Caputi’s Bourbon Club – Blind Tasting Results
At the conclusion of our April 16th Bourbon Club meeting, we conducted our second blind whiskey tasting. A panel of 9 volunteers sampled through a lineup of six different whiskies without knowing what they were drinking, and were then asked to give feedback on each - which included ranking them in order from best to worst. The six whiskies that were chosen were a widely varied group, ranging from cheap to expensive and with extremely diverse mashbills and taste profiles.
The 6 Whiskies were: (*Details on each whiskey can be found below which include an Approximate cost at retail)
- Wild Turkey Unforgiven
- Angel’s Envy
- W.L. Weller 12
- Jack Daniel’s
- High West Rendezvous Rye
- Four Roses Yellow Label
After the tasting, each participant gave all six pours a ranking from 1 through 6. (1 being their favorite, 6 being their least) I devised a simple reverse ranking scoring system where as a 1st place vote was worth 6 points, a 6th place vote was worth 1 and vice versa throughout.
RESULTS: (Including overall points and Individual rankings)
Four Roses Yellow Label 43 (2,3,2,1,3,2,1,3,3)
W.L. Weller 12 40 (1,5,4,3,1,4,2,1,2)
High West Rendezvous Rye 37 (4,1,3,4,2,1,4,2,5)
Angel’s Envy 32 (3,2,1,2,6,5,5,6,1)
Wild Turkey Forgiven 25 (6,4,5,5,4,3,3,4,4)
Jack Daniel’s 12 (5,6,6,6,5,6,6,5,6)
To say the results were surprising would be an understatement. The two inexpensive whiskies meant to be the baseline samples ended up scoring the highest. Four Roses Yellow was overwhelmingly popular, as every single participant ranked it in their top three. On the opposite end, Jack Daniels was in each taster’s bottom two, and finished last according to all but three. Weller 12 scored very high finishing second and had the most 1st place votes with three. The most diverse results came on the Angel’s Envy, where ranks ran the gamut as it received two 1st place votes as well as coming in last according to two others.
Although the results were somewhat scattered, they did show consensus overall. These blind tastings are meant to be fun and are intended to challenge the taster’s palates. There is no right or wrong answers. I thank all the participants, and look forward to conducting more of these blind tastings in the future.
- Wild Turkey Forgiven(91 Proof) This is Wild Turkey’s first blend, a Bourbon / Rye combination. Wild Turkey’s bourbon has a very high rye mashbill to begin with, and for the Forgiven they blend 78% of that 6 year old bourbon with 22% of a 4 year old Rye. Approximate Retail: $50
- Angel’s Envy(86.6 Proof) A Kentucky Bourbon that is finished in Port Wine barrels. The bourbon is aged 5-7 years in oak, and once the batch is ready, it is finished in large port barrels for 3-6 months. Approximate Retail: $45-50
- W.L.Weller 12 Yr(91 Proof) This is a “wheated” bourbon from The Buffalo Trace Distillery, which means that they substitute wheat for rye in their mashbill, giving it a softer finish with less spicy rye notes. This is the same mashbill used in the Pappy Van Winkle line. Approximate Retail: $20-25
- Jack Daniels(80 Proof) “Old No. 7” is the highest selling American whiskey in the world. Jack is essentially bourbon, although not called such. An additional step is used wherein the spirit is dripped through a vat of maple charcoal to “mellow” the whiskey prior to barreling. Approximate retail: $30
- High West Rendezvous Rye(92 Proof) Is a blend of 2 rye whiskies, one yound and one old. Rendezvous Rye is sourced (not distilled by High West) and is a blend of a 6 year old with a 95% rye mashbill and a 16 year, 80% rye mashbill. Approximate Retail: $50
- Four Roses Yellow Label(80 Proof) The entry level offering from Four Roses distillery, it is a blend of all 10 of their recipes. A combination of 2 differing mashbills (60% Corn/35% Rye & 75%Corn/20% Rye) and five different yeast strains. Approximate Retail: $15-20