Sunday, August 11, 2019

Buffalo Trace Jewel-Osco Single Barrel Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Barrel No. 528

- $24
- 90 Proof
- Barrel No. 528

If there is one thing that Jewel-Osco is known for, it's their incredible private picks . . . no, that's not right. It's their incredibly refined palate . . . no, that's not right either. In the bourbon world, at least around me, Jewel is primarily known for occasionally having Blanton's in stock at retail, and that's just about it.

Yet, despite not being actively in the market for Blanton's, and knowing that I'm not going to find much else, I nonetheless wandered into the whiskey aisle during a shopping trip, and I saw all the usual suspects sitting on the shelf.  Then something caught my eye.  Was that a sticker?!?  I quickly pulled a bottle of Buffalo Trace off the shelf, figured I must have seen something, turned the bottle in my hands, and sure enough, it was a Jewel-Osco Single Barrel Select! I had no clue such a thing existed.  So, of course, at only $24 a bottle, I picked one up, because what the hell, why not?!?

I got home and cracked it right away, because quite frankly my curiosity was getting the best of me. On the nose I immediately got caramel and almond, almost a hint of amaretto. I also detected a certain amount of Maraschino cherry as well. Later on, after making my way through a good portion of the bottle, I got hints of dark chocolate, and it also seemed to sweeten up quite a bit, providing a rich, dark molasses note.

Flavor-wise, it seemed to follow suit with the nose. On the first few pours, I got primarily burnt sugar and oak. It was more char and wood than I expected from a Buffalo Trace. The sugars were there, but they were buried. It was as thought it wanted to be sweet but just wasn't quite there. I also got a bit of a cherry cough syrup note, which is always a bit of a turn off for me.

However, as with the nose, after a number of pours from this bottle, it sweetened up significantly. Rather than char and sugar on top of wood, it turned into something far more delicious ad interesting. I got more of a brown sugar tone to it, and a certain amount of cinnamon also came through.

I also got a certain bread quality, which together with these "developed" other flavors gave it a sort of cinnamon french toast quality that I really liked.  Unfortunately, though, that fake cherry flavor still seemed to linger as well, and it just didn't fit. While the flavor softened, it still retained a bit of that medicinal quality that I do find off-putting, and it was really weird with that bready, yeasty flavor that developed.

All in all, if Jewel-Osco released another private selection of Buffalo Trace, I assure you I'd grab that as well.  While it has some off notes for me, overall it was still a tasty bourbon at a great price, and it was fun to see what I was going to get with such a pick.

Grade: B-

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