User Reviews - The Rabble Roundup (Dec, 2013)

User Reviews - The Rabble Roundup (Dec, 2013)

Here is a summary of the more interesting user reviews that came up over the last month… always great to see the public commentary on the spirits!


Balvenie 12yr Signature Batch Scotch

NeatPour, Rating: 4.0

Comments: 3.7/5, had a dram at an open bar.  Pleasant malt that uses some sherry casks.  Not peated.  It's like a weaker version of Macallan 12.  It's a solid malt at $35 to $45, this site says suggested retail of $70... That would be criminal.

Basil Hayden Bourbon

RichardMNixon, Rating: 1.0

Comments: Strong lemon notes and a peculiar finish I could only describe as "sandy." Wouldn't recommend it anywhere near its asking price.

Bulleit Bourbon

NeatPour, Rating: 4.0

3.65/5 out of the bottom shelf guys this fella knocks me out, Jim, jack, James. Johnnie red.  That being said this is more expensive than those.  Unfortunately I put Evan Williams 2003 in this price category along with b trace and Jim beam black and all three I think I'd favor... it's light bodied with some rye.  Fairly balanced... It's not too rough or hot at all, it just isn't as flavorful and it doesn't serve a good niche for my home bar.  I'd rather have a good rye and a good meaty corn dominated bourbon malt with some char.  How bti gives this 92-93 is a bit of a stretch. 

Buchanans 12yr Scotch

NeatPour, Rating: 4.0

Comments: 3.9/5, I like it.  For the price range it's perfect.  Well rounded, a touch of honeyed sweetness (American oak??).  But mostly it's just really easy going.  No big finish, not hugely complex, but a perfect commercial blend.  If you like this you'll love the 18.  Great range, great age progression, perfect bar malt, please try!

Dalmore 12yr Single Scotch

Quetzal, Rating: 4.0

Comments: (3.5 out 5). Comes in a very nice bottle (different and better from the one pictured), and has a very nice dessert nose. I get caramel, butterscotch, nuts, and sherry. Has a good flavor and a pleasant finish. However, it's sad that this is bottled at 40%. If it were bottled at, say, 45-48% abv, the flavors would be amplified. Furthermore, it's a bit watery on the palate for a single malt, and an increased abv would fix this as well. This is a decent dram, and would be a good introduction to single malts. Not a favorite, but it could be if they upped the abv.. about $50 where I live.

Dewars 12yr Blended Scotch

NeatPour, Rating: 4.0

Comments: A peated whiskey, my favorite of the Dewars range thus far, better than 18 for me.  The peat can disparate over time and I think this age of blends is just right for the overall balance and character of this particular malt.  Of course I'll point you to a higher price point malt if you enjoy this smoke (ard, laph, lag).  That being said it trumps black label in its price range, perhaps rivals double black which is a compliment.  Good smoky bar blend, try a dram.

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond

Antiquecollector, Rating: 4.0

Comments: Not bad at all for the price and high proof. Oaky, strong barrel influence in the nose and taste but add a little water and/or let it sit for a few minutes to see what happens. There's a funny error on the right side of the label, it's easy to see when you compare it to the black label

Evan Williams 2003 Vintage Single Barrel Bourbon

Kclarkesville, Rating: 1.0

Comments: I paid 23.00 for my bottle in TN which felt like a great buy. The price was right but not the taste. I may have gotten a bad batch but this bourbon taste so oaky it is unbelievable. It is ok if you feel like chewing on piece of oak, anyone else stay away from it.

Ezra Brooks 90pf Bourbon.

Storcke, Rating: 4.0

This is much better than JD; where JD has a slightly smoky, stale hazel nut flavor (all that's left after they filter all the flavor out of it in search of "smooth," whatever the hell that means), EB90 has a rich, full, slightly sweet caramel flavor, a little floral/fruit on the nose and the follow through, and a silky mouth feel. At less than half JD's price, there is absolutely no comparison. And I can't wait to try Old Ezra (101 proof and 7 years old).

Jack Daniels Whiskey

Antiquecollector, Rating: 5.0

Comments: How can you give Jack Daniels anything less than a "5"? It's one of the most well-known brands in the world for a reason.

Jack Daniels Single Barrel Whiskey

Allan, Rating: 5.0

Comments: Let me start by saying I hate JD. I'm not a fan of Tennessee whiskey at all. On the other hand I love the bottle of JD single barrel I bought. Smokey like scotch and much more complex than the usual JD; a real find for $37. But the problem is by the nature of single barrels your bottle may not taste the same. This bottle is an excellent sipper I hope the next is the same. Just to update; my next bottle was almost the same in flavor as everyday Jack. Just a bit smoother

Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon

Irishman, Rating: 4.0

Comments: Incredibly sweet - this is maple syrup in a bottle of bourbon.  It's very well done, no question about the quality, but you have to be ready for the extreme syrup infusion before you order one of these.  I didn't sense too much of the "smoked" so don't expect this to come with a campfire.  Still, worth a drink.

Laphroaig Quarter Cask Scotch

Quetzal, Rating: 5.0

Comments: (4.5 out of 5). I was hesitant to buy this because of the reviewer disparity, but NeatPour convinced me. I'm glad I did! The nose has the peat, charcoal and iodine that you get from the standard ten year, but with an additional softness with elements of toffee and (to me at least) powdered sugar. While I see the ten year as consisting of a few strong tastes that work very well together, this quarter cask has those same elements slightly toned down with additional complexities, such as toffee and a slight red wine element (though as far as I know it is not aged in wine barrels). The finish is sweet, smoky and salty. This is a fantastic, affordable whisk(e)y. Also, I'm happy to see Laphroaig bottling this at cask strength, non chill-filtered and (I think) without added color. $55 where I live.

Larceny Bourbon

Irishman, Rating: 4.0

Comments: Let it be known up front that I've never been a big fan of wheated bourbons (or wheated anything for that matter).  This one's not bad - nice, smooth, slightly sweet front side to the flavor profile with an immediate spiciness to the finish, but then the lingering flavor is just flat bitter.  Pretty good until it hits that point.  All in all a great bourbon for the price point.

Popcorn Suttons White Whiskey

Antiquecollector, Rating: 5.0

Comments: The nose is all candy corn and the taste, like it's 80 proof and not 93 proof. Great stuff! RIP Popcorn!

Rittenhouse 100 Rye Whiskey

EZWriter, Rating: 5.0

Comments: What a kick initially, then the rye and some spiciness kicks in, with some floral, licorice and plum notes. Has good body with a nice dry, clean finish which lingers for a bit, surprisingly smooth considering the proof! Definitely underrated here, though Whiskey Mag rates it as one of the top rye whiskeys out there! A good bargain if you like rye whiskey!

Stagg Jr Barrel Proof Bourbon

Hkchef, Rating: 5.0

Comments: If you enjoy bookers you have found a rival.  That is if you can find it.

Teacher’s Highland Cream Scotch

Kclarkesville, Rating: 4.0

Comments: It’s a descent blended scotch and it’s a great buy for the price. Smooth with little bit of heat while it’s going down and it has a light and pleasant taste. I will definitely buy it again. Try it you won’t be disappointed. I usually like Speyside single malts but this scotch earned a spot in my cabinet.

Wild Turkey Forgiven Blended Whiskey

Irishman, Rating: 4.0

Comments: I had very high anticipations for this bourbon and rye blend and it did not disappoint.  The aroma is light and clean.  The flavor profile has a classic, smooth bourbon profile, but it finishes with a beautiful rye spice.  Fantastic!

Willet Single Barrel Rye

Johnsjacobsen, Rating: 4.0

Comments: Outstanding rye, spicy with great citrus notes.  A little hot, but improves a lot with a bit of water.  Similar to the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Thomas Handy - not quite as good but its affordable and much more readily available than the Handy.



Beefeater Gin

StevenSauce, Rating: 4.0

3.7 stars. Traditional, juniper orientated with some bitter aftertaste, very dry. it really depends, i absolutely hate beefeater & tonic and prefer even Gordons & t over it but it makes a solid gimlet

Hendricks Gin

Kmenier, Rating: 2.0

I first ordered Hendricks in a shot glass so I could find out what all the fuss was about, without feeling guilty about leaving a larger pour.  Glad I did. It tasted watered down and weak, reminiscent of something like Pimm's Cup. Of course, I love my juniper but I was really hoping to like this as well. Meh.

Junipero Gin

Kmenier, Rating: 2.0

Love love love Junipero. I am admittedly a big fan of juniper, so this was the straight ticket for me. Bold, crisp and unashamedly botanical, this makes the best martini I've had in quite a while, a fabulous G&T and is quite smart for sipping as well



Smirnoff Cinna Twist Vodka

Flintquatch, Rating: 5.0

Comments: Smirnoff nailed this one. Sweet but not to a sickening degree. tastes like the churro they put on  the front of the bottle. My only real complaint is the decrease in proof. Get you some:-)

Van Gogh Banana Flavored Vodka

Carameljawn, Rating: 4.0

Comments: Can’t comment on the smoothness - tried it mixed with a chocolate liqueur, banana flavor seemed natural enough; made for a great drink with wide appeal.



Boyd and Blair Potato Vodka

Irishman, Rating: 4.0

Comments: Aroma is all potato - as if you are standing over a pot of freshly cut potatoes.  Tasted neat - it is a little warm with some needling on the underside of the tongue.  The immediate flavor profile is again all potato, but it's clean and silky.  Chilled with a couple ice cubes, the aroma smooths out a bit, but the flavor profile is still all potato with just a touch of char on the finish.  Not sure it's better than Tito's, but it's quite pleasant.  My guess is that this would be very good out of the deep freezer.

Chopin Potato Vodka

Dfwitt, Raing: 5.0

Comments: Great vodka-just taste it and you’ll be convinced.  Potato vodka has a heavier, oily, more substantial mouthfeel, which is great-just added it to my home selection of vodkas which include Ketel One, Grey Goose, and Jewel of Russia-nice addition!

Grey Goose Vodka

JamesCThatsMe, Rating: 1.0

Comments: Another great example of liquor made famous by rap music. If marketing was the deciding factor instead of taste this would hands down by the greatest vodka ever. Thankfully, that is not the case and we are able to distinguish distilled piss when are unfortunate enough to try it.

Quetzal, Rating: 1.0

Comments: (1 out of 5). For the record, this is not the worst vodka out there. However, the fact that they are charging thirty dollars or more for a mediocre, un-aged spirit is a crime. If this was twelve dollars instead of thirty, it might get two stars. But in the end, it's just bad booze. Sobieski at $12 is better, and Tito's at $20 is MUCH better. Is it the worst thing you can buy? No, but there's still no reason to get it. The bottle's fancy, but who cares?

Cloughtower, rating: 1.0

Comments: I thought it was so cool to buy these when I was a teenager. Tastes ok when frozen and with cranberry juice, so I'd give it three stars if not for the price.



1800 Coconut Tequila

Cloughtower, Rating: 3.0

Comments: Got this as a gift. It came with some pineapple juice for a mixed drink they recommended. Not bad... Don't think I'd buy it, though. It could be fun for a party.

Cabo Wabo Anejo Tequila

Cloughtower, Rating: 5.0

Comments: First decent tequila I tried. Oak is a bit muted, but still very very good. Highly recommend

Clase Azul Plata Tequila

NeatPour, Rating: 4.0

Comments: 4.25, beautiful blanco.  Really loved it, perhaps more then the reposado, sweet and smooth.  The agave these guys use must have a filthy high sugar content... Beautiful vase as well of course.  Great for parties. 

Clase Azul Reposado Tequila

NeatPour, Rating: 4.0

Comments: 4.25/5, yummy tequila on the sweeter side.  Familiar to some very nice tequila I've tried including paradiso and anniversario.  It's a good tequila in a cool bottle.  Be warned it is a touch sweeter so agave purists beware!

Corazon Blanco Tequila

Quetzal, Rating: 4.0

Comments: (3.5 out of 5). One of the many quality, easy to find mid-shelf blancos floating around, along with tequilas like Espolon and Milagro. This one is slightly more expensive than those, but comparable in quality. The nose has fresh agave and citrus, and the taste is both sweeter and more peppery than that of the average blanco. The finish isn't too exciting, but the pepper lingers nicely. Easy to find, and nicely presented. About $30 in my area, but frequently goes on sale.

Don Julio 1942 Tequila

NeatPour, Rating: 5.0

Comments: Oooooo, really good.  If you like tequila this is a must buy.  I love the Paradiso but head to head I think I prefer this.  Better than the much more expensive real Julio.  It's a classy sweeter tequila better than Clase blanco a reposado. 

El Tesoro Platinum Tequila

NeatPour, Rating: 5.0

Comments: My last review of the entire range of el Tesoro.  This tequila is yummy.  I did a full range test last night just to confirm and fully appreciate this tequila (blanco, repos ado, anejo, paradiso, and 70th anniversario).  For agave purest this is the way to go.  I for fun started with a Jose Cuervo gold sipper (nasty and was unable to finish).  The contrast is amazing.  Very good tequila, well rounded, strong agave flavors, very smooth to.  If your life has been dominated by Jose and patron shots and you want to really class it up and start enjoying and learning about tequila than I suggest you explore this range.

 El Tesoro Reposado Tequila

EZWriter, Rating: 5.0

Comments: This is the best tasting Tequila I have experienced in the US! I lived in Mexico for a few years and many people make their own down there and when you visit it's customary to offer you a shot, it's considered rude to refuse. The quality of the Tequila was unbelievable, and I had not tasted anything even close to being as good until I tried the Tesoro! Jose Cuervo might as well be rubbing alcohol by comparison! This is definitely a sipper, don't waste this as a mixer, there are many lower quality ones which can be used as such! While I also like the Tesoro Anejo, I prefer the 'rested' version and think it gains some complexity with age!

Ilegal Reposado Mezcal

Quetzal, Rating: 4.0

Comments: (4 out of 5). A good spirit, but doesn't seem as amazing to me as it once did, especially after trying better mezcal brands, like Del Maguey and Wahaka. The nose has smoke and agave, and a faint latex note that isn't necessarily unpleasant, but seems odd in a spirit that's so artisanal. Has a pretty good feel on the palate and a nice, smoky finish. I also love the simple yet highly symbolic bottle, which is distinctively Mexican.

However, something must be said: Mezcal is a very under-appreciated spirit, and at its best it can stand toe to toe with single malt scotches and cognacs, and often surpass them. Ilegal is one of the first brands to breech into the United States, and in many states it is the only mezcal that can be found. For that, I'm glad it's here. However, mezcal really should be bottled at much higher than 40% abv. So, this is a good introduction to mezcal, but, if you like it, please try something better, such as Del Maguey's Chichicapa mezcal. Ilegal reposado is about $60 where I live.

(Side note: contrary to what the description says, you would actually pronounce this ee-lay-GAL, with the stress at the end).

Patron Gran Platinum Silver Tequila

Cloughtower, Rating: 2.0

Comments: Perfect for people who factor cost of the drink into quality of the drink. If you like grey goose, you'll like this too.

Patron Reposado Tequila

Quetzal, Rating: 4.0

Comments: (2.5 out of 5). Like the rest of the Patrón line, this is drinkable, but overpriced and unexceptional. The nose has mild buttery agave, mint, and some alcohol. The tequila is smooth but without much character, with a dry finish. It's not bad, but you can get tequila that's as good or better for half the price. And in its price range, El Tesoro, Siete Leguas and Don Julio all have better reposados. $55 or so in my area.



E&J XO Brandy

UpInSmoke, Rating: 5.0

Comments: This is a very close competitor to the Paul Masson VSOP I recently reviewed. The Paul Masson wins in bouquet, but the E&J has a smoother finish. It is also a mellower drink overall, presumably because it is aged 7 years versus Paul Masson's 4. I would strongly disagree with the reviewer on another website who said this reminds him/her of "cough syrup." I find this no sweeter than a number of Cognacs or single malts. I do agree with the reviewer who called American brandies the greatest spirits bargains and attributed that (rightly so) to the still common notion of the American brandy as "cheap."  No longer! As an aesthetic sensory experience, I rate this, and the Paul Masson VSOP, as highly as the last Cognac I tasted and liked, the Courvoisier Exclusif VSOP.

Paul Masson VSOP Brandy

UpInSmoke, Rating: 5.0

Comments: A serious, artistic dram with lots of dried fruits, predominantly dates. True to its 600+ score, this brandy compares favorably with good French cognacs and armagnacs. I disagree with the other reviewer; I find plenty of complexity and give it 5 stars on the palate. 4 stars for the finish which is rougher than a number of cognacs or single malts. Still, at a street price of $9 (e.g. BevMo) and eminently drinkable neat, what's there to complain?



Parrot Bay 90 Proof Coconut Rum

Jaketaz, Rating: 5.0

Comments: Ok so this bad boy has the potential to completely derail a party, I've seen it happen. Clean coconut taste with none of the lotion taste of Malibu. A fun novelty that can nonetheless take you down, sweet and delicious enough for any girly tropical cocktail but at a boozy 90 proof. An epic taste-to-power ratio.

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

Hopsing56, Rating: 3.0

Comments: I really don't understand the high rating for this and I usually agree with the ratings here. I was really expecting a rich rum experience. This is thin and only average at best. There are much better options in this price range. Will not buy again.



Hpnotiq Liqueur

JamesCThatsMe, Rating: 2.0

Comments: I give it a two only because it makes a decent mixer. I have used it for a handful of cocktails (none being a vile Incredible Hulk). The moral of the story is that if you hear it in a rap song it is likely garbage not even worth the buzz.



Pernod Absinthe Superieure

3p0ch, Rating: 1.0

Comments: This is bottom-of-the-barrel absinthe, if you'll pardon the pun. It has a terribly astringent, artificial smell, none of the fruits and anise that should be tickling your nose. The color is off-putting as well; a sick pale yellow that stays a sick pale yellow as it louches under the cube. With the amount of artificial coloring added to this gasoline I'm surprised the lab techs weren't able to concoct a more desirable color. Sugar and water do nothing to help this thorn become a rose. A distinct oily chemical flavor coats the tongue, much like plastic bottle hobo vodka.

I used to keep a bottle around for mixing, but truthfully, Pernod's not even worth that. Please don't be fooled by their claims of authenticity, it's either pure marketing BS, or they've been making a shitty drink for over 200 years.

Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe

3p0ch, Rating: 5.0

Comments: My favourite absinthe. Beautiful colour, robust louche, and an unbelievable floral bouquet. I've yet to find it in any U.S. stores but it's worth ordering online.

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