Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Eagle Rare JP Liquors Private Selection Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon

VITALS:
- $42
- 90 Proof
- 10 Years
- Barrel No. 171
- Kentucky

Social media can be quite a source of great bourbon-related information, assuming you can find your way through the morass of bullshit, bullying and troll jobs that litter Facebook pages.  This particular bottle is such an example.  I play in a volleyball league every Friday in the Summer, and one Friday afternoon someone posted that this small liquor store one town over from where I play happened to get in their barrel of Eagle Rare.

So, being the fan of Eagle Rare that I am, I quick did a Google Maps search and discovered that this small liquor store was only about five minutes of out of my way. So I left fifteen minutes early for my match and made my way to this store which I had known existed but never went out of my way to check out. I immediately wished I had, as they had a great whiskey selection, and right in the middle were all of their Eagle Rare private picks.  I browsed a bit, grabbed my bottle and was on my way.

It wasn't until a few weeks later that I finally got around to opening the bottle, and I found myself immediately questioning why I had never gone into JP Liquors before this. On the nose I got the healthy layer of caramel that I love in Eagle Rare. However, and I don't think I've ever said this about a whiskey's aroma before, it also had a creamy quality to it, almost like a sweet cream. There was also this sweet bread yeast note to it, which, along with a rich raisin note, smelled like some amazing raisin bread/cinnamon roll hybrid. The nose on this whiskey was rich and delicious!!!

The flavor, for the most part, lived up to the nose, too!  That classic caramel base was certainly there, along with a nice, long cinnamon spice that was immediately noticeable up front and stuck around long after each sip.  It also had a light peppery spice that tingled a bit in the back of my throat.

Aside from these traditional flavors, though, this particular bottle had some unique characteristics that set it apart from the standard Eagle Rare, and the combination of flavors, though a bit odd on their own, really worked to provide for a tangy, sweet bourbon. I got a hint of dill, not unlike what a lot of people, myself included, find in MGP ryes.  That was accompanied by a note of nutmeg as well as a distinct root beer flavor.

As if these flavors weren't enough, mixed in among there as a red berry note, similar to raspberry I guess, though not exactly.  All of these flavors, while on their own might not hold up, mixed together  to create a sort of marriage of flavors that worked really well, and it was all complemented by the nice spicy finish.

Toward the end, on my last few pours, those nutmeg, dill and root beer notes took a bit of a back seat, and I was getting a little more citric acidity to it, kind of like burnt orange peel. However, the sweetness of the bourbon kept that flavor from being off-putting.

All in all, I flew through this bottle. Once I opened it, I just kept going back. It had the two hallmarks that I love about store picks -- it was delicious, and it had a really unique flavor profile that I won't find anywhere else. I will certainly be frequenting JP Liquors in Naperville, Illinois going forward, not only for their bourbon selection, but for their ability to pick a delicious single barrel as well!

Grade: A-

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