Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World Expo San Francisco 2018

Hey, look who’s not breaking his foot this year! Last year’s Whiskies of the World Expo was cut extremely short for me, but this year, safety was the name of the game. (Reminder: Don’t text while on the stairs, kids!)

I spent a lot more time than usual on American whiskeys this year, reflecting an amazing surge of craft distilleries appearing at WotW as well as a relative dearth of Scotch. That said, some of the Scottish drams I sampled were some of the best whiskies I’ve ever had — particularly Glencadam’s glorious 25 year old, to which I gave a spot rating of A+, thanks to its delightfully bright texture and fruit-forward palate. There was plenty of whiskey to like in America and beyond, too, but if I had to pick one product I’d like to sample in more depth, it’d have to be Healdsburg-based Alley 6’s bitters made from candy cap mushrooms they forage themselves on the Sonoma Coast.

Thoughts on everything tasted follow, as always.

Scotch

GlenDronach 12 Years Old – Bold sherry, nutty, with spice, but vegetal on the back end. B
GlenDronach 18 Years Old – Richer and better balanced, with big spices and some chocolate notes. A-
Ancnoc 24 Years Old
– A surprising amount of grain here for a 24 year old, with some orange peel notes; perfectly approachable but not overwhelming. B+
Balblair 1983
– Some smoke, barrel char, vanilla and chocolate. Nice balance. A
Glencadam 25 Years Old
– Bright and fresh, with a Sauternes character to it; some coconut, a little chewy; very lush and rounded. Best of show. A+
SIA Scotch Whisky – This has clearly been refined a bit over the years, now showing a youthful but silky caramel and vanilla notes; quite elegant for a blend. A-
The Exclusive Grain Cameronbridge 1992 25 Years Old
– One of the best single grains I’ve experienced in years; chocolate dominates, with a big sherry finish. A
The Exclusive Malts “An Orkney” 2000 17 Years Old
– I’m guessing Highland Park, then; traditionally built, but quite oaky. B+
The Macallan Edition No. 3
– A disappointment; a huge, bold body for Macallan, but surprisingly hot. B+
Highland Park Dark 
– HP in first-fill sherry barrels; the name is no lie, but the sherry takes it so far it ends up medicinal; overdone. B+
Highland Park Full Volume
– Chewy, with gunpowder and grain notes. A bit dull in the end. B
Alexander Murray Bunnahabhain 28 Years Old Cask Strength
– Lightly peated, with a solid Madeira note; gently floral. B+
Tobermory 21 Years Old Manzanilla Finish Cask Strength
– Blodly spice up front, but a bit raw and vegetal on the back end. B+
Deanston 20 Years Old Oloroso Finish Cask Strength
– Big grain base, with notes of cotton balls. B-
Ledaig 1996
– Punchy, with lingering grain and plenty of sweetness. B+

American

Belle Meade Mourvedre Cask Finish – A very rare offering that sold out in 2 days, it’s a beauty of a blend of wine and wood influence. A-
Belle Meade Imperial Stout “Black Belle” Finish – Bold and hoppy, notes of peanut butter, tons of fun. A
Sonoma County Distilling Sonoma Rye
– Soothing menthol notes, but a little mushroomy funk. B+
Sonoma County Distilling West of Kentucky Bourbon No. 2
– Wheated. Silky but rustic at times, with ample spice. A-
Sonoma County Distilling West of Kentucky Bourbon No. 3
– High-rye. Youthful, some vegetal notes peeking through, showing promise. B+
Old Forester Statesman
– Special bottling for that Kingsman movie last year. Big chocolate notes dominate, with vanilla and clove. Classic Kentucky. B+
Amador Double Barrel Bourbon
– Quite sweet, with candied pecan notes, vanilla finish. A-
Seven Stills of San Francisco Czar
– A burly whiskey made from imperial stout. Lots of smoke here, which would be fine but for the very green character. Overly malty and unbalanced. B-
Seven Stills of San Francisco Frambooze
– Racy berry notes in this whiskey, which is distilled from raspberry ale, plus notes of walnuts and dark chocolate. Lots of fun. A-
High West Bourye (2018)
– A classic whiskey, gorgeous with deep vanilla, spice, and chocolate notes. A
High West A Midwinter Nights Dram 5.4
– The deep raisin profile remains a classic, showcasing both power and grace. A-
Do Good Distillery California Bourbon
– Very rustic, gritty with pepper and raw grain. C+
Do Good Distillery Cherrywood Smoked Whiskey
– Pungent, mainly showcasing pet food notes. D
Widow Jane Single Barrel Bourbon 10 Years Old
– Absolutely massive, with notes of minerals, orange marmalade, creme brulee, and milk chocolate. A-
Widow Jane Rye Oak & Apple Wood
– Youthful, the apple really shows itself. B
Alley 6 Single Malt Whiskey 
– Rustic, pungent, but showing promise. B
Alley 6 Rye Whiskey
– Pretty, quite floral. A-
Mosswood Corbeaux Barrel Bourbon 6 Years Old – A private bottling for a SF retailer; a rustic style whiskey. B
Mosswood Sour Ale Barrel
– An old favorite, gorgeous with apple spices and a delightful, deft balance. A

Japanese

Kurayoshi Matsui Whiskey Pure Malt – A young malt, gentle but simple, florals and biscuits. B+
Kurayoshi Matsui Whiskey Pure Malt 8 Years Old – Surprisingly a bit thin, though more well-rounded. B
Fukano 12 Years Old
– Heavy greenery notes, drinking overblown tonight. B

Other Stuff

Alley 6 86’d Candy Cap Bitters – Insane mushroom intensity, really beautiful stuff. A
Mosswood Night Rum Scotch Barrel
– This is a rum, finished in Ardbeg whisky barrels. What!? The combination of sweet and smoke is almost impossible to describe; working on a sample to paint a bigger picture of this madness. A-
Mosswood Sherry Barrel Irish Whiskey
– A 3 year old Cooley Irish, sherry finished in the U.S. Fairly classic. A-
Amrut Double Cask
– Port finished Amrut from India; peat overpowers the sweetness it wants to show off. B

Review: Deadhead Dark Chocolate Flavored Rum

From a packaging standpoint, Deadhead Rum is definitively one of the most talked-about bottles in my collection. Now the company is extending the line into a flavored rum — dark chocolate, specifically — while attempting to outdo itself with this monkey-headed decanter. (Again, it’s a plastic shell on top of a glass bottle beneath.)

It’s a lot like Cocoa Pebbles on the nose, a little dusty with dry cocoa powder notes dominating, but with a slight vegetal hint underneath. The palate is semi-sweet with chocolate dominating, alongside significant notes of vanilla, burnt caramel, and a slightly winey character. The finish gets a bit saccharine as the chocolate notes fade in prominence, though that’s probably not readily noticeable in a cocktail (preferably one with ice cream). As flavored rums go, it’s one of the better ones on the block, and that’s not even considering the insane monkey head bottle.

70 proof.

B+ / $35 / deadheadrum.com

Review: Koloa Kauai Reserve Hawaiian Rum 3 Years Old

Kauai, Hawaii-based Koloa’s latest rum has hit the market, a three-year old product “artfully crafted in single-batches at its Kalaheo distillery. Kauai Reserve is made from the finest Hawaii sugar cane and fresh island water that was slowly filtered through volcanic strata before reaching vast underground aquifers. Kauai Reserve is carefully aged for a minimum of three years in select American white oak barrels and contains no added sugar, color or other ingredients.”

Compare to previous Koloa releases, then read on…

A very sweet nose offers notes of bold coconut, vanilla cream, and orange juice, almost impossibly sugary at times. On the palate, the sweetness kicks off the show, but it fades fast enough to reveal more of a toasted coconut character, hints of chocolate and butterscotch, and a ruddy, sometimes muddy, character that takes over as the finish develops. What remains on the palate is a slight chemical aftertaste, an unfortunate conclusion to the earlier proceedings.

B / $50 / koloarum.com

Review: Centenario Rum 7, 9, 12, 20, 25 and 30 Years Old

Centenario Rum, also known as Ron Centenario (and not to be confused with Gran Centenario Tequila), is based in Costa Rica, where the company produces a massive number of expressions, all made from local sugar can and aged in oak.

Centenario sent its core lineup of six rums for us to review (there’s also an 18 year old , from its affordable 7 year old to its ultra-rare 30 year old. The 7, 9, and 12 year old rums are all aged “Spanish style” in barrels (and thus represent true age statements). The 20, 25, and 30 year old rums are all made in the solera style, so those years represent the oldest spirit in the bottle.

Thoughts on the series of six rums, which have recently seen updated packaging, including gift boxes or canisters, follow.

All are 80 proof.

Centenario Rum Anejo Especial 7 Years Old – Still youthful on the nose, but engaging, with ample vanilla of course, plus some coconut, almond, and quite gentle baking spice notes. Similar notes fill the palate, but the body is on the small side — slightly funky, not in a bad way — and the finish is short. Though it’s got a decent amount of age on it, it’s a rum built for mixing, not sipping. Which is fine, because we have a long way to go here. B / $18

Centenario Rum Conmemorativo 9 Years Old – Two extra years make a modest difference here, namely in the body, which is stronger and more pungent, with a slightly winey character. That aside, more coconut and an emerging chocolate note arise to complement the vanilla at the rum’s core, leading to a sharper finish that hints at sherry. B+ / $23

Centenario Rum Gran Legado 12 Years Old – Some clearly older notes percolate here, the nose taking on a winey, sherried note, heavy with notes of baking spice. A salted caramel character is heavy on the palate, with the coconut notes taking on a more toasted character. While it’s slightly chocolaty on the finish, the fortified wine notes are what endure the longest. B+ / $30

Centenario Rum Fundacion 20 Years Old – Getting into the solera releases (this one is 6 to 20 years old), the rum finds a particularly wine-heavy character to it, almost brandy-like at times. Notes of tobacco and old wood begin to appear on the nose, while notes of sour cherry, intense vanilla, and cocoa powder dominate the palate. The finish finds a certain sweetness, almost like a candied strawberry, lingering for some time. In the end, there’s an impressive balance between the spirit-driven power and the elegance that comes with extended time in wood. A lovely rum that straddles the line between crowd-pleaser and sophisticated sipper. A- / $40

Centenario Rum Gran Reserva 25 Years Old – This 6 to 25 year old solera style rum is very dark, like that of strong tea, with a deep and powerful nose that offers notes of coffee, aged sherry, cocoa powder, and walnut oil. Raisiny and spicy on the palate, notes of furniture polish, old leather, and mocha dominate, the finish bouncing between those strong wine and coffee notes. Rich, but with some acidity to give it life on the palate, it’s a pure sipper that invites examination and discussion. A- / $60

Centenario Rum Edicion Limitada 30 Years Old – The top of the line carries less age information than the 20 and 25: All we know is the maximum age of this solera style rum is 30 years old. It continues the theme started by the 20 and 25 year olds, pushing further the agenda of coffee and increasingly dark chocolate. While very winey on the nose, the composition is sweeter on the palate than the 20 or the 25, those nutty notes taking on a candied character, the more intensely oily, polish-heavy notes mellowing just enough to let the fruit in the rum pop. The finish is still sharp and strong, but the warming character fits what’s come before perfectly. Try this after dinner instead of a cup of coffee. A / $100

roncentenario.eu

Review: Bumbu Rum

Spiced rum tends to follow a pretty well-worn path. But Bumbu is something quite different, and well worth exploring.

The rum starts with sugarcane sourced from all over Latin America: Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guyana, and Honduras. The cane is taken back to the West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados where it is column-distilled and aged in first-fill Kentucky bourbon casks for up to 15 years (though much of the rum is surely considerably younger). Even the yeast is artisan: As the distillery notes, “The yeast used during fermentation is a distillery secret that dates back as far as 1840, when some of our original iron pot stills were cast.”

What Bumbu doesn’t tell us is what spices are used to flavor the rum. Only this is known: “Using the same all-natural native spices and no artificial colors or flavors, our rum is an authentic revival of this piece of Caribbean history, distilled in small batches and blended by hand.”

But if you’re expecting another fistful of cloves and cinnamon, think again. Here’s how Bumbu actually comes across.

The nose is immediately unusual, with overtones of banana, caramel sauce, vanilla, and almonds — all the makings of a lovely banana split. That banana is particularly present on the palate, where it finds a complement in chocolate, more almond, some light coconut milk notes, and lengthy, lingering, creamy vanilla with just a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg on it.

As spiced rums go, it’s one of the most unique expressions I’ve ever encountered — decidedly light on the “spice” notes, which results in a softer, more thoughtful rendition of the classic spirit. Ultimately, it feels like it is built to drink more like a dessert, and less like a rough-and-tumble pirate grog. Without those harsh notes of dried spices, Bumbu lets a more natural, sweeter, fruitier, and elegant spirit to emerge. Who knew?

Lovely stuff.

70 proof.

A / $35 / bumbu.com

Review: The Street Pumas Vodka, Gin, and Rum

Now here’s something unique in the world of spirits: The Street Pumas line of liquors combines imported spirits with… wait for it… comic strips.

While we’re primarily known for hyper-specific, luxury items like a 22-year-old micro barrique cognac or corn-infused mezcal, Brooklyn-based importer, PM Spirits has just launched The Street Pumas, a line of premium well spirits.

The line includes vodka, London dry gin, and rum, with a blended Scotch whisky that is currently crossing the ocean as we speak. For his first line of custom spirits, founder Nicolas Palazzi collaborated with celebrated comic book artists and writers to create a complementary graphic novel that would double as labels for the bottles. Set in the near future, Nicolas and his team are portrayed as booze-slinging badasses determined to deliver killer juice no matter the obstacle. The one-liter bottles depict a different scene from the comic adventure, highlighting the gang’s battle against the forces of THEY.

Whoa.

Here we look at the first three products from the Pumas — everything but that blended Scotch, still on its way.

The comics have not been reviewed.

The Street Pumas Vodka – Distilled from potatoes in Poland, then shipped to Jerez, Spain, for proofing. The vodka is exceedingly mild, almost to a fault. The nose is barely there — a touch of sugar, some lemongrass, and just a bit of medicinality to spice it up. The palate is similarly mild, not as sweet as you might think — more chocolaty, than sugary — with a brisk, slightly biting finish. While there’s not much to hang on to, it’s nonetheless a solid mixing base thanks to its neutrality. 80 proof. A- / $30 (1 liter)

The Street Pumas London Dry Gin – Italian-born neutral grain spirits are sent to Belgium, where they are infused with juniper berries, coriander, angelica, lemon peel, and sweet & bitter orange peels. Very fruity and somewhat floral on the nose, the sweeter orange notes overwhelm the juniper and other botanicals. The palate is very heavy on the lemon, with orange a strong secondary note. Again, the juniper is largely absent, giving this gin more of a citrus vodka character — though one that’s not at all astringent or pushy. Probably a tough sell for any cocktail where juniper is expected (I wouldn’t describe this as a London Dry by any stretch), but it’s versatile in more modern mixology. 80 proof. B+ / $30 (1 liter)

The Street Pumas Rum – Distilled from molasses in Panama “at a site that shares lineage with the iconic distilleries of Nicaragua” and proofed in Jerez. Definitely the most aromatically strong spirit in this bunch, this is a bold and funky white rum, unaged and rather raw, though with some time emerge notes of ripe banana, coconut, and some walnut oil. The palate has a surprising complexity, offering lots of coconut and banana, some chocolate and a soothing vanilla finish. That raw hogo character, so evident on the nose, is really an afterthought here, showing a slightly vegetal character that lingers just a bit, giving it a little more of a chew than you might expect. 84 proof. B+ / $30 (1 liter)

thestreetpumas.com

Review: Cruzan Light Rum 5 Years Old, Dark Rum 5 Years Old, Black Strap Rum, and Single Barrel Rum (2018)

We’ve been covering Cruzan Rum pretty much since the beginning of Drinkhacker, to the point where its products have been a reliable constant on the site. Now Cruzan — following some nasty devastation on the island of St. Croix last fall — is rebuilding not only its operation, but its brand, revamping the entire Cruzan Distiller’s Collection, including its Single Barrel Rum. (The new bottles are definitely a step up from the old ones.) We last reviewed this collection in 2013.

As the distillery notes:

With an embossed-glass logo (a nod to the Nelthropp family crest) and a real wood and cork closure, these new bottles make it easier for bartenders to accurately measure parts and have a stand-out look that will make a statement on any bar or bar cart. Though the bottles are new, the liquid inside is the same clean-tasting, award-winning rum that fans of the brand have come to expect.

While reportedly these rums haven’t changed, perhaps my palate hasToday we take a fresh look at four essential Cruzan bottlings. Let’s dive in.

All bottlings are 80 proof.

Cruzan Distiller’s Collection Estate Diamond Light Rum 5 Years Old (2018) – Well-aged stock, filtered to clear. It’s kind of a funky rum for a spirit of this advanced age, with a nose of raisins, banana, coconut, and some cinnamon. Air opens things up, the palate showing ample fruit, but also plenty of heat. That banana is particularly evident, alongside a vanilla kick driven from its time in wood. B+ / $22

Cruzan Distiller’s Collection Estate Diamond Dark Rum 5 Years Old (2018) – Essentially the same rum as the Light Rum, but unfiltered. There’s a stronger fruit character on the nose here, along with some floral notes thrown into the mix. The palate is bold with coffee notes, some chocolate, and an almondy nut character that leads to a slightly sherried conclusion. Much bolder and sharper than the light rum, the finish is lingering and evocative of red berries and spice. A- / $22

Cruzan Distiller’s Collection Estate Diamond Black Strap Rum – While the mysterious name evokes a luxury product, black strap (or blackstrap) molasses are essentially the final step in the sugar production process, a dark black and viscous goo that is the ultimate by-product of sugar refining. You can make rum out of it, too, and Cruzan’s version is black as night. It’s also full of character — on the nose, a molasses-heavy funk that starts with dense fig, raisin, and date character and then segues into coffee bean and dark chocolate notes, given some time. The palate is quite viscous and very sweet, with notes of licorice candy, more raisins, and cloves. There’s a ton going on here, but it works together quite well. A definitive go-to rum for tiki drinking or for floating on your favorite cocktail. A / $16

Cruzan Distiller’s Collection Single Barrel Premium Extra Aged Rum 5-12 Years Old (2018) – All of the rums in this collection claim to be 5 to 12 years old on the back label, but the Single Barrel now indicates that on the front of the bottle. Otherwise the rum hasn’t changed. The nose is similar to the Dark Rum, though perhaps a bit more pungent with cloves and gingerbread along with hints of orange peel. The palate is intense and rich, a monster with loads of coffee character, some hickory wood, and hints of molasses. The finish is very lengthy and bold, heavy with gravitas but filtered through hogoA- / $30

cruzanrum.com

Review: Parce Rum 12 Years Old

Parce is a new brand of rum made in Colombia. Sugar cane is sourced from local plantations as well as Barbados and Trinidad, then processed in country with natural spring water and a proprietary yeast. Fermented and column-distilled, it is aged in used bourbon casks for 12 years before blending and bottling. Bottles are individually hand numbered and dated.

An 8 year old and 3 year old expression, not reviewed here, are also available.

All told, this is an exceptional rum with plenty to recommend it. The nose is aromatic with notes of coffee bean, cinnamon, chocolate, and brown sugar — pretty much all the aromas you’re looking for in an older spirit. Give it time and hints of walnut emerge in the glass. On the palate, it’s sweet but not overly so, a bold body and a notable acidity giving it more to grab onto in the glass. The palate finds much of the same character as the nose, though it’s particularly heavy on the coffee and chocolate notes. On the finish, a light and lively, lingering sweetness — impregnated just so with spice notes — fully engages the senses and commands one to pour another glass.

Very, very well done.

80 proof. Reviewed: Bottle #D12002.

A / $60 / parcerum.com [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

Review: Papa’s Pilar Dark Rum Sherry Finish

Papa’s Pilar is out with a limited release of 8400 bottles of a new expression of its sourced rum. It all starts with a custom version of Papa’s Pilar Dark Rum:

The team of Master Blenders created this special edition expression of custom barreled Papa’s Pilar Dark, with seven different hand-selected rums up to 25 years old, which are both pot and column distilled. After solera aging in Bourbon barrels, Port Wine casks, and Spanish Sherry casks, the bold and complex rum was further aged in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks for approximately 30 days, creating a unique flavor profile.

In a quest to get rum back to its roots, the Papa’s Pilar Production team chose to embrace a similar methodology used in Scotch Whiskey, with the goal to allow the rum blend to continue to meld together, while also interacting with the Sherry and French Oak. It’s also a method used by Cuban rum makers in their best rums, as they cannot easily source used American Bourbon barrels. The team chose to use French Limousin Oak Sherry casks from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, and only for a short period of time, because the grain structure of French Limousin Oak is wider and more open than American Oak Bourbon barrels (300L vs 200L).

Nutty on the nose, with a rich amontillado character, studded with chocolate, gingerbread, and cloves. It’s quite sweet, with a maple syrup aroma to it as well. On the palate, the rum is less rich than expected given the sugary nose, the somewhat oily body redolent of furniture polish and more baking spice, mixed in with walnuts and roasted chestnuts. On the finish, a slightly gummy, vaguely vegetal note takes hold, a counterbalance to some late-arriving notes of tart citrus, driven by the sherry cask. It’s not as impactful as those amontillado notes up front, but it does help soften what is otherwise a quite austere rum that keeps its charms a bit too close to the vest.

86 proof.

B+ / $40 / papaspilar.com

Review: Avua Cachaca – Jequitiba Rosa and Still Strength

Brazil’s bustling cachaca brand, Avua, is back with two new expressions, further expanding its lineup. Details on each follow in the commentary for each option. Both remain distilled from local sugarcane

Avua Cachaca Jequitiba Rosa – Another native wood expression from Avua, this one is aged in barrels made from Jequitiba Rosa wood, a common tree grown in the south of Brazil, for up to two years. The nose is engaging, the inherent petrol character cut with notes of pineapple and lots of spiced baked apples. The palate is quite soft — one of the gentlest I’ve encountered in a cachaca to date — with modest sweetness and ample fruit that syncs up with the nose. Silky through and through, with hints of banana on the finish. One for your caipirinha for sure. Now the bad news: 600 bottles available in the U.S. 80 proof. A- / $70

Avua Cachaca Still Strength – I’m not sure if cachaca comes off the still at all of 45% alcohol, but either way, this unaged cachaca is still one of the higher-proof options we have available. That said, is more alcohol character what people are really looking for in a cachaca? The slightly higher proof (regular Avua Prata is bottled at 84 proof) doesn’t much alter the experience, which is a petrol-heavy experience with some lime zest on the nose and a palate that finds a bready, somewhat vegetal character lingering on the back end. Fine, but not altogether earth-shattering. 90 proof. B+ / $45

avuacachaca.com.br

Review: Chairman’s Reserve Original Rum and The Forgotten Casks Rum

Saint Lucia Distillers is home to the Chairman’s Reserve brand, which currently comprises four spirits from white to spiced. Saint Lucia’s rums are typically blended from both column and pot still rums that are aged separately in bourbon barrels.

Today we look at Chairman’s Original Rum, a mainstream amber release, and The Forgotten Casks, its oldest and rarest expression, “crafted to mimic rum found in the original forgotten casks of Chairman’s Reserve, which were preserved from St. Lucia Distillers horrific fire on May 2, 2007.” Details follow.

Both are 80 proof.

Chairman’s Reserve Original Rum – As noted, this is a blend of column and pot still rum with an average age of 5 years old, there’s ample hogo on the nose, along with notes of burnt matches, cooked fruit, and coconut husk. The palate is bold and aggressive, though the initial funk is quickly whisked away by a surfeit of fruit: green banana, coconut, apricot, and some fleeting floral notes on the finish. It’s sweet and complex enough to sip on its own, but also intrepid enough to stand up to a complicated tiki drink. B+ / $32

Chairman’s Reserve The Forgotten Casks Rum – As discussed above, this rum is meant to mimic the casks “lost” during the distillery’s rehabilitation after a fire, those misplaced barrels ultimately taking on too much age to be used in the Original Rum release. The rums in this bottle are between 6 and 11 years old. As you might expect, there’s more depth here, starting with a nose rich in molasses, salted caramel, cloves, and a much more dialed-back version of that funky hogo character. The palate is rich and seductive, with a clear coffee character running through it, along with some dark chocolate notes. Moderately sweet throughout, but light enough on the finish, it’s a dazzling rum designed for extended sipping and savoring. Beautiful! A / $43

chairmansreserverum.com

Review: Bedtime Bourbon 8 Years Old

What if I told you a company was making an eight year old Bourbon that was sourced from Tennessee, and that it was on sale exclusively in Kentucky? I’m not crazy, I’m just sampling Bedtime Bourbon, which is being produced by the Louisville Bourbon Transit Company, a tiny outlet that recently opened up shop here.

Here’s a look at batch #1 of Bedtime Bourbon, which is composed of just four barrels of whiskey, with 840 bottles produced.

This is a perfectly workable and enjoyable bourbon, though experienced whiskey drinkers will find that it keeps things on the safe side. The nose is lightly grainy, with notes of chocolate, ample vanilla, and plenty of caramel corn notes to get things started. The palate is sharp and a bit citrusy, with those caramel corn notes — not too young, not too old — dominating as the palate develops. On the finish, a bit of mint melds nicely with the chocolate notes, giving it a cohesive and appropriately dessert-like conclusion.

All told, like I said earlier, it’s a “safe” bourbon, but one that certainly gets a lot of things right by not toying too much with the script.

90 proof.

A- / $50 / louisvillebourbon.com

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