Sweetens Cove hit the ground running with their inaugural release last year, a 13-year-old stunner blended by the talented Marianne Eaves. Now Marianne and her celebrity backers have returned with round two, which aims to be considerably more accessible than the original with more than twice the number of barrels reportedly bottled. While five different batches were released of the original 13-year, this latest appears to be one large batch of 4-, 6-, and 16-year-old Tennessee bourbons bottled at cask strength. As such, there’s no age statement, which I can understand. $200 for a 4-year-old bourbon would be a hard sell. The brand made an impressive first impression, so let’s see how the sequel stacks up, shall we?
The nose is a bit lighter than the original, without the intensity and sultry quality but nevertheless rich and silky with butterscotch, peanut brittle, chewy caramel, and pralines. As it opens in the glass, I get a bit of flaky pastry, sweet and buttery, with a dark cherry pie filling. The palate is warmer than the original with a generous heat that builds into the finish. It remains just as approachable, however, with the same surprisingly fruity palate. Candied orange peel and cherries in syrup are early top notes, followed by grilled peaches and a mix of Red Hots and caramel candies. Not until the lingering finish does the barrel really roll in (see what I did there?) with toasted sugar, dark vanilla bean, and some cigar wrapper notes showing. While the original had more depth and roundness to it, the more youthful components in this latest blend have added a little more complexity. Lucky for us, there’s more to go around this time.