I have to thank @egilbert09 for this pour as he graciously gifted me the rest of his bottle! I didn't have one open right now, but have been yearning for the day of getting back to this one (I have previously drank through one already). I am currently struggling to enjoy my way through a Batch 13. I have future intentions of lining up Batch 12-15, or maybe even 16 now, in a blind head to head to find my true favorite. I love seeing that everyone has a preference on these and there is no clear winner across the board. I know many people have been digging the sweeter strawberry cereal flavors off Batch 15, but 14 has always been solid for me.
Company on Label: Buffalo Trace
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Buffalo Trace Mash Bill #1 (Low Rye < 10%)
Age: NAS (~8 years)
Further identification: Batch 14 (Summer 2020)
Nose: Sweet, syrupy vanilla can be smelled from quite a large distance from the glass. Some immediate newspaper heat and pepper spice punch the nostrils on first approach. Cinnamon candy smells lovely and tingles the lungs. Caramel and cherry mingle well as the underside of the punchier flavors. Allspice, leather and a slight anise give this great depth. It's punchy and powerful on the nose - exactly what I want out of a barrel proof offering. Sweet campfire ash is fairly strong now, followed by a thinner molasses drizzle. Some lemon zest rolls over that and evolves into a lemon meringue pie that is mostly comprised of flaky crust. Finally things are returning to the sweeter cherry profile that tells me this glass is ready for a sip. Much more of the leather is present now after a sip; a rich undertone that gives this pour some serious class. I can smell that syrupy consistency; it's like a tea loaded down with a bunch of honey. Just gets better and better with time in the glass. A slight grassy earth note is present late in the glass, but fleeting as it returns to its base oak aroma. Vanilla & molasses return at the last sip and are a sweet farewell that actually brings a bit of a smile to my face.
Palate: As a first sip of the day, this is unbelievably approachable. It's not until several seconds after a sip that the wave of cinnamon hots gives the chest a little hug. The cherry flavor is perfectly laced with a touch of anise and the rich, old oak that got this bourbon to where it is. A thorough chew results in explosions of maple syrup, black pepper, allspice, leather, and a hint of dried tobacco leaf. Crazy layers to this now and the anise is coming on stronger than ever, but still subtle. Reminds me a bit of a particular Sazerac cocktail I had last night which is still fresh on my mind; this is definitely less anise than that Absinthe explosion. Explosive in so many ways, but shifting, changing and evolving with every sip. This is a pour that you could easily do with a rich food pairing and the flavors would continue to hold up. The mouth coating is intensely rich and almost slightly numbing. Try having a bite of something bland after this and you're going to have a tough time finding anything with this much flavor. Last sip highlights the syrupy cherry and cinnamon hots that I'd say are definitely the overarching experience of this pour. The last linger is long with a highlight reel of the rest of the glass.
This batch is a clear step up from (currently un-reviewed, sorry) Batch 13 for me. It maintains high intensity and complexity without being overly punishing. Solid pour - grab it if you still can! Batch 16 should be available soon.