I met up with Diageo today to get an update on our three forthcoming George Dickel 9 year old single barrels. They brought me the final samples, which came with a nice little wooden box and an updated label. Things got a little hairy over the holidays, so we pushed back the delivery date, but we should expect to see our bottles in late April/early May. Keep these on your radar. They're really, really tasty with big candy corn sweetness and lots of spice.
Since they were in the neighborhood, the Diageo boys let me sample the new Orphan Barrel lineup as well, including this 20 year little gem called Barterhouse. It's tasty stuff, much better than I was expecting from other reports. It tastes like some of the better Jefferson's 18 Reserve bottles we had a few years back with lots of baking spice notes and a palate that hasn't lost much of its freshness over time. It's going to be a big hit.
The 26 year Old Blowhard was much more gentle and ghostly in nature (and the sample bottle came in this beautiful book for a case). It's much less intense with a subtle flavor profile that makes me think the barrel had some serious evaporation. It's going to make someone out there very happy, but it didn't stand a chance next to the fantastic Barterhouse. No word on when these will be available, but we'll keep you posted.
And, of course, let's not forget the latest incarnation of a straight rye and Bourbon blend: Jefferson's Chef's Collaboration $34.99. There's a lot to like in the Jefferson version. Bright barrel spices abound on the entry with a leaner palate that never gets too rich or flabby. The finish offers a hint of that sweet banana note, but it's entirely in check and balanced by more clove and cinnamon notes. All in all, it's well done and well priced for what it is.