New England Barrel Company is back at it again with their collaboration with Lord Hobo Brewing. The ir Godmother Imperial Stout took on some great notes of bourbon barrel, while James' bourbon then benefitted from some of the notes of the stout! It's a perfect partnership and one I've been looking forward to since we picked their first ever stouted bourbon with Mass Bourbon Alliance last year. I only know about this release because we were just there picking one of the other barrels, amongst other things. If you are interested in getting one of this particular barrel, they are currently available online. The barrel we are doing with Liquor Junction will be available later this year, probably some time around November 2023. I asked for ours to get aged a little longer to pick up more of the stout influence, of which I am a huge fan. Now let's get into the whiskey you can enjoy today!
Company on Label: New England Barrel Company (Sourced from O.Z. Tyler (Green River) in Kentucky)
Whiskey Type: Finished Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 70% Corn, 21% Rye, and 9% Malted Barley
Age: 3 years (with 4 months of finishing time)
Further identification: This is barrel 18-02 which James selected for special release under the Long Sands Finishing Series label; it is the first available from the small run of barrels that will be available in 2023 of the Lord Hobo Godmother Imperial Stout Finished Bourbon
Nose: The nose on this glass opens with crème fraîche, milk chocolate and brown sugar which emits a nose-feel that is both oily and tingly. Diving deeper I find aromas of linen, cinnamon coffee cake and hints of browned marshmallow. Deep inhales after a long rest in the glass are where the chocolate tones really begin to shine. Unfrosted, moist chocolate cake builds alongside a touch of charcoal grill smoke. Time for a sip.
Coming back from a sip or two reveals a whiskey layered with funfetti, dippin' dots and vanilla bean ice cream. As the glass weathers on I find that things have calmed down in general. This isn't the punchy in-your-face flavor bomb that the 2022 releases were all about. I find subtle nuance of Malbec wine and French mendiant. The empty glass smells of a smoked old fashioned, dried peach and light marshmallow.
Palate: From the get go the palate sings with rich chocolate and coffee tones. Tiramisu introduces a creamy mouth coating that is supplanted by a medley of raspberry, açai and fig. The finish swings back in with high cacao dark chocolate and a cappuccino sprinkled with nutmeg. Another sip exudes balance, comfort and joy. Lemon tea and honey add layers of lovely complexity to an already bodacious sip. A longer chew produces notes of caramel, maple and molasses suggesting the base whiskey is still in there under the heavy blanket of dessert treats. The general linger is where subtle baking spice works its way between the sweet tones, never coming across with any sharpness, but giving a general sense of the time and effort that goes into doing things the right way. My last sip is offers delicious layers of raspberry and chocolate - paramount and dominant notes for this pour. This is a solid sipper!
This is another hit that is sure to make some waves in the whiskey community. I'd like to thank James Saunders for sending me home with a bottle of this at no cost to me, which allowed me to give it an honest review with no strings attached.
For science, I will compare it to the barrel we did last year under the Mass Bourbon Alliance x Liquor Junction collaboration. Sipping on our old barrel 17-41 tells me that we went BOLD with that finish. It smacks you right away with gobs of rich chocolate, toffee and coffee notes. The new round of barrels are significantly more refined without losing the inherent quality of either the whiskey or the finish. I personally still prefer the "Dirty Work" pick we did last year, but I'm hoping we can take the barrel that we have aging for us at New England Barrel Company closer still to my vision of perfection. You won't be sorry picking up barrel 18-02 though. Cheers!