Review: Old Carter Single Barrel Kentucky Bourbon 12 Years Old

Review: Old Carter Single Barrel Kentucky Bourbon 12 Years Old

After Kentucky Owl was sold to Stoli Group in 2017, Mark and Sherri Carter, one half of the team behind the cult brand, decided they wanted to stay in the whiskey business. Enter, Old Carter Whiskey Company:

The Carters were hooked on the process of making and blending whiskies, as well as the state of Kentucky and so they started Old Carter Whiskey Co. to carry on their love affair with whiskey making. They now produce Straight Ryes, Bourbons and an American Whiskey in various locations throughout Kentucky with showrooms in both Lexington and Louisville. Mark and Sherri handle all aspects of the business themselves from creating new blends and selecting single barrels, to designing and handwriting each individual label per bottling. It is a very hands-on approach and has allowed them to continue to create together. It is a true labor of love at Old Carter. 

Labor of love indeed. Almost out of the gate, Old Carter seems to have gained an impressive following over the course of several different Kentucky-only batch releases in 2018. In 2019, the batches continued with the addition of several barrel strength single barrel releases in markets outside the Bluegrass State (California and the Mid-Atlantic). We stumbled onto one of the latest single barrel bottlings on a recent trip to Kentucky. There’s not much in the way of details on this one other than a 12 year age statement and a place of distillation, Kentucky. Let’s see what all the fuss is about, shall we?

The nose on this single barrel is big and rich with warm baking spice, buttery toffee, and crème caramel. Damp oak notes, like wet sawdust, nicely complement the sweeter elements while a bit of flamed orange peel and some cigar box add to the complex and well-balanced aroma. The initial mouthfeel is medium-bodied and full-flavored with a laundry list of classic bourbon notes: creamy caramels, butterscotch candies, cinnamon sugar, clove, nutmeg, and toasted oak. It gets richer into the mid-palate with a bit of dark chocolate and some burly barrel notes that transition nicely into a dry and spicy finish of black cherry and cracked peppercorns. A very nice barrel selection from the Carters. Hopefully, we’ll come across a small batch soon, so we can see if they blend as well as they barrel pick. Until then!

118.9 proof. (Reviewed: Barrel 38)

A- / $170 /

Old Carter Single Barrel Bourbon 12 Years Old




Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.

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