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My first bourbon review so please go easy on me my American cousins!
I've picked this as a) it's open and will soon be gone and b) it's one of the best I've had so far. I hear this is a fairly well priced and available bourbon in America - over here one major supermarket stocks it for around £36 and it's available on-line. A tad expensive but in quality terms it is certainly not trying to pull one over.
All bourbons seem to carry notes of Turkish Delight or rose water, vanilla and a particular solvent/glue note and this is no different. What gets me with this one though is just how mellow and integrated they are. There's a toffee, fudge caramel thing going on that is really appealing and dark sour cherries, some sweetened nuts (maybe walnut) but softly so and an ever present but nicely toasted oak. Gorgeous colour too.
The form of this whiskey is amazing, frankly. It goes in quite unassuming and the sour cherries and a touch of oak start to come out; but initially not much happens. It's when I start to swallow or 'chew' this one that it purrs into life. I'll qualify it as a kind of rum and raisin fudge note that starts to build and grow. This just keeps on going for a long time and slightly changes from sweet to more sour and dry. Along the way some clove and cardamom say hello and is that Cherry Coke? I actually timed how long it took and I reckon well over twenty seconds from the start of this development until the finish, which is a lingering of dry, sour wood but that fudge note has done its work and is going nowhere.
There isn't much arrival or finish - this is basically one long development. The mouth feel is soft and rich and for a bourbon the subtlety of the alcoholic punch is again, impressive.
I find it needs no water but over time it will shift about on you with creamier vanilla notes coming out more.
I think I have a tipping point with the oak in bourbon where if it tastes or smells too much like a fresh cut plank in a carpenters shop or a bag of nuts, I'm out. This never gets close and I would say it is a predominantly sweeter bourbon rather than dry or sour but the overall balance is what impresses most.
Thoroughly enjoyable and the kind of bourbon I want to pour a large one of and take out on my imaginary porch and kick back in the recliner as I watch the sunset over the Mississippi. Ah well, my basement, a garden rocking chair and a screen saver of the Avon gorge will have to do!