Having just reviewed a trio of bottom shelf bourbons, I felt obligated to do a review of something that better represents the best of what America has to offer.
I’ve tried, reviewed and enjoyed 2 previous batches of this bourbon. A few weeks ago @OdysseusUnbound brought my attention to the fact that this one had made it to the LCBO, and with very few listed, I got a friend of mine in London to buy it and hold it for me. He’s a non-drinker, so getting him into an LCBO and having staff hunt this down was a bit of a gong show.
Then @Newreverie posted his review, and almost simultaneously some appeared at a store near me. @paddockjudge contacted and asked me to pick up two for him. That would have left one, and it would have been lonely, and the price of bourbon was about to go up due to tariffs taking effect July 1, so on June 30 I brought all three home, and could not contain my excitement, opened and tasted it. 3 days later I am reviewing from an almost full bottle.
This expression, tasted in a Kentucky Bourbon Glass, is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Wow! Rich, strong nose. I get some brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, light syrup and a cherry note that has not been as prominent in previous batches. Some baking spices in the background. Water dampens some of the heat, makes the cherry and baking spices more prominent, but everything else remains there in the background. (23/25) Great Nose!
An explosion of flavour. Sweet, cherry soda. Vanilla, molasses on the development. Spicy. So rich that it’s hard to tease out any complex notes. Water makes it effervescent, more spirity.
Dry, astringent, oaky. Hint of molasses. Slight pepper. Fairly long. Water adds cherry to the oak in the finish.
The nose and the palate are consistent. There I full flavour in this one. The strength masks any complexity that might b there, and the water I added was likely not enough to lower the ABV to be able to discern more complexity.
Score: Neat - 88.5/100 With Water: 89/100
This is a cask strength cherry bomb.
This is a great bourbon. I am very happy I have a second bottle that will eventually make its way to my home. I don’t think that comparing it to the previous batches I’ve tried is fair. This one has a significantly different profile, with a lot more cherry than the others.
I have a little left of my first bottle (65%), and plenty of my second bottle (64.75), and I very much look forward to a H2H2H sometime in the future. I will definitely report back.
@Newreverie, I’ll need to compare this to what I have left of my Booker’s 2015-04, which I haven’t tried in a couple of months, but I think I get what you’re implying. Thanks for the inspiration.