I love a good single barrel collaboration! Liquor Junction was kind enough to loop @MassBourbonAlliance in on this as well as a Knob Creek, Blanton's and Weller Full Proof barrel pick that should be hitting this Winter. When I saw this 36% rye on the tasting table I was immediately excited for what it might be! I wish we tasted this earlier in the flight, but we had our work cut out for us on the other barrel picks as well. Do you have a favorite MGP release you've tried? If so let me know in the comments!
Company on Label: Bardstown Bourbon Company - this will be bottled under the "Hirsch" label (Distilled in Indiana)
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 60% Corn, 36% Rye, 4% Malted Barley
Proof: 114.40° (subject to change before bottling approval)
Age: 8 years
Further identification: Lot # 13L21 was sampled on 7/14/2022 for Liquor Junction to consider for a single barrel pick; collaborating with Derek (@Bourbondipity_) and myself - the @MassBourbonAlliance tasting group was in agreement that this was a resounding yes!
Nose: Up front this starts with a soft, unassuming creamy caramel profile. A bit deeper of a dive and the nose flourishes with floral sweetness like vanilla orchids and hints of jasmine. The oak is tame and level. Tiramisu drifts slowly into the nostrils. Longer inhales show off toffee. Overall the nose feels very well put together and will certainly offer an approachable yet satisfying softness to whiskey enthusiasts new and old. Soft flashes of linen introduce thin strands of cinnamon that give just a touch of spice in the nose-feel. Subdued orange peel is trying to come out of the glass but likely needs a friendly sip to really open up.
Mmm. The nose certainly open up after a sip. I find lovely barrel funk, leather and black pepper. The unique floral characteristics are again comforting and delicious in the nose. Wow - late in the glass the vanilla characteristics evolve incredibly well. The empty glass smells of honey, rose petals, chocolate, fresh-sawn lumber, and lavender.
Palate: From the first sip I find an incredibly different palate than the early nose let on. There's a marvelous fruit sweetness that flashes up front that then leads to a beautiful creamy caramel viscous mouth coating that lingers infinitely long in warm bourbon waves that rise through the chest. Wow. What was a rather lackluster early nose in intensity turned out to be a wallop of a first sip. Another sip reveals the aforementioned fruit sweetness to be made up of orange marmalade, ripe red cherries, plum and a dash of Angostura bitters. Sweet and spicy red grapes bubble up to the surface at times in sweet surprises. Overall this has a great balance and manages to deliver a really unique bourbon profile that is not often achieved out of the 36% rye mash bill. Nearing the bottom of the glass some more citrus characteristics come to the foreground with lemon peel hanging out of a cup of chamomile tea loaded with honey. My last sip is a doozy of a delicious wave with orange sherbert, cornbread and a rich drizzle of warm caramel pleading for me to pour another glass. The linger is exceptionally long with sweet molasses, white pepper-laced oak, and a creamy angel food cake that tapers off slowly.
Rating: Two Thumbs Up
What a unique barrel! When we first tasted it (after a round of Blanton's, Weller Full Proof, and Knob Creek) I think there was definitely not enough time to see just how exceptional this barrel really is, and perhaps a bit of proof-blindness that had already set in. I am so glad I got to revisit this one as the notes just felt so easy to find here. While this definitely didn't feel like it chartered into completely new territory or set a new bar for what whiskey can be, I will say it's incredibly crushable & also incredibly nuanced if you want to take your time with it too. I love a good versatile pour like this and will often find myself sharing something like this when I am in a group setting and we are chatting about things that maybe aren't whiskey at that time. It's easy to enjoy for everyone, and if you take the time to notice - it really is a great whiskey.
I'll be sure to revisit this one once it is bottled!