2021 Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Bourbon Review
I never would have thought to review this today if I wasn't vigorously popping the cork on my 2021 Old Rip Van Winkle today for a fun reel I did on Instagram. I have previously tried it with my old man and @amongstthefernsco around Christmas time and haven't touched it much since then. I remember it tasting sweeter & better than the 2020 when we first tried it. I also recall exclaiming that it reminded me a lot of a E.H. Taylor Single Barrel. Let's see how I feel about this ORVW today!
Company on Label: Buffalo Trace
Whiskey Type: Wheated Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Buffalo Trace Wheated Mash Bill
Age: 10 years
Further identification: This is a 2021 release (laser code L21xxx...) that I purchased in December of that year
Nose: Very distinct candied cherry sweetness permeates the glass as soon as I touch my nose to it. There's a creamy nose-feel that carries caramel, walnut, and confectioners sugar. Silky, creamy, candy sweetness all through this glass... It's really quite lovely. After a bit of time in the glass I find ripe pear, white linen and milk chocolate. It's so, so bright and quite permeating. It breaths into the chest like a cool breeze. On deeper inhales a touch of pepper, leather and oak can definitely be found but they are subtle. On finding no further complexities, I believe it is time for a sip!
Returning to the nose I find everything about where I left it. It doesn't have as good of a nose as I'd hoped, but I also have a touch of Spring allergies affecting my sinuses for what it's worth. Coming back to the glass after a long break where I left the glencairn covered I'm delighted to be welcomed back with more cherry, blackberry and light herbal tea notes. Black tea, linen and skittles sweetness continue to make this an enjoyable aroma. It definitely feels a bit lacking in nuanced complexity if that is what you are looking for out of an older release. The empty glass smells of cherry skins, raisins and faint vanilla char.
Palate: My first sip is tart with cherry skins leading the way. Almost instantly the linger turns to chocolate briefly and then a deep fruity sweetness. There's plum, a rich fig and strawberry jam that sits on the tongue for a nice, long linger. There's a sweet tart candy background that sticks around in the mouth coating until you really try to work it away. This release is definitely a sweet tooth's delight. On another sip I find a soft and dry cinnamon stick note that doesn't seem to have any spice to it - just the flavor. A larger sip and swish reveals a dark, leather-bound book note that I dig. The mouth feel isn't quite what drives the linger on and on; it's more of a smoky vapor that hangs in the back of the mouth and continues to drop little raindrops of sweet candied fruit onto your taste buds from just out of reach. After a good while in the glass I find the pour has turned slightly more tannic than it started with raspberry and grape popping nicely onto the scene. It starts soft and then builds in intensity - like a cayenne spice would - but with sweet fruit here. I really love all the sweet fruit this one shows off. There is almost a brandy flavor profile to this as well that I am enjoying. While picking apart flavor profiles is always fun for me, I really feel like this is a pour better suited to just sitting back and enjoying. Yummy pour, but I probably get the same amount of enjoyment out of a Taylor Single Barrel or maybe even Small Batch. My last sip is a lovely sugary melting pot of red fruit. The linger is long and loving without being overpowering.
(Really good; I want one of these on my shelf)
While this is definitely exceptionally sweeter and softer than the 2020 release I remember, it definitely doesn't have any added complexity that I feel would catapult it into a new score realm. So the trusty 4 will have to do here. All in all, I like it for sure - but you won't find me going crazy trying to get multiples of it with how hard it is to procure. I'm glad I still have some 2020 left that will hopefully stick around until 2022's release when I may do a fun head to head! That's still a long ways away.... So back on the shelf this one goes. Cheers!