Kirkland Small Batch: Barton 1792

Maker: Barton 1792, Bardstown, Kentucky, USA (Sazerac)

Style: Standard recipe straight bourbon.

Age: NAS (at least 4 y/o)

Proof: 92 (46% ABV)

Michigan state minimum: $28/1 liter. Comes out to $21/750 ml

Appearance: Shiny copper.

Nose: Pretty hot for a 92 proofer. Cinnamon imperials, baking spice.

Palate: Cinnamon disks, cayenne pepper, oak.

Finish: More candy notes, but some oaky tannin and caramel.

Parting words: When Costco announced that they were going to be releasing a new line of Kirkland bourbons, all distilled at Barton 1792, I was excited, even though there were some who shrugged their shoulders. As you know, dear readers, I love Very Old Barton. Unfortunately, it’s highly allocated in the Great Lakes State where I live. As much as I love it, I find it hard to motivate myself to drive all over the metro area looking for a $14 bourbon. Kirkland Small Batch is slightly easier to find, but at least it comes in bigger bottles.

The question on my mind when this line was announced was which recipe was going to be used for it, Barton or the high malt 1792 recipe. After spending a couple months with this bottle, I can firmly say that I have no idea. If pressed on the matter, I would say Barton, given the sweetness and spice.

Either way, this is pretty much what I expect in a $21 bourbon. Some oak and spice, but a little thin. Strangely enough, I actually like this bourbon better on the rocks. Everything seems to be much more harmonious and integrated.

At any rate, Kirkland Small Batch: Barton 1792 is recommended! I really hope my local Costco gets some of the Bottled-in-Bond, or Single Barrel in soon!

Kirkland Signature Islay Single Maly Scotch Whisky

Source: Alexander Murray & Co, Calabasas, California, USA.

Distillery: Undisclosed (Bruichladdich?)

Region: Islay.

Age: NAS

ABV: 50%

Michigan state minimum: $57

Appearance: Light gold.

Nose: Smoldering peat. Smells like a smoky custard with water.

Palate: Full and silky. Smoke, dark chocolate covered cherries, caramel. Water brings out buttery toffee.

Finish: Cigarette smoke up the nose, ash, peat, lip tingles. Very buttery with water.

Parting words: Alexander Murray & Co is an US based independent bottler that provides store branded spirits for Costco, Trader Joe’s, Total Wine, and other US retailers. I’ve really enjoyed many of their Kirkland Signature (Costco) bottlings, especially the blended Scotch and Irish Whiskey.

The Islay Single Malt is relatively new, at least at my local store. The online scuttlebutt is that it’s from Bruichladdie, but there’s been no confirmation of that. Having tasted this bottle next to a Port Charlotte bottling, there is definitely a family resemblance, but the PC is a little more rounded and sweet.

The biggest difference between Kirkland Signature Islay and whiskies put out under the Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte labels is the price. $57 is a very nice price for a Single Malt of this quality. If you’re looking for a smoky malt to put into your Burns’ Night lineup, this is an excellent choice. Kirkland Signature Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky is recommended.

Kirkland Blended Scotch

Maker: Alexander Murray & Co, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK20181109_201041.jpg

Distillers: Unknown

Age: NAS (at 3 y/o)

ABV: 40%

Michigan state minimum: $23/1.75 liter (~$10/750 ml; only available at Costco)

Appearance: Medium copper (caramel color likely added)

Nose: Vanilla custard, lemon zest, butterscotch.

Palate: Full-bodied, mild and dry. Toffee, oak, alcohol, touch of smoke.

Finish: Alcohol, butterscotch, oak.

Parting words: Costco sources its basic blended Scotch from Alexander Murray & Co, an independent bottler out of Aberdeen. There’s nothing earth-shattering about this blend. It has two things going for it: it’s pretty good and it’s very cheap. I like it best in hot toddies (great for sipping out of a travel mug while the kids trick-or-treat) but it does well in other cocktails, with soda or neat in a tumbler. Kirkland Blended Scotch is recommended.