Bib & Tucker is complementing its classic 6 year old bourbon (self-dubbed as the “classic 6,” a whiskey we’ve reviewed three times now) with a new Double Char release which was “inspired by the turn of the century, when food was cooked on the open flame.” The aim was to add a smoky appeal by taking the 6 year old bourbon and putting it through a “fire-forged, double char aging method” by spending another five months in a heavily charred and smoked new barrel.
There are some curious aspects to this latest pivot. Of particular interest, as noted in our previous coverage in 2021, Bib & Tucker whiskeys are usually aged in unusually light char #1 barrels. Further, Bib & Tucker technically produces Tennessee whiskey since it follows the Lincoln County process that uses sugar maple charcoal filtration before going into the barrel for aging. We delved more into their unique process in our 2019 review. Taking their light-on-oak “classic 6” and then adding in the char is an interesting spin to reverse course on their concerted ultra-distillation.
Let’s see how this blend of low- and high-char pans out.
The nose of the whiskey is very playful, with a healthy display of basil-kissed mint, apple cider, and peanuts. The palate starts off with short-lived caramelized apples and immediately jumps to bit of a game of hot potato of spice that bounces between rye, cinnamon, and white pepper. The spiciness overtakes the tongue for a good while but gives way just in time to soothing notes of vanilla wafer and banana to tame all that spice in the finish. While the aim was to add some smokiness, I was hard-pressed to find obvious smoky notes, but found rather more oomph in the spice, bringing it closer to a high-rye bourbon than conventional smoke-driven whiskeys.
That’s really just managing expectations though, since overall this bourbon still delivers as an enjoyable pour while providing enough of a twist to the classic 6 that it can stand on its own without giving up on the appeal and core character of the original. There’s a lot of personality here at 88 proof, too. (And I need to add, what’s not to love about the well-executed throwback design of the bottle itself? One of my personal favorites.)
B+ / $55