Review: More Whiskeys of Starlight Distillery: Carl T. Huber’s Bonded, Rickhouse Select Single Barrel, and Old Rickhouse Double Oaked

Review: More Whiskeys of Starlight Distillery: Carl T. Huber’s Bonded, Rickhouse Select Single Barrel, and Old Rickhouse Double Oaked

Indiana’s Starlight Distillery continues to produce a rainbow of whiskey offerings from double-oaked expressions to special cask finishes and a dizzying number of single barrel picks in between. Availability, other than private selections for clubs and liquor stores, remains a bit of a mystery as their offerings appear hard to find outside of Total Wine and the occasional boutique spirits purveyor like Seelbach’s. Still, that doesn’t seem to be holding them back from steady innovation. We received a trio of releases, all new expressions since our first extensive look at the distillery last summer.

Starlight Distillery Carl T. Huber’s Bourbon Whiskey Bottled-in-Bond – Reportedly a blend of two different unique mashbills: one 60% corn, 20% rye, 20% malted barley and the other 51% corn, 20% rye, 20% malted barley, 9% wheat. The aroma is delicate with a straightforward mix of chewy caramels, marshmallow fluff, and dry oak. It feels like it wants to show off more, but even with generous time to open, things remain rather muted. The palate is considerably more interesting with a rounded, malty body that showcases notes of cinnamon buns, heavy on the vanilla icing, caramel sauce, and a bit of orange zest. A persistent chili pepper note adds some sharpness to an otherwise well-warmed sip, and the finish, kissed with more caramel and citrus, struggles for balance with some drying barrel notes. There’s plenty of promise here, but it’s still a little rough around the edges. Batch No. B2102. 100 proof. B / $60

Starlight Distillery Rickhouse Select Bourbon Whiskey Single Barrel – An unspecified bourbon mashbill aged a minimum of four years and bottled as a single barrel at cask strength. Single barrels are often where Starlight really shines, and this one is no exception. The aroma is dense with seasoned oak, coffee beans, and chocolaty barrel char but nicely balanced with none of those elements too brash or burly. The palate is approachable for a cask strength whiskey and showcases a similarly impressive balance of flavors. Notes of cocoa powder, crispy S’mores, and cinnamon sugar give way on the mid palate to chocolate-covered orange and a mild peppery spice that lingers into an easy finish of dark caramels and subtle smoke. Barrel No. 17285. 118 proof. A- / $50

Starlight Distillery Old Rickhouse Double Oaked Rye Whiskey – Starlight’s signature rye blend aged for a minimum of 4 years and finished for 3 to 8 months in French oak barrels. The aroma retains plenty of the character of Old Rickhouse Rye with dried herbs and a generous grassiness at its core. But the additional barrel aging has clearly elevated things with dark vanilla bean and a silky caramel element. While I had noticed less of the herbal dimension on the palate in the original, this double barrel expression seems to have somehow amplified things with plenty of green, dilly notes to complement the earthy spice of the rye. There’s a better balance here, as well, with the oak not nearly as punchy, offering instead soft vanilla custard and sandalwood. The finish is mildly spiced and warming with notes of oolong tea and toffee. Batch No. DB056-2. 108.2 proof. A- / $50

Starlight Distillery Carl T. Huber's Bourbon Whiskey Bottled-in-Bond




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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