Being a cask strength bourbon nut, I was excited to pick up a bottle of Pinhook’s cask strength bourbon. Named “Bourbon Country”, Pinhook names its bourbons as if they are horses. Pinhooks in Kentucky racing parlance are young thoroughbreds bought and raised to maturity and then sold to others to race. While this bourbon is bottled in Kentucky, this is bourbon sourced from Midwest Grain Products in Indiana. Pinhook owns this fact on the back label, so good on them for honesty.
A healthy 115.3 proof, this whiskey is labeled as straight but has an age statement of three years old. Straight American whiskies have to be four years old unless otherwise stated.
The color on this bourbon is staw, and I have quite a few scotches on my bar that are darker than this. Nose is sweet, granulated white sugar and cinnamon, slight pickled ginger in the background. On the palate is herbs, rye spice, slight vanilla, and a slightly medicinal taste that I find common in bourbons pulled from their barrels at too young an age. Now, when I first tasted this bourbon after opening the bottle a week and a half ago, the medicinal taste dominated the palate. A little air has really helped this bourbon.
Over the weekend I had dinner at Social Southern Table and Bar in Lafayette, which has probably the best selection of bourbons in Louisiana. One of the drams I ordered was Smooth Ambler Old Scout Single Barrel, which is also a cask strength MGP bourbon that is basically long gone from the market at this point. My wife stole my glass of this during dessert. The point being is that cask strength MGP bourbon can be truly awesome.
Pinhook should have bought these barrels and waited at least two more years to bottle them. This whiskey could have really been something spectacular with a little more age.
10 thoughts on “Pinhook “Bourbon Country” Cask Strength Bourbon: Good But Pulled Way Too Young”
I am in total agreement with your assessment that the Pinhook bourbon wasn’t aged long enough before bottling…..Interesting that you compared the Pinhook and Smooth Ambler…..,My son in law and I opened a bottle of Pinhook bourbon and had the same reaction that you did….The color was much lighter and the flavor notes were not well defined…We enjoyed the Smooth Ambler much more….I am disappointed with the 3 year Pinhook bourbon and will definitely wait for a longer aged barrel before buying it again..,.
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…and the sweetness dominates now, which would likely integrate with more age
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One small correction. “Straight” whiskey is defined as at least 2 years old. The stipulation of “four years” is reserved for bottled-in-bond which of course has other requirements.
Nick: Straight whiskies aged between 2 and 4 years have to have an age statement. I am correct in what I wrote.
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