The Joe C. Selection Obsession
Some Very Moreish Single Barrel Picks
Today we are privileged to experience some fantastic barrel pick American whiskies brought to us by local purveyor of fine booze and TWL partner Moreish Wines in conjunction with Joe C from the United States. See our thoughts and experiences below 😊
For those not in the know ‘Joe C’ is a bar and bottle shop owner from Los Angeles who has a knack for finding and bottling interesting and down right excellent barrel picks from American distilleries. These exclusive expressions are usually snapped up or reserved by his regular customers in Los Angeles before they even hit the shelves, but thanks to the generosity and hard work of Ben Mitchell from Moreish wines, Australia, and us here at The Whisky List have been gifted the opportunity to try some of these increasingly sought after whiskies.
As always, we here at The Whisky List recommend you support local and small businesses when and where possible when hunting down that next bottle, and with a range of hand selected and curated treats, we can wholeheartedly recommend Moreish Wines. Thanks for the drams!
Aroma: Toasted Marshmallows, orange blossom infused honey syrup, a hint of freshly unwrapped Cherry Jolly Rancher, crushed walnuts, old cedar, Digestif biscuits.
Taste: Brown sugar and lightly toasted walnuts upfront, rounded out by some definite oak characteristics and a dash of white pepper. Green pears show up in the aftermath as the orange blossom syrup perfume wanes.
Body: Body is good, unfurling across the palate with a pleasing weight.
Length: Finish is medium in length but quite subtle. Lingering notes of lighter honey and vanilla persist pleasingly at the tip of the tongue and in the back of the throat.
Burn: No burn on entry, a slight warming hit of alcohol as you sip deeper, with a wave of menthol cooling things off as you breathe and let the whiskey swirl around on your palate.
Complexity: Hits all the right notes for a Bourbon. Plenty to carry on with but by no means a deeply complex dram.
Expressiveness: Delightfully upfront with all the flavours, but not in an aggressive fashion. Has a 'refreshing' quality which was a pleasant (and enjoyable) surprise.
Texture: Generous for a bourbon. No wax or oil present but still a pleasing amount of weight and plenty here to carry on with.
Balance: Nailed it - feels like a greatest hits compilation of all the notes you would look for in an American style whiskey with nothing that stick out or jars. Everything just works together :)
Aroma Enjoyment: The darker elements such as the toasted cereal and wood make for a good time on the old olfactory receptors adding some welcome depth to what can be a fairly one sided overly sweet affair, with a lot of lesser American whiskies.
Taste Enjoyment: The upfront rush of flavours and warmth which linger but do not make a pest of themselves make this a great sipper.
Overall Enjoyment: This would be a great gateway Bourbon for someone looking to see what American whiskey can be when given enough time to develop some character without going too far into Woodsville or costing a bomb like some (over hyped) releases. Would also work for Scotch drinkers looking for a bourbon to cut their teeth on that has a reasonable amount of complexity and doesn't fall into the overly sweet territory a lot of bourbons tend to fall afoul of.
Aroma: Christmas pudding rum soaked cherries, peanut butter, sugar glazed violet flowers (from a wedding cake), Sandalwood shavings, Cinnamon bark.
Taste: Dulce de leche which tends towards slightly bitter burnt caramel and dark cocoa powder licked from a finger from an overzealous hot chocolate preparation spill. A creamy heavy milk note builds as the darker flavours wane with time on the palate. Finish is sweet but tempered with a definite spice edge of white pepper and oak. Barley Sugar Lollies!
Body: Richer and juicier in body than the Eagle Rare, but not by a huge margin.
Length: Similar in length to the Eagle rare but with more presence from the earthy spice that was promised in the nose and the lingering sweetness of a pressed, sugar glazed violet dissolving ever so slowly on the back of the tongue
Burn: Again, super approachable, a slight prickle of ethanol, quickly ducking behind the rest of the palate, remaining as a comforting, lingering warmth in the mouth.
Complexity: Quite a bit going on here. With the bitterness of the dark cocoa powder, the caramel, the earthiness, and the sweetness all sharing the bottle, there is some serious fun to be had exploring this one.
Expressiveness: The ABV seems pretty much perfectly in tune with the variety and depth of flavours present and does a good job of getting the message across without making the proceedings feel ‘dumbed down’ or overly boozy.
Texture: No discernible oil or wax (which is not necessarily a bad thing) but a decent ‘weight’ from the ABV and the
Balance: Annoyingly well integrated. Quite the feat considering the breadth of elements in this whiskey. The sum is truly greater than the parts.
Aroma Enjoyment: One of the most unique and interesting noses I've had from the US - and it's great (which is pretty important too I guess).
Taste Enjoyment: A real thinker’s dram which is not something I would typically envision when drinking an American whiskey.
Overall Enjoyment: Appeal here should be pretty much universal - nothing to make anyone mad - unless you flat out hate American whiskey, in which case, get over yourself! :) This will be finding a home in the cabinet.
Aroma: Not quite ripe fresh passionfruit, Luxardo cherries, freshly cut sawgrass, freshly peeled ginger, jojoba oil, musty hessian sack, long dormant hay bailer.
Taste: I'm not sure if it’s a case of mind over matter as I usually associate Willett with Rye but at first blush I would swear this is a beautifully balanced, elegant, well-aged Rye whiskey. Digging a bit deeper past preconceived notions/prejudices we find dried dark sour cherry, white pepper, black cracked pepper, butterscotch, bitter cacao nibs, peanut brittle, overripe strawberry and lemongrass and mint in the finish.
Body: Definitely boosted by the ABV (which at 64.1% is not mucking around) this whiskey has a lot of body owing to the development imparted by the cask and the magic that seems to have been spun during the mashing and distilling.
Length: This one is a stayer. One of the longest and most enjoyable finishes on an American whiskey I have been party to yet. More of this please 😊
Burn: Surprisingly gentle for it’s (considerable!) alcoholic heft. By no means burn free but more than capable of sneaking up on you, as it drinks far, far easier than the labels ABV might suggest.
Complexity: This is a fantastic whiskey to spend time with. A variety (almost a cacophony but too harmonious for that) of flavours that ebb and flow as salivary glands are constantly triggered and new scents and flavours are uncovered by sipping and even just breathing while thinking about the next sip.
Expressiveness: More De Niro than Hemsworth - gets more across with a crease of an eyebrow than a lot whiskies do with their whole body. The ABV gives it the gravitas need to sell the performance...
Texture: A real creaminess to this one - almost like the aftermath of sipping a super alcoholic thick shake. Clings to the insides of the cheeks (yes!)
Balance: The first two whiskies have exhibited great balance and this one completes the trifecta. This one probably wins the award as it seems to be juggling a lot more elements while walking a tightrope between a Rye and a Bourbon (even though I am just imagining the Rye bits).
Aroma Enjoyment: The nose is good but not the star of the show - it's not like its holding its cards close to its chest, it's more like my nose is a limiting factor (which it most definitely is in this case).
Taste Enjoyment: It's like Christmas time for the taste buds. Lots of noise, excitement, unwrapping of layers and then a contented lie down, basking in the warmth of all the deliciousness.
Overall Enjoyment: One of the most unique whiskies I've ever come across from the North American continent and also one of the most enjoyable. It's like one of the better Booker Noe's releases wrapped in a Pikesville Rye but somehow even more enjoyable than that. Amazing stuff.
Joe C. Picks
All From Moreish Wines