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We’ve tasted a lot over the course of 2017, and through that time we’ve had some regulars move to new places, gained some new regulars, and learned a ton about whiskey. With our new, more refined pallets, we decided it would be fun to revisit our top-rated whiskeys and see if we still feel the same way about them. Here are the rankings from last year with the re-tastings from this meeting labeled as (second tasting).

 

whiskey burn score
Blanton’s 5.80 8.80
basil hayden’s 4.00 8.50
Blanton’s (second tasting) 3.63 8.50
Yellow Stone 101, 2016 5.00 8.40
bakers 7.00 8.00
Baker’s (second tasting) 5.00 8.00
Few Bourbon 5.60 8.00
I.W. Harper 3.80 7.60
old potrero 2.30 7.60
Bowman Brothers 5.20 7.50
Red Breast 12-year Irish Whiskey 4.33 7.50
basil hayden’s (second tasting) 3.63 7.25
Russel’s 6 year rye 4.30 6.80
Wellers 5.25 6.75
Hudson Baby Bourbon 4.20 6.70
Bird Dog Small Batch 5.67 6.67
Eagle Rare 4.20 6.60
Stein Rye 5-year 4.70 6.60
1792 Small Batch 6.00 6.50
bookers 7.29 6.43
Washington Wheat Whiskey 4.00 6.30
1776 Straight Rye 4.80 6.20
Alchemy Bourbon Whiskey 4.43 6.14
buffalo trace 4.00 6.00
Knob Creek Small Batch 6.13 5.50
Stein Bourbon 5-year 5.28 5.42
Evan William’s Single Barrel 6.00 4.50
Ransom Rye, Barley, and Wheat Whiskey 4.75 3.87

The Takeaway

We’re pretty consistent with our scoring on average. The only thing that really changed was that Basil Hayden’s had our group far more polarized during this tasting and its score fell far from its original value. We also seem to have become more accustomed to the burn of whiskey because the burn scores went down a bit.

As a note, we skipped Yellow Stone 101 even though it was in the top 3 because of the price. We could either skip it or have only 2 bottles, and we opted for 3.

Usually, I link the whiskey in my reviews to the distiller’s site, but since I’ve already done that I’ll just link you to the last tasting. Here are the notes from this round:

Blanton’s – Overall – 8.5/10 – burn – 3.63/10

(Specs)  46% or 93 proof | 750 ML $59.95

(Distiller) Blanton’s Distilling Co., Frankfort, Kentucky

(Notes) Still the king of our club, Blanton’s is our absolute favorite even after time and more tastings. Black cherry was the most common note; here are the tastes we got out of it –

Dark cherry cobbler, fruity, oak, vanilla, spice, nutty, light, and multiple mentions of smooth.

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Basil Hayden’s – Overall – 7.25/10 – burn – 3.63/10

(Specs) 8 year aged | 40% or 80 proof | 750 ML $44.95

(Distiller) Basil Hayden’s Distillery, Kentucky

(Notes) This whiskey was far more polarizing than before. This time, about half the group described it as flavorless, weak, and watery while the other half stood by it being a favorite whiskey. I’ll be honest, the debate got heated and we had to agree to disagree about it. My opinion is that it’s a nice enough whiskey and it’s a great one to get started with if you’re a cocktail drinker who hasn’t really experienced a whiskey neat. In any case, here’s the notes –

several counts of buttery and brown sugar, orange, sweet tea, too fruity, sweet, sun tea, red pepper, sugar cubes, thin, light

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Baker’s – Overall – 8/10 – burn – 5/10

(Specs) 7 years | 53.5% or 107 proof | $54.95 750 ML

(Distillery) James B. Beam Distilling Co., Kentucky

(Notes) This one is still a high proof kick in the pants with a great flavor profile that seems to be off-putting for the new members and praised by the regulars. This makes a lot of sense since it has the harsh burn, peanut flavors, and leaves that dry burn deep in your chest after you drink it. Here are some notes our group made –

Peanut, chamomile, *oak, earthy, smokey, black pepper, spice, smoked fruit, meaty, nutty, pastries, heavy

 

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