From the left: Ten High, Temptation, Old Whiskey River, and Peach Street. A night of disappointments, some expected, some not. Actually, the Ten High started out promising. It’s a bourbon blend, so very much a bottom shelf buy, but it has an alluring nose of banana bread and white pepper. On the tongue, though, it fizzled; there was almost no flavor, no spice, no mouthfeel. Nada.
Temptation is a new release from the same folks behind Redemption Rye and High-Rye bourbon, and though it’s not exactly “high-rye” itself, it still packs 20 percent into its mashbill. On the nose and tongue, it seems like there’s a lot more there. But unlike the producer’s previous two releases, both very respectable, versatile expressions, this one is a misfire: the rye is prominent but unnecessarily restrained, the spice muted and the floral notes uninteresting. Alas.
Old Whiskey River was “made for” Willie Nelson, whatever that means, and it comes with a guitar pick strung to the neck. I like and respect Mr. Nelson, but I can’t say much for his taste in whiskey, if this is in fact representative. It’s almost totally lacking in spice; some interesting loamy floral notes on the nose, but the taste is flat and bland (sadly, a theme through the night).
We had high hopes for Peach Street, from the eponymous, much-hyped distillery on Colorado’s Western Slope. Sadly, the whiskey was a let down. I will say that it was among the better craft bourbon’s I’ve tasted this year, but that’s a pretty low bar. Unlike others, it had little of the underdeveloped “Chex mix” notes I often find in novice releases. I’ll also give it points for being interesting. Along with dill and vanilla and menthol on the nose, the taste was redolent of walnuts, with some nice white pepper thrown in. It would make a great crossover for Scotch lovers. Still, this is a bourbon, not a single malt, and it came up very short in that regard. Clay Risen