Sunday, November 19, 2017

Eagle Rare Warehouse Liquors Single Barrel Select Barrel No. 196 Kentucky Straight Bourbon

VITALS:
- $40
- 90 Proof
- 10 Years
- Barrel No. 196
- Region: Kentucky

Eagle Rare has always held a special place in my heart. It is, after all, the bourbon that got me into bourbon. It's the bourbon that told me maybe I need to expand my horizons and try something other than Scotch. It's the bourbon that started this "journey."

And when I found a new store in Chicago, not too far from my office, a store with multiple shelves of store picks of all kinds, there was no way I was leaving there without one of their Eagle Rare store picks. Interestingly, they had three to choose from, so I made my pick based on the tasting notes. This particular barrel was described as having strawberry notes. I was skeptical, having never tasted anything like strawberry in my bourbon before, but I was willing to give it a chance.

I got home and pretty much cracked this one open right away. The nose is vanilla and cinnamon, somewhat traditional and what I've come to expect from Eagle Rare. It also had a light and bright fruitiness to it, kind of like raspberry, or even . . . strawberry!

And the palate? Strawberries! Seriously! The notes weren't lying! Of course, there was a nice amount of vanilla, which balanced well with the traditional rye spice that would linger on the back end, tickling the throat and begging for the next pour.

But I just could not get past the strawberries. I immediately went for my next sip, and even then my next pour, each time trying not to taste the strawberries, if for no other reason than to justify my skepticism, but it was there and unavoidable.

It was a soft strawberry flavor, like dried strawberries, rather than syrupy or imitation strawberry. And while strawberry isn't a traditional or typical flavor in bourbon, this works, and it works very well!! It offers the perfect sweetness to complement the spicy cinnamon finish, and it of course is amazing with the underlying vanilla tones throughout that hearken back to what a bourbon should be, just in this case with a little bit more.

This is one of the best bourbons I have ever tried! Seriously, frickin' strawberries! I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't taste it myself! I have never enjoyed a bourbon so much that I felt compelled to go back and grab another just to have in reserve. I usually look to buy things I haven't had before, otherwise I'd have nothing to write about. But as a testament to just how much I loved this bourbon, in this instance I made it a point to grab a back-up, so that I'd have no reason to refrain from drinking this one.

Grade: A+

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