Getting ready to pour up on this fine Tuesday evening left me wondering what to do a quick review on... I looked at the fill level on this Old Elk single barrel bourbon pick and realized I have to get on this one before it's gone! I've shared this with quite a few friends and family members through the holidays already so I feel like I am at least a little versed in this one already, but not well enough acquainted yet. It's time for the full story. Did we pick a winner on this one? Let's find out.
Company on Label: Old Elk
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 51% corn, 15% rye, 34% malted barley
Age: 6 years
Further identification: This is first single barrel selection from the Spirit Animal Society
Nose: Crisp vanilla greets me on first nosing after a long rest in the glass. Ripe banana peel slides in on the back side of the vanilla. Crème brûlée forms strongly over a layer of dusty oak. Rich cacao now mingles with fruity, sweet banana forming a lovely banana split profile. Sprinkles of raisin and plum dance around the edges of the glass softly. The nose-feel is now quite creamy as if you blended all of the prior notes into a smoothie and added a splash of whole milk. This is incredibly soft for how much aroma is coming off the glass; it is quite easy to enjoy this neat in a glencairn. On a deep inhale on my right nostril is the only time I can find a hint of floral spice. The left nostril comes across with buttery aromas and a crumbly croissant texture. A good portion of the smell is touched with that really fun banana note that's quite sweet and certainly feels fit for consumption! Time for a sip. After tasting things continue to pile on in the sweet department with fermented red grape, SweeTARTS (the candy), and milk chocolate. Ooh, and the s'mores sweetness! The chocolate blends into a sugary marshmallow and graham cracker aroma now. Very interesting baking spices start to form late in the glass if you can keep your patience in check and not sip down the rest of this glass... There's cardamom, mace, lavender and allspice coming off quite subtly from the glass. Together it forms a mellow citrus-forward medley that gives the vanilla aromas a complex backbone. Floral undertones continue to surprise me as I dig deeper. The empty glass smells of vanilla, chamomile and chrysanthemum. Really nice.
Palate: My first sip is definitely banana forward. Wow, I'm not sure I've ever tasted anything quite like this unique mash bill before. The mouth feel is syrupy, sweet and slightly effervescent. Vanilla and an incredible sugary honey drive this into the sweet tooth territory for sure. Sipping again reveals a lot of spiced oak that reminds me of some kind of wooden boat aroma; I feel like I could be on a pirate ship trying to figure out the brandy barrel from the rum barrel from the Old Elk barrel on this one. There's some touches of salt water in the linger that likely give off this feel. Sipping again gives off more banana sweetness alongside milk chocolate, cherry and a long vanilla linger. A larger sip and swish is incredibly easy on the palate yet still bursting with flavors of lemon peel, Spring florals and light leather. The linger washes over you in a wave that feels like it goes right through you. My last sip has a silky smooth mouth feel and a big kick of the late glass baking spice. Cardamom and allspice give the tongue a quick touch on the way by that leaves a little tingle. Buttery vanilla desserts abound. Yum.
What is it about this bottle that makes you want to have another glass immediately? I really don't get the urge to drink two glasses of anything concurrently almost ever and this bottle does that for me. This is clearly why the fill level is so low on this already...
Great job to the Spirit Animal Society tasters who got to pick this barrel:
And cheers to @KY_Waterman for the label art!
These seem to be going fast, but are available here as of the 28th of December 2021!