Review: Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon 2017

After its perfectly acceptable — but relatively straightforward — 2016 limited edition bourbon, Limestone Branch is out with another special edition of Yellowstone for 2017. This year, the company takes things in quite a different direction, with a few surprises under its cap.

The big news: This is the first time Yellowstone is using its own spirit in the blend, alongside the usual sourced stock. Per the company, “This year’s limited edition combines hand-selected, seven and 12-year Kentucky Straight bourbons, with a special addition of Limestone Branch Distillery’s first available, 4-year Kentucky Straight bourbon. The bourbon is then rested in once-filled, double seasoned barrels, which are toasted and then lightly charred.” The whiskey is finished in “charred wine casks” (no further details on that finishing are provided).

“By finishing the bourbon in charred wine casks, we allowed the juice to intensify and evolve, creating a wonderful result,” says Beam. “While last year’s edition was more about subtle nuances, this year’s edition we focused on intense flavors and a richer final product.”

So let’s give it a spin.

This is a whiskey that you need to take your time with, as it really manages to grow on you. Initially young and a bit closed-off, the whiskey is redolent of wood and dark spices. But give it some air and 15 minutes or so and the aroma opens up to show a sweet berry note, some notes of incense, and a slightly doughy, almond note.

The palate is expressive. There’s lots of wood here, but it’s tempered with notes of dark chocolate, raisins, and orange peel. With a surprisingly long finish, Yellowstone 2017 endures with notes of clove, some eucalyptus, and even more of that dark chocolate, which is what hangs on with you the longest. It’s a far cry from a whiskey that can initially come across as muted, and one that I highly encourage you to try, as long as you are patient with it.

101 proof. 7000 to 8000 bottles produced.

A- / $100 / limestonebranch.com

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