Noble Oak is a new brand of bourbon that takes traditional, sourced MGP whiskey, then finishes it with the addition of staves of former sherry barrels through a process called Compression Finishing. The Kentucky-based company doesn’t say much about what Compression Finishing is or how it works, but it doesn’t claim it to be an accelerated aging program of any kind.
It certainly does keep the price down, though. There’s no information included about mashbill or overall aging time, however.
Let’s dig in.
The nose is immediately heavy with sugar — butterscotch, caramel, maple, and vanilla cake frosting. Notes of coffee with cream cover up a hint of granary and a fresh oak note that grows heavier as it opens up with air. The palate’s a surprise: Much more cereal and far more wood, though there’s still plenty of sugar to go around, too. What’s not detectable is any semblance of sherry; those winey, citrus-dusted notes just never materialize in any meaningful way except as perhaps a touch of Orange Creamsicle on the finish. Some pepper notes linger on the back end, but the entire experience is so overwhelming with sweetness that the whiskey can come across more like a liqueur than a straight bourbon.
B- / $36 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]