Blood Oath Pact No. 4 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Finished in toasted oak barrels

Alc/vol 49.3% Proof 98.6

Pact No.4 MMXVIII Bottled on 2/12/18

Blended with three well-bred bourbons.

I held on to this bottle for a few years before cracking it open while spending some time with a friend that enjoys whiskey just as much as I do. I purchased this bottle while I was at a whiskey charity auction. It was not in the auction. And I did not win anything at the auction either. The star that auction was a bottle of Pappy 23 that sold for $2300.00. The auction was held at a local liquor store and while I was heading out, I saw this bottle sitting on the counter for $129.00. I snagged it up. Over two years later I finally cracked it open to share with a good friend who appreciates whiskey. I poured us each a drink.

Smell – In anticipation I held the half tumbler glass to my nose and took a small sniff. Oak was on the forefront of the smell. Except it was not the standard oaky smell you would normally get. Not fresh charred oak. It was so to say “toasted.” It was pleasant. It gave it the oak smell a kind of warmth and age to it. This was my first time sampling a toasted barrel of any sorts. It was followed by a rich vanilla bean aroma with a hint of smokiness with a bit of sweetness like browning sugar with a torch. It also lacked the alcohol sting to the nose. I personally enjoyed it.

Taste – The first thing I noticed was the alcohol burn was faint. It was smooth from the moment it hit my tongue to the finish. It had an excellent flavor. I had a hard time picking out each of the different flavors. I can only describe in a way that refers to Dr. Pepper’s 23 different flavors. With so many flavors in it I was not able to distinguish each and every one. I was able to find the toasted oak, along with vanilla for a split second, and some sort of citrus. Then those quickly faded to just a rich, toasted, caramelized sugar, and savory flavor. It left a nice, long lasting, mouthwatering after taste.

Color – Rich deep amber. Almost resembling blood. Coincidental?

This was by far one of the most interesting whiskeys I had to date. I am not sure if my “palate,” I hate using that word. Let me say my ability to distinguish different flavors, is trained enough to pick up on the subtleties of this whiskey. But you know what? Who cares? I do not need to be able to pick out each and every flavor to have it be enjoyable. Blood Oath Pact No.4 is just flat out good. I enjoyed all the aspects about this whiskey. It even got more interesting after finishing a glass. With the residue in the bottom of the glass, I was able to smell a touch of spice, fragrant vanilla, sugary caramel, and the lovely toasted oak smell in the beginning. With those smells combined it almost smelled like dark chocolate. It made it that much better.

I could say that anyone who tries it and is new to or fan of whiskey will enjoy this. If you have a whiskey lover who is picky, they will also love or enjoy it. I had high hopes for this whiskey. The wood case looks great, the bottle shape is different, the labels are fancy and gives it an apothecary like appearance to it. With the name of Blood Oath and the proof being 98.6 the same and the human body temperature. It is a nice set up to an excellent whiskey. I would definitely recommend this to anyone.

Backbone Bourbon Uncut Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Batch 016 Alc/vol 60.1% 120.2 proof

Barrel Date 5/20/02 Bottled on 9/2017

Distilled in Lawrenceburg IN. Bottled by Backbone Bourbon (Bardstown Kentucky.)

I received this as a gift. I think the MSRP is around $55-60 When I checked online. I was curious about this whiskey when I got it and I cracked into it. I usually do not buy barrel proof whiskeys for myself due to the fact they end up being super strong on the alcohol and I lose the flavor and smell quickly. Now this will be a two-part review. This was an interesting bourbon.

Here is the first part of the review.

Smell – Initially when I popped open the cork and poured myself a drink, I forgot about it being a high proof alcohol. I took a nice deep sniff. That was a mistake. It burned. I had to take a small break and come back to it. I held the glass about an inch or two away and took a few sniffs and really the only thing I could pick up on was alcohol and oak. The alcohol overpowered everything else.

Taste – The taste was extremely potent of alcohol and it had a strong burn to it. After the first slap in the mouth of alcohol I could pick up on flavors of oak, vanilla, and a sugary sweetness, it was subtle to say the least. Then the pleasantries faded to a dry mouth with a lingering burn. After a few sips it made my mouth feel numb. It was not enjoyable.

Color – A rich amber color in the bottle and having a pour in the glass revealed a yellow with a tint of orange.

Now on the second part of the review. I drank about one quarter of the bottle down and moved on to a different bottle. This bottle sat for a month or two before coming back to it. After letting the bottle sit with the empty space in it and get some air or oxidation, I poured another drink. I was determined to finish this bottle. When I poured my next drink, I realized it was a different experience. I held my glass up to my nose, took a whiff, and wasn’t punched in the face with alcohol. It had a slight burn on the nose. It transformed from offensive to pleasant. I could pick up more vanilla, oak, and caramel. It was sweet and enjoyable. The taste had also changed. It went from being only in my mind a mixer whiskey to savory and enjoyable. The flavor had a subtle bit of alcohol burn that did not overpower the flavor of vanilla and sugar. I could pick up a nice oak taste. The after taste lingered with sweetness and not numbness. I actually enjoyed the bourbon now that it was aired out. I think that it had oxidized rather than aired out, but I am not to sure. What ever happened in the bottle made a change for the better.

Letting the bottle sit over a month with three quarters left in it had completely changed the whiskey. I finished the bottle off over then next few months. I found myself gravitating towards that over my other bottles. The more I drank it down the more pronounced the flavors and smell became. I also found out that when I drank this bourbon that if I had a dry mouth it ended up not being as flavorful. If I had any thing to eat before or during, it really messed with the flavor of the whiskey. While the bourbon became a great bottle to drink. I did not like it at first. I still will only recommend this if you like high proof whiskeys. It was to much for me initially. I do not feel that the struggle in the beginning is worth it in the end. Maybe at a lower proof it would be a great bourbon but not at 120 proof. Another thing to note while the bottle sat and was slowly coming to an end the whiskey never got old or stale. It never got that smell of alcohol that was left out to long. I guess this could be attributed to the higher proof. This is a whiskey that I would not recommend to the beginner who is starting to get into whiskey drinking or one who is a stickler for flavor profiles and subtleties in whiskey. I cannot say I would recommend it but I also cannot say I wouldn’t. If you are curious try it out for yourself and make your own judgement call.

Henry McKenna Sour Mash Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Bottled and Distilled by H. McKenna Distillery Bardstown, Kentucky

I was always a bit skeptical about having lower cost whiskey. I had a stigma with lower cost spirits, that they taste like nasty chemicals that overpower the senses, have no flavor, and leaves you with a bad hangover the next day. I figured I should try all price ranges since starting this blog. I am here to write about all the different types, not just the expensive ones. I was hoping this bottle would be good. It was $11.99 for a 750ml bottle. I had my skeptics about it. I have had $20 and $30 bottles that were not good and probably were better as a house hold cleaner than something you would drink.

Description – I of course drank it with a half tumbler glass. No water. No letting it air out. Just pour, give it a sniff, and drink.

Smell – This whiskey has of course an oaky smell tied into a sweet aroma of something I cannot figure out. There is a touch of alcohol that tingles my nose. Overall, it is a very pleasant smell. I did not pick up on much else. Quite easy on the nose, not to complex. Its just easy to take.

Taste – The first sip you can pick up on a small amount of alcohol that fades quickly. The flavor then rolls to a smooth oak with a subtle sweetness like the smell. I cannot pinpoint the what the sweet smell is. It could be the usual bourbon caramel and vanilla, but I just cannot separate what it is. Then the aftertaste is just as good. It has a lingering sweetness with it. There was not much of an alcohol burn. It was a pleasure to drink.

Color – It’s a golden yellow in the glass.

Overall – This bourbon surprised me. I really liked it. I never found myself saying this is bad nor did I feel like it was a $12 bottle of alcohol. More like a $40 to $50 bottle. I felt this was a smooth and easy to drink whiskey. I know it does not have the complexity that people are in search of but, it is a $12 bottle and not every time I drink I need to be in search of something. This is just a chill and easy going pour. This could be a whiskey that is brought out at a party or gathering to be shared and enjoyed with friends and family who are not whiskey lovers but want something good to drink. I feel that this would be a great bottle for the new whiskey drinker. It is a super easy and smooth drink while not being offensive. It gives the taste of bourbon but not the harshness of most. On the other hand, I do not think that this would be a good mixer. It would get overwhelmed easily by any of the mixers.

This is the fastest I drank a bottle down. In less than a month it was finished. That is unheard of for me. I drank this while snacking on chocolate or trail mix while playing videos games at night. That is my “relax” time for the evening. The snacks paired well with the pour. I was not worried if the food would play with the flavor the whiskey. Since it was a cheaper bottle I did not care if I could not pick up on the subtleties while having a drink. It was not my intention. I recommend this drink to anyone who does not need to be on a scavenger hunt for flavors and anyone who does not want to be slapped in the face by the alcohol. I will buy this again.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed

I had high expectations for this whiskey. I read many reviews about it and it got high praises. My initial thoughts are I should grab a bottle and try it out. The bottle is pretty nice looking, it has a ring/lip half way down the neck of the bottle and wide wood stained cork topper. The labeling is legible with gold, red, and black labeling and not over the top. It is 116.8 proof, like the .8 makes a difference, for 58.4% Alc/vol. It does not say how long it has been aged.

Here are the distillers notes on the bottle.

“Uncut with water, Rare Breed is an uncompromised Kentucky bourbon with tones of sweet tobacco and hints of orange and mint, making it a remarkably smooth whiskey legend.”

Wild Turkey Rare Breed

Smell – It has a bit of a sweet smell to it like sugar. I pick up a touch of vanilla and oak. The alcohol smell is potent along with the alcohol sting. It is overpowering. It needs to be aired out to be able to find a description. I found if I took small subtle sniffs, I could enjoy it. If I took a decent sniff, then my nose was ruined for a few minutes. The alcohol sting is real with this one. Its an uncut high proof whiskey, of course it is going to burn. With Rare Breed it is intense. If I left my glass air out for a few minutes, then I could pick up on a bit of tobacco along with the vanilla and oak. It still had a sweet sugar smell to it that did not turn into the old stale alcohol smell like it was left out to long.

Taste – The moment it touched my tongue I was surprised by a sudden sweet taste that lasted half a second and then I was slapped in the face by the alcohol burn. Oh it was bad. I have had higher proof whiskeys before, and this was bad. It lasted way to long also. I do not know about anyone else, but I prefer not to drink anything that hurts me. If you accidently take to big of a swig, then you might as well take it as a shot because you cannot enjoy the drink since your taste buds are now gone. The burn also lingered then it went straight up my nose. My nose just cannot get away from the alcohol. After every sip or drink it was like that.

I figured I would let it air out a bit. I hate doing this. After it aired out the burn was tolerable. The burn was on par with lower proofs it seemed. You still must sip this. Once my tongue recovered, I was able to pick up on flavors of caramel, oak, and something sugary I could not put my finger on. The flavors ended quickly but the burn stayed for the long game.

Color – The color is an attractive red/orange tint that is not to dark or to light. I give it to Wild Turkey they got the color on point. The bottle as a whole is a very attractive looking bottle.

My overall thoughts on Rare Breed are it is decent but not great. I do find it very interesting though. The reason is that like most uncut bourbons is the fact that the profiles of the flavors and smells change drastically as you drink the bottle down. I finish my bottles off slowly. It usually takes me at least a month to drink a bottle. If I do not finish it by 6 months I usually pour it down the drain. Uncut bottles usually get better as I drink them down. The first quarter to half is very rough and the last half is exceptionally good. The reason I find Rare Breed just ok is the fact that the alcohol burn and sting on the nose and tongue is to overwhelming. I cannot enjoy it. I don’t want to waste half a bottle of whiskey not enjoying it. If the alcohol burn was not so intense it would be a great bottle.

People say to dilute it.  I normally do not put water or ice in my whiskey. I do like a few drops of water or ice at times, but I am usually just too lazy to get up and do it. Another reason is that I cannot make it the same every time. I do not measure my pours. This is an uncut whiskey it’s not meant to be diluted or cut with anything. So why bother to change how it was meant to be drank.

I know many people will not like my review, but this is my honest opinion. This bottle cost me around $50. I think Backbone Uncut Bourbon is a better choice. It’s a bit cheaper and easier to drink. It has a bit more flavor profile to it. I am not going pour this down a drain by any means. I will drink it until its empty. I will not turn down a pour either. But I will not go out of my way for one. Also, one last thing to note is that the lip of the bottle makes it difficult to have a clean pour. The first half of the bottle will always drip and run down the neck more than it should. It makes a small mess.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think of the whiskey if you have had it and let me know what you think of the review. Thanks.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey


63.6% Alc. By Vol

(127.2 Proof)

Product of Kentucky

I was luck that I got to try this. I was notified that it was at Rohrs in the Morris Inn Hotel on the Campus of Notre Dame. The bottle was not even opened yet. I was super excited I got to try it and be the first one to have a taste from the bottle.

Smell – It burned my nose and made me pull away. It was potent. My wife did the same. I found it difficult to pick up any scents due to the burn. I am sure I singed my nose hair. It was over from there. The ability to pick up any scent profiles was lost. This could be due to that the bottle was just opened and poured. It was something fierce.

Taste – I was expecting to get an intense burning sensation the moment it touched my mouth. I was waiting for the sharp bite of a high proof whiskey to come to life. The way it burned my nose I was preparing for the bite. Oh, I was wrong. There was no burn, there was no bite, or harshness about it. It had an amazing warming sensation. It was like there was a chemical reaction that cause the whiskey to go from chill room temperature to bath water warm in a split second once it touched my mouth. It was a crazy sensation. Once my wife tried it, I could see the surprised look on her face. She turned to me and said, “I feel like Khaleesi was my mother!” Needless to say, she enjoyed as much as I did. There was no alcohol or burn to it. It was very pleasant to drink but not to smell. I had a hard time picking up any flavors. I was able to pick up oak and a bit of spice. I could not pick up any vanilla or caramel. It had a bold flavor profile, extraordinarily strong but difficult to differentiate the flavors. Even though it was not one of the whiskeys that slapped me in the face with distinct flavor profiles it was still a very pleasant drink.

Color – It was a rich amber color with a tint of deep red.

Overall, it was an interesting experience. I do not suggest getting a big whiff of the it a first. Let it breath and take small sniffs and don’t shove you nose in the glass. Thomas H. Handy is probably one of the top whiskeys that I like due to the interesting sensation while drinking it. It was enjoyable and I highly recommend a try if you get the chance. It’s another one from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection that is super difficult to get. If you get the chance to buy it at retail snag a bottle. People go crazy over the Antique Collection and they usually get auctioned off like Pappy’s.

The tasting notes from the distiller – Powerful, lush, and boldly spicy. Flavors of toffee, fig cake, and candied fruit, followed by mint, cinnamon and clove. The finish ultimately reveals subtle notes of allspice, coconut and nutmeg. Long and warm.

None of which I was really able to pick up on but non the less it was good.

Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Years Old Lot “B”

So this is the whiskey that made me want to start a review blog about it. I had been sampling whiskeys for a few years now and not really taking note other than a mental note of if I liked it or not. I started taking notes when I got to sample this gem. I was at Rohr’s in the Morris Inn Hotel on the beautiful Campus of Notre Dame. Lucky for me, I have a good contact there. When they get unique and special spirits in I get notified of it and I get to go sample them. When I was told they had it I was super excited. They had a few other special bottles there to sample as well. I only got to try a single 1oz pour due to the fact that it was over $40.00.

On to the good stuff. The review.

Description – This is Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 years old Lot “B”. 90.4 Proof. 45.2% Alc/Vol. Bottled by Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. Frankfort Kentucky.

Smell – It was a very mellow and easy on the nose. Not over powering on alcohol. It had a sweet smell. Some caramel that was easy to notice with a bit of spice. Again it was really mellow and smooth. No harsh bite to it.

Taste – Oh it was good. Super smooth. Zero harshness to it. I could taste some caramel, oak for sure, and some kind of spice. It hit the spot. It was easy to drink. Probably one of the smoothest whiskeys I have had up to that point. It also left a pleasant after taste of honey.

Color – Its a rich amber color with a orange tint.

I really enjoyed this whiskey. It was extremely smooth and easy to drink. I would highly recommend getting a drink if you can. My wife who does not like whiskey (at least at the time) tried it for the fact that it was a super hard to get whiskey and to say she tried it. She really enjoyed it and she drank it straight. That says something coming from her. She had no complaints. She stated, “she a thicc bitch.” She meant it as its viscous/oily. I wouldn’t pay the super high price for it but if you can get it less than $25.00 a pour I would say go for it. Or better yet if you can get a bottle for less than $100.00 I would say buy it. It retails for $79.99 but good luck finding a bottle let alone a bottle at that price.

The note from the distiller. I figured I would put this in here when its available.

See a brilliant, amber-orange color. Smell luscious, complex toffee. Taste a round, supple entry, leading to a dry, expansive, medium body. Enjoy notes of caramel, nuts, and brown spices with a lengthy, enveloping finish. It’s an outrageously smooth and decadent bourbon.

Why I created this blog

Hello everyone, my name is Trevin. I set out to create a blog to review whiskeys. I got tired of reading about whiskeys that people reviewed and over blemish the description of a whiskey. I got tired of not getting the same experience they were. So I am here to give everyone a straight forward and simple review of whiskeys that I get to try. Basically what I think of it from the smell, taste, color, and if its worth it in my opinion. I also will write about some other things I get to try. I just simply cannot understand the reviews that talk about the whiskey having 23 different flavors (like a certain popular beverage) and how they can pick apart every flavor from vanilla to smoked chocolate covered bananas. How the nose of the dram is wonderful and it dances around and so on. In my experience, none of this makes sense to me. No matter how hard I try I cannot pick up on a majority of the things they are describing. I believe that I am not the only one who feels this way. I don’t want to read a bunch of fluff on if it has an overpowering flavor of extra dark chocolate or if it smells like Thanksgiving day dinner. I want to give my perspective and no fluff. To me there are a few flavors that whiskey can obtain. There are only a few ways to add flavor to a whiskey naturally. I want to make it easy for people to read my review and say “Yes” I want to try that or “No” I’ll pass. I want to share my experiences with everyone.

Basically my reviews will be formatted like this. What I’m drinking and a bit about it. Then onto; can I smell anything? Can I taste anything? What does it look like? Did I enjoy it? Do I recommend it? Simple and nothing over the top. I drink my whiskey from a half tumbler glass. I have Glencairn and Copita nosing glasses and I prefer not to use those. I feel snooty when I do. You normally cannot drink from those when you are out at a bar or restaurant so I normally do not drink those while at home. I will also write about different bars and restaurants I visit. I do get to try some interesting and sought after whiskey through the people I know. I get to try some very unique cocktails and food. I am excited to share my experiences with everyone and I am excited to learn more about whiskey, other spirits, and their past and present.

Everyone welcome to my blog!