Originally, Stellum was going to be a consistent product. This was to differentiate it from Barrell, Joe Beatrice’s other brand, where every batch and barrel is different. But, it didn’t take too long for Stellum to do single barrel offerings, which were amazing. I am still able to get Hokus Pokus Vega pick on the regular and it remains very enjoyable. But now, Stellum has come out with the black label release, which follows the well trod Barrell recipe of blending two or three different bourbons together, except the base recipe is the Stellum MGP bourbon blended with Kentucky and Tennessee bourbons that are from older stocks. With Barrell, the Cascade Hollow bourbon is the base. One review has even claimed that the Kentucky element is sourced from Jim Beam, and this would be a first as I haven’t even heard of Jim Beam sourcing barrels for other producers. It is more likely Heaven Hill, although Beatrice has been known to source from Four Roses and 1792 Barton. The Tennessee bourbon is obviously Cascade Hollow, which is the base for Barrell Bourbon blends and their single barrel bourbons.
Stellum Black is 109.22 proof and is non-aged stated. I paid $103 for this bottle at Hokus Pokus.
Color is a nice amber, about the same color as regular Stellum. Thin film and nice legs on the swirl. Very traditional bourbon nose with vanilla, warm caramel corn, a hint of baking spice on baked apples. Very impressive nose. On the palate, the notes on the nose continue with the vanilla and baking spice becoming more dominant although with juicy fruit gum, candied cherries, and a healthy dose of oak tannin. The older whiskey used in this blend may not have changed the color much but it definitely added flavor. On the finish, the juicy fruit, vanilla, and oak linger and linger and black pepper, perique tobacco, and leather notes becomes part of the mix.
This is a really good really complex cask strength bourbon. I think Joe Beatrice is really on to something using MGP bourbon as the base rather than Cascade Hollow for bourbon blends. Definitely worth picking up.