Review: Jefferson’s Presidential Select Twin Oak 16 Years Old
It’s been a few years since Jefferson’s released a new addition in their Presidential Select line. While Jefferson’s has a considerable lineup of bourbon and rye, the Presidential Select bottlings have always been the most glamorous, owing to the fact that the first releases, like the now legendary Jefferson’s Presidential Select 17 Years Old, included some of the last stock from the infamous Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Like all current Jefferson’s releases, the Twin Oak 16 Years Old is a sourced bourbon. It’s reportedly from a high rye mashbill that was aged for ten years in new, American oak barrels, dumped, and barreled again in fresh barrels for an additional six years (hence the name Twin Oak). The stated goal of this double-barreling process was to add complexity and depth of flavor to the bright notes of a classic bourbon. So did Jefferson’s succeed?
Twin Oak initially has a burly nose full of baking spice, leather, and vanilla that turns bright rather quickly, offering sharp floral and citrus notes that border a little on furniture polish. On the palate, ample cinnamon and golden raisins become Cracker Jack, vanilla custard, and orange marmalade with a big helping of oak. It’s not overly drying, but the slight astringency does get in the way of some of the other flavors. It has an oily sweetness to it that develops into a savory nutty element on the finish, and it all comes together in a kind of praline and cream finale. In the end, it’s an enjoyable bourbon. The extra aging time in new oak has clearly added some welcome complexity and flavor to this bottle, but it doesn’t seem to come all the way together the way it could. As the youngest Presidential Select released to date, it has just a little more growing up to do.