Friday, June 29, 2012
Hudson Four Grain Bourbon
Jim Murray's review says the nose is "a problem." I don't find it particularly problematic, but it is on the sharp, alcoholic side rather than the soft, warming side, as far as noses go. I found the nose more just a bit weak than anything else. It's not particularly dark in color at 92 proof, it looks gold-like.
This is pretty good stuff. Hudson uses smaller barrels for shorter aging, and I do think that has a negative impact. There is a reason the better bourbons are aged for 6-8 years or more. While smaller barrels allow for enough contact with the oak, something else happens in the magical aging process that I'm not sure you can replicate with smaller barrels in less time. Here's further reading on it--small vs. large barrel debate--but this whisky is slightly rough around the edges. I do think the four grains interplay nicely, you get a bit of rye cinnamon spice but it's still like eating wheat bread, soft and round and sweet. Jason Pyle finds notes of rum and sourdough; there is a sort of "rumminess" to it. One other thing I am getting is, well, paper. Not in a bad way, and not that I've eaten a lot of paper. But it's the only way I can describe it. I guess paper is made from wood, maybe it's the oak I am getting, like a dryness.
Medium, pleasant. No burn, for good or for bad. Lingers shortly but too low a proof to have too much impact.
It's a cool bottle, and it's always fun to try something made from a more local, small batch mindset. I think it's real good stuff. Jim Murray's Whisky Bible states, "Sort out a few gremlins and this promises to be a whisky to watch." For me the main gremlin is the cost. I just can't see putting down another 40 bucks or more, or even to try one of their other entries. Jason Pyle from Sour Mash Manifesto says this is their best entry, so I'm glad I chose it. But 375ml is only 7-8 pours, not the best value in my book. I always compare whiskies to others first by taste and then by price point. Is it better than Buffalo Trace's flagship brand. Possibly. Is it 3-4 times better? No way. As with any good bourbon, though, it does grow on you. As I finish this post I wonder if I am being slightly too hard on it, because I am quite enjoying this pour.