Nose: This has a sweet aroma that has notes of maple syrup along with caramel, vanilla, a little oak, and a very slight fruitiness. Later sniffs seem to bring out more dark cherry notes. Palate: The first sip gives you your typical biast of “gotta get used to it” heat. My impression was that it leaned toward the sweet side, but it will take another sip, after my mouth has adjusted, to determine for sure. The mouthfeel is on the thin side of medium and leans more toward watery than oily. The finish is long and the whole way through, the heat makes itself known. It isn’t searingly hot, but it does have a good kick to it. Further sips brought out some classic bourbon tastes but with a decent dose of cinnamon and pepper. On later sips, there was an undertone of youngish corn, but it was overpowered by the heat and cinnamon. On still later sips, some dark chocolate and molasses came out. Comments: This clocks in at 119.56 proof. It is a barrel pick from the a local liquor store and runs around $70. The mashbill is 72% corn, 22% rye and 6% malted barley. It is aged 5 years. They usually do a pretty good job of picking barrels and this time was no different. This one isn’t terribly complex but it does lend itself to a good sipping experience. Because the heat was pretty intense and lasted a while, I decided to add some rare water to it (well….the water isn’t rare…..my adding it to my bourbon is rare). I added about 10 drops and the nose became more toned down and “young” smelling, which I find odd. The water toned down the heat enough to not have it be the predominant feature. There was still a good deal of cinnamon and pepper going on and the water seemed to bring out more oakiness. The water also seemed to bring out some rye spiciness, which was well hidden in the straight sips. After sipping, I went back and looked at my review of the “regular” (lower proof (90)) version of this and was pleasantly surprised to see that I picked up on most of the same scents and tastes that I did on that one. The difference was definitely the heat. This costs around $70, which I think is a bit high for what you’re getting. Not that it is bad, but I feel this would be better priced in the upper $40 to maybe $50 range. Total Wine sells a version of this for $89.99 but will obviously be from a different barrel.
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