Log Date

A whiskey adventure for you and me.

  1. Writing on the coaster

    Single Barrel vs. Small Batch // Bourbon of the Day

    Single Barrel Bourbons

    Single Barrel Bourbons are just that: the whiskey in each individual bottle comes from a single barrel. There is no blending of different barrels, which is a common practice to achieve a certain style or characteristic. While there is no legal definition of a “Single Barrel Bourbon”, the implication here is that these Bourbons come from choice barrels. These “honey barrels” are selected for the unique nose, palate, and complexity of the bourbon they produce.

    Single barrel whiskeys are relatively recent innovations in the whiskey world, making their first appearance in 1984 with Blanton’s from Buffalo Trace. Since then, other distillers have followed suit with their own particular honey barrel Bourbons. Some examples of great Single Barrel Bourbons on the market today include Four Roses Single Barrel, Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old from Heaven Hill Distillery, and Eagle Rare from Buffalo Trace Distillery.

    Small Batch Bourbons

    Small Batch Bourbons are a composite of different bourbon barrels that are mingled together in limited quantities. Distillers combine different barrels at different ages from various locations in their aging facilities (called rickhouses) to achieve a desired structure. Just like with Single Barrel Bourbon’s, there is technically no definition of a Small Batch Bourbon, and a small batch can be anywhere from 2 to 200 200 barrels. To achieve the same quality found in each bottle of Maker’s Mark, the company follows a specific formula that uses “approximately 1,000 gallons or less (20 barrels) from a mash bill of around 200 bushels of grain”.

    Makers Mark, Michter’s US #1 Small Batch Bourbon, and Hirsch Small Batch Reserve are three of the best and most widely available Small Batch Bourbons out there. Heaven Hill’s Elijah Craig 12-Year-Old Small Batch uses around 50 barrels to get that perfect balance of vanilla and dried fruit, while Jefferson’s uses 200 – 300 barrels for their small batch collection to achieve an unparalleled smoothness.

  2. Moving pictures


    Buffalo Trace, son.  They bottle Pappy here, and I love them for it  (Also Blanton’s, Eagle Rare (eh), and Sazerac Rye, just to name a few).

    Frankfort, KY.  2011.

    Holga/120 (unedited).

  3. Writing on the coaster

    Charm A Whiskey Girl // I


    Bypass the Maker’s Mark. Every man in America seems to have it in his mind that a glass of Maker’s on the rocks is a surefire way to win a heart, or at least a conversation; it is not well, nor Beam, nor a gamble. It sure seems expensive enough to impress. Listen, Maker’s requires neither the thought nor the palette sufficient to rouse a whiskey girl. A Maker’s Manhattan has only become standard due to alliteration, not taste. Sorry Maker’s! You’re alright but there’s certainly better. 

    Survey the selection. Nearly every bar nowadays stocks a bottle of Bulleit, and perhaps also a Bulleit Rye. A Bulleit on the rocks is the simplest path to success — it’s smooth and subtle and strong. That glass of “frontier whiskey” is Americana and simplicity and also, a high alcohol content. Other easily available options: a Knob Creek is what you meant to order when you eyed the Maker’s, and try it chilled; an Eagle Rare is smooth enough to appease even an unseasoned whiskey drinker; a Basil Hayden carries a name recognition with a flavor that easily validates it. 

    [More whiskey charming counsel this way.]