Van Winkle 12 Year old Special Reserve
From A Good Family
28th Mar 2011
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Tasting Notes by Victor
"Lot B" 12 year old Van Winkle Family Reserve bourbon is, like all of the other Van Winkle bourbons, a wheated bourbon,i.e. a bourbon containing wheat as the "flavouring grain" instead of the rye which is used as the "flavouring grain" in 95% of bourbon whiskeys.
Nose: refined sweet honey, slightly spicy wheat, and the oak flavours of vanilla and caramel. This is aromatic and pleasant to the nose.
Taste: refined sweet wheat flavours with very noticeable oak-- both oak as oak and oak as its cousin flavour sweet maple. If you are in a mood for subtle and refined, with a clean palate, you can enjoy this mightily. If you are expecting an aggressive display of fireworks or your palate has anything on it you will not taste much.
Finish: there is a fairly lengthy finish of a blending of the oak and wheat flavours, rather melded together and not easily distinguishable. The finish is as sweet as the delivery on the palate.
Balance: this is gentle, refined, and a little subtle. I would attribute the subtlety largely to this being bottled at 45.2%. This is dilute to my taste, expecially when compared to the 3 years older Pappy Van Winkle 15 yo, which is also sold at the much less diluted 53.5% ABV. This is a lovely refined wheated bourbon, but I would like it much better at a higher ABV with more concentration of flavours.