Shortly before the holidays Stellum Spirits introduced another pair of Black label “specialty blends” growing their billboard of limited edition offerings at your local liquor store by roughly another square foot. I’ve got to hand it to the Barrell team, they play the brand saturation game just as well as their bigger competitors, maybe better, and often with superior products to crowd the shelves.
For the latest duo, Stellum has dialed back on the astronomical/mathematical backstories, at least a little. While the bourbon, dubbed Hunter’s Moon, still has a bit of the final frontier in it, the rye offering, The Lone Cyprus, is named for the famous tree on the Monterey peninsula and comes complete with some woodsy tasting notes, herbs and pine specifically. Like the previous Equinox Blend and Fibonacci Blend, these two are constructed using an alternate blending profile from standard Stellum releases along with a layering of “older reserve barrels.” Let’s check them out.
Stellum Black Hunter’s Moon Bourbon – A rather oak-forward blend, even for the Barrell, err Stellum, team, which don’t exactly shy away from burly bourbons. Besides oak on the nose, there’s quite a bit of creamed corn, suggesting perhaps some youth still in the mix. Dried vanilla bean, saw dust, and butterscotch candies round out an aroma that, while minimally sweet, still avoids the impolite punch of an oak bomb. On the palate, there’s more of the same as this one toes the line into overoaked territory but with generally pleasing results. A dark caramel sweetness alongside loads of well-torched crème brûlée is just enough to keep the lumberyard at bay. The midpalate is packed with cinnamon toast (heavy on that cinnamon) and gives way to a potent red chili heat and a dry finish of pralines and RedHots. 115.52 proof. B+ / $100
Stellum Black The Lone Cyprus Rye – A really unique rye offering that kicks things off with an elegant, earthy aroma. Green tea and a bit of pine resin lead the way, evoking a glimmer of its namesake. A bit of rosemary and fresh citrus arrive as things open, followed by cinnamon, pepper, and peach candies. The palate is a nice balance of sweet and savory with a bit of sea salt and herbal undertones. Notes of orange peel and ripe peach give way on the midpalate to wintergreen and a warming, peppery heat. The finish is generous with lingering emerald notes of sweet grass and green apple Jolly Ranchers. 115.34 proof. A- / $100