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No Coast Blind Bourbon Reviews

90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
So about two weeks back several brothers plain and simple blew me the hell up, included in that mix was my bro Doug (D Fresh) who had sent 6 samples that only had a number on the bottle. The deal was I would review each of the six samples completely blind and without bias and then at the end I would rank the six samples from rank 1-6 and then tell Doug and let him see all of the reviews, at that point Doug would then tell me what sample number related to which bottle from his collection. Well just last night I wrapped this up and I have to say I was floored by how I rated which bourbons blindly and how they ranked. Thank you so much bro and this was such a great way to do this and was an absolute blast as well as great practice for when we get the blog fully up and running!


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Doug Sample 2 - Rank 1 Heaven Hill Bonded 6 Year White Label (cheapest bottle in collection fyi)
Nose: Holy cats what a magnificent and gentle nose on this guy. This is going to sound weird but it's like a warm sweet caress from a well known lover. It just takes me to a place of peace and comfort, soft and mesmerizing. Butter heavy and laced with vanilla, a mild sweet oak and a underlying current maybe of citrus. Remarkable and love it, one of my favorite noses I can recall!

Palate: I should point out that in preperation for this I poured this dram and then just let it sit and open undisturbed for 50+ minutes. That being said it was love at first dram here folks wow. The only bourbon I've had that I instantly fell in love with from the very first taste was my private selection barreling of Four Roses Single Barrel Barrel Proof (10 year OESO) and this is strikingly similar. Very sweet immediately up front and that buttery nose comes out in the flavor profile to. What's interesting is there is zero burn up front and then you let it wash over your palate and it slowly starts to build and build and build. It keeps building up to this warm and moderately powerful burn but it never becomes overpowering or takes away from the enjoyment. Vanilla is there on the mid palate along with the normal oak and corn notes, and on the long finish there is a hint of a bright citrus note that shows up. The only drawback I can find so far is the lingering note long long after the finish goes away is a bit of a grassy note that I get with many bourbons including some of my favs. Not sure why I get that note on so many that lingers minutes after I take a sip but I do. Overall however this is an outstanding bourbon and so far I would say 4.5/5 stars.

With Distilled Water:
The water calmed down the burn a lot, much more than I expected and made this buttery smooth. It also highlighted the vanilla and butter notes and added a touch of caramel that I really enjoy a lot! This brings this up to 5/5 stars, world class!! It also knocked down a bit of the grass lingering taste I get several minutes after the sip.


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Doug Sample 3 - Rank 2 Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Nose: This is easily the most complex and interesting nose that I've had of the three samples so far and I really love it! Graham cracker, vanilla, caramel, the classic bourbon corn sweetness but the most interesting note here is a bright and floral berry note and closest thing that comes to mind is maybe a rich floral strawberry.... Superb!!!

Palate: I poured this and just let it sit and breath for a true 30 min before having my first sip. And wow it was well worth the wait and the palate is equally as complex and savory as the nose was. There is a large amount of smokiness and char that carries the underside of the profile that gives a great balance to caramel, toffee and berry sweetness. Slight hints of oak and marshmallow flit in and out and keep this interesting and add to the complexity, a terrific dram to say the least, damn! A little farther in and a new note gets picked up, a caramel apple tartness and a very small hint of nuttiness. I would say that so far this one is the sweetest and has the brightest notes of fruit and smoke and I really really love it! This is easily a 4/5 star bourbon and maybe even pushing 4.5/5 stars!!!

With Distilled Water:
I poured in a very small splash of distilled water and then let it sit and breath for about five min or so. The water opened up the nose to be much heavier on the caramel and vanilla and a bit of apple. The palate goes through a much bigger change though, it smooths out the finish a bit more, brings out a touch of warming spice and burn that I really like as an addition and finally the caramel and oak become much bigger players! Both neat and splash of water are terrific and I'm not sure if there is really a preference for me on this one, both are superb!


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Doug Sample 6 - Rank 3 Pappy Van Winkle Lot B 12 Year
Nose: I'm really really digging the nose on this one, very sweet and bright with the corn sweetness, lots of marzipan as well as vanilla and caramel. There is also a lingering dark fruit note that I love as well, outstanding!

Palate: I was surprised by just how smooth and light this was one right off the bat! Oak and some smoke comes out right away that gives way on the mid palate to some salt and sweetness which is a unique but very enjoyable combo! The finish is long with a very slow building burn that barely even registers and just helps to keep things complex and interesting! There is some cherry and other dark fruits that flit in and out but I really cannot pinpoint when it comes in and when it fades away, it's simply always teasing your palate! The biggest standout on this is simply how smooth it is and the complete lack of burn, there is no specific flavor that stands out but the finish is remarkable and I really enjoy how long and multi-dimensional it is! Overall this is a remarkable bourbon and one I would buy in a heartbeat! Thanks Doug!!!! A solid 4-4.5/5 stars wow!!


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Doug Sample 5 - Rank 4 Willet XCF
Nose: Once again I poured this sample and then let it sit undisturbed for 1 hour before nosing or tasting. This has one of the most classic bourbon profiles that I can remember recently. It's like an old friend that you haven't seen for years but the moment y'all start talking you haven't missed a beat and pick up where you left off. This is just like that, classic and very familiar. Corn sweetness with oak and char and of course that vanilla and caramel. There is a hint of marzipan however and just a touch of some fruit... Apple maybe? All said and done a really nice nose and could spend quite a while enjoying the nose alone.

Palate: The first impression is simply how bright and vibrant the flavors on this are. Immediately hit with some salty sweetness almost a sea salt and caramel chew. There is a bit more spice that quickly ramps into the burn than I was expecting and is a little bit hot but very good regardless. I do pick up the fruit element that I got in the nose but now I can't quite place the flavor... I keep going back and forth from apple and pear but the spice picks up quickly enough that I just don't quite have enough time to figure it out. I switch to taking even smaller sips and letting just a small amount coat my palate which does help to cut down on the burn and brings in a bit more oak on the finish along with some smokiness as well as highlighting the marzipan more which shows up on the mid palate. Overall I really do enjoy this one and can tell that it is a barrel proof offering based on the intensity of the burn which was a bit surprising. Neat I would rank this between a 3-3.5/5 stars. Didn't quite have the complexity or heavier fruit tones that I was looking for.

With Distilled Water: I can already say that I like this far better with a splash of water. This isn't quite so hot on the burn and it does open up nicely to showcase the sweetness much more and brings out what I now taste and identify as a bit of a green pear fruit flavor that bounces back and forth with some marzipan. The oak and specifically the chat is much brighter on the finish while the smokiness is nearly non-existent now. I would put this concretely as 4/5 stars now. Thanks Doug!!


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Doug Sample 1 - Rank 5 Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Release #5
Nose: The nose is very mild on this, clean and elegant. Marzipan and toffee are the biggest players with a mild tone of citrus spice and oak. Very clean and very nice!

Palate: I'm surprised by two things right off the bat, one this is a light on the tongue bourbon and two, there's a big but welcome burn on the front that fades to a long and clean finish. There are clear notes of citrus as well as a strong and sharp vanilla that helps to balance the lightness of it. The oak and sweetness shows right up front but quickly gives way to the marzipan and vanilla citrus mix. This reminds me a LOT of the Willett Pot Still Reserve and as it opens up it does start to get more up front on the sweetness. Overall really enjoy this but very different from my normal dark rich syrupy bourbons!

After opening:
Once I let this open up for over 30 min it did change, there was much more sweetness and the burn calmed down significantly. I also picked up a toasted marshmallow note that I loved and transformed this one a lot!


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Doug Sample 4 - Rank 6 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition 2014
Nose: This has a very mild and gentle nose to it, its a soft touch like a gentle lover against your senses... Comforting and gentle. Heavy on the honey sweetness with some caramel and vanilla but mostly it is dominant with marzipan and some corn classic profile. Very nice indeed!

Palate: I poured this and then just let it sit and breath for close to 70 minutes before I ever took my first taste of this to let it fully open up and breath so that I could get everything I could from this initial journey. With that being said here is how the journey starts... There is a bit of a salty and bright tartness that is immediately apparent almost like a Grannysmith apple tartness that then steps back calming down to let the marzipan show up that was so heavy in the nose. This one is surprisingly dry though and has the least amount of sweetness of the four samples that I have tried thus far, not that that is a bad thing but it is very noticeable. On the finish the oak and char come out much more and a smokiness and saltiness shows up on the long finish. The burn and spice shows up right near the beginning and leads to the mid palate and finish staying with you the whole time. Not as smooth as most the others but still quite enjoyable all the less, thanks Doug!!!

With Distilled Water:
The water does change it, the smoke comes more to the front as does the marzipan and spice. It gets a little bit sweeter too and picks up significantly more spice. Overall I would say I prefer this one with a splash of water rather than neat. 3/5 stars for me on this one, still enjoyable and like it thanks bro!!


"When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."

Comments

  • blutattooblutattoo Posts: 1,306 ✭✭✭
    Great reviews I've only ever tried the willet and it's one of my favs for sipping. I'll try it with a splash of water next time.
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    blutattoo:
    Great reviews I've only ever tried the willet and it's one of my favs for sipping. I'll try it with a splash of water next time.
    Thanks Jason, it was very good as well as equally interesting honestly!
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well Gang for those who enjoyed the blind reviews I did thanks to the generosity of Doug D Fresh, I've got four more to do now thanks to my brother Justin, so without further ado here we go and start with same 5 (one sample broke in transit so only have 4 not 5 samples)

    Justin Hewey Mystery Bourbon Sample 5

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    Nose: This is a deep and rich intoxicating nose on this one that is heavily steeped in the classic corn sweetness of most bourbons. Rich and velvety the sugar sweetness is the biggest driver here but there are other notes that come out to play such as marzipan, salted caramel, a little bit of rye grain spice and hints of a lovely char. I could nose this for hours, love it and thanks Justin!

    Palate: Much like the nose, the palate starts off heavily with the corn sugary sweetness profile but is reinforced quite nicely with some spicy notes and a salty old oak that I really really enjoy on it. The burn starts out surprisingly early and is moderate in intensity at first and builds slowly to compliment the finish where it hangs on for a long time in the background. By mid-palate and as it heads for the finish, the salty notes are a bit brighter and clearer and are balanced out by a drier and floral oak tone that is a perfect companion to the sugary sweetness that shows up initially on the first taste. The finish is heavy on the spice and dry oak but has a strong and very enjoyable and wanted dark char influence with a touch of smoke. I really dig the finish on this one and it's one of my favorite parts about this bourbon. Overall I very much enjoy it and would be a great easy sipper, nothing particularly shouts out its attention but this is a solid and very enjoyable bourbon and I would give it a solid 3-3.5/5 star rating, thanks Justin a really nice pour here!!
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Justin Hewey Mystery Bourbon Sample 1 - Rank 4

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    Nose: This is a salty and spicy bourbon profile that has a nice little tang to it! The first note is one of salt and then it quickly adds in the grain spice that you find in rye and a few others like barley, then it wraps up with a bit of leather and toffee, nice!!!

    Palate: Oh man this is delish!!! Much like the nose this starts out salty which I rarely get in a whiskey but also search for as its one of my favorite notes. It's a bit thinner on the mouthfeel and cool but is very bright and clear on the flavors, the clearest at first being the salt which quickly has grain spice added in. However instead of the spice overpowering the salt they play and compliment each other back and forth before they both calm and lead into a dry and slightly tannic pungent oak where the burn starts to show its cards. Starts out moderate and then quickly builds up a head of steam and becomes fairly spicy until it hits the finish where it calms down a bit and lingers in the background for a few minutes after you sip. The finish is a drier and spicier finish with a decent amount of char to it and mostly a spicy oak with mild hints of caramel. Overall a really enjoyable whiskey but a bit too in your face without enough sweetness to balance it out properly for my tastes. I suspect as I sip on this over the next hour that a bit more sweetness will show up but until then I can only rate this as a 3/5 stars until the hopeful sweet notes come in and balance this a bit more. Thanks Justin again for this!!!

    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Justin Hewey Mystery Bourbon Sample 2 - Rank 2

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    Nose: This is definitely a much sweeter and softer nose to it with some bright tones of marzipan and vanilla with undercurrents of leather and oak with just a hint of spicy tobacco/grain spice.... This ones a winner!!!

    Palate: Oh Momma Bear I'm loving this one... Truly is love at first dram!! It starts out really light and thin on the mouthfeel with ZERO burn at all and very mild mostly showing mild vanilla, caramel and some fragrant oak flavors. But by mid palate it gains some ground and picks up some strength with the mouthfeel being a bit silkier and softer with some spice and mild pepper leading into a dry oak and sugary moderate sweetness with the burn just starting to show up, amazing!! The finish is a long and superbly flavorful event and easily my favorite part of this whiskey! Heavy influence of marzipan and vanilla that leads into a smoky char and dark oak and tobacco spice, wow!!!! This is a no brainier and so far hands down my fav of the three I have had, 4/5 stars and if it gets a bit sweeter later on as I sip it down then this would be edging in on 4.5/5 stars wow!!! Thanks Justin, rocking whiskey!!!
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Justin Hewey Mystery Bourbon Sample 4 - Rank 1

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    Nose: This nose is really bright and rather spicy, I get a ton of rye grain spice as well as a fair bit of confectionary sweetness and a bit of marzipan! It is delicious and really excites me for what is in store for this one!!!

    Palate: Gee-willikers Batman this is DAMN good!! So many flavors and so across the board it's hard to know where to start... I will say that it starts off with a strange dichotomy of it being really smooth and soft yet smoldering beneath the surface is a decent amount of spice that you keep imagining is about to rip your head off but it never does. It plays in perfect balance and harmony with the soft confectionary sweetness at the start and just gently stays in the background until the finish! I also pick up subtle notes of tangy leather, a dried and fragrant oak, and a buttery creamy core that shows up the entire time and stays in through the finish. Yet my very favorite note of all is the marzipan and char that comes out and just barely starts to show itself at the mid palate only to grow and become the main flavors at the end, playing perfectly in tune and harmony with the burn and moderate spice and vanilla. Heads and shoulders above any of the others I have tried so far this one is a 5/5 stars for me, I freaking love it thank you Justin!!!!
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Justin Hewey Mystery Bourbon Sample 3 - Rank 2

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    Nose: This is a rich and luxurious heavy nose laced intensely with floral bouquets, corn, vanilla and some leather with a tinge of oak. I also pick up a hint of citrus and marzipan... I gotta say this is a really nice nose with enough spice to keep it interesting but not overpowering and I really enjoy it!

    Palate: Mmmmmm man this is a good one and is a real winner already at the first sip! It starts out with that floral bouquets that I noticed on the nose but quickly adds in a moderate dose of rye grain spice as well as a balanced and rich corn bourbon sweetness that perfectly harmonizes with the floral tones and spice that is present right off the bat! By mid palate some oaked tones as well as some caramel char shows up to keep things interesting which is also when the burn first starts to show up and gently feed off of the spice that is present, once again.... Yum! Finally comes the finish which is rich and smooth with a long drawn out conclusion starting off with the char and caramel but quickly moving to and being dominated by the notes of marzipan, floral dry oak and toffee! An exceptional dram and if not for the sample before this one it would be my favorite, 4.5/5 stars easily thank you Justin!!!!
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Justin Hewey Mystery Bourbon Conclusion

    First off I did not find out the results of what I reviewed or any information of any sort before I ranked and reviewed them. The only caveat to that is that the sample ranked No. 1 was so astounding to me that I could not wait to find what it was in the hopes that I could procure a bottle immediately. Sadly that is not possible as it was the 2014 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, but it in no way influenced my review or ranking of the final sample (sample 3) that I reviewed tonight. The final thing of note is that I always poured and let each bourbon and sample sit out and breath for between 1-2 hrs before I reviewed them to make sure that they had opened up as much as they could before I judged them. Thank you Justin for this outstanding and very fun opportunity my brother!!

    Rank 1 - Sample 4 - Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2014 97 proof
    Rank 2 - Sample 3 - Smooth Ambler Old Scout 8 year Single Barrel (#963) 119.8 proof
    Rank 3 - Sample 2 - Four Roses Single Barrel Recipe OBSV 100 proof store pick
    Rank 4 - Sample 5 - Elijah Craig Small Batch 12 year 94 proof
    Rank 5 - Sample 1 - Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 year 99 proof

    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • JHeweyJHewey Posts: 2,421 ✭✭✭
    90+ Irishman:
    Justin Hewey Mystery Bourbon Conclusion

    First off I did not find out the results of what I reviewed or any information of any sort before I ranked and reviewed them. The only caveat to that is that the sample ranked No. 1 was so astounding to me that I could not wait to find what it was in the hopes that I could procure a bottle immediately. Sadly that is not possible as it was the 2014 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, but it in no way influenced my review or ranking of the final sample (sample 3) that I reviewed tonight. The final thing of note is that I always poured and let each bourbon and sample sit out and breath for between 1-2 hrs before I reviewed them to make sure that they had opened up as much as they could before I judged them. Thank you Justin for this outstanding and very fun opportunity my brother!!

    Rank 1 - Sample 4 - Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2014 97 proof
    Rank 2 - Sample 3 - Smooth Ambler Old Scout 8 year Single Barrel (#963) 119.8 proof
    Rank 3 - Sample 2 - Four Roses Single Barrel Recipe OBSV 100 proof store pick
    Rank 4 - Sample 5 - Elijah Craig Small Batch 12 year 94 proof
    Rank 5 - Sample 1 - Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 year 99 proof

    I'm glad you enjoyed bro. We will have to do it again sometime.
  • The3StogiesThe3Stogies MainePosts: 2,653 ✭✭✭✭
    Great reviews Brett, thanks. Blind review was a great idea too Justin.
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