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Blue Run 13.5 Year Single Barrel Cask Strength Bourbon Review: BB1-2 "Sweet Tooth"

It's Christmas Eve and the LAST DAY of the #12DaysofWhiskeyExchange that @bourbondipity_ put together. I contributed this sample from my bar. It is one of the two single barrel releases I was able to secure for myself. It was an easy decision to share out the whole bottle on this one, as that's what this is for, right? I love trying new things. I do still get to taste it tonight for myself after all - and now 11 others get to experience what likely few have already! This was quite the limited bottling.

I have to thank Mike Montgomery and Jon McKnight from Blue Run Spirits for the assist on classing up these sample bottles with the black butterfly. I hope all enjoyed the extra attention to detail from a brand that clearly takes a lot of care with their bottle designs. These folks (you too Tim) have been a really amazing group to get to know. They always show the Spirit Animal Society love when we have events, and we thoroughly enjoy drinking their whiskeys. Just look at @SaxyBourbon's shelves! I haven't gotten a proper chance to try one of these 13.5 year releases until now. There are so many new releases I need to review now too. Big things are most certainly going to continue to happen for this brand in 2022.

Were you able to get one of these single barrel releases? I hear they went quick... Let's see if the hype is real on this one!


Company on Label: Blue Run Spirits

Whiskey Type: Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed

Proof: 128.31°

Age: 13 years (13.5 year stated)

Further identification: This is barrel BB1-2 "Sweet Tooth" that came in the sleek black boxes; on the neck of the bottle there are markings for batch (Spring), date (4/20/21), and bottle (096 of 108)


Nose: Whew - incredibly caramel and molasses forward. Milk chocolate pops with some heat coming off the glass early on. Super rich and malty. Herbal with loads of cooking spices. Boozy coffee (think Irish), cinnamon, creamy cacao and velvety mascarpone whipped cream. Silky while hot and sweet while spicy, this comes off like a powerful tiramisu profile. Graham cracker, brown sugar and oak start to wander into the glass now. Everything I am smelling is coming across intensely with the proof definitely showing its strength here. Vanilla seems to be the robust backbone of this pour from what I am finding before going for a sip. Afterwards, caramel comes swinging back in with a vengeance. Smoked maple, butterscotch and another big wave of vanilla after a little time settling later in the glass. As things wear on, everything turns quite soft and I feel like I can really take my time, relax and sit with this now. The vanilla comes off a little smoother. The butterscotch is a bit creamier, trending towards a Werther's Original. Where there was once baking spices and cinnamon there is now condensed milk, white linen and soft almond nuttiness. This late nose transition, which occurred about an hour and a half into this pour, is absolutely incredible. I imagine this is what a partially oxidized bottle would smell like all the time, and I'm definitely not against it. There's a bit of smoke and an herbal, sweet tang like tomato paste near the bottom of the glass. The lovely waves of creamy caramel that phase in and out of this pour are what really takes this nose to the next level. The empty glass smells of salted caramel, dark earth, and heavy charred oak.

Palate: My first sip is a lovely syrupy cherry, touched with lemon peel, green tea, vanilla frosting, and that creamy & slightly savory mascarpone whipped cream. This has all the fixings of a good dessert profile; I can certainly see where the name "Sweet Tooth" came from on this one already. It reminds me of my grandmother's lemon cake recipe somewhat, with some extra layers to it. Woah, some serious cinnamon spice pops up on a subsequent sip. It is drying with plum and stewed apricot served over a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Another sip gives me the feeling of a very cherry forward Manhattan. This sip will certainly bring you some warmth on a cold night! On a larger sip and swish, much more dry oak and cedar can be found. There's quite a bit of spice to this, so fellow taster beware of attempting a swish of this. Late in the glass things have mellowed out drastically, as the nose did as well. Buttercream, white chocolate and molasses continue to drive a confectionary creaminess that is really nice. My last sip is soft and velvety with a black tea brewed with a cinnamon stick, stone fruit sweetness that reminds me of a mulled wine, and crème brûlée.


Rating: 5/5

This is one of those ones that make you a little sad when the glass hits empty. Really great barrel that I thought started out a little shaky and then settled into greatness. Spice lovers REJOICE on this one! It's sugar, spice, and everything nice in a glass - Powerpuff Girls approved. If you have the patience to wait as long as I did (or hopefully shorter for an open bottle), this really transforms into something special as it opens up. Chris Rogers added a drop of water and achieved the same result, if you want to go that route.

I gave my dad a sip of this after I was finished with the review and he said it tasted like something he's had before.... Upon thinking for a moment he compared it to the 2020 George T Stagg we drank together a few weeks prior. High praise!

Cheers all & Merry Christmas!


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