I mentioned in yesterday’s post how I’m not a fan of white dog whiskey. However, I currently have two bottles of it sitting on my bar. The first bottle is the one I reviewed yesterday: Big Jake White Dog Whiskey from StilL 630 in St. Louis, Missouri. The second bottle is Bear Trap Whiskey from Bear Wallow Distillery in Nashville, Indiana. I purchased the former from the distiller. The later was a gift from a friend who has a cabin in Nashville and purchased it on a visit to the distillery. He decided to pawn it off on me since he wasn’t going to drink it. I plan on experimenting with it. However, when I was tasting the Big Jake the other night I decided it would be fun to do a head-to-head tasting.
Now, we know from yesterday’s review Big Jake is an un-aged rye whiskey with a mashbill of 90/10 (Rye/Barley). But, what about the Bear Trap? I explored their website but discovered nothing in regards to the mashbill. My guess was a wheated-bourbon because of its sweet cereal notes. I sent the distillery an email and got a quick response. It’s the un-aged version of their Gnaw Bone Bourbon with a 65/25/10 (Corn/Wheat/Barley) mashbill.
With this knowledge at-hand let’s get to the specifics and the head-to-head competition.
CATEGORY #1: EYE
Big Jake – Unfiltered spring water. Slightly cloudy from a lack of chill-filtration. (16/25)
Bear Trap – Unfiltered spring water. Slightly cloudy from a lack of chill-filtration. (16/25)
Winner – Tie. Not that the eye makes a substantial difference on the quality of the product.
CATEGORY #2: NOSE (I.E. LET THE COMPETITION BEGIN!)
Big Jake – Green apple licorice! Raw grains and cereal. Smells like the dust kicked-up from a freshly harvested field. A slight astringency coming from the relatively hearty proof (45% ABV). (19/25)
Bear Trap – Dear lord, sweet corn! Raw grain. A good bit of farm-like notes which are not to my liking. Fairly astringent. A good bit more tingle than the Big Jake due to an increased proof (60% ABV). (13/25)
Winner – Big Jake hands-down. I’ll take green licorice over farm fields all week.
CATEGORY #3: TASTE
Big Jake – Rye grain dominates the palate. It’s accompanied by a little bit of malt. Overall it’s dry and soft. A slight bit of white pepper hangs out on the corners of my mouth. Very little bite. I’d like this more if it was bottled at a higher proof. (19/25)
Bear Trap – Corn sweetness dominates the palate and is accompanied by a little bit of spiciness. Very dry. Thick mouth feel. (18/25)
Winner – A slight edge goes to Big Jake. I’m not overjoyed with either one (I like my whiskies to rest in wood for a few years). But, I’m a big fan of spicy rye notes and the white pepper tips the scale in favor of the big dog.
CATEGORY #4: FINISH
Big Jake – Short bordering on medium. Dry. Dominated by raw grain notes. (16/25)
Bear Trap – Short bordering on medium. Dry. Dominated by raw grain notes. (16/25)
Winner – Tie. Neither can take the cake in this section.
HEAD-TO-HEAD TASTING CHAMPION: BIG JAKE (70) DEFEATS BEAR TRAP (63)
Big Jake easily beat out Bear Trap thanks to a stronger showing on the nose and palate. Both of these products would benefit from time resting in oak and the touch of angels. But, for what we have in the bottle currently they make for interesting tipples, will be fun to experiment with, and will surely lend to some tasty cocktails. Cheers!