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Penelope Bourbon Private Select Whiskey Review

Today I'm finishing out the last of the 3 latest releases of Penelope bourbon - a fantastic brand being crafted by Mike Paladini and company. You can check out the flagship bourbon and the barrel strength batch 8 sample I previously reviewed as well. Based on what Mike has said, this release should be the best of their best! I'm excited to try it and thankful for the opportunity to review it with no strings attached.

From the Penelope website:

Penelope Bourbon Private Select explores new and unique expressions of our signature four grain straight bourbon whiskey. Every Private Select is an exclusive blend of the three bourbon mash bills we traditionally use. The barrels selected for Private Select are the best our inventory has to offer and go through an extensive hand-selection process – making each batch truly special and unique.

This blend utilized 29.7% of a bourbon mash bill, 43.2% of a rye mash bill and 27.1% of a wheat mash bill. Let's see how this blend turned out!


Company on Label: Penelope Bourbon

Whiskey Type: Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: 75% Corn, 15% Wheat, 7% Rye, 3% Malted Barley

Proof: 115.2°

Age: 4 years (Blend of 4-6 year old barrels)

Further identification: This sample of Batch 21-15 was provided to me from Penelope Bourbon


Nose: Malty with a rich molasses forward nose to start. Quite a bit of pepper, bitter dark chocolate, peach, and fresh cut flowers presents powerfully on the nose. This took no time to kick into full gear at all. Dusty oak comes off bright and white - like a really old, worn-out, unfinished church pew. Faint bits of pecans and almonds dance in the background. Bright allspice and slightly astringent florals are a bit intense on the nose. With a little time the glass softens nicely and we return to a hazelnut undercurrent. Fun nosing so far, but let's give it a sip to see if anything changes. Wow, now some bright citrus mingles in alongside a saltwater taffy softness and an almond joy candy sweetness. The nose is beginning to level off into a powdery floral profile with a strong vanilla backbone. Late in the glass a nice maple syrup aroma has formed. It introduces a creamy chocolate and just a hint of espresso bean. The empty glass smells of smoked oak, brown sugar, earthy balsam fir incense, and tobacco.

Palate: My first sip is a wild mix of cherry, plum, almond and a bundle of spices. A subsequent sip produces a big wave of flavors including cinnamon, cardamom, peanut shells, and salted caramel chews. I'm more and more impressed with every sip as the layers of complexity build to form the full picture. This is incredibly nut-forward on the palate for me now with a dry, dusty-textured vanilla bringing everything together. The mouth coating is medium in both consistency and length. It carries maraschino cherry juice, clove and small flashes of nutmeg. Prunes, fig and strawberry fruit sweetness develop stronger later in the glass. This is a really devious barrel strength offering. When the liquid first hits your tongue it drinks incredibly soft and sweet, but then a sneaker wave of spice comes flying in later to wash your gums in cinnamon spice and gives you a long, tingling, cool feeling for a while. Nearing the bottom of the glass there is a soft chocolate and coffee ice cream undertone that I really enjoy. My last sip is creamy with almond, lemon peel, chamomile, peppered caramel and vague stone fruit tannic sweetness.


Rating: 4/5

What a fun, layered pour. This has great complexity to it. Some of the moments of this pour were exceptional and others were a little too spicy for my palate today. I'd imagine if I wasn't up so late last night I may be a little more tolerant of barrel strength offerings, so make of that what you will. I still thoroughly enjoyed this pour and will look forward to seeing what else comes out of Penelope next!


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