“Perfectly suited for the bourbon connoisseur with a sophisticated palate,” this latest Garrison Bros. release comes finished in (Portuguese) Port wine casks. Per the distillery:
Bottled at 107 proof, Guadalupe is a port cask-finished bourbon named for one of Texas’ most beautiful rivers. Master Distiller Donnis Todd connected and worked directly with winemakers in Portugal to secure rich and juicy port casks. He discovered that a magic maturation combination was four years in white American oak casks and then two additional years in the tawny port casks.
“Over the past decade, we’ve built lasting friendships with great people across the world as we searched for the perfect port barrel. These connections are just as special to me as the bourbon we have produced,” says Todd.
90 barrels were produced in 2015. Let’s give it a whirl.
A pretty shade of brick red, the whiskey has the look of Port but the aroma of, well, Garrison Brothers: Bold with charred wood and mesquite, though tempered by notes of dried figs, cloves, and some dark chocolate, that Port influence at least making itself somewhat known. The palate continues the theme, blending very sweet and very savory/smoky elements into a somewhat fitful whole: It’s chewy and laden with extracted fruit — more figs, dates, and some raisiny and almost pruny notes — but the underlying barrel influence remains undeniable. Smoldering notes of campfire embers and uncontrolled grass fire add a massive, peppery pungency to the whiskey, and while the sweetness from the Port finish attempts to counterbalance this, it doesn’t wholly work. The fruity components never quite manage to put the hefty wood-driven character in check, soon finding themselves driven to the sidelines. The finish is searing, though water is of help, culminating on a note of gunpowder, black pepper, and clove.
Fans of Garrison Brothers will find this a curious, fig- and raisin-infused diversion from the house style — but still very much grounded as a member of the family.