Since Halloween is quickly approaching, it seems only appropriate to review a whiskey from a distillery with the tagline “Made by Ghosts.” Kentucky’s Boone County Distilling Co. is referring here to the ghosts of distillers past, specifically those that founded and operated Boone County’s Petersburg Distillery which was the largest bourbon producer in the state in the later 1800s. Boone County opened its doors in 2015 with sourced bourbon from MGP under the brand Eighteen33 (the year distilling started in the county), and they began making their own bourbon and rye under the Tanner’s Curse label the following year. Initially bottled as a 10-year product, their stocks of Eighteen33 are getting along in age. The most recent bottling, at 12-years-old, is also available as a limited edition single barrel, cask strength release. Like with pretty much all limited release bourbon in Kentucky, it’s hard to come by, so the standard offering will have to do for now.
The nose on Eighteen33 is full of classic bourbon notes – brown sugar, vanilla custard, and cinnamon – as well as a healthy hit of oak and wood shavings that is still in balance with the whole. The mouthfeel is lightly syrupy and just barely coats the tongue. A touch of rye spice starts things off with a gentle heat, followed by an herbal bitterness from the oak that persists into the mid-palate. While not as balanced as the nose, there are still worthwhile notes of chewy caramel, toffee, and pipe tobacco to offset some of the dustier wood-sugars. The finish is long enough for the oak to finally fade, leaving lingering cinnamon RedHots and vanilla bean. If sweeter bourbon is your thing, a drop or two of water does wonders for tempering the oak influence on this one.
The “ghosts” of MGP have produced a fine whiskey here, and credit goes to Boone County for selecting well. Only time will tell how the whiskey crafted by their ghosts compares.
A- / $56 / boonedistilling.com