Unique Finds From Seelbach’s

If you’re unfamiliar with Seelbachs.com, you’re missing out.  Seelbachs carries a wide variety of craft spirits that can ship to your door (in many states).  An occasional visit to the website and just scrolling through their inventory can reveal some interesting items: some you may have been looking for already and some you didn’t even know you wanted. 

The founder of Seelbachs, Blake Riber, has been a guest on Bourbon Turntable.  So, if you want to learn more about Seelbachs, please check out that show.

I recently had two bottles from Seelbachs that are very unique.  Sometimes when you say “unique” or “interesting” it’s code for “I’ve not had anything like this before and I hope I never do again”.  In this case, however, “unique” is a very good thing!

First, we’ll start with a McKenzie single barrel from Finger Lakes Distilling in Burdett, New York.  Finger Lakes Distilling produces some outstanding whiskey in their standard product line.  I’m especially a big fan of their bottle-in-bond bourbon.  They also have single barrel releases, many of which are one-off distillations.  The single barrels are difficult to come by, but, fortunately, some are occasionally available at Seelbachs. 

This particular single barrel is a 100% malted rye, 5.5 years old, non-chill filtered at a barrel strength of 103.2 proof.  A 100% malted rye (or a rye with a high malted rye content) always gets my attention.  These seem to yield some remarkable flavors and this one from Finger Lakes does not disappoint.

Nose: Floral, cedar, fresh cut grass, lemon zest

Taste: Mint tea, honey, blackberry, lemon and hint of oak

Finish: Initially, effervescent Fruit Stripe gum.  Then, old-fashioned lemon drop hard candy (the kind with tiny sugar crystals on the outside).  You can actually feel it coating your tongue.  Also, that hint of oak hangs around throughout.

This one is a fun ride.  But it is a ride that shouldn’t be rushed.  Let each sip of whiskey linger so you get that nostalgic old-fashioned lemon drop hard candy note.  It takes a few seconds to reveal itself.

The second whiskey is one of the experimental batches (#28) from Chattanooga Whiskey.  The mashbill is yellow corn, malted wheat and malted barley and is infused with cacao nibs, cinnamon and vanilla beans.  It is referred to as a “bourbon liqueur” on the label.

Nose: Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory (minus the Oompa Loompas).

Taste: The vanilla hits first, then cinnamon, and Mexican hot chocolate.  The overall taste can be summed up as a chocolate croissant. The croissant feel likely due to the malted wheat.

Finish: It is like a hard chocolate candy melting in your mouth (Riesen’s). 

Like the McKenzie’s, don’t rush the finish.  Let that chocolate “melt” awhile.  This particular experimental batch from Chattanooga will also work really well in certain cocktails.  I’ve played around with it a couple of times already and it is a lot of fun.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Bourbon Turntable Tasting: Rolling Fork Spirits

My Bourbon Turntable co-hosts (Drew Crawley, Benjamin Eaves) and I had the opportunity to sit down recently with Turner Wathen, co-founder of Rolling Fork Spirits.  I’ll share the tasting notes of what we sampled here, but you can enjoy the live tasting, some more background on Rolling Fork and our conversation with Turner about music by going here for the YouTube video or here for a podcast format.

The Rolling Fork Spirits name was resurrected in 2016 by Turner Wathen and his business partner, Jordan Morris.  Rolling Fork was the name of the distillery owned and operated by Turner’s ancestors back in the late 1700’s.  Today, Rolling Fork is a leading importer of rum into the United States with plans to have 500 barrels in their stock by 2023.

Turner provided us with three different Rolling Fork rums to try.   The Bourbon Turntable crew only had the country of origin on the sample bottles.  So, we didn’t know age, proof, etc. It was about as “blind” as it gets.

El Salvador

The first rum we tried was from El Salvador.  The initial impression we had was that this is a “vanilla bomb”.  This rum has a beautiful vanilla note on the nose, palate and finish.  Allspice, raisin, tobacco, and citrus (like grapefruit and orange peel) were other notes we experienced. 

After the first taste, Turner told us that this was a 10-year, 110-proof rum.  Rolling Fork had finished the rum in rye, port, sherry and double oak barrels.  Some barrels went through each secondary finish, but others did not.  Combined, the rum was aged a total of 12 years before being dumped and blended. 

Before finishing, Turner said the rum was like “Crème Brulé in a glass”.  That characteristic carried through, but Ben noted some “port funk” which was definitely from the time in the port cask.  I picked up on some toasted marshmallow which could be attributed to the “double oak” barrel.  All in all, the barrel finishes were properly managed and only added to the flavor without drowning out the original spirit.

Drew gave us the #FatGuyTastingNote we are all looking for when he reminisced about his grandmother’s cinnamon rolls (that included raisin and orange peel) while sipping on this rum from El Salvador.

Turner told us that “if you like this one, we are going to have a very good evening because it only gets better from here”.


The nose on this rum from Barbados was full of butterscotch.  On the palate and the finish we detected caramel/coffee flavors that Ben said would appeal to those addicted to their Starbucks’ macchiato.  I caught a spicy pepper note in the finish that the guys thought might be more like a chipotle pepper.  Drew said there was something recognizable in this rum with walnut and marshmallow notes and an earthy finish.

This was a 9-year rum from Four Square that spent a year in an Old Forester 1910 barrel.  Drew, who worked at Old Fo for a time, now knew what made this rum seem familiar to him.

Turner shared that one of the things he likes about Four Square is their process.  They put the rum through a column still and then a pot still.  They also pay very close attention to making tight cuts.


This Jamaican rum carried some of the traits that we found in the rums from El Salvador and Barbados that we had already tried.  Vanilla, caramel, citrus and walnut were all there in a delicious combination.  We also enjoyed a bit of banana, chocolate and Juicy Fruit as we drank.

What we were drinking was a 14-year-old rum at 126-proof.  Each of us thought we detected flavors that indicated a finishing.  Rye?  No.  Sherry?  No.  Bourbon?  No.

This rum did not go through a finishing process at all.  Turner said their policy is that older, single barrel rums will simply be bottled and sold as-is.   They have an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with the specific distillery for this spirit from Jamaica, but Turner did share that the rum goes through a two-week fermentation process and a wild yeast strain is used by the distiller.  It is also double-pot distilled. 

These rums were truly fantastic.  Rolling Fork is doing an excellent job finding quality barrels of rum to bring to Kentucky.  From there they can either finish them in a secondary barrel or simply bottle them and send these gems of the Caribbean on to the consumer. 

Rolling Fork rum can be found at several retailers in Kentucky as well as a few spots in Tennessee, Chicago and Mississippi.  However, there is a great selection of Rolling Fork products at Seelbach’s.  You can even find a discounted 3-pack special there.  The Jamaican Rum we tried is a Seelbach’s pick called “Mermaid with a Flamethrower” and is available on their site.

The consensus from the Bourbon Turntable gang is that Rolling Fork has some outstanding rum that is well worth your attention.  Even if you are more a bourbon drinker and not familiar with rum, we are confident that you will enjoy the quality and flavor from Rolling Fork Spirits.

What is a “Bourbon Turntable”?

As we say to open each episode, Bourbon Turntable is a show that blends the love of whiskey with the love of music. If you like either…check us out. If you like both…we are your people.

The crew on this program includes myself and two wonderful friends: Drew Crawley and Benjamin Eaves. With us you get three different palates, in music and in whiskey. We each hail from three different eras: I’m the OG, Drew is the youth and energy and Ben is the man in the middle. Three different perspectives on topics we love and you probably do, too.

You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, all under Bourbon Turntable. Our program comes to you via YouTube and some of your favorite podcast platforms (Apple, Spotify and Google). Also, be sure to like the Bar Cart Co-op page on Facebook for authentic whiskey-related posts from more of our friends.

Cheers. Love. Free Bird!

Drew,, Kevin & Ben at Bourbons Bistro