G’day guys. While the days stubbornly stay hot in the day, the nights have remained mercifully cold. Sitting in front of a fire, sipping whiskey neat cold. And tonight, I’m following up with another bourbon.
The reason I gave up attempting to write posts on liqueurs, other than the nihilism of writing about how a chocolate liqueur…tastes like chocolate. I think that question would seldom be searched for. Should it taste like passionfruit or vanilla, you’d be justified in complaining to whoever had had a nice big swig of it before playing spin the bottle with the label maker. That, and the majority of the drinking public point blank doesn’t care how and why a liqueur exists and the significance of the label. All they know is it tastes good, it’ll be fun for their party or the cocktail they’re making calls for it. So the label won’t waste time paying historians to dig up stories on the label’s founder or the computer programmers to post it to the website behind that little “About Us” button. But where I’m frustrated is when I’m trying to give these posts some depth, and find nothing interesting to tell you all about it. And this is one of those, not much to say, not much to tell. Meet Hogs 3, a nice little bottle of Kentucky straight bourbon. A product of the Glasgow-based Quality Spirits International corporation, a company that owns a healthy number of labels in some nice lucrative parts of the world. No points for guessing they started out with Scotch, the corporation owning labels in Speyside and the Lowlands that alone sells some eighty million bottles per annum. But others under their ownership include the Grange Stone whisky, Creag Isle whisky, Castle Rock, King James, Spey River, Glen Fohdry, Scottish Collie, Highland Reserve, Monarch of the Glen, the Gin Factory, Kilbrin Irish whiskey. A wealth of Scottish whiskies, some Irish whiskeys, gin, there is apparently a French brandy label somewhere in their pocket too according to them, but the name of it is never mentioned. And obviously, a bourbon label. The Hogs 3 label has achieved the awards of silver in the International Spirits Challenge twenty-fifteen, and twenty-sixteen, a silver in the International Wines and Spirit Competition of twenty-seventeen, and a bronze in twenty-eighteen last year. And that’s all that is said for the matter. I’d like to be able to stretch this out further, but I’ve got nothing to work with here, no little anecdote about how the founder of the label distilled his first batch of the mash to take on a pig hunting trip, or made it in celebration of his prize breeding boar winning a gold at his town fare. I got nothin’. Let’s just accept that, and move on with our lives. Make up your own story if you like. I’m not going to pretend I haven’t tried.
The bottle is a simplistic, short and stout. A black cap around the cork, a simple and straightforward label printed on a beige paper. The given name Hogs 3, originating from the aging process – the bourbon is aged three years in the charred barrels. With a satisfying pop, the cork frees up scents of deep, rich and dark spice. Not a boisterous or brash scent expelled by some of it’s competitors. A subtle scent underlying toffee, char and somewhat floral that is neither aggressive nor promising. But it should be said once liberated from the confines of the bottle, gives off a full nose thick in both proof and body. The taste is in fact mostly absent for a bourbon of all things. An unexcited entrance, mercifully intensifying into an oaky spice. But a mouthful must be withheld for, when we’re talking about a Kentucky straight bourbon, what feels like a fortnight to receive any sensation of spice at all.
In summary: Let’s not beat around the bush. This thing is a disappointment. Would not recommend. A watery dissatisfying entrance that leaves me confused and annoyed. But at least you now reading this now know better, I on the other hand am now lumbered with what to do with seven hundred mills of nigh-on tasteless bourbon. Have a few icy bourbon and waters? Well, I may as well!