I.W. Harper 15 year old


Nose: Sweet! As in, “boy I sure hope his tastes as good as it smells”. Not candy sweet, but good, bourbon sweet. Those of you who are used to this smell will know what I'm talking about. Those who don’t, take note for future reference. And….it smells “clean”. Again, hard to describe, but a nice crisp whiskey smell. Very appealing. Palate: This guy is mellow and chewy. The mouthfeel is a little more watery than I remember, but still nice. I get a decent amount of wood out of this one. This one also tastes “dry” to me. Like a dry wine. And, the finish, sadly, is a bit short. But, on the plus side, there’s no burn and it isn’t at all harsh. Surprisingly, it isn’t all that “warming” either, although I very much expected it to be. It is a nice drinker, but all things considered, I really expected more from it. Not that it is bad (it isn’t), but it seems like it SHOULD be more. Comments: At 15 years old, it might be expected to be too “oaky” or “woody”, but it isn’t. Yes, there is some woodiness to it, but it really isn’t too crazy. That said, it isn’t nearly as complex as the only other 15 year old I can think of, the Pappy 15. That one has so much going on, you have to think about what you’re tasting. This one is good, but not nearly as complex. I suppose that is why it is cheaper and easier to find. I think for the price point, it is still a pretty decent buy, but if you have friends over to try it, it won’t be that “wow - what a discovery” bourbon. A while back, a local liquor store sold the younger version of this for SUPER cheap and I bought a ton of it because I thought it was a good deal. Interestingly, I’m not sure that the extra MANY years helped it all that much. Again, not a bad bourbon and not a bad deal, but nothing I would go out of my way to find. If you see it on sale somewhere, I think it is definitely worth getting, but I wouldn’t hunt it down. Be advised that the Harper name has been around for a LONG time, so if nothing else, if you drink this, you are drinking a bit of history…. Harper is a product of the New Bernheim Distillery. They make a GREAT wheated whiskey, so if like that, give it a try. According to one “Interne sourcet”, the mashbill on this is 86% Corn, 6% Rye and 8% Malted Barley. According to another, it is 75% Corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley. Interestingly, this 15 year old is only 86 proof. I think maybe they should not have watered it down so much. It might have tasted better at 90+.