The common vanilla that comes with good bourbons, with hints of fruits: pears and apples. There’s a bit of anise that wafts throughout.
This was just a multi-layered sip that begins with one thing and settles on something all too familiar. Obvious notes of caramel and vanilla are there but with a hint of banana taffy. After another sip or two, I start to get notes of popcorn, including butter. It finally settles on the familiar notes of Cracker Jack caramel popcorn mix.
High proof can scare some people. But, proof doesn't always mean "burn". Try this neat. Try this with a little water. Try this with a little ice. But, mostly, try this!
With the higher proof, depending on your experience you may want to let this open up for a bit. The notorious note of bourbon caramel begins but is soon met with notes that resemble cherry cough drops. Black cherry and dark chocolate are the first notes that cross the palate. For the proof its amazingly smooth. Additional sips provide hints of brine. Dark chocolate bark with sea salt and cherries is what comes to mind. Delicious!
This cask has a different proof than the other I tried earlier this year. And, that's not all. The flavors on this one is different than the first cask I reviewed. There are darker fruit notes and hints of some saltiness to it. This combined with the chocolate notes makes for a really enjoyable cask strength. Delicious.
Sea salt. Dark chocolate. Cherries.
Belle Meade's small batch bourbon that is finished in French Cognac casks. This opens up with a nose that is delightful, to me. Familiar notes of vanilla and caramel. These familiar notes are soon joined with an orchestra of notes of baked spices: nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. There are dark fruit notes, cherries! The palate is hit with some sweet notes. Traditional notes of caramel and vanilla but accompanied with sweet notes of cherries. The finish is nice, clean and leaves you wanting another sip.
It works!! There is a good balance of sweet and spice in this finished bourbon. Unique characteristics from both distilled spirits work together to create something new and enjoyable!
Vanilla. Caramel. Clean finish.
Belle Meade's small batch bourbon that is finished in Malmsey Madeira casks. This Portuguese wine barrel provides some unique notes. Combined with the grain notes of the bourbon yields honey oat notes up front, a true sweetness. Once the nose gets acclimated to the proof there are some notes of brown sugar and cherry. The high rye comes across with bits of spice up front but are tamed by light notes of cocoa and hints of baked bread. The spice with all flavor profiles invokes memories of banana muffins with chocolate chips.
It works!! The balance of sweetness of the grain with the sweetness of the fruit combines well with the spicy characteristics of the high rye bill.
Banana muffins with chocolate chips.
Belle Meade's small batch bourbon that is finished in Oloroso Sherry casks. The nose on this has hints of fruit but it’s a bit drier than the others, more dried fruit than the others. Once my nose gets acclimated to the alcohol, I can’t shake the memory of how a grape Jolly Rancher smells when you open it, wrapper included. The palate is similar with drier, earthy notes like hints of leather and oak. The finish has some lasting heat and sweetness resembling dried berries, like blackberry and raisins.
It works!! I can't lie. This one took a little bit for me to determine exactly if I liked it or not. It has drier notes than the other two finished ones that I tried. But, as I sipped on it more and more, then the more I enjoyed it. More flavors and complexity open up with this over time. Give it a few.
Grape Jolly rancher being opened.
The nose starts with toasted oat and cherries. As it opens up there are noticeable notes of traditional baked spices (nutmeg and clove). The palate is welcomed with the warmth of the proof but not in an intrusive way. Instead, there are sweet notes of cherries, brown sugar and vanilla. The full body provides a sense of butter or cream and in the finish, I can’t help but think of a pie crust. This has all the components to make me think cherry tart.
This went into Barrel #4420 on October 23, 2006. It was almost a full 13 years later that I had the privilege of tasting it. This is a 12 year single barrel cask strength released to the Knoxville, TN market. It was truly an enjoyable pour.