Before we get into this - I'd like to say the usefulness of most single barrel reviews really ends at the lengths of the distribution channels for the source of the pick. Your mileage may vary significantly barrel to barrel, but one thing is for certain - if you are a local customer to a store who does great picks - you are in for a good time. I'm taking some time this season to highlight a few of the stores I have visited who I think do exceptional picks. I will be utilizing a reasonably accessible brand like Buffalo Trace to kickstart that conversation. I also thought this was a good medium because of its lower proof; this serves as a level playing field for approachability of whiskey drinkers of all calibers, and also keeps me level headed as I taste through several releases.
As I weave together a few store pick reviews over my next few posts, either look at this as an opportunity to get to learn the picking team at the store being reviewed (if it is anywhere near you), or look for high level trends to see if chasing single barrels of this release are worth it to you. You might find some interesting info here!
Now let's get into the whiskey! The fun part!
Company on Label: Buffalo Trace
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Buffalo Trace Mash Bill #1 (Low Rye < 10%)
Age: 8 years
Further identification: Barrel #491 was selected by Dion's - a family run group of liquor stores out of Massachusetts; it came from Warehouse I, Floor 6, and it was barreled on 8/26/2014
Nose: Decadent baked apple aromas can be smelled from several inches away from the glass. As I inch closer buttery pie crust joins the syrupy apple alongside hints of cinnamon - culminating in a deliciously complete apple pie profile. Longer inhales on my left nostril produce subtle hints of sweet cherry and peach cobbler. Bright oak is surprisingly prevalent. Let's jump into a sip now.
A great volume of funky barrel influence can be dug up returning from a sip. It feels oily and soft in the nose; any inhale is devoid of sharp edges. Caramel builds well near the bottom of the glass. The empty glass smells of smoked apple cider and soft mulled wine.
Palate: Green apple sweet tarts and red strawberry skittles crash onto the palate with abundant candied sweetness. Hints of anise propagate across the tongue in a shimmering dance. Orange peel and pound cake are a delicious treat here; everything is coming across as liquid dessert to me. Hints of Lindt excellence intense orange dark chocolate bars pulse in the linger. Another sip is again quite sweet with stewed plum, raisin and raspberry cheesecake. My last sip is a sweet return to the sweet tart beginnings though now I find even more sugary delights with a layer of strawberry pixie stick coating my mouth. The linger is medium and I'm fairly impressed with the volume of flavor on this glass despite this being well below my desired proof point. I find myself yearning to go in for a second glass.
This one was a real treat. I appreciate the traditional apple forward notes I have come to expect out of Buffalo Trace, but the candy store layers that unfolded were quite a surprise. The picking team at Dion's seems to know what they're about with this one delivering above-norm complexity and a fun layer of barrel funk I recognize from another one of their releases. Cheers!