Sunday, March 31, 2019

Wathen's Barrel Proof Binny's Selection Kentucky Straight Bourbon

VITALS:
- $70
- 117.36 Proof
- NAS
- Barrel #43
- Kentucky

It seems quite some time now since Wathen's first released their barrel proof bourbon. I'm not exactly sure when that initially occurred, but I do remember there being an mild bit of hype around them and that they were somewhat sought-after bottles at the time. Beyond that initial hype, though, I heard very little about them.

However, a few months ago when Binny's got a couple different picks in, my curiosity finally got the best of me. The hype (what little of it there was) had certainly died down, but I still wondered what I had missed out on that first time around. Plus, I feel like I haven't really given the Charles Medley Distillery much attention, it having been over three years since I last tried their Single Barrel.

The nose on this one was soft and, surprisingly, fruity. I got a light raspberry note that went very nicely with a nutty, walnut like flavor.  It was a great initial aroma.  However, I also got a lot of corn on the nose, which made it smell hot. I also thought it smelled "young." I noticed that distinct, overripe apple note that I associate with young, craft whiskeys that have been bottled before they're ready. It really had me hoping that the flavor did not match the nose.

On my first sip, the first thing I noticed was the viscosity of this bourbon.  This was super buttery and oily, with a nice thick, coating mouthfeel to it, made even more noticeable by the lack of alcohol on the tongue. I also noticed right away the corn note that I was getting on the nose, but it seemed to be paired with a certain char flavor, giving the initial impression of buttered street corn.

Those initial pours also had some very strange notes that just did not go with everything else, making it kind of . . . weird. I got an odd menthol flavor, not mint but menthol, that reminded me a bit of the green NyQuil.  That was followed by an orange bitters note, kind of like what I'd imagine grilled orange peel would taste like.

Luckily, as I got towards the end of the bottle, those odd flavors seemed to transform a bit, resulting in a sweet, cinnamon and vanilla Coke flavor, which was different but good.  I also got a nice peppery spice that would linger on the tip of my tongue for quite a long time. There was also one constant from beginning to end -- a distinct tannin or bitter wood note. It wasn't strong enough to be off-putting, but it was certainly noticeable throughout.

I found I enjoyed this one more with a little ice than I did neat. It muted any bitter notes and seemed to blend the flavors together a little bit, removing some of the rough edges. Overall, however, this was just a "good" whiskey, one that I wouldn't turn away but one I'm not going to go seeking.

Grade: B

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