It's Starlight Sunday over here in the Amongst household again! I figured I'd combo that with a shared pour - this sample comes courtesy of my friend Ian (@barrelproofnerd) in a sample swap we did not too long ago. In looking for the barrel details I also discovered that the venerable Frank (@bourbyourenthusiasm) has also reviewed this barrel for Malt! I'm thrilled to be sipping on something that we have both tried and I look forward to comparing notes once I finish up putting down my own thoughts. This will probably be a shorter one for me tonight, but let's get into it!
Company on Label: Starlight Distillery
Whiskey Type: Finished Bourbon Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed if it's from Starlight's 3 or 4 grain mash
Age: 4 (and a half) years
Further identification: This cigar batch is finished in Brazilian Amburana barrels; it is a @bourbonfinds pick that comes from barrel # FB113-1
Nose: Right up front on the nose I find a synthetic vanilla and insanely rich toffee note that comes off the glass like a Falcon 9 at full thrust. The smell of this almost makes me hungry in the same way a really sweet desert can reinvigorate your appetite when you previously thought you were stuffed. There's a rich blackberry jam, dark fig and a very clear & robust mincemeat pie aroma here. It feels incredibly dark, heavy and viscous in the nose. It comes across like tiramisu but cranked up to 11 in intensity with some kind of strange, eclectic cinnamon twist. It's incredibly, incredibly unique, but I can't quite tell if I'm into it just yet. Let's get into a sip.
After a sip the nose softens considerably as light notes of those candy dots that come on the strip of paper appear. Lighter wood aromas begin to show up and I'm greeted with more orange tones.
Palate: On my first sip I find a very similar story as the nose, but it actually turns out softer here compared to the intensity of the nose which I appreciate in this scenario. Gingerbread cookie, Moroccan oranges, and an ever prevalent mincemeat pie flavor coat the mouth well without being overpowering. There's a significant smokiness hiding out in the linger after waiting a while before another sip. After going for another I find more orange peel, funky mesquite wood, and something synthetic out of the 90s that I just can't quite place. The linger is nice on this being on the lighter side with cooler fruit tones bubbling off the surface of my tongue. Oh wow. I just figured out the synthetic note... It reminds me of camping out on a brand new portable air mattress; it's that new-plastic smell that is incredibly potent, so much so that it transfers to the palate here as well. Nearing the bottom of the glass I am finding that I'm oddly accepting of some of these incredibly strange flavors that seems to be coming together in the end. My last sip is certainly on the spicier side with clove and nutmeg as well as a flash of soft cherry. The finish is drying with a medium linger of plum and rich earth tones.
Overall, I can definitely appreciate a brand trying something as unique as this. At the same time this feels so different just for the sake of being different and overall I'd definitely say the typical flavors found throughout these Amburana barrel finished releases just might not be for my palate. I know some are crazy for this stuff and by all means I'm not saying this is a bad whiskey with a 2 score here; it just doesn't agree with my flavor interests personally. I will say this pick is significantly better than 1 of the previous Cigar Batch barrels that I've tried... Maybe they just need to be paired with the right cigar to properly unlock the right flavors; who knows! I do know I love Starlight distillate, so this miss won't put me off of them by any means. Cheers!