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About Jason

My name is Jason Pyle and I’m an American Whiskey enthusiast. I started Sour Mash Manifesto over two years ago in a effort to help educate people on one of America’s greatest National treasures. Today I contribute to online publications such as “World Whiskey Review” and have been featured in a World Whiskey publication titled, “1001 Whiskies You Must Taste Before You Die” by Dominic Roskrow. Whiskey is a topic I have an immense passion for, spending a great deal of my free time nosing, tasting, reading, and learning as much as I can.

I live in the beautiful town of Franklin, TN, and spend my daylight hours as the Chief Operating Officer for a National Information Technology and Healthcare Professional Services firm, Latitude36. I have a gorgeous wife and three special little daughters that keep me busy at home.

How did I first get into whiskey? Well, I was exposed (not consumption mind you!) to Bourbon at a young age. My earliest memories include my grandmother, Marjorie Thomas – I called her “Mamaw”. She was an old-school country girl that grew up in the hills of East Tennessee. I think even she’d admit her palate was less discerning, but she enjoyed a “nip” (as she called it) every now and again. I remember very fondly spending weekends with her and Papaw, and watching her tote around a red “Solo” cup of Bourbon and 7-up or Ginger Ale.

I suppose it’s also not surprising that she had other “uses” for whiskey. For example, Mamaw’s cough syrup was the best tasting “medicine” on the planet. She missed an opportunity to mass market the stuff in a day and age where cough syrup all tastes like fake and sickly sweet cherry syrup. It’s a simple recipe consisting of a couple teaspoons of bourbon, a teaspoon of honey, and a squeeze of lemon. Mmmmm, I’m feelin’ sick just thinking about it. To this day when I have a cough I whip up a batch of Mamaw’s homemade ‘tussin.

Many many years ago a very good friend of mine urged me to try some Bourbon’s that he really enjoyed. A Friday night liquor store run opened me up to the world of American Whiskey, and I’ve been hooked since.

Today, my mamaw’s in heaven sippin’ a couple “fingers” of whiskey with my papaw. Hopefully I’ll do her proud with my own little take on something we both love.

Thank you for visiting,

Jason Pyle
Sour Mash Manifesto
1738 Liberty Pike
Franklin, TN 37067
eMail: jmpyle1@gmail.com
Phone: 615-406-6026

382 Comments

  1. Sofian, stay tuned, a full range review on Tuthilltown’s Hudson Whiskey line is coming soon. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Oz says:

    I just found this blog yesterday after doing some research on PigWhistle.

    I stumbled into a small gourmet store here in Chicago and saw WhistlePig for $86. Looked intriguing but I figured I should come home and find some reviews before laying out that kind of money.

  3. A question regarding caramel coloring.

    I discovered a video on youtube for Four Roses, where you can select a barrel. This video chronicles a small group of people tasting from each barrel and rating them. I quickly noticed that when they thieve the whiskey out of the barrel it was a very faint yellow, like an Irish whiskey. You can even see bits of char floating in it. Since they age their whiskey for 7 – 9 years, that must mean their single barrel release has redish caramel food coloring in it. How many distilleries do this? Should i be saddened at the site of the ever precious George T Stagg or Pappy Van Winkle, or do only low end keep this practice?

    -Brandon

  4. Brandon, thanks for the question. First, when they do these barrel tastings they are putting only a small amount in the glass. Just a wee sip, so it just looks lighter. Four Roses ages their whiskey in single story aging facilities. It’s a much less aggressive way to age the whiskey. Because of the more consistent and more moderate temperatures, the whiskey transfer in and out of the barrel is less aggressive, so the whiskey picks up the char and caramel tone from the barrel less aggressively also. For it to be legally a “BOURBON” it cannot have ANY coloring added to it whatsoever. American Whiskey has been ahead of the Scotch and Irish whiskeys for a long time in this regard. You will not find this in Stagg, Pappy, or any straight whiskey you can get you hands on that is US made.

    So fear not – no additives of any kind there both in flavor or color. Also Four Roses is absolutely a top top top tier distillery. They produce some excellent stuff and are not low end in the least. Take some of their single barrel and pour it in a nosing glass, but only a small amount. It will appear golden in color. It’s only when you pour a good amount that the color deepens a little. Also it could be the lighting in the video you saw.

  5. Mateusz Wysiecki says:

    Hello there,

    My name is Mateusz Wysiecki, I’m from Poland. As a beginner in a BOURBON subject I would ask you one simple question. Is the Stars & Stripes Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey worth any trying. I found a bottle in my local shop in relatively decent price (47zł = 15$). I really mean “RELATIVELY” , beacause here in Poland prices are much higher than in US. For example George Dickel No.12 costs 239zł = 72.5$ !!! But there’s nothing I can do with that :) Thanks for any advice. Greetings MAT

  6. Mateusz – thanks for the comment. First, my wife’s maiden name is Kostrzewa and her family is polish. Her father visits Poland once or twice a year and has even written a book on Vodka, which prominently features great Polish Vodka. Bourbon is certainly great stuff, but it’s an acquired taste like most spirits. That is certainly expensive for Dickel No. 12. I am however not familiar with Stars and Striped Kentucky Straight Bourbon WHiskey. I will do some research and see what i can find. Thanks Mat!

  7. Doug says:

    Jason, could not find any High West Double Rye so I went with Russell’s Reserve Rye 6 year Old. Wow…I was pleasantly surprised. Smoother than I had imagined, with a very unique flavor and a long finish. Seems lighter than Rittenhouse Rye, but with that familiar Rye kick. It’s fun to explore Rye whiskey, as I would have never thought I would like Rye until after reading your reviews. Bourbon is still my favorite, but Rye Whiskey has some excellent flavors when you want to take the road less traveled.

  8. Doug, Rye Whiskey is an American Treasure. It’s great stuff. Glad you tried it. And agreed, Rittenhouse a richer whiskey than RR 6. Cheers!

  9. Roger Tuohy says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to Clan Pyle!
    Your review of Rittenhouse BIB was spot on to my tastes in that this rye is quite flavorful and a bartender’s best friend. A very good rye that more than holds its own as a sipper but also would rock in a Manhattan or Old Fashion.
    Whistle Pig turned out to be a nice relaxing smooth pour but to my taste was almost Makers Mark (no surprise there!) one dimensionable in that the crackle was not there! 10 yrs will tone down most rye. I feel that most ryes need no more than 6 or 7 yrs in the wood.
    I am a Yankee Kelt that tends more to the Irish Pure Pot Still(Redbreast) and Scottish Single malts styles.
    To my great delight I tried the Evan Williams 2001 Single Barrel Bourbon based on your review and have now set my GPS on the Bourbon trail……I think this will be a very educational and delicious journey.
    Thanks for all you are doing with your intelligent approach to whiskey reviews

    Roger

  10. Roger, thanks for the well wishes. Glad you enjoyed the Rittenhouse. Frankly I think it’s probably the best value in all of whiskey. Big statement, but I think true for me.

    As for across the pond, I think Redbreast 12 is a super super whiskey. I love the 15 as well. Redbreast has a barrel strength 12 year hitting the shelves soon – I’m sure it will be great stuff.

    Cheers!

  11. Ed H says:

    I am always looking for the “best” inexpensive Bourbon Whiskey. There is a lot of great stuff out there and other that PVW 15 year old- but I am not going to pay over $50.00 a bottle to try it out.
    I recently did a taiste test between Early Times Whisky and Early Times 354 Bourbon. To me, the Early Times is a bit softer but other than that, I don’t see any difference. Do you happen to know what the difference is supposed to be?
    Thanks,

  12. Early Times 354 is actually bourbon, whereas Early Times is not, hence the softness you mention. Cheers Ed!

  13. Randy Watson says:

    Jason: As a newbie to the Bourban world I just wanted to thank you for this great blog. Your reviews are great and have helped me to identify a couple of bourbans that I have come to love. Elmer T. Lee single barrel has become my favorite and I owe that discovery to you. I do have a quick question. Is there a particular bourban glass that you recommend? I see lots of options on the Internet but wondered if you have a favorite.

  14. Randy, I enjoy the Glencairn glass. You can find them online and they are reasonably priced. I love their Copita style class as well. I did a post on this earlier http://sourmashmanifesto.com/2011/01/27/whiskey-glassware-for-nosing-and-tasting/

  15. James Mays says:

    Hi Jason, I just recently stumbled onto your site as I was researching reviews on American Whiskies. My first really enlightening taste was Old Ezra 15 Year Old Sipping Whiskey purchased in ’87 or ’88 for around $18. It was fantastic, rich in taste and deep in color. Since then I have come to appreciate bourbons and expand my horizons at every opportunity. In fact I’m sipping a little Old Rip Family Selection 23 Year 114 Proof as I type! I value your insight and look forward to your reviews so keep them coming please!

  16. Thanks James! Cheers!

  17. Roger Tuohy says:

    Jason…I did a drive by around my area and hit 4 liquor stores just to find the William Larue Weller 2011. The store that I always seemed to pass by and never stopped turned out to be WLR 2011 heaven! I bought one and went home for a sip…I went right back and got 2 more bottles and a 2011 Thomas Handy Rye. No need to hunt down any PRICEY Pappy 15,20 or 23 now!!
    The Handy was the last one and I paid $67.00 while the WLR 2011 cost $72.97 each. I would have(been a hog) & got the last 6 bottles but my bunker has already grown way too fast since finding your great site 2 months ago! More will get a chance to enjoy this WLR 2011 gem!
    The WLR 2011 is as good or better than my best Irish and Scotch whiskeys and for me that says alot!!
    Thanks again for doing what you do so well!

    Roger

  18. Zach says:

    Jason, greetings! I love your site and always rely on it for updates, and for what to purchase for parties, dinners, etc. However, my question is, have you ever tried Wathen’s Single Barrel? If so, what are your thoughts? Thanks.

  19. Zach, Wathen’s is good stuff. I do enjoy it. I think the price point is a little higher than it should be, but it’s what’s I’d classify as “very good” range in my ratings.

  20. Roger, well done man! BTW I got your messages. Been meaning to get back with you. Will do so shortly, but thanks for touching base!

  21. Nelson says:

    Hey Jason, love the blog. I was just wondering if you were planning on doing the following reviews in the near future:

    1) Newest Pappy 15 release (Fall 2011) vs an older release
    2) Pappy 20 or 23
    3) Sazerac 18

  22. Nelson, indeed I am. The 15 and 20 Pappy will be out by early next week. The Saz18 shortly. Cheers!

  23. JD says:

    Jason,

    Just found your site. It’s great. I’m book marking it right after I post this comment.

    I have my mainstays (EWB, MM, JB Black) but always pick up something different to try once in a while just to make sure I’m not missing out. I’ll be checking your site for recommendations.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Pappy 20 year old family reserve that’s been long neglected (it’s hard to find around here in the DC area and I gotta make it last).

  24. JD says:

    Jason,

    Just found your site. It’s great. I’m book marking it right after I post this comment.

    I have my mainstays (EWB, MM, JB Black) but always pick up something different to try once in a while just to make sure I’m not missing out. I’ll be checking your site for recommendations.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Pappy 20 year old family reserve that’s been long neglected (it’s hard to find around here in the DC area and I gotta make it last).

    JD

  25. JD, I hope you enjoyed the Pappy 20. Cheers!

  26. Randy Watson says:

    Jason,

    What bourbons would you recommend for someone who prefers a sweeter bourbon?

  27. Bob says:

    Jason,
    I was just wondering, to your knowledge, if anyone has made a peated (smoked) corn whisky (Bourbon).
    Bob

  28. Bob, MB Rowland has a smoked corn whiskey, but it’s offered in only an unaged form. It’s funky and unique for sure.

  29. BP says:

    Jason, I would love to see a review on the Jefferson’s Presidential Select – 17 or 18 yo.

  30. Randy Watson says:

    Jason: got a bottle of Van Winkle 12-year Special Reserve Lot B for Christmas. Outstanding bourbon. However, very hard to find it here in Atlanta. Can you recommend a bourban that has similar characteristics but is more readily available?

  31. Randy, W.L. Weller 12 year is the same juice, same year, just perhaps not quite as choice of barrels. I did a review of both on the site. Old Rip Van Winkle 10 is a little easier to find as well – I just picked up a bottle in a small shop that had 4 more bottles of it. Randy, give the Weller 12 a try.

  32. Max says:

    Hey Jason, any chance/interest in doing a review of Big Bottom Whiskey:

    http://bigbottomwhiskey.com/home.html

    Sounds interesting and has garnered some very good reviews.

  33. Max, I’ve got a long list of things to review but I certainly hope to get to this. Cheers to you!

  34. Max says:

    Hehe, yes I’m sure you have, just thought I’d throw that one onto the pile (no pun intended) :)

  35. Randy Watson says:

    Jason: Thanks for the Weller 12 recommendation but it appears to be just as scarce in the Atlanta area. I’ve checked out just about every store in the area and nobody seems to carry it or is able to order it but I will keep looking!

  36. Darlene S says:

    Hi, I came across a bottle of George Dickel Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey 90 proof 110th anniversary Powderhorn bottle, unopened with seal. Can you tell me the value of this bottle?
    Thanks,
    Darlene

  37. Paul Dray says:

    Hi Jason, Just wanted to say thanks for all the things I’ve been able to learn about Bourbon from you via your website and youtube video reviews. I’m from Brighton, England and am pleased that I’ve been able to locate the Bourbons that you recommend. I’ve quickly gone from getting a bottle of Woodford Reserve, to Elijah Craig 12 year, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses Single Barrel, Elmer T Lee Single Barrel…and just today brought home a bottle of Pappy Van Winkel 15 Years old (2011). Was surprised to find some as pretty much everywhere is out of stock. Just had my first experience of it tonight and was blown away by how rich and buttery and yummy it is. Best so far.

    Anyway just wanted to show my appreciation. Keep up the good work!

    Thanks,
    Paul.

  38. Nelson says:

    It’s 2012! Will you be handing out your “Best of 2011″ awards?

    I’m guessing it’s coming down to WLW vs The Field.

  39. Nelson I will be doing that shortly. Can’t tell who’s winning yet. WLW fared very very well, but have to wait and see. Cheers!

  40. Larry Fitzgerald says:

    After searching the web for some sage advice re:bourbon, I figured I couldn’t go wrong with someone who lives in the suburbs of Nashville. I retired a few years ago and found myself looking for a fulfilling hobby and decided on BOURBON (no need to chase a little white ball in the hot sun). On to my question – I purchased a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle (20 YO) last week that was right next to a bottle PVW 13YO Rye that I had been looking for. Can you tell me (or point me toward a possible answer) how I might be able to read the PVW 20 label as to WHEN it was actually bottled. Thanks for your great blog !!

  41. Larry cheers man. Thanks for visiting. There is a very faint code underneath the back label. This information is compliments of Steve Ury, who goes by SKU. His site, http://recenteats.blogspot.com is one of the best whiskey sites on the internet. The code looks like this: N2001117:48. The first digit (letter) is the bottling line. The 3 digits after is the day of the year bottled (out of 365). The next 2 digits is the year, and finally the last 4 digits separated by a “:” represents military time. I hope this helps. Cheers!

  42. SC Mike says:

    Just found your site and have been enjoying it immensely. Just a note to say thank you.

    One thing i love to point out to people regarding bourbon is that for $40 to $50 you already drinking the top stuff in the world and even the super elite (more rare than exponentially better imho) run only a couple hundred tops.

    4 roses sb is my go to sipping whiskey…and am enjoying trying more..

    Tonight rittenhouse rye…$20….cant go wrong.

  43. SC Mike – that’s very kind. Thank you for visiting more importantly. You absolutely cannot go wrong with Rittenhouse!

  44. Gareth says:

    I have been a long time fan of your reviews Jason. Greetings and thank you from over the pond, Northern Ireland.

  45. ILS says:

    Hey there Jason — Greetings from another Tennessean. Well, since I spent the first 10 months of my life in CT I was technically born a Damn Yankee, but I’ve spent most of my life in Nashville, Knoxville, and Lebanon. Go Vols! ;-)

    I just found your site. I grew up drinking JD and arguing with my father about Maker’s Mark, but I’ve recently been exploring several other bourbons and trying to learn more. I am happy to see your remarks about Buffalo Trace and Knob Creek in particular, since those are two that the liquor store folks especially pushed me towards and since so far Buffalo Trace is about my favorite (especially for the price). I know, not as exotic as some of the others — but I never claimed to be a Super Taster. Anyway, you’ve got a great site going here. I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot from you!

  46. Rick J says:

    Hi Jason. I just discovered your site and videos after recently becoming a Bourbon fan. Last Fall, I toured the Buffalo Trace distillery and fell in love with the history, aromas and process. Currently, I’m tasting Maker’s 46 and Vintage Bourbon 17 Year to “get acquainted”. I’m afraid I’m hooked. Have you ever done a review of the Pappy Van Winkle 23?

  47. Roger Tuohy says:

    Jason…do you ever notice or hear that some whiskies are very constant in their flavor profile while others seem to be a good pour one night but not quite as good the next. I am not talking about mood swings or different foods & spices that may challenge my palate. I find this variant in Evan Williams SB 2001. It seems to me that this whiskey can be honeyed and spiced nicely (balanced ) one time but be more alchol foreward at other times.
    I decant my whiskey into Boston Bottles at the 3/4 mark on the original bottle. I then use smaller bottles to keep air volume low as I sometimes do not get back to some of my stock for a month or more.

  48. Rick J – no review of Pappy 23 yet but maybe soon. Thanks for visiting the site.

    Roger – absolutely the whiskeys can change over time. But also I think what we taste in the same whiskey over multiple tastings has a lot to do with diet. Many things can throw off the flavors – that’s why I feel it’s critical to do reviews/assessments/tasting notes of whiskeys over 2-3 sit downs. Agreed on your storage technique – very sound.

  49. Bob says:

    When will you be doing more reviews?

  50. lorin says:

    Jason.. I recently came across the fact that most scotish distilleries use caramel coloring (E150a) in their whisky. Do bourbon distillers use this additive color?

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