The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2013

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Page 24 of 152

Bourbons to Buy W hen I was analyzing whiskies for this column, I narrowed my recent samples to 15. Yes, 15. As you can see from this glossy page, I don't have that much room. So this is my most difficult column yet, but these were the very best of the best. In what I believe could be the best Four Roses ever made, the Four Roses Small Batch 125th Anniversary 2013 Limited Edition Small Batch combines one barrel of 18-year-old OBSV recipe with one barrel per 13-year-old OBSK and OESK recipes. This fruity, spicy, smoky, creamy and complex bourbon offers a lingering finish that lasts upwards of three to four minutes. This is an instant classic. Speaking of classics, the latest William Larue Weller ($70), a part of Buffalo Trace's Antique Collection, dances with fruit, caramel and Graham crackers and is surprisingly spicy for a wheated bourbon. A drop of water in this 136.2-proof bourbon changes the expression, opening it up and letting the caramel shine. My favorite in the Antique Collection is the Thomas In Memoriam: Lincoln Henderson Kentucky bourbon legend Lincoln Henderson, the Master Distiller of Angel's Envy, passed away in September. He was 75 years old. One of the original pioneers of the premium bourbon and whiskey categories in the U.S. and an inaugural member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame, Lincoln spent his lifetime perfecting his craft and creating fine spirits. He will be remembered as an innovator and a raging perfectionist who helped to reinvent the category and challenged the established rules of bourbon. H. Handy Sazerac Rye ($70). Made from North Dakota rye, the Thomas H. Handy is lush with a resounding beautiful spice, toffee, praline, orange peel, roasted almond, butterscotch and saltwater taffy. I would never advise anybody to drink a 128.4proof rye whiskey neat, but Thomas H. Handy is smooth without water. With water, the caramel really opens up and you can enjoy some of those delightful spices hidden in the proof. Thomas H. Handy 2013 is a rock star. Then there's Parker's Heritage Collection ($90) bottled as the "Promise of Hope." It's delicious, spicy and gives the palate toasted marshmallow, roasted almonds, cinnamon, citrus and a super long delicate finish. It's the first single barrel in the collection. But more importantly, the bourbon raises money for ALS, which afflicts Heaven Hill Master Distiller Parker Beam. For every bottle sold, Heaven Hill will contribute $20 to the ALS Association's "Promise of Hope Fund," promising to donate more than $250,000. Old Forester 2013 Birthday Bourbon is another good one, bringing a nose of campfire smoke, vanilla and caramel. On the palate, there's a lovely toasted marshmallow, caramel and praline. This yearly release is becoming one of the most anticipated bottlings of the year. Drink up, friends, there are many wonderful bourbons hitting stores this October. 24  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2013 TP1013_001-33.indd 24 9/23/13 10:34 PM

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