Nose: This has a young corn smell. It is light and slightly skews toward a “young bourbon” smell. Palate: The first impression on this one is high proof, so it starts out with a decent blast of heat. It has a pretty rich mouthfeel that leans to the oily side. There are some hints of the youth shown in the nose but that youth is overpowered by a very deep, chewy, classic bourbon taste. There’s caramel and vanilla as well as dark chocolate. As it works into the finish, pepper notes kick in, along with the heat. The finish itself is on the longer side of medium. After the glass sat for a while, my palate got used to the heat and I started picking up on a decent amount of rye spiciness, mostly in the finish. If I had to guess, I’d say the rye percentage is decently high in this one. The finish also has a bit of toasted barrel flavor. Comments: This is 100 proof and you have no doubt about it when you sip. What is interesting is how it hides its age. The label states it is aged “less than two years”, but it really doesn’t taste that young. It has a rich character that would make you think it is maybe a 6 or 6+ year old bourbon. There is a very subtle underlying youth to it, but it still surprises because it doesn’t really taste moonshiney. Distillery 291 is a small batch distillery in Colorado (Colorado Springs). I bought this bottle about 4 years ago when I was out that way. The company website (distillery291.com) notes that it is available in some states outside Colorado. The website doesn’t list a mashbill but does indicate that it contains corn, rye and barley and another of their products is listed as “high rye”. Internet sources indicate that this bourbon is aged in a “heavily charred 10 gallon oak barrel” for about a year. Then Aspen oak staves are toasted over a charcoal grill and added to the barrel for about 3 weeks. That means the “single barrel” only yields about 40 - 60 bottles per barrel. Like most small craft distilleries, the price for their product is, mostly out of necessity, much higher. While I don’t remember what this bottle cost, it was pretty pricey. If you live in Colorado, a bottle of this would run you about $85. It has a unique enough flavor that it is worth trying, but I wouldn’t recommend buying a bottle until after doing so.
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