Week 22 of Sample Mountain is tri-state high proof week featuring a Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof pick, Parker’s Heritage Blend of Mashbills and Garrison Brothers’ Cowboy Bourbon! I’m not usually the biggest fan of super high proof stuff so we’ll see if any of these can win me over and I might splash some water in there to be safe. I tasted these blind to rank them then wrote more detailed tasting notes.
Nose: Banana, caramel and heat!
Taste: Less proof sting than the nose with more banana, lots of spice and a good amount of caramel. Very nice mouthfeel.
Finish: Medium length, hot dry finish with oak and spice and a bit of dried banana.
Adding a splash of water tames the heat and brings out more of the spice and wood notes though the banana stays strong.
Buy a bottle? Yes if it was local or you can’t get it local, not worth it over a replacement pick
Age: 11 years
Proof: 131.6 proof
Nose: Sweet and hot with butterscotch, cinnamon, nuts and ethanol.
Taste: Hotter and oakier than the nose with a good amount butterscotch and nuts (boozy cinnamon nut bar maybe?). Good mouthfeel but I preferred the JD
Finish: Long and hot with oak and cinnamon.
Water maybe helps? I kept adding it until it didn’t sting but it wasn’t any better than Larceny Barrel Proof by then.
Buy a bottle? No - there are many other Heaven Hill special releases I’d chase over this
Age: 4.5 years
Nose: I’m going to get weird here: Oak smoked cornbread with caramel and a lot of spice.
Taste: Ethanol, oak, corn and caramel. Very thick mouthfeel.
Finish: Medium length hot finish with oak and caramel. Thankfully the youthful grain note is gone here.
Buy a bottle? No, there are better years of Cowboy if you really want Cowboy
Water helps a lot with the heat but not the youthful grain.
I’m not surprised that none of these wowed me but I am surprised the Jack came out on top. I definitely thought the Parker’s would win but the proof integration was a lot better on the JD and it took water better. Also I love making Old Fashioned with JD Barrel proof so I know I crush a bottle of that pick. The Parker’s was too intense for me but I can definitely see folks that love that kind of stuff thinking this bottle was a winner. Lastly, the home team came solidly in last. I’m no Garrison hater but I tend to think the Cowboy isn’t anything special and 2017 isn’t the best year imo (2019 was). Plus if I am buying Garrison it’s either a 6+ year old pick or Balmorhea.
Next week will definitely be back to lower proof!
TL;DR: The Jack was the winner!
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