I just picked up my bottle of Calumet Farm 16 Year Old bourbon yesterday, and then I saw Mike Veach’s review of the 15 year old today. In his review of this bourbon, he states: “Another year in the wood would have made this whiskey bitter.” While Mike has an excellent palate and has forgotten more about bourbon that I will ever know, will the Calumet 16 year old be bitter?
As noted in my previous reviews, The Calumet Farms Single Rack Black bourbons are sourced from 1792 Barton. The 16 year old costs $150, which is $30 more than the 15, but has one more year of aging and one more proof point coming in at 106 proof. Non-chill filtered, of course.
The color on this is a deep amber but without reddish tones, which suggests to me that this whiskey started out upwards of 125 proof and was watered down. Nice oily film and legs on the swirl though. On the nose is heavy vanilla, some dark fruit, stone fruit, and oak. Very nice. On the palate, the vanilla starts out strong but then fades into the dark fruit (cherries, cranberries) with some lemon and orange zest, with a hint of cinnamon and clove on the back. Very nice. The mouthfeel is full bodied for a non-cask strength whiskey and reminds me of the mouthfeel on Van Winkle bourbons. On the finish, the clove and orange zest comes to the fore and mingles with oak tannin on an incredibly long finish. Even though the finish is long, the finish is somehow very clean on the palate.
Now, admittedly, Mike may very well be right about the Calumet 15 year old and another year making it bitter, as the 16 year old is another 19 barrels from an entirely different rack at 1792. But there is no doubt that the 16 year old is quite good, elegant even, it is flavor profile and mouthfeel.