We’re kind of doing things backwards here, as in 2022 we reviewed San Antonio-based Samuel Maverick’s Barrel Proof Bourbon — and only now are we stepping back to the tamer release, Samuel Maverick Private Reserve. At a mere 90 proof, the whiskey is a big step down from the 114 proof of the Barrel Proof — though only seven barrels of this 4 year old whiskey (pot-distilled from a mash of 72% Texas-grown corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley) were produced.
And away we go…
It may be a quieter release, but there’s no mistaking this is a Texas bourbon from the get-go, to the point where I just realized I made the exact same comment last time around. Massive notes of fresh-cut wood, drying tobacco, cracked leather, and mesquite all fill the nostrils pretty much immediately upon cracking the bottle. One takes a whiff and makes immediate plans to go fetch the saddle from the barn and rally the posse to hunt down some horse thieves.
But I digress.
The frontier character — which is fully on display in the Barrel Proof expression — keeps a tumblin’ on like a tumblin’ tumbleweed here, starting with the lumberyard but tempering it with bold notes of butterscotch, then vanilla. That overblown wood character becomes more dominant as the finish builds, as the whiskey just can’t stand up to what the barrel has done here. Some stone fruit notes very late in the game do what they can to keep the wood in check, but that’s a Quixotic endeavor. The gentle dusting of char coating the back of the throat is unmistakable and unavoidable, and 100% Texas.
I’m just glad it’s only 45% abv instead of 57%…
90 proof. Reviewed: Batch #19-37.
B / $75 / maverickwhiskey.com