Celebrating 243 years of one sweet victory….and American whiskey!

Whiskey claims to itself alone the exclusive office of sot-making.

Thomas Jefferson
A Stolen Throne Crook of the Crown with a 13 year old WhistlePig Rye Whiskey from the Bourbon Society of Central Florida.

It is July 5th. Independence Day is over. Although for some reason I do not want to stop celebrating that sweet victory that is 243 years old. Independence Day is my favorite holiday. I love it more than Christmas. Hell, I love it more than my own birthday. Which leads me to one massively important point. American Whiskey is the best whiskey to ever grace this planet.

Without our Independence from Great Britain, we would have never been gifted what the Founding Fathers spent so much time working on. I know what you’re thinking, the Declaration of Independence….WRONG! It was whiskey. You see, the way I look at it is quite simple: the Declaration of Independence was simply a document to give America the freedom to distill the best liquid to grace Earth.

Now, now, I am moderately joking. It serves as one of the greatest historical documents of all time (taxation IS theft). The greatest country in the history of mankind formed as a result. The freedom to write this piece is evidence of that. Yet, for some reason I always come back to whiskey. So with that, I believe a toast with some fine rye whiskey is in order. George Washington did it and he arguably drank more than any other President. Something about it must be good, right?

So toast we will to the greatest country in the world. To all those who did and continue to sacrifice so much for our freedoms, we say thank you. I will always love Independence Day. Cheers everyone!

Cigars or Bourbon? I say both!

If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go.

Mark Twain

My name is Bryan. Bourbon is just my thing.

State of distillation: Florida

Rick house: Tampa

Floor: 33614

Taste profile: Forward, a good kick in the mouth, with subtle hints of citrus, cut to the chase, and good laughs.

My name is Bryan Brantley. In 2016, my bourbon love affair began, or as some may call it, my date of distillation. Bourbon is unique as we all know, yet most of us didn’t start by drinking bourbon. We usually picked up another cheap spirit and called it a day. This is what makes bourbon so beautiful. We all end up here. Bourbon is meant to be a spirit we enjoy in brotherhood (or sisterhood – shoutout to the bourbon women!). Enter my goal: to bring more people together over this brown water that is so cherished.

As I embark on this blog journey I encourage all of you to try something new. After all, that is how it all begins. For those who may not be familiar, I will post weekly bourbon reviews and suggestions of what is available at different price ranges. Once a month I will dive into my favorite pour and smoke pairing during that time. I will also post pictures of what I find along the way.

I want to personally thank Scott for inviting me to join the Cigar Hawk blog. I am roughly a year into the cigar game but thoroughly enjoy my humidor being full. As the Hawk himself would say, “Long ashes, and full glasses!” Cheers everyone!

Blanton’s Red (Japan)

Good afternoon Hawks!!!!!

Sorry for the delay on the next installment of the Blanton’s series. It seems like that of late, I just haven’t had the time to sit down and open my old, slow laptop. My wife and I are in the process of building our forever home and we’ve been quite busy with life in general. Enough about me and my life…… I know you guys and gals don’t come here for my nonsense, y’all come here for the reviews.

In the next installment we take a look at the last Blanton’s that is offered exclusively to the Japanese market. Blanton’s Red or Red Edition.

Blanton’s Red is just like Black in the sense that it’s aged a minimum of eight years. Once again, you won’t find an age statement on any bottle of Blanton’s, but it is known that the Red and Black editions get a minimum of eight years. Master distiller for Buffalo Trace Harlen Wheatley has been quoted as saying “We don’t pick by the age, we pick by the taste”. So even though it may be a minimum of eight years, you may be getting bourbon that is nine, ten, or more years old.

The mash bill on this bourbon is Buffalo Trace’s mash bill #2, which has the higher rye content. However, BT doesn’t disclose the exact mash bill. This is the same with all of the Blanton’s editions.

ABV on this variation of Blanton’s is 93 proof. This is slightly higher than the 80 proof that the Black edition is.

The color of this fine juice is a honey brown. Almost lighter than the Black edition. I would have expected this pour to have been darker than its watered down brother.

This bourbon sits at about 80 dollars USD. However, it can only be found in Japan and on the secondary market. Prices on the secondary market are high. I’ve personally seen these range from 200-350 USD.

The nose on this bourbon is just as nice as the Black. Very sweet smell of cherries, caramel, vanilla, and citrus. Not as much of an oak smell with this one. On the back end notes of plum shine through.

The taste is spicy. Not hot like the burn you get from a high proof bourbon, but nice and warming. Vanilla, oak, and citrus on the front of the tongue, with a cherry leather taste on the back end.

The finish on this bottle was medium at best the same as the Black. It doesn’t linger on the tongue at all. It still makes a great pour, but won’t challenge your tongue with any complexities.

My final thoughts on this bourbon are that it’s better than the Black just because of the higher proof. If you find yourself in Japan and find a bottle for under a hundred bucks, I definitely suggest picking one up. However, if you’re forced to go the secondary route, then I would pass. It’s just not worth the extra cash.

An interesting side note- Blanton’s in the US and Japan comes in the standard 750ml bottles. Blanton’s released to European market only come in 700ml bottles.

I didn’t require ice or water with this bourbon and tasted it using my Glencarin glass.

I paired this dram with a Espinosa Wasabi cigar. These two paired nicely together and neither one overpowered the other.