Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Belle Meade Binny's Private Selection 10-Year Single Barrel Straight Bourbon

VITALS:
- $65
- 117.4 Proof
- 10 Years
- Barrel #1589

This was my first foray into Belle Meade bourbon. Quite frankly, it was the price tag that put me off for so long, but finally I convinced myself to give it a try. It's my understanding that Belle Meade sources their bourbon from MGP Distilling in Indiana, a common theme among NDPs. Though sourced, I've frequently found myself a fan of the product coming out of NDP, so I finally caved and decided to give this a try.

The nose is soft, delicate (though not light) and fruity. Though it's a high proof bourbon, you'd never tell from the nose.

On my first sip, my immediate thought was that this is good but not great. It's a nice, robust bourbon, with traditional flavors of vanilla overlaying caramel and cinnamon. It has a nice, chewy mouthfeel to it, really coating the mouth. The finish broke away from the caramel and cinnamon and instead consisted of a bunch of wood flavor layered over vanilla and coffee, to provide a bit of bitterness at the end.

After the first pour or two, this bottle to set to the side in favor of others, and I forgot about it for a few weeks. Then, on a whim, I went back to it to give it another try, and it was as though I were trying a whole new bourbon. Where the edges of the bourbon, those contrasting flavors of wood and coffee with sweet caramel, were sharp and distinct, were now smooth and sweet. While the coffee flavor remained, it was a sweeter flavor, akin to coffee-flavored ice cream, but still with that nice, sweet cinnamon spice at the end, certainly thanks to a higher rye content much to my desire.

The vanilla up front seemed to have taken more of a hold as well, providing a nice fluid flow of flavor (for any alliteration fans out there) going from vanilla to a creamy coffee then to a sweet cinnamon at the end.

While not necessarily the greatest bourbon I've ever tasted, despite all the foregoing superlatives, this bourbon really had a nice bounce-back for me, initially putting me off but later becoming something that I just couldn't put down. I think the last such drastic transformation I saw in a bourbon after opening the bottle was Old Grand-Dad 114, which impressed in similar fashion, though I think I enjoyed this transformation even more.

Though it might have started out unimpressive, this one really came on strong, and despite the high price, I was really glad I gave it a try!

Grade: B+

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