NLF: Jim Beam Bourbon

Jim Beam Bourbon
80 Proof – Whiskey
Approx. $11.99 750ml

Jeff’s Review:
Well, I was going to make up a clever story on why tonight I chose to
review Jim Beam, a bottle that’s been around forever, but to be honest,
this Friday came pretty fast and it’s the only thing I have that hasn’t
been reviewed already. There’s really not much I can say about this
bottle that most of you don’t already know, it is one of the top selling
whiskies, its drinkable and very average. I have however been
drinking it and ordering it a lot lately simply because of it’s
averageness. 

Its hard to explain, but a lot of the other whiskies that I
normally drink have a very distinct flavor. That bold flavor that
makes some whiskies so good seems to get old to me pretty fast.  So
every now and then, I like to grab something that well… just tastes like
plain ol’ whiskey.  There are a few bottles out there that you could do
this with, but Jim Beam is a solid choice.  It’s a little on the sweet
side with hints of creamy oak. You won’t find a ton of flavor or burn. It’s
just average. It’s a bottle that you wont get mad if someone finishes it
at your party, and most people will drink it without a complaint. 

You
would be surprised by how many people I’ve talked to at our parties that say, “I like
whiskey, but I’ve never tried Jameson or Wild Turkey or Maker’s Mark or Jack
Daniels or Jim beam” and a lot of the time it’s because someone told them
it wasn’t as good as this, or not as smooth as that, so they just drink
their so called favorite whiskey. If your one of those people do
yourself a favor and pick up some of the basics. It doesn’t matter if
its Canadian, Irish , American, Rye, Blended, or whatever, just try
some.

You’re probably not going to be blown away by any of them, but you
will never fully enjoy the better whiskies if you can’t compare it to
some of the originals out there. And for the people out there that have
tried all the big names and have really found your favorite whiskey, do
yourself a favor and grab one of the basics. Sometimes it’s nice to give
your all time favorite a break and just enjoy a good solid whiskey. There’s also that chance that you might find a new favorite, or you might just be reminded of why you love your old favorite so much.

NLF: Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack

Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack
30 Proof – Whiskey
Approx. $17.99 750ml

Tony’s Review:
I’m not a big fan of doing yard work. Especially on the weekends where it takes up valuable drinking time. Some people might say “Why don’t you just do it in the morning and get it over with?” Well that might work, but waking up before noon on days that begin with “S” is not one of my strong points. Only on the rare occasions that we have something fun planned, do I even entertain the notion. Yard work does not come close to fun, so naturally it has to wait. About two weekends ago, Jeff and I reluctantly decided to journey into the back yard and finally get some stuff done. Luckily, we pre-planned and put a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack in the freezer before we started. This way we could have some nice cold shots to take while we worked and still be able to mix in our drinking time with our manual labor time.

After about an hour we decided that it was time for a shot break. So I grabbed the cold bottle and two shot glasses and we commenced drinking. Now I’m pretty sure that if we had tried this with regular Jack it wouldn’t have been as quite of a good idea, but with the heat we were in, and the fact that this stuff is only 30 proof and cold, it was pretty damn refreshing. It was as if we were drinking an apple cider with just a hint of Jack when it went down. I was immediately wishing I had my own bottle to just drink straight out of. There’s no burn and it goes down with absolutely no effort. I would easily take a glass of this over any of those apple-ale-cider-beer-whatevers without question. We took a few more shots, went back to work, took a few more shot breaks, and were about halfway done with the bottle once we were done working for the day.

A few days later I took it upon my self to finish the rest of the bottle to see how it was when tried in a few different ways. I didn’t bother trying to mix it with anything because it’s simply too weak unless you’re adding another kind of liquor to it as well. If you have something that you use apple juice in, I bet it would be great with Winter Jack as a substitute. I don’t really know of any recipes myself, so I began drinking it at room temperature since it was left out of the freezer from the previous weekend. Not too much different than last time. It was slightly warmer…and I would say just a little bit of extra tart to it now. Didn’t waste too much time with that and just moved on to adding in a few cubes of ice for my next drink. Since the ice slightly waters it down, it loses most of the hint of Jack, and tastes just like a crisp apple cider.

And the fourth and final way I tried it almost never happened. While Jeff and I were taking shots in the back yard we noticed that it said “Best served warm” on the side of the bottle. Since we were drinking it last time with the sun beating down on us, it didn’t even seem like a good idea. I remembered reading it while I was finishing up the second half of the bottle, but my laziness was going full throttle at the time and I didn’t feel like getting out of my seat to heat up my drink. It wasn’t until I was on my last glass that I gave in. I just had to know. If I didn’t try it warm then I would have had to wait until the next time we picked up a bottle to find out.

So I got up and threw it in the microwave for about 32 seconds. Why 32 seconds you ask? Because again, I’m lazy, and I hit the one minute express timer button instead of punching a 3,0, and Start. Who has time to hit three buttons? Once I pulled it out, it smelled like I just warmed up some apple cobbler, and you could smell it from across the room. I do have one tip for you though. Don’t drink it right away if you heat it up for 32 seconds. It burns like hell… After letting it cool down a notch, took a sip and it was what some would call “really tasty”. I couldn’t pick out the Jack flavor, but it did have a slightly alcoholic taste to it.

It would have been great on a cold winter day, but we don’t get too many of those down here in Florida. We might get a week or two when it gets somewhat chilly, but that’s about it. And that could be why we had such a hard time trying to find this stuff. It wasn’t until a couple weeks ago that we actually found our first bottle of Winter Jack after searching for one since last December. And the odd thing is, after we found our bottle, we went over to a friends house and they had just picked one up for the first time too. Maybe the people over at Jack Daniel’s just didn’t think a “Winter” drink would sell that well in the Sunshine state and hesitated to release it to us. Well it’s definitely here now, and no matter where you are, if it’s hot or cold out, I would easily recommend that you pick up a bottle for yourself, curl up next to the pool or fire, and indulge in some quality drinking time.

NLF: Midnight Moon Strawberry

Midnight Moon Strawberry
100 Proof – Grain Alcohol
Approx. $19.99 750ml

Christal’s Review:
Recently I had a discussion with someone who was curious if I’ve ever tried the moonshine that looks like it has rotten strawberries in it. Unfortunately the answer was no and I was not able to give my opinion about it. I’ve seen it in the store several times and I have always just walked right passed it since it didn’t look very eye appealing. That changed last weekend after I decided it was time to finally pick up some Midnight Moon Strawberry moonshine. After taking a good look at the contents of the bottle, I noticed the strawberries had a white greyish look and there’s a fair amount of sediment floating in the bottle as well. Before I was going to drink something that looked like it contained spoiled fruit, I had to check out their website to find out more about it. Apparently, the color of the moonshine comes from the shine stripping the color and flavor from the strawberries.

I proceeded to pour some into a cup straight, and the aroma that escaped was very potent. I immediately thought it was going to have a strong fruit flavor like another moonshine that I’ve tried in the past. (Which was an apple pie flavor). I was extremely wrong. My mouth and throat were instantly introduced to a burning sensation. The burn just completely overpowered any flavor that there might have been. There was no way I was going to drink it straight again, so I made a mixture of shine and berry juice. It was much easier to drink this way, even as a half and half mix, because it manages to cut out a good chunk of the burn. It also somewhat hides the fact that its a 100 proof moonshine as you drink it, but only in the flavor as the buzz still kicks in fairly quick.

With the tasting portion taken care of, I feel like I have to go back to the appearance. I know I mentioned the look of strawberries quite a bit earlier, but dammit they’re
greyish and strawberries should never be grey! If it was my brand, I
would have just strained the fruit out after all the color and flavor had been
extracted. Normally seeing some fruit floating in the bottle may be a nice marketing trick to get someone to pick up your bottle, but it only works if the stuff bobbing around there still looks appetizing. So in spite of the look of Midnight Moon’s strawberries, I still have mixed feelings on this buy when it comes to the flavor. The burn was so strong that I ended up sweating, which made drinking it straight almost completely impossible, but the mixed version did work very well. So, it’s not something that I would seek out to buy again, but at least now, I’ll have an opinion on the drink if ever asked again.

NLF: Monkey Shoulder

Monkey Shoulder
86 Proof – Whiskey
Approx. $29.99 750ml

Jeff’s Review:
Last week I was lucky enough to have some friends around that enjoyed drinking and our reviews. So I used the opportunity to take advantage of their opinions on a new
bottle I had picked up. While explaining what I had for them to try, almost everyone thought I was making up the name when I told them we would be trying Monkey Shoulder blended scotch.  Before taking our first sip, everyone needed an explanation of the name. So I read to them what I found on the bottle.
The term monkey shoulder was used to explain the the injuries
people suffered while turning the barley by hand. After working all day,
they would try to relax their shoulder by letting their arm sag. This
apparently made people look like monkeys. Once everyone was reassured
that no monkeys were hurt in the making of this bottle, we were all in.

I
poured us all a glass straight from the bottle and most of us shoved
our noses in it, as if we were all scotch connoisseurs. It really has
nice smell to it, I could could pick up some malt and cinnamon right
away, but before I could pick out anything else people started tossing
it back, so I did the same. Before I had swallowed my drink I already
heard some grunts and moans, and not the good kind of grunts and moans
either. What I heard the most was the term “watered down”, and to be
honest for me the taste didn’t live up to the nose either. “Watered
down” seemed to be accurate. I did get a smokey honey that finished way to
quickly to a slight buttery burn. A few of us finished our drinks, but
some poured theirs down the sink. No one was interested in seconds,
minds were made up, and everyone moved on.

Through out the night I
offered it to people and was constantly shot down with a “I don’t want any more
monkey piss”. This is what everyone was affectionately calling it now. As the
days went by, like always, I forgot about the review, and like always, I’m
writing this the day its due. I decided to look at some other reviews
online to see what everyone else was saying. Honestly, I really wanted to
see how bad everyone thought this was, but to my surprise a lot of
people love it.  After hearing from multiple sources that this is one of
the best blended scotches out, I started thinking that we all must have
missed something. So I decided to give it another try tonight and I’m
glad a did.

I can’t explain it but it seemed like I opened a different bottle, It no
longer tasted watered down but smooth, the flavor lingered a little
longer and I could now pick up a little bit of citrus which brings
things together. I know none of my friends would believe me but it
really has a unique smoothness to it, I guess because its blended it
lost some complexity, but gained a mellowness that makes it easy to drink
. I read a lot of people saying it would be great mixed in cocktails
instead of sipped neat, sadly I didn’t get to try this out but to be
honest this would be a great starter bottle for someone who may not be
able to sip other scotch whiskies without drowning it in coke. All in
all, it lacks that oomph some other bottles have, but it’s worth a try.


NLF: Jefferson’s Bourbon

Jefferson’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
82.3 Proof – Whiskey
Approx. $31.99 750ml

Jeff’s Review:
Recently I got to try a bottle of Jefferson’s bourbon and ended up pouring it down the drain, but I promise you, not for the reason you would think. Last weekend I planned a little birthday getaway to Treasure Island, FL and I brought this bottle with me. The plan was to relax, have a few drinks and lower the fish population. Well, things don’t always go as planned. We showed up to what looked like a nice quiet resort right on the water with three fishing docks.Quiet usually scares me a little because I know my friends were stopping by later, and we are known to get a little loud. I thought to myself “No problem. We’re here to relax, so it shouldn’t be a problem”. While waiting for my always late friends, I started noticing some chatter outside and people walking around the pool. Being a little nosy, and wanting to grab a smoke, I walked outside and instantly had a front row seat to a very heated argument that my neighbors were having. Not being able to understand Spanish, I had no idea what was going on, but I did catch a few threats and a good amount of “she always does this when she drinks”.

After the yelling and screaming subsided, I went back inside to wait some more for my now even later friends. Once everyone had arrived, we grabbed some dinner and headed to the kitchen for some drinks. I told everyone I brought a new bottle with me to try, and I really wanted to get everyone’s opinion for my upcoming review. One non-bourbon drinker bowed out instantly, but Tony and Rahmin were ready and willing. Everyone enjoyed drinking it neat on ice. It’s really balanced. A little spicy and a little sweet. It is slightly oily, but it doesn’t linger too long. There is a burn but it’s barely noticeable, and it’s easy to drink, but nothing really stood out to any of us. Trying to take it slow, we decided to head out and do some fishing.

This time when I stepped outside, the angry screaming people were no where to be found and sadly, neither were the fish. We hit a slack tide, and after about an hour, we realized we were just wasting precious drinking time. We headed back inside and during this round of drinking, we splashed the Jefferson’s with some ginger beer. After the first sip, we collectively thought that this bottle should be packaged and sold with a few ginger beers to go with it. It made this somewhat average bourbon really standout, and revealed flavors that were previously nonexistent. The “little spicy and a little sweet” mentioned before had finally grown up to a full flavor. Now it had a bold black pepper kick followed by a creaminess that’s very enjoyable.

Now that everyone knew the secret, I didn’t think this bottle would last too long, but luckily, the guys knew this was going to be my next review and went light on it for me. It didn’t hurt that we also brought a cooler full of beers to drink as well. Next the night took a strange turn. We ended up outside with Rahmin and his guitar. After a few strums of the strings, a random dude showed up asking to hear a song. Rahmin didn’t disappoint and started singing Mike Pinto’s “Bad Luck” as if he knew what was about to happen. Halfway through the song, the random dude disappeared, only to return shortly with the “always gets like this when she drinks” girl. As Rahmin was finishing up the song, the woman interrupted him at least three times to tell him he should be on The Voice, then proceeded to demand another song. This time he sang Matisyahu’s “One Day”. As soon as he started, she decided to let him know, by screaming over him, ” I love Bob Marley!”, and then stumbled away into the darkness. We had some laughs and some friends headed home. We tried to talk Rahmin into staying, but he kept going on about working in the morning.

So then it was just Tony and I sitting outside and we decided that we  were going to give fishing another try, but before we could head out, the “Always gets like this” girl showed up again alone and somehow more drunk than before. This lady began a three to four hour rant about why she hates white people, Puerto Rican people, some lady at her office, her anger management class, her family, and everything else. Somewhere in between the police records and “some bitch with a chip on her shoulder” (didn’t catch her name) stories, I had almost finished the bottle of Jefferson’s. I intended to just empty the bottle into my cup and make a fairly strong drink to top the night off, but as I picked up the bottle, apparently her drunken eyes made contact with it and she stopped mid ramble to blurt out “Let me try some of that!” as she grabbed the bottle and took a big swig… straight out of the bottle, as if we were bestest bum friends sitting next to a dumpster behind 7-11. For the rest of her ramble, I just stared at my tainted bottle until she finally went home. And as I mentioned before, I had to pour what was left down the drain, even though I did really enjoy this bottle mixed.