Last night at the Hokus Pokus tasting, my wife’s name was pulled third and she graciously picked the bourbon I wanted since there was no scotch in the auction. I have previously enjoyed three different releases of this wonderful bourbon. Last spring’s 13 year old was amazing. Let’s see how this stacks up.
Barreled in Fall 2004, this whiskey is reportedly 15 years and 2 months old. In the bottle the whiskey has a wonderful reddish hue reflecting its long aging.
The color is a dark amber but as you swirl it the whiskey shimmers with mahogany. Beautiful long thick legs. On the nose are hints of caramel, vanilla, sweet corn, and oak. My palate is greeted by lovely caramel and a ton of baking spice with wonderful deep rich oak. Medium mouthfeel and very smooth but has this huge lingering finish of cinnamon and oak. There are some faint nutty notes from the Beam family yeast but they really are perfectly muted by the oak and baking spices.
The finish on this bourbon is superior to Pappy in my mind. Not as elegant a mouthfeel but definitely on the level with Pappy.
So, the differences between this bourbon and Pappy are attributable to two things. First, the yeast. Second, Heaven Hill rotates its barrels you different levels of the warehouses, to achieve uniformity of flavor. Buffalo Trace on the other hand sets it and forgets it and their best bourbons come from honey barrels in the best parts of the warehouse. I also took a little nip of the Old Fitz 13 and this 15 year old definitely had more evaporation and so was watered down more to hit 100 proof. So the 15 is slightly smoother on the palate but has the same great finish.
Totally glad I scored a bottle!