For today’s joint review, I am introducing a guy who I’ve built up a great relationship with over the last year with trading, hunting and sharing. Mike B is local to Indianapolis where he’s been into the bourbon scene for quite some time. He’s a member of the Indianapolis Degenerates (or just Indy Degens), which is a group of bourbon enthusiasts that bond over their love of rare bottles, go on barrel picks and have frequent group tastings. As has been the case for the last two joint reviews, our conversation will be in the form of written dialogue to make it more convenient for those of you who don’t always have time to watch a video.
Lincoln Road Package Store Pick
I first met Mike when I was searching for two specific Barrell Bourbon batches (006 and 011). He was gracious enough to sell me them even though he absolutely loves Batch 011. Since then, he has been one of the main supporters of mine by giving me access to some of his bottles to do reviews on, and for that I’ve been forever grateful. For Christmas, I gifted him a bottle of a Barrell Bourbon that was a store pick from Lincoln Road Package Store to show my gratitude for being what I would describe as a “bourbon mentor.”
I also asked him if-and-when he opened that bottle to drink, if he’d do a joint review with me. I was happy when he accepted the invitation. As a friend and fellow enthusiast, I respect and look forward to his opinions on all things bourbon related like new bottles or upcoming single barrel releases. So without further ado…
Mike F: Reviewer for The Bourbon Culture Mike B: Friend and member of the Indy Degens
Mike F: So you’ve been active in the bourbon scene in Indianapolis for quite some time now. Tell me, what is your opinion of our city’s bourbon scene in comparison to what you think the rest of the US is like?
Mike B : I would expect that the number of people obsessed with bourbon/rye whiskey is much greater here in Indiana than nationwide. Much of that is likely due to our proximity with Kentucky. The shear number of people engaged with their local retailers, regularly attending lotteries and showing up at stores every delivery day significantly reduces your chances of obtaining those hard to find bottles.
Mike F: I feel as if our city does have its share of enthusiasts for sure and that number seems to be growing all the time. So let me ask you a question so that everyone can get a feel for your experience and palate: What are your top 3 best and worst whiskies that you’ve ever had?
Mike B: My top 3 worst would probably be anything peated, High West Campfire and Stranahan’s (I can’t recall the exact one). I don’t think I’ve really had a terrible bourbon, but if I had to pick one that was a disappointment, I’d pick Michter’s Toasted Barrel Bourbon. It could’ve been the fact that it was a bad barrel or the fact I don’t like the toasted profile.
Mike F: What about top 3?
Mike B: I’d have to say Mr. Sam, WLW and the 2014 edition of GTS. I hate to feed into the BTAC and Pappy frenzy by listing those, but I’d also probably say honorable mention goes to the 2015 THH and a 20 year old Pappy Van Winkle that was from Stitzel Weller.
Mike F: That’s quite the lineup! And I’ve was always curious about that Mr. Sam release with how much you have told me you liked it in the past. I’ll have to try it sometime. So now that we’ve established that you’re a man of fine taste, What’s your opinion on finished bourbons/whiskies?
Mike B: I do like finished bourbon/whiskey. Cognac and Stout finishes stand out to me. A couple of favorites are Belle Meade Cognac Cask Single Barrel from Binny’s and the VIP #2 Stout Barrel finished. I love that Magnus Cigar Blend, but I’ve only had 2 drinks from it so far so I will need to revisit soon!
Mike F: It’s like I’m asking myself these questions! You picked probably my top 2 finishes as well! You answered my next question which was what were your favorites and which casks are your favorites. Did you know that I also have a Belle Meade Cognac Cask from Binny’s? What cask number is your Binny’s Pick?
Mike B: #4915 and it’s 114.8 proof
Mike F: Mine too! I didn’t realize we both have this same bottle and I also didn’t know you thought this highly of it! When did you get it?
Mike B: I’ve had it for quite a while and it was actually my first Belle Meade I ever had. I knew you reviewed one a while back, but didn’t realize it was the same barrel.
Mike F: Well speaking of having the same bottle, aren’t we supposed to be reviewing a bottle together? Tell me what you thought about this Lincoln Road Package Store Single Barrel pick from Barrell.
*Mike B prepared a small review for this comparison ahead of time, as did I. He said he wanted to take a shot at what it felt like to write a review.
Tasting Notes: Mike B
Nose: My first thought is wow! This smells delightful. Lots of sweet citrus & floral notes. I could picture poker legend Johnny Chan trading in his lucky orange for a glass of this to get away from the secondhand smoke of casinos and private poker clubs. I also get a touch of brininess (Is that salted peanuts)?
Palate: Very interesting flavor profile! It’s different, but in a good way. Love the proof on this one! Peppery Orange Rock Candy Sticks but these must be reduced sugar as it’s not overly sweet. On the second sip, it leaves you with a nice tingle on the front / mid tongue. On the back end of the palate, a small amount of mineral note is present. If u drink this after non-Dickel sourced bourbon, the mineral notes become very evident and much more pronounced for sure! I am very much aligned with Mike’s theory in this regard.
Finish: On the finish, I get Satsumas and spice, tobacco and oak notes that moderately build then begin to fade over the next 30 seconds. These flavors intensify on the finish with every additional sip.
In summary, I need a few bottles like this in the bar as a good change of pace bourbon to mix things up. But I’ll need to make sure I have this as my first drink of the sitting.
Score: 7.3/10 (based on Mike’s scale)
Things I liked more: OWA
Things I liked less: Old Ezra Barrel Strength
*Mike F also prepared a small review for the comparison ahead of time*
Tasting Notes: Mike F
Nose: I like the aroma of caramel fudge, chocolate and nougat all together. It’s pretty much like a candy bar in some aspects. There’s also a lot of fruit that I can’t believe I’m finding in this Dickel. There’s some tangy strawberry and rhubarb pie filling as well as some orange zest. I also am finding a good amount of musty oak on the nose, which is really nice for this kind of bourbon.
Palate: I am finding it hard to describe the first taste that I come upon, but it’s almost like a fake strawberry jam, like the kind that comes in the middle of a Pop-Tart where’s it’s sweeter than nature intended. The fruits go on a little longer with some candied oranges as well. This is starting out really sweet! There’s some really nice aged traits to this one like cherry flavored pipe tobacco and oak. Lastly, I’m getting a taste that’s a lot like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
Finish: York peppermint patties leads the charge. This is interesting because the peppermint is really standing out with a decent amount of rye spice that’s on this finish. I’ve not got this much of a rye effect in a Dickel bourbon in a very long time. Since this was (likely) chill distilled and filtered through the Lincoln County Process before entering the barrel, Dickel’s rye in the mahsbill has always felt like it was stripped of its floral and herbal traits, but the spice sticks around. That spice shows up big on the finish with lots of cinnamon and black licorice. There’s also some orange flavored Flintstone Vitamins chewables which I don’t find to detract from the flavor, but I do notice they’re there. Lastly, I’m getting a heavier dose of vanilla pound cake at the end too. This finish is extremely complex!
Mike F: I just have to say, that review you did is actually really good for a guy who always tells me you don’t know how to describe stuff like you read in other reviews. Are you sure you don’t want to do more of these?
Mike B: *Laughs*
Mike F: So we both went in this with mediocre expectations since I told you that when I bought these bottles, I thought they were going to be MGP single barrels. The owner of Lincoln Road Package Store didn’t say anything and I didn’t ask because I was that sure of myself that they were MGP. Turns out this is just Dickel, but on the plus side, this is probably one of those high rye (25% rye) bourbon mashbills that Barrell grabbed up. I’m sure Jamie Farris loved selling two of these single barrels of Barrell that have sat on his shelf for 3 years now!
Mike B: Thanks for the heads up on the advice to drink this one first before any other drink I have that night. I drank this three times in a row (and drank it as the first drink of the night) like you said but the fourth time, I had a couple other drinks before it and this tasted awful. So many of the flavors changed on it for the worse.
Mike F: Yeah, I couldn’t believe it when I stumbled upon that little tasting discovery. From now on, I’ll only drink Dickel before other bourbons because it really messes up with whatever the LCP does to the distillate. But anyway, onto more questions! If you could only drink one bottle for the rest of your life, but had to pay the price that you normally pay for it, what would it be?
Mike B: Wow, this is a tough question. Bourbon? Four Roses Private Selection Store Picks (this is cheating because I didn’t tell you which recipe, so I’ll take all 10). And Rye? I’ll have to go with the Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye.
Mike F: Awesome choices! Now are you ready for the rapid fire questions? This is where I ask the questions super fast, but you have answer immediately and can’t dwell on them. I find that answers are more honest that way.
Mike B: Haha, as rapid as I while can keeping the kids from injuring themselves before bedtime.
Rapid Fire Q/A
Mike F: What is your favorite Four Roses recipe?
Mike B: OESV
Mike F: What is your favorite Michter’s Special Release?
Mike B: Barrel Strength Rye – if that is considered special…
Mike F: What is your favorite Buffalo Trace Standard Release?
Mike B: Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel
Mike F: What is your favorite Wild Turkey Warehouse?
Mike B: Camp Nelson F
Mike F: What is your favorite Knob Creek Barrel Pick?
Mike B: Columbus Beverages 15 year old
Mike F: What is your favorite Barrell Bourbon release?
Mike B: Haha, Dovetail
Mike F: What is your favorite MGP bourbon bottling? (any NDP is game)
Mike B: Belle Meade Cask Strength Reserve 19-03
Mike F: What is your favorite MGP Rye bottling?
Mike B: WhistlePig single barrels that were MGP
Mike F: What is your favorite rye whiskey?
Mike B: Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye
Mike F: Favorite non-bourbon and non-rye whiskey?
Mike B: Mister Sam
Mike F: Haha, damn, that’s actually applicable! So what’s your favorite bourbon under $45?
Mike B: Knob Creek Store Picks
Mike F: Favorite bourbon release from last year?
Mike B: Shit. All of the sudden I’m stumped, haha. I’d say Kentucky Owl Batch 9, but I also really like Old Forester’s President’s Choice release.
Mike F:What’s the first bourbon you remember ever drinking?
Mike B: Jack Daniels
Mike F: One last one that I forgot, what is your favorite new rye whiskey release from last year?
Mike B: The Knob Creek “Das Hole” Indy Degenerates Pick
Mike F: Really?! Not Cornerstone or Parker’s Heritage 8 year old rye? I know you have both of those in your bar.
Mike B: Ok, Cornerstone is better. But the price is still high. And the Parker’s I only had a small sample from. I’m drinking that Kentucky Owl Bourbon Batch 9 right now btw.
Mike F: Oh year? Tell me how that is.
Mike B: I am satisfied with the purchase. It shipped to my door at 260. Expectations were high and I’m not disappointed.
Mike F: That sounded like a bot wrote a review on Amazon! What do you really think?
Mike B: No worries about the bourbon needing to “open up,” it’s good to go! Following it with a RRSiB pick makes that RR taste really smooth, like Wellers *laughs*
Mike F: So it’s really smoooooove?
Mike B: It tastes like Cream of Kentucky should have if Rutledge wouldn’t have proofed it down.
Mike F: That’s because the Kentucky Owl is probably a majority Barton bourbon!
Mike B: Yeah, the Kentucky Owl prices are also just as high as the Cream of Kentucky, but based on the KO Rye 1 and 3 and also this bourbon I’ve tried, I think they put out good products.
Mike F: I bet they did, otherwise it wouldn’t be selling like it is. Well Mike, this has been a great time and it was another awesome bottle shared between two friends! I can see from your picture that your’e really enjoying the hell outta this bottle, so I’m glad it has seemingly passed the litmus test!
Mike B: Yeah, it was fun! We’ll have to do it again soon!
Mike F: No doubt, see you probably next week for whatever trade we work out by then!
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