Some time ago we told you about our exciting partnership with Blaize & Brooks and gave you all an opportunity to grab one of the limited run of bottles. Today we wanted to share a review of one of those bottles by one of our members, Russ Kempton.
If you don’t know Russ already, we’ll give you a bit of an intro. He’s spent over 35 years in sales, marketing, and management in the alcoholic beverage industry. These days he’s running Grapes and Grains, LLC, which is all about educating, entertaining, and consulting on all things alcohol.
That includes hosting tastings for your company or organization (Russ pivoted and offered virtual tastings during the pandemic, mailing bottles to people and then walking them through the spirits on a video call) and even trips to taste these spirits at their source, whether that’s tequila in Mexico or scotch in Scotland. With over 800 events under his belt now, Russ definitely qualifies as one of the most “spirited” speakers on alcohol in the country. If you’d like to talk to Russ about hosting an event or traveling, learn more on his website.
Speaking of scotch, Russ has spent more than two decades teaching scotch to students at the University of North Texas who are working towards Hotel Restaurant Management degrees.
So, knowing all that, we were still a bit nervous about sending our bourbon to Russ to drink. We had no doubt that Cara and her team had put together something amazing for us, but it’s always tough to go before experts, and worse, someone who judges fairly frequently. Russ has been a judge at the Whiskies of the World Competition multiple times and that means he’s hard to impress.
That’s why we were over the moon when he told us we had scored 95/100! Here’s what the breakdown looked like:
- Appearance — 5
- Nose — 35
- Palate — 35
- Mouthfeel — 5
- Finish — 20
Appearance is fairly straightforward: how does the bourbon look, both in the bottle and in the glass. The bottle itself is also judged.
Russ found “bold, roasted Thai pepper” in the nose as well as “rich stone fruit” and “fresh cut vanilla bean.”
Here’s what his notes said on palate: “Corn sweetness is prevalent but not overwhelming. The cask strength tames the sweetness with dark pepper spices lingering on the back end of the palate.”
Another way of saying mouthfeel is “texture.” Words that are sometimes used to describe mouthfeel include delicate, or silky, or velvety, or creamy.
Regarding the finish, Russ said, “the wood tannins, fresh vanilla, baked caramelized sugars and baked fruits continue to linger and are very slow to dissipate.”
For a bit more context, Russ used a few drops of water for his review of our 121 proof bourbon, and for the record he was tasting out of Batch 19 and Bottle 88.
We’re thankful Russ enjoyed his taste of our first collaboration with Blaize & Brooks and look forward to hearing from those of you who haven’t had a chance to crack into your bottles yet!
We’ve got fewer than 40 bottles left! If you want to grab yours click here.