Saturday, September 2, 2017

David Nicholson Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon

- $30
- 100 Proof
- Region: Kentucky

So many times I've seen this bottle on the shelf and so many times I've passed it up. It's an unassuming bottle, short and squat, with no cartoon birds or profiles of bourbon pioneers on the label. It's got a name that doesn't resonate either--couldn't tell you who David Nicholson is. At a $30 price tag, though, it was worth at least giving a try, and I couldn't be happier that I did!

This is a sourced bourbon from Luxco, the same company that brings you Rebel Yell and Blood Oath. The name itself has ties to the Van Winkle family, and it was purchased by Luxco in 2000. I have not been able to determine (through admittedly only brief internet research) where this bourbon is sourced from.

All that aside, regardless of where it comes from, this is very good whiskey! The nose is heavy caramel with a light undertone of vanilla, the traditional bourbon notes we've all come to know and love. This one also has a light smokiness on the nose that I really enjoyed. It had some alcohol burn, but that seemed to evaporate pretty quickly, and this was one of those pours that I found myself frequently shoving under my nose to enjoy the aroma.

With my first pour, my initial impression was that this was a somewhat bland bourbon. It didn't hit me with much flavor and seemed a bit watered down. I make note of this only because, looking back now, it seems a bit odd and perhaps, somehow, an anomaly. I say that because every other pour thereafter was full of flavor and very delicious!

The watery texture remained. This was not a chewy, oily bourbon. It was, however, a sweet and flavorful bourbon. The heavy caramel from the nose dominates the palate as well. That light smokiness from the nose came through on the palate as well, and there was minimal burn.

The caramel itself reminded me of smooth, warm caramel. While the differences may be somewhat subtle, there is a difference in caramel flavors from the hard caramels, to the caramel found in Rolos to the warm caramel you'd top a sundae with. This is the latter.

Accompanying that sweet, warm caramel flavor, though were notes of milk chocolate and even hints of crisp, green apple. These flavors complemented that caramel and light smoke flavor so well that, even though I wanted to open and try other whiskeys currently sitting in my bar, I couldn't help but keep going back for pour after pour of this stuff.

At $30, this is absolutely a bourbon worth buying and trying, and I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this bourbon that I've glossed over so many times before.

Grade: A-

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