Bardstown Bourbon Company Fusion Series 8 and 9

The folks at Bardstown were kind enough to send me good sized(200ml!) samples of their last two Fusion releases. The Series 8 is a blend of two of their 4 year old bourbons with 58% of the 75/21/4 recipe, 12% of the 70/18/12 and a 12 year old 78/10/12 Kentucky bourbon. The Series 9 includes the same high rye Bardstowns distillate, their 4 Grain which is 60/26R/10W/4 and that same 12 year.

Since I received the samples for free I won’t be assigning stars.

 

Bardstown Bourbon Company Fusion Series 8

Age: 4-12 years

Proof: 95.5

Neat

Notes: The nose is sweet and rich with vanilla cream notes. The palate is grain forward with layers underneath bringing sweet honey and rye spice. Very good finish with a nice lingering spice balanced with vanilla. Overall this is like a nice slice of rye bread with a honey and buttercream spread but in a glass.

Bardstown Bourbon Company Fusion Series 9

Age: 4-12 years

Proof: 96.8

Neat

Notes: The nose is all sweet, bright fruit (apricot maybe?). The palate brings wheat bread and jelly notes(same fruit as the nose but sweeter). The finish is short and clean with a bit of spice and grain.

Conclusion

It’s been a lot of fun tasting these Fusion releases over the years and seeing the Bardstown distillate come of age. These last two releases were the best of the run especially Series 8. I’ll miss the 12 year bourbon in these blends but I can’t wait to see how Bardstown Origin series kicks off and for them to start using their own distillate in their collaborations.

 

TL;DR: The last 2 Fusion releases were easily my favorites of the bunch especially Series 8. Can’t wait for the Origin Series!

Hardin's Creek: Jacob's Well

It’s been a while since the days of readily available 15 year Knob Creek picks so I was very excited to see Beam releasing a new extra aged bourbon. I was lucky enough to grab a bottle yesterday and got into it as soon as I was off work.

 

Hardin’s Creek: Jacob’s Well

Age: 15 years 4 months

Proof: 108

Neat

Notes: The nose is sweet with notes of salted caramel and rich oak. The palate brings more caramel, vanilla cream, leather and a good amount of rye spice. The mouthfeel is excellent for the proof which is also well integrated. The finish is slightly dry with vanilla extract, oak and warm spice.

Stars: 3 - Excellent whiskey: I would be willing to hunt down a bottle

Conclusion

This is an excellent whisky that is up there with Booker’s 30th and Booker’s Rye for my favorite Beam releases. It’s more drinkable than Booker’s 30th and the old 120 proof 15 year picks while bringing just as much flavor. It reminds me a bit of Doc Swinson’s 15 year release 6 as well. I’ll definitely be looking for a backup and keeping an eye out for future Hardin’s Creek releases.

 

TL;DR: My 3rd favorite Beam release

Alexander Murray Braes of Glenlivet 1994 21 Year

I haven’t had much from Braeval but I was curious to try this indie bottling from Total Wine. I’ve now had it for years and finally got through it.

 

Alexander Murray Braes of Glenlivet 1994 21 Year

Age: 21 years

Proof: 86

Cask Type: Ex-bourbon

Neat

Notes: Easy nose with no proof sting and a bit of sweetness. Simple and sweet on the palate with pear and vanilla notes. A bit of oak and spice but mostly the fruit and vanilla on the short, clean finish. The anemic proof shows on the mouthfeel and .

Stars: 0 - Poor to Fine: I would not specifically choose to drink this over other readily available options

Conclusion

While this was enjoyable it was unremarkable. A more active barrel, higher proof or less filtration may have helped make this more interesting.

 

TL;DR: Fine but nothing to write home about.

Balvenie 16 Year French Oak Finished in Pineau Casks

When I saw that Balvenie was releasing a higher proof (for them), age stated whisky finished in pineau des charentes casks I knew I needed one. I’ve been a fan of Balvenie since I started being able to afford drinking it and my last trip to Scotland deepened my appreciation for their whisky. I first discovered pineau des charentes finishing with Joseph Magnus’s Murray Hill Club Special Release 2 and was immediately a huge fan.

 

Balvenie 16 Year French Oak Finished in Pineau Casks

Age: 16 years

Proof: 95.2

Neat

Notes: The sweet wine notes are prevalent right away with honey, pear and a hint of spice on the nose. The palate brings vanilla cream, fainter pear and more spice. The finish is long and soft with vanilla sweetness, subtle oak and touch of spice. The mouthfeel is excellent for the proof and the proof is well integrated letting you know it’s there without overwhelming.

Stars: 3 - Excellent whiskey: I would be willing to hunt down a bottle

Conclusion

All in all this is a fantastic pour and despite the higher price I’d definitely grab a backup if I came across one. I hope this leads to more releases like this from Balvenie and Glenfiddich.

 

TL;DR: Higher proof, 16 years, great finish, what’s not to love?

Doc Swinson's 15 Year Release 9 and Blender's Cut

I polished off two great bottles from Doc Swinson’s yesterday to make some room for their new releases.

The first is release 9 from their Exploratory Cask Series. It’s a 15 year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey weighing in at 113.8 proof. It’s sweet and rich upfront with caramel, nuts, vanilla frosting with spice and oak coming in at the end. The mouthfeel is viscous and quite nice for the proof. The slightly dry, spicy finish makes me want to take the next sip. This is an excellent release of a well aged KY bourbon and I’m glad I grabbed one.

Stars: 3 - Excellent whiskey: I would be willing to hunt down a bottle

The second bottle is the initial release (20-001) of their Blender’s Cut. It’s a 5 year old Indiana Straight Bourbon Whiskey weighing in at 115 proof. It’s a well blended 5 year old MGP that is more refined than some of the similarly aged single barrels I’ve tried. The nose is warm and sweet with rye spice and caramel. The palate brings in brighter fruit to balance those notes and the clean finish amps up the spice and brings in a bit of vanilla extract.

Stars: 1 Star - Good whiskey: I would choose to drink this over readily available whiskies

While I’ll miss these I’m sure that Funky Drummer and Tres Amigos will fill their space on my shelf.

 

TL;DR: Both were good, the 15 year was great. Looking forward to the new releases.

Calumet Farm 16 Year Citation

When Calumet announced a 16 year old Kentucky bourbon (or more realistically when @comingwhiskey posted it on Instagram) I was intrigued. We don’t see very many KY sourced releases break that 15 year mark so I decided I needed a bottle.

 

Calumet Farm 16 Year Citation

Age: 16 years

Proof: 106

Neat

Notes: Delicious old bourbon notes of rich oak, leather and brown sugar with a touch of bitterness and some warm spice on the very long finish. Excellent mouthfeel and proof integration.

Stars: 3 Stars - Excellent whiskey: I would be willing to hunt down a bottle

Conclusion

This was really good and definitely surprised me. I have tasted Calumet’s 14 and 15 year old releases which were also enjoyable but didn’t stand out at the time. The proofing on this is just right, it’s strong enough to let you know it’s there but had no burn for me. I was also impressed that the mouthfeel and finish weren’t dry at all given the age. I would easily put this in the top tier of old sourced Kentucky bourbon that you can actually find!

Also apparently this whiskey is named after a champion race horse.

TL;DR: Excellent bottle that hits all the right old bourbon notes. Worth the price.

Lux Row Double Barrel 2019

I picked this bottle of Lux Row Double Barrel up at the distillery over 2 years ago and am finally getting around to reviewing it. I’ve gone back to it from time to time and included it in blind tasting flights but it’s never impressed me and I don’t find myself reaching for the bottle. That said I’ve never found it to be bad just underwhelming in a flight so I’m going to try it again by itself and see if I can appreciate it a little more.

 

Lux Row Double Barrel 2019

Age: 12 years

Proof: 118.4

Price: 150

Barrels: 5154523 and 5154524

Neat

Nose: Sweet caramel, rich oak, subtler fruit and nuts with just a hint of ethanol.

Taste: A big rush of caramel and baking spice with oak and red fruit toward the end. Decent but unremarkable mouthfeel. Hot for the proof.

Finish: Long, warm, slightly dry finish with cinnamon, baking spice, oak and vanilla notes.

Conclusion

There were some great flavors in here but I feel like this drinks hotter than I would have expected for the 118.4 proof and didn’t wow me. While there are tasting notes I typically really like (ie caramel, red fruit, nuts) they just didn’t come together the way I wanted. The most telling thing is that it’s taken ~2.5 years to drink through the bottle and I have no desire to track down a second one. I’d gladly take one of my preferred batches of ECBP over this and in the same price range Bardstown Discovery Series is a better buy. I know a lot of folks loved this one and I think I can see why but it wasn’t my favorite.

As an aside I really liked this one the rocks but again I’d just as easily enjoy an ECBP that way for ~half the price. The ice tamed the heat and seeme dot make the flavors come together better for me.

1 Star - Good whiskey: I would choose to drink this over readily available whiskies

 

TL;DR: Enjoyable but not worth the high price and scarcity

Willett Samples Spring 2022

 

Willett “Will It”

Age: 6 years

Proof: 117.8

Barrel Number: 3264

Neat

Notes: Caramel spread on high end honey wheat bread balanced by a long spicy finish. Great mouthfeel for the proof. A touch more ethanol burn than I would expect at this proof.

Stars: 3 - I would be willing to hunt down a bottle

Willett “Cask Pick”

Age: 6 years

Proof: 127.8

Barrel Number: 2869

Neat

Notes: Classic Willett bourbon notes with sticky caramel, mint, warm spice, vanilla and a bit of oak. Brilliantly balanced with a long warm finish, excellent proof integration and a viscous mouthfeel.

Stars: 3 - I would be willing to hunt down a bottle

Willett “PAC Edge Spring 2022 #1”

Age: 8 years

Proof: 129.4

Barrel Number: 6546

Neat

Notes: Almost like a single malt scotch with honey, pear and dried fruit notes. Some caramel and spice in there as well. Great proof integration and mouthfeel.

Stars: 2 - I would want to have a bottle

 

TL;DR: Cask pick and Will It were awesome. The PAC Edge pick was weird but good.

Elijah Craig Single Barrel Debs 10 Year

This was one of the early picks I partnered with Debs on and I am finally killing my second bottle so it’s time for a quick review.

 

Elijah Craig Debs Liquor Single Barrel

Age: 10 Years

Proof: 94

Barrel No: 6030740

Rickhouse: G - 4

Neat

Notes: Vanilla extract, slightly dry oak, less nuts than I usually get from Heaven Hill and a nice spice kick at the end. The mouthfeel is a touch thin but what I would expect for the proof. The finish is long and leaves oak and vanilla notes.

Conclusion

TL;DR: A solid, on profile pick from back when these weren’t barrel proof.

Bardstown Discovery Series 5 and 6

After the straight🔥 releases with Series 3 and 4 Bardstown included a substantial amount of 17 year old TN bourbon in their blends. Given the controversial nature of TN bourbon some folks including myself were hesitant about these releases. That said Bardstown releases had always worked for me until now so I grabbed them both when they dropped.

Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery Series 5

Age: Blend of 6-17 years

Proof: 104.7

Neat

Notes: Strong TN bourbon notes of old oak, mineral water and chocolate with some leather, caramel and nuts in the background. Very nice mouthfeel for the proof. Also a bit of spice on the long, slightly dry finish.

Stars: 1

Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery Series 6

Age: Blend of 7-17 years

Proof: 111.1

Neat

Notes: Sweet, funky and nutty notes dominate with caramel, vanilla frosting, and peanuts with subtler notes from the old TN bourbon of rich oak, a faint minerality and a bit of chocolate on the finish. The mouthfeel is nice and what I would expect from the proof. The proof integration is excellent.

Stars: 2

Conclusion

Overall these didn’t hold up to the previous 2 releases but 6 in particular was great in its own right. Compared to some other sourced high dollar releases that dropped around the same time such as Blue Note 17 or Sam Houston 14 I’d easily take either of these Bardstown bottles.

TL;DR: 5 was the low point in the series but 6 is a step back in the right direction