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Vintage Bourbon 17 year-old is a product of the Vintage Bourbon Company, itself a brand of the Kulsveen family’s Kentucky Bourbon Distillers. Other products in their portfolio include Noah’s Mill, Rowan’s Creek, Willett, and Corner Creek Reserve. Despite the name, Kentucky Bourbon Distillers—and its subsidiary brands, such as The Willett Distillery, Old Bardstown Distilling Co., and Pure Kentucky Distilling Company—is an independent bottler or, in somewhat outmoded terms, a “rectifier.” Though the source of their whiskey has only been guessed at (often with an immoderate degree of confidence), it can be very, very good.
For an American whiskey, Vintage Bourbon 17 year-old has spent a long time in the barrel. Its age shows in the color, which is a deep honey yellow, and it shows on the nose, which is heady, rich, and oaky. There are also marvelous notes of dark rum, walnuts, Mexican vanilla, brown sugar, nutmeg, and a slight touch of varnish.
On the palate, which is thick and rich, there is molasses, vanilla, rum, and brown sugar again. There is also bright rye spice, walnut spread, and stewed bananas. The finish is oak, spice and lightly bitter varnish. On the whole, this bourbon is really quite good.