Review: Preservation Distillery – Very Olde St. Nick Immaculata and Old Man Winter

Review: Preservation Distillery – Very Olde St. Nick Immaculata and Old Man Winter

Preservation Distillery + Farm is a sourced whiskey bottler, with a twist. Based in Bardstown, Kentucky, the outfit runs a pot still and focuses on locally sourced ingredients, but all of the whiskeys you will have heard of from the outfit hail from elsewhere, with sourcing in both Kentucky and Indiana. The sourcing focus is on very old stock, with regular releases coming out of Preservation that are 15 years older and more — usually just a couple of barrels in each release.

Preservation owns a number of brand names, Very Olde St. Nick being the most common. Numerous sub-brands have been released under the VOSN label, with names like “Notorious O.S.N.”  and “Straight Outta Bardstown,” all featuring black wax across the top, cask strength abv — and a significant price tag. Other products include Rare Perfection, Wattie Boone & Sons, and Old Man Winter, which we’re reviewing below alongside the latest St. Nick release.

We don’t know much about these whiskeys other than age — both bottles say they are products of Kentucky and Indiana, which seems odd for a very small batch product like this. But who’s counting? Let’s dive in to this pair of luxe offerings.

Very Old St. Nick Immaculata Ancient Cask Bourbon – Made from 15 year old barrels of bourbon, with proofs ranging from 115 to 120 proof. Initially, it’s boldly minty on the nose, with loads of char and smoked barbeque. An aggressive oak note only becomes stronger and more insistent with time in glass, with overtones of red and black pepper and toasted nuts clinging to the edges. On the palate, it at first defies expectations, with a bold raisin and dried fig quality melding with its deep and dark chocolate layer. Spicy and peppery notes come along quickly, tempering that slight sweetness and providing a leathery edge as it builds toward a punchy, well-charred finish. Water is a must with this whiskey, bringing out notes of toasted coconut and more fruit, giving it a bit of an unusual but lively blackberry bent. Smoky char and those mint notes are never far from reach, however, which ultimately makes for quite a lively and complex ride — not to mention a lengthy and lingering conclusion. 118.1 proof. A- / $270

Old Man Winter Bourbon – Bourbon “from the Black Hills,” this features “some of the very first Preservation distillate ever used,” the final product blending sourced stock with Preservation’s own whiskey distilled on site. Otherwise there’s no age information on this one. The lower proof alone makes for a more immediately approachable experience, but the whiskey has more exuberance and intrigue for my money, too. The nose has some of the hallmarks of youth, with an up-front peanut and popcorn character moving into lightly earthy notes, a bit of anise, and a malty, heathery quality. On the palate, a creamy peanut butter character initially dominates, with layers of baking spice and a bit of red pepper coming up behind. Sweeter notes endure, with butterscotch and vanilla frosting finding some counterbalance in gentle notes of greenery and a reprise of mint. Strawberry and maraschino cherry elements make a surprise appearance on the finish, adding another layer of nuance to the what eventually emerges as a quite creamy, nougaty body. Lingering, pleasant, doughy finish. By the way: The wax on this one was so thick that it took me five minutes to open the bottle — even with a utility knife and pliers. Plan ahead. 109.9 proof. A- / $165

Very Old St. Nick Immaculata Ancient Cask Bourbon




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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