When I tried the Kentucky Vintage for the first time (about a year ago), I felt it was very ordinary. I disrespectfully even called it Willett’s bottom shelf product. After all, it is dirt cheap and in my honest opinion an entry level bourbon. But a friend in the States – with whom I sometimes trade samples – told me to drink a quarter bottle and then leave it for a few months. So that it was I did. The bottle has been opened for four months now. Second chance? Here we go.
Well, who would have thought? The nose is quite pleasant now. A touch of woodsmoke precedes some corn on the barbecue, a touch of red fruit appears with a hint of marzipan and the rye in the mix offers up a soft spiciness. The smoldering wood and overpowering caramel I had the first time around are gone. Good!
It is honeysweet on violets (I mean the purple candy), sweet butter and something floral, but also quite alcoholic. The spices scream a bit now, nipping my euphoria in the bud.
On the finish – which is not long, but pleasant enough – I get another surge of woodsmoke.
Admittedly, it gets a lot better on the nose, but I still find it somewhat rough and unbalanced on the palate.