Welcome to the first of what we hope becomes many more blind spirit tastings! This first tasting was focused on straight bourbon whiskeys. ManCaveSite.org didn’t include any flavor infused, Scotch or Rye Whiskeys. The goal was to try a variety of bourbons from different price ranges and notoriety and see how well they stacked up against each other. As most of you know, there are very good bourbons out there and you don’t have to pay and arm and a leg to add it to your home bar. We even threw in a local spirit as well to see how it measured up against some of the more popular brands.
The Bourbons – ManCaveSite.org gathered 5 different bourbons from some of our favorites and some we’ve never tried before. Below are the details of each of our 5 contestants.
Heaven’s Door – This bourbon is backed and promoted by singer Bob Dylan. They placed their already aged 6-year-old whiskey in an alligator charred, new American oak which deepens the odor and fills the whiskey with flavors of dark roasted vanilla. 100 Proof, 50% ALC/Vol. Cost $46.00 (Information collected from the Internet)
Buffalo Trace- Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is distilled, aged, and bottled at the most award-winning distillery in the world. Made from the finest corn, rye and barley malt, this whiskey ages in new oak barrels for years in century old warehouses until the peak of maturity. The taste is rich and complex, with hints of vanilla, toffee, and candied fruit. The smooth finish lingers on the palate. 90 Proof, Cost $35.00 (Information collected from the Internet)
Jack Daniel’s Gentlemen Jack – Crafted in honor of Jack Daniel’s original distiller and founder, this whiskey goes through their charcoal mellowing process an additional time, resulting in an exceptionally smooth and approachable spirit. 80 Proof 40% ABV. Cost $30.00 (Information collected from the Internet)
Oak & Eden – Bourbon is pretty perfect; made from 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley, then aged in charred American White Oak barrels. We honor the tradition of distillation & aging to the letter. After aging, we add a twist – an American Oak spire, seasoned and toasted imparting sweet, rich flavors, and notes of honey, vanilla, and caramel. 90 proof (45% ABV). Cost $50.00 (Information collected from the Internet)
Elgin Arizona Straight Bourbon Whiskey – Arizona- Corn, rye, and barley are used in the mash bill using ingredients from Arizona grown and malted grains. Grown, fermented, distilled, and aged at 5000 elevation, this bottled and hand crafted on site bourbon whiskey. 80 proof, $139.00 (Information collected from the Internet)
Test Preparation – The ManCaveSite.org Panel tried to follow the normal bourbon tasking guidelines. Water was included for each tester for two purposes. One to cleanse the palate between tastings and send to be used to thin out each sampling to see if the water brought out more notes in the liquor. The thinned spirit was not judged, but rather notes were taken. Unsalted crackers were also available to bring the pallet to a more neutral state. This was a blind tasting, so our bartender randomly assign each sample in one ounce measurements.
The tasting – Each of the panel had a score sheet. Categories were judged from a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best). Judging areas included Appearance, Aroma, Taste and Finish. The Panel cut each sample to see if other flavors would surface.
Female 1 Tester Score Card
Male 1 Tester Score Card
Male 2 Tester Score Card
Results – Overall the Oak & Eden was the favorite of the guys. Our female tester liked the Arizona Bourbon, which was a much higher proof. As you can see from the scoring, price isn’t everything. Granted we are not experts, and everyone has their own pallet to determine what they like the best. We hope this was informative and fun. The ManCaveSite.org panel had a really good time doing it and we encourage others to host your own tasking.
Next, ManCaveSite.org will focus on only Rye Bourbons. Stay tuned!