Belle Meade XO Cognac Finished Cask Strength Bourbon from Martin Wine Cellar in New Orleans

Yes, another store pick I picked up in New Orleans last weekend is a cask strength version of a bourbon that is readily available – Belle Meade XO finished bourbon. Belle Meade is a pre-prohibition brand now made at a distillery in Nashville, Tennessee. Their juice is generally pretty good all by itself. But they are into cask finishing.

I am sampling this on my buddy’s front porch with his new gas fire pit last Thursday night with a follow up dram in my study tonight. It’s 116.5 proof, so not a bruiser but is definitely stout.

Color is a medium copper. On the swirl there are medium oily legs. So, here is the group’s thoughts.

Brad: nose is light vanilla, with lovely brandy notes. On the palate is vanilla, caramel, then Cognac and rye spice intermingle to a lovely result. Medium long finish. Really good.

Tom: heavy caramel and light vanilla on the front, molasses and then a hair of cayenne pepper on the back end.

Sarah found a citrus note, light citrus, like lemon zest.

Dee (my Dad): lots of caramel, bite on early for him, vanilla, cognac notes. It bites like a cognac.

Definitely a good whiskey by the fire.

Trying it again tonight: the vanilla is more pronounced on the nose than the other night. A couple of days being open did not hurt in this regard. On the palate the bourbon and the cognac seem a little better balanced than on Thursday, meaning that the bourbon notes are more pronounced. Glad I am spending a little time with this whiskey in my study. It is quite complex. The finish starts out like cognac’s fruit finish but then turns to heavy rye spice. Really quite good. And for a cask strength whiskey this stuff is smooth.

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