I’m a huge fan of bourbon, but I live in the boonies and sometimes it is hard to find new bottles to try. Lucky for me this emerald green bottle of Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey caught my eye and ended up coming home with me.
I had no idea when I bought the bottle that it was Conor McGregor’s entry into the Irish Whiskey world or that it was named after his hometown, which has a postal code of 12.
The honest truth is that I wouldn’t have bought the bottle if I knew that. I tend to stay away from “celebrity” brands as I feel like you pay for the name versus the quality.
In this case, that would have been a mistake. My bottle of Proper Twelve was actually quite enjoyable. As a lover of bourbon, I don’t try many Irish Whiskeys, but I did enjoy Proper Twelve and will keep a bottle on my shelf. It had a nice mouth feel, a flavor that reminded me of a nice red wine and bourbon, but in a good way.
I read some less than positive reviews of Proper Twelve, but I think they may just be Irish Whiskey Snobs to be honest with you. They saw Conor McGregor’s name and fell for the same thinking I am sometimes limited by – discounting any product that has a celebrities name attached to it. For me Proper Twelve is a great budget bottle of whiskey and earned a respectable score of 71/100.
- If you drink enough you can see leprechauns.
- Has an enjoyable mouth feel with a rich flavors that reminded me of red wine and bourbon.
- May get discounted because it is a “celebrity” branded bottle.
- It’s not a bourbon, but you can only hold that against it so much.
- May make you speak with an Irish Brogue.
I had high hopes for Elijah Craig after having a couple of Manhattan’s at dinner one night and really enjoying them. What I found out from cracking open my own bottle is that it is better as a mixer than it is straight up. At under $30 bucks I guess I shouldn’t be too harsh on Elijah Craig, but I really did have high hopes for this bottle.
I’m going to give Elijah Craig a 57/100. I will finish the bottle, and I might buy another bottle, but only if I want to have a few bourbon cocktails (mixers).
- Sweet honey that fills your mouth and hangs on a few seconds after you swallow.
- Pleasant spice that blends well with the honey.
- Has the burn of a cheaper whiskey.
- Rough edges that don’t every really smooth out, they just get hidden under the honey and spice.
Four Roses Small Batch bourbon was actually one of the first bourbons I tried, and back then I was drinking Jack. Four Roses opened my eyes to a totally different level of quality, so I will always think of it fondly.
Now that my bourbon horizons have expanded, I still think of Four Roses fondly, but I also have some other bottles to compare it to. Four Roses earns a score of 66/100, putting it firmly ahead of two thirds of other other bourbons. I’m also calling it an “Everyday Whiskey” because its affordable enough to drink whenever you want.
- Light and spicy on the tongue.
- Great starter bottle for new drinkers and an everyday sip alike.
- Can have a little edge on the first sip. I find a little water or an ice cube opens up the whiskey and takes that burn away.
I am always looking for new whiskeys to try and found a good deal online for a trio of bottles. Which I promptly ordered, and which my wife of course signed for and opened the box.
She understands I like to true new things, but doesn’t quite understand why I have a shelf full of different whiskeys.
Last night I started with the Yellowstone bottle.
I did not plan on having as much of it as I did. It is a strange whiskey. I honestly wasn’t sure if I liked it on the first sip, which made me keep sipping, and then refilling my glass. It starts sharp, and spicy, and gradually mellows.
Overall Yellowstone earned a 78/100, and it is one of those whiskeys I can already tell is going to call to me sometimes. Some whiskey I just need to be in the mood for, and I already know that Yellowstone is one of those. Now I just need to find a another bottle to put on the shelf for one this one is gone.
- Grows on you really fast.
- If you like sharp and spicy with nice earthen tones you will really enjoy this whiskey.
- The opening salvo of sharp and spicy may put some new whiskey drinkers off.
- Hard to find.
The bottom line on Buffalo Trace is that if you can get it at $24 to $26 the value to cost ratio makes it a nice sipping whiskey to share with friends or to take out into the woods – times when you want to enjoy a sip, but maybe don’t want to spend a lot of money in the process.
Buffalo Trace earns a 55/100, and yes I did drink the whole bottle – but not at one shot.
- Decent value for the price.
- Has some sharp edges.
- Hard to tell where the spice and the stringent taste on the tongue blend together.
I grabbed this bottle of Redemption because it was a new offering at my local store and the price, at $30 seemed reasonable to risk for a new offering. I am always hopeful I kind find a reasonable bottle that I enjoy so I having affordable to drink and to take to parties or get togethers – because it just seems wrong to let someone who doesn’t really enjoy bourbon drink the good stuff.
Sadly, Redemption is not that drink. It starts rough, ends rough, and leaves an unpleasant burn behind. My advice would to spend a few extra dollars and get something you will really enjoy. Redemption earned its disappointing score of 40/100.
- Potentially useful to clean carburetors.
- Is pleasant on the nose, but lets down the palate.
- All rough edges.
- Burns, and not in a pleasant way.
Hirsch Small Batch was actually one of the first bottles I bought when I started to drink bourbon, so I owe a lot to Hirsch for making me really like bourbon.
How does it rank? It is a solid 74/100, and is very drinkable. I will always keep a bottle on the shelf, but I try and buy it when it is at the $33 to $35 price point, which increases its price to value substantially. I only have three or four liquor stores within a half hour of me, and the prices tend to vary drastically (probably because of me buying everything on the shelf when I see something I like) – but what this means is that bourbon that you might be able to find for $35 bucks jumps up to $50.
My local stores will sometimes have Hirsch and Basil Hayden and Eagle Rare all priced within a few dollars of each other. If that happens I’m going with one of the others to be honest with you.
Having said that, Hirsch Small Batch is a great bourbon and is well worth sipping, especially if you can find it in the low $30 price ranges.
- Well balanced and warm.
- If like like spice and rich flavors this is a bourbon for you.
- Depending on what is on the shelf and local prices, there are better options at this price point. Like Basil Hayden and Eagle Rare.
You can’t go wrong with a bottle of Michters US 1 Small Batch bourbon. It is a solid choice that earns a very solid score of 79/100. If it weren’t for the little bit of burn that this bourbon brings with it, the spice and smoothness would likely up the score by 4 or 5 points.
As it is, it is a good, easy sipping bourbon, especially if you are able to find it near the $40 mark.
- Sweet and smooth opening.
- Great mouth feel.
- Finished with spice and a little heat.
- First sip burns a little more than its 80 proof should.
- Prices vary from $40 to $65 depending on local demand.
Old Forester 1870 is one of my favorite bourbons. It sips easy and has a wonderful mouth feel that is complex, but extremely friendly. As far as I’m concerned, you can never go wrong with a bottle of Old Forester 1870.
- Smooth start with floral notes.
- Middle tones of caramel and oak.
- Clean finish with cinnamon and spice.
- Isn’t always in stock.
- Prices vary from $40 to $65 depending on local demand.
This was the only bourbon the flight had when I was heading out to Seattle last week. I splurged as I had ten hours of travel in front of me, and an Uber ride after that – so I wasn’t going to be driving.
Was this 50ml bottle worth $13 bucks?
No, absolutely not. Granted, I paid more because I was on a plane, and maybe the altitude effected my taste, but I did not enjoy this Woodford Reserve at all. It was all bite and sharpness.
Overall I’m giving this Woodford Reserve a 30/100. I drank it, and I might again if it is the only thing available, but by god I’m not going to enjoy it.
- If it is the only bourbon they have on the plane, well, I guess it’s better than nothing.
- Super expensive when bought on a flight.
- All sharp edges and hit you in the face alcohol strongness