Southern Star Paragon Single Barrel Cask Strength Wheated Bourbon Review
There's a new wheated bourbon on the scene. This distillery was previously an unknown to me until Heather from Southern Distilling Company reached out wondering if I'd like to try one of their most exciting offerings. I wandered through the pedigree listed for the whiskey mentioned and saw 'cask strength' and 'wheated bourbon' and knew I didn't really need to read any further. I still persisted & was happy to see that it didn't come with some embarrassingly low age statement (kudos!), and was also delighted to learn about a growing award list that this had already garnered. Heather told me this expression "just won double gold at the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition 2022 for Best in Class and Best Overall, and was recently named one of the Best Bourbon Whiskeys of 2022 by Uproxx. The bottle also recently won gold at the ‘22 SIP awards, and platinum at the ‘22 Ascot Awards."
Now let's see where I'd rank it!
Company on Label: Southern Distilling Company
Whiskey Type: Wheated Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 70% Corn, 16% Wheat, 14% Malted Barley
Age: NAS (minimum 4 years)
Further identification: Barrel No 00360, distilled in Statesville, North Carolina
Nose: Toasted marshmallow, molasses and brown sugar jump out of the glass first. Dusty oak and peach flambé introduce a trove of baking spice; cinnamon, brown sugar and allspice are the most dominant aromas. Overall it’s a warm nose-feel reminiscent of browned butter and bright, rustic French bread. Candied cherry tried to push through a solid wall of oak unsuccessfully. Oooh - late in the glass an espresso infused butterscotch cookie graces my nostrils. Sweetness persists through to the end. There are subtle layers of chocolate alongside the coffee aromas.
Palate: On first sip I find a big, swinging sweetness. At 113.3 proof it’s quite potent with cherry skins, cinnamon and hearty black bread encrusted in caraway. Another sip shows off lovely vanilla barrel influence. This sweetness meets in a confluence of black coffee and molasses. As I work through this glass I find more to love. Late in the glass caramel swings in almost creamy, if it weren’t a little proofy. My last sip is quite delicious with raisin, plum, apricot jelly, and gingerbread. The finish is medium with toasted oak nuances. Bold but not spicy. Creamy, but not quite dessert. This hangs in the balance between two worlds.
(Really good; I want one of these on my shelf.)
This is a solid sipping bourbon. My only complaint is that the proof delivers a little too potent to really let the nuance of the glass shine; the big flavors hit hard though, and as such I think many folks will be able to taste along to these notes well - no expert taste buds needed. I’d like to thank Southern Distilling for providing this bottle for review with no strings attached. Cheers!