that sometimes, you really do get what you pay for.


For the foodies –

We decided to smoke a turkey with a beer can in it. I know, there’s a lot of controversy about the beer can chicken and how to go about it. We did it anyway. We rubbed it with a mesquite rub and smoked it for about 9 hours over bourbon barrel wood chips. I also kept beer in the water bowl in the smoker. It was freaking delicious.


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