Sorry I waited so long..... Caught on to Bourbon only a handful of years ago. After spending several days visiting the Holy Land (KY Bourbon Triangle), I became a big fan of wheated bourbons -- so smooth and balanced. Bought this bottle at auction. Primary element was honey, then caramel, toffee and burnt sugar (props to other TNers). The finish went on and on and on........ Found it to be just a touch hot when served neat. One ice cube in a 2 oz pour brought this incredible elixir to perfection, and my experience to unforgettable. Have heard that the add'l cost for 20 & 23 year old versions was not paid back. Makes me wonder...... Drink at will, but before the angels take their share.
Friday Night Double Blind Tasting $40+ (Bin 75): Orange tawny with seemingly green hues; nose has vanilla and you'd definitely say it was Bourbon, but the vanilla is evolving in the 15 which is more like vanilla cream, toffee, nutty, and a surprising similarity to an old Madeira; this exudes class but still has a youthful kick to it; a tasty treat that I wanted to savor this time around.
Nose: Light and elegant. It suggests its age with a hint of varnish, and then quickly yields to richer elements. Honey, caramel, gentle spice, and soft cinnamon. The crust of creme brulee. Buttery rich vanilla (and salted butter). Residue of anise or menthol. What strikes me here is the balance of the aromas, and even more that they're all high quality components.
Palate: Toffee mixed with syrup. Some varnish follows for the oak. Buttery butterscotch with a few grains of sea salt. Sweet maple. Salted caramel. Almost a puff of smoke. The same vanilla quality in milky-buttery goodness. Not the widest profile; it just hits these points very well. With more time, some of the deeper and richer notes fade and the varnish becomes more prominent.
Finish: More on the salted caramel, maple, light spice, butter, and oak/varnish in varying levels of emphasis as it continues to evolve. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the hullaballoo about Pappy, but then, at other times, you get an older pour like this and you can see why it was such a fan favorite, current craze aside. I love salted caramel/toffee, though I'm never quite as keen these varnishy notes. Thankfully, even when it's present, it's not dominant. In all, an excellent dram. I did like it with a bit less air (and varnish), yet taking it all into account, A- (91.5)
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