Color: medium reddish amber
Nose: white pepper (rye), citrus
Taste: citrus, baking spices, kettle corn
Remarkably, I’ve been drinking Bird Dog Peach Bourbon for over a year now. I really like the stuff, but just have never gotten around to writing a review of it. They make other flavors as well, but other than the Peach, I have found them to be remarkably underwhelming.
When I stumbled onto this bottle of Bird Dog Small Batch Bourbon, I thought to myself, “Self, let’s get this. It’s likely the underpinnings of the Peach stuff we like.”
After careful consideration, thorough tastings, and a touch of research, I’m second-guessing that conclusion.
“Let’s not mince words” shall we?
Bird Dog Small Batch Bourbon is a decent whiskey with a cute label.
Unlike my recent review of Bib & Tucker, I’m not sugar coating this one. And I can’t.
I have a certain set of standards when it comes to Bourbon, as you know. And any Bourbon that retails around the $30 mark is *GOING* to be compared to Four Roses Small Batch, Buffalo Trace, and Elijah Craig. Two of which, apparently, I have ALSO not yet written up. Dang it. So, going against my Buffalo Trace write up, how does Bird Dog Small Batch compare? Not favorably. Even against the $18 Four Roses “Yellow”, Bird Dog is out in the weeds. When a bottle that costs 1/3 less than yours blows you out of the water, you need to reassess your strategy.
The nose is strongly rye; white pepper and hot. The more delicate features come off as citrus fruit and citrus blossom. All of this to say:
The fact that there’s no age stated leads me to believe that this Bourbon is 4 years old, no older. The palate, on the other hand…
Well, the palate would make me think it’s younger than that. Time in the barrel is supposed smooth the rough edges. But Bird Dog starts off harsh. At 86 proof, this stuff is watered down enough to kill almost any bite. And yet, here I am, lips and tongue burning. And not in a good way. Much like another Bourbon I recently reviewed, I find myself with a whiskey that needed more time in the barrel. And again, while I can applaud the nice baking spice profile, that’s about as far as the praise will go. I’ve come to expect kettle corn/caramel corn sweetness from most Bourbons. But in the More Than $25 a Bottle price point, I expect some caramel, some brown sugar, serious vanilla, and a crazy floral, fruit or nut note. That’s just not here.
The finish is short and hot. I’ll grant it a lingering burning sensation on my tongue, but due to that burn, not much flavor lingers. There’s no real lure, beckoning me to go in for another sip. I agree with Jimmy Russell: you want a nice finish; some good flavor left on your palate so you want to go get more.
There are just so many other Bourbons out there in Bird Dog Small Batch‘s price point, that I cannot recommend it. There’s no reason to pick up this bottle… unless you have to have the cutesy label.
Final Rating: 76 out of 100