This @josamagnus private barrel is one of the earliest examples of their product that graced my shelf. I've slowly sipped and managed to savor this over the course of a few years without too much volume going missing to worry too much about oxidation. Now that I am getting back into it I will definitely start to think about drinking through the rest of it in good company!
If you don't already know Liquor Junction - they have one of the most epic barrel programs just about anywhere at this point. The quality has consistently improved through the years and their store has come to be one of my main shopping points in Massachusetts now. Undoubtedly a collaboration between one of my favorite brands and one of my favorite stores is bound to be a hit - but let's dive into some specifics on this one.
Company on Label: Jos. A. Magnus & Co
Whiskey Type: Finished Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed Indiana Mash Bill
Further identification: This exclusive bottling of a hand selected private barrel of Joseph Magnus comes from the Liquor Junction team; I am reviewing bottle 25/105 which has a distilled in Indiana statement on the label which also says it was bottled in Washington, DC
Nose: Creamy tones surround bright, white florals on first lifting the glass to my nose. Black pepper, leather and barrel funk permeate the glass. I almost get a tingly citrus like one might find out of distillate hailing Bardstown, KY - though it's likely attributable to the cognac side of things, not any mishaps on the labeling front. Let's have a sip!
Returning from a sip I find wet clay, rattan and a light varnish characteristic. Late in the glass heavy anise layers build. Overall things continue to be funk-dominant. The empty glass smells of vanilla bean ice cream and old leather books.
Palate: Punchy citrus and wicker flavors are a funky, unique surprise here. I forgot how different this one is compared to anything else you might find out of Indiana. Another sip is bright and sweet with floral tea notes proliferating alongside pear, grapefruit and creamy peach cobbler. Orange marmalade sits syrupy in the linger. My last sip is zesty on the tongue and in the gums with sweet orange peel, angostura bitters, and a big plop of plum that swings in a wave of cinnamon spice late.
The best part of this pour was the addition of the cognac finish, which ultimately felt like a band aid over a non-descript underlying bourbon. Though the flavors I did find were fun and unique, ultimately this just didn't achieve a level I'd consider remarkable. It's still a decent pour that is enjoyable, but not one I am going to clamor for another (non-existent bottle) of. I guess I can see why I still have this one on my shelf! Not every pick can be a winner and it's best to remember that. I still wholeheartedly trust Liquor Junction to do great picks today - with or without my help!
The score I gave this is much more fair and honest than some others who have reviewed similar picks, clearly tasted things they didn't like in their palate & finish sections, yet they still rated it a 7.X/10 which corresponds to "great" or "well above average". I am wholeheartedly against all the every-decimal-that's-close-to-ten rating scales and hope you enjoy my scale which puts the middle of the road whiskeys right where they belong - in the middle of the rating range. As always - honesty is the best policy. Cheers!